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Title: Obituaries Williamsport, IN. Warren Review- Thursday, August 20, 1896 Edition
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The deputy coroner, T. A. Clifton, was notified Friday evening about 8 o'clock that a fireman on the Wabash Railroad had just been killed between Marshfield and West Lebanon and that the remains had been taken to West Lebanon where the company awaited orders. The coroner went at once to the scene and afer viewing the remains and causing an examination to be made by a physician, they were turned over to undertaker F. H. Push, whom the company had instructed to prepare them for burial. This was done and the remains were taken Saturday to Andrews where they were taken in charge by friends and laid to rest. The coroner's inquest was completed at Williamsport on Saturday and Monday when a most careful investigation developed the following facts: The body of the unfortunate man was that of John O'Reagan, of Detroit, Mich., a fireman, who had been in the employ of the Wabash Railroad since January 1895. He was 27 years old, unmarried, of temperate habits, and a trusted employee of the company. Much of this time he had been employed on this division of the road. About 5:20 p.m. Friday the first section of the fast freight no. 64 left Tilton, Ill., east, over an hour late. This train, consisting of twenty-one loaded cars and a caboose, was pulled by engine No. 352, manned by engineer Harry E. Dart and fireman John O'Reagan. The engine had been carefully prepared for the road and inspected after the usual custom, by the engineer and fireman during the day, before taking charge of the train, in the yards at Tilton and nothing unusual occured on the run, which was a fast one, until when a half mile east of Marshfield, this county, the engine suddenly broke away from its tender and fireman O'Reagan, who was standing over the poening between the tender and engine, was thrown to the tracks and almost the entire train passed over his body. The body was stripped of its clothing, except a few shreds and one shoe, the head was crushed and severed from teh trunk, as was the rught arm close to the shoulder and the right foot just above the ankle. Death was undoubtedly instantaneous as the body was mangled beyond recognition. The remains were collected on a stretcher by the train crew and later brought to West Lebanon where they were placed in charge of the coroner. They were afterwards prepared for burial and shipped to friends at Andrews where they were interred Sunday. From the developments at the inquest it appears, from additional points brought out, at the point where the accident occurred the train was running at the rate of about thirty five miles per hour and that under the additional strain, occasioned probably by either an additional head of steam or the bursting of an air pipe, which had the effect of at once setting the air brakes on almost the entire train, the connecting bar between the engine and tender, and in which there was a serious flaw, parted, thus allowing the engine to separate from her tender and precipitate the fireman, John O'Reagan, who stood firing, with one foot on the engine and the other on the tender, to the tracks below where he was run over by the following train, which ran about the length of itself after the engine had broken away. O'Reagan was about 27 years old, light of complextion, of the average height and weighed about 160 pounds. His former home was in Detroit, Michigan, but he had no near relatives living, his father and mother both being dead. He is said to have been an exemplary young man and possessed no bad habits. The railroad authorities state that the accident, deplored by them, was a most peculiar one and the first of the kind that has ever occurred on the road. The following is the coroner's verdict: "After viewing the body, hearing the evidence and carefully considering the same, I found that the said John O'Reagan came to his death by falling beneath the first section of train number sixty four, and by being run over by the same, near Marshfield, Ind., about 6:15 p.m. on August 14th 1896, said accident being due to the parting of endine and tender number 352, upon which he firing, from the breaking of the defective drawbar which connected the same, and the safety chains thereto attached. I also further find that the Wabash Railroad Company had used their usual precautions to prevent such accident." Clara, the 16-year-old daughter of Wesley Smith, died at her home in Independence of typhoid fever Wednesday morning. The funeral services will occur today.

Date: 8/20/1896
Origin: Warren Review Extracted from Microfilm
Author: Sharon Roberts
Record ID: 00003561
Type: Obituary
Source Archive: Williamsport-Washington Township Public Library
Date Entered: 4/29/2014
Entered By: Chris Brown

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