Train Accident Kills Over 100 Central Illinois Residents
August 12 1887

©Illinois Trails History and Genealogy

An excursion train on the Toledo, Peoria and Western road dropped through a burning bridge, and over one hundred people were killed and four times that number more or less wounded.

The train was composed of six sleeping, six day coaches and chair cars, and three baggage cars. It was carrying nine hundred and sixty passengers, all excursionists, and was bound for Niagara Falls. The train had been made up all along the line of the Toledo, Peoria and Western road and the excursionists hailed from various points in Central Illinois. The bulk of them, however, coming from Peoria. Some of the passengers came from Canton, El Paso, Washington and, in fact, all the stations along the line; some from as far west as Burlington and Keokuk, Iowa. A special and cheap rate had been made for the excursion and all sorts of people took advantage of it.

When the train drew out of Peoria at 8 o'clock last evening, it was loaded to its utmost capacity. Every berth in six sleepers was taken and the day cars carried sixty people each. The train was so heavy that two engines were hitched to it, and when it passed this place it was an hour and a half behind time. Chatsworth, the next station east of here, is six miles off, and the run ther was made in seven minutes; so the terrible momentum of those fifteen coaches and two engines shooting through space at the rate of a mile a minute can be understood. No stop was made at Chatsworth and on and on the heavy train, with its living freight, sped through the darkness of the night.

When the news of the disaster was first flashed over the wires prompt aid was at once sent. Dr. Steele, chief surgeon of the Toledo, Peoria and Western, had come on at once in a special train, and with him two other surgeons and their assistants from Peoria. From every city whence the unfortunate excursionists had come, their physicians and friends hurried on to help them, and Peoria had also had delegations of Red Men and Ancient Order of United Workmen, numbers of both societies being on the ill-fated train. Soon after 8 o'clock in the morning there were plenty of people to do the work that needed prompt attention. In the Town Hall was the main hospital, and in it anxious relatives and sorrowful friends sat, fanning the sufferers faces, gazing at the attending surgeon as he bound up the wounds and insisting that there must be hope. Down in the dead-houses, mothers, husbands, brothers, sisters, wives, children, tearfully inspected each face, as it was uncovered and sighed as the features were unknown or cried out in anguish, when the well known face sometimes fearfully mangled, but yet recognizable, was uncovered.

Partial List of Dead

R. E. Stocker, Peoria
Miss Stephens and father, Binghampton
Mike Regan, Binghampton
William Craig, Cuba, Ill.
Henry Hicken, Pekin, Ill.
Noah Havermere, Canton, Ill.
M. Smith, Metamora, Ill.
George Smith, Peoria
Mrs. Zimmerman, Peoria
Rosa and Maggie Murphy and mother, Peoria
Miss Maggie Lalrow, Peoria
Miss Neal, Blossville, Ill.
Emiline Barruthers, Evans, Ill.?
Jessie Meak, Eureka, Ill.
Sherman Brimfield, Ill.
May Laws, McClintock
The Engineer, Peoria
Elizabeth Cress, Washington, Ill.
Mrs. E. D. Stoddard, West Point Iowa
Mrs. pearl Adams, Peoria
Pearl French, Peoria
W. A. Potter, Bushnell, Ill.
Mrs. J. M. Clay, Eureka, Ill.
J. D. Richards, Peoria
Mrs. Breeze, Peoria
W. Gereretzen, Peoria
Gerelzen, peoria
Trovillo, Peoria
E. F. Adams, Fairbury
W. H. Lott, Ellwood
Addie Webster, Peoria
Mrs. William Allen, Peoria
Mr. W. Vallejo, Peoria
Mrs. H. B. McClure and daughter, Peoria
Mrs. Miller, Peoria
Mr. Wright, Peoria
Mrs. James Dale, Peoria
Mr. F. B. Wyatt, Peoria
Mr. E. Godell and son, Galesburg
Dr. William Collins, Galesburg
J. Bady, Breed's Station
J. S. Kater, Breed's Station
Mr. John Murphy, Peoria
Henry Sigelson, Keokuk, Ia.
Oney Spath, Green Valley, Ill.
John A. Moore, Jacksonville, Ill.
J. D. McFadden, Peoria
Captain A. Martin, Bloomington
J. A. Greene, Breed's Station
about another twenty are deat at Paper City

In addition to the list of killed given above, there are at this hour still between thirty and forty bodies in different places awaiting identification. Among them are eight to ten children.

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