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Accident at Coal Creek Bridge


Posted By: Joey Stark
Date: 3/26/2007 at 14:29:53

"Fairfield Ledger Weekly", July 29, 1869

The Coal Creek Accident.--- The Albia "Union" of the 22d says:

The facts elicited at the inquest held on last Friday over the dead bodies of three children of Mr. HERRIOTT, who were drowned by the breaking of the Coal Creek bridge, proved conclusively that the sad disaster was caused by a careless indifference and neglect of the officers and managers of the B. & M. R. R. It was shown in evidence that the agent and employees of the company here were thoroughly cognizant of the dangerous condition of the road, and that telegraphic dispatches had been sent to headquarters at Burlington, warning them that it was unsafe for heavy trains. And yet in the face of these facts, and while the storms raged with increased fury, washing out the grades, a very heavy loaded train of from 15 to 18 cars was sent over the road to be plunged into Coal Creek, thus verifying the truth of the information sent to the officers of the road, but which they in their lofty dignity did not deign to heed. Had that prudence been manifested which it should be expected that men of common sense would display, then that lamentable accident would have been avoided. Railroad smash-ups are becoming too alarmingly frequent, and it is high time that haughty, domineering railroad officials (like the one who drove off some of our best citizens from his special train, when they wished to go to the scene of a disaster to render aid) should be held to a strict accountability, and severely punished whenever accidents can be traced to carelessness.

We can scarcely credit the above, as we think the pecuniary interests of the road, if nothing else would dictate the opposite course; and fear that the indignation of the editor of the "Union" has warped his judgment.

*Transcribed for genealogy purposes; I have no relation to the person(s) mentioned.


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