Rural Missouri Article Link
29 killed on way to 1904 World's Fair
By Beccy Tanner The Wichita Eagle
At 4:10 a.m. (October 10, 1904) the two trains collided in the blackness of the countryside miles from any town. The two crews, realizing they were about to collide, set their emergency brakes and jumped, which was company policy.
Bismarck daily tribune. (Bismarck, Dakota [N.D.]) 1881-1916, October 11, 1904
|Jury Blames Crew for 1904 World's Fair Train Wreck|
TRAINS IN COLLISION
And Over Twenty Killed and Many Injured - Engineer Forgot His Orders.
KANSAS CITY, Oct. 10. --- The second section of the Missouri Pacific passenger train Number 3 from Wichita to St. Louis carrying World's Fair excursionists, and a west bound freight collided just east of Warrensburg, Missouri, eighty miles southeast of Kansas City early today.
The forward coach of the passenger train was telescoped and the remainder of both trains damaged. Twenty persons were killed outright and many more injured, some, it is believed, fatally. According to the local Missouri Pacific office, the engineer of the freight train was to blame, having forgotten his orders. He had been ordered to wait at a switch just south of Warrensburg, but he neglected to do so. They met on a sharp curve while running at good speed. The passenger coaches were crowded.
It was some time before the dead and injured could be extricated from the debris as the wreck occurred in a narrow cut during the dark of the early hours of the morning. Relief trains were hurried to the scene and everything possible done for the injured.
A telephone message to the Associated Press stated at the time the dead numbered twenty-three, seventeen of whom had been killed instantly and the injured numbered close to thirty, many are in a dying condition.
SIXTY PERSONS INJURED.
FREIGHT ENGINEER WHO LEFT SIDING TOO SOON IS BLAMED.
MET SECOND SECTION OF PASSENGER TRAIN ON CURVE, BOTH TRAINS RUNNING AT FULL SPEED -- ENGINE TENDER TELESCOPED COACH, KILLING AND MANGLING THE OCCUPANTS -- MANY OF DEAD ALMOST UNRECOGNIZABLE -- DISASTER NEAR WARRENSBURG.
Warrensburg, Mo., Oct. 10. -- Twenty-nine persons were killed and sixty injured by a head-on collision of Missouri Pacific trains three miles east of Warrensburg today. The trains were the second section of a passenger train from Wichita for St. Louis and an extra freight train. Most of the dead were residents of Missouri and Kansas, as are the injured.
MRS. A. J. DARSK, and twelve-year-old son HUBERT, Dexter, Kans.
W. H. ALLEN and two sons, BAIRD and FRANCES, Pittsburg, Kans.
DORSEY GREEN, Pennsboro, Mo.
T. F. DORES, Bronaugh, Mo.
MISS NELLIE SULLIVAN, Cedarvale, Kans.
ADA KANE, Pittsburg, Kans.
DOLLIE SULLIVAN, Cedarvale, Kans.
T. H. ALLEY, Cedervale, Kans.
G. A. WEBER, Forestville, Pa.
DICY REAM, Bronaugh, Mo.
CAL REAM, Bronaugh, Mo.
GERTRUDE LOUD, Bronaugh, Mo.
CLARENCE, OLLIE, and JESSIE HERRING, Coffeyville, Kans.
DR. H. P. McILHENY, Kingman, Kans.
BESSIE McILHENY, Kingman, Kans.
MRS. SUSAN COOPER, Kingman, Kans.
PHIL BAGEL, wife, and son, Edna, Kans.
HARRY CARR, Sedan, Kans.
MR. SEIDL, brakeman, Jefferson City, Mo.
MRS. J. J. CASEMENT, Sedan, Kans.
JOSIE GREGG, Sedan, Kans.
An unidentified woman, riding in the cab of the passenger locomotive.
Some of the Injured.
Among the injured are:
D. D. HALE, Dexter, Kans., thigh broken.
MRS. HALE, wife of above, leg and body injured; serious.
AMELIA ENGLAND, Dexter, limbs badly crushed.
L. G. DRESSEL, Eatonville, Kans., serious.
E. L. BARNES, conductor passenger train, slightly.
E. D. ROSSAN, engineer passenger train, badly scalded.
MR. HOTOU, engineer freight train, serious.
PERRY M. ALLEN, Coffeyville, Kans., legs badly crushed.
MILT TWITMAN, Cedarville, Kans, cut about body, injured internally.
AMELIA TRAUTWINE, St. Louis.
E. S. NICHOLSON, Dexter, Kans., hurt about head.
RUTH STEWART FOURMAN, Independence, Kans., serious.
W. E. FOURMAN, Independence, serious.
WILLIAM J. DARST, Dexter, Kans., slightly.
MISS N. J. WOOD, Dexter, Kans., slightly.
FRED BARNES, Oxford, Kans., scalded, arm hurt.
ELIZABETH COWEDLY, Adrian, Kans., serious.
F. N. CUNNINGHAM, of Mannington, W. Va., lacerated about the head.
T. C. DRESSEL, postmaster at Eastonville, Kan., was taken out from under a heap of seven bodies, suffering only a broken leg.
