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NATIVE KENTUCKY BALLADS / 075
The Wreck at Latonia



At the time of posting this, I haven't yet seen this ballad. I learned of its existence from G. Malcolm Laws' Native American Balladry (p271) where the title ("The Wreck at Latona") is listed with other "native ballads of doubtful currency in tradition." Laws summarized the plot in a few words: "The engineer and fireman die when the brakes fail." Using broad search terms at first ("Latonia," "wreck", etc.) I also tried different combinations of keywords and eventually zeroed in on what seemed to be the most notable railroad accident to occur near Latonia, a collision that happened in February 1906. In accord with Laws' succinct plot summary, the newspaper accounts confirmed that an engineer and fireman died, although it was not brake failure but human error that seemed to be at fault. Relatively speaking in terms of railroad disasters, the Latonia wreck was not as sensational as some, and thus newspaper coverage was not extensive, although some mention of it did turn up as far away as the Pacific Northwest. Laws' source for the ballad was Celestin Pierre Cambiaire's East Tennessee and Western Virginia Mountain Ballads, published in London by the Mitre Press in 1934. I hope to track this down soon. Meanwhile, I have transcribed the clippings below that give details about the wreck, its cause and outcome, and the people affected. In addition to the "facts" behind the event, the story includes an interesting folklore element—a premonition by the regular engineer who escaped death because of a dream.

 

Clippings transcribed August 2016


February 14, 1906 / Cincinnati Enquirer (Ohio)


RUSHED


Past the “Red Block”


And Daring Engineer Paid Penalty With His Life.


Failure to Obey Signal Displayed at Station


Said To Be Cause of Frightful Head-On Collision.


Over a Score of Persons Injured When Two Trains Met Below Latonia—Two Dead.


[LIST OF DEAD AND INJURED]


THE DEAD.


ENGINEER PETER MURPHY, of Covington.

FIREMAN JOSEPH STOUT, Louisville.

Seriously injured:

NEWTON W. NILES, baggagemaster; skull fractured.


THE INJURED.


The injured on the north-bound train, which comprised a combination coach, day coach, one Nashville-New York sleeper and a dining car were:


FRANK LINDSEY, Cincinnati, a mail clerk; bruised about the head and body.

JOHN A. O’CONNOR, Cincinnati, mail clerk; bruised internally and cut about the head and arms.

E. M. BONTA, Cincinnati, mail clerk, crushed foot and badly bruised.

GEO. EUBANKS, Crescent Springs, Ky., a mail clerk; both arms hurt and contusion of the head.

F. SCHACHLE, Butler, Ky., mail clerk; both arms bruised and head cut.

BROOCKS MOORE, colored cook, Louisville; internally injured.

THEO. QUARRELS, Cincinnati; head cut and internal injuries.

GEORGE RINGOLD, colored chef, Cincinnati; badly injured internally.

JOSEPH TAYLOR, colored waiter, Cincinnati; cut in mouth badly and internally injured.

H. D. WITHERS, colored waiter, Louisville; head and shoulders badly contused.

J. O. LATTIMER, colored, Gallatin, Tenn., waiter; head and body contused.

GEORGE KELLY, colored waiter, Louisville; cuts about head and hands.

H. QUINN, colored, sleeping car porter, from Jersey City; slightly injured about head.

H. M. THOMAS, express messenger, Newport; cut in forehead.

R. W. LOCKWOOD, baggage master; internal injuries.

JAS. MAHONEY, engineer; crushed foot and bruises about body.

CONDUCTOR P. J. FITZGERALD is slightly injured about arms.

MRS. TILLIE WALTERS, Eagle Station, Ky.; slight injuries.

GEORGE A. GREEN, flagman; wrenched neck.


With a crash heard three miles distant, and a scream of whistles, as if the steel leviathan engines themselves suffered agony like the unfortunate dead and injured at their meeting, two passenger locomotives traveling at the rate of about 45 miles an hour met in a head-on collision at Maurice Station, on the L. and N. Railroad, a few miles south of Latonia, about 4 o’clock yesterday afternoon.


Engineer Peter Murphy, at the throttle of the Nashville and Cincinnati express train No. 8, and Fireman Joseph Stout, on the southbound No. 9, light passenger train, were almost instantly killed. The body of Murphy fell backward out of the cab, and was picked up in a parboiled mass and placed in a blanket.


Stout, who was pulled from under his engine, gasped, tried to speak, and expired. he was crushed almost to a pulp.


Engineer James Mahoney, a veteran railroader, saw the northbound train round the long curve in time to plunge head first from his cab into the soft, muddy embankment of the deep cut or gorge in which the accident happened. He sustained internal injuries  and a crushed foot and was removed with three other persons to St. Elizabeth Hospital, Covington. While there may have been some hurt of whom no trace could be secured, those known to have suffered injuries number over 20, but none of these, it was said, were dangerously hurt, except Baggagemaster Niles. As is usual on such occasions the real cause of the accident is somewhat confused.


