Railroad Accidents

Henry Bitterman Saves a Life Joseph Toohey
Death of Henry Bitterman Edward D. Smith
Seven Men Badly Injured George Houston
Mrs. J. Keough & Greely Keough Eva Finfrock
Edward Wist Peter Sellers [aka Sellars]
Eddie Adkisson Derail at Clinton - 1905
John Coady Eugene Palmer
Dennis Coady Charles Sellars
Guy Inman Mattie (Kinser) Stone-Hubbirt
Frank Martin Farmer City Train Accident - 1909
William B. Argo R. Edwards & Geo., Orville, and Elijah Cisco

July 9, 1852 
The Alton Weekly Courier
Alton, Illinois

A LIFE SAVED.—An act of "noble daring," in worthy contrast to the recklessness of life too often shown upon our great thoroughfares of travel, has recently been mentioned to us, and which we think deserves especial remark.

Mr. Henry BITTERMAN, one of the engineers on the Sangamon and Morgan Rail Road, while bringing a train from Naples, a few days since, (toward evening) and when the cars were descending one of the inclined plains of the road, saw lying in the track what he supposed was a cow. He blew the whistle, but the object did not move. The cars were approaching rapidly, and he blew the whistle again to its utmost power; but still no motion was made. It was now too late to attempt stopping the cars, when eh discovered to his utter astonishment that it was a man fast asleep. Without hesitating a moment he reversed the wheels, and at imminent peril to his own life, jumping from the front of the engine and ran along with it, and as he came opposite the man grasped him and drew him from the track.

An instance of greater daring, to save the life of a stranger, we have never heard of.

Submitted by Sheryl Byrd

December 29, 1854 
DeWitt Courier
DeWitt, Illinois


The following particulars of the rail road accident on the Great Western railroad, we take from the Decatur Gazette extra, of 22nd at: "Last evening about 3 o'clock , a dreadful accident occurred two miles east of Mechanicsburg, on the Great Western railroad, by explosion of the boiler. The engineer, Henry BITTERMAN, was instantly killed, and the fireman so badly scalded he is not expected to live. Several persons were also slightly injured. The engine was thrown eighty feet from the track; nine cars are torn to atoms. The track, for a considerable distance, was torn up. The deceased and wounded were taken to Springfield. The engineer leaves a wife and three children."

November 23, 1877 
Clinton Public
Clinton, Illinois

Seven Men Badly Injured.

J. M. WILLOUGHBY's bridge gang were at work on Salt Creek bridge, east of this city, last Monday, and as they were returning home in the evening on a hand-car, the car was thrown from the track at a crossing near Sam POLAND's farm, and seven of the eight men were seriously injured. The track at that point is a little down grade as it approaches the city, and the men being anxious to get home after their hard day's work got up extra power. Willoughby stood on the front end of the car to watch that the track was clear, but in the twilight did not see that the end of a plank at the Poland crossing was projecting above the rail. The car was running at the rate of ten or twelve miles an hour, and when it struck the plank the shock threw the car off the track and the men were thrown in every direction. Willoughby was badly cut in the head and face, and his brain suffered from the violent concussion. His left leg was also hurt, and indeed his whole body is full of pains and bruises.

Warren WINSLOW was probably the worst injured man in the gang. He received a severe cut about three inches long on the back of his head, and his shoulders and body were terribly bruised. For a few moments after the accident his comrades thought he was dead.

T. J. HENSON, wrist sprained.

Chas. CONWELL, back and hips slightly sprained.

Wm. DEFFENBAUGH, foot and ankle sprained. [aka DEVENBAUGH]

John FINNAN, head slightly cut and leg bruised.

John WILLIAMS received a severe blow under the jaw, from which he suffered intensely. He was for a day or two unable to eat or even drink without great pain.

John GORDON escaped unhurt.

The hand-car got badly demoralized by its sudden halt, but fortunately the men were able to get to this city on it. As the men cannot afford the luxury of being sick or laid up, they are all at work again, although to some of them work is painful in their present condition.

Note: The name Poland might have been a misspelling of Polen.

Submitted by Judy Simpson

July 22, 1881 
Clinton Register
Clinton, Illinois

A Mother and her Son Instantly Beheaded by an Engine.

A most horrible accident occurred on the Illinois Central railroad at Bloomington last Tuesday morning, the following particulars of which we gather from the Bloomington Pantagraph:

By a simple, yet unaccountable, railroad accident, a devoted mother and her young son were thrown under the slowly moving wheels of a switch engine, on the Illinois Central road, and were beheaded and otherwise mangled in the most sickening manner, crushing but in an instant of time the lives of Mrs. James KEOUGH and her son, Greeley, eleven years old. Some days ago the little lad, for some misdemeanor, was threatened with chastisement by his father, Mr. James KEOUGH, engineer at the Union Mills, a man who is a kind, indulgent parent. The lad, Greeley, who is high-spirited, rather than endure a little merited punishment, chose to absent himself from home, and had been absent for three or four days before the accident. The day before the accident he spent in El Paso, the former home of the family, going up on a freight train. Yesterday morning Mrs. ARMBRUSTER, a neighbor, told Mrs. Keough that she had seen Greeley at the Central Depot, and he was going to El Paso again on a freight soon. The mother was ironing, but with her breast filled with maternal solicitude, she dropped her work, threw a sunbonnet over her head and started for the depot, two blocks distant. Arriving there, she found her son east of the depot and started towards home. They crossed the platform and main track all right, but were prevented from crossing the side tracks by a freight train moving on one of them. They therefore walked north between the main and side tracks till an opportunity should occur to cross over to the west. While this was going on, a switch engine moved backwards from the north to the south on the main track, moving very slowly and ringing the bell. The engineer noticed the woman and boy walking west of the track between it and the next one. A little later he heard a scream, the tender raised a little as though passing over an obstruction, and he reversed the engine and stopped it, to make the horrifying discovery that the woman and her son lay mangled under the engine. It will never be known how they were caught under the wheels. The engine backed a little further and the work of destruction was too plainly apparent. Both bodies lay inside the rails, Mrs. Keough's head resting on a rail, her head severed from her body, the left shoulder and neck dreadfully crushed, and her left arm reduced to a shapeless pulp of bleeding, quivering flesh. Greeley's head was almost severed from his body and both arms mangled. A sheet was thrown over the ghastly sight and the bodies were not disturbed till after the arrival of Coroner MATTHEWS. The husband and father was hastily called from his work at the Union Mills near by, and on arriving on the bloody scene was beside himself with excitement. His first mad impulse was to take the life of the engineer of the engine that crushed them to death, and it required several men to restrain him. They led him to the freight house where he became calm.

The inquest was held on the grounds about the depot. The verdict given was that they were "accidentally killed by Engine No. 56, on the track of the Illinois Central Railway, at or near the station in the city of Bloomington, and that said accident occurred by said company backing said engine from the north end of the switch southward."

