What happend to the Survivors


This page will tell some of the stories from the WWW, of those who survived the Great Chatsworth Train Wreck.
Use your back button to return to this site if necessary ! 

Frank Wellington Snedaker
Abington, Illinois

Franc's Headstone

A photo of Franc that sold on ebay here.
Frank was the son of a Methodist Minister in Abington. After reading many recounts of the wreck, it seems little Frank was considered a little hero. 
As you will recall, Frank was a boy of age 9 at the time of the wreck and the Chatsworth Plaindealer is quoted as saying, " 

Little FRANK SNEDAKER, of Abingdon,Ill., is domiciled.  No braver person was in the ill-fated train than this little fellow.  His leg was amputated, his arm is broken, and his eye injured.  His mother was killed and his father has gone home with the remains, and will return.  MRS. KIPP, of Wing, Ill., a cousin of REV. SNEDAKER, is with the little hero.  He was very restless at the hour of our reporter's call, but all hope for the recovery of this brave little fellow, who said when asked at the time of his rescue, "I'm not hurt much, help those who are crying first."

Frank lost his mother in the wreck. Well, I found little Frank , and it seems he survived and later registered for the draft at the age of 37 in 1918, in Cook County, Illinois.
 Also by clicking on Elizabeth Margaret Ansley you can see the headstone of his mother at the bottom of her page.

Birth  9 Dec 1878  Illinois Find all individuals with events at this location 
Gender  Male 
Resided  1890  Abingdon, Knox County, Illinois Find all individuals with events at this location   
Resided  1918  Chicago, Cook County, Illinois Find all individuals with events at this location 
When he registered for the WWI draft. 
Age: 37 
Person ID  I3639  The Ancestry of David Ansley and Jeanne Huber
Last Modified  17 Aug 2008 
Father  George B. Snedaker,   b. 1828,   d. 1896 
Mother  Elizabeth Margaret Ansley,   b. 31 Jan 1839, New York Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 10 Aug 1887, Chatsworth, Livingston County, Illinois Find all individuals with events at this location 
Fredie (Franc-Frank) Snedaker

"The little hero."

Was in the Chatsworth Wreck. This picture was provided to Mrs. Stoutemyer by a Mrs. Wilson, for her book, "The Train That Never Arrived." 


John Havermale
Fulton County

 Obituary for John Havermale

John J. Havermale died at about eight o’clock Sunday morning at his home on South Avenue B-No. 30. Mr. Havermale’s death was very sudden and resulted from internal hemorrhage caused by a small tumor only lately noticed. The first hemorrhage was on Saturday morning. The alarm felt by the family was, however, soon much allayed. That afternoon he was thought to be in no immediate danger. Sunday morning at half past seven o’clock his brother, J. S. Havermale, left him feeling in good spirits, conversing brightly and hopefully, and expectedly to arise from his bed presently. 

Hardly had his brother gone a block from the house until a second hemorrhage set in. And in thirty minutes death had ensued.

The community thus loses one of its best citizens—a man whose record was clean, whose sterling integrity of character commanded the respect of all, whose life was filled with usefulness—one whose world was better because he lived in it, and whose examples will, be an inspiration to uprightness so long as his honored memory shall remain. 

He was the third son of that noble old pioneer couple, Peter Havermale and wife, both of whom died in the same week only a few years ago. His surviving brothers are the Rev. Samuel G. Havermale, of San Diego, California; Daniel G. Havermale of Canton; the Rev. George W. Havermale, of Wilder, Kansas; the Rev. Marion F. Havermale of Elvaston, Ill, and Joseph S. Havermale of Canton. There is one sister—the wife of John F. Randolph. One brother Noah, was killed in the Chatsworth wreck in 1887—his death being the first one to break the family circle. 

John J. Havermale’s age was sixty-six years on the first day of last September. He was born in Washington County, Maryland. When he was six years old the family removed to Montgomery County, Ohio and from there in 1844 to Illinois and Fulton County. 

On January 1, 1852 he was married to Caroline Ellis, who died February 14, 1874, leaving four children and four having died in infancy. Those who survive their parents are two sons and two daughters. The sons, Peter and Paul, live on the old family homestead in Joshua Township. One of the daughters—Mrs. Charles Divilbiss—also resides in Joshua. The other—Miss Jessie—is at home. On November 9, 1875 Mr. Havermale was married to Sarah A. Smith, who survives him. 

He was for a number of years prior to 1862 a contracting brick mason, and built the High School and many other edifices to be seen in Canton today. In the year mentioned he removed to the Joshua Township farm, four miles west of the city, where he lived until two years ago last March, when he returned to make his home again in town.



