James Griffin, Obituary/Death NoticePorter County obituaries and death notices . . . .

James Griffin

Engineer Griffin and Fireman Michael Roach Killed, and the Tracks Blockaded

The worst accident the Lake Shore railroad company has had in this section for many years, heppened Thursday morning, Aug. 13, at 4 o'clock, at a point eight miles east of Chesterton.

Train No. 44, known as the "Newspaper train," was going east, composed of two baggage cars, three mail cars, and a sleeper. This train is a flyer and makes by few stops. A culvert, just east of Otis, and near where the highway crosses the railroad tracks to go to Michigan City, had given way. It bridges a ravine, and was built of stone. Over it is a twenty foot embankment, which extends for a considerable distance. The engine and one car leaped the chasm, and then turned on their sides of the west track. The other cars piled up on top of each other, and the sleeper kept the track.

James Griffin, the oldest engineer on this end of the line, in point of years of service, was found under his engine, with both legs cut off at the hips. He lived 30 minutes. The fireman, Mike Roach, was found with his head crushed and one leg cut off. Death for him came instantly. Stange at it may seem, the large force of mail clerks on board escaped without injury beyond a severe shaking up, and no injuries were sustained by anybody else on the train. The sleeper was filled with passengers, all of whom came out all right.

A message was sent to the wife of the dead engineer, and she and her daughter, a young lady of 17 years old, were hurried to the scene of the wreck from Elkhart as fast as a special could bring them, but they arrived too late to see their loved one alive. Their grief was pitiful. The wife was dazed, but the daughter fully realized the awful calamity that had fallen upon their happy home, and her sorrow was terrible.

Fireman Roach was only recently married, and his home was in Chicago. The railroad company brought Mrs. Roach to the mangled remains of her loved one, and the railroad men did all they could for her. Both bodies were taken to the depot at Otis, and the coroner of Laporte county summoned. After the inquest they were turned over to the relatives and taken to their respective homes.

All traffic was suspended between Laporte and Porter Thursday, and will be for at least three days. All trains now go over the Michigan Central to Michigan City, and thence over the New Albany to Laporte.

The washout requires the building of a temporary trestle 160 feet long and 20 feet high, and a large force of men began clearing away the wreck and building the trestle as soon after the accident as trains could get them there. The heavy rains of late have been severe on all bridges and culverts along this end of the line, and though extra precaution has been taken an accident has happened. Since Friday five men have been killed on the line between Dune Park and Otis, and the railroad men are getting nervous, for it is hard to tell whose turn will be next.

Cause of the Washout.
It was claimed by those who were a wake at the time of the disaster that a cloud burst south of the washout, and water was standing fifteen feet deep at the bridge. Mr. Emil Rozean, who lives one-half mile east, was watching his dam, fearing it would go out, heard the crash of the train, and immediately went to the scene of the wreck, and was one of the first to arrive.

Newspaper: The Westchester Tribune
Date of Publication: August 15, 1896
Volume Number: 13
Issue Number: 18
Page: 1
Column(s): 2 and 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


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