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DeKalb County Indiana Obituary

Fred A. Plum
Contributed by
Roselyn Wells

The Waterloo Press; Jan. 5, 1904; Thursday

            TWO KILLED   Frightful Wreck on the B. & O. Ry. Last Week

            The death, of Fred A. Plum, last Wednesday was the cause of sorrow to his many friends here.  He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Andy Plum of Butler, and the nephew of Phil Plum and Mrs. Levi Till of this place.  He was married to Miss Bertha Neiswander of Butler some two years ago, a sister of Mrs.Dunn of Waterloo, and for some time he has been a trusty fireman on the B. & O. Ry., with his home at Garrett, where his wife and a six months old child were living when the sad news of the injury to the husband and father was received.

            From the Garrett Clipper in connection with information from the friends we learn that Mr. Plum was firing on the engine of the fast lane train No. 5, westbound with James W. Collins, engineer, and while running at a high rate of speed at 5:10 a.m. Wednesday the train ran into an open switch at Sherwood, Ohio.

            When the engine of the passenger train struck the freight cars it overturned on the left side.  An express car, loaded with oysters, was forced on top of it and in a few moments was a mass of flames.  Fireman Plum was able to free himself from under the debris, but it required some time to extricate Engineer Collins.  Not a passenger nor another employe on the train was injured.  The mail car and combination baggage and smoker was considerably jammed up and would have been destroyed by fire had not the train been uncoupled and pushed back.  Several of the freight cars burned.

            The injured men were taken to an adjacent residence and medical aid summoned.  Thirty minutes after the accident a special bearing Drs. Thomson, Yarian and King, Trainmaster Hilgartner, Assistant Trainmaster Carroll, R. R. Bradley and John Thomson was flying to the scene.  The wounded were made as comfortable as possible and brought to Garrett on Nov. 5, which arrived about 10:45.  They suffered untold agony, having been scalded all over and inhaling the steam, which burned their mouths, tongues and throat, and it became necessary to administer drugs to Mr. Collins to quiet him.  Plum was conscious at all times, but did not realize the extent of his injuries.  They were both taken to the hospital, where Mr. Collins survived but a few hours.

            No one seems to know who left the switch open that caused the accident.  The west bound local had pulled by it and backed into the siding.  Between their caboose and the switch were the freight cars and had it not been for these several other deaths would most likely have been recorded as the crew of the relief train were sleeping in the caboose of the local.

            The scene of the wreck was only an hour's run to Garrett, the end of the division, and home and family were cheerfully waiting the coming of these brave men with expected pleasure, but fate seemed to order the anticipated pleasures changed to sorrow and sadness.  Mr. Plum died soon after four o'clock p.m., and arrangements were made for the burial.  The funeral occurred at Garrett at 10 o'clock Saturday morning and the interment in the Waterloo cemetery.  The suffering of these men was intense and the bereaved families have the sympathy of a large circle of friends.

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