The Wreck of Salt Lake & Fort Douglas Shay 226

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January 30, 1889
Item on wreck of the SL&FD Shay (Salt Lake Herald, January 30, 1889)

January 30, 1889, Wednesday


The Sad Fate of Joseph E. Young and Geo. Walker.


As Engine and Eight Loaded Cars a Total Wreck - Cause, A Slippery Track.

An accident on the Red Butte branch of the Salt Lake & Fort Douglas Railway, yesterday afternoon, resulted in the death of two young men, and serious, although it is to be hoped not fatal, injuries, to two others. At about 3.30 o'clock, a train consisting of the new Shay engine and eight cars loaded with rock left the quarries. The crew consisted of Conductor Will Watson, Engineer J. W. McDonald and Fireman Chatterton. There is considerable snow and ice in the canyon, and soon after leaving the terminus, it was noticed that the brakes did not work as well as they should. Every pound of pressure was applied, but the momentum increased each second, and soon it became evident that the train was


Besides the crew, there were on the train four young men, L. Pole, Joseph E. Young, Charles McCarty and George Walker. Realizing that the crew were powerless to check the speed of the train Conductor Watson shouted for all hands to jump. Pope, Chatterton and Watson then left the train and escaped without a scratch; Young and Walker followed, and both were instantly killed. McDonald and McCarty were the last to leave, and they sustained severe injuries, for just at that moment


and a second later was a confused mass, the wreak being well-nigh if not, entirely total. McDonald and McCarty were buried under the debris but in such a manner as to be protected from the crushing weight above them. Will Watson at once ran to the Fort, a distance of over a mile, where be obtained help in the person of Surgeon Eddy and several private soldiers, who at once went to the scene of the wreck, equipped with stretchers and other appliances. When McDonald and McCarthy were released from their parlous position, it was discovered that the former had a bad wound on his right temple, and face badly mutilated; the letter's right arm was broken, and he, too, was cut around the face. Neither were seriously injured, however, and their escape from instant death may be looked upon as little less than a miracle. As soon as word could be conveyed to this city a special train was sent out for the dead and injured. McDonald and McCarty wars taken to St. Mary's Hospital, where they received the best of medical attention. They were in good spirits when seen last evening, and expressed themselves as grateful beyond measure that they had not shared the fate of Young and Walker.


Joseph E. Young. who was killed was s son of the late Joseph A. Young and was about 21 years of age. His head and face were badly smashed.

The exact cause of the death of George Walker was not learned, but it is supposed that the shock ended his life. He was about 22 years of age and a resident of Sugar House Ward.

It was stated last evening that neither Young not Walker were in the employ of the company. They had boarded the train under the protest of the conductor, who had warned them not to do go.

Both bodies were conveyed to the undertaking rooms of Joseph W. Taylor on West Temple Street at which place an inquest will be held this morning at 11 o'clock, when further details are expected.


An examination of the bodies of the two victims made late last night disclosed the fact that the back Of Walker's skull was crushed in and his left ankle was broken, and that he was not otherwise bruised; while the body of Young was completely mashed to pieces, there being hardly an unbruised spot left upon him.

January 31, 1889
Item on inquest into the wreck and death of two persons: (Salt Lake Herald, January 31, 1889)

January 31, 1889, Thursday, excerpt


The Inquest on the Bodies of Young and Walker.


Coroner Taylor summoned a jury early yesterday morning, in order that he might inquire into the facts attending the death of Joseph E. Young and George Walker, who met such a tragic fate in Red Bate Canyon. The jury consisted of Messrs. P. W. Madsen, Henry Fussy and Joseph D. Lyon, who, after viewing the mangled remains at the undertaking rooms of J. W. Taylor, went to the office of the railway company, where several witnesses were examined.

William R. Watson, the conductor of


was the first witness examined. Both he and the other members of the crew present here, much affected at the terrible tragedy, and it was with considerable difficulty that they checked their emotion. Watson said that when the two young men, Young and Walter, boarded the train, he endeavored to dissuade; them from going to the quarries, by saying he did not expect to return until after dark. I didn't like to tell them they could not go, however, and so they went with us. When we reached the quarries, we hitched on the eight cars loaded with rock and two empty ones. The cars were loaded when we arrived there, and they were in good running condition. The brakes were all set when we got there, but for the greater safety, they were reset; we had hauled loads equally as large many times before and always came down in perfect safety. I asked the engineer to give us sand going down; we bad just got out of the switch when I signaled the engineer to stop, and each sprang at the brakes: the train kept slipping, however, and after we had gone about two blocks I found that it would be impossible to stop the cars; when I halloed for them to jump the train was going at about


