George "Tug" Wilson, Obituary/Death NoticePorter County obituaries and death notices . . . .

George "Tug" Wilson

Collides With a Train of Sand Cars, And Is Wrecked. One Man Killed, and Two Injured.

The New York Limited Express, No. 5, on the Lake Shore road, was wrecked at Dune Park, a station about five miles west of Chesterton, at nine minutes to eight o'clock, Friday evening last. The train was moving at a rate of 40 miles an hour. The night was a beautiful moonlit one. The trainwas on time to a minute, the locomotive a new one just from the Elkhart shops, and the trainmen, among the oldest on the road. Suddenly the engineer, when about three car lengths away, saw an open switch before him, and on this switch, a train of sand cars. He blew the whistle to warn the passengers, reversed the locomotive, and applied the air brakes, and then came the awful crash. The locomotive was wrecked completely, the boiler being thrown across the main track, the drive wheels wrenched from their places and thrown up on top of the boiler. The baggage car was smashed, thrown to the south, and the smoker, thrown to the north. The giving of these two cars undoubtedly broke the awful shock, and saved the lives of the passengers in the vestibuled coaches. Conductors Harris was sitting in the smoking car, with his feet on the stove, at the time of the crash, and was found sitting on top of the baggage car, where he had been thrown. He was badly injured, but as soon as he recovered his senses, went around to see who were killed. The engineer, Gust Bickell was found in a hole near his seat in the cab, and the fireman, George Wilson was found a short distance from him. A flying piece of timber took Wilson's left arm off just below the shoulder, and another missile was driven partly through his face into his mouth. The train consisted of a baggage car, a smoker, ordinary day coach, and two Wagner sleepers. The sleepers escaped injury, and the passengers transferred to them, and brought back to Chesterton by a freight locomotive that heppened to be there at the time.

Drs. Freen and Kellogg were called to attend to the wounded men. The engineer and conductor would not give up, but kept their feet, and looked after the passengers. The poor fireman lived until 10:30, and died in the waiting room of the Chesterton depot. He suffered great pain, but was fully conscious after the accident until a few minutes before his death. The remains were coffined by Undertaker Lundberg, and sent to Elkhart the following morning. On the road he was known as "Tug" Wilson, and formerly lived at Rolling Prairie. He was 35 years old and left a wife and four children. His funeral occurred last Sunday, the remains having been taken to Rolling Prairie for burial.

The road being blockaded at Dune Park, the passengers of the ill-fated limited train were sent to Chicago over the Michigan Central road, but before leaving this station, they made up a purse of $110, and gave it to Engineer Bicknell. Superintendent Amsden was brought to the scene of the wreck by special train and remained there all night. He began an immediate investigation of the cause of the wreck, which was caused by a misplaced switch.

It seems that Dune Park is a sand shipping station, from which the Knickerbocker Ice company ship sand. Two trains and crews have been stationed at Chesterton for some years past, whose work it is to haul this sand. On the night of the accident, Conductor White's train went into the switch, and left a number of empty cars standing on it. This was at 6:30 p . M. Leaving this switch and going on the main track, they came on to Chesterton, but before starting on the home trip Conductor White sent his brakeman, Jack Dempsy back to shut and lock the switch. The supposition is that instead of closing the switch, he locked it open, not noticing his error in his hurry. The sand train arrived in Chesterton at 6:45, and was followed nine minutes after by the east bound limited express. The switch being what is known as a "split switch," could have easily been passed by an east-bound train, without being derailed. The next train to pass over the road at that point was the west bound limited train at 7:51 p. m. which could not pass the switch. As no trains passed over the road there but those mentioned, it is very probable that Dempsey's carelessness caused the wreck. Had the switch light been burning, the engineer could have saved his train, but this was out, for some reasons not known.

The company sent for Conductor White and his brakeman, Dempsey, who went to Chicago Monday for examination.

Newspaper: The Tribune
Date of Publication: December 12, 1889
Volume Number: 6
Issue Number: 35
Page: 1
Column(s): 4 and 5

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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