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Or mail to Waverly City Guide, 455 Hay Hollow Road, Chillicothe, Ohio 45601
Don't know where this was at other than in Pike Co., OH and may not even be at D T & I wreck
photo by Harold Finney
story provided by Barbara Toppins. Rev. John Addy was her great great grandfather
An Excursion Train on the Springfield Southern Goes Through a Bridge into the Canal. One Man Killed and Several Injured Severely.
On Last Friday evening about 6 o'clock, the people of Waverly were called upon to witness their first frightful railroad disaster, and we are satisfied that it the earnest prayer of all that they may never again witness such a scene. The accident occupied to an excursion train on the Springfield Southern Railroad, which was returning to Jackson from Niagara Falls. The train arrived at this point shortly before 6 o'clock, all safe and sound having on board about 150 men, women and children, mostly from our neighboring town of Jackson. All was joy and happiness aboard the train, the tired excursionist anticipating a speedy and safe return to pleasant homes and anxious friends, never dreaming that they were soon to meet with a horrible accident, which would turn their joy into the deepest sorrow and sadness and strike terror into the hearts of all. The train shoved out from the depot at about 6 o'clock, and soon disappeared from view around the curve, leading to the bridge across the canal below town, when the crowd which had collected to greet the returning excursionists started back to town, thinking that all was well with their Jackson friends. Suddenly their ears were greeted by a loud crash, accompanied by a dull heavy thud, as though caused by the falling of some heavy body. All eyes were quickly turned in the direction of the train but no one for a moment supposed that any thing happened it. For a minute or two there was a dead silence, when suddenly there came a doleful sound from the whistle of the excursion engine which was quickly taken up by the engine on the side tract at the depot, and all at once became convince that something terrible had happened. Hardly had the whistles sounded the mournful alarm until the word came that the bridge had gone down with the train. The terrible news flew like the wind, and soon from all portions of town great crowds of excited people where seen herring in the direction of the bridge. Arriving on the grounds a few moments after the first alarm, we found that it was indeed true that the structure had gone down with the ill fated train, dealing death and destruction on all hands. It was a terrible sight. There in the canal lay the demolished bridge, on top of which was a wrecked coach, while from either abutment hung badly damaged cars, wedged in by falling timbers of the bridge. Terrified women and children were screaming at the top of their voices, panic stricken men were rushing wildly about, the wounded were crying for help, while in the cruel embraces of the crushed timbers of the bridge lay poor Davy Dungan, silent in death. It was a frightful heart-rendering scene, and is one we hope never to witness again.
Just how the accident came about, is still a matter of general dispute, and perhaps ever will be, but the most reliable evidence we have on this point in the statement of Mr. Ralph Leete, the engineer in charge of the train. Mr. Leete says that just before his engine left the bridge he looked back and observed that his train was out of shape, but before he could realize the true situation of affairs, the third coach had struck the west corner of the bridge and knocked it off the abutment. Seeing that the bridge was going, Mr. Leete says he put one all the steam possible to clear the engine and tender and prevent their being drawn back on top the wreck, which he luckily succeeded in doing. It is evident from this statement, and the marks of the wheels on the ties, that the third car, above referred to, jumped the track about thirty feet from the bridge, and ran against it with the above effect. Several other responsible parties, who were eye witnesses to the occurrence, make statement to this same effect, the only difference being some of them claim that the second car did the damage.
The train consisted of three coaches and a caboose, all which contained passengers. Young Dungan, the only person killed outright, was in the caboose, next to the engine, in company with some young friends. When the crash came it is said the unfortunate young man rushed our on the platform and attempted to save himself by jumping, but he was caught in the falling timbers and crushed to death. He fell in the water close to the edge of the canal, where his body remained until about 6 o'clock the following morning before it was taken out. Every effort was made to recover the body sooner, but unfortunately there were no means at hand for removing the heavy cars and timber to that it could be gotten our sooner. No other parties in the caboose were injured and if young Dungan had remained quiet, he would have in all probability escaped uninjured seriously. The other parties injured seriously, were Thos. Dungan, brother to the deceased, James McLaughlin, of Wellston, P. M. Washam, and Mrs. Jacob Birtch, of Jackson. The latter, it was rumored on our streets yesterday, had since died of her injuries. The former was taken home yesterday on the noon train but is still in a dangerous condition. Among those not seriously hurt were Miss Maria Poor, Jessie Laird, Geo. Davis, W. A. Steele, Effle Clara, Ed. Crossland, W. F. Scott, Mrs. Davis, Jessie Murfin, George Blagg, Maggie Snyder, Arty Monahan.
