Nioga, IA Train Wreck At Bridge, Sep 1890



Nioga, Iowa, Sept. 22. -- A wreck occured on the Wabash, St. Louis and Pacific near herer about 3 o'clock Sunday morning, in which Engineer MARTIN ESKRIDGE, Fireman JOSEPH BURKE, and Brakeman R. G. WILLIAMSON were killed. The accident occurred at a trestle about 800 feet long which crosses a cut made by a creek through the hills. The bridge is at the end of a curve so sharp that a person standing 100 yards to the east can just see the end of it. The train, which consisted of seventeen loaded cars and a caboose, was just coming round this curve from the east, when the whole western half of the bridge was discovered to be a mass of flames. The brakemen were at their posts, as the grade is steep at this point, and the engineer reversed his lever. The engine struck the burning chasm, while the cars were piled above it in a shapeless mass.

The Engineer's Awful Death.
Brakeman WILLIAMSON was hurled against a tree and his skull crushed so that he died in a few minutes after being found, and Engineer ESKRIDGE was undoubtedly crushed to death in the wreck, although the body has not yet been found. Fireman BURKE was found with his left hand pinioned under a girder, but otherwise unhurt. Above him was a tank of oil, the lower end of which already was enveloped in flames, and he begged the conductor and rear brakeman who found him to cut off his hand as the only means of saving him from the impending explosion of the oil tank. They made a desperate effort to pull him loose, but being unable to do so finally started for an ax in the caboose, but before they could get to him the explosion took place and BURKE was burned to death.

The Decatur Morning Review Illinois 1890-09-23