Nebraska Train Wrecks and Accidents
Page Two

Thanks to Sherri Brakenhoff - Our Platte County and Colfax County Coodinator - for the information on the following 1890's train wrecks and accidents

Columbus Journal, January 9, 1884
James Connelly, killed on New Year's day while making a coupling on the C.St.P.M.& O. road, about seventy miles north of Omaha was the last of three brothers who have been killed on the railroad. His home was at Omaha.

Columbus Journal, February 20, 1884
Archie Chandler, a mulatto, was found dead near the U.P. track four miles west of this place, yesterday morning. From appearances, he seemed to have lost his footing on the steps of the car, and was thrown onto the frozen ground, dislocating his left shoulder and probably fracturing the skull. He was accompanied on the train by his son and they had tickets to San Francisco. The unfortunate man had been drinking heavily. His body lay at the depot yesterday, waiting the arrival of his son, and was a truly pitiable sight.

Columbus Journal, October 15, 1884
A very sad accident occurred last Wednesday on the Union Pacific railroad, about noon, in a deep cut, a quarter of a mile west of Elkhorn, between section No. 2 of train No. 9, and a single engine, which came together with a terrible crash, pinning the engineer and fireman of the freight train between the boiler head and tank, and there holding them until the escaping steam scalded them to death.
    The fireman of the light engine, Richard Norris, in attempting to jump from the locomotive, was caught by the legs beneath the tender, and his limbs frightfully mangled. The engineer of the light engine, James Lowry, had succeded in jumping clear of the wreck, and was unhurt.
    George Chamberlain, the engineer, and George Sheldon, and Norris firemen lost their lives by the fearful collision.
    The scene was one of disorder and horror. On both sides of the track cars were in the ditch, the trucks were turned in every direction, the cars were lying upon their sides and ends and some of them had been turned bottomside up. The track was torn up and some of the rails bent, twisted and flattened.

Columbus Journal, November 5, 1884
A brakeman named Frank Meyers was instantly killed at Creighton Nov. 1st, two cars passing over him, mangling his body in a horrible manner.

Thanks To Lee Marlin For The Following Submission:

It is from Blair, NE in 1897

Yesterday the town was shocked for the second time by the news that a man hadbeen killed while walking on the track. This time it was one of our highly respected citizens, C. H. Wulff, who was walking out to look at the river. He had reached a point near Wymerville and rounded a curve, when a special stock train with a time limit to meet the afternoon passenger train at Cal. Junction loaded heavily and running at full speed struck and killed him instantly. Mr. Wulff was born in 1822 and had he lived until May 12th would have been 75 years of age. In 1852 he left Hamburg, Germany, and settled in Moline, Illinois, where he married Miss Schneider, a sister of H. D. Schneider. Twelve children were born to them. Three died in infancy, the remaining nine grew to manhood and womanhood,Charley living until June 1890. The remaining eight in the order of their ages are as follows :J. W. Wulff, Mrs. C. W. Schroeder, of Tekamah, Ed., Henry, Gus, Mrs.F. G.Ebener, Herman, who is now in California, and Frank.

In the fall of 1858, Mr. Wulff moved to Nebraska and settled in Washington County ten miles south of Blair, where prosperity justly smiled upon him. Four years ago he moved to Blair where he has since lived. Mr. Wulff, throughout his lifetime, was a man of great energy and marked social characteristics, always having a pleasant word for everybody. Few men could leave more friends to mourn an untimely death, being known as a man without enemies, respected by all, who without exception pause to mourn his sad fate.

It is with a feeling of sadness that THE PILOT announces his death and joins the many friends and relatives in extending sympathy to the sorrowing family in the sad hour of bereavement. The funeral will be held from the house tomorrow at eleven o'clock.


Last Monday afternoon, one of our aged German citizens, Mr.Claus Wulff, who resides in Dexterville, started to walk to the river. Soon after he was overtaken by a stock train and instantly killed. Engineer Gross saw him and pulled the whistle wide open, but the old gentleman was quite deaf and it was impossible to prevent the accident. The train backed up to the depot with the dead body lying on the pilot. The coroner and Sheriff were notified and the corpse was removed to Pierce's undertaking rooms where an inquest was held today. This is the second awful tragedy that has happened within a few weeks. Death was instantaneous. One leg was broken and it is thought his neck was dislocated. The deceased was born in SchleswigHolstein, Germany in May, 1821. He took the old home farm in Ft. Calhoun nearly 40 years ago andt here lived until five years ago, when himself, aged wife and younger boys removed to Blair.

His death falls heavily on a large family. They are William and Henry, of Blair, Augustus, who lives on the home farm, Herman, who is in California, and Frank, who is a student at the State University, besides there are two married daughters, Mrs. C. M. Schroeder, of Tekamah, and Mrs. F. G. Ebener, of Dillon, Colo.

Uncle Wulff was everybody's friend; always happy and sociable, a good neighbor, loving father and kind husband. His sudden taking off shocked the entire community.

Funeral from the residence at 11 a. m. Friday and services by Rev. Williams of the Presbyterian Church.

