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JOHNSTOWN TRIBUNE
JOHNSTOWN, PA
1874

Friday, 26 Jun 1874
Submitted by Nancy Troxel

FATAL ACCIDENT NEAR WILMORE
ENGINEER AND FIREMAN KILLED
BRAKEMAN INJURED
ENGINE AND EIGHTEEN CARS WRECKED

On Saturday last it was our unpleasant duty to chronicle the occurrence of one of those sad accidents on the railroad by which one man was hurried into eternity in an instant, and another died a horrible lingering death a few hours after the wreck happened. On that afternoon, First Local freight was drawn by engine No. 884, and officered by John GREY, engineer; Kesey PRINGLE, fireman; Martin MILLER, conductor and the usual complement of brakemen, was passing at a point one mile east of Wilmore at 2:35 o'clock, when a cow was discovered lying across the track. The train was running at the rate of about eighteen miles an hour, and as the curve is very short, Mr. GREY did not see her until too close to check the momentum of the cars. The result was that when the pilot struck the cow the locomotive was thrown from the track. and after running nearly parallel with the rails for about a distance of fifty feet it suddenly sheered off at a right angle and turned upside down over the steep bank into the swampy ground below.

As soon as the engine left the track, Mr. GREY jumped off on the upper or hill side, and the cars of his train came crashing along, running over and mutilating his remains in a horrible manner. Of course, instant death resulted. Eighteen cars followed the engine, and were piled up over the embankment in the vicinity of where the locomotive lay. The fireman, Kesey PRINGLE, did not attempt to jump off, and was consequently buried under the engine. His agony while fastened in such a position for nearly an hour and a half must have been terrible, as one of his legs was broken and he was also badly scalded by the escaping steam. All possible dispatch was made to rescue him, but the manner in which the debris was piled up over the spot prevented the workmen from making rapid headway. Finally, at the expiration of an hour and a half, he was taken out and removed to Wilmore, where he expired at half-past eight o'clock last night.

A brakeman named ARTHURS, who was on the eighth car back from the engine, saved his life by leaping off, although he received some very severe bruises in alighting on the stone ballast. His injuries will not prove fatal. The other train hands escaped comparatively uninjured, as the concussion of the stoppage of the remaining twenty-six cars, which did not leave the track, only caused a few small bruises on their persons, which do not amount to much.

The body of Mr. GREY was brought down to a depot at East Conemaugh, and laid out in the lamp room. We viewed the corpse last evening, and found that the entire top of his skull was crushed in, his body badly bruised, while the lower portion of it was ground into a shapeless mass. The remains of Mr. PRINGLE were brought down on the Mail Train that night, and removed to the home of his father, Mr. Daniel PRINGLE, in Franklin Borough. This young man was in the twenty-first year of his age, and was unmarried The home of Mr. GREY was in East Conemaugh, just a few yards from the depot. He was aged forty years, and leaves a wife and one child to mourn his demise. On Saturday, March 14th last his brother, Mr. George GRAY, met with instant death at East Conemaugh by being run over by a passing freight train. The tragic death of these worthy men has cast a gloom over the residents of that borough, where everybody had a liking for them.

The funeral of Mr. John GREY took place from his late residence at 9 o'clock on Sunday, the remains were taken to Jackson Township for interment. The body of Mr. PRINGLE was consigned to the earth in the Pringle Cemetery at Summerhill. It was taken from Franklin Borough to that place at 10 o'clock on Sunday.


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