Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Thanksgiving Eve Tragedy 1901

File this under the interesting places geocaching takes you to....

A few days ago I mentioned TaGeez, ShelleyJean and I explored Oakwood Cemetery in Adrian, MI looking to solve Necropolis Ruins. On this dreary, overcast snowy/sleety day, one monument caught my attention.

Lovely, isn't she? What tale did she have to tell?

On the back, there was a plaque with four black and white photos.

Beneath is read:
On Thanksgiving Eve, November 27, 1901 6:45 pm Trains No. 4 and No. 13 collided head on between Seneca and Sand Creek. Train 4 was east bound to Detroit carrying residents going home for Thanksgiving Holiday. Train 13 was west bound through Montpelier Ohio to St. Louis Missouri carrying a large group of Italian Immigrants on contract to work for mining companies in Colorado and California. On impact, cars on Train 4 exploded but were saved from fire by the quick thinking of the Train’s engineer Aaron T. Strong. Train 13’s cars were shattered on impact and instantly caught fire when an overhead kerosene lamp fell to the floor of one of the cars blocking the escape of those trapped inside. One-hundred plus Italian immigrants lost their lives and their remains were placed in five coffins and buried in unmarked graves here in Oakwood Cemetery. This tragedy remains one of the worst railroad disasters in Michigan History.
Railroad spike embedded at the base of the memorial
So sad. But geocaching brought us here and gave us the opportunity to read this. 115 years later I sit here thinking about those lost souls.

I am thankful.  Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

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