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June 27, 2016

October 10, 1904 World's Fair Train Wreck, 29 Dead, Morgue Setup in the Magnolia Opera House West Pine St, Warrensburg

Link to Photos of the World's Fair
Rural Missouri Article Link
"Dean Man's Curve" Scene of the Wreck 1904 World's Fair Train East of Warrensburg, MO
The heavily loaded passenger train crossed the Bear Creek bridge and, dashing down the steep hill about half a mile east of the bridge, met the freight train at the point indicated by the cross.


This makes the most logical location of the train wreck. Not Deadman's
Curve as widely thought. Deadman's curve is at the top of two hills mostly.
1904 World's Fair Train Wreck Site. Warrensburg, MO







Twenty-Nine Persons Killed and Sixty Injured in

a Missouri Pacific Wreck.

Warrensburg, Mo., Oct. 11.--Twenty-eight persons were killed and sixty injured by a collision of two Missouri Pacific trains three miles east of Warrensburg yesterday. The train, were the second section of passenger train No. 30, which left Wichita, Kan.,for St. Louis Sunday night and an extra freight train. The (dead are in undertaking rooms in this city (Magnolia Opera House) and most of the wounded are in the hospital at Sedalia, Mo. The collision occurred on a curve known as "Dead Man's Bend." Both engineers and both fireman saw the danger and jumped. According to the local officers of the Missouri Pacific the engineer of the freight train was to blame for the wreck, having forgotten his orders. He had been ordered to wait on a siding at Knob Noster, just east of Warrensburg, but neglected to do so. The trains met at a sharp curve. Travel to the World's Fair has been so heavy that all roads have been sending out their trains in two or more sections. The train wrecked was made up at Wichita Sunday night and, as is the custom, it picked up additional coaches along the line. The last coach taken up was at Pleasant Hill, Mo., about 4 o'clock yesterday morning. All the coaches were crowded. Both trains were running at a good rate when the wreck occurred. Dawn had begun to break and neither crew were aware of the approach of the other train until they were almost upon each other. The impact of the collision was terrific. The sleeping passengers were hurled in every direction. The most of the killed were in the forward coach. The spot where the wreck occurred was in a narrow cut and this fact with the darkness added to the difficulty of the situation. The greatest confusion occurred after the crash. It was some time before worn; was sent back to Warrensburg and word of the wreck was spread, relief trains carrying physicians was sent out as quickly as possible from surrounding towns and everything possible was done to aid the injured. It was sometime before the dead and injured could be extricated from the debris. The dead were carried up the track and laid in an open space until the relief train arrived, while the injured were cared for as well as could be. It was some time before the names of the victims could be learned. The freight train was an extra. They had, according to the conductor, been instructed to take a siding and let the passenger pass. The first section of the passenger had gone when the freight pulled out. The first section bore no signals and he bad no right to believe that another train was due. The scene of the wreck was on a down grade, on either side of which there was a steep rise. Both trains had put on extra steam to carry them up the hill, and when they met at the curve at the lowest point they were running at a rapid rate. The passenger was made up of three coaches and a Pullman and no baggage car. The freight train was a heavy one. Half a dozen who were not killed outright in the first car were so badly Injured that they died before they could be removed from the debris.

Many of the dead were almost unrecognizable. Arms and legs were dismembered in several cases and together with baggage and pieces of wreckage were tumbled together in a confused mass of bleeding human forms. The next two coaches were also badly damaged, seats being torn and windows being smashed, but in this the passengers fared better, all except a few escaping with slight injuries. The Pullman remained upright and none of its occupants were hurt beyond sustaining a severe shaking up.

http://www.lyndonirwin.com/wreck.htm
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.

It was the fall of 1904, and Kansans were anxious to see their state's exhibits at the World's Fair in St. Louis. Railroads offered special round trip tickets enticing farmers, journalist, families and Church groups to the Exposition. And at $10 to $18 for a round trip ticket, Kansans could afford to see the latest in technological wonders, curiosities and amusements.










