NYC CCC&St.L Records Archive?

Joel Michael Sep 16, 2019

  1. Joel Michael

    Joel Michael TrainBoard Member

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    Hello All,
    I'm looking for CCC&St.L records regarding an accident along the line running through Sidney, Ohio in 1906. I know CCC&St.L headquarters was in Indianapolis for awhile, but can anyone point me in a specific direction for more research? I hope their records are intact somewhere. I'd like to uncover details of a specific accident with the intent to model the scene preceding it.

    Currently, I know the accident involved a "7:15 train" and a speeder. I'm assuming the speeder was probably a simple Fairbanks & Morse Sheffield car. I think there's a halfway decent chance there was a 4-4-0 involved, but I really have no details on anything other than what is in the following death announcement:

    Name: Clarence Michael
    Death Date: Abt 1906
    Publication Date: 23 Aug 1906
    Publication Place: Dayton, Montgomery, Ohio, USA
    Notes: died August 22, day operator on Big Four, returning to his father's home near Sidney on a speeder,instantly killed by 7:15 train
    Publication: Dayton Daily Journal
    Citation: v. 44, iss. 23 : pg. 2, col. 4

    Maybe some folks who have more familiarity with the equipment that was used in certain locations at certain times can help out. Otherwise, I'm starting with very little, but I'll be visiting the Sidney area soon from Oregon and can at least look through local (Indiana and Ohio) resources while I'm there. If anyone can help me research efficiently, I'd greatly appreciate it.

    Thanks!!
     
  2. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    you might try checking with the New York Central System Historical Society website. They have tons of archives.

    Charlie
     
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  3. fitz

    fitz Staff Member

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    If you can contact LEW, who occasionally posts here, he was an engineer on the Big Four for years and has a great deal of historical knowledge. He may be able to help you. And LEW, if you read this, check your Conversations box.

    Welcome aboard, Joel.
     
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  4. Joel Michael

    Joel Michael TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks Charlie and Fitz and hopefully LEW. I'm reaching out to Ralph Schiring at the NYCSHS to see if he can point me in the right direction, but I'm really curious to see where all the suggestions lead me.
     
  5. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    There is, (or was?), an ICC accident report archive page on-line. Not sure how far back in time it goes.
     
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  6. rhensley_anderson

    rhensley_anderson TrainBoard Supporter

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    You might try the Indiana Historical Society. The records of the CCC&StL went into the trash can a couple years back. Virtually no one got any, but I understand the Indiana Historical Society did get some of them
     
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  7. Joel Michael

    Joel Michael TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks, everyone. So, Ralph at the NYC Historic Society was amazingly helpful. He referred me to the ICC archive that BoxcabE50 mentioned as well as the collection of Simon E. Herring at the Logan County, Ohio Historical Society. That's in Bellefontaine and easy for me to get to when I'm in Sidney. Rhensley_anderson is probably on the right track, too, but the New York Public Library's documentation shows that all CCC&St.L docs for offices between Cleveland and St. Louis ended up with the Ohio Historical Society. So Ohio has a reference librarian looking up details for me now. I'll make a similar request to Indy soon. Everybody's been incredibly helpful, but now I have a lot of work to do. I'll keep you posted on my progress. These resources might be valuable to someone else at some point.
     
  8. fitz

    fitz Staff Member

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    We New York Central folks stick together. I certainly wish you luck finding the records you are seeking, Joel.
     
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  9. Joel Michael

    Joel Michael TrainBoard Member

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    Well, the journey begins. The Ohio Historical Society sent me an interesting document describing the collection that has the best chance of containing what I'm after. I still need to be on site to do the actual research, but their synopsis in this doc is very helpful. Note that just the synopsis is 45 pages long. Also note that in the document they describe the size of the whole collection in cubic feet. Looks like I'm going to be in Columbus for awhile.
     
  10. Joel Michael

    Joel Michael TrainBoard Member

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    Sorry for the double post, but Ralph Schiring from the NYCSHS's response to me has more detail than I mentioned previously that could be useful to others. Below is what he sent to me.

