Summerfield, AL Train Wreck, Oct 1891



Several People Injured But Nothing Very Serious---The Engineer Had Warning and Went On---A Train Load for the Fair.

Following close on the heels of the disastrous fire at the car shed yesterday morning came the news of a frightful wreck on the Central mainstream near Summerfield.

Passenger train No. 2 from Atlanta, due in Macon at 10:45 a.m. had been thrown from the track by a broken rail a mile and a half west of Summerfield.

The first reports of the wreck had it that a large number were very seriously injured and the whole affair of an appalling nature. Nothing reliable could be ascertained until the arrival of the special train sent out from Macon to bring in the passengers of the wrecked train.

This train backed up to the rear end of the car shed at about 8 o'clock in the afternoon with fully 400 passengers, all of whom had a tale to tell of the wreck.


Judge James H. Guerry of Dawson, judge of the Pataula circuit, was on the wrecked rain, but escaped without a scratch. Judge Guerry was setting in the smoking car, which was the only car to turn completely over and in which the most damage was done. He says the train had received instructions at Bolings broke that there was a broken rail at a certain distance from Summerfield. For some reason it was thought best to proceed on and keep a lookout for the rail, and in consequence at the time of the wreck the train was running at a slow rate of speed, not more than eight miles an hour.

The engine seems to have passed over the broken rail with no trouble and had carried all but two coaches over with it. Then the rail turned and one of the coaches fell on its side and with it four others. The cars broke loose from the engine and in this way a more serious accident was averted. The five cars rolled down a four-foot embankment and rested on their sides. Each car was jammed with people, and it was tearful to see them thrown pell mell over each other to be crushed or suffocated. To make matters worse, car seats came lose and fell on the passengers, causing many bruises and cuts.


Almost miraculously the crowd was kept calm, and in time everyone was removed from the cars.

Before this work had been finished Trainmaster Anderson had arrived from Macon and had gone to work to assist the wounded. It was found that thirty or forty had received slight injuries, amounting to nothing more than a scratch, and that thirteen passengers had been more seriously wounded.

The list of those hurt is as follows:

E. W. Hammond, Griffin, rib broken.

Joe Simmons, colored, arm broken.

J. P. Glass, Griffin, hurt internally.

W. W. Newcally, Griffin, knee sprained.

J. R. Grubb, Thomaston, knee sprained.

W. J. Trimessy, (col), cut in head.

Joe Tramwell, Atlanta, ankle sprained.

W. E. Revoton, Dawson, knee sprained.

Victoria Pharr, breast hurt.

Lew Bush, Barnsville, knee sprained.

Marl Gibson, Forsyth, injured internally.

James White, Barnesville, injured internally.

J. M. Watts, Shellman, knee sprained.

Besides those injured there were a number of others who received slight marks from the wreck, none of enough importance to be noticed. Those passengers who arrived on the wrecked train criticised[sic] very freely the action of the train officers in continuing ahead after receiving notifications of the broken rail. The place broken was about three feet in length.

The Macon Telegraph, Macon, GA 31 Oct 1891