But a train wreck in Warrensburg, Mo., on Oct. 10 that year devastated many Kansans. The train headed to the fair was filled, mainly with residents from the south eastern part of the state.



Bismarck daily tribune. (Bismarck, Dakota [N.D.]) 1881-1916, October 11, 1904

Jury Blames Crew for 1904 World's Fair Train Wreck

1904 World's Fair Train Wreck
One of the hardest hit families was the L. B. Sullivan family of Cedar Vale

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.


29 DEAD IN WRECK.
MISSOURI WORLD'S FAIR TRAIN IN HEAD-ON COLLISION.
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.
The dead:
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.

The passenger train, consisting of two day coaches, a Pullman, and a caboose, was loaded with World's Fair excursionists from Southwestern Kansas and Southwestern Missouri. The Wichita passenger train had been cut in two at Pleasant Hill on account of the heavy load and a locomotive attached to the front car without a baggage car as a buffer.
The extra freight had been sidetracked at Montserrat for the first section of the Wichita train, which carried signals that a second section was following. A local passenger train passed and the freight crew took the local for the second section of the Wichita train and pulled out of the sidetrack.
Three miles west the freight met the second section. The impact telescoped the tender of the passenger locomotive and the front car, which was full of passengers, and it was here that the sacrifice of life took place.
The passenger conductor E. L. BARNES, ran all the way to Warrensburg to report the wreck. Every physician in Warrensburg and hundreds of citizens hastened to the wreck to assist the wounded. Twenty persons were killed outright and seven died within a few hours. The dead were placed on flat cars and brought to Warrensburg.
A coroner's jury is now seeking the person responsible for the wreck. The conductor of the freight train says he was dozing while his train was at Montserrat, and when the local train passed Engineer HORTON believed it was the second section of the Wichita train, and, thinking the track clear, pulled out on the main line.
Dawn had hardly begun to break when the wreck occurred, and neither crew was aware of the approach of the other train until they were almost upon each other. The impact of the collision was terrific. The sleeping passengers were hurled in every direction. The most of the killed were in the forward coach, which was well crowded.
The spot where the wreck occurred was in a narrow cut, and this fact, with the darkness, added to the difficulty of the situation. The greatest confusion ensued after the first lull following the crash, and the groans of the injured were added to the escaping steam of the wrecked locomotives.
It was some time before word was sent back to Warrensburg and word of the wreck was spread. Relief trains carrying physicians were sent out as quickly as possible from surrounding towns, and everything possible was done to aid the injured. The dead were carried up the track and laid in rows in an open space until the relief train arrived, while the injured were cared for as well as could be.
The scene of the wreck was on the down grade, on either side of which there was a steep rise. Both trains had put on extra steam to carry them up the opposite hill, and when they met at the curve at the lowest point they were running at a terrific rate.
When the trains met the heavy freight train pushed the passenger engine back into the first coach. The tender of the passenger engine literally cut the coach in two in the center and never stopped until it had plowed itself half way through the car and its passengers, killing those in the forward end instantly, and mangling all within reach in a most horrible manner.
Half a dozen who were not killed outright were so terribly injured that they died before they could be removed from the debris. Many of the dead were almost unrecognizable. Arms and legs were dismembered in several cases, and, together with baggage and pieces of wreckage, were tumbled together into a confused mass of bleeding human forms.
The next two coaches were badly damaged, seats being torn up and windows smashed, but in these cars the passengers fared better, all except a few escaping with slight injuries. The Pullman remained upright, and none of its occupants was hurt beyond sustaining a shake-up.
The train crews, with the exception of Brakeman SIDEL, escaped miraculously, the engineers and firemen sustaining only minor hurts.
The injured were taken to Sedalia, Missouri and the dead to Warrensburg, Missouri (Magnolia Opera House). At Warrensburg the coroner immediately set about making preparations for holding an inquest.
The Washington Post District of Columbia 1904-10-11
"Twenty-nine persons were killed and sixty injured by a collision of Missouri Pacific trains three miles east of Warrensburg at 4 o'clock this morning," The Wichita. Daily Eagle reported on Oct. 11, 1904. "Twenty seven of the dead are in undertaking rooms of the city, and the seriously wounded are in the railroad hospital in Sedalia, Mo."