The northbound train left Nashville, Tenn., yesterday morning, at 8 o’clock, and the local passenger No. 9 left Cincinnati at 3:40 p.m. The northbound train was 15 minutes late, it is said, and should have side-tracked at Maurice Station. Murphy, however, undertook to make the distance to Milldale, two and one half miles further north. The southbound train was traveling on time orders. The operator at Maurice Station, however, claimed that he gave No. 8 the “red block,” which means stop, and that the signal was ignored.


Both Men Jumped.


The engineer on one train being on the inside of the curve and the fireman on the other occupying a like position, were enabled to get a flash of the impending danger and jumped to safety. The ten-wheel mogul engine on the north-bound train was stripped of its coat of sheet iron, cast up into the air, and in falling was completely reversed and left after the wreck headed toward the south. The other was a complete wreck, and the damage is estimated at $30,000 to the railroad company.


The bumpers were crushed behind each engine and the vestibules and windows reduced to splinters. Seats were piled up on top of one another in both trains, and how it happened that others were not killed outright seems little [short] of a miracle. As it was, both, being heavy with passengers, suffered a twisting and shaking up that sent showers of broken glass over men, women and children without seriously injuring very many, if any. Those who were more badly injured suffered from being hurled against seats and sides of the cars.


H. M. Thomas, express messenger on the north-bound train, and who lives in Newport, was hurled the length of his car and found himself in a chicken coop with trunks, boxes and packages piled upon the coop. He escaped with a cut in the forehead and another in his wrist, but did not leave his car.


The dead were taken as soon as possible to Menninger’s [morgue] in Covington and four of the injured in St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. Others who were not so seriously hurt were cared for on the scene by eight doctors, who, with surgeons of the road, hurried to the wreck. In a short space of time two wrecking trains and a relief train appeared and thousands of people gathered about the place, which resembled an army camp. Bonfires were built on the bluffs or ridges on either side of the tracks and the wounded treated beside them or in the rear cars, where women and children were still in hysterics.


A heavy fog settled over the scene, which is practically in the country, though known as Sanford Town. Clouds of steam were still curling up in clouds at 10 o’clock and the wreckers worked like Turks, hoping to get the tracks clear by this early morning.


Of the four injured members of the train crews who were removed to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, in Covington, one, W. N. Niles, baggagemaster, will probably die. He has a fracture of the skull, and Dr. Charles Kearns, the attending physician, stated that the chances were against him. Engineer J. L. Mahorney, Conductor P. J. Fitzgerald and R. W. Lockwood were not so seriously hurt and may recover.


On a Special Train.


The injured men were brought to Covington on a special train and removed to the hospital in the ambulances of Gus. W. Menninger, Donnelly Bros. and Linneman & Moore. At the scene of the collision and en route to the hospital they were attended by Drs. Charles Kearns, R. Lee Bird, R. E. Carlton, J. M. Simpson and H. C. White.


Coroner W. W. Tarvin was notified and called at the morgue, where he viewed the bodies. He will make an investigation into the cause of the collision, and, if possible, place the blame, if blame should attach to any one. This investigation, however, will require much time, and may not be completed for several days, probably weeks.


Fireman Stout, who was killed, was married about three years ago to a daughter of William Deschler, of Latonia. His wife was at her home in Louisville, but a telegram was sent to her last night by her father, and she will arrive in Latonia this morning. They had no children.


When it was seen that the two trains would collide Engineer Mahorney called to Stout to jump, but the latter stuck to his post and was fatally mashed and crushed. Mahorney jumped and escaped with only slight injuries.


Louisville and Nashville employees in Covington and Latonia could give no explanation as to the cause of the collision. Trains on this division are operated from Louisville, and all reports will be made to that office. One of the wrecking trains rushed to the scene was from Latonia and one from Louisville, the latter a steam wrecker, arriving about 9:30.


The passengers of both trains were brought to Cincinnati on a special train. Many of them were badly shaken up, but none sustained serious injuries.


Train No. 9, south bound, according to Conductor P. J. Fitzgerald, had orders to pass the through train at Maurice switch. Members of the crew believed that No. 8 was running under a 15 minutes late order and the train was running on good time. Conductor Fitzgerald, who was badly hurt, stated to a rescuer that none of his men could be blamed for the catastrophe. He claimed he was given a clear block at Milldale, with the understanding that he was to meet the flier at Maurice switch. Number nine yesterday carried an extra day coach. The train consisted of a combination baggage and Jim Crow car, a smoker and two day coaches.


