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Tune Req: Wreck of the N&W Cannonball

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FREIGHT TRAIN


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GUEST,Jonathan Hewlett 13 Jan 10 - 03:57 PM
GUEST,Jonathan Hewlett 13 Jan 10 - 04:02 PM
GUEST,999 13 Jan 10 - 10:40 PM
GUEST,999 13 Jan 10 - 10:44 PM
GUEST,999 13 Jan 10 - 10:50 PM
Joe Offer 14 Jan 10 - 01:21 AM
Joe Offer 16 Jan 10 - 03:35 AM
Paul Burke 16 Jan 10 - 07:18 AM
cetmst 16 Jan 10 - 08:08 AM
cetmst 16 Jan 10 - 08:22 AM
catspaw49 16 Jan 10 - 09:20 AM
GUEST,Gene 16 Jan 10 - 04:06 PM
GUEST,Anthony in Australia 22 Jan 10 - 04:09 PM
GUEST,999 23 Jan 10 - 02:23 PM
GUEST,Jonathan Hewlett 27 Jan 10 - 01:46 PM
Joe Offer 27 Jan 10 - 06:45 PM
GUEST,Jonathan Hewlett 27 Jan 10 - 07:31 PM
GUEST,Arthur29 18 Mar 10 - 07:46 AM
GUEST,db806 01 Jun 11 - 07:42 AM
GUEST 05 Dec 16 - 02:55 PM
GUEST 02 Feb 17 - 04:42 PM
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Subject: Tune Req: WRECK OF THE N&W CANNONBALL
From: GUEST,Jonathan Hewlett
Date: 13 Jan 10 - 03:57 PM

Where may I listen to the song, "The Wreck of the N&W Cannonball."
I have looked all over but I cannot find it. If someone can tell me where I may listen to it, I would be very thankful.
                                                    -Jonathan


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: WRECK OF THE N&W CANNONBALL
From: GUEST,Jonathan Hewlett
Date: 13 Jan 10 - 04:02 PM

P.S. May you also tell me where I can listen to The Wreck of the 252
                                                            Thanks,
                                                             Jonathan


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Wreck of the N&W Cannonball
From: GUEST,999
Date: 13 Jan 10 - 10:40 PM

Look also for WRECK OF THE NORFOLK & WESTERN CANNONBALL

"NW Train wreck at Petersburg VA 1903
The picture depicts the head-on collision between the N&W Cannonball Express and an Atlantic Coast Line freight at Dunlop (not Dunlap) near Petersburg VA on the Saturday, 27th June 1903. The Cannonball was one of N&W crack expresses and on this day it was hauled by N-class 4-4-0 No 29 ( the engine closest to the camera). The train ran from Richmond to Norfolk twice a day and on this day the accident befell the 9 am from Richmond. Running on time, the Cannonball was passing at speed through Dunlop when it collided at speed with a stationary ACL freight hauled by Copperhead 4-6-0 No 335. The freight had stopped to pick up a car but in doing so had fouled the interlocking preventing the pointsman at Dunlop to set the road. This should have indicated to the driver Harry Covington, of the Cannonball that the line was blocked and to slow down but he either did not see the signal or ignored it. He must have seen the standing freight at the last minute as the air brakes were applied and he jumped. Unfortunately, he hit his head on a rail and was killed.

Harry's nephew Robert was the fireman. He was caught in the wreckage and also killed. In all 2 died and 25 were injured. Amongst the injured was captain Robert Eckles the conductor of the Cannonball. he was attended to by Dr George Font who was a passenger on the train. Less seriously injured were distiguished passengers Judge Mann and Rev. Henry Johnson a well known methodist minister. The crew of the ACL freight were not injured as they jumped when they saw the Cannonball coming. The Coroner's inquest blamed the ACL for blocking the line in the first place. However, Driver Covington must carry the most blame for driving beyond his ability to stop at the signal.

In an interesting sequal the wreck was the subject of a song by Cleburne Meeks who published it uder the title The Wreck of the N&W Cannonball. This was written long after the wreck in 1927 after Meeks was told the story by W.C. Cousins who had been a flagman on the Cannonball. Meeks himself was a hostler for N&W.

Songs about railroad wrecks were popular and often took liberties with the accuracy of the events. Meek's song held very much to the details of the accident. Details can be verified in the Richmond Times-Dispatch for 28 to 30th June 1903 and subsequent issues.

