Thursday, August 11, 2022

The Bunker Hill Railroad Accident of 1857


    Pictured: Hotel and Big Four Railroad Station in Bunker Hill IL

From the Missouri Democrat, August 17, 1857

    Accident on the Terre Haute, Alton and St. Louis Railroad

    On Saturday evening, about eight o'clock, as the westward bound passenger train on the Terre Haute, Alton, and St. Louis railroad had reached a point about one mile from Bunker Hill, IL, the locomotive broke through a bridge, which was constructed over a small creek or ravine.  The baggage and express cars were, at the same time, precipitated beyond the engine and down a steep embankment.

    The car next to the emigrant car, containing a number of ladies and gentlemen, fell in after the engine and was turned up on its forward end.  At the time of the accident, a hard thunderstorm was prevailing, which added to the terror of the occasion.  Another thing which contributed to the dismay of the passengers was the communication of fire to a portion of the train by the explosion of the engine.  The flames, notwithstanding the rain, were spreading rapidly, but by the exertion of the passengers were subdued.

    Edward Warden, fireman, was instantly killed.  Mr. Wilcox, engineer was badly hurt and burned.  The baggage master of the train, whose name we were unable to obtain, and B. Deming, a brakeman, were hurt, but not seriously.

    As if the heavens had conspired to add terror and death to the scene, a little girl, daughter of Mr. Templer, was struck by lightning just after the explosion of the engine took place, and was instantly killed.

    Edward Warden died on August 16, 1857, and is buried in the Bunker Hill Cemetery.

...Read more about this and other Bunker Hill, IL historical stories at

--Cite this story: The Bunker Hill IL Historical Society. "A Look Back in Bunker Hill History." Bunker Hill Gazette-News, July 8, 2021, August 11, 2022.  

No comments:

Post a Comment