Leon R. Crawford
Wylie Rice

The Courant American
Cartersville, Georgia
October 29, 1891, page 5
Transcribed by:  

Horribly Cremated.
Railroad Wreck On the Columbus & Western.
Two young men formerly of Gordon county meet a terrible death by the burning of a trestleóremains interred at Calhoun.

One of the most frightful railroad wrecks which has occurred in the south the past year was caused by the burning of a trestle on the Columbus and Western railroad, seventy miles from Birmingham, last Saturday.

The train which ran upon the burning trestle was under charge of Conductor Wylie Rice and trainman Leon R. Crawford. There is a curve in the road just before reaching the trestle and when the engineer rounded this curve he saw that the trestle was on fire. He could not stop, and seeing the danger, he pulled the throttle wide open for the leap. The engine and several cars went over safely, but about middle way the train several coal cars went down and pulled the caboose, containing the conductor and trainman, into the burning pit. The coal caught fire, and the men being caught in the timbers, were burned completely up.

It was almost impossible to search for the remains so great was the heat, but the wreckers finally recovered a skull which was identified as Crawfordís by his teeth, as Rice had false teeth. A few bones were also recovered near the skull, but nothing remained of Riceónot even a bone.

Both of these young men were natives of Gordon county. Mr. Rice had been away for several years, but has a number of relatives in the county. He leaves a wife and two children. Leon Crawford was a son of Mrs. W. F. King, of Calhoun, and is well known throughout the county. He was one of the most popular young men of the town and his tragic death was a severe shock to his relatives and friends and cast a gloom over the whole community. What was left of the remains were carried to Calhoun on Sunday and interred at the cemetery Monday morning.

There were two tramp printers on the trucks of the train, and only one of them escaped. Nothing has been found of the remains of the other. Two brakemen were badly bruised, but not seriously injured.


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