News: Columbia Accident (Town of Hewett - 1911)
Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon
Surnames: Languish, Cook
----Source: The Granton News (Granton, Clark Co., WI.) October 20, 1911
Horrible Railroad Accident at Columbia (Town of Hewett - 1911)
The second sad accident on this branch of the Omaha within two months occurred near Columbia last Friday, morning, when four persons, a man and three children were instantly killed at a crossing by a freight train. The rig, which was driven by a man with the name of Languish, contained a load of school children who were on their way home from school. The driver either did not hear the oncoming train or else he supposed that he had ample time to get across the track ahead of the train. The engine struck the wagon near the front wheels, killing Languish and his two children, a boy and a girl, and a girl by the name of Cook. The rest of the occupants, two boys, escaped unhurt.
The following is the engineer’s story of the accident as published in last week’s Marshfield Herald. "We were going at a good rate of speed and had whistled for the crossing besides ringing the bell." I felt certain our approach was either seen or heard by the occupants of the wagon which was nearing the crossing parallel to us but some distance ahead. The wagon was a canvas covered one used to carry the children of the neighborhood to and from school. When almost upon them they swung across the track and we struck them just back of the front wheels. The wagon was completely demolished and the horses were thrown clear to the fence. When the fireman and I got from the cab, the scene was awful. On the cow catcher laid the mangled remains of the boy and on the pilot the body of the Cook girl. They were killed instantly. At first we thought these two were the only occupants of the ill-fated wagon, but upon going back four or five car lengths we came upon the bodies of Languish and his daughter, which had been rolled under the train, both frightfully crushed and mangled.
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