The excursionists behaved with great coolness and judgment under the frightful circumstances, and ever body on board appeared to be helping each other to escape from the wreck, Many brave acts were performed by those who escaped uninjured but we have not the name of the heroes and can not make special mention of them as we would like to do.
The people of Waverly, without any exception, did everything in their power for the wrecked excursionists. Everybody threw their houses open to them and stood ready and anxious to render the unfortunate stranger ever kindness and attention possible.
The Railroad Company acted with all the promptness possible under the circumstances and by noon Monday the wreck was entirely cleared away, a new bridge was up and the road was opened to business as usual.
Note train wreck was 7th of August) Aug 1880 Waverly Watchman
Note: The passenger station was on the west side of town, on the south side of SR 220 (West North Street), and on the east side of the tracks.
Our people had not passed over one night from the last brace of disasters until a railroad smash-up was added. About two o'clock, Tuesday morning, a part of a coal train became detached five miles above town on the Southern road. Another train came along and proceeded to run into and demolish the detached part. This occurred on the Comb's trussle and a sketch of the debris made by J. Emmitt show that the boys must have had a fine, splintering old time of it. Fortunately no one was hurt.
27 June 1884 The Republican
On last Saturday Benjamin Farmer, of Seal township, came to town and got chuck full. Late in the evening he started for home, and on reaching the vicinity of Gregg’s Hill he fell off his horse, which ran up on the Ohio Southern tract just as one of the hog engines come along with a heavy train. The result was, a badly mangled up horse and fearfully musses up hog.
August 4, 1885 Waverly Watchman
Duane Kirish, grandson of the fireman, writes that according to the Springfield Daily News, the wreck occurred on Monday, June 25th, 1917. The train that wrecked was engine 201 of extra freight train number 45 from the Detroit Toledo and Ironton railroad. The wreck occurred just seven miles south of Waverly as the engine fell through a burning trestle number.
According to the article there was a dispute over what caused the wreck. The locals thought that burning coal from a earlier passing train set the bridge on fire but D T and I super. G. W. Thompson said that an incendiary was used to set the bridge on fire. Three men, engineer C. H. Littler, fireman Otto Kirish (my grandfather), and brakeman L. R. Shafer were killed. Littler and my grandfather were scalded to death and Shaffer died of injuries sustained when he jumped from the engine. All three were from Springfield, Ohio, thus the newspaper account in the Springfield Daily News.
From my research I know that engine 201 was a 2-8-0 consolidation. My father Otto Kirish was placed at Mooseheart Orphanage in Illinois because of his father's death.
D., T. & I. Engine No. 201 with Tender and Box-car Loaded with Soda Ash From Eighteen Foot Trestle Near Given
Monday morning at 2:58 an extra freight east bound on the D., T. & I. ran onto a burning trestle near Given's Station and three lives paid the toll when the first engine, its tender and a box-car loaded with soda-ash left the track. Engineer Charles Littler and Fireman Kirsche, both of Springfield, and a brakeman, C. L. Schaeffer, of Baltimore, Md., were in engine No. 201 while only one box-car separated the first and second engine, the latter being in charge of Engineer Orval Easterday, also of Springfield. It was very evident that Littler saw the fire for after approaching to within a hundred feet of the burning trestle he whistled off brakes to the following engine and applied his own. The train had slowed down until is was barely moving, but the impetus of the long string of cars shoved the first engine, its tender, a box car and about eight feet or more of the second engine, upon the burning trestle, when Littler's engine appeared to rise up in front and plunged to the ground below, a distance of eighteen or twenty feet. Neither Littler nor Kirsche made an effort to jump while C. L. Schaeffer, a brakeman, who was riding on the front engine plunged to the right as the engine plunged to the left. Engineer Easterday reversed his engine and backed the train for a short distance after which he and his fireman along with the other brakeman went to the assistance of the three men on engine No. 201. Easterday, found Schaeffer laying near the trestle about middle way of the ravine in an unconscious state. The man had evidently fallen on his face and breast, blood was gushing from his nose and mouth. The unconscious man was carried a short distance back on the right-of-way to a small mound where he was made comfortable until 6:30 in the morning, when along with the bodies of Littler and Kirsche, he was brought to Waverly, where medical attention was given him. While Easterday was busying himself with the injured and getting the train on a side track the rear-end brakeman was searching for the engineer and fireman of No. 201. Failing to find them any where he decided that they were in the cab of the derailed locomotive but was forced to wait until the escaping steam had abated, after thirty minutes he was able to craw into the cab and her found Littler and Kirsche. Little was lying on his back with his head and shoulders buried under coal which came into the back end of the cab. The fireman, Otto Kirsche, was standing on his head, his body being held in this position by the boiler, when found he had a handkerchief over his face and was not covered with coal nor mutilated in any way, other than being horrible scaled. Littler suffered a crushed head and a six inch cut in the abdomen.