Their six children were on board.
The Cedar Vale paper reported that a moment before the crash, the oldest Sullivan children - Dollie, 19, and Nellie, 21, had left their seats for the restroom, located on the front end of the car. 

"Their mangled bodies were found lying about twelve feet from the track and about six feet apart and parallel. The metal wash basin lay between them and a splintered fragment lay across Nellie's knees," The Cedar Vale Messenger said. "They were both in a death stupor and at 6:10 Dollie died in the arms of her brother and Mrs. Barrus. Nellie was taken to the hospital where she died about 1 o'clock p.m. Both recognized the brothers and sisters but were "Semi-delirious and never really knew what befell them. Neal and Lillian Sullivan, aged 13 and 9 respectively were lying on the seats asleep and escaped injury except for the breathing of the deadly vapors. 

"Harvey Sullivan was thrown across the back of the seat and sustained serious bruises and later in forcing the door cut his hands severely. Susie Sullivan, aged 16, was thrown head long into the aisle and before she could struggle to her feet was trampled upon by the struggling mass. Her body was badly bruised but probably not seriously." 

What happened is that a freight train collided head on at full-speed with the Kansas passenger train.

The force of the crash caused the passenger train's cars to telescope onto each other. 

The front car immediately filled with scalding steam and hot water. 

Two days after the wreck, a special jury determined that the cause of the wreck was a sleeping crew on the freight train. The crew was charged with criminal negligence of being asleep while on duty. Also, two of the freight train's brakemen were arrested in Jefferson City and charged with stealing money from the dead at the scene of the wreck. 
Hilda Sullivan Lowe lives now in Derby. Her aunts were Nellie and Dollie Sullivan; her father was Neal Sullivan. "My grandparents had sent their six children to the St Louis World's Fair," Lowe said "It was supposed to be a happy outing until the wreck. 
My grandfather lived until I was 19, and he would talk about getting the telegram with the news. I know that it was a sadness in his life." 
Another aunt involved in the train wreck, Susie Sullivan, recovered from her injuries and was visited a few years after the wreck by one of her rescuers, F. N. Cunningham of Mannington, W.Va. Cunningham, whose face and hands were lacerated and scalded in the wreck, ended up falling in love with Miss Sullivan and married her.
Source: Oct. 11, 1904, issue of The Wichita Dally Eagle

Kansans who died in the train wreck of 1904:
  Mrs. W. J. Darst,   Dexter
  Gilbert Darst,    Dexter
  W. H. Allen,  Pittsburg
  Baird Allen,            Pittsburg
  Marion Francis Allen,   Pittsburg
  Dollie Sullivan,        Cedar Vale
  T. H. Alley,             Cedar Vale
  Ollie Herring,          Coffeyville
  Jessie Herring,       Coffeyville
  Clarence Herring,    Coffeyville
  Bruce McIlheney,    Kingman
  Dr. H.P McIlheney,  Kingman
  Susan Cooper,        Oxford
  Phil Ragel                Edna
  Rose Emma Regel    Edna
  Joseph Arther Regal     Edna
  Harry Carr,             Sedan
  Mrs. J. J. Cassment,    Sedan
  Nell Sullivan,           Cedar  Vale
  Dollie Gregg,            Sedan    
  Kansans who were injured: 
  A. J. Wood,         Oxford       
  Mrs. A. J. Wood, Oxford
  J. H. Sullivan,     Cedar Vale
  Mrs. J. J. Esch,  Dexter
  J. J. Esch,          Dexter
  Robert Vaughan, Cherokee
  Estell Mahan,      Cherokee
  Clem Dozier,        Cloverdale
  J. R. Venning,      Grenola
  Mrs. C. C. Huston,    Wellington
  Mrs. Noah Bowman,  Oxford
  Noah Bowman,     Oxford
  Fred Barnes,       Oxford
  J. R. Cole,           Winfield
  William Looke,     Oxford
  Mrs. William Looke,  Oxford
  Irma Caldwell,     Oxford
  Cora Reese,        Oxford
  James England, Dexter
  Ameila England, Dexter
  Bert Potwin,       Fayette
  Mrs. W. E. Foreman, Independence
  W. E. Foreman,    Independence
  Clifford Ragel,      Edna
  J. D. Hale,           Dexter
  Mrs. J. D. Hale,   Dexter
  Ruth Stewart,      Independence
  Julia Wood,         Oxford
  Bert Trottman,    Cedar Vale
  E. C. Nicholson,  Dexter
  William J. Darst, Dexter
  George R. Eakes,     Kaler
  Charles Cassment,   Sedan 

