Archive for September 21st, 2010

A Dreadful Death on the Wabash Railroad

September 21, 2010

Wabash Train (Image from

Man and Horses Burned.

JACKSONVILLE, Ill., Sept. 11. — A freight car on the Wabash railroad, when near this city yesterday evening, caught fire, burning to death two fine Normon stallions. A man in charge, whose name is supposed to be Scott Pickerell, went into the car to rescue the horses and was literally roasted alive. When taken off the car one of the horses laid across his body. The car caught fire from sparks from the engine.

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) Sep 11, 1883

Wabash Railroad Map

A Dreadful Death.

A most distressing fatal accident by fire occurred on a freight train on the Wabash road, a few miles east of Jacksonville last evening, by which Mr. Scott Pickrell, aged 23 years, a brother of Hon. J.H. Pickrell, of Harristown, lost his life.

Scott Pickrell, who was in Decatur last week attending the fair, started from Buffalo, Ill., yesterday afternoon with two stallions in a stock car, consigned to Mr. Holloway at Alexis, Ill., a point west of Jacksonville. One account of the fire is that a brakeman on the train saw Pickrell trying to get out of the burning car through the man hole; that he was first seen on the top of the car, waving his coat and hands for the train to stop; that he went back into the car through the man hole, and again reappeared as if he was struggling to get out.

The train had about stopped at this time and the brakeman and other train men got water from the tender and extinguished the flames. It was supposed that Pickrell had escaped, but he had fallen back, and when found he was dead and badly burned, in the bottom of the car. Both stallions were also burned to death, and the car ruined. An inquest was held at Jacksonville and this forenoon the charred remains of the young man were brought to Buffalo and taken to his late home at Mechanicsburg, Ill. William S. Pickrell is the father of the deceased.

As to how the car caught fire, reports differ. Young Pickrell is said to have been in the caboose until the train arrived at Alexander, when he went forward to see about the stock, smoking a cigar at the time; but it is known that he did not use the weed in any form. One report is that he gave a cigar to Conductor Murphy before leaving the caboose. It is held by some that the car must have been set on fire by sparks from the engine. Mr. J.H. Pickrell, who is at Toledo, Ohio, has been notified by telegraph of the death of his brother.

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) Sep 11, 1883

The funeral of Scott Pickrell, the unfortunate young man who lost his life by a burning stock car near Jacksonville the other night, takes place from Mechanicsburg to day at one o’clock.

The Review (Decatur, Illinois) Sep 13, 1883

Scott Pickrell (top) gravestone

Gravestone image can be found on Find-A-Grave. Scott Pickrell is buried in the Pickrell Cemetery in Mechanicsburg, IL.

It Was Scott Pickrell.

The man who was burned in a stock car near Jacksonville Monday, was Scott Pickrell, who resides near Buffalo, Ill. His remains were taken to his home yesterday, and the funeral will be held there to-day. The deceased was a man of good character and was an industrious and prosperous farmer. He was a brother of J.H. Pickrell, of Harristown, and was quite well known in this county.

Saturday Herald (Decatur, Illinois) Sep 15, 1883

THE receivers of the Wabash will pay J.H. and A.A. Pickrell, administrators of the late Scott Pickrell, $102.90, to cover the funeral expense of the deceased. Scott, it will be remembered, was burned to death in a stock car near Orleans in 1883.

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) Mar 2, 1885