Political, Social and Historical Interpretation At Its Best.
Monday, April 1, 2013
Great Nashville Train Wreck Of 1918
This is a picture of the worst train wreck in American history. It occurred on July 9, 1918 in Nashville Tennessee. The wreck happened on Dutchman's Curve near present day White Bridge road in West Nashville. Two trains of the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railroad slammed head-on into each other carrying a large number of predominately black workers that worked at the Old Hickory munitions plant. The west bound train hit a train carrying workers from Memphis killing 101 people. The accident happened during World War I and as a result electronic signals would be used on all railroads instead of hand signals. My grandfather who was born in 1889 told me about this wreck. He was a blacksmith on the Tennessee Central Railroad. Granddaddy told me that heads were placed in buckets by recovery workers. The men on my mothers side of the family were all railroad men. My great grandfather, John C. Frogge, my grandfather Marcellus F. Brown, and my uncle Elby Morse worked in the Tennessee Central blacksmith shop. My great grandfather was shop foreman there until his death caused by cardiac arrest at the age of 83. John's son Garfield Frogge also worked in the blacksmith shop and survived a similar wreck in Kentucky. On October 7, 1903, at the age of 22, Garfield was working for the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railroad as a Flagman. He was on one of two trains that collided on a railroad trestle. My uncle Elmore Hughes was an engineer and I had an uncle McIntosh that was crushed to death while working in the railroad yards.