Cedar County, Iowa
Community News

West Branch Times, West Branch, Iowa, Thursday March 24, 1910, page 5
Transcribed by Sharon Elijah, April 6, 2018

All West Branch and Vicinity in Mourning

Last Monday about noon news was received of the disastrous wreck of a Rock Island train near Marshalltown and much speculation was rife as to the safety of a party of people from West Branch and vicinity that had left on that train Sunday night. Two of the party were enroute to Dakota, via Minneapolis, and the other two to Northern Iowa looking for cattle.

The trains, which was a double-header, was made up of No.s 19 and 21, was detoured, on account of a freight wreck near Shellsburg, over the Northwestern to Marshalltown, thence over the Great Western to Waterloo. The train had reached Marshalltown and transferred to the Great Western, both engines running backwards. About eight miles out of Marshalltown the front engine left the track and rammed into the bank, the other engine toppled over, and then occurred one of the worst wrecks in the railroad history of Iowa. The chair and smoking cars were telescoped their entire lengths by the heavy steel sleepers, and the 160 persons in them were almost all either killed outright or more or less injured. The wreck occurred at 8:17 in the morning but not until 9:30 that evening was a word heard of the party from here. Frank Corbin, a former resident of West Branch, telephoned to J. T. Butler the sad news of the tragic death of the entire party, which consisted of C. G. Eves and F. F. Fisher, living in town, and Wm. Ward and N. C. Heacock, farmers living near town. Tuesday morning the news became general and cast a gloom over the entire community. The morning paper s gave an account of the tragedy and a list of the dead and injured, which left no doubt as to the lamentable fate of the entire party. B. A. Gill and Dr. M. W. Munger left on the night train Monday and arrived in Marshalltown in time to identify and look after the preparation of the bodies of the dead. C. W. Yetter of Cedar Rapids was also soon at the scene of the wreck and lent his assistance.

Word was received that the remains of the ill-fated four would arrive at 3:28 in the afternoon Tuesday. The Commercial Club called a hasty session and passed resolution of respect and condolence, and asked that all businesses be suspended during the afternoon, which was done. On the arrival of the train bearing the bodies there were at least 200 people at the station out of respect to the dead. The bodies of C. G. Eves and F. F. Fisher were taken to the home of their grief stricken families. The body of N. C. Heacock was taken on to West Liberty, in charge of his brother-in-law A. W. Jackson, who had gone to the scene of the wreck on receipt of news of the disaster. The remains of Wm. Ward could not be gotten ready in time for shipment with the others but arrived about five o’clock Wednesday morning and were at once taken to his home north of Springdale.

In the history of West Branch there has never occurred a tragedy which has cast such a pall of sadness over the whole community. These four men were all highly respected business men and were widely known. F. F. Fisher was just preparing to move to Cedar Rapids where he had recently purchased a residence, having lately sold his interest in the Fisher & Bell lumber and coal yards. C. G. Eves was a well known merchant and real estate dealer. Wm. Ward and N. C. Heacock were well known farmers and had lived in the vicinity of West Branch for years. The places of these four men can never be filled to their sorrowing families and the heartfelt sympathy of the community is extended them in this their hour of grief.

The funerals of Eves and Fisher were held yesterday from their residences, Eve’s funeral at one o’clock p.m., and Fisher’s at three, the remains being laid to rest in the cemetery on the hill. The funerals were largely attended showing the respect and esteem in which they were held. The funeral of N. C. Heacock was also held yesterday with interment at the Honey Grove cemetery. The funeral of Wm. Ward occurs today with interment in the Springdale cemetery.

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Page created April 6, 2018 by Lynn McCleary