Conflicting statements were given out by railroad men as to whether the outgoing train was on time or not, and it was claimed by some that the extra coach, or “anchor,” as it is known to railroad men, was responsible for several minutes being lost in getting out of Cincinnati. The time the Louisville accommodation passed Milldale could not be definitely ascertained yesterday.


Harry Quinn, the colored porter on the Pullman sleeping car attached to No. 8, had a narrow escape from being killed. He was coming from the drawing room compartment when the crash came and was thrown headlong the entire length of the car. His head struck on a cushion of an unoccupied seat in the front of the car and he fell to the floor uninjured except for a few bruises.


ILL FATED


Has Been the Railroad Career of Mahoney, Who Always Escaped.


Peter Murphy, who was crushed to death, was one of the oldest freight engineers in the service of the L. and N., and was regarded as one of the safest men on the road. He was not on his regular run, but was directed to take the place of “Pope” McKinney, who is ill. Murphy was about 47 years of age, married and has a large family living in Louisville.


Joseph Stout, aged 32, the fireman, had been connected with the road for about six years, and leaves a widow and one child. He was a son-in-law of William Deshler, of Latonia.


Engineer Mahoney was taken to the St. Elizabeth Hospital, and soon after his wounds were dressed enjoyed a big plate of eggs with milk and toast. He said he knew nothing about the accident. He is about 65 years of age, and is the oldest engineer running on this division.


He has been in a number of bad wrecks, but it is said the one of yesterday was the worst. He was in one wreck near the of the one yesterday, and was buried beneath the fire box for some time before [being] rescued. His injuries were considered serious, but he managed to pull through. He was in another bad smash-up in Latonia a few months later, but escaped with some bad cuts and bruises. In 1884, while rounding the curve in Finchtown, back of Newport, his engine turned over with him. His fireman, Daniel Hufnagel, was caught beneath the fire box and his body almost burned to a crisp.


“Whistling Jim,” as he is familiarly called, can almost play a tune on a locomotive whistle, and is said to have the crow whistle down finer than any engineer running out of Cincinnati.


Every person along the road from Latonia to Louisville knows his whistle, and every one  gives him “a high ball” as he passes. He is called “old reliable,” and as stated has received some hard knocks. He is known as one of the bravest runners on the road, and will go back to his post of duty unshaken.


It was stated last night that the red block was showing when Murphy passed the Independence Station, but that the train kept on going at a rapid clip. This, however, cannot be verified until the officials have made a thorough investigation. Mahoney, it is said, had orders to take a siding about 100 yards, from Maurice Station to let Murphy pass, but he could not make it.


All of the men in the wreck have a host of friends in Covington and Latonia. There is no operator at Maurice Station, and on several occasions several spills have taken place there, but none of a serious nature.


An ex-engineer in discussing the wreck said that he never saw two engines so completely wrecked as the ones in this smash-up.


The first words spoken after the wreck by Engineer Mahoney were: “Here’s old Jim: you can’t kill him!” This was in spite of the fact that his legs were terribly crushed and his body badly bruised.


“CRUSHED LIKE PAPER”


Was the Little Locomotive, Said Farmer Who Saw Collision.


Herman Saunders, a farmer living near the scene, and who witnessed the collision, said:


“I was standing on the turnpike looking for a stray cow, when I heard the whistles of the two engines. They sounded strangely, and I looked down into the railroad ditch only to see the two engines coming together. No. 8 was going at a terrific speed, while No. 9 was slowing down to take the siding at Maurice switch. I noticed two figures leave the cab window of both trains, and it must have been the engineer and the fireman who were killed. The engines struck with a crash that startled the entire neighborhood. The little engine on No. 9 was crushed like paper. Engine 228, of the through train, stood up on end, then seemed to waver for a second, and finally fell back into the debris.


“I ran down to the wreck and assisted in taking the bodies of the two dead men from the wreck. Then we turned our attention to the injured. Engineer Jim Mahoney was the first taken from the debris. He has his foot crushed by an immense piece of iron from one of the engines, and his head was buried in mud and badly bruised, as he had landed head first when he made the dive from the cab window. We found many of the passengers stunned, but they were soon revived. The seats in the cars of both trains were badly broken up, and very few of the passengers escaped some severe bruises.”


THREE MILES AWAY


Report Was Heard When the Two Locomotives Collided.


Albert Hahn, a Sanfordtown lad, who happened to be standing on the edge of the cut when the trains met, says the noise of the crash could be heard at the Orphan’s Home, as a man coming in from there soon after it occurred had said he heard the report at that place, which is three miles away.