The engine was from Clinton, and was manned by G. H. HEDIGER, engineer, and C. C. DEWEY, fireman, both of Clinton. She had been sent up to assist the engine of the freight coming north to haul her extra-heavy train to Bloomington. A switchman and young Charlie MASON, of this city, were on the engine at the time. The testimony of the engineer was that he saw Mrs. Keough and her boy 200 feet distant, walking outside of the track his engine was on. The next instant the tender shut off the view and he did not see them again. The bell was constantly ringing. When the bodies were struck, steam was shut off and the speed was not over three miles an hour. The engineer gave in his evidence with the tears streaming down his face. What he said was supported by the other three on the engine.

Submitted by Judy Simpson

October 23, 1885 
Clinton Public
Clinton, Illinos


On Monday afternoon, as the freight train was going east on the Springfield pision, Edward WIST, the forward brakeman, fell from the top of a box car and received such injuries that he died within three hours afterward. The engineer had whistled down brakes as the train was approaching Birkbeck station, and Wist, while stepping from one car to another, fell off. The wheels cut across his left arm from above the wrist to nearly the shoulder, crushing his arm to a jelly and breaking the bones. The train hands did not miss him from his station, and it was only when a woman, who saw him fall off, signaled with her apron, that the train came to a stop. The hands went back and found Wist alongside the track, carried him to Birkbeck, where he was placed in a box car and a dispatch was sent back to Clinton announcing the accident. Word was sent to Superintendent WILKENSON at Springfield, who telephoned orders to Surgeon GOODBRAKE to go out to Birkbeck and attend to the injuries of Wist. The doctor went to Birkbeck on a special engine, and finding Wist in such a condition that nothing could be done for him there he had him brought to Clinton. They took Wist into Haines' hotel at the depot, where the poor fellow died within half an hour. He complained of feeling sore in his body and head. There was a deep gash on his forehead, probably caused by his striking on a spike as he fell from the car. Wist had on a new pair of boots and these, with the slippery condition on the top of the cars on account of the rain, made his footing insecure. He had been on the road for about a year, and was an active man at his work. He leaves a wife and one child and his mother, all living in Springfield, and he was also the only support of his widowed mother.

An inquest was held by Justice McHENRY, and a verdict returned in accordance with the above facts. The Central company ordered a casket in this city and had the body sent to Springfield on Tuesday morning, from whence it was taken to Decatur for burial.

Submitted by Judy Simpson

September 09, 1887 
Clinton Public
Clinton, Illinois


Yesterday morning, between eight and nine o'clock, Eddie ADKISSON, son of Mr. Horace ADKISSON, was killed on the track of the Springfield division at the West street crossing. Eddie was about eleven years old. He came up the track as far as Mr. Sam HALL's house to play with the Hall boys. Mrs. Hall told Eddie they were out at the fairground, and he started homeward to ask his mother's permission to go to the fairgrounds. As he was leaving the house, a freight train was going west and Eddie attempted to catch on to one of the forward cars and ride down to the crossing, which is near Mr. Adkisson's house. He caught on the end of a flat car but failed to swing himself up and he fell between the cars diagonally across the rail. Some twelve or fifteen cars passed over him, and when the horrified spectators of the accident reached him after the last car had passed over his body, the boy was dead. His left arm was cut off between the shoulder and elbow and his left leg was nearly severed from his body, and part of his bowels protruded. It was a terrible sight. Mrs. Hall saw the whole occurrence for she followed the boy to the door and saw him try to get on the flat car.

Dr. MORIN came up town with the sad news and took Mr. Adkisson down to the scene of the accident. Poor Horace's grief, when he saw his only boy lying dead on the rail, affected even the stoutest-hearted present.

The boy was the only one to blame. He took the same risk that he had probably taken dozens of times before. it is only a wonder that more accidents of a like nature do not occur, for the boys are constantly jumping on and off passing trains. There is an ordinance making it a penalty for boys to jump on trains, but it is substantially a dead letter, for no arrests are made under it. This may be a warning for a time to the boys.

Submitted by Judy Simpson

August 31, 1888 
Clinton Public
Clinton, Illinois


At three o'clock last Friday afternoon [August 24], John COADY, aged nineteen years, the oldest son of Mr. Dennis COADY, Roadmaster of the Springfield pision of the Illinois Central, was almost instantly killed by being caught between two freight cars in a train that was being “switched” out near the machine shops. The boy was working on a section and had no business really to touch the cars, but he undertook to couple two cars on which the bumpers were defective and they came together so suddenly on him that his head was caught between the cars and he lived but a moment after. John was putting in his time during vacation in working on the section, and expected to quit within a few days so as to get ready for school again. A messenger was sent for Mr. Coady, who was at his office down at the depot. An inquest was held by Coroner MORROW, and a verdict returned in accordance with the facts in the case. The dead boy was taken to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, on Saturday morning and there buried beside his mother.

Submitted by Judy Simpson

April 19, 1889 
Clinton Public
Clinton, Illinois


The death of Dennis COADY, last Saturday afternoon, was a surprise to his friends, for he was apparently a man of rugged constitution. One evening last January Mr. Coady went from Clinton to Springfield in the pay car and when the train was going into Springfield it collided with an engine on the O. & M. road. Mr. Coady was standing at the back door of the pay car looking out of the window when the sudden collision of the two trains threw him flat on his back in the car. From the result of this injury he was laid up for several weeks, and being a portly man his recovery was slow and tedious. Before he finally recovered from the effects of the injury he had a severe attack of erysipelas, which for a time threatened his life; but he pulled through and once more his friends were gladdened by seeing his pleasant face on the streets. Mr. Coady was a man of determined energy, and once he was able to be out he gave attention to his department. One day about three weeks ago he rode out on a hand-car to inspect a bit of work. The day was raw and chilly, and when he came home at night he was suffering from a severe cold. This aggravated his old enemy, rheumatism, and again he was confined to his bed. So serious was his condition that a week ago last Tuesday his attending physician called in counsel. At that time he was threatened with rheumatism of the heart, and his physicians had but little hope of his recovery. Superintendent WILKINSON felt so much interest in Mr. Coady that after hearing of the doubts expressed by Drs. GOODBRAKE and WRIGHT, he sent the Central's surgeon up from Springfield by special train on Tuesday night that he might advise and consult with the local physicians. Mr. Coady's brother, who lives near Geneva Lake, Wisconsin, was at once telegraphed for, but by the time he arrived Mr. Coady was dying. Mr. Coady kept gradually sinking till Saturday afternoon when he passed from this world into eternity.

