Daily Mercury (New Bedford)
Henry Waldron Dead
Accident on the Fairhaven Railroad
A TRAIN THROWN FROM THE TRACK
The Engineer and Firemen both Instantly Killed
On Saturday morning the 11 o'clock train for this city on the Fairhaven Branch Railroad, consisting of the locomotive Charles L. Wood, eleven flat cars, two box freight cars, one baggage car and two passenger cars, ran into a herd of eleven cows, belonging to James LeBaron, at a place three quarters of a mile the other side of Mattapoisett. The engine was thrown from the track, tipped over on its side, and the forward end of the boiler was plunged into the bank, which at that place is from six to ten feet high. The tender was dashed by the momentum of the train completely over the engine, and lay tipped over on its side. Of the flat cars which followed, eight were thrown from the track, and piled upon and around the locomotive. Most of them were completely wrecked. The freight and passenger cars, with their occupants, were unharmed. The track for several rods was badly torn up.
When the passengers got to the train they found the engineer, Henry Waldron, and the fireman, Joseph Eldridge, both covered with the debris, and both dead, though it is said by some that Mr. Eldridge showed faint signs of life for some moments after being taken out. Mr. Waldron had, without doubt, been scalded to death by the bursting of some of the pipes connected with the boiler. He was clinging with both hands to the brake-wheel of the tender. The body of Mr. Eldridge was found under the ruins of those cars on the opposite side of the track from the locomotive. It is supposed that he jumped from the train, as nearly every bone in his body was broken and the bones of his legs were crushed all to pieces. His body and face were also considerably mangled and cut.
Both the engineer and fireman lived in Fairhaven. Mr. Waldron leaves a wife and several children (His wife was Clarissa Carter, parents of Stanley Carter and Polly Knap. All were from Raynham originally. Their children were: Adelaide Waldron, Leonard Franklin Waldron and others. Mr. Waldron's parents were Eleazer Waldron [Thomas, Nathaniel, Cornelius, George] and Sarah, who were from Bristol, RI). He had been on the Fairhaven road some 15 years, and was previously an engineer in the employ of the Old Colony road, on the Fall River steamboat train. He was considered an excellent engineer, and had been a faithful servant of the company. It has been said of him, that he was one of the few without an enemy in the world. Mr. Eldridge was a young man. He had no family but his mother.
Five of the cows were killed, and their dead bodies were strewed along the track for some distance. They were worth about $250.
Ezekiel Taylor, the brakeman who had charge of the flat cars, had a narrow escape. He says that he saw on coming around the curve, a cow trying to get up the bank, and he saw that she was unable to do so, and fell back. The next thing he saw, and so quickly that there was no time for thought was a smoke and an unusual crash about the engine, and he found himself on top of the wreck. Mr. Taylor is a spare hand on the road, and was on the train on account of the absence of another brakeman.
When the news was received at Fairhaven, which was at a few minutes past eleven, Division Superintendent Keith notified Superintendent Ladd, and a train was immediately fitted out, and sent to the scene of the accident. The passengers, baggage, and bodies of Messrs. Waldron and Eldridge were brought to Fairhaven, arriving at that place at a few minutes past one.
In the afternoon a train was sent down with men and tools from the New Bedford and Taunton Railroad, and work was commenced in cleaning up and repairing the track. The workmen were engaged most of the night, and all day yesterday.
When the bodies of the engineer and fireman were brought to Fairhaven, Coroner Kimball was called. The bodies were put in a freight room, and prepared for burial, while Coroner Kimball, with Constable Butman, proceeded to summon a jury of inquest. The following were summoned: I.F. Terry, James S. Robinson, James I. Church, Tucker Damon, Jr., and Bartholomew Tabor. I. F. Terry was chosen foreman, and Tucker Damon, Jr., clerk. The jury met on Saturday evening and examined the bodies, and adjourned to meet at 11 o'clock to-day. Yesterday, Coroner Kimball was engaged in making investigations at the scene of the accident.
The flag of Relief Engine Company, No. 5, of Fairhaven, was placed at half mast as a tribute of respect to the memory of Mr. Eldridge, who was a member of the company.
Eureka Lodge, F. & A.M. will attend the funeral of Mr. Waldron to-day. A special ferry boat will leave this city at half-past 12.