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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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Urbin I. Rudell photograph collection Urbin I. Rudell photograph collection

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John Brown, Jr. collection

Posted by Michael Church (Digital Projects Coordinator) on Oct 6, 2009

A recently acquired collection of letters written by John Brown, Jr. to his wife Wealthy Brown is now available on Kansas Memory. The thirty-three letters dating from 1861-1863 document his service as a Captain of Company K, 1st Kansas Cavalry (later the 7th Kansas Cavalry) during the early years of the civil war.  Complete transcriptions of the letters are also available.

The letters are very descriptive of camp life. Among other things, Brown also discusses the problems of determining local residents' loyalty in the war on the Kansas Missouri border; he writes that he sent ten black soldiers to save a slave mother and children whose owner was planning to take them further south; and he describes the execution of a soldier named Driscol from Company H who stabbed another soldier, was court martialed, and shot.

 

Several of the letters include encrypted messages written in a numerical code or cipher.  In his March 11, 1862, letter Brown prefaced the code by saying “I want to write you a few words in figures.” So far we have not discovered a key to the code.   

 

For more information see the John Brown, Jr. collection. Additional materials on John Brown, Jr. are available on Kansas Memory by selecting the category People—Notable Kansans—Borwn, John, Jr.


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