Ravenna, OH Terrible Train Collision, July 1891

New York, July 3 -- The following has been received by the Erie officials here:
Cleveland, Ohio, July 3, 1891.
E. B. Thomas, First Vice President:
No. 82 ran into the rear end of No. 8 at Ravenna station at 2:32 a.m. Engineer of No. 8 was doing some work on his engine. He had been standing still about eight minutes. Had flag out thirty-five car lengths on a straight line. Engine No. 679 and two sleepers burned up. As near as I can learn at present there are senen killed and about ten injured.
[Signed] A. M. Tucker, General Manager.
Cleveland, Ohio, July 3 -- General Superintendent TUCKER, of the Erie railroad, nervously paced back and forth in his office all this morning waiting anxiously for a dispatch from Ravenna.
"I have received as yet only meagre reports," he said, "and am waiting anxiiously for full accounts from officials. There is nothing to conceal about the wreck. It was caused by an employe's negligence. Train No. 8, a fast night express going east, left Kent all right with a long line of coaches and sleepers. A few minutes later fast freight No. 82 followed the regulation distance behind. At Ravenna, the next stop, the engineer found something wrong with his machine and delayed a few moments to fix it. Knowing that the freight was following, a flagman was sent back to stop it. The failure of this man to properly perform his duty caused the disaster. I am not yet exactly informed that he did not do so, but suppose that he failed to go back far enough. He evidently thought that the passenger would go on before the freight came along and so shirked his work. The express train had been at Ravenna just eight minutes when the freight dashed up too close to be stopped by the flagman. It crashed into the rear of the passenger train and scattered death on all sides. To add to the horror fire broke out and consumed many of the dead and injured who were held fast in the ruins. Such fearful sights had better be left to the imagination than any attempt to depict in words. I do not know how many were killed, or who they were, but reports will soon tell the story. It was 5 o'clock this morning when I first received word, and since then I have been endeavoring to obtain definite news, but everything is so confused that as yet I have received little."
A Later Account.
Ravenna, Ohio, July 3 -- Four years ago this town received the greatest shock ever experienced by it, and one that was never expected to be equalled. This shock was the attack upon Detective Hulligan by members of the Blinkey Morgan gang; the killing of Hulligan and the rescue of a prisioner. This morning at 3 o'clock the express train on the New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio road was run into by a fast freight train and nineteen or twenty people were killed and their bodies charred by flames that soon broke out in the wreck. The Morgan attack was eclipsed and the whole nieghborhood shocked as it never expected to be again. The cause of the terrible catastrophe is loudly given. Two miles from Ravenna the New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio and Cleveland and Pittsburg cross. When the New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio express reached this crossing this morning, it was delayed there for a considerable length of time. Behind the express and thundering along at a rapid rate was a refrigerator train, used to transport meat and accustomed to cover the distance it had to run at a speed little less than that of an ordinary passenger train.

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Add'l info

The killed glassworkers, who were returning home to Corning, N.Y., from a union meeting in Findlay, Ohio, were buried in a mass grave in a cemetery in South Corning, N.Y., under a large monument that features a bronze statute of glassblower.

The monument reads: “This monument has been erected by the American Flint Glass Workers Union to the memory of eighteen of its members who were killed in a railroad disaster which occurred at Ravenna, Ohio, July 3, 1891, while they were en route from Findlay, Ohio, to their homes in Corning, New York, wither they were journeying to meet loving friends from whom they had been separated by an effort to improve their industrial conditions. Erected 1892.”