Lebanon, MO Train Plunges Off Trestle, Sep 1914

Lebanon MO wreck 1914.jpg







St. Louis., Sept. 15 -- Twenty-seven persons were drowned early Tuesday, when St. Louis and San Francisco west bound passenger train number five, St. Louis to Texas, ran into a cloud burst two miles west of Lebanon, Missouri, and two passenger cars toppled into a deep gully full of water.
Fifteen of the dead have been identified. Eighteen persons were injured, but none of them hurt seriously. Ninety-nine persons including the train crew were on the train and all have been accounted for.
The wreck occurred before day break, but as telegraph and telephone communications were interrupted by the heavy storm Monday night, nothing was known of the disaster at the Frisco general offices here until 8 o'clock Tuesday morning.

Happens At Curve.
The accident occurred at a curve which marked the edge of a ravine characteristic of the Ozark hill country. For several hours the train had been going carefully, as the engineer feared the heavy rains had weakened the track. Just as the engine hit the curve two miles from Lebanon, Engineer O'BRIEN saw a cloud burst seemingsly a wall of wather ahead of him. Though the train was going only fifteen miles an hour, he closed the throttle but before the train could be brought to a stop, the water was upon it. THe twelve foot embankment on which the track crossed the ravine was swept away apparently by the rush of water and as the track sagged under the weight of the train, the chair car and smoker, toppled over into the ravine. The engine and the mail and baggage cars had crossed the depest part of the ravine and though they were pulled from the rails and toppled over, they did not fall into the water. The fireman was killed, however, apparently having been crushed. the engineer escaped. None of the mail clerks or express messengers were hurt. The hour sleeping care remained on the track.

Chair Car Filled.
The chair car was well filled. Twenty-seven were drowned, many of them apparently while they slept. Others clambered through the windows of the submerged cars and swam to safety. A nurse, MISS NORMA CAMPBELL, of St. Louis, climbed to the upturned side of the the chair car and rescued five imprisoned passengers by pulling them through the windows.
That the wreck was due to a cloud burst is indicated by the fact that another train passed over the ravine an hour before the Texas limited was derailed. Traffic was tied up until late this afternoon and the first train, from the west to pass the scene after the accident did not reach St. Louis until Tuesday night.
The identified dead:
HENRY WAGONER, Harrison, Arkansas.
W. A. CHILDERS, Clover, Mo.
MRS. JOHN MYERS, Thayer, Mo.
J. H. STOCKSTILL, Springfield, Mo., fireman.
GEORGE COXEY, Greenforest, Ark.
H. W. NEWKIRK, Hannibal, Mo.
C. NEAL, Ketchum, Okla.
LENA MYERS, Thayer, Mo.
DAISY PERRY, Address unknown.
ELSIE CALVIN, Rumley, Ark.
W. W. NAYLOR, Springfield, Mo.
LEE DONNELL of Springfield, an employe of the St. Louis & San Francisco railroad who was aboard the wrecked train, said that almost all of the dead were found in the forward chair car, which was submerged in fifteen feet of water. Several persons were taken from the day coach and resuscitated, according to DONNELL.
"When the engine struck the sag in the track caused by the washout a shower of muddy water enveloped the locomotive, filling our mouths, noses and ears," Engineer O'BRIEN told DONNELL in describing the disaster. "Despite the fact that we were feeling our way along, the catastrophe came without warning. The engine seemed to leap forward clear of the track and into the air. Then it buried its nose in the embankment and I jumped."
J. H. STOCKSTILL, the remaining was pinned beneath the engine and crushed and scalded almost beyond recognition.
With the murky waters rushing into the overturned coaches, a number of persons were taken out through windows and holes broken through the roof.
A special train left Springfield early this evening for the purpose of bringing the injured to hospitals here. However, because of the condition of the roadbed, the train was obliged to proceed slowly and had not returned at a late hour tonight.

The Cedar Rapids Republican Iowa 1914-09-16


List of deaths for 1914 RR wreck near Lebanon, MO.