Dennis Coady was born in the County of Kilkenny, Ireland, in the year 1824, and on his last birthday anniversary he was sixty-four years of age. At the age of twenty-four years he left his native Green Isle and emigrated to this country. For a few months after his arrival in this country he worked as a laborer in Pennsylvania, but in the fall of 1849 he came to Illinois and got a job in the construction of the branch of the Illinois Central road, which was then being built from Chicago down to Cairo. He helped to lay the first iron on the Cairo end of the line. Being an energetic worker and exhibiting skill and judgment in the handling of men he was soon promoted to be a section boss, and with his gang of men helped to grade, tie and iron both the branch and the main line. When the war of the rebellion broke out Mr. Coady had charge of a section, with headquarters at Cairo, under George POORE who was then roadmaster of the Centralia and Cairo pision. Poore resigned his position as roadmaster to enter the army as captain of a company, and Mr. CLARK promoted Mr. Coady, and from that time till his death he held the position of roadmaster on one pision or the other of the Central road. He had charge of a pision at Freeport, and then for a time he was at Decatur.

A few years ago Mr. Coady seriously considered the question of retiring from railroad life. He had bought a large farm near Geneva Lake, Wis., and went out there to improve it and build a house on it. About that time the Central company bought the Gilman, Clinton and Springfield road. This road had passed through adversity and the hands of a receiver who spent little or nothing in keeping it up, so that when the Central bought it the road-bed and iron track was in very poor condition. The managers of the Central at once decided that Dennis Coady was the man to reconstruct the road, and once more he was brought back into service as roadmaster of the pision from Gilman to Springfield, with headquarters at Clinton. He left his farm and his family in Wisconsin and threw all of his energies into making his pision one of the best in the Central system. It was under his supervision that the trestle work at Salt Creek, between Clinton and Kenny, was filled in and made into a solid road-bed, and the work was done so much cheaper than the estimates of the civil engineers of the company that on its completion the company presented him with a costly gold watch as a mark of its appreciation of his economical services.

For nearly forty Years Dennis Coady served the Illinois Central company, and at the time of his death he was one of the oldest employees of that corporation. He felt that the interests of the company were his own, and he gave the company faithful and honest service. That the officers of the company appreciated him is evidenced by the anxiety they expressed during his illness, and also the liberal arrangements made for his funeral. A special car was tendered the family and friends to accompany the remains of Mr. Coady to Geneva Lake for burial. The remains were taken from this city on Monday afternoon, and were accompanied by all the section foremen of the Springfield pision as well as the foremen on the main line who live in Clinton. The Central machine shops were closed during the afternoon and all the employees of the company attended the funeral from the house to the station.

Dennis Coady was one of a family of eight children, there being six boys and two girls. Only two brothers survive him-John, who lives at Geneva Lake, and who was present at the funeral, and Edward, who lives in Dakota. Mr. Coady was twice married, his first wife dying in the year 1872. The issue of his first marriage was three girls and one boy. One of his daughters is married to Mr. James SHAW, a farmer living near Maroa; one is teaching school at Geneva Lake; and a third is a member of the Order of Dominican Sisters and lives in Washington, D. C. This daughter arrived in this city from Washington but a few minutes before the funeral left the house, and was in time to get a last look at the face of her father. John, the only son by the first marriage, was killed near the machine shops in this city, on the 24th of August, 1888, by being crushed between two freight cars. This was a terrible blow to Mr. Coady, from which he never recovered. In the year 1876 he was married to the lady who survives him. The issue of the second marriage was three boys and one girl, all of whom are living. Two of his daughters graduated from the Clinton high school and were bright scholars.

Mr. Coady left his family well provided for. Besides the farms he owned at Geneva Lake he owned a good residence in this city and valuable property in Cairo and at Decatur. In addition to this he had life insurance policies for $4000 and had considerable money out at interest. He was a careful and prudent man, and his family were provided with all the comforts to make life and home happy. In his intercourse with his fellowman and the men which worked under him he was genial and pleasant, and he always had a kind word for every body.

Submitted by Judy Simpson

October 18, 1889 
Clinton Public
Clinton, Illinois


Guy INMAN, son of Drew INMAN, a merchant of this city, came to an untimely end Monday night about 6 o'clock. He was on train No. 13 with Conductor James McCUNE and Engineer HEDIGER, and it is thought while passing through the Vernon bridge or the old Wilson bridge near Sandoval he was struck in the head by the timbers and laid senseless on the top of the car. He was discovered, after being missed, lying dead in that position. His father and mother are in great distress, Mrs. INMAN being almost frantic with grief. Guy Inman was a most exemplary, industrious boy, about 19 years of age, and well liked. This was but his second trip on the road. He had quite an ambition to become a railroad man but his death was a terrible sacrifice to his ambition. The conductor protested on the trip against the young man being sent, but it is thought his close attention to business made him oblivious to the dangerous bridge which caused his death. The K. of P. [Knights of Pythias], of whom Mr. Inman, the father, is a member, took charge of the remains, bringing them home. The funeral occurred on Wednesday afternoon at two o'clock, the Rev. Horace REED of the M. E. Church delivering a peculiarly appropriate and impressive discourse, at the family residence on Madison street, from which the lengthy cortege filed mournfully to the shades of Woodlawn.

Mr. Guy Inman was a great favorite among his associate young men, was of a pleasant disposition, and readily made a friend of an acquaintance. He was irrepressibly industrious and ambitious. The confinement of his father's business in the store did not afford him activity enough and with the reluctant consent of his parents he entered the railroad service, and thus came on the second trip out to his most dreadful and untimely fate. The news of Guy's death was a shock to the whole community and doubly distressing to his parents. Mrs. Inman had just returned from St. Louis elated with the memories of her visit to feel with tender nerves the heartless force of this awful blow.

Mr. Drew Inman is a member of the present Grand Lodge of Knights of Pythias in session in Chicago, and as soon as the news reached them of his bereavement they telegraphed him the unanimous condolence of the body. The pall bearers were selected from the young friends of Guy among the Clinton boys and added impressiveness to the ceremonies.

Submitted by Judy Simpson

December 05, 1890 
Clinton Public
Clinton, Illinois


A few minutes after ten o'clock on Tuesday morning a fatal accident occurred at the Central station in this city, which resulted in the death of Frank MARTIN, a young man from Minonk who was a comparative stranger in this city. As the Champaign train was pulling into the station from the north end of the yard young Martin jumped on the platform of the last car before it reached the Springfield crossing. On the Springfield track, west of the station, there were standing a number of coal cars which came up close to the track on the main line. At the moment when the Champaign train was pulling south, the engine on the Springfield track backed up to couple the coal cars onto the train, and the jar drove the coal train against the Champaign train, catching the hind end of the passenger coach and striking Martin, who was standing on the step of the platform with his back to the coal train. Martin was badly bruised on the back between his shoulders, a gash was cut on his head, and his neck was broken. He lived but a few minutes though he was unconscious from the moment he was struck by the coal car. The Champaign coach was damaged on the side and two or three of the windows were broken. The passengers in the coach got a bad scare but were not injured.