Mrs. R.H. Clark
Rootstown, Ohio
Quoted from the Chatsworth Plaindealer

MRS.R.H.CLARK, of Rootstown, Ohio, is in a precarious condition from internal injuries.  Her husband arrived from his home at noon Friday, and is prostrate with grief at the terrible condition of his wife and the loss of his little boy, whose remains have been admirably cared for by MR.W.W.POST and family.  Her sister, MRS.HARRIS, also arrived Friday and is nursing the patient as we go to press at 3:40 a.m. Saturday morning." 


Martha Clark was the second wife of R.H. Clark and appears to have died August 16th following the wreck. Not mentioned in this paragraph, but her son, Joey B., aged 3 years and 4 months, must have died in the wreck. He is probably listed under the "unclaimed" in that paper. 

See their headstones here
An article in the New York Times, date-lined Chatsworth, has this in short:
Mr. Clark arrived searching for this wife. He knew his niece was okay. They later told him of the lose of his son. A later report says that both legs were amputated and she died at 5:30 a.m. of August 14. 

Scroll down to the Aug. 13 report.



Sarah May Law
Eureka, Illinois
Quoted from the Chatsworth Plaindealer

MISS SARAH MAY LAW, of Eureka, Ill., is still a great sufferer, and had been until a short time prior to our call, unconscious, but reaction has restored her.  Her brother is with her, and her uncle, who was here, took her mother, who was injured, but not seriously, home Friday.  The patient can not be moved for several days. 


As best as I can tell, Sarah survived and married John Huling later.

Descendants of Elijah Law 


Will O. Clark
All testified at the inquest held in the Chatsworth school building August 17th
Read their testimony here.

Mrs. S. R. Bordon
Tonica, Illinois
Mrs. Bordon is listed as a survivor in the Chatsworth Plaindealer as only having a broken ankle and bruised foot. However, she is listed in her father's biography, Robert Clendenin of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, as Priscilla B., who was killed in the Chatsworth train wreck.
(One would assume that she must have had internal injuries and died soon after). 

Dr. and Mrs. H.P. Hazen
Fort Madison, Iowa
An August 14 New York Times Report says that Dr. Hazen was taking his wife and niece home.
A Mrs. H.P. Hazen of Brooklyn, N.Y. is listed as guest at a function, at a doctor's home in Lakewood, N.J., in the New York Times newspaper, Jan. 1897.
Could this be his wife? However Dr. Hazen is not mentioned.
Dr. Hazen is listed as injured  and being treated in Chatsworth in the Chatsworth Plaindealer
Link is no longer working


Julia Valdejo
Peoria, Illinois
Julia,  died on August 25, the Saturday following the wreck, report in the Chatsworth Plaindealer. Also listed on the dead list in the Peoria Weekly Journal in an  August 25th edition. 

Bertha Sophia Blandin
Ida Beatrice Blandin
Peoria, Illinois
The daughters of Florence Blandin, who died in the wreck.
Bertha survived, married John Patterson and died in 1969.
Ida survived, married Albert Stein and died in 1908.

Link no longer working. 

George Washington Gayle Ferris, Jr.
Galsburg, Illinois
Inventor of the Ferris wheel, he survived till 1896 
Link no longer working

G. R. Stillwell
Bippus, Indiana
Mr. Stillwell was taken to Piper City after the wreck and was not expected to live in a New York Times report on August 13th.
Mr. George Stillwell is listed as an owner of a drug and general merchandise store in Bippus in 1887, in the History of Huntington County, Indiana. 
His headstone is shown at FindAGrave.com, buried at Funk Cemetery in Huntington County,  with a death date of August 15, 1887. Here.

N. Chellew and Edith Chellew
Glasford, Illinois
I found this child, born to Isaac Newton and Edith Erline Chellew, in Glasford, Illinois, on Feb. 20, 1888. However, they list both Isaac and Edith as having died before Apr. , 1887, in Cook County. This one has me wondering. This is a family site and I would assume they have the correct dates, but how was she born the next year?
Chellew Family  
Link no longer working
Forgot I had this, but do not have the address where I found it! 


Former Resident Passes Away

Many of the friends of Newton Chellew, a former resident of Glasford many years ago will be sorry to hear of this death, which occurred in Chicago Sunday August 4th. Mr. Chellew came to Glasford when a young man, and was employed at the Davis (Bill Davis) Mill as a miller.

He married Edith Davis the daughter of his employer. Mr.Chellew was one of the organizers of the first Glasford Cornet Band and was elected its leader.

He and his wife were both passengers on the ill fated train which was wrecked at Chatsworth, Ill., August 12,1887. Both of them sustained serious injuries.

