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Here are newspaper clippings and photographs showing the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific wreck located two miles east of Smith Center, Kansas.  The wreck occurred when the Rock Island passenger train No. 7, the Rocky Mountain Limited, was derailed, resulting in three cars being burned and passengers and employees being slightly injured.  It was reported the accident was due to excessive speed over a defective piece of track. The train was traveling about 35 miles an hour when the accident occurred.  The locomotive left the rails and landed in a field.  The cars were dragged with the locomotive, and the large tender was wrenched and twisted. One of the mail cars collided with the tender and the wrecked cars immediately caught on fire and quickly burned.  A mail clerk was quite badly wounded and four others were slightly injured.  Ray Wiggins, engineer, and Will Doleman, fireman, were in charge of the engine and retained their places on the locomotive during the accident.  Wiggins sustained slight injuries by being thrown from his seat.  The fireman Will Doleman is credited with rendering assistance to the injured and extinguishing the fire.


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Kansas Memory Blog

The Man Who Killed John Wilkes Booth

Posted by Jocelyn Wehr (Digital Archivist) on Jun 16, 2014

It’s been nearly 150 years since John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Abraham Lincoln. Many people are unfamiliar with the name Thomas P. Corbett and his involvement in the events following the assassination. Thomas P. Corbett, who went by the name Boston Corbett, was a member of the 16th New York Cavalry as they pursued John Wilkes Booth. Corbett shot and killed Lincoln’s murderer on April 26, 1865, while he hid in a barn on a Virginia farm.

Corbett moved to Kansas in 1878 and lived in a dugout (photograph below) near Concordia, Kansas. In 1887, Corbett was given the position of assistant doorkeeper for the Kansas House of Representatives. However, when he brandished his pistol during a session of the legislative that same year, he was arrested and sent to the State Insane Asylum in Topeka. He escaped a year later and his whereabouts remained unknown.






The Boston Corbett collection is now available on Kansas Memory. The collection includes letters that Corbett received, military records documenting his promotion to sergeant following five months spent at Andersonville Prison, a subpoena for the trial of John Wilkes Booth’s accomplice David E. Herold, pension documents from his military service in the Union army during the Civil War, personal documents including a pocket diary, reminiscences from two individuals who encountered Corbett, the correspondence of his court-appointed guardian George Huron, and papers relating to his impersonation by John Corbit


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