I yelled for them to jump, but they did not hear me, I suppose; after going about three blocks, I left the train; Heber Chatterton, the fireman, followed me; I was thrown head over heels; I got down on the brake beam on the rear end of the train; besides being badly jarred, I was uninjured; Chatterton, I believe, jumped from the engine; Louis Pope, the brakeman, was the next  one to leave the train; he was slightly injured near the knee cap; I should say that we all three left the train within a distance of about 100 yards; I do not know whether the four men remaining on the train when I left made any attempt to jump or not; they were under the wreck when I reached them; Charles McCarty, Joseph A. Young, George Walker and J. W, McDonald were the names of those who stayed with the train; the engine was the first to leave the track and the cars all piled over it; the engine and the care are


when I found George Walker, he was dead; and lying about fifteen yards from the train; it looked to me as though he had jumped from the train and that a rocks had fallen upon him, and killed him; his face war buried is the snow. and when I raised him up I saw that he was dead, and that the back of his head was crushed; Joseph A Young, was lying on his back under the engine when I found him; when I saw him last alive, he was twisting a brake on the third car from the engine; he was badly cut in several places; I don't think he attempted to jump; J. W. McDonald, the engineer, told me that he got down on the step of the engine and supposed he was caught by a brake beam and dragged,


at a curve, it going one way and the tender the other; I should judge that Young's age was about 20 or 21 years; George Walker, who was also killed, was a resident of Sugar House Ward; neither of them were employed on the road at the time of the accident; I think a plan could be adopted by which it would be safe to continue hauling rock from these quarries; the accident was caused by the slippery, frosty rails, and the heavy grade; no one was to blame; the rock train had been running all along this fall and winter; I have brought down as many as ten loaded cars and a caboose; I didn't want the boys to go up with; me, but I did not like to come right out and tell them that they could not go; both I believe, had been employed on the toad before; Young was a nephew of John W. Young, the president of the road; none of the parties on the train had been drinking that I know of; we remained at Wagener's half an hour, but the engineer never left his . engine; I do not know of any precaution that could be taken that was not taken under the circumstances; I think that if the rails were sanded about one hundred yards from the switch so as to warm up the brakes, they would hold better;


both going up and coming down; one of the sand pipes on the engine was stuffed up: I should judge that when the cars left the track they must have been going at the rate about fifty or sixty miles an hour.

Louis R. Pope, the brakeman, corroborated the testimony of the conductor to a great degree. "We had never hauled loads as large as the one in question in each cold weather, but we have done so under circumstances very similar; I did not hear Watson call to jump, but I called to the boys myself to abandon the train; the train however made considerable noise, and I do not suppose they heard me; soon after the fireman and I picked ourselves up, I heard the train cross a bridge and in a few minutes there was a crash and a cloud of steam arose; we then knew that the train had been ditched; when we reached the wreck we found Young and Walker dead, and McDonald and McCarty in the wreck; we extricated them with assistance from the post; the only precaution I have any knowledge of that could be taken would be to thoroughly sand the rails; George Walker was not the true name of the young man who was killed; his name was White, but had been adopted when quite young by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Walker; I had


when we started, as the engine was a new one, and built purposely for heavy grades. When I jumped I was thrown about ten feet, and then rolled nearly to the track.

Heber Chatterton, the fireman, said he was a resident of Logan, and had been in the employ of the road since May last. He thought the fact that the wheels bad become thoroughly frosted during the time the cars stood at the quarries was one of the causes why the accident had happened and that future accidents might easily be avoided by bringing down smaller loads - say four or five cars; they had brought down eight carloads before, but not on such a frosty day - on that occasion the rails were wet and greasy; if there had been twelve cars loaded there I suppose we would have brought them all; the engineer knew very well that one of the sand pipes would not work; I believe that if sufficient sand had been given her, the accident might not have occurred; and if the cars were taken up and bought down within a day or so it would also have a good effect; the cars we attempted to bring down have been standing at the quarries for a week or so, I believe and the wheels and brake-shoes had doubtless become thoroughly chilled; that would make it much harder to hold the cars.


This closed the evidence, and after a few moments' consultation the jury returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased came to their death through an accident on Red Butte branch of the Salt Lake and Fort Douglas.

John W. Young, president of the road, who is in New York, wires the officials here to convey his deepest regard and heartfelt sympathy to all affected, and instructions to do all that is possible to be done under the circumstances.

Mrs. Mary Young. the mother of Joseph E. Young, is now in San Francisco. Until she bas been heard from, it is unknown when the funeral will take place.