“It was a terrible sight,” said Hahn. “The north-bound train came sailing round the curve at about 45 miles an hour, and the other was going pretty fast. When they crashed there was a deafening report, followed by the shriek of the locomotive whistles. Both engines leaped up into the air like wild animals, and the north-bound careened and turned completely round in the air before it struck the earth and turned over. Then came a cloud of steam and shrieks of people. Glass flew in all directions and in a short while the passengers were trying to get Stout out from under the wreckage. It was all over in a minute. Murphy was boiled and was still boiling when they got to his body. It was all too sickening to think about.”


DIDN’T KNOW


Where She Struck When the Collision Occurred.


Miss Tillie Walters, who lives at Eagle Station, Ky., was one of the passengers in the ladies’ coach on the south-bound train. With her was her little daughter, aged 4. Mrs. Walters sustained a bad bruise on the mouth and the left side of her jaw. “I can’t tell just how it happened or how I was hurt,” she said. “I was thrown violently forward when the crash came, but can’t say where I struck. My little girl, as you can see, wasn’t hurt at all. I don’t think the others in our car were injured, except one man who was taken away from the Pennsylvania Station in a cab.” Mrs. Walters, while suffering a good deal of pain, was able to resume her journey, and went home at 8:30 o’clock last night.


Another passenger on the rear car of Train No. 9 was W. S. Corbin, of Campbellsburg, Ky., but he escaped without a scratch, although he said that he and all the others were badly shaken up and scared. None of the passengers who sustained injuries, with one or two exceptions were brought to this side of the river.


BOYISH FLAGMEN


On First Trip Out Meet With Misfortune.


James E. Oben, aged 21, and George A. Green, aged 21, were working their first run over the road to learn the stations as flagmen. Green was tossed over about four seats and landed on the floor. His injuries consist of a sprained neck and bruises about the chest. Oben was injured about the chest. Both will again go on the road just as soon as they are able.


Master Mechanic Adair, who has just recovered from a serious attack of pneumonia, was on the scene in a short time with the wrecking crew from Latonia. As soon as he ascertained the exact state of affairs he telegraphed to Louisville for the steam wrecker.


JIM MAHONEY


Tells How He Tried To Save His Fireman.


To a relative of his Engineer Jim Mahoney stated last night that he tried to keep Fireman Stout from jumping from the cab to his death. He says he stuck to his post and did not jump, and that the accident must have occurred through wrong orders having been given, or that Engineer Murphy’s watch may have been wrong. He claims that it could not have been caused by any oversight on the part of Conductor Fitzgerald, on his train.


COLONEL ARNOLD’S STATEMENT.


Colonel Brent Arnold, Superintendent of Terminals of the L. and N., made the following statement last night to an Enquirer reporter: “No. 9, which leaves here at 3:40 p.m., is a local between here and Louisville. It was to take the siding at Maurice Station, about three miles south of Latonia. No. 8 is a through train from Nashville, and is due here at 4:20 p.m. Whether the local train was behind time or No. 8 was ahead of time has not been determined. When I received word of the wreck I immediately sent surgeons from Latonia to the scene of the collision. No passengers were seriously injured, so I have been informed.”


APPLIED THE AIR.


Mrs. J. C. Coleman, Sr., Misses Birdie and Ophelia Coleman and a Mr. James, of Shepherdsville, Ky., were passengers on the north-bound train. They dined at the Gibson House and at 9 o’clock boarded a train for New York. Mr. James’s leg was slightly wrenched. He said:


“If our heavy train had struck the lighter accommodation two minutes before it did the loss of life would have been awful. The engineer of our train applied the air, and when we struck the accommodation we were traveling at about 10 miles an hour. Just before we were going at a terrific speed.”




February 14, 1906 / Coshocton Tribune (Ohio)


TWO KILLED IN COLLISION


L. & N. Flyer And Local Crash Just South of Cincinnati.


Cincinnati, O., Feb. 14.—In a head end collision between the New Orleans  flyer, north-bound, and a local passenger train, southbound, on the Louisville and Nashville railroad at Maurice Station, three miles south of Latonia, Ky., two trainmen were killed, four trainmen injured and two passengers received bruises.


The dead: Engineer Peter Murphy, Louisville; Fireman Joseph Stout, Louisville.


The injured: W. N. Miles, flagman, Louisville, skull fractured, condition critical; G. L. Mahoney, engineer, Louisville, ankle sprained, bruised; Patrick J. Fitzpatrick, conductor, Louisville, scalp wounds; R. W. Lockwood, baggagemaster, Louisville, internal injuries; Mrs. Kelly Watters, Eagle Station, Ky., and Thomas G. Graves, Campbellsville, Ky., both passengers on the local train, were slightly injured.


