Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Postscript To the Pelhamville Train Wreck of 1885 - Settlement of the Widow's Lawsuit Against the Railroad

For at least a decade I have suspected that one or more lawsuits likely were brought against the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad Company after the December 28, 1885 wreck of the New York City bound Boston Express train in front of the Pelhamville train station.  Readers of the Historic Pelham Blog will recall that as the train approached the station racing to make up time on its way to New York City, it passed through a dust cloud that obscured the engineer's view and smashed into a massive wooden station platform that a windstorm had just flipped over onto the tracks.  The locomotive, tender and a mail car filled with mail clerks tumbled down an embankment that was sixty or seventy feet high.  Passenger cars left the tracks but miraculously hung over the edge of the embankment without tumbling down.  The train's fireman, Eugene Blake, died at the scene.  The engineer, several mail clerks, and many passengers were injured.

Although I long suspected that lawsuits followed, I never have found evidence of such suits.  Recently, however, while performing unrelated research in local newspapers, I ran across a brief reference indicating that, indeed, the widow of the deceased train fireman, Eugene Blake, filed a lawsuit against the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad Company following the accident.  About fourteen months later, in February, 1887, a local newspaper reported that the widow of fireman Blake settled her lawsuit against the railroad in exchange for a payment of $4,000.  The brief report stated as follows:

"--The N.Y.N.H. & R.R. Co. have settled a suit began [sic] against them by Mrs. Blake, the widow of Fireman Eugene Blake, who was killed in the accident at Pelhamville, in December, 1885.  They paid her $4,000."

Source:  LOCAL INTELLIGENCE, New Rochelle Pioneer, Feb. 12, 1887, p. 3, col. 1.  

Scene of the Pelhamville Train Wreck Where Fireman Eugene Blake Died.
Source:  A Remarkable Railroad Accident, Scientific American, 
Jan. 16, 1886, Vol. LIV, No. 3, cover and pp. 31-32.

I have written extensively about this tragic Pelhamville train wreck.  For some of the many examples, see:  

Mon., Sep. 24, 2007:  The Pelhamville Train Wreck of 1885

Tue., Sep. 25, 2007:  More About the Pelhamville Train Wreck of 1885

Wed., Sep. 26, 2007:  The Pelhamville Train Wreck of 1885 Continued . . . 

Thu., Sep. 27, 2007:  Findings of the Coroner's Inquest That Followed the Pelhamville Train Wreck of 1885

Fri., Dec. 21, 2007:  1886 Poem Representing Fictionalized Account of the Pelhamville Train Wreck of 1885

Wed., Jan. 9, 2008:  The Aftermath of the Pelhamville Train Wreck of 1885

Thu., Apr. 02, 2009:  Biographical Data and Photo of the Engineer of the Train that Wrecked in Pelhamville on December 27, 1885

Fri., Jul. 15, 2011:  Another Newspaper Account of The Pelhamville Train Wreck of 1885

Mon., Feb. 17, 2014:  Pelhamville Train Wreck of 1885:  Another Account Published with a Diagram of the Aftermath of the Crash.  

Bell, Blake A., The Pelhamville Train Wreck of 1885: "One of the Most Novel in the Records of Railroad Disasters, 80(1) The Westchester Historian, pp. 36-43 (2004).

Labels: , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home