Posts Tagged ‘Benjamin Kendall Emerson’

Photograph of the “Orinoco” train wreck, August 5, 1893. B.K. Emerson Papers.

In August of 1893, there was a terrible accident on the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern railroad. The Springfield Republican reported that the Chicago-bound express, the “Orinoco,” jumped the track and ran into the engine of a local freight train. Three sleeper cars were wrecked and nearly 30 people were killed or injured. Among the dead, The Republican reported, was Professor Benjamin Kendall Emerson, a prominent geologist and beloved teacher at Amherst College. The paper published a moving and thorough obituary of Professor Emerson attached to the report of the wreck, lamenting that the “ending of a career so full of usefulness, of high enthusiasm and solid achievement is all sadness and unavailing regret.”

Headline from the Springfield Republican, August 7, 1893.

It was “characteristically vigorous” of Benjamin K. Emerson, wrote Horatio Smith in 1932, “that he should outlive his own obituary by forty years.”* Though injured in the accident, Emerson did not die and was back in Amherst within the month.


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