Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Terrible Accident!

“A terrible accident happened about 10:25 this morning.  Mr & Mrs Bovee & their Daughter Ola, Miss Emma Bowden & Miss Lena Wicks all being killed at the Lehigh crossing as they were coming to church.”

Below, you will find a newspaper account of the accident along with some picture of Le Roy New York.  Please be advised that the Newspaper Account is graphic.

Democrat Chronicle
Rochester, Monroe Co., New York
Aug. 21 1893

Five People Instantly Killed at Oatka Station
Whistles Of No Avail
A Carriage Struck by a Lehigh Valley Train Which Was Flying
Over the Crossing at Sixty Miles an Hour --
Fate of the Bovee Family.

Oatka, N. Y., Aug. 20 - The saddest accident in the history of Le Roy occurred at the Lake street crossing of the Lehigh Valley railroad, about two miles from this village, at the station known as Oatka this morning. L. J. BOVEE, wife and daughter, Miss Olla BOVEE, Miss Emma BOWDEN and Mrs. Nancy WICKES were crossing the tracks on their way to the Presbyterian church when they were struck by a fast train going east, and all were killed instantly. Not one of the party spoke.
    Team No. 614 going east and passing the Oatka station at 10:17 this morning was in charge of J. H. STOWELL, conductor, and BOWMAN, engineer. When some distance west of the crossing the engineer whistled four times, the regular number of whistles for a crossing. Those who saw the accident were D. I. FONDA, station agent and operator, and Lewis BOWEN, who were on the platform of the station. From those people a Democrat and Chronicle correspondent learned the facts of the terrible disaster. Mr. FONDA said Mr. BOVEE and his wife and daughter, and Misses Emma BOWDEN and Nancy WICKS were crossing the tracks when the train whistled. The train was going sixty miles an hour, and just an instant before the train struck the carriage Mr. BOVEE, who was driving, was seen to whip up his team of horses. He failed to get across and the large locomotive struck the carriage, which was a double-covered vehicle, on the forward wheel. One horse was mangled and the other after being struck stood up but soon fell dead.
    The train was stopped within a quarter of a mile and it backed up to where the accident occurred. Several men were on the scene soon after the accident and gathered up the bodies, which were strewn about the track for a long distance. The body of Mr. BOVEE was carried as far east as the station, where it fell from the pilot of the engine. The body of Miss BOWDEN was thrown between the tracks and her head was severed from her body, the wheels apparently having run over the chest. All five of the bodies were nude, their clothing being torn into strings. Pieces of jewelry were picked up along the tracks and the case of Mr. BOVEE's watch was found _ammed and the works of the watch gone. Some idea can be gained from the fact that some teeth were picked up at some distance from where the accident happened. The bodies were placed on the platform where they presented a ghastly sight. The bones of their bodies were crushed and Mr. BOVEE's skull was crushed in and the brains were strewn on the ground.
    Coroner STONE, of Le Roy, was notified and after viewing the remains, ordered them taken to their late home, a short distance from where the accident happened. Miss BOWDEN was the daughter of Samuel BOWDEN, of New York city, and formerly of Le Roy. He arrived in Le Roy Saturday evening, and was a guest at the BOVEE residence. Miss WICKS was stopping with Mr. and Mrs. BOVEE while her mother and sister were at the Catskill mountains.
    When the news of the accident began to spread a large number of people visited the scene where the accident occurred. There is a slight rise in the road, but the track can be seen three-quarters of a mile west. The announcement of the accident was made from the Presbyterian church at the close of the morning services, and a large number of the congregation returned home without stopping for Sabbath school. The carriage in which the unfortunate people were seated was smashed into splinters and parts of the gearing thrown a long distance. Undertakers George G. STEUBER and Henry STEUBER had charge of the remains.
    The accident is the most serious that Le Roy has had and the worst railroad accident since the accident occurring on a crossing of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western railroad, about three miles south of Le Roy village some five or six years ago, when Mr. and Mrs. Albert HENDEL were killed. No arrangements have been made for the funeral as yet. Mr. BOVEE was a member of the firm of L. J. BOVEE & Co., dealers in lumber, with their main office at Le Roy. The blame seems to rest on Mr. BOVEE, as the engineer whistled and when he saw the danger repeated the signal. The crossing is a dangerous one, however. When the news of the accident had spread about town the many young friends of Miss BOVEE and Miss BOWDEN were dumbfounded. Miss BOWDEN was a graduate of Ingham university, at Le Roy. Mr. BOVEE was about 60 years of age and owned considerable property, among which is a handsome residence in the northern part of Le Roy township. The accident entirely expunged the family, with the exception of one daughter, who was notified of the accident soon after it happened.
    Mr. BOVEE was born at Attica, N. Y., and is survived by one brother, El_n BOVEE, of Stone Church, and one sister residing at Aurora, N. Y., also one step-brother, Winfield MAPES, of Attica. Mrs. BOVEE was an estimable lady and her tragic death will be mourned by a host of friends. A coroner inquest will probably be held at 10 o'clock Monday morning. The team of horses driven by Mr. BOVEE was quite valuable. All day a large crowd visited the scene of the accident and numbers of relics were carried away. Mr. BOVEE had crossed the same crossing many times and often went to Buffalo over the Lehigh Valley. The accident is the first since the road was built at this point.
    Miss Emma BOWDEN was the youngest daughter of Rev. Samuel BOWDEN who for many years was pastor of the Reformed Presbyterian church in York, Livingston county. After retiring from the pastorate in York. Mr. BOWDEN removed to Le Roy where he lived for about five years during which time he acted as pastor of a church located outside the village. He removed to New York about two years ago. Mrs. Charles A. BOW of New York is a sister of Miss BOWDEN. There are two other sisters living, Miss Margaret and Lillian BOWDEN. The family is quite well known in Western New York.


Le Roy in the 1860s

Map of Le Rey in 1892

The Le Roy Train Station
Leesah

1 comment:

  1. Hi I just surfed by, read the article and must say the graphic details about the bodies surprised me, but then again death were probably more often something that happened in those days.
    Greetings from Denmark, Scandinavia

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