The south-bound train left Cincinnati at 3:40. When the train arrived at Latonia the conductor was informed that the fast train, north-bound, was 15 minutes late. The engineer of the south-bound train believed he could make the siding at Maurice Station and proceeded to that place. He was just switching into the siding when the north-bound train, which had made up the lost time, crashed into the south-bound train.




February 14, 1906 / Lima News (Ohio)


Flyer Crashes Into a Local


Collision of Passenger Trains Occurs Below Cincinnati—Two People Dead, Six Hurt.


Cincinnati, O., Feb. 14.,—In a head-end collision between the New Orleans express, northbound, and local passenger train No. 9, south bound, on the Louisville & Nashville railroad at Maurice Station, three miles south of Latonia, Ky., two trainmen were killed, four trainmen injured, and two passengers received slight bruises. The dead: Engineer Peter Murphy, Louisville; Fireman Joseph Stout, Louisville. Seriously injured: W. N. Miles, flagman, Louisville, skull fractured, G. L. Mahoney, engineer, Louisville; Patrick K. Fitzgerald, conductor, Louisville; R. W. Lockwood, baggage master, Louisville, internal injuries; Mrs. Kelly Waters of Eagle Station, Ky.; Thomas G. Graves of Campbellsburg [sic].


When the train which left Cincinnati arrived at Latonia the conductor was informed that the fast train, north bound, was 15 minutes late. The engineer of the south bound train believed he could make the siding at Maurice Station and proceeded to the place. He was just switching into the siding when the north bound train, which had made up the lost time, crashed into the south bound train. Both engines were badly demolished, but none of the cars were damaged.




February 14, 1906 / Louisville Courier Journal (Kentucky)


TWO TRAINMEN KILLED OUTRIGHT


Six Others Injured In Wreck Near Latonia.


L. and N. Express Collides With Local Passenger.


Conductor Takes Chance At Making Siding.


NO PASSENGERS BADLY HURT.


Cincinnati, Feb. 13. — [Special.] — Rounding a sharp curve two and a half miles south of Latonia, Ky., at 5:15 o’clock this afternoon passenger train No. 9, southbound, on the L. and N. railroad, collided head on with northbound passenger train No. 8. Two trainmen were killed, four trainmen were injured, two of whom probably will die, and several passengers sustained slight injuries.


The Dead.


PETER MURPHY, engineer, Louisville.

JOSEPH STOUT, fireman, Louisville.


The Injured.


W. N. MILES, flagman, Louisville; skull fractured; operation of trepanning performed and injury probably fatal.

R. W. LOCKWOOD, baggagemaster, Parkland, Louisville; multiple wounds of head and body; bruises, condition critical.

PATRICK J. FITZGERALD, conductor, Louisville; scalp wound, body bruised; recovery expected.

A. L. (JIM) MAHONEY, engineer; ankle sprained and slight bruises; recovery expected.

MRS. LILLIE WATERS, passenger, Eagle Station, Ky.; face cut, not serious.

THOMAS P. GRAVE, passenger, Campbellsburg, Ky.; wrist sprained and minor cuts and bruises.

SIDNEY WILLIAMS, colored, dining-car waiter; back sprained, hands cut; not serious.

FRED SAUNDERS, colored, dining-car cook; shoulder dislocated and body cut; not serious.


Impact Was Fearful.


The south-bound train, known as the Louisville accommodation, was running at a high rate of speed, and the impact of the collision was fearful. Both engines reared high in the air, reeled on their rear trucks and fell backward on opposite sides of the track.


The engine of the south-bound train carried with it Fireman Stout, and when rescuers reached him he was dead, pinned under a great weight of steel. Engineer Murphy, of the northbound train, known as the Louisville and Nashville express, was thrown back on the tender of his engine, impaled there on a sharp corner of iron and the life was literally torn, crushed and burned out of his helpless form before aid could reach him.


Both trains were laden with passengers, and the force of the collision threw these about in the coaches behind like so many wind-tossed straws. Many were painfully injured, but through some rare good fortune all the coaches remained on the track, and injuries to passengers were confined to cuts and bruises.


The trainmen were not so fortunate, and the three of the crew of the local train suffered serious injuries—Conductor Fitzgerald, Baggageman Lockwood and Flagman Miles.


Misunderstanding of Orders.


The wreck occurring on the single track roadway was due to a misunderstanding of orders on the part of someone. Fireman Stout died while he was being taken from beneath the engine. On the side of his head was a great hole, where a missile of steel had struck him.


Further away, near the distorted wreck of his own great engine, lay the mangled and lifeless form of Engineer Murphy. He had died at his post. As his engine reared he was thrown back onto the tender behind, caught there and held on a torn piece of iron, the jagged point was driven deep into his side and held there, while steam cooked his flesh, the reeling locomotive crushed his lower limbs and flying fragments of steel cut his body.