    Ask at the Logan County Historical Society in Bellefontaine. There was a guy in Bellefontaine, Simon E. Herring, who was a walking, talking Big Four authority. Much of his collection went to that Society, and your answer may be uncovered there. Simon died about twenty years ago.

    You won’t have to leave Oregon to tap another good source, the US Department of Transportation Library’s “Special Collections” section. Here is their web address: https://dotlibrary.specialcollection.net. You will first have to create an account, so it may take a few sessions before you can get in. They have about half of the ICC’s (Interstate Commerce Commission) accident reports. A fatality between a speeder and a train would probably be investigated. Their collection is NOT complete, but I bet over half of the investigations are there on-line. Each report is about ten to fifteen pages, with diagrams and complete, blow by blow descriptions of what happened, what went wrong, and which safety rules were applicable.

    You might also drop by Sidney’s newspaper office (or the local library) and find out whether their edition following the August 1906 accident carried any more details than the Dayton paper had.

    Finally, it does not look like you are a member of our organization. Guess what? Our archive has boxes and boxes of old Big Four (the NYC subsidiary you are talking about) records. They came from both Cincinnati and Indianapolis offices. We have not had the manpower to go through them in detail yet. In addition, we are negotiating for some records from the railroad’’s Toledo offices as we speak. So, a membership in our group will get you into our archive in Middleburg Heights (Cleveland suburb), Ohio. Other sections of our web site will give you the archive’s hours and phone number(s).
     
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  11. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I checked the National Archives site. They cover 1911-1963. So that resource is not an aid to your searching.
     
  12. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    safetydata.fra.dot.gov/ only goes back to 1975, the FRA being so much newer as an agency.
     
  13. Joel Michael

    Joel Michael TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks, BoxcabE50. I found the same thing. My best bet seems to be in largely uncatalogued records held in multiple locations across Ohio, Indiana, who knows where else.
     
  14. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    Joel,
    I'm being nosey.... based on the name you are looking for. I am guessing this is a relative. You can also check the death records in the county where this fatal accident occurred, that may shed some more light on the subject ie coroner's records etc.
     
  15. Joel Michael

    Joel Michael TrainBoard Member

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    Charlie, you are correct and that is a great idea. Since most of my research is online, I haven't been able to access most of the county records where Sidney is located (Shelby). They just haven't digitized much of anything. I can put in a request now, though, in hopes that an archivist could find them for me to look at when I visit soon, though.
     
  16. Joel Michael

    Joel Michael TrainBoard Member

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    I head to western Ohio tomorrow to start researching locally. I've been preparing by coordinating with various local resources and a new name popped up that others may be interested in knowing about. Scott Trostel is a railroad historian and author who may be the best living source of knowledge about the Big 4 in western Ohio. So, I'm going to try to see what I can learn from him. Stay tuned. Apologies if you already know Scott, but it seemed appropriate to include his name just for the record.
     
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  17. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Good luck! :)
     
  18. Joel Michael

    Joel Michael TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks, BoxcabE50. I'm in Ohio now and luck has been on my side so far. The Logan County Historical Society and Si Herring collection produced two new Logan county newspaper obituaries with significant new detail - which means I now have new questions that some of the folks here can maybe answer. First, I'll retype the obituaries. Then some new questions. Apologies for the long post.

    August 30, 1906. Bellefontaine Index-Republican:
    Clarence Michael, aged 19, day telegraph operator in the Big Four tower at Quincy, was instantly killed by Big Four train, second 29, near that town Wednesday evening. Michael, who lives at Mix Station, had been in the habit of going home on a "speeder" which operates on the railway tracks. Last night, the train caught him, struck the speeder and demolished it and tossed Michael to the side of the right of way. The body was only slightly bruised. Funeral from the late home at Mix at time not yet decided.