Young Martin was picked up at once but he was beyond relief in this world. Coroner JONES was notified and an inquest was held. The jury censured the crew of the freight train for allowing the cars to stand so near the track of the main line.

Martin had no business on the train. He was loitering about the yard to pass away time, and when the Champaign train was moving down to the station he jumped on the step and held on to the railing by his hands, leaning backward.

Frank Martin lived in Minonk, where his father keeps a hardware store. He came down here to visit the family of Mr. RAMSEY, who recently moved to this city from Minonk. Frank was figuring on getting a job on the Central road. He was about twenty years old, and it is said that he was engaged to Mr. Ramsey's daughter, who was the attraction that brought him to Clinton. He was a young man of good address and was well educated. His body was sent to Minonk on the afternoon train. Mr. Ramsey accompanying it.

Submitted by Judy Simpson

January 22, 1892 
Clinton Public
Clinton, Illinois

William B. Argo Killed on the Illinois Central Railroad.

Between six and seven o'clock last Tuesday evening William B. ARGO tripped lightly on his engine in this city to make the regular freight run to Gilman. The world looked bright and happy to him, for had he not reached the height of his young ambition-to be a locomotive engineer. For two years he had fired an engine and devoted his spare hours to study so that when the time came he would be ready to pass the rigid examination and receive his promotion from the shovel and pick of the fireman to the more responsible position of guiding and directing the locomotive. The life of a railroad employee is full of danger from the time the trip is begun till it is ended, yet they never think of this. And it is well that the engineer, of all others, should not dream of the danger that besets him from the time he steps on his engine till he leaves it, for if he gave up to that line of thought, the terrible reality would unnerve him for his responsible position.

Little did Will Argo think when his engine was pulling out from the depot and he laughingly waved his hand in good-bye to his friends that stood on the platform that he was making his last trip, that within a few hours his journey of life would be ended. His train was the regular evening stock train, which only carries passengers between Clinton and Farmer City, and from that on it is expected to make good time so that the stock may reach Chicago for the early market. Will was a cautious engineer and took no chances, but as he supposed the way was clear he obeyed orders in making time with his train.

There was another way freight on the road that had left Clinton about noon. It was some four or five hours behind time. This train stopped at Guthrie between ten and eleven o'clock to let off a passenger. The conductor had given the signal to pull out, but the engineer, it is said, was oiling up the machinery so that he did not see the signal. The train was standing on the main line with Will Argo's train now close behind it. There was a heavy fog that night. Will did not see the lights on the caboose of the train ahead of him till he was so close that it was impossible to check the speed of his engine. He took every precaution by reversing his engine, and then like a hero entered the jaws of death, thinking only of the trust confided in him when the company promoted him to be an engineer. J. W. GALLAGHER implored Will to jump, but the brave fellow no doubt thought that by sticking to his post he might yet be able to get his engine under further control. Gallagher jumped into a snow bank and saved himself, escaping without a bruise, and at one time Will was on the step to jump off, but went back into the cab.

The engine went crashing through the caboose of the train that was ahead, and then on it went through three freight cars, scattering destruction.

In the forward caboose were a number of passengers. They saw the approaching train, and fearing danger all but one woman passenger left the car. She was killed. Her death must have been instantaneous, for as soon as the engine stopped she was found dead. Her name was Mrs. SMITH. She lived either in Nebraska or Missouri. She had been down to Gibson City and was on her return to Roberts, where she was visiting her brother-in-law, who is a grain dealer. Mrs. Smith had two or three children, who were with her sister in Roberts.

When Argo's engine had crashed through the four cars and its power for evil had been exhausted poor Will was found badly crushed. He was injured on the face, one arm was broken, but the internal injuries were the fatal ones. He was brought home on the Diamond that night, and when between Belleflower and Farmer City his suffering came to an end. The faithful engineer was brought home a corpse.

Yesterday afternoon William B. Argo was laid in the grave. He was a member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and a Knight of Pythias, belonging also to the Uniform Rank. As soon as the news came up town of his death, the K.P.'s at once visited the stricken household, and as it was the desire of the family that the Knights should take charge of the funeral a guard of honor was detailed from Metzger pision, and till the funeral left the home these brothers remained on duty. Both of the organizations with which the dead engineer was connected escorted the remains from the house to the M. E. Church, where a solemn and touching service was held. After prayer by the Rev. Duncan McARTHUR, the Rev. W. A. HUNTER, pastor of the Presbyterian Church, made an eloquent address. It was not a sermon but through it all was the prominent idea of the immortality of the soul. It was a practical talk that came from a soul filled with love for his fellowmen. The music was rendered by a quartet and the selections were good. The floral offerings from the main Line Lodge, B. L. F., and from other friends were chaste and beautiful.

After the service in the church, the Knights and the B. L. F. escorted the remains of their departed brother to Woodlawn Cemetery. At the grave the Firemen first performed their burial service, and then the Knights formed in a triangle around the grave and Prelate WATSON read the beautiful and touching service of the Uniform Rank, the Knights, at the word of command, saluting with swords.

William B. Argo was born on a farm near Clinton on the 5th of October, 1862, and at the time of his death he was twenty-nine years, three months and fifteen days old. He was the oldest son of Samuel B. ARGO. Three years ago he entered the service of the Illinois Central as a fireman, and about one year ago he was promoted to an engine. He was an exemplary young man and had the respect and confidence of his associates. For the first time in his railroad experience that evening when he was leaving home to go to his engine he bade his sister good-bye. Had he a premonition that they would never meet again in this life? He was engaged to be married to a young lady in this city. What a shock is this to her young life? According to the laws of the B. L. F., William had an insurance policy of $1500 on his life.

Submitted by Judy Simpson

March 29, 1895 
Clinton Public
Clinton, Illinois

Toohey Died From Injuries Received Last Friday on the Springfield pision

When Fireman Joseph TOOHEY got on his engine last Friday morning to pull the freight down to Clinton, little did he think that before the sun would reach its meridian that day that he would be wounded unto death. The life of an engineman or trainman is one full of immediate danger, and it is fortunate for the men that they do not realize it else their daily tasks would become a burden too heavy to bear. Railroad men as a general thing are gay and rollicking, but perhaps it may be because of the feeling deep down in their hearts that they may see the sunrise but never the sunset.

Last Friday morning Toohey started out from Gilman to fire the freight down to Clinton. At the end of his trip was a wife and two babies to greet him. The kind-hearted Joe loved his family and many a time he talked of them to his mate on the engine. The train made good time, and while the boys were unloading freight at Parnell, Joe crawled under the engine that he might rake out the ashes and clinkers and give the 536 a clear draft to make steam. While under the engine, with his right foot resting on the track, a sudden jar started the engine backward and one of the driving wheels crushed poor Joe's foot to a jelly. The accident was discovered at once, and Joe was lifted out and put in the caboose, and as fast as possible the train was brought to Clinton. A telegram had been sent in advance, and when the caboose got to the station here, kind and gentle hands were in waiting with a stretcher to carry the injured man to his home.