An Official Statement.


Brent Arnold, general freight agent and superintendent of the Louisville and Nashville railroad, gave out the following statement of the wreck and its cause:


“The train which leaves Cincinnati at 3:40 p.m. is a local which makes all stops. The usual point of passage of the local south-bound and the north-bound Louisville and Nashville express is at Latonia siding.


“When the local train arrived at Latonia the conductor was informed that the fast train north was fifteen to eighteen minutes late.


“He believed he had time to make the siding at Maurice Station, which is three miles from Latonia. The fast train had made up time, and just as the local was going into the side track the collision occurred.


“Reports from the surgeons are that none of the passengers were at all seriously injured.


BOTH MARRIED MEN.


Murphy and Stout Became Residents of Louisville Last Year.


Peter Murphy, engineer of passenger train No. 8, who was killed, lived at No. 8 Oakdale Terrace, Oakdale. He was not a regular on the run on the Short Line and usually drove freight engines. He had been an engineer for the L. and N. for the last seventeen years and until he went to Oakdale with his family had lived at Covington for ten years. The family took up its residence in Oakdale last November, Mr. Murphy having been assigned to duty out of South Louisville. Previous to his employment as engineer with the L. and N. he had been with the Illinois Central railroad. He was born forty-nine years ago in Steubenville, O., where he had relatives. He is survived by Mrs. Murphy and three children. Two of the children are boys, Harry Murphy, nineteen years of age, who is a fireman on the L. and N., and Rudell Murphy, thirteen years of age. His other child is a girl, Miss Bessie Murphy. The body will be brought to Louisville for burial.


Joseph E. Stout, the fireman on passenger train No. 9, who was killed, lived with his wife and an adopted daughter at 3814 Grand boulevard. He had been employed by the L. and N. for the past four years and previous to coming to Louisville last June had lived at Covington. He was married three years ago and is survived by his wife and an adopted child, Sybila.


He was born at Harrisburg, Ill., twenty-nine years ago. His mother, two sisters and four brothers live at Harrisburg.


Mr. Stout was a veteran of the Spanish-American War and served in the One Hundred and Thirty-sixth infantry. When discharged he was in the hospital corps. The body will be taken to Latonia, the former home of Mrs. Stout. The funeral services will be held there, followed by the burial in Highland Cemetery, five miles from Covington.




February 14, 1906 / Paducah Sun (Kentucky)


Wreck in Kentucky


Louisville, Ky., Feb. 14.—In a collision on the Louisville and Nashville near Maurice Station, Ky., a few miles south of Cincinnati, two employees were killed and five injured. The Passengers were shaken up, but, according to advices received by the Louisville and Nashville officers none were seriously hurt.


The dead:

ENGINEER PETER MURPHY

FIREMAN JOSEPH STOUT


Injured:

Engineer James Maharney.

Conductor P. J. Fitzgerald.

Flagman W. N. Miles.

Baggagemaster R. W. Lockwood.

Negro cook in dining car.




February 14, 1906 / Washington Evening Star (District of Columbia)


WRECK ON THE L. AND N. ROAD.


Two Trainmen Killed, Five Injured, No Passengers Hurt.


In a collision on the L. and N. road, near Maurice station, Kentucky, a few miles south of Cincinnati, yesterday afternoon, between the passenger train which left Nashville at 8 o’clock that morning and the local passenger train leaving Cincinnati at 3:40 p.m., two employees were killed and five injured. The passengers were shaken up, but, according to advices received by the Louisville and Nashville officers, none was seriously hurt. The dead are Engineer Peter Murphy and Fireman Joseph Stout. The injured are Engineer James Maharney, Conductor P. J. Fitzgerald, Flagman W. N. Miles, Baggage Master R. W. Lockwood and a negro cook in the dining car.




February 15, 1906 / Berea Citizen (Kentucky)


TWO TRAINS COLLIDE HEAD END.


BAD WRECK ON THE L. & N. ROAD NEAR LATONIA, KY.


Two Trainmen Were Killed, Four Others Were Severely Injured and Two Passengers Hurt.


Cincinnati, Feb. 14.—In a head-end collision between the New Orleans flyer, north-bound, and a local passenger train, south-bound, on the Louisville and Nashville railroad at Maurice Station, three miles south of Latonia, Ky., two trainmen were killed, four trainmen injured and two passenger received bruises.


The dead: Engineer Peter Murphy, Louisville; Fireman Joseph Stout, Louisville.


The injured: W. N. Miles, flagman, Louisville, skull fractured, condition critical; G. L. Mahoney, engineer, Louisville, ankle sprained, brusied; Patrick J. Fitzgerald, conductor, Louisville, scalp wounds; R. W. Lockwood, baggagemaster, Louisville, internal injuries; Mrs. Kelly Watters, Eagle Station, Ky., and Thomas G. Graves, Campbellsburg, Ky., both passengers on the local train, were slightly injured.


