Neenah, WI Train - Hayrack Wreck, Sept 1911



Tragedy Sequel to Wedding Anniversary Merry Party Had Attended.


Of Eight Others Hurt, Three Are Believed to Be Fatally Injured.

Chicago and Northwestern Passenger Train, Half Hour Late, Was Speeding at Rate of Mile a Minute, When the Crash Came---Horses and Nine People Escape Without Scratch---Those on Train Only Felt a Jar.

The Dead.

JOHN DRILL, Chicago.
GUSTAV FINN, Menasha, Wis.
JOHN HART, Menasha, Wis.
STEVEN LISEK, Menasha, Wis.
MABEL RENZ, Menasha, Wis.
JOHN SHEDICK, Menasha, Wis.
JOSEPH SIENYO, Menasha, Wis.

The Injured.

Philip Mott, Chicago; Benjamin Dumbrowski, Antone Kurmoski, Myron Olson, Anna Sodalski, John Suchodolski, Amanda Syring, and Herman Syring, all of Menasha.

Neehan [sic], Wis., Sept. 25.---Whirling along at the rate of a mile a minute, a Chicago & Northwestern passenger train, half an hour late, early yesterday morning crashed into a hayrack load[sic] with 31 young people here, killing 12 of them outright and injuring eight others, one of whom died shortly after and three of them so badly that they are believed to be fatally hurt.

The collision occurred at 3:40 o'clock at the Commercial street crossing here. Train No. 121, north-bound, whirled through the wagon load of people at the 45-degree angle. This peculiarity was due to the fact that the highway crossing is a diagonal.

A big billboard along the railway tracks obscured the view from the locomotive as well as from the wagon. Dust and fog did the rest.

Nine of the 31 people on the hayrack escaped without a scratch, and so did both horses. Nobody on the train suffered except from the jar.

Bodies Strewn Along Tracks.

Armless, legless and headless bodies covered the right of way as the train of none coaches was brought to a stop 800 feet from the scene of the accident. Several of the bodies were mutilated so badly that identification was possible only by fragments of clothing. Six bodies were discovered on the engine pilot where they lay until removed by the train crew and passengers.

Two others of the persons killed were hurled through a flagman's shanty with such force as to overturn the little structure. One of these was Miss Mable Finn, who was projected through one of the side walls of the house and was still alive when removed. She died a few hours later, however,. Another of the victims killed was thrown high over a barn 50 feet from the right of way.

The party was returning from the farm of Peter Hanson, where the young had gone to attend the celebration of a wedding anniversary, when the accident occurred. All but two, who were from Chicago, were residents of Menasha, Wis.

Babe Was Hurled 50 Feet, Unhurt.

Among the occupants of the hayrack who escaped were Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Brinzinski and child of two years. They were seated in the front of the rack, the mother holding the child in her lap. About half way back in the wagon sat Mary Swartzbauer. The latter was hurled about 50 feet and rendered unconscious. When found by rescuers the Brinzinski child was in her arms, having escaped unscathed. The parents of the child were injured only slightly.

Peter Hanson, driver and owner of the horses attached to the ill-fated rig, managed to hang to the reins and was the only person on the rack who was not temporarily stunned by the collision. He declares he looked in both directions along the track but did not observe the onrushing train until his team had reached the track. He whipped up the horses, but managed to get the wagon only half way across.

The train, it is said by pasengers[sic] was nearly half an hour behind schedule. The fact that the engine stopped on the second corner from the intersection where the collision occurred, a distance of more than 800 feet, is evidence that the speed was great. It is said, however, that the rails were slippery from the rain and made the stopping of the train difficult.

Practically every person on the wagon was an employe[sic] of the Menasha Woodenware company and all were invited to the Hanson farm to attend the wedding anniversary of one of their fellow employes[sic]. Mr. Hanson had conveyed the merry-makers to his farm in the early evening and was taking them back home, the round trip being completed except for a mile's drive when the collision occurred.

A farmer, his wife and two children recently were killed in a similar accident at the same crossing and during the last eight years nearly two dozen persons have lost their lives at the same place.

The Grand Forks Daily Herald, Grand Forks, ND 26 Sept 1911


Oshkosh Northwestern 25 Sept 1911

also lists Martin Cheslock (not James) among those dead at the scene. I suppose the further away the news got, the more errors appeared.

Incorrect name listed

You have one of the names incorrect. Among the dead, It should be Martin Cheslock not James Cheslock. Martin is one of my ancestors and he died in this accident. I have another article about the same accident from the Appleton Evening Crescent (Sept 24, 1911) and Martin's name is correct in that article.