Harbins, SC Train Wreck, Aug 1902

Railroad men say that wrecks come in quick succession, and when one accident occurs they ask "where will be the next?" The wreck at Frost's Mill Sunday was followed by the accident at Sligh's Station on the Columbia, Newberry and Laurens and by a bad smash-up on the Southern's main line near Westminster, S.C.
Superintendent WELLES yesterday handled the main line trains by a detour from Charlotte to Chester over the Savannah division from Chester to Elberton, Ga., over the Seaboard Air Line. The main line was cleared last night. The only fatality reported was that of a negro tramp. The engineer was badly hurt and several mail clerks, some of them known here, were slightly injured.
The wreck was caused by parties throwing switches and then driving spikes into the opening. The train dashed into other cars on the siding.
The correspondent of The State at Walhalla wires the following in regard to the wreck:
"Harbins, a flag station between Westminster and Toccoa, Ga., was the scene of a disastrous wreck on the Southern this morning at 4 a.m. when train No. 35 dashed into the side track going at the rate of 60 miles an hour. The engine, mail, baggage and express cars and three coaches were almost a total wreck. Strange to say, no one was killed out right. Engineer BUSHA and Postal Clerk ROSENTHAL were seriously hurt, ROSENTHAL perhaps fatally.
"It was caused by some miscreant opening the switch and having everything in such condition that the train would leave the switch, run off a spur and into a swamp. The track spreading was the only thing that saved the entire train from a far more terrible fate. One or more persons are suspected and their arrest will doubtless follow.
"The train was in charge of Engineer HENRY BUSHA and Conductor CANNON. The wounded were carried to Toccoa, Ga. The wreck is being removed and all trains are expected to pass by 6 p.m. J.M. Mons"
The Associated press account of the affair says:
"The fast mail on the Southern railway, southbound, was wrecked this morning by an open switch near Harbins, S.C. The entire train except the sleepers turned over, but none of the passengers was hurt. Engineer HENRY BUSHA of Atlanta was seriously but not fatally injured and a negro tramp who was stealing a ride was fatally hurt. Slight injuries were sustained by Fireman CHAS. S. WILLIAMS of Atlanta and Mail Clerks N.E. LOWENTHAL, E.E. SMITH, W.A. DAGNALL, J. RANGLIN and J.W. GRAY, JR.
"Three switches near the scene of the wreck were found to have been tampered with, intentionally, it is believed.
"An attempt is being made to discover and capture the supposed wreckers."
Superintendent WELLES yesterday had a large force at work removing the debris at Frost's Mill. He saved the express and mail car but abandoned the burned freight car which had been loaded with eggs–it would have been a very unattractive job to handle this wrecked car considering the hot weather and the condition of the eggs.
The superintendent and roadmaster made an inspection of the track and found that there were marks on the crossties for three quarters of a mile beyond the place where the freight car jumped the track. Mr. WELLES knew that there must be some extraneous cause for had the unusual rate of speed caused the the car to leave the track, the train would have continued in a straight course when it struck the curve. On the contrary the train followed the curve.
After carefully examining the marks, Mr. Welles arrived at the conclusion that the freight car was derailed by a piece of brake gearing falling under the wheels. Examination of the tracks and wheels showed that this was indeed the case.
Mr. WELLES is gratified that the injured persons escaped as lightly as they did. Mr. BRICE, the mail agent, is in good spirits and his broken thigh is giving him no more trouble than could be expected.
A special to The State from Greenville says: "A wreck occurred on the Southern last night near Westminster, and this morning rumors flew thick and fast that several lives were lost and a large number were injured. Fortunately, the disaster was not so great, and one one man was seriously injured, although it seems miraculous that all escaped with their lives.
"Passenger train No. 35, known as the fast mail, was derailed at 2:35 this morning as it was passing Harbin's, a flag station, five miles west of Westminster. The switch had been thrown open maliciously and the rail spiked down, so that the train was compelled to meet with disaster, and it is not the fault of the fiend that many lives were not lost as the train plunged forward and the the cars were turned over on the side track into which the train had been wickedly thrown. No. 35 is a long train and runs at high speed in the night time, making stops only at important stations.
"The only serious casualty that took place was received by the engineer Mr. FOOSHE (sic), whose leg was broken. LOWENTHAN (sic), the chief mail clerk, was severely hurt, and many persons were bruised in the general shake-up, but no one else was severely injured. The wrecked train was badly damaged, and so covered the main track that other trains could not pass until this afternoon. No. 36 is due at Westminster going northward at 4:25 a.m. and was sent around the way of Athens, Ga., to connect with the Seaboard. No. 12 due here at 2:30 p.m. was passed northward at 5:30 p.m.
The (Columbia, SC) State, August 26, 1902