May 16, 2011

Fatal Train Collision in McDonough, GA, 1905

From the Atlanta Journal Constitution on February 3, 1905:

Two Trainmen Killed In Head-On Collision
Engineer Wilhelm and Flagman Calvin Archer, Both of Atlanta, Met Death at McDonough, Ga., Yesterday Morning.
AJC - February 3, 1905
R. C. Wilhelm, engineer on the Southern railway, and C. C. Archer, Jr., fireman of Atlanta, were killed yesterday morning in a head-on collision between freight trains Nos. 54 and 83, at McDonough, Ga.

Train No. 54, which is a fast freight, went into the side track at McDonough, to allow No. 83 to pass. The engineer on the latter train thought he had the right of way, and sent his train speeding around the curve. He saw the red lights warning him of an open switch too late.

The lever was reversed, the whistle blew, the sand was applied, but all was in vain, and soon the two trains met. The engine attached to No. 54 was wrecked and the engineer instantly killed. The fireman, Archer, had both legs severed from his body.

At 8 o'clock yesterday morning the engineer, Wilhelm, dead, and the fireman, Archer, dying, were brought into the city. The body of the deceased was taken to the parlors of H. M. Patterson, undertaker and the latter to the Grady hospital for treatment.

Within four hours the fireman had breathed his last, and his body was laid beside that of the engineer in the undertaking parlors.

R. C. Wilhelm was 36 years of age. His home was at 115 Crew street. He was married, and is survived by his wife and two children--one girl, Mary, 4 years of age, and one son, Fred, 7 years of age. He was a prominent member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, and was well known throughout the city.

Funeral services will be conducted at 2 o'clock this afternoon from the residence, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers having charge, together with the Gate City Lodge of the Junior Order and the Knights of Pythias. The internment will be at Westview.

C. C. Archer, Jr., made his home at 31 North Moore street. He was 27 years of age. He was single. The deceased possessed many admirable traits of character, and a host of friends mourn his untimely death. His funeral will be held Friday at the residence.

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