Our thanks to Sherri Brakenhoff, County Coordinator for Platte and Colfax Counties, Nebraska, for the following:

The Columbus Journal, June 19, 1901

Freight train No. 17 due here at 3 o'clock experienced a dreadful shake-up Thursday morning about 5 o'clock, by the explosion of the engine's boiler and which was the cause of the death of Engineer Charles Fullmer and Fireman David Jenkins and of serious injuries to Brakeman Wm. Flemming. The engine, No. 1831, was built in 1900, and is one of the largest and modern improved engines made. There is no cause known for the explosion. This is the second boiler explosion, while the train was in motion, known in the United States. Fullmer and Jenkins were killed instantly, while Flemming was thrown over the telegraph wires, scalded badly, sustained broken ribs and limbs and internal injuries. The boiler of the engine was cut from the smoke stack as straight and sharp as if done with a knife, and blown over 100 feet into the air and fell about 50 feet from the track, lighting on the head, driven about ten feet into the ground. The wrecked engine as it was loaded onto the car and stood in the yards here Friday evening made an impressive picture. The fourth car on the train was derailed but no further damage done to the train. The unfortunate men were sent to Omaha on the Grand Island local, which was delayed four hours by the accident. Conductor Wallace had charge of the train. Charles Fullmer was married and lived in Council Bluffs, leaves a widow and six children. David Jenkins was about 30 years old, leaves a widow and one son. Wm. Flemming has five small children; his wife died about a year ago.

More From The Columbus Journal [Thanks, Sherrie!]

Columbus Journal, September 4, 1901 Friday evening about 7 o'clock in the Union Pacific yards near the coal chute, a lad about 16 years old, name not known, but supposed to be from Chicago and working his way west, was killed. It was an extra freight train, and the last seen of him alive by his companion, he was standing on the bumpers of two cars, from which he was probably jostled to the track where he was horribly mangled, doubtless dying instantly. The skull was crushed, so that there was no bone larger than three inches square. The brain was found on the ground as though thrown entire out of a bowl. Both arms were broken, the right arm hanging by the skin only.
    Coroner Metz was in the city Saturday, but did not deem it necessary to hold a formal inquest. There was no clue as to who he was. In his pockets were found a time card of the Chicago, Milwaukee road, tobacco and a corncob pipe. He wore a brown felt hat, blue coat, blue and white striped shirt, blue overalls and blue socks. On the left leg between the ankle and knee there was a large dark spot probably the effect of a burn. He had gray eyes, light brown hair, thick lips, small thick nose, and a full set of teeth. He was five feet three inches tall and weighed one hundred and ten pounds.
    Albert Lambert, a young man of 17, who had ridden from Schuyler on the same train, making his first trip in this way, said the boy had told him he was from Chicago, but had not given him his name. Lambert was so shaken up that he purposes walking home.
    From the place of accident the body was taken to Gass' undertaking rooms, where it was prepared for burial, which took place Saturday afternoon at 4:30.

Columbus Journal, September 25, 1901

GORMAN--Last Wednesday when Union Pacific extra No. 924 west bound local freight pulled into Central City at 11:45 a.m., Head Brakeman Thomas Gorman was missing. A section crew took a car and going about a mile and a quarter east of the town the body was found. Coroner Kombrink had been notified by a passing emigrant that a dead body was lying near the track, and he was there when the crew arrived. Gorman was alive, but unconscious, when found and lying by the side of the track. He was taken to Central City in a buggy, and cared for. He breathed heavily and it was evident was fatally injured. Apparently he had fallen, probably from the top of a car, and struck on the side of his head and shoulder. He suffered from concussion of the brain.
    The Central City Nonpareil, from which we condense, further says: "The train was in charge of Conductor Shumacher, with Engineer Dolan. The train took the siding at Thummel switch and Gorman closed the switch and on pulling out and swung on to a box car. When last seen by the other train men he was riding on the side steps of the box car shortly after they pulled out of Thummel. To all appearances he had climbed on top of the car and pitched off sideways from the moving train."
    Mr. Gorman was brought to this city, taken to his home in the southern part, but, we learn, did not recover consciousness, and died at 10 o'clock the same evening.
    Funeral services were held at the Catholic church Friday forenoon at 10, and burial in the nearby cemetery. John, William and John J. Higgins of Schuyler, Mrs. Welch of Omaha and Frank Pollard of Silver Creek, were among relatives in attendance.
    Mr. Gorman was born in Omaha, May 30, 1864; was married to Miss Delia T. Higgins, at Fremont, January 15, 1886, and leaves a widow and five children, the oldest 14 years, the youngest 5. He had been in the employ of the Union Pacific company eighteen years, fifteen of them in Columbus. He had been yard master here seven years. As a member of the Foresters, he held a policy for $2,000.

Columbus Journal, October 9, 1901

Friday night about 11:30, in the Union Pacific yards west of the coal chute, Robert A. Wagner's left foot became so fastened between rails that he could not extricate himself, but had the left leg crushed, and seemingly all the tendons of his body fearfully wrenched. He was immediately taken to the office of Drs. Martyn, Evans & Geer, and the lower part of the limb amputated by Drs. Martyn and son, and Dr. Hansen, assisted by Ferd. Stires.
    At 1:30 he was taken to his residence on Fourteenth street and amputation was made of the leg close to the body, but blood-poisoning set in and the sufferer, conscious to the very last, found relief in death at 6:30 Saturday evening, the physicians in the meantime doing everything that could be done for his comfort.
    The funeral services were held at the Catholic church this Tuesday morning at 9 o'clock with burial in the nearby cemetery.
    Robert A. Wagner was born at Ottawa, Illinois, December 23, 1865, and was consequently in the thirty-sixth year of his age. He came to Nebraska in 1884, and has since made this city his home. He was married October 12, 1889, to Miss Emma Gregorius, and leaves to mourn his departure to the Spirit Land, his widow and son, Leonard, ten years of age, besides his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Wagner, his brother Jacob and sister, Mrs. J. Greisen.
    He was a member of the Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen, the Highlanders and the Orpheus society, members of the latter two attending the funeral as organizations.

More Articles - Go to Page Three

Return to the Nebraska Railroad Main Page

Return to the NEGenWeb Resource Center

Return to NEGenWeb Main Page

~*~ Last page update 7/31/2021