In background of the photograph a steam switcher brings up the wrecking train. No 29 has suffered badly in the collision as did the mail car (not visible) immediately behind the overturned tender. No 335 cab has been stove in by telescoping with its tender and the third car of the freight has been demolished by the second over-riding it. At the time mail cars were marshalled behind the locomotive which made mail clerks and sometimes conductors ( who could often be found in the car) vulnerable in the case of accidents. In 1903 an advertisment offered mail clerk jobs at $1600 to $2300 per year.
- per Ray State rhstate@spion.demon.co.uk "


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Wreck of the N&W Cannonball
From: GUEST,999
Date: 13 Jan 10 - 10:44 PM

I checked YOUTUBE. No luck.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Wreck of the N&W Cannonball
From: GUEST,999
Date: 13 Jan 10 - 10:50 PM

Jonathan, I'm coming up empty on both requests. Sorry.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Wreck of the N&W Cannonball
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Jan 10 - 01:21 AM

In Long Steel Rail, Norm Cohen says that "The Wreck of the N & W Cannonball" (Wreck of the Norfolk & Western Cannon Ball) was a ballad about an accident between two trains, one on the Norfolk & Western, the other on the Atlantic Coast Line, June 27, 1903, near Dunlop, VA. The poem was written by Cleburne C. Meeks and set to music by Carson Robison (under the pseudonym White). It was recorded by Vernon Dalhart on Columbia 15378-D and Edison 52533I couldn't find it on any available Dalhart album.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Wreck of the N&W Cannonball
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Jan 10 - 03:35 AM

Jonathan, contact me by e-mail, and I can lead you to a recording by Vernon Dalhart of "Wreck of the N&W Cannonball."

-Joe Offer, Forum Moderator-
joe@mudcat.org


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Wreck of the N&W Cannonball
From: Paul Burke
Date: 16 Jan 10 - 07:18 AM

Anyone into US train wreck songs should get hold of a copy of the book "Scalded to Death by the Steam" by Katie Letcher Lyle. As well as the songs, often several versions of them, she includes the historical background, interviews with family of the protagonists, information about the composers, discographies, and a whole lot more.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE WRECK OF THE N & W CANNONBALL
From: cetmst
Date: 16 Jan 10 - 08:08 AM

"Scalded To Death By the Steam" by Katie Letcher Lyle, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 1983 titles it "The N&W Cannonball Wreck" and includes a story of the wreck and photographs at the scene. Also included is a history of the writing of the song by Cleburne C. Weeks in 1927, long after the wreck and after Mr. Meeks had heard the story from Billy Cousins who had been a flagman on the Cannonball. There is also a summary of an interview that Ms. Lyle and Paul Shue had with Mr. Meeks in 1982 and a picture of Cleburne Meeks and Paul Shue taken by Ms. Lyle, and a copy of a 1928 letter from Vernon Dahlhart to Mr. Meeks enclosing a contract for the song.
The book also contains stories, contemporary news accounts and   photographs of 25 other train wrecks with melody line, chords and lyrics of songsabout the disaster.

THE WRECK OF THE N & W CANNONBALL
(Cleburne C. Meeks)

The Cannonball was westbound on the Norfolk-Richmond Run,
The brave man at the throttle was Harry Covington.
His cheerful fireman on the left, was Robert Covington.
They did not know that this would be their last successful run.

There's nothing like railroading, Bob, when once you pull the mail
I mean to run this Cannonball the fastest ever sailed.
I mean to break the record for speeding up the line.
Make Petersburg at 6:15, and Richmond right on time.

She pulled right into Petersbur, running right on time.
Switched over on the ACL for Richmond on the line.
Brave Harry at the throttle of engine twenty-nine.
Sped right on into Richmond with the Cannonball on time.

Next morning the Cannonball left Richmond right on time
Brave Harry at the throttle of good old twenty-nine.
His cheerful fireman on the left, did shovel in more coal.
When Harry looked in the fire box door, his burning blaze did roll.

A freight train on the ACL at Dunlop on the line,
Was backed in on the siding for the Cannonball on time.
The brave crew on the Cannonball never knew the switch was wrong
And crashed into the freight train on the ACL that morn.

