Illinois Genealogy Trails
Great Fire at Kankakee, LaSalle Co., Ills.
We learn that on the 9th ultimo, a serious fire occurred at the above names place, entirely destroying the public house of John Beard, Jr. which was occupied by Mr. Maurice Murphy. The building together with the barn, was burnt to the ground. The furniture of the house, and a quantity of hay and grain were also destroyed. The post office being kept in the building, including books, papers, &c. were all consumed in the flames. The total loss is estimated at $5,000, which will fall on the owners, as the property was not insured. The fire when first discovered, was to the bar room , but communicated so rapidly, and spread through the whole building so quick, that the inmates, with much difficulty saved their lives. The fire, it is supposed, originated accidently. [The Illinois Free Trader, Ottawa, Ill, January 1, 1841]
Big Four Wreck
Eight Killed Outright and A Score Injured -- One Section Runs Into Another
Three of the Injured Will Die – The Trains Were Running Too Close Together, and When the Danger Was Discovered It Was Too Late To Prevent The Accident – A Blunder Made
Manteno, Ill., Sept. 20 – The second section of the Big Four express No. 4, southbound, crashed into the rear of the first section at 9:20 o’clock last night. Eight persons were killed outright, three were fatally injured and nearly a score were more or less severely hurt. The engine of the second section ran clear through one sleeper and two coaches. The dead are:
Chris Kimmel, of Dayon, Ohio
David Jackson of Cynthiana, Ohio
J. W. Powell of Vienna, Ohio
L. L. Sweet of Louisville, Ky.
Minnie Dupers of Lower Albany, Ind.
Elderly Man, unidentified
Young Man, unidentified
Young Woman, unidentified
The first section carried one Ohio & Mississippi sleeper for Louisville, one Ohio & Mississippi chair car for Greensburg, Ind., five day coaches and baggage and express cars. It had run to a point three miles south of Manteno when a local train, which was preceding it, slowed up, and a flagman was sent back to intercept it. The engineer on the first section obeyed the signal and drew his train to a standstill. The flagman of the first section in turn started for the rear, but the second section was following so closely that he had gone but a few yards when around a sharp curve the headlight of the second section appeared. The first section was now at a standstill and the second section had not lessened its speed of thirty-five miles an hour. The curve was partly responsible for this.
The flagman jumped down the steep embankment just in time to save himself from death. The engineer, as his locomotive rounded the curve, reversed the engine. Seeing the hopelessness of any attempt to check the speed of his train in so short a distance, he jumped down the embankment, and his fireman followed him.
The crash came then and the locomotive drove ahead with mighty force into the heavy sleeping car, smashing the frame work of its rear end to kindling wood. The sleeping car was in turn driven into the day coach next forward, which gave way more completely, its timbers being lighter. This coach and the coach just forward of it were almost completely demolished.
All of the three cars were crowded with people, more than half of those in the sleeper having retired for the night. The passengers were thrown from their berths and from their seats. Some were crushed under beams and between broken grinding timbers of the wrecked cars.
The Engineer Blamed
Kankakee, Ill., Sept. 20 – The coroner’s inquest developed enough testimony to show that Thomas Ames, the engineer, of the second section of the Washington express, was exceedingly negligent in managing his engine and it looks as if the jury would hold him to await the action of the grand jury.
[The Guthrie Daily Leader; Guthrie, Oklahoma; September 21, 1893 - Transcribed as written by D. Donlon]
Catholic College Destroyed.
Kankakee, Ill., Feb. 23. - St. Viateur's college at Bourbonnais, Ill., two miles north of Kankakee, was totally destroyed by fire during the night. Loss, $175,000. The college is a Roman Catholic institution and was founded in 1865. It has 200 students. No person was injured. [Bismarck Daily Tribune. (Bismarck, Dakota [N.D.]), 23 Feb. 1906]
Kankakee, Ill. - Three newspapers and three theaters put out of business here in a $150,000 property loss fire. Remington theater building completely wrecked. [The day book. (Chicago, Ill.), 03 Oct. 1912.]
Kankakee, Ill - Fire attacked wrecked bakeshop at state asylum and 3,000 patients have to eat gingerbread and biscuits. $15,000 loss. [The Day Book. (Chicago, Ill.), 05 April 1913]
Kankakee, Ill - One woman dead, many people hurt and property destroyed by Hurricane today. [The day book. (Chicago, Ill.), 25 April 1914]
OVER THIRTY DIE IN TRAIN WRECK AT PORTER, IND.
New York Central Flyer Cuts Through Derailed Train. -- TWENTY-SIX BODIES FOUND
Unofficial Report Places Death List As High As Fifty.
TOWERMAN BLAMED, JAILED Many Bodies Unrecognizable; Number Injured Unknown.
PORTER, Ind., Feb. 27, - Between thirty and forty persons were reported killed and an unknown number injured tonight when a westbound New York Central train crashed into a derailed east bound Michigan Central train here in what railroad officials said may be one of the most disastrous wrecks in history. Michigan Central officials placed the number of dead at more than thirty, while unofficial reports made the death list as high as fifty.
The towerman of the Michigan Central was arrested Immediately after the wreck, officials saying they believe he had left a switch closed, causing the derailment of the east-bound train. The Michigan Central train left Chicago at 5:03 p.m. bound for Toronto Canada. It was cut in half by the west bound flyer, and both engines plunged down an embankment.
Both NYC Enginemen Dead
Both enginemen of the New York Central train were killed. The engineer was Claude Johnson, of Elkhart, Ind. Five bodies were recovered near the debris of the two engines. It is believed that virtually all of the dead were in two of the Michigan Central coaches which were demolished when the New York Central train hit it. The only dead known on the New York Central train were the two enginemen. The engineer of the Michigan Central is missing. It was reported that he leaped from his cab when he saw the oncoming New York Central train.
Officials Blame Towerman
The tracks of the two railroads Intersect here at a sharp angle, being almost parallel. The Michigan Central train believed to have started across the intersection and then to have been derailed. The towerman was blamed by railroad officials for allowing the Michigan Central train to attempt to cross ahead of the west-bound train. A few persons living at this junction point immediately began work of rescue, using lanterns In their search for the dead and injured. Relief trains arrived from Michigan City and Chicago about an hour after the wreck carrying nurses and doctors.
The victims were taken to Gary and to Michigan City.
[On the list of deaths:] Roy E. Greenwood, Kankakee, Ill
[1921 March 01; Idaho Statesman]
News Story about Fire at the Asylum
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