West Lebanon, IL Train Wreck, Jan 1888

The Wabash Collision

Additional particulars of the collision on the Wabash at West Lebanon were ascertained Tuesday. No lives were lost. The engineer of the passenger train was Joe Watkins. He caught sight of the freight train while rounding a curve, and had barely time to reverse his engine, apply the ail brakes and jump, before the trains met. He and his fireman, Lewis Isley, escaped uninjured. The freight train being the heavier, the tender and locomotive were driven back into the mail car, which was broken into kindling wood. Chief Mail Clerk Helm, was very painfully bruised, but, remarkable as it may seem, neither he nor any of his assistants was seriously injured. Among the passengers injured was Mrs. W. L. Pettitt, wife of the cashier of the First National bank of Ft. Wayne, who was on her way to visit friends in Effingham. At the time the shock came she was coming from the toilet room, and she was thrown with great force against the side of the car, causing a hemorrhage. The cause of the collision was that the freight train was too heavy. It was sent out of Tilton at 10 o'clock and it was helped up Danville grade by a switch engine. The engineer was unable to make up any time, and a long delay was caused by the breaking in two of the train. Having had orders to run to West Lebanon siding the engineer attempted to do so, but the delays had more than consumed the margin of time allowed him.

Saturday Herald, Decatur, IL 14 Jan 1888