Subsequent to his he entered the furniture and undertaking business, building a business house on the corner where Elmer Lightbody's store now stands. From here Mr.Chellew moved to Duluth, where we are informed he again entered the milling business. Several years later he removed to where he lived until his death. While in Glasford he was one of the leaders in the affairs of the village and a respected citizen.

He is survived by his wife and one daugher, Ethel. His daughter was born in Glasford.

Stand by for further updates!!

H. W. White
Owasso, Michigan
Mr. White was a passenger in the second sleeping car and survived to give this account to a news paper in his home town, where he was a printer. 

Elton (Eaton) Waters Cattaraugus County, New York
Mr. Waters is listed as having died in Fairbury a few days later, in a New York Times edition on August 19, 1887. 

From the Warsaw Daily Times (Indiana) 
PEORIA, AUG 19--Eaton Waters, single, and any employee of the Peoria Watch Factory, died at Fairbury at 1 o'clock Thursday morning of injuries received at Chatsworth. His home is at Cattaraugus, N.Y. He is the young man who bore up so bravely and insisted that he would not die, but had started for home and would reach there. Poor fellow, he will reach home, but his homecoming will be a sad one.
The state railway commission has concluded their investigation here and will meet at Chatsworth on Tuesday next. Nothing of special interest was elicited by the inquiry here, except that the train was not running fifty miles an hour. This was very conclusively proved by the train dispatcher's record.

The correct name is Elton Emery Waters.   See memorial here.

George Washington Cress
Washington, Illinois
George Washington Cress, 98, former prominent resident of Washington, died at 5:25 p.m. Thursday last week at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Millard H. Hood, 1100 North Street, Peoria, where he had resided for the last 15 years.  He had been ill several weeks. 

Mr. Cress was born April 5, 1846, near Washington, a son of Andrew and Mary Kindig Cress, pioneer residents of Illinois.  He married Miss Celia Thompson at Washington on Feb. 20, 1868.  She preceded him in death in Peoria in October, 1936. 

Mr. Cress was one of the survivors of the Chatsworth wreck of Aug. 10, 1887, in which 81 persons lost their lives. 

For many years he was a prominent breeder and importer of heavy draft horses in the Washington neighborhood, and was widely known among livestock men and farmers throughout the state.  He had made a number of trips to England and Scotland to secure the type of animal in which he specialized.

Mr. Cress was also active in civic life in Washington, having served as mayor for a number of years and as postmaster of Washington for nine years.  He was also a former county treasurer of Tazewell county. 

He was formerly a member of the Christian Church at Washington, in which he took an active part.  After moving to Peoria he transferred his membership to the Central Christian Church, which he attended as long as his health permitted. 

Fraternal affairs also came in for a share of his attention in his younger years.  He held membership in the Washington lodge of Masons, Mohammed temple, Shrine; Peoria Commandery, No. 3, Knights Templar, in which he had been awarded a 50-year emblem, and the Knights of Pythias at Pekin, from which he had also received a 50-year emblem.

Surviving are his daughter, Mrs. Hood of Peoria, and three grandsons, Clyde Crane of Chicago, Chief Yeoman Earl P. Crane, with the US Navy in Cuba, and Jamie C. Crane of Tampa, Fla.  Two sons and two daughters preceded him in death. 

Funeral services were held at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Christian Church in Washington.  Dr. C. C. Carpenter, pastor of Central Christian Church, Peoria, officiated and burial was in Glen Dale Cemetery, Washington. 


John B. Kelly
EAGLES, WALTER; Carpenter and Hotel Keeper; Glasford; was born in Ligonier, Noble County, Indiana, November 30, 1861. His parents are Thomas and Agnes E. (Frienk) Eagles. The father is a native of New York City, of Holland lineage. In early life he came to Indiana and about 1870 removed thence to Illinois, settling on a farm in Mason County. He now lives in Havana and enjoys robust health, though sixty-nine years of age. His wife, who is one year younger, was born on Grenadier Island, in the St. Lawrence River, Canada. Her father. Nathen Frienk, was of French descent.  Walter Eagles learned the carpenter's trade, which he has followed most of the time since coming to Peoria County in 1885. For eight years past he has been proprietor of Glasford House. He is an enthusiastic hunter and fisherman, meeting with uniform success in the pursuit of his favorite sports in the intervals of leisure from his other occupations.  He has reared and owned some of the best bred hunting dogs in Peoria County. He has served the village in various official capacities, including those of Constable and Police Magistrate. January 3, 1888, he married Jennie Kelley, a native of Orion Township, Fulton County, an energetic lady who spares no pains in providing for the comfort of the guests of the Glasford House.  Her father, John B. Kelley, was born in Cattaraugus County, New York, and came to Illinois about 1838, reaching Canton soon after the destruction of that place by a severe storm. He improved a farm of three hundred and twenty acres in Orion Township, where his death occurred August 10, 1892, at the age of seventy-two years, having never recovered from injuries received about three years earlier in the memorable Chatsworth disaster. His brother, Job, was killed in the same catastrophe. Edie Kelley, the father of these brothers, was of Irish lineage. He conducted a large dairy and sugar camp in Cattaraugus County, New York, where he reached the age of eighty years.  His wife, Elizabeth Parker, was of French descent. John B. Kelley was first married to Betty Smith. His second wife, Rachel Proctor, the mother of Mrs. Eagles, was born in McLeansboro, Illinois. She died September 15, 1892, at the age of seventy-two years. Her father, Joseph Proctor, became a citizen of Peoria County and died in Trivoli Township. His widow, Jane (Matthews) Proctor, survived him and reached a great age. Mr. and Mrs. Proctor were born near Louisville. Kentucky. The parents of Mrs. Eagles adopted Grace Richardson into their family, when she was two and a half years old, and, after the death of her mother, she lived with Mrs. Eagles until her marriage with David Howard, a cigar manufacturer of Galesburg. They have two daughters Agnes B. and Ruth L.   Politically Mr. Eagles is a Democrat.