As soon as Dr. WILCOX examined the extent of the injuries, he was satisfied that amputation would be necessary as the foot above the ankle did not have anything to build on. On Saturday morning, the operation was performed and from the first the patient seemed to fail in vitality. On Monday night Joseph Toohey died, leaving a wife and two children to continue in the battle of life.

Joseph Toohey was born in Pickaway County, Ohio, February 15, 1862. He came to Maroa many years ago and there he married and his two children were born. He worked as engineer in a tile and brick yard in Maroa till about three years ago when the better wages and the prospects of promotion to be a locomotive engineer induced him to go to work on the Illinois Central road as a fireman. He was on a freight run between Clinton and Gilman, and his home was in this city on North Madison street, near St. John's Church. He was fortunate in having a policy of insurance in the Brotherhood of Firemen for $1500 and one in the Modern Woodmen for $1000.

His railroad associates speak of him as "one of the whitest men that ever lived." He was a man of good habits and provided generously for the comfort of his family. The funeral services were held on Thursday forenoon in St. John's Church, conducted by Father DOOLING. The Brotherhood of Firemen had charge of the ceremonies, and the Modern Woodmen acted as escort. After the services in St. John's Church, the remains were taken by special train to Maroa for interment.

Submitted by Judy Simpson

February 14, 1896 
Clinton Public
Clinton, Illinois

A Farmer Is Decapitated by Train 501 on the I. C. Railroad.

Full Evidence Given Before Coroner Jones' Jury.

Overcome by despondency, Ed SMITH threw himself before the passenger train, No. 501, that leaves here at 8:55 a.m., when it was passing his home Saturday, about two miles southwest of Kenney. He ran to the track, and in full view of his wife, threw himself underneath engine No. 1304, Jas. MELDRUM engineer, and his head was severed from his body, death resulting instantaneously.

Mr. Smith and wife had lived on the HUMPHREY farm for fourteen years, one child being born to them. The associations of the place had become dear to him, and when the farm was sold a year ago and the purchaser wanted his son to take possession of it, the deceased pleaded so earnestly for another year's lease that it was granted him. Knowing that he had to leave this year made him despondent, and for some time past it was noticed that he acted strangely.

This was his second attempt at suicide. On the morning of his death, his wife heard a pistol shot in his bedroom, and when she went to the room found that he had been shot, the ball entering his body over the heart, but did not penetrate far enough to injure him seriously. She extracted the ball from his breast, and placed healing ointment on the wound. His wife did not testify at the inquest. She claims that she believes her husband accidentally shot himself. He said the shooting was accidental.

Although his lease had nearly expired, he would not look elsewhere for a location; yet he had made arrangements to have a public sale of his personal property. He was a good husband, a loving father, and a law-abiding citizen.

The coroner's jury sat Saturday afternoon and heard the following testimony:

WALTER GANDY: Began work for Mr. Smith New Year's 1895 [1896?]; Mr. Smith was despondent for several days past; went upstairs after partaking of breakfast about 9:30 a.m., Feb. 8, 1896; heard a report; supposed it to be from a pistol; after doing usual morning work did not see him until we found him dead near the railroad; Mrs. Smith helped him curry the horses between the time of hearing pistol report and when he was found dead.

Dr. THORPE: A physician; was called to Mr. Smith's residence about three weeks ago; Mr. Smith was in excessive bilious condition; had doctored the family for some time; he had been in a despondent mood for some time; a peculiar state indicated despondency; on examination of the body of deceased he found a bullet hole in the chest, but it was superficial; the bone of the left arm was fractured; cause of death was by direct violence, causing the right side of the head and face to be severed from the body.

CHARLES FORT: Reside in Tunbridge township; a farmer; a nephew of Mr. Smith; he acted gloomy for a few days past; saw him almost daily; at 9:30 a.m., Feb. 8, 1896, heard the train whistle, and then heard a woman scream, which attracted my attention; hastened to the scene and found Mr. Smith's lifeless form lying near the railroad track.

JOHN SEVEN: Reside in Tunbridge township; farmer; a neighbor of Mr. Smith; at about 9:30 a.m. noticed the train stop at an unusual place, and later heard a scream; saw the lifeless form of Mr. Smith lying near the railroad track.

W. BUTLER: Heard the scream of a woman, and saw the lifeless form of Mr. Smith.

E. T. JETT: Residence Aetna township, Logan county; saw Mr. Smith Feb. 6, 1895 [1896?]; he appeared gloomy.

JAMES MELDRUM: Residence Springfield: engineer; was running engine 1304, attached to train 501, Feb. 8, 1896; my fireman was John Hamilton; left Kenney, going west, at 9 a.m.; when about two miles west of Kenney, near a highway crossing, noticed Edward Smith run towards the track; gave danger signal; train was running at rate of 40 miles an hour; owing to the fact that the engine was within 30 feet of Mr. Smith when he laid his head on the rail, it was impossible to stop the train; stopped the train as soon as possible; assisted in carrying the body to the late home of Mr. Smith.

JOHN HAMILTON: Residence Springfield; occupation fireman; noticed Mr. Smith coming towards the track; when about 30 feet from highway crossing, where Mr. Smith was, deceased laid his head upon the rail; helped to take remains to the house; heard the engineer give crossing signal, also danger signal; train was stopped as soon as possible.

The jury rendered the following verdict: "In the matter of the inquisition on the body of Edward Smith, deceased, held at Kenney, DeWitt county, Ill., February 8, 1896, we, the undersigned jurors, sworn to inquire of the death of Edward D. Smith, on oath, do find that he came to his death by throwing his head onto the track rail in front of engine 1304, attached to train No. 501, while running at about 40 miles an hour, with suicidal intent, severing the right side of his head from the body. It occurred about two miles southwest of Kenney on the I. C. railroad. Ed PECKENS, conductor; James Meldrum, engineer; and John Hamilton, fireman.

(the rest cut off).

Submitted by Judy Simpson

January 19, 1900 
Clinton Register

George Houston Meets With an Accident Which Results in His Death Sunday Morning.

George HOUSTON was caught between a switch engine and a box car shortly before 5 o'clock Saturday evening, and received injuries which resulted in his death early Sunday morning.