"There Will Be a Wreck" by Lyndon Irwin, his link is here

The price is $12.00. Shipping is $3.50 for priority or $2.00 for parcel post.
Send payment to:
Lyndon N. Irwin, 3902 N State Highway UU, Bois D'Arc, MO 65612
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Phone: 417-742-4311
1904 World's Fair Train Wreck Map - Route

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



1904 World's Fair Train Wreck, Deadman's Curve, Montserrat, Missouri between Warrensburg and Knob Noster


It was national news over a hundred years ago 
Near Montserrat, Missouri is the curve where one of Missouri's great train wrecks of the 20th Century occurred. It is still there today-- much as it was over 100 years ago.go when two Missouri Pacific trains met head-on at “Dead Man’s Curve” at 4:10 AM October 10, 1904. One of the trains was carrying families from southwest Missouri and Kansas to the great World’s Fair in St. Louis. The fair saw app. 20 million visitors that year. Many came by train.
The accident occurred near Montserrat, Missouri named by the village's founder, John A. Gallaher. He was a land owner, entrepreneur and geologist who operated a coal mine in the hills above the village. The mine was an important asset for the Missouri Pacific and the life of the town. In 1877, when the civilian work force at the mine struck, he employed leased convict labor from Jefferson City’s Missouri State Penitentiary to keep the mine producing. The terrain above the village reminded him of the mountains near the Monastery of Montserrat in Spain.
The Missouri Pacific Railroad is now the Union Pacific; the village of Montserrat no longer has a post office or railroad agent; there is no historic marker to commemorate the tragedy. However, as I observed the tracks on July 1, 2009 “Dead Man’s Curve” is still there and fast freights and the Amtrak “Missouri River Runner” whiz by. Overhead B-2 Stealth Bombers land and take off from the nearby Whiteman Air Force Base. I visited the area again on December 17,2009 to take a photo of the Missouri River Runner emerging from Deadman's curve as it headed west for Warrensburg with whistle blowing.
One of Missouri’s great train wrecks of the 20th century was largely forgotten until Lyndon M. Irwin wrote a self-published book in 2001. In 2002 his account appeared in Rural Missouri and the Ozark Mountaineer. He even has a Web-page with great old photos to document the tragedy.
In 2004 Irwin's account was featured in chapter 6 "Dead Man's Curve" of the PBS video "The World's Greatest Fair." However, the video mentioned Warrensburg, Missouri as the wreck site instead of just west of Montserrat where "Dead Man's Curve" is actually located.
Today, the sleepy village of Montserrat is still there on the railroad mainline between St. Louis and Kansas City. What is new are two vineyards and wine tasting rooms that have come to its high hill overlooking the single tracks and the 4-lane US Highway 50 that parallels the rails and the contour of the area’s unique landscape.
The sloping hills at Montserrat are part of a north-south ridge underlain by sandstone, no more than 5 miles wide, that extends from just north of US 50 south for some 30 miles. (Geologists have identified it as an ancient river valley filled in with sand that became sandstone.) You can see it as a prominent feature on the Google satellite mode and other maps, because it is wooded and its sandy soils were not good for clearing for row crops. The sandy soils tend to be droughty in great contrast to the clayey soils on both sides of the ridge.

