Shortway Bridge Deaths

Shortway Bridge Deaths

From the Kentucky Post Thursday, June 16, 1892, page 1

Second Crash, Another Section of the Bridge Falls, Five Searchers for the Dead Narrowly Escape, Four More Bodies Still in the Licking


The Shortway Bridge collapsed June 15, 1892

With the approach of daylight, people began to gather on the banks of the Licking River, where the ill-fated bridge went down with its scores of human lives Wednesday and in a few hours thousands of men, women and children were watching the work of rescuing the bodies yet in the wreck.

A half hundred brave men had volunteered their services, and under the direction of the bridge company commenced an earnest search for the dead.  Owing to the vast amount of iron on the structure when it fell, the work was difficult and necessarily slow.  An hour after it was begun two bodies were found pinned down by heavy timbers.  About 9 o'clock, while the work was being prosecuted, a terrible crash was heard.  Another section of the bridge, loosened and teetering on the Newport side, fell, carrying with it 2000 pounds of ropes and pulleys.

Five men were at work just under it at the time it gave way, but a warning cry saved their lives.  At Menninger's undertaking establishment, the seven bodies have been identified. Dick Gorman's body will be sent to Dauplin, Pa., his father having telegraphed for it.  His brother arrived early on the morning lolly identifying it.

Dennis Harlow's body will be sent at once to Parkersburg, W. Va.  Charles Greham of Covington will be buried at Independence, Ky.  The body of E J Nolan still lies on the slab, his brother having telegraphed that he is on his way from Erie, Pa.  Undertaker Menninger telegraphed to the widow of L W Burton, Templeton, Ky. to come at once and identify the body.

Chief of Police Moore, of Mitchell, Ind. telegraphed that no such man as Charles Tarr lived there.  Later his cousin arrived from Orleans, about five miles from Mitchell, identified the body and will take it home at once.  There is yet one body unidentified at Menninger's.

William Baird, the surviving brother of the contractors, has received messages of sympathy and offers of aid from several large bridge companies throughout the country.

Jack Pearce Rejoiced

Editor Post: I am thankful to state that Fred Pearce, my son, is alive.  It was my belief and that of many others that he was one of the victims of the terrible disaster that occurred yesterday on the Licking River.  The only reason that he was not killed or injured arises from the fact that he "laid off" early in the morning.

This I was not aware of until 4 p.m. In the meantime I had spent a very bad day.  I am very grateful to the Post and my many friends for their many expressions of sympathy.  It was fortunately one of those cases where an anticipated and almost assured bereavement did not occur.  Nevertheless I fully appreciate your good will in the premises.  John J Pearce

The Injured

At St. Elizabeth Hospital, the wounded are getting along nicely with the exception of W E Wilson, of 159 East Twelfth, Covington.  Wilson's condition is critical and it is thought that he will die. His spine is hurt and he is also injured critically.  His chances for recovery are low.
Charles Fetters, Ironton O
Frank Wallace, Newport
R E Kiehl, Pennsylvania
B F Phelps, Newport
John Phillips, Newport
Harry Osborn, England
Ben Arnold, High Bridge, Ky.
Henry Kramer, 725 Craig Street, Covington
Alex Thomas jr. Covington
John J Murray, Covington
J P Lynch, Covington
Dan Binkley, Newport
Wm Wilson, assistant inspector, Cincinnati
R Krause, Newport

The Missing Still in the Wreck

The diver who is employed at the wreck reports that he can feel these bodies in the wreckage, but cannot get them out, because they are pinned down by heavy timbers.
Frank Muir-single, lives on Central Avenue, Newport
William Barton, Covington
____, Leonard-home unknown
William Westling-single, an ex-policeman of Newport
One unknown man.

The List of Dead

A consultation between Time-Keeper Harry Sullivan and the Post's corps of reporters at work on the catastrophe was held at noon Thursday.  The following list was formulated.
E A Nolan, Erie Pa
C D Champix, Manchester NH
Thomas Down, Wheeling W.Va.
J K Kofe, Newport
Charles Tarr, Orleans, Ind.
Elmer Barbour, Cincinnati
William Alvis, Roanoke, Va.
N W Burton, Pendleton, Ky.
Dennis Harlow, Parkersburg, W.Va.
C W Pfaffenbach, Bellaire O
W D Robey, Newport
Dick Gorman, Dauphin Pa.
Ed Sullivan, Cincinnati
Charles Gresham, Covington
George Birdge, Covington
John Sponser, Walnut Hills Cincinnati
Patrick Murray, Covington
Frank Sponser, Cincinnati
James Johnson, Havre de Grace Md.
Andrew Baird, Pittsburg
Robert Baird, Milford, NJ

From the Kentucky Post, Friday, June 18, 1892, page 1

Corpses of Muir and Birdge Recovered, Inspector Wilson Dead at St. Elizabeth, The Wounds of Carpenter Phillips are Dangerous

The Licking River bridge disaster has given up two more of its dead.  Thursday evening sufficient of the massive beams and girders had been removed to permit the corpse of Frank Muir of Newport, to be taken out.  Up to that time the bodies taken out were in fair condition, but decomposition had far advanced in this case and the corpse was much mangled.  The body was taken in the Newport patrol wagon to White & Co.'s undertaking establishment.  Muir was 45 and leaves a wife and child at 313 Central Avenue, Newport.

An hour later the remains of George M Birdge, who was aged 40 and lived on the River Road, Covington, was secured.  In his pocket was a membership card in the Amalgamated Labor Union of Cincinnati.  The body was sent to Menninger's.  The skull had been split and the limbs were fearfully mangled.  Birdge leaves a wife and family.

This leaves missing only William Barton of Covington and William Westling of Newport.  Still unaccounted for is George Tarboll of Independence Ind.

Inspector Wilson Dead

Assistant Inspector Wilson died at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Covington.  He had lain since the accident suffering terribly from an injured spine.  The remains will be sent to his home.

John Phillips, the injured carpenter, who resides with his family at 427 Hodge Street, is in serious condition.  The wound in his head opened anew and the blood poured out.  His leg will be amputated.  He may not survive the shock.  The others of the injured are doing well and no other deaths are anticipated.  Up to 10 a.m. Friday, the bodies of 28 dead were in the hands of friends or relatives.

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