from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Volume II, 1902


From: The Chatsworth Wreck: A Saga of Excursion Train Travel in the American Midwest in the 1880's 
Mr. and Mrs. T.Y.Brown
Chatsworth, Illinois
T. Y. Brown, Chatsworth, and Mrs. Brown boarded the excursion train when it pulled into their home town.
Mr. and Mrs. Brown happened to be inside of the Pullman cars when the wreck occured and were not injured. 
Anthony T. Labood
Peoria, Illinois
Anthony T. Labood, aged 80, one of the few survivors of the Chatsworth wreck, died in Peoria, Ill., within recent years — unfortunately we do not
have the exact date of his passing. He was one of the first Syrians to locate in Peoria. For many years he was engaged in the confectionery business
in Peoria. He was a passenger on the Niagara Falls excursion train which was wrecked east of Chatsworth, Ill., to make history. 
Joseph H. Haughton
Peoria, Illinois

75 years ago

July 17, 1936: One of the last survivors of the 1887 Chatsworth wreck has died in Peoria. Joseph H. Houghton, 78, was the conductor on the ill-fated train. Over 80 people died when an excursion train bound for Niagara Falls wrecked on a burning bridge east of Chatsworth. 

The last reunion was held, as noted, in the public park at Chatsworth Thursday, August 10, 1937, with nine
survivors present. 

Mr. E.F. Swearingen, Canton; R.F. Quisenberry, Atlana; Mrs. Mary E. Barron, Pontiac; B.M. Judd, Colfax; Mrs. W.K. Sharp, Pontiac; A.T. Cunnington, Chatsworth;
Lewis E. Rotterman, Peoria; George A. Smith, East Peoria
All attended the 50th anniversary of the survivors in Chatsworth in 1937. 


(I believe this to be the one)

(I believe this to be the one)


 From the Chatsworth Plaindealer
AUGUST 13, 1942

A.B. Croswell, of Kewanee, accompanied by his wife, motored to Chatsworth Monday, on the anniversary of the great Chatsworth wreck, to inquire about it. Mr. Croswell was a survivor and was just six weeks old at the time. His mother was killed in the wreck and his father died nine months later from injuries received in the wreck. His mother, Mrs. Viola Croswell, was instantly killed and her baby was brought to Chatsworth practically uninjured. He was raised by his grandmother, of Peoria, and did not know until he was seven years old that he was a wreck orphan. The family lived in Peoria at the time of the wreck but his mother's relatives lived in Kankakee and her body was taken there for burial. Mr. Croswell is a sign painter and says he has always wanted to know more about the wreck which came near causing his death. L.J. Haberkorn gave him much first-hand information about the great disaster. 

Note: His mother Viola Croswell died in the wreck. Here is link to cemetery on findagrave. His father Archie B. died in 1890. Here is link to cemetery on findagrave. The memorial  for the son A.B. Croswell is here.

Found posted on facebook but can not longer find a link to it
Recalls Chatsworth Wreck
David Sutherland, who died this week in Peoria was an engineer of the T.P. & W. railroad for many years and, while in the employ of that line, pulled the first engine of the double header Niagara Falls Excursion special, the "death train" that went in the ditch August 10, 1887, due to the burning of a small  bridge near Chatsworth. The engine driven by Sutherland crossed the bridge in safety, but the structure collapsed immediately sending scores to their death.

David Sutherland died January 28, 1921 in Peoria, Illinois. He was married to Sara Jane Zollinger.
See memorial here.

Photo used with permission of J.M. Zollinger, owner and descendant of the Zollinger family.

There are several listed on this page of my site: