Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1856, May 6 - Ottawa and Prescott Railway train hit a cow at Kemptville and derailed. One fatality.

Ottawa Tribune 9 May 1856

On Tuesday evening last, the passenger car of the Express Train from Prescott to this city, a few miles from Kemptville, got off the track, and we are sorry to say that a most deserving young man, named James Baskerville, a resident of this city and employed as brakeman on the car, in attempting to jump off, got his leg entangled in the machinery, so that it was mangled in a most dreadful manner.  On the train arriving at Kemptville medical aid could not be procured so that the poor sufferer had to be brought on to this city.  -- died in hospital.

Kingston Daily News 12 May 1856

Railway Accident

We regret to say that on Tuesday evening the Mail Train on its way from Prescott to this City, ran off the rails between the Oxford and Kemptville Stations. Just where the accident happened, there was a curve in the road, and wood had been pile on each side to such a height that the Engineer could not see sufficiently in advance of the Engine to reverse it in order to avoid a cow which was on the track. The Engine, tender and baggage car passed over the cow, but the passenger car went off the track; unfortunately in the excitement the moment a young man named James Baskerville, of this city, who had been employed as Brakesman, jumped from his place and was crushed under the wheels; his left leg was literally smashed to atoms from between the hip and knee, downwards to the foot. An Engine was immediately despatched to this city, with the injured lad, and on its arrival Doctors Sewell, Martin, Beaubien and Grant were sent for, and amputation was performed by Dr. Sewell, assisted by Dr. Grant; the shock however had been so great that he only survived the operation one hour.
- Ottawa Times 8th.

Brockville Recorder 5 June 1856

An accident occurred on Tuesday evening last on the Ottawa and Prescott Railway, by which a brakeman named Baskerville, lost his life.  As the express train from Prescott was proceeding on its way to Ottawa, when about four miles west of Kemptville, the locomotive ran over a cow.  The brakeman was on the rear of the baggage car at the time, and as he stepped on the passenger car to put on the brakes, the "coupling" gave way and he fell between the cars.  His leg was broken to pieces, and he was otherwise fearfully mangled.  Life, however, was not extinct; and Conductor Whitney took the body on the locomotive as far as Kemptville, where he met the Accommodation train waiting for him to come up.  He then placed him under the care of Conductor Daniels (on his way to Prescott), who returned immediately to Ottawa City with him, where medical aid was immediately procures.  In spite of all that could be done, he died before morning. Prescott Messenger.

According to, James Baskerville was born in Youghal Arra, Tipperary, Ireland on the 19th of September 1837 and died on the 6th of May, 1856 at the age of 18. He is buried at the Notre-Dame Cemetery in Ottawa. In the 1851 Census he was listed as living in Hull, Canada East, aged 13 and working as a servant.

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Updated 1 October 2023