Grapes don't like "wet feet", so that is why vineyards are always on sloping ground and soils that dry out after rains. Therefore the vineyards on the sandy ridge in and around Montserrat make growing good grapes here practical. This sandy ridge at Montserrat is not at all connected to the conspicuous limestone knobs at Knob Noster and farther north, along I-70 at Odessa.
The point of this WAYMARK is not to be morose, but to point out that “Deadman’s Curve” is still there–essentially as it was in the 4 AM darkness of a possibly foggy Missouri morning in October, 1904.
The headlines of today remind us that human error in railroading still occurs, and that trains still run into each other in spite of all our new technology to prevent it.
In summary, the two vineyards are excellent places to turn back the clock of history and perhaps raise a glass to those who experienced great personal tragedy on their way to the World's Fair in St. Louis.
You might also consider a toast to Lyndon M. Irwin, who brought us their story in print and in the PBS video “The World’s Greatest Fair.”
But, be careful in entering and exiting the highway and crossing the tracks—especially the unprotected railroad crossing at the western end of NE 115 where I saw Amtrak's "Missouri River Runner" fly by in rounding that curve.

BRAKEMAN UNDER ARREST.
JEFFERSON CITY. Mo., Oct. 11. — E. Zeigler and L. A. Haynes. brakemen on the freight train which crashed into a Missouri Pacific World's Fair train near Warrensburg, Mó., yesterday were arrested here to-day on warrants charging them with stealing $37 from the body of a fellow brakeman named Seidel. who was killed. A bloodstained ticket, issued to James England of Dexter. Kansas. was found in the pocket of one of the men under arrest. Zeigler and Haynes are among those" accused by the Warrensburg Coroner's jury as responsible for the wreck.

Identifying Steam Locomotives
As the steam locomotives were developed a system of identification was needed.  Each manufacturer designed and produced their own locomotives of different weights and formats.  The common factor seemed to be the arrangement of the wheels.  Frederick Methvan Whyte developed a system to classify and identify locomotives by their wheel arrangement in 1900.  The first number indicated the number of leading wheels, under the “cow catcher”.  The second number (in the case of articulated locomotives the second and third number) identified the number of drive wheels.  The last number was the number of trailing wheels.
The wheels had to be arranged in certain ways to properly distribute the weight of the locomotive so as to minimize damage to the track.  The front wheels gave the locomotive stability and supported the smoke box and cylinders at the front of the locomotive.  The drive wheels are generally larger than the leading and trailing wheels.  They support and distribute the main weight of the locomotive as well as propel the locomotive.  The trailing wheels support the boilers, fire box, and cab of the locomotive. 
The first three locomotives purchased for the passenger trains of the St. Louis, Brownsville & Mexico line were Baldwin 440’s.  This wheel alignment was sometimes called “American”.  By 1949 the Kingsville Division of Missouri Pacific still sported 20 Mikados (282), 20 Consolidations (280), 15 Ten-Wheelers (460), and 3 Pacifics (462).  The Kingsville Record of November 4, 1953, reported that all Gulf Coast Lines locomotives (the Kingsville Division included) would be totally dieselized by the coming year.
Frederick Whyte was a mechanical engineer who worked for numerous railroads including the New York Central railroad.  He also worked with the Australian railroad with regard to uniform railway gauge.  He is most well known for his system of locomotive classification.  This list of Whyte’s System of Locomotive Classification is from “Steam and the Chattering Brass” by Norman Resor. 
http://www.trainweb.org/screamingeagle/other/bramson/mi502_ghull.jpg
Maybe steam engines similar to this were involved.  Does anyone know what engines were in the wreck?

 http://www.trainweb.org/screamingeagle/other/p_marstall/--257_train1902-2_marstall.jpg




Irwin discusses the 'Great Train Wreck of 1904'

Thursday, July 16, 2009

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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