    August 31, 1906. Bellefontaine Weekly Examiner:
    Quincy, Ohio, Aug. 23 - Clarence Mikel was killed by a Big Four passenger train, second 29, at about 7 last night as he was going home from Quincy to his home at Mix on his speeder. The train, was going at a rate of 60 miles an hour when it struck the speeder and threw it and its rider off the track. Death was instantaneous and a few scratches were the only marks on the body.
    Clarence Mikel was 18 years old, and for the past four months, had been employed by the Big Four as operator here at the tower. He boarded at his home in Mix, a village in Shelby County, and made the trip back and forth on his speeder. He was faithful to his duties and a man well thought of by all. He was killed about three miles out of Quincy.
    The body was taken to the family home last night
    -----
    The funeral of Clarence Mikel, telegraph operator at Quincy, was held Friday morning at his home in Shelby county. The track speeder which Mikel was riding when struck by a special train on the Big Four made considerable noise and it is thought that this prevented young Mikel from hearing the approach of the train.

    Where/what exactly is Mix Station?
    It doesn't exist on any Shelby county map I have ever seen. i've never seen it as a stop on the Big Four, either. If the accident happened about 3 miles west of Quincy, that puts it right at the edge of Pemberton in Shelby county. Perhaps Pemberton was also called "Mix"?

    What do we know about the 29 passenger train in August of 1906?
    What is a "second" train? Why was it "special"? What kind of locomotive and passenger cars would make up this train?

    Are there any clues about the type of speeder that could tell us what kind it was?
    Does the Quincy tower location, the fact that body wasn't mangled, or that they let a teenager regularly use it to get to work indicate anything?

    Why would the Big Four hire a teenager as a telegraph operator?
    I mean, my biased opinion is that the kid was probably pretty smart, but he was still a teenager.

    General question:
    From this information, what other details could a railroad modeler infer to model the location and equipment of the moment just prior to the accident?
     
  19. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Joel, I can address only your "second" question. When passenger bookings exceeded the capacity of a scheduled passenger train, in this case #29, the railroad would quickly assemble a second train to accommodate the overflow passengers. I remember seeing or hearing of third, occasionally even fourth sections of name trains on the NYC out of New York. The Twentieth Century Limited often ran a second section, as did the Commodore Vanderbilt. The Century's second section used heavy weight cars instead of the polished steel fleet. Though service on the Century's second was equal to the primary train.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
  20. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    I'll take a shot a answering some of your questions. As pertains to "second 29" , yes railroads ran extra sections to trains under the same train number and were scheduled to depart a few minutes after the first section. The reason for this being the demand for transportation on that particular train. Rather than run extra cars, it was easier to run a whole train rather that strain the amenities and the crew necessary to run a longer train. The New York Central System was famous for running extra sections of its premiere trains.

    As to age, in that era there were very few laws governing the treatment of employees. A 19 year old male was considered an adult. Speaking to the fact of few visible bruises, confirms the fact that he was struck at high speed and his death was most likely a result of massive internal damage to vital organs. Also at that time,I believe that people were allowed to drive without any sort of certification. As a railroad employee, I can only guess that he would be expected to operate any sort of company equipment needed to perform his duties. He may or may not have been allowed to use the speeder as personal transportation. That is subject to question.

    See the above paragraph. At 19 years of age he was definitely considered to be an adult. As an aside, I enlisted in the Army at 19 years of age. I was considered and referred to as a "man" by the Army.

    As to what infrastructure or devices a modeler might use, the news item gives a hint. he was a telegraph operator in the "tower" at Quincy. This would lead me to believe this was a junction of sorts or a crossing of two or more railroads so there would be an elevated tower structure for that location. It would also be a mechanical tower so the associated connecting rods and machinery would be prominent. There would also likely be signals and an "order board" signal present . There may have been a shed to house the speeder. There could also have been shacks for maintenance of way equipment. There may also have been a station building nearby.

    You may check the photo section of the historic society for photos of the area and also see if you can access the insurance maps for that period of time and that era. It will indicate the structure at the site.

    Keep up the good work. BTW what relative would Clarence have been?


    Charlie
     
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