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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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Road through the sand hills, Hamilton County, Kansas Road through the sand hills, Hamilton County, Kansas


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The Kansas State Journal

Posted by Jocelyn Wehr (Digital Archivist) on Jan 7, 2011

The year 1861 was an eventful time for the state of Kansas and the nation. The April 18th issue of the Kansas State Journal proclaimed the start of the Civil War, and at that time, Kansas had been a state for less than three months. The Kansas State Journal, like the majority of other publications in Lawrence during this period, was known for its Unionist affiliation. Josiah C. Trask and Hovey F. Lowman established this “family Republican newspaper” in February of 1861. In the editorial salutatory, they state that “while each of the Free-State journals in the Territory have contributed its full share towards securing our release from political and social thralldom, it cannot be denied that each, to some extent, has fanned the flame of factional strife.”


Learn more about this tumultuous period in Kansas history, and celebrate the 150th anniversary of statehood by exploring the pages of other Civil War era newspapers such as, the Big Blue Union, the Independent, the Smoky Hill and Republican Union, and the White Cloud Kansas Chief, which are now fully-accessible on the Chronicling America website.

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