For some time he had been employed as messenger between the Big Four and the Alton, and Saturday was given a position as clerk and messenger in the Alton freight house. He had been given a message to deliver and started on his errand. When the switch engine came along he jumped onto the foot board on the front end, facing the engineer. The engine was pulling a string of about thirty cars, and the switch had been thrown to send them down the main track. In the meantime some men, with a handcar, taking some boards to the freight house, came along and threw the switch, so that when the engine struck it it went down the next track next to JOHNSON's warehouse. Standing on this track was a C. M. & St. P. box car, with a broken draw bar. It was standing a couple of rods south of Chestnut street. The unfortunate boy, standing with his back in the direction the engine was going, did not see the car, and the force of the long string of cars made it impossible to stop after striking the switch until the engine struck the car. The draw bar of the car being broken, the bar of the engine went under the bottom of the car and the boy was caught between the frame of the engine and the sill of the car and his legs were crushed to a shapeless mass. Engineer HEMPSTEAD heard the victim cry out, and immediately reversed, when Houston fell to the ground. He was picked up and carried to the freight house until the patrol arrived, when he was taken to the Deaconess hospital. An examination of his injuries revealed the fact that there was no chance of recovery unless the limbs were amputated, and but very little then. It was decided to take advantage of this chance, and they were both removed. The shock proved too much, however, and the boy sank rapidly until about 3 o'clock Sunday morning, when he died.— Pantagraph

The Houston family formerly lived near Wapella and moved to Bloomington a few years ago.

Submitted by Judy Simpson

July 20, 1900 
Clinton Register

Two Persons Caught By An Illinois Central Train at Wapella.
Are Brought to Clinton on Same Train, One Dying While Being Taken to a Doctor’s Office.

One of the most shocking accidents that has happened recently, occurred Monday morning about 8 o’clock at the wagon crossing just north of Wapella. Miss Eva FINFROCK, whose home was near Waynesville, had been attending the teachers’ normal in Clinton, spent Sunday at home. Monday morning her brother, Harry, was bringing her to Clinton in a top buggy, which had the side curtains on. As they neared the railroad, a very heavy rain began falling, making it impossible to see objects but a short distance away. Just as they were crossing the railroad, the buggy was struck by the train, tearing it loose from the horses, which had cleared the track. The engineer did not see the buggy until within a few feet of it, so that it was impossible for him to prevent the accident; and he could not stop the train until it had run about three hundred yards. The buggy caught on the pilot and was carried several hundred feet, Miss Finfrock being in it. Her brother was thrown from the buggy when the train struck it. When parties reached the unfortunate young lady and young man they were unconscious and when the train was run back to the crossing they were put in the car and taken to Wapella where Dr. DAVIS was awaiting to care for them. He saw they were dangerously hurt and had them brought to Clinton where he could have the assistance of Dr. WILCOX, the Illinois Central physician. They had not regained consciousness when Clinton was reached. They were taken up town, the young man being taken to the MAGILL House; and it was decided to take the young lady to the office of Dr. Wilcox. He met the parties carrying her at the foot of the stairs leading to his office, and informed them she was dead, having died on the way from the depot. The body was taken to the undertaking rooms of CAMPBELL & OAKMAN.

A message had been sent the mother, Mrs. Chas. FINFROCK, but as she had to be brought to Clinton in a carriage she did not arrive until 10 o’clock. At Wapella she had been told both her children were dead, and was overcome with grief, not knowing the son was alive until she reached Clinton. For a time it was thought he could not live, but in the afternoon his condition was improved and it was thought he might recover.

A coroner’s jury consisting of W. H. OGLEVEE, Grant CARDIFF, Geo. CAIN, A. R. PICKERING, W. S. SAVELY and Samuel BOWMAN was impaneled to investigate the cause of the accident. Engineer WYMAN and Fireman WALKER testified that owing to the heavy rain they did not see the team and buggy until near them, and to other things as stated above.

Supervisor GREENE, of Wapella, and others testified but there seemed nothing to fix blame on trainmen. The heavy rain and some trees that were west of the track rendered it difficult for the trainmen or the parties in the buggy to see the danger. The verdict of the coroner’s jury did not fix blame on the trainmen.

The remains of Miss Finfrock, who was 18 years old, were taken to the home of Mr. POLLOCK. From there they were taken to the Presbyterian church Wednesday morning at 10 o’clock where short services were held, conducted by Rev. S. C. BLACK, assisted by Rev. HORNEY, the teachers attending in a body. All being deeply moved by the unusually sad services. The remains were taken to Waynesville where funeral services were held, conducted by Rev. COVERT. Interment was in Union cemetery, near Waynesville.

(See related news article)

Submitted by Judy Simpson

February 12, 1903 
Decatur Review

Then He was Mangled Under the Wheels.

Wife and Daughters Saw His Sufferings.

Peter SELLERS [aka SELLARS] was probably fatally hurt and his body was mangled early Thursday morning by the same train on which his wife and daughter, unconscious of the identity of the victim of the frightful accident, were speeding to Clinton to reach the bedside of a dying relative.

The accident happened near the Herkimer street crossing of the Illinois Central tracks shortly before 5 a.m. Fortunately Mrs. Sellers and her daughter learned who had been hurt before the train left the city, so that instead of continuing their journey to reach Clinton before their relative died they got off the train and remained with the dying man at home.


It is not known just how the accident happened. Mr. Sellers is a laborer and lives at 1763 North Railroad avenue. His wife's cousin, Dr. John EDMUNDSON of Clinton, is critically ill and Mrs. SELLERS and her daughter Dora, aged about 16 years, determined to leave on the Illinois Central train No. 132 which leaves Decatur at 4:50 a.m.

Railroad avenue is on each side of the Illinois Central tracks and the houses face the tracks. The Sellers home is on the west side of the tracks and the most convenient way to reach the stations is to go down the tracks. Mr. Sellers went with his wife and daughter to the Illinois Central station.


He bid good-bye to his wife and daughter and then went north on the tracks intending to go to his home before going to work. Mr. Sellers is a little deaf and it is supposed that he did not hear the train coming or got confused about the tracks in the dark.

At any rate he was struck by the train near Herkimer street. The right foot was entirely severed just above the ankle and the left foot was badly mashed. The man received a number of cuts on the body and a bad wound on the face.

Entirely unconscious of who had been hurt and with their thoughts upon the relative they were hastening to see before he died, the mother and daughter sat in the car. When the train stopped it was learned that some one had been hurt. Passengers in the car asked who it was but no one seemed to know the name.


"It was not the man who got on the train with us, was it?" Dora SELLERS asked one of the trainmen. She was told that it was not that man. The girl and her mother rested easy but shortly some one said that it was Mr. Sellers who had been run over. Mrs. Sellers and daughter at once got off the train and rushed to the prostrate form. Mr. Sellers was not killed instantly but it was at once seen that he was badly injured.

The patrol wagon had been called and the man was taken to his home. There was some trouble about getting a surgeon. An effort was made to get several different doctors but unsuccessfully. Finally Dr. Tyler MERIWEATHER was reached and went to the house, but on examining the man found that it would be impossible to operate unless he was taken to the hospital. An amputation was necessary.


Dawson's ambulance was called and the man was taken to St. Mary's hospital. The residence is in the extreme north part of the city and the roads being bad it took the doctor some time to reach there and the trip with the ambulance was necessarily slow so that Mr. Sellers suffered some time before he reached the hospital.

