Waterloo Region Generations
A record of the people of Waterloo Region, Ontario.

Michael Maher

Male - 1856


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  • Name Michael Maher 
    Gender Male 
    Misfortune 1856  Waterloo Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    killed in train accident 
    Eby ID Number Waterloo-84598 
    Died 6 Oct 1856  Waterloo Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Cause: train accident 
    Person ID I84598  Generations
    Last Modified 18 Nov 2019 

  • Notes 
    • KILGOUR, LINNEHAN, MAHER - It is our painful duty this day to record the first casualty of any importance that has occurred upon this section of the Grand Trunk Railway. The details of the case, as given by different individuals, vary considerably, but the following account of the occurrence may be taken as nearly, if not altogether, correct. It appears that Mr. Robert Kilgour, the overseer of the Berlin section of the road, and five workmen under him, started from where they had been working during the day, between Breslau (Grand River bridge) and Berlin, to return home about seven o'clock on Monday evening in a hand-car. In the meantime, a train which had been taking wood up the line started from Berlin to Guelph for the night. The train, it would appear, both whistled and rang the bell as it crossed over the bridge at Breslau, but the poor fellows on the car would appear not to have heard the warning. Some short distance beyond the bridge and just where the road crosses the track, those on the car became aware of the approaching train, and two men who were standing at the back of it just had time to throw themsleves off when the locomotive struck the car, completely demolishing it, killing two men on the spot, and so seriously injuring the third one that he died in half an hour afterwards. The latter party, Mr. Kilgour, appears to have also jumped from the car, but too late to clear the locomotive, some part of which seems to have struck him on the back of the head completely smashing the skull. The locomotive and six cars passed over the broken car and the bodies of the two men on it, cutting one of them into three pieces, and so fearfully shattering the head of the other one as to make recognition next to impossible. As soon as the accident was known, assistance was obtained, and the bodies were conveyed to their respective homes.

      The passenger train from Toronto, which arrived at the spot a few minutes after the accident, was stopped, and word sent to Berlin of the occurrence. Dr. Bowlby immediately repaired to the spot on a locomotive, but in the meantime Mr. Kilgour had breathed his last. No blame appears to attach itself to the engine driver of the locomotive, Mr. Joseph Dalbeck, or any one in charge of the train. The night was dark, and there being no light shown upon the handcar, no one on the train was aware of its being on the track until too late to prevent the fatal collision. The name of the deceased are: Robert Kilgour, a Scotchman who was married but without family; Michael Linneham, a young man, and not married; and Michael Maher, who was married, and leaves a family of ten small children. The father of Linnehan was on the hand-car and escaped, as we have said, by throwing himself off. Dr. Scott, being too indisposed to hold an inquest, he sent to Galt for a coroner, but up to the time of going to press, this gentleman had not arrived.

      Hamilton Spectator 10 Oct 1856


  • Sources 
    1. [S14] News - ON, Waterloo, Kitchener - Berlin Chronicle (1856-1860), October 8, 1856.
      Train accident. See the Berlin Chronicle, pg.2 col.3 for October 8, 1856

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsMisfortune - killed in train accident - 1856 - Waterloo Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - Cause: train accident - 6 Oct 1856 - Waterloo Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
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