Poor Bob and Harry Covington died when the engine crashed
Threw Bob against the boiler head, as the tender body smashed,
Threw Harry from his seat box, by the boiler he did fall,
He died a daring engineer, running the Cannonball.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Wreck of the N&W Cannonball
From: cetmst
Date: 16 Jan 10 - 08:22 AM

Sorry, that should be Cleburne C. Meeks. Also the punctuation is not mine. - Charles
    Fixed. Thanks for posting this, Charles.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Wreck of the N&W Cannonball
From: catspaw49
Date: 16 Jan 10 - 09:20 AM

This is one of a very few "wreck" songs that tells a pretty decent account. That's pretty rare. Even this one though succumbs to the "brave engineer at the throttle til the end" mythology which IS NOT rare at all.

In this case the enginman basically did all he could AFTER he became aware of the situation......and then jumped. He was killed because his head hit a rail when he jumped. He somehow missed the signal and was running too fast anyway.   But instead of just letting him die, being say, just "killed in the wreck," we have him bravely dying in the cab.

My Ol' Man was an engineman. By all accounts he was a good one and well known as a "smooth rider" by train crews. He loved the railroad. He did nothing else his entire working life even including his WWII service. He could, quite literally, describe every foot of track in both directions between the Columbus yards and the Conway/Pitcairn yards outside of Pittsburgh. There was an extremely bad crossing at Heath, Ohio with a very steep road grade on either side. It was also used by refinery tankers. He once said that if he ever encountered a tanker that appeared to be stuck on the tracks he was going to shut down, throw the Air into Emergency, and go out the side door. I asked what if the tanker got off before the train got there and he said "The train would stop all by itself and I'd just walk up to the engine and get back on."

For a lot of reasons I always figured my Dad for a brave man or at the very least a stand up kind of guy. I also never considered him to be an idiot.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Wreck of the N&W Cannonball
From: GUEST,Gene
Date: 16 Jan 10 - 04:06 PM

Vernon Dalhart recorded the song with only a couple of minor
differences.
G

Next morning the Cannonball left Richmond right on time
Brave Harry at the throttle of good old twenty-nine.
His cheerful fireman on the left, [was shoving in the coal].
When Harry looked in the fire box door, the burning blaze did roll.

---

Poor Bob and Harry Covington died when the engine crashed
Threw Bob against the boiler head, as the [tender's body] smashed,
Threw Harry from his seat box, by the boiler he did fall,
He died a daring engineer, running the Cannonball.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Wreck of the N&W Cannonball
From: GUEST,Anthony in Australia
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 04:09 PM

Hi all,

Just wondering if someone can give me co-ordinates for the Dunlop Station where this train wreck occured? Looking on Google Earth there seems little evidence left of the original station site.

Thanks

anthonyhitzke@gmail.com


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Wreck of the N&W Cannonball
From: GUEST,999
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 02:23 PM

"NW Train wreck at Petersburg VA 1903
The picture depicts the head-on collision between the N&W Cannonball Express and an Atlantic Coast Line freight at Dunlop (not Dunlap) near Petersburg VA on the Saturday, 27th June 1903. The Cannonball was one of N&W crack expresses and on this day it was hauled by N-class 4-4-0 No 29 ( the engine closest to the camera). The train ran from Richmond to Norfolk twice a day and on this day the accident befell the 9 am from Richmond. Running on time, the Cannonball was passing at speed through Dunlop when it collided at speed with a stationary ACL freight hauled by Copperhead 4-6-0 No 335. The freight had stopped to pick up a car but in doing so had fouled the interlocking preventing the pointsman at Dunlop to set the road. This should have indicated to the driver Harry Covington, of the Cannonball that the line was blocked and to slow down but he either did not see the signal or ignored it. He must have seen the standing freight at the last minute as the air brakes were applied and he jumped. Unfortunately, he hit his head on a rail and was killed.

Harry's nephew Robert was the fireman. He was caught in the wreckage and also killed. In all 2 died and 25 were injured. Amongst the injured was captain Robert Eckles the conductor of the Cannonball. he was attended to by Dr George Font who was a passenger on the train. Less seriously injured were distiguished passengers Judge Mann and Rev. Henry Johnson a well known methodist minister. The crew of the ACL freight were not injured as they jumped when they saw the Cannonball coming. The Coroner's inquest blamed the ACL for blocking the line in the first place. However, Driver Covington must carry the most blame for driving beyond his ability to stop at the signal.

In an interesting sequal the wreck was the subject of a song by Cleburne Meeks who published it uder the title The Wreck of the N&W Cannonball. This was written long after the wreck in 1927 after Meeks was told the story by W.C. Cousins who had been a flagman on the Cannonball. Meeks himself was a hostler for N&W.

