Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Number 4: Rock Island wreck

The August 10, 1894 wreck of a Rock Island train on the southwest outskirts of Lincoln was almost lost in the mist of time, until it was resurrected in the public consciousness by author Joel Williams, who came across the story while conducting research for his historical novel, Barrelhouse Boys

The wreck was determined to be the result of sabotage to the tracks, perhaps an attempt to derail the train as a prelude to robbery.  Eleven people died in the crash and ensuing fire, making this a mass murder, to be sure.  G. W. Davis was arrested and convicted of the crime, but later received a full pardon.  The story was told in greater detail earlier this year by the Lincoln Journal Star

I snapped this photo of the new historical marker on a beautiful fall afternoon a couple weeks ago.  The marker is along the Rock Island Trail, in Wilderness Park, accessible only by foot or bike from the nearest trail access points about a half mile away at Old Cheney Road on the north, or 14th Street on the south. 

rockisland

Here’s the big question that remains unanswered: was there really significant evidence to prove that George Washington Davis committed the crime, or was he just a convenient scapegoat?  The fact that he received a gubernatorial pardon ten years later leads me to believe that the evidence must have been unusually weak.  If he was railroaded, then my second question is this: who really pried loose the tracks with the 40 lb. crowbar found at the scene?


The Sereies:

8 comments:

Tom Casady said...

Thanks, proofreader.

Steve said...

So was Davis paroled, or pardoned (or both)? The historical marker says paroled. Just curious.

Anonymous said...

Chief-I'd agree the evidence must have been weak if Davis was freed. If the evidence were strong, he probably would have been hanged in that era An eyewitness account of a black man at night with only lantern light for viewing could have obvious problems. But then again, a guy running towards the scene from four miles away after hearing an explosion he couldn't have heard is suspicious as well. So, I'd guess there was a good chance he had something to do with it. Interesting case.

256

Anonymous said...

Obama did it! Arrest him, lock him up and throw away the key.

JIM J said...

BARKING DOG....HELP im losing my mind...lol

Steve said...

Jim J:

Too late! :)

JIM J said...

Steve: your arggggg---right
But, I know everything happens for a reason and I believe things happen, not in random order, but some preplaned order. Let me example that.
I got home at lunch to be greeted by the neighbo and Animal Control Officer. I felt like I had won the lottery! I walked to the spot they were talking and asked if this is about the barking dog. The young lady who had been absent for two weeks was standing their with citation in hand. Soon after another man drove up. I will call him snake skin boots.
I explained I do not like doing business like this, but after leaving a note about the barking dog and getting three more weeks of no sleep at night I was at wits end. Though she denied that any dogs were EVER left outside unattended (figures) I chose not to entertain such a silly argument. I explained that I introduced my self to the people who moved in on the 3rd of October. I pointed out the fact that I said we like to solve any problems that may happen between neighbors and have a much more close neigbor like area here.
I never told the AC Officer that this lady I am talking to is the one that I met that first day, of which was to be the start three weeks of pure misery.
to long stroy short, I parted the meeting with snake skin boots and her and said
"May this be the start of greener pastures"! To top it all off, they got a sixty day eviction notice, of which will only happen if I complain again. I plan on not complaining. I will talk to her first, and if that fails, well, what arggggg my options.

Steve said...

Point made!