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New Jersey Herald - February 3, 1870 issue
Dreadful Accident on the Sussex Railroad - On Friday last as the morning passenger train train on the Sussex Railroad, was proceeding on its journey between Waterloo and Newton, at its usual rate of speed, on arriving at the junction of the old mine road, about a half mile north of Andover, the large and powerful engine "Franklin" by which the train was drawn, suddenly mounted the rails on the curve of the road at that point, and the passenger car becoming disengaged from the locomotive it was suddenly whirled down an embankment twenty feet high, a complete wreck. The car containing some twenty five or thirty passengers, landed about fifty feet from the center of the road up-side down, carrying terror and consternation among the maimed and wounded passengers, whilst the locomotive, tender and baggage car passed about 150 yards up the railroad beyond, in an entirely different direction from the demolished car, before its speed was arrested. The car in making its fearful leap had parted with the forward truck at the edge of the railroad embankment, whilst the body of the passenger coach itself, passed nearly a length beyond them, the forward part of the car crushed to the ground, whilst the latter portion rested against a telegraph pole at an angle, but completely reversed. Being ourself among the unfortunates, and the only one among the passengers who maintained his equilibrium during the fearful scene, we can say, that for the first moment after the concussion, there was a silence in the car fearful as death. During the whirl of the car in the air all the passengers were thrown from their seats, and revolved in the angles of the car amid the stove, ashes, wood-work, lamps, plate-glass, cushions and seats, until they were, completely bewildered or stunned by the violence of the concussion. The passengers in the hind most, or south-western portion of the car, were thrown violently forward into one indescribable mass among the wounded. The screams of the wounded and terror-stricken for help soon filled the saloon, and the work of disengaging them from the ruin commenced. There were some six or eight lady passengers; of these four were nearly helpless, either from fright, or wounds; and also two or three gentlemen, who in turn were extricated from their perilous situation, and taken to the dwelling of Mr. George Young, near Andover, who opened his house for the accommodation of the wounded. Among those most severely injured was the wife of a Mr. ____ Strait, of Canisteer; Miss Martha Coursen, daughter of the late Wm. Coursen, of this place, residing in Newark; Mrs. Seal, wife of Mr. ____ Seal, of Newton;the well-known pedlar Fox, and his son, of New York, both badly injured; and V. M. Drake, of Newton, leg badly bruised. Others sustained contusions more or less violent, but not seriously injured. The conductor, engineer, fireman, and brakemen of the train promptly came to our assistance, and in a short time all were safely quartered with Mr. Youngs, who with his wife, done everything in their power to comfort the bleeding, fainting and wounded men and women who were so suddenly precipitated in their midst. Dr. Millar being sent for, soon arrived and prescribed with his usual medical skill for all. Old Mr. Fox was severely cut above the eye; and his son badly injured in the back or loins; Miss Coursen, in the head; and the other ladies sustained internal injuries of a serious character, although none have died. All were taken home the same day, or the day following, except Miss Coursen, who still remains at Mr. Youngs, in a precurious (sic) condition.

Among the passengers who thus narrowly escaped death we noticed Hon. H. C. Clark; Wm. M. Iliff, Esq., of Andover; John Coursen, of Newton; Samuel T. Smith, of Waterloo; two daughters of Theodore S. Anderson, Newton; Railroad Contractor Smith, of Franklin; Mr. Strait of Canisteer, and others whose names we do not recollect. We cannot say too much in praise of the courage and self- possession of the above named gentlemen in aiding the wounded and helpless in their extremity. Mr. Samuel T. Smith made the connection with the telegraph wire, and sent a dispatch to Newton for assistance, which arrived on a train shortly after two o'clock, and returning brought back several of the wounded back to Newton. The accident was caused by defective and rotten ties, which under the pressure of a heavy locomotive, had drawn the spikes, and spread the rails apart, so that when the passenger car reached its point of exit, there was a space of eighteen inches between the connecting bars. A similar accident occurred at this curve some years ago, when a whole train was run off near Mr. Youngs' dwelling. With the demolished railroad car before them, and the narrow escape of so many precious lives, a sense of gratitude was expressed by many of the passengers for their Providential deliverance. This feeling was shared in by all apparently, but old Fox the pedlar, who dripping with blood from head to foot, and contemplating the rotten ties which led to the disaster, in his indignation exclaimed: "G__d d__m the Sussex Railroad to h__l." which we will not say was not mentally responded to, to a certain extent, by others.