Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1859, December 2 - Brockville and Ottawa Railway train hits a handcar. Three deaths.

Perth Courier of Friday, 9 December 1859

ACCIDENT ON THE B. & O. RAILWAY— THREE MEN KILLED — On Friday Evening last,  as the mail train going North, on the Brockville and Ottawa Railway, had got about five miles from Brockville, it ran down a hand car, on which were four men, three of whom were killed. The names of  the killed are Cook, Dixon, and Wylie, section-men employed on the railroad — the fourth man, Connors, jumped off just before the collision, and ran away. The men, it is said, had gone to Brockville on the hand-
car, and got on a spree, and were returning home when they were overtaken by the regular train. The men, we understand, had families. The train, immediately after the accident, returned to Brockville with the bodies, where an inquest was held the following day. No blame can be attached to the Engineer, or anyone connected with the train, as the night was dark and stormy, and the hand-car was not seen until the train was close up to it, when all efforts to stop in time were of no avail. The accident can be attributed to nothing but the most culpable carelessness or want of thought on the part of those on the hand-car, as they (being employees on the road) must have known the exact time when the regular train would pass along.

Hamilton Spectator 22 December 1859


Dr. Edmondson held an inquest on the 3rd, 4th and 5th inst, on the body of three men killed near Irish Creek, on the Brockville and Ottawa Railroad. It appeared that three men whose names are Samuel Wiley, Dickson and Thomas Cook, the former foreman of a gang of laborers, and the latter two at work under him, left their section between Mr. Hiram Clark's and the gravel-pit and came on to Brockville on the evening of the 1st instant. On the evening following they left Brockville to return home with a hand rail cart. On their way home they stopped seven different times to drink at the drinking shanties which are scattered as thick as blackberries along the line of the railroad. Becoming too drunk to manage the car themselves, they procured the assistance of one more sober, and had reached near Pucker Street flag-station, when the evening express came down with all its force. The person whom the three got to assist them saw the train and jumped, by which means his life was saved, but the three poor unfortunate men, secure in their drunken imaginations were dashed to pieces by the locomotive. Wiley and Dixon were killed instantly, being mangled in a most shocking manner, while Cook, through the presence of mind and praiseworthy conduct of Mr. Burniston, lingered, although horribly mangled, for about five hours after the accident. The legs of all the three men were cut off, Dixon's jaw broken and Wiley's skull smashed. The scene is said to have been sickening, when the train was stopped and the men found. The jury, after hearing all the evidence adduced, returned a verdict that the three men came to their death through the means of intoxication. They also presented an address to the Coroner, praying him to use his influence with the Railroad Company to have all the drinking shanties removed immediately from the vicinity of the line of the railroad, and also urging the Coroner to impress upon the Company or the Directors, the propriety of engaging none but known sober steady men as foremen of gangs of laborers.
Brockville Recorder.

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