Re Daisy Perry, Address Unknown. Daisy & her son, Paul died in this accident. She was from Fayetteville, Arkansas, and is buried in the Whitehouse Cemetery near there.

John Barton

John was supposed to be on this train. He was to have been the fireman. But by chance he laid off to take care of some business. He was my husband's father's gpa. This has been told thru the family. Thought you would like to know.
He was a fireman on another train going up a steep hill and the coupling broke and John fell down between those 2 couplings, and was afraid to yell to the engineer so struggled and finally got out of there before the rest of the train closed them together. He didn't yell at engineer for fear the engineer would hit the brakes.
Another thing he told was that a nice sunny day and the train was going through a beautiful apple orchard and they stopped to eat apples. The farmer came out and shot at them and so the jumped back on the train and left.

Back then each of his kids got to ride up in the engine with him. Remembers track was so uneven you would swear any moment it was going to derail.

Just sitting here and talking about memories and I saw your comment.

Ms. Hart, I found this page

Ms. Hart, I found this page this morning and read with interest. I worked for the SLSF, BN & BNSF for 37 years. This is the first time I have heard of this accident. I will attempt to "join" your page. (I am not too "swift" with FB, but I will try.) Thanks in advance if you approve me.

1914 train wreck in Lebanon MO

I live in Lebanon MO and this is part of our history. While doing some research tonight, I came across some photos tonight showing the tragic scenes. I moderate a Facebook group called "Memories of Laclede County, MO" and I posted a full page of pictures tonight. Sometime tomorrow I will try to post each one individually to make it more clear. This is a "closed group" to keep out spammers but if any of the relatives of the victims want to find the group on Facebook and click the "join" button, I will approve you, and that will give you access to the photos.

John Barton

My husband Kenneth Ray Mullins Great Grandfathers name was James Barton and was a railroad engineer. WOULD LOVE to have more information on him if anyone can provide it. Glad he was not one of the dead or injured but sorry for the families of those who were part of the fatal wreck.

Name of the fireman?

I am trying to confirm that this is the 7 Sep 1914 MoPac train wreck that killed my wife's great grandfather, Jesse David Clark, who was the fireman. The transcript here seems to name someone else but that isn't clear. There is a 9 Sep mention on the front page of the Jefferson City newspaper, the Daily Democrat, that Clark's body had been found and was being brought back on the No 4 train. This was wired to the undertaker from the Winkler Furniture Company at Lexington.

The Interesting thing is

The Interesting thing is that the fireman on the train was actually a substitute for another fireman John Barton, which is my great grandfather, John was meant to fire that train but called in sick and basically was replaced. This is all true i have an article about it

Thanks for listing this accident.

My great grandparents and their 4 children were on this train. Perry David Calvin, Mollie (Hancock) Calvin, Elsie Amanda Calvin, Oma Missouri Calvin, Margaret Evelyn Calvin and Vernon David Calvin. Elsie Amanda Calvin was 13 yrs old and her baby brother Vernon David Calvin was only 3 years old. Elsie was to help get the baby out while their dad helped their mother and my grandmother Oma, age 9 was to help the other sister Margaret Evelyn , age 7. Elsie and Vernon got trapped in the submerged car. They were recovered after the water subsided. Mollie, age 32, was pulled from the train and was taken to the hospital where she died on the 17th from complications due to pneumonia. A very sad piece pf my family history. I was given a copy of this story several years ago but had never found much else about it. I am glad to see it listed here. Thanks. By the way my mom has several post cards with photos of this wreck. So very sad to look at!


you are most welcome .. thank you for being a GenDisasters site contributor

Thank you

Thank you for making this article available. While researching the Young geneology I came across a death certificate for Ed Young. Unfortunately, nothing personal was available with the exception of his name and that he was from Thayer Missoui. The cause of death was
"Drowned accidently in R R wreck". It was signed by J M Billing of Lebanon Mo. The undertaker was R Palmer of Lebanon Mo. He was transported to Thayer Mo for burial.
All of the information regarding his date of birth, mother and fathers name, occupation or birthplace have "unknown" I will be researching further and I thank you for the article.

Thank You
Anita Young Jeffries