Songs about railroad wrecks were popular and often took liberties with the accuracy of the events. Meek's song held very much to the details of the accident. Details can be verified in the Richmond Times-Dispatch for 28 to 30th June 1903 and subsequent issues.

In background of the photograph a steam switcher brings up the wrecking train. No 29 has suffered badly in the collision as did the mail car (not visible) immediately behind the overturned tender. No 335 cab has been stove in by telescoping with its tender and the third car of the freight has been demolished by the second over-riding it. At the time mail cars were marshalled behind the locomotive which made mail clerks and sometimes conductors ( who could often be found in the car) vulnerable in the case of accidents. In 1903 an advertisment offered mail clerk jobs at $1600 to $2300 per year.
- per Ray State rhstate@spion.demon.co.uk "

from

http://www.northeast.railfan.net/wreck_notes.html


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Wreck of the N&W Cannonball
From: GUEST,Jonathan Hewlett
Date: 27 Jan 10 - 01:46 PM

I found an album with the song on it. Vernon Dalhart, My first Recorded Railroad Songs. Does anyone know where I can download that album? Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Wreck of the N&W Cannonball
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Jan 10 - 06:45 PM

Hi, Jonathan-
I can help you. Please contact me by e-mail.
-Joe Offer, Forum Moderator-
joe@mudcat.org


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Wreck of the N&W Cannonball
From: GUEST,Jonathan Hewlett
Date: 27 Jan 10 - 07:31 PM

Joe, I just emailed you. Sorry it took so long. The name of the message is Wreck of the N&W/album. Thanks


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Wreck of the N&W Cannonball
From: GUEST,Arthur29
Date: 18 Mar 10 - 07:46 AM

I found it up for download on internet archive.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Wreck of the N&W Cannonball
From: GUEST,db806
Date: 01 Jun 11 - 07:42 AM

Don't know if this thread is still open but I stumbled upon this thread when researching my genealogy. My great-grand uncle photographed this wreck. He was a professional photographer who lived in Petersburg, VA and ran a photography studio there. One of the photos (not attributed to him unfortunately) is held in the Norfolk and Western Photograph Collection at Virginia Tech. The url for it is:
https://imagebase.lib.vt.edu/imagebase/norfolksouthern/F1/NS3767.JPG

I know that this photograph was taken by my great-granduncle E. D. Macfee, Jr. of Petersburg, VA as I have the same photo in his collection. Evidently he sold the image to the general public on cardstock as a postcard. Mine shows the price he charged. It appears he charged 50 cents for this particular image. One of his sideline businesses was using photographs on cardstock and producing postcards, a popular way to communicate in the early 1900s. You could have my uncle take your picture, produce it on postcards and then could mail your image to your friends. I also have another picture of the same accident taken from a different angle.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE WRECK OF THE NORFOLK AND WESTERN CANN
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Dec 16 - 02:55 PM

Vernon Dalhart's lyrics are actually:

THE WRECK OF THE NORFOLK AND WESTERN CANNONBALL
(Cleburne C. Meeks)

The Cannonball was westbound on the Norfolk-Richmond Run,
The brave man at the throttle was Harry Covington.
His cheerful fireman on the left, was Robert Covington.
They did not know that this would be their last successful run.

There's nothing like railroading, Bob, when once you pull the mail
I mean to run this Cannonball the fastest ever sailed.
I mean to break the record for speeding up the line.
Make Petersburg at 6:15, and Richmond right on time.

She pulled right into Petersburg, running right on time.
Switched over on the ACL for Richmond on the line.
Brave Harry at the throttle of engine twenty-nine.
Sped right on into Richmond with the Cannonball on time.

Next morning the Cannonball left Richmond right on time
Brave Harry at the throttle of good old twenty-nine.
His cheerful fireman on the left, was shovin' in the coal.
When Harry looked in the fire box door, the burning blaze did roll.

A freight train on the ACL at Dunlop on the line,
Was backed in on the siding for the Cannonball on time.
The brave crew on the Cannonball never knew the switch was wrong
And crashed into the freight train on the ACL that morn.

Poor Bob and Harry Covington died when the engine crashed
Threw Bob against the boiler head, as the tender's body smashed,
Threw Harry from his seat box, by the boiler he did fall,
He died a daring engineer, running on the Cannonball.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Wreck of the N&W Cannonball
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Feb 17 - 04:42 PM

It says that he didn't have time to jump. It doesn't say he was at the throttle to the end.


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