After being brought to Waverly the remains of Littler and Kirsche were taken to Gehres' mortuary where they were prepared for burial, while Schaeffer was taken to Dr. Andre's office where it was ascertain the he suffered fro a fractured skull and crushed thorax; he died about 12:30 p.m. the same day after heroic efforts had been made to save his life. All three bodies were shipped to Springfield on No. 6 Monday. Littler and Kirsche were both married and each is survived by a widow and three children. Schaeffer was a single man.
A force of men was busy early Monday morning clearing away the wreckage and building a tract down to the wrecked engine. The bridge carpenters arrive on the scene at one o'clock Monday and by Tuesday traffic was again resumed. The 201 is one of the two giant engines put into service by the D. T. & I. last summer and was supposed to be the best engine on the road. It was taken to Jackson for repairs.
Chas. Littler was well known to many people, he having been for a long number of years on the "hill run" out of Waverly.
All during Monday hundreds of machines made trips between the village and Given's Station caring sight-seers while hundred of visitors from other villages and cities viewed the wreck which in the most disastrous of any railroad wreck occurring in Pike county.
Deputy State Fire Marshal Edward L. Donovan, of this city, is investigating the fire that damaged the D., T. & I. trestle east of Given Station early Monday and caused an engine to drop twenty feet, three men losing their lives.
Mr. Donovan was ordered by the state fire marshal to make a rigid investigation, it being reported that foreigners working in the vicinity had set the trestle afire.
The structure was on fire twice Sunday afternoon, J. H. Weaver, farmer extinguishing the fire. Guy O. Brammer, of Beaver, passed the trestle in an automobile about midnight Sunday and saw smoke but did not pay any attention to it. Weaver is of the opinion that the fire smoldered afar he put it out the second time. Resident in the vicinity do not put much faith in the theory that is was set afire by foreigners.
J. H. Frazer, general manager of the D., T.& I. of Springfield, arrived at the scene of the accident Monday in a special car and remained on the scene all day.
The stringers were partly burned away, while the supports were only slightly charred at the time the wreck occurred. After the engine had left the trestle the fire burned briskly for more than four hours and a great part the destruction by fire was done after the wreck had occurred. The fire did not communicate to the wreckage.
28 June 1917 Waverly Watchman
BIG TRESTLE AT PECK BURNS
Sunday night fire destroyed part of the big Peck trestle of the D. T. & I. railroad. The fire is supposed to have started from a spark dropped by a passing locomotive. About eight bents were destroyed and fire was still burning briskly Monday morning. A temporary trestle will be erected but will be filled in at a later date. R. E. Sharp, of Peck, is putting in the concrete work for the culvert spanning the small run and the arch for the roadway.
Since the burning of the Givens and Peck trestles the D. T. & I. Rail Company has placed men on all its bridges of any size to guard against this danger. It was rumored in this city, Wednesday that several arrests had been made of persons suspected of having knowledge of the origin of the fire which destroyed a part of the Peck trestle Sunday. While his may be possible (incendiarism) it is highly improbable, it being the general believed of all who know anything about these tow trestle, that sparks from passing engines, lodging in the decayed timbers of these structure, have cost three men their lives, two burned trestles for the railroad company, a damaged locomotive and the loss of considerable money on a car of soda ash. It was possible and perhaps is yet, to walk out on the Givens trestle, and with your hand alone, pluck form the cross ties, the spikes which are supposed to hold down the rails. The ninety to a hundred ton locomotives used by this railroad are not things to run across a streak of rust held to ties by spikes that a person off of one trestle could gather enough loses ones to build a small railroad for himself.
Jul 1917 Waverly Watchman
12 Jul 1917 Waverly Watchman
Engineer Littler who was killed in the wreck is the same one who ran into the stock of Andrew Givens and killed one thousand dollars worth of Mules and horses.
It is estimated over one thousand people visited the scene of the D. T. & I. wreck near here when three railroads lost their lives
5 Jul 1917 Waverly Watchman
This side note: The engineer, Easterday who was in control of the second engine died of Heart Attack at Cove and the fireman had to take over the controls. His body was brought to Jackson.
This according to Jim Henry