The south-bound train left Cincinnati at 3:40. When the train arrived at Latonia the conductor was informed that the fast train, north-bound, was 15 minutes late. The engineer of the south-bound train believed he could make the siding at Maurice Station and proceeded to that place. He was just switching into the siding when the north-bound train, which had made up the lost time, crashed into the south-bound train.




February 15, 1906 / Louisville Courier Journal (Kentucky)


THIRD VICTIM OF LATONIA WRECK


W. N. MILES DIES AT COVINGTON OF HIS INJURIES


CONDITION OF R. W. LOCKWOOD SERIOUS.


HE PROBABLY WILL RECOVER.


Covington, Ky., Feb. 14.—[Special.]—Death to-night claimed a third victim of the wreck at Latonia, when W. N. Miles died at St. Elizabeth Hospital. His skull was fractured in the collision, and from the first the surgeons had little hope of his recovery. Though an operation was resorted to, he never regained consciousness. Miles’ wife and child arrived from their home in Louisville and reached his bedside in the hospital in time to be with him at the end.


The body was taken to a morgue and will be sent to Louisville for burial tomorrow morning, the wife and child returning with the body.


The body of Engineer Murphy was sent to-day to his home in Louisville.


The condition of Baggagemaster R. W. Lockwood is serious, but he was reported at the hospital to-night as doing nicely, and unless complications set in he will recover.


FUNERAL OF VICTIMS


Killed In L. and N. Wreck Will Take Place To-Morrow.


The funeral services of Peter Murphy, the engineer who was killed in the wreck at Maurice Station Tuesday afternoon will be held at the Church of the Holy Name, 3425 Fourth avenue, at 9 o’clock to-morrow morning. The services will be conducted by the Rev. Father J. T. O’Connor, pastor of the church. The pallbearers will be chosen from among his former associates in the operating department of the Louisville and Nashville railroad. The burial will be in St. Louis cemetery. There will be no services at the home.


Mrs. J. E. Stout, wife of the fireman who was killed in the same wreck, left yesterday morning for the home of her parents in Latonia, Ky., where the body of her husband has been taken and where the funeral services will be held. The burial will be in Highland cemetery, a few miles out of Covington, Ky., where they formerly lived. Mrs. Stout’s adopted daughter, Miss Sybila, will accompany her.


James Mahoney, engineer of passenger train No. 9, who sustained a sprained ankle and other minor injuries in the smash-up, returned to Louisville at 9:30 o’clock last night. Soon after the wreck members of his family were notified of his death, and preparations were made for an immediate trip to the scene of the accident. However, later information was received to the effect that he had escaped with comparatively trifling injuries.


Mr. Mahoney is one of the oldest and best-known engineers on the entire L. and N. system. He is said by his associates in the railroad work to bear a charmed life. He has been involved in different ways in numerous wrecks since he began his railroad career, but has always emerged practically unhurt from smash-ups, where others have lost their lives. He is sixty-five years of age.


Along the road he is known as “Whistling Jim” because of his mastery of the locomotive whistle, and, it is said, can almost make music by operating the whistle cord. He is known to everyone on the road between here and Latonia, and all who see him wave their hands at him. He is further known as the “old reliable,” and is known as the possessor of steadier nerves than most men who handle the throttle.




February 16, 1906 / Cincinnati Enquirer (Ohio)


BY A DREAM


Engineer Herr Was Warned and Escaped Death.


SPECIAL DISPATCH TO THE ENQUIRER.


Louisville, Ky., February 15.—W. N. Herr, the regular engineer of one of the L. and N. trains wrecked near Latonia Tuesday afternoon, quit work for the rest of the month because he dreamed of a tombstone with the word “February” on it. His substitute, Peter Murphy, was killed in the wreck. Herr will now report for duty, believing that the danger of which he was warned in his dream is passed.


R. M. Lockwood, the baggage master injured on the same collision, was brought to his home, 2466 Catalpa street, this city, to-day.




February 16, 1906 / Minneapolis Journal (Minnesota)


HIS LIFE SAVED BY A DREAM, HE SAYS


Journal Special Service.


Louisville, Feb. 16.—That a dream saved his life is the firm conviction of W. W. Herr, an engineer on the Louisville & Nashville railroad. Just before the dawn of Feb. 1 Herr, in his sleep, saw two trains dash together and then the scene of disaster shifted to a cemetery in which there was a long row of tombstones, each of which bore the name W. W. Herr. He immediately obtained a leave of absence for twenty eight days. Peter Murphy, who was given Herr’s run, was killed in the head-on collision near Latonia race track Tuesday, and today Herr reported for work, believing that the dream had “run out.”




