Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thriller Thursday ~ Passenger Car Jumps the Track

I knew that my third great grandfather, George Lysle, died on January 13, 1877, but only recently found out the circumstances behind his death.

I love looking through old newspapers. Imagine my surprise when searching for the surname "Lyle" (which I often try when trying to find my Lysle ancestors) at the Chronicling America website, I find the following in the (Friday), January 12, 1877 issue of the Daily Inter Ocean, a Chicago, Illinois, newspaper that was published from 1865 to 1914.

January 12, 1877, p. 5, Daily Inter Ocean (Chicago, Illinois)
online image from Chronicling America
It was the middle of the night and the two sleeping cars left the train track, ran down the embankment, turning over several times, and injured a number of the passengers, three seriously, including George Lyle, of Allegheny City, Pennsylvania. What is chilling is the description from one of the passengers that the car was so completely demolished "that there was not a piece left which could not have been put in a flour barrel."

I continued to look for other articles. The Washington, D.C. Daily Critic provided the most news on this accident.

January 12, 1877, Daily Critic (Washington, D.C.)
online image from Chronicling America
George Lysle's daughter, Miss Carrie Lysle, would have been about 35 years old at the time of this accident. She lived into her 70's, dying in 1914.

And from the (Tuesday), January 16, 1877, New York Times:

M. G. Lyle (sic), one of the passengers injured by the accident last Thursday at Kettle Run bridge, on the Virginia Midland Railroad, died Sunday afternoon at Providence Hospital. His son left Washington Sunday night for Allegheny City with the remains.

Thriller Thursday is a daily blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers, the genealogy community’s resource for blogging. It is used by many genealogy bloggers to help them tell stories of their ancestors.


  1. Wow, what a find! You've inspired me to look again at newspapers. I've had some luck in the past, but put that aspect of my research aside while trying to trace ancestors across the ocean. Now it's time to go back to print again. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Marian - thanks for reading and commenting. I'm glad I've inspired you! I must say, I do get distracted while reading the old newspapers, whether it's about my family or not!

  3. Great find, Elizabeth. I get really distracted looking at old newspapers, too. I sometimes put off started to look at them because I know I will spend hours once I start.

  4. Sherri - thanks for reading and commenting. Unfortunately I don't put off looking at old newspapers when I should be doing other things. I think we all enjoy those old newspapers, even if we don't find our ancestors.