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Ashtabula Train Disaster 1876 songs?

GUEST,Bill Brown 17 Dec 12 - 12:51 AM
GUEST 17 Dec 12 - 12:04 PM
GUEST,Stim 17 Dec 12 - 12:38 PM
judyac 17 Dec 12 - 05:01 PM
GUEST,Stim 18 Dec 12 - 12:23 AM
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Subject: Ashtabula Train Disaster 1876 songs?
From: GUEST,Bill Brown
Date: 17 Dec 12 - 12:51 AM

Is anyone aware of old songs about the Ashtabula Train Disaster of 1876?

It seems likely there were some. It was the worst US train wreck up until that time - almost 100 people died, most of them horribly. One of them was Philip Bliss, a popular and famous hymn-writer.

And, yes I know about a recent song by Howard Micenmacher. Not interested. I'm only interested in songs from the era of the disaster.

--Bill Brown


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Subject: RE: Ashtabula Train Disaster 1876 songs?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Dec 12 - 12:04 PM

Are you talking about Ashtabula, Ohio? It's such an unusual name that there can't be as many Ashtabulas as there are Pleasantvilles or Springfields, but I'm a local history buff who has never heard of the trainwreck.


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Subject: RE: Ashtabula Train Disaster 1876 songs?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 17 Dec 12 - 12:38 PM

It seems like their should have been songs about it, though Katie Letcher Lyle, who wrote about train wreck songs in "Scalded to Death by the Steam", pointed out two interest facts, first, that train wreck songs were mostly an Appalachian phenomenon:

"If one marked every spot on a map of the lower forty-eight states where a wreck that had a song composed about it occurred, a heavy cluster would form west of the Blue Ridge and east of the Ohio River, north of the Smokies, and south of the north fork of the James River."

The other is that train wreck songs tended to be about heroic actions rather than accounts of historical events.

"The disastrous wrecks, in terms of lives lost, were generally not written about. Mass tragedy has probably never been as interesting as the death of one or two individuals."

Most varied considerably from the actual facts of the incident, and some of the most famous were completely fictional.

As our current and most horrific massacre shows, the actual facts in these incidents are scattered and random, and, though shocking and disturbing, they lack a coherent narrative.


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Subject: RE: Ashtabula Train Disaster 1876 songs?
From: judyac
Date: 17 Dec 12 - 05:01 PM

Wikipedia gives only three literary references to Ashtabula as follows:

Poet Carl Sandburg wrote a poem titled "Crossing Ohio when Poppies Bloom in Ashtabula." There is also a novel called The King from Ashtabula by Vern Sneider, published in 1960. The city is also mentioned in the Bob Dylan song "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go".

Not mentioned in Wikipedia is the beautiful David Francey song "Ashtabula".


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Subject: RE: Ashtabula Train Disaster 1876 songs?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 18 Dec 12 - 12:23 AM

And, as you undoubtably know, Bill, there is a lot of information about the wreck online, including newspapers accounts and such things.


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