Coder, Obituary/Death NoticePorter County obituaries and death notices . . . .


A Lake shore Freight Train Crashes through the Grand Calumet Bridge Last Sunday.
Instantly Killing the Head Brakeman And Wrecking the Locomotive and Fifteen Cars.
A Tank of Naptha Explodes and Envelopes the Whole in Flames.

Last Sunday morning between 8 and 9 o'clock, a freight train drawn by engine No. 90, going west, went through the bridge which crosses the Grand Calumet, on the Lake Shore between Miller Station and Pine, wrekcing fifteen cars loaded with naptha, coke and coal, and instantly killing the head brakeman, named Coder.

For some time past workmen have been at work on this and another bridge. Last Sunday they took out the ties and rails, intending to replace them. The danger signal was placed one-half a mile from the bridge. It seems that the wind was blowing with the track, therefore placing the edge of the flag towards the engineer and could not be seen. A torpedo was also placed on the track beside the flag, but it fell off, and did not give the alarm. The train was going at the ordinary rate of speed, when passing the danger signal, and only then did the engineer see it. He immediately whistled for brakes, and the head brakeman had set brakes on five cars when the bridge was reached. The engineer and fireman jumped, and saved their lives, but so rapidly was the train moving that the engine went across the bridge on the stringers (about 40 feet wide) and had cleared the other side, before the crash. The head brakeman went down, two cars falling on top of him and burying him in the debris. In all 15 cars fell, and were crushed in the ruins, among which was a tank of naptha, which sprung a leak. A search was immediately instituted for the recovery of the remains of the Coder. One of the crew went to Pine and telegraphed for the wrecking train which arrived on the scene about 10 o'clock. Later in the day another wrecking train came, and the work of clearing the track and building a new bridge was instituted. At 1:20 Monday morning the conductor of the wrecked freight, while looking for the body of his brakeman, put his latern down in some of the debris to see. This was near the broken tank of naptha. A gas had formed, and as soon as the latern was lowered, the gas exploded, blowing the conductor into the air, severely burning his arm, and setting fire to the wreck. Despite the united efforts of the wrecking crews the flames could not be quenched and aid from Chicago was summoned. A steamer answered the call, and by 9 o'clock Monday morning the fire was gotten under control. At this writing the body of the brakeman had not been recovered, but it is thought that it was buried in the mud and had escaped cremation. The engineer thought there was several dead bodies under the wreck, and if so they must be those of tramps.

From the time of the wreck until Monday afternoon at four o'clock, all trains were transferred at Porter to the Michigan Central, but at that hour the workmen had a new bridge built, and travel over it was resumed.

Word has been received that the body of Coder has been found. One foot burned off, but otherwise the body was not badly mangled. Coder's home is in Elkhart and we learn that he was the main support of a large family. He had been working on the road but a few months.

Newspaper: The Tribune
Date of Publication: February 2, 1888
Volume Number: 4
Issue Number: 43
Page: 1
Column(s): 3

Key to Newspaper Publication Locations:
    Newspapers Published in Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana
                Chesterton Tribune
                The Tribune
                Westchester Tribune

    Newspapers Published in Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana
                Porter County Vidette
                Practical Observer
                Valparaiso Practical Observer
                Vidette and Republic
                Western Ranger

The obituaries and death notices appearing on this website have been transcribed exactly as they were originally published in the newspaper. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of obituaries and death notices appearing on this website.

Obituary/death notice transcribed by Steven R. Shook


CSS Template by Rambling Soul