Will Smith

The Cartersville American
Cartersville, Georgia
March 9, 1886, page 3
Transcribed by:  

Last Friday’s Disaster.
The Falling Trestle on the E. & W. Railroad – Correct Statement of the Accident.

So many conflicting reports have been given of the accident on the East & West Railroad, last Friday, that we have taken pains to produce a correct statement of the affair.

Train No. 8, with Henry Hudson at throttle and conductor Doll Vandivere in charge, left Cedartown with instructions to run as a wild train to Taylorsville – there leave train and back to Fish Station in time to take up schedule and proceed to Cartersville.  When Taylorsville was reached took a few flat cars and proceeded back towards Fish – 8 miles from Cedartown and, 25 miles from Taylorsville.  When about two miles from Taylorsville on the return, running 12 or 15 miles an hour, they struck the dry trestle, known as Whitehead’s trestle, which gave way and went to pieces, precipitating the engine in the ravine, some 8 or 10 feet deep.

Conductor Vandivere, being on the engine, was caught under the cab and fearfully scalded.  Engineer Hudson was thrown from the engine as it fell, but escaped with comparatively slight injuries.  Fireman Stephens was disabled in one arm and leg.  The negro train hand, Will Smith, who was sitting on the pilot of the engine, was fearfully mangled, and died instantly.  Another train hand, young Mr. Henderson, also received painful but not serious injuries.

The engineer and conductor say the engine did not leave the track before striking the trestle, (as in the Constitution’s report) and believe the wreck was caused by the giving way of the trestle.

News of the accident reached here before the morning passenger train left, and when it went Dr. Lindsay Johnson and friends of the wounded men went out to care for them and bring them home.  Conductor Vandivere was brought in on a stretcher by a special train.  When taken from the train he was completely enveloped in flour and bandages, and presented a piteous spectacle.  He is now at home, receiving all possible care and attention, and doing as well as might be expected from his fearful injuries.  He is one of our best known and most popular young men, and has the hearty sympathy of the whole city.

The colored train hand was a hard working honest man, and leaves a wife and several small children.


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