"There Will Be a Wreck" by Lyndon Irwin, his link is here
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|When the train reached Pleasant Hill, it was split in two because it had become too heavy for one engine.|
|The second half of the World's Fair train passed Warrensburg, heading east.|
|A west-bound freight was coming from Sedalia and was directed to wait for the trains to pass.The freight crew probably fell asleep. They then pulled onto the tracks and just after 4 a.m. on October 10, 1904|
|,The terrible head-on crash occurred between Warrensburg and Montserrat. Today, the Bristle Ridge Vineyard is a nice landmark not far from the wreck site.|
|Passengers in the front coach were killed. Few injuries occurred in any other coaches.|
|Twenty nine people were killed almost instantly. One more died later and many were injured.|
|People from miles around came to help or just to look.|
The injured were taken to the MK&T Hospital in Sedalia and the dead were prepared in a make-shift morgue at the Opera House in Warrensburg.
|Within a day or two, funerals were being held in small towns in Southwest Missouri and Southeastern Kansas|
It was national news over a hundred years ago
|Maybe steam engines similar to this were involved. Does anyone know what engines were in the wreck?|
Irwin discusses the 'Great Train Wreck of 1904'
Lyndon Irwin, agricultural professor at Missouri State University, made a study of the 1904 train wreck during his research of various topics related to the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, the fair's formal title. He has authored six books, and was a writer for the Emmy award-winning documentary, "The World's Greatest Fair," aired first in 2004. Irwin gave a presentation about the wreck and its local impact during a meeting of the Vernon County Historical Society on July 12. --submitted photo
Can you imagine eating a "red hot" wearing white cotton gloves? Riding the "Great Wheel" in a 60-passenger car, three spins for fifty cents? Drinking iced tea in Missouri heat while strolling in your best bib-and-tucker through the vast electrified fairgrounds? Going to see the native dog-eaters tribe from the Philippines? In 1904, you could do all those things if you could afford it while rubbing shoulders with visitors from over the world, according to Lyndon Irwin, a recognized authority on the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair who spoke Sunday at the Vernon County Historical Society's meeting at the Bushwhacker Museum.
"Red hots" were hot dogs. Iced tea wasn't invented at the Fair. And the Great Wheel was a gigantic version of the Ferris wheel which could carry 2,000 people at once. It was so huge it couldn't be moved after the fair and ended up in a scrap heap. The dog-eaters tribe was forced by animal activists to change their menu.
Irwin dropped many tidbits of nostalgia from the Fair as he reviewed the Great Train Wreck which happened on Oct. 10, 1904 near Warrensburg, killing 30 persons and injuring 50 more including several from Bronaugh, Moundville and Nevada who were caught in the tangle of wreckage when a westbound freight telescoped their eastbound passenger train. The trains never left the tracks in the telescopic crash. The boiler on the passenger train exploded, scalding many. Others were crushed to death.
The doomed passenger train was the second section of Missouri-Pacific's Number 30 which had been pressed into service to handle the fall crowds going to Missouri Day at the Fair. The wreck happened m the darkness of 4:10 a.m., but emergency crews were quickly on the scene because they knew the wreck was going to happen. The freight was coming from Sedalia and was directed to a siding at Knob Noster to wait for four trains to pass. But the freight crew mistakenly miscounted the passing trains for some reason and got their freight back on the main line too soon. Since the trains couldn't be notified, there was no way to stop the disaster, and the Sedalia dispatcher declared, "It is all up. There will be a wreck." The comment became the title for Irwin's book.
A Bronaugh native, Irwin said he has heard about the wreck all his life from family stories.
His great-grandfather Albert Saathoff had planned to go to the fair but changed his mind at the last minute. Irwin's passion for history led to his comprehensive study of the wreck including visits to all the Kansas and Missouri communities where victims were from--the Kansas towns of Kingman, Dexter, Cedar Vale, Sedan, Coffeyville, Edna and Pittsburgh, and from the Missouri towns of Bronaugh, Moundville, Nevada and Liberal.
Hardest-hit was Bronaugh, where four persons died, including two 14-year- old first cousins Gertrude Loud and Dicy Ream, Dicy's father Calvin Ream and Lee F. Doores.
One funeral for all four victims was held at the Bronaugh Methodist Church, and the two cousins were buried side-by-side in Worsley Cemetery, their grave marked with a photograph and statue of Italian marble.
A Moundville man, Frank Weber and his cousin George A. Weber of Pennsylvania died in the crash. Frank's funeral was held at Hackberry School and he was buried in Hackberry Cemeetery, northwest of Moundville. A Moundville woman, Mrs. Dora Phillips, was traveling with her cousin F.M. Cunningham and neither was seriously injured.
The Nevada depot was a "sad scene" because relatives of the victims came here to pick up the uninjured passengers or bodies of the victims, Irwin said. Nevadans Beulah Ballagh, wife of druggist W.T. Ballagh, amd her parents, the W.A. Masons, were injured.
Irwin noted that in 1904 there were no rules or regulations limiting working hours of railroad crews who sometimes took morphine to stay awake for their 17-hour shifts, leading to crews being overly tired to sleeping on the job. By the time the trial of the Mo-Pac engineer and conductor took place a year after the wreck, the overworked crew was found not guilty of negligence.
But Missouri-Pacific made sizeable settlements to the injured passengers.
Irwin drew a crowd of 70 to the meeting, largest crowd of the season.
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