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GRAY, John


SOURCE NOTATION:
    Cambria Freeman, 20 Feb 1874, Contributed by Nancy Troxel

Dear Freeman -- The most terrible accident it has ever been my province to report occurred to the first local freight train west on. Friday afternoon last. It appears that the train had been running at the rapid rate of 25 miles an hour, or thereabouts, and while rounding a sharp curve at the eastern terminus of the third track which is distant about one mile from this place the engineer, Mr. John GRAY, discovered a cow (which it is said an eastern bound freight train had disabled) lying on the track, and immediately gave the signal to put down brakes when seeing that the cow did not stir and that an accident was inevitable, he told big fireman to jump for his life, he himself leaping from his engine without further delay. The locomotive struck the cow in an instant after it was thrown from the track and precipitated down an embankment of about twenty feet, the cars to the number of twenty-two being either piled upon the engine or forced forward upon the track, some to the distance of fully fifty feet from where the engine went over, all of them being more or less wrecked. When some men who were arranging the platforms for a picnic to be held on the following day in a grove nearby and who had witnessed the terrible disaster, reached the scene of the wreck they found the engineer lying dead on the track, with one side of his head crushed to a jelly and his bowels torn out. His vest and watch were found some twenty feet further down the track, thus indicating that his death had been caused by the cars which had been hurried onward by the force of the collision. Almost immediately groans were heard proceeding from beneath the wrecked engine and the debris with which it was literally covered, ere long the firemen, Keyes PRINGLE, son of Mr. Daniel Pringle, of Conemaugh, was discovered lying under the boiler head, his leg broken and his face and body shockingly scalded and burned by escaping steam and the heat of the furnace. One hour and a half elapsed before he could be extricated, after which he was conveyed to the residence of Rev. WOODWARD, in this place, where he died about six o'clock the same evening. Both victims belonged to Conemaugh, where Grey leaves a wife and one or two children. Pringle was a young man, only twenty years of age, and was unmarried . Both men bore excellent characters. These two were the only persons killed. One or two others were injured, but not seriously. The scene of the accident is on the same spot where a disastrous oil fire occurred several years ago, and within a few rods of the place where engineer GREEN was killed last summer. The locomotive, No. 884, was the same one which collided with a large rock near Wilmore station some seven years ago, and subsequently ran off with engineer James Doran down the eastern slope of the mountain. Mr. Pringle's remains were interred in the family cemetery on Pringle hill, a short distance from Wilmore, on Sunday while these of Mr. Gray were taken to Jackson township for burial. Old wreckhands say this was the worst smash-up they were ever called upon to clear away, and the only wonder is that more lives were not sacrificed.

The picnic announced through your columns came of at this place on Saturday last. Everything considered, it was the most quiet and orderly assemble of the kind ever got together in this vicinity. Gross receipts somewhat over $400.

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