February 16, 1906 / Bourbon News (Paris, Kentucky)


HEAD-END COLLISION.


In a head-end collision between the Louisville & Nashville Express No. 8, north-bound, and local passenger No. 9, south-bound, at Maurice Station, three miles south of Latonia, Ky., late Tuesday afternoon, two trainsmen were killed, four trainsmen injured and two passengers recived slight injuries. Several trains passed through this city en route to Louisville on account of the wreck. They arrived at Louisville only six hours late after going almost twice the regular distance.




February 16, 1906 / Stanford Interior Journal (Kentucky)


Rounding a sharp curve near Latonia, passenger train No. 9, southbound, on the L. & N. collided head on with northbound passenger train No. 8. Two trainmen were killed, four trainmen were injured, two of whom probably will die, and several passengers sustained slight injuries.




February 17, 1906 / Kentucky Irish American (Frankfort, Kentucky)


INSTANT DEATH


Was Fate of Peter Murphy, a Popular Locomotive Engineer.


The funeral of Peter Murphy, the locomotive engineer who was killed in a collision on the Louisville & Nashville railroad near Latonia on Tuesday, took place from the Holy Name church yesterday morning, Rev. Father O’Conner officiating at the solemn obsequies which were largely attended. Deceased was forty-nine years of age and is survived by a widow and three children, for whom there is a deep felt sympathy.


A. L. Mahoney, another well known engineer, sustained a sprained ankle and several several bruises in the same accident, but yesterday he was reported as resting easy and on the road to speedy recovery.


Engineer Murphy was an old and faithful employee of the Louisville & Nashville railroad, but had spent the greater part of his life in Covington. He remained at his post of danger even after he saw that the collision was inevitable and was instantly killed.




February 22, 1906 / Walla Walla Evening Statesman (Washington)


HIS LIFE WAS SAVED BY A DREAM


Engineer On Louisville & Nashville Claims Had Vision of Train Wreck That Occurred.


Louisville, Feb. 16.—That a dream saved his life is the firm conviction of W. W. Herr, an engineer on the Louisville & Nashville railroad. Just before the dawn of Feb. 1 Herr, in his sleep, saw two trains dash together and then the scene of disaster shifted to a cemetery in which there was a long row of tombstones, each of which bore the name W. W. Herr. He immediately obtained a leave of absence for twenty eight days. Peter Murphy, who was given Herr’s run, was killed in the head-on collision near Latonia race track Tuesday, and today Herr reported for work, believing that the dream had “run out.”




May 24, 1906 / Spokane Press (Washington)


TALES BY THE OLD ENGINEER


“Did you ever go to sleep while on duty?” asked the old engineer.


He looked at me quizzically. “That’s a sort of leading question; I did once,” he replied, “and so did my fireman. They’d kept us on duty nearly 48 hours, and we were running right through the depot, when Jim Stevens, another engineer, who was there waiting for his train, noticed something was wrong. Jim, he don’t say nuthin’ but jumped right into the cab and stopped things. Then he backed us up, and poked us other two out from our peaceful slumbers. It was a pretty good thing he did or we would have had a beautiful collision down the line.


“But, talking about going to sleep. I remember two most peculiar affairs. An old friend of mine, Engineer W. W. Herr, of the Louisville & Nashville, believe[s] to this day that a dream saved his life. Herr in his sleep saw two trains dash together. The scene shifted to a cemetery in which was a long row of tombstones each bearing [the] name ‘W. W. Herr.’ He was badly shaken by the dream and got a leave of absence. Pete Murphy, who was given Herr’s run, was killed in the head-on collision near the Latonia race track, two days later.


“I remember, too, of a ‘sleep’ story where a man ran a race with a Santa Fe engine and won, by a margin so narrow that his life almost paid the penalty for his bravery. This man was a policeman of Los Angeles.


“I was driving the big locomotive when I saw ahead a man lying right across the tracks. There was no way for me to stop. Some feet away was a policeman. He also caught sight of the man, and without stopping to think of danger he ran towards the man on the track, stooped while the breadth [sic] of the engine fanned him and dragged the sleeper—for that’s what the individual was—from the rails. It was heroic work. In the fraction of a second more both men would have been ground under the wheels. Their escape was so close that the wind made by the speeding engine knocked them down.


“The worst part of the story is that the policeman didn’t get any thanks for his work.


“The agent who had been slumbering in the path of death rubbed his eyes and looked at his rescuer sourly.


“‘What did you bother me for?’ he asked. ‘I’d been awake in a little while.’ But, then, that’s the best one gets at times for doing things.”



Last updated August 21, 2016.