Cedar Creek, SC Railroad Accident, Nov 1870


The down passenger train over the Greenville and Columbia Railroad met with a terrible accident on Thursday of last week, twelve miles above Columbia, near Cedar Creek. The locomotive passed over the trestle safely, but the baggage, second class and two passenger cars, were precipitated to the ground - a distance of twenty-five feet. One passenger car remained on the track, and another was upheld by the wreck of those in the chasm. The crash was terrible, and the injury to life and limb truly fearful.
The following is a list of the killed and injured:
MRS. FOGARTIE, of Charleston - who was on her way from Anderson with her family.
CHARLES JOY, of Newberry.
GRACE MONTANGUE, the faithful colored stewardess.
MINERVA PARR, a colored woman, formerly residing in Fairfield.
Fatally Injured:
STEPHEN SMITH, of Newberry.
HUTSON LOMAX, colored Senator from Abbeville.
Seriously Injured:
A. BARNES, express messenger.
Conductor G. E. ISAACS.
MISS. M. JOY, of Newberry.
A great many were slightly injured - few of those on board escaping without cut or bruise. It was truly Providential that so few lives were lost.
MR. STEPHEN H. SMITH, of Newberry, and SENATOR LOMAX, of Abbeville, died on Saturday last. MESSRS. ISAACS, BARNES and HAGOOD are improving.
Investigation into the cause of the accident shows that one wheel of the express car broke, thus throwing the car off the track - the trestle gave way and the other cars fell through. The trains are running as usual, the break having been repaired.
Mr. James A. Hoyt, the editor of this paper, who was on board the unfortunate train, gives the following information to the Columbia Phoenix:

The accident occurred at Cedar Creek trestle, is 200 yards of the bridge over Cedar Creek at half past 8 o'clock p.m. The engine passed over safely, and when the weight of the entire train was upon the trestle, that structure gave way, and precipitated the baggage car, second class passenger car and the forward passenger coach into the chasm. The second passenger coach, occupied chiefly by ladies and their attendants, was perforce thrown into the wreck, and those in the front part of it were buried beneath the rubbish. The sufferers by the accident were mostly in the second class car and the foremost passenger car, although four or five persons were injured in the ladies' coach.
The engineer had slacked up to cross over the bridge, and was just beginning to increase the rate of speed when the crash came. But for this fact, the loss of life and limb would have been fearfully increased, as the train had been running at fifteen miles an hour, and was behind time. In less time than it takes to record it, there was a scene of indescribable suffering and agony. Anxious, inquiring faces among the fortunate, and shrieks for help among the wounded, revealed a terrible scene. Those who escaped injury were at once rescued from the debris, and the work began of extricating the dead and wounded. The men were cool and calm in the discharge of their duty, and the woman behaved nobly. Every assistance was almost instantly rendered to the sufferers, and all united in the utmost exertions to alleviate the pangs of the maimed and dying.
Dr. O. B. Mayer, of Newberry, was the only physician on board, and actively engaged his valuable services for the relief of those most in need. He was without means, however, as there were no remedial appliances at hand, and there was no dwelling in the immediate neighborhood.
The accident might have occurred at any time, as the trestle was positively dangerous, according to the judgment of well informed persons whose attention had been previously called to it. The train could not have been as heavy as many freight trains passing almost daily. About one hundred and twenty persons were on board the train, and it is miraculous that so few were wounded or killed. None realized the danger until all was over, and there never was such a fearful scene perhaps in which the participants acted so deliberately and with such apparent presence of mind. The chasm was not over twenty feet deep, nor more than forty feet wide, and into this space was ushered a mass of human beings, covered by the falling timbers and particles of the breaking cars.
Messengers were dispatched to Columbia at once, and walked the entire distance, about twelve miles. A train went to the relief of the sufferers as stated yesterday, as soon as it could be got ready, and at 11 o'clock the welcome sound of the whistle announced the news to the eager watchers that relief was at hand.

The Anderson Intelligencer South Carolina 1870-11-17