There are four daughters in the family and they were horribly shocked when their father was brought home on a stretcher. When the injured man was placed on the ambulance basket stretcher and his severed foot still in the shoe was picked up from the pool of blood the four daughters broke down. The scene was a sad one when the man, crying out with pain, was carried from the house. The daughters realized that it would probably be the last time that he would ever leave the house.


Mrs. Sellers wanted to go to the hospital with her husband, and the eldest daughter, Lizzie, insisted on accompanying her father and staying with him until the last. The mother and daughter were allowed to go in the ambulance. It was a long drive over very heavy roads and it was feared when the start was made that the man would die before the hospital was reached.

Dr. Meriweather had called Dr. John T. MILLER and Dr. Will CHENOWETH to assist him in the amputation, but when the man reached the hospital he was so weak from shock of the accident that any operation was impossible.

It was decided to put off the amputation until afternoon as the man would be stronger if he lived that long. The wife and daughter made anxious inquiries for some hope of recovery but the surgeons could give them but little encouragement, as it appeared that the man could live but a short time.


Peter Sellers is 70 years old and worked at various places about the city as a laborer. He formerly resided in Clinton and came from that city to Decatur about three years ago. Besides his wife he has one son, James SELLERS, who attends the university at Lincoln and four daughters, Lizzie, Dora, Hattie, and May, all of whom reside at home.

Submitted by Sheryl Byrd

Tuesday Evening 
September 26, 1905
The Decatur Review
Decatur, Illinois
Pg 6

Engine Crew Jumps as Switch Engine Leaves the Track.

Clinton, Ills., Sept, 26,—Switch engine no. 116 and one car, in charge of Engineer CORBETT and Engineer Foreman Jesse BAUGHER, was derailed south of Clinton Monday evening at about 8:15. There as a string of thirty cars going to the South Clinton storage track, when they ran into a derail, the switch-man claiming he could not throw the switch. The force of the train shoved the tender down a thirty-five foot grade and turned it over. The engine was driven partly down the grade and the car derailed. The engineer and foreman jumped and escaped with a few bruises. The wrecking crew was called out and worked all night and most of today clearing up the wreck.

Submitted by Alan Jones

Thursday, November 9, 1905 
The Decatur Review
Decatur, Illinois

Illinois Central Railroad Man Killed at Clinton.

(Review Special Service.)

Clinton, Ills., Nov. 8.— Eugene PALMER, Illinois Central engine inspector, was crushed to death early Wednesday morning while riding on the side of an engine near the roundhouse.

An engine had just come in from Springfield and he boarded it for the purpose of making an examination as soon as it stopped. A boxcar was standing on another track close to that on which the engine was running. The car was so close to the engine that as the latter passed Palmer was crushed between the two.

The inquest was held Wednesday morning at 10 o'clock.

Palmer had been engine inspector in Clinton about two years. Previous to that he was engineer on the B. & O. He leaves a wife.

(See obituary)

Submitted by Sheryl Byrd

August 03, 1906 
(Paper unknown)


Charles SELLARS, night foreman at the central freight office was killed Wednesday night. A car was being switched in and he was on the ladder on the side of it. The track is near the freight house, and he leaned out to far, striking the corner of the building. He was thrown between the cars and run over. Both legs were crushed below the knees and was horribly bruised about the body. He was taken to the infirmary but nothing could be done for him. He died about 3 o'clock, about four hours after the accident. Deceased was born in Indiana Dec. 12, 1861, and was married to Miss Anna SHAFFER, Feb. 26, 1885 in Macon County, Ill. Four children were born to the union, who with their mother survive. They had lived in Clinton about 15 years and for eight years had been in the Central's employ. He was a modern woodsman and had a $3,000 policy.

January 17, 1908 
Clinton Register

Niece of Attorney L. E. Stone Loses Her Life Near Monticello on Her Way Home From Funeral.

Mrs. Mattie HUBBIRT, and her daughter Nellie, of Assumption, attended the funeral of Wm. STONE, the latter's grandfather, at Lane, and on their way home visited Roscoe STONE, son of Mrs. Hubbirt, four miles south of Monticello. Early Wednesday morning he took them to the crossing near his home where they were to take the car for Decatur on their way to Assumption. As the car approached his team scared and he drove away. Mrs. Hubbirt stood too near the track and the car struck her. She was knocked several feet and died soon after being picked up. She was struck in the face and her skull split.

The remains were taken to Bement and an inquest held; the verdict neither exonerated or censured the motorman or conductor.

Deceased's first husband was Monroe STONE, son of the late Wm. Stone. He died, and a few months ago she was married to Albert HUBBIRT and their home had been at Assumption. She was born near Circleville, Ohio, in 1858, but lived in Piatt county most of her life, several years in Monticello previous to her last marriage.

The funeral was held at the Methodist church in Bement at 10 o'clock today, and the burial was in the Monticello cemetery where her first husband was buried.

Submitted by Judy Simpson

Farmer City Train Accident - 1909 

Picture of Farmer City Train Accident - 1909.

International Stereograph Co.; Decatur, Ill. - General view of wreck, I.C.R.R., Farmer City, Ill.; October 5, 1909 - October 11, 1909 - Library of Congress Prints and Photographs pision - [http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?pan:1:./temp/~ammem_kg3d::] [pan 6a04029] (Sept. 27, 2004). Click on thumbnail for larger image.

Picture of Farmer City Train Accident - 1909.

International Stereograph Co.; October 11, 1909, Decatur, Ill. - Wreck on I.C.R.R., near Farmer City, Ill.; Oct. 6, '09. - October 11, 1909 - Library of Congress Prints and Photographs  [LC-USZ62-127101 DLC] (Sept. 27, 2004). Click on thumbnail for larger image.

Friday, October 8, 1909
Clinton Register
DeWitt County, Illinois


Twelve Miles From Scene of the Collision of Two Passenger Trains Near Birkbeck a Few Years Ago.

Tuesday night a special train of five coaches filled with passengers from the state fair arrived at Clinton soon after 9 o'clock. Many left the train here and it left on its run to Gilman, about 60 miles from Clinton. Birkbeck, DeWitt, Fullerton and Parnell were passed without accident; but there was danger and death in every sound after the train left Parnell, which is about five miles west of Farmer City. This train should have side-tracked at Parnell for the regular train from Gilman, which was at Farmer City about the time the special was at Parnell. The conductor of the regular knew he was to pass the special at Parnell, and his train was speeding westward. The conductor of the special had orders to wait for the regular to pass, but his watch was not correct and he thought he had time to reach Farmer City before the regular. He signaled his engineer to go on about the time the regular was leaving Farmer City. Thus the two trains were speeding toward each other at a rapid rate. The trainmen felt safe; the many people whose lives were in their hands had no thought of danger. Nearer and nearer they came to each other. Still there was no thought of danger; the crews and passengers were filled with an innocent feeling of safety; the headlights of the two engines shone along the rails, as if to insure safety, when suddenly the swiftly approaching lights were seen by the engineers. Imagine their feelings; they knew death was in every sound. Like a flash they reversed the engines, perhaps uttered a prayer, and with their firemen leaped from the engines into the dark. A moment later the crash came, and an awful scene was there. In a second, peace of mind had changed to fright; sorrow took the place of joy, and life gave way to death. There was a huge pile of bent and broken iron and steel, splintered and broken timbers, scared, crippled and pleading humanity, and one whose life-light had gone out in the twinkling of an eye. It was a fearful wreck, and darkness was all about the scene.

Soon as those not injured could put aside their fright, they began giving assistance to the injured; word was sent to Farmer City and several, among them two or three doctors, hurried to the scene in autos and buggies. Farmers who heard the crash were soon giving aid. From Farmer City the news was telegraphed to Clinton, and the wrecking crew was soon on its way. A special train was also run from Clinton, bearing five physicians and others. By the time this car arrived some of the injured had been taken to Farmer City. Others were brought to Clinton, as were many who were not injured or slightly hurt. The county Sunday school convention closed at Farmer City that evening and many Clinton people were on the regular train. Of these, several were hurt but none seriously. Most of those injured were on the state fair special. One,  Miss Clara WATSON, of Farmer City, aged 27, was killed, as she was returning from the fair. Among the injured are the following, which is a complete list except some who were slightly hurt:


Mrs. Frank MAPLE, Clinton, bruised and cut about face.
P. L. ROBB, Clinton, scalp wounds and cut over eye.
Engineer John CLARK, Chicago, leg broken and right foot crushed.
Fireman Delmar BOGGS, Decatur, bruised shoulder and thigh.
L. W. LARGE, Gilman, internal injuries.
James WATSON, Wapella, cut about face.
Mrs. James WATSON, Wapella, bruising about face.
Charles SAMUEL, Chicago, slight concussion of brain.
Charles MORSE, Clinton, cut about face.


D. J. WALTERS, Farmer City, was bruised about chest.
Samuel WALTERS, Farmer City, arms and elbow injured.
Mrs. Fuller VAUGHN, Clinton, injury to knee.
Neva McCORD, DeWitt, ligaments of leg torn loose and cut about face.
Tom BATEMAN, Farmer City, leg broken.
Ben BARRES, Farmer City, struck on chest.
Frank McKINLEY, Farmer City, ribs broken and cut on face.
Jacob Ho__, Gibson City, compound fracture of the leg. Will probably lose the member.
August Mi_ks, Fisher, terribly cut about face.
Engineer _. L. McCue, Chicago, leg broken.
Fireman Johnson, Chicago, badly bruised.
J. A. Austin, Onarga, cut about head and face, probably will die.
Edwin S__en, Ridgeville, thigh broken.
Jas. McINTYRE, Clinton, hurt on back.

The scene of the wreck was one of horror, and a conflagration came near being added to the awfulness of the collision. Three times a blaze started in the wrecked cars, but was quickly put out by passengers and others. Two of the cars had telescoped, and the wonder was that there were not more killed and more seriously injured. Perhaps the explanation is that as the two trains rounded the slight curve the engineers saw the danger and reversed steam, so that the coming together was with less force than it seemed. Hundreds visited the wreck that night and next morning and all wondered how so few were seriously hurt.

The work of clearing away the wreck was begun at once, and by Wednesday noon the track was ready for trains to pass over it. A steel coach on the regular train was little damaged.

So far as learned, the injured are doing well and all will recover. The report that others had died was not true.

Note: CLARA WATSON, mentioned as killed, was CALLIE WATSON, as per her great grandson, Ron Given.


The Daily Review
Decatur, Illinois
Tuesday, October 19, 1909

Inquest Into Death of Miss Watson Fixes Blame.

Clinton. Oct. 19.—A jury consisting of H. L. Williams, Joseph Cool, William Fuller, Samuel Summer, H. L. Weedman and Thomas McKonkey, sworn to inquire into the cause of death of CALLIE WATSON, of Farmer City, whose death occurred on Oct. 5, in the Illinois Central wreck at Parnell, returned a verdict late yesterday afternoon, finding the Illinois Central railroad company responsible for the accident, because of the negligence of Conductor J. A. Dockens and Engineer L. McCue of the state fair excursion train.

Submitted by Judy Simpson

November 11, 1936 
Clinton Daily Journal
Clinton Public

Accident At Grant Ave. Crossing At 11:20; Auto Demolished

Four well known DeWitt county men were fatally injured shortly before noon Tuesday when the automobile in which they were riding was struck by the Green Diamond, Illinois Central streamline passenger train, Chicago-bound, at the Grant avenue crossing. The four men were: Robert L. Edwards, 65, mayor and business man of the village of Waynesville. George Cisco, 55, tenant farmer on the Frank Scott farm, near Wapella. Orville Cisco, 39, trucker of Waynesville, (son of George Cisco) Elijah Cisco, 55, tenant farmer on the Lester Teal farm, near Waynesville, (half-brother of George Cisco) The men, ridiing in a Chrysler sedan, owned and driven by Orville Cisco, were going north on route No. 51, the group returning home from Decatur, where they had been to secure repairs for Mr. Edwards’ corn sheller.

Robert Edwards was born in Virginia, but had lived in Dewitt county for a number of years. He was mayor of Waynesville and was also in the machinery business there. He was married 28 years ago to Miss Mossie Sampson, who survives, with six children. They are Mrs. Virginia Brosan of Benson, Robert, Jr., Dwane Gordon, Victor and John all at home. He also has two brothers, V.W. Edwards of Bassett, Va, and JP Edwards of Springfield.

George Cisco was born in Dewitt county January 18, 1871, a son of Mr. and Mrs. Ira Cisco. he was a farmer all his life and at the time of his death was operating the Mrs. Frank Scott farm, near Wapella. He is survived by his wife, the former Alice Ellis, whom he married in December 1909, and one son, Dallas Cisco, near Wapella. He was a member of the Masons and IOOF lodge.

Orville Cisco, 33 was a son of George Cisco, by a former marriage, and was engaged as a trucker at Waynesville. He was married to Edith Vinson of Waynesville, who survives, with three children, Maxine, 19; Morris, 14; and George 10 all at home.

Elijha Cisco, 55, resided on the Lester Teal farm, near Waynesville. He was married to Clara Baker of Waynesville. She survives, with three daughters, Mrs. James Thorpe of Wapella and Doris and Mildred, both at home. He was a half-brother of George Cisco. The Green Diamond was in the charge of Engineer T.B. Scott of Clinton and Conductor E. Carruthers of Chicago.

Submitted by Lara Braley Johnson

See obituaries:
Orville Cisco George Cisco
Elijah Cisco Robert Edwards