One might think that after all this time, some clue as to who was actually responsible would turn up. Apparently not, since it remains unsolved to this day.
The Case Of The Rock Island Wreck
Photo credit: Lincoln Journal Star
On August 9, 1894, a locomotive carrying two passenger cars derailed off a 12-meter (40 ft) trestle in Lincoln, Nebraska, killing 11 people. An inspection quickly revealed that the wreck was the result of sabotage. Spikes had been pulled out of the track, ties had been gouged with a crowbar, and the rail had wrench marks. This act of sabotage was the largest mass murder in the history of the state, alongside Charles Starkweather’s 1958 killing spree