Ravenna, OH Terrible Train Collision, July 1891

After the half at the C. and P. crossing was ended, the express hurried on to Ravenna and pulled up at the depot. But the time that the train was held at the C. and P. road was sufficient to permit the meat train to come up, and hardly had the wheels of the express ceased to revolve when the engine of the freight crashed into the rear end of the express almost at full speed.
The scene that ensued was terrible in the extreme. The engine plowed its way, pushed on by the wright and momentum of the heavy cars behind it, through the coaches as if they were made of thin boards. Above the horrible grinding and crunching of the cars could be heard the agonized shrieks of the maimed passengers, who but a second before were sound asleep. There were two or three sleepers in the train and these were well filled. There was also a car of excursionists bound east. Many glass blowers from Findlay were on board the train going to New York state. A dozen people from Akron composed an excursion party on the ill-fated train. When the collision occurred those in the rear cars were either instantly killed, wounded or pinned down by the portions of the demolished cars. The latter could not escape unaided, and in the terrible fright and confusion that followed, and before the citizens of the town could reach the scene of the disaster, fire broke out in the wreck and spread with frightful rapidity. If the accident had been awful before, it was now an unequalled horror. The flames rushed through the debris and the shrieks of the maimed or pinioned could be plainly heard in the night air. Forward the wounded and unharmed passengers were getting themselves out of the cars that were still intact. They at once did all they could to stay the flames and rescue the imperilled. But before this was done nineteen people were sacrificed, that many bodies being taken out afterward. Most of these mangled corpses were blackened and burned in a manner sickening to look upon, some of the being roasted into unrecognizable masses. As the work of taking out the dead bodies progressed, the full extent of the calamity dawned upon the workers from the town and those of the passengers who escaped alive. By daylight nineteen bodies had been carried out. How many more met death is not known. Those wounded to a considerable extent numbered twenty-three. Many others were bruised and scratched, in fact nearly everybody on the train was hurt to some extent. Of the Akron party none was killed. A number of Cincinnatians and several of the Findlay people met death. The work of identifying the dead is now in progress.
Cincinnati, Ohio, July 3 -- A telephone message from Manager HANLON, of the Pittsburg Base Ball club, at 10 o'clock states that GALVIN, MILLER and KING, of that club, were not on the wrecked train. They are still in this city.
The Engineer Talks.
GEORGE HOLMAN, engineer of the freight, said to a reporter: "I cannot see that I am to blame. Oh, my God! If I could have got sand I could have stopped the train, but the rails were wet and the sand would not take. I was not warned in time and could not see the lights on the rear of the pasenger owing to the darkness and fog. I reversed the lever as quickly as possible, and the fireman jumped from the train, sustaining severe fracture of the righthand." MR. HOLMAN seems to think the brakeman of the passenger train, FRED BOYNTON, could have flagged from a greater distance.
Manager TUCKER Talks.
"There is no use trying to shift the responsibility," said TUCKER. "Our road always tries to use the utmost precautions for safety, but here is a case where a man failed to do his duty. I do not know yet who he is or how he feels, but I should think he would be contemplating shooting himself by this time. On all our passenger trains there is a flagman, whose especial duty it is to flag approaching trains in just such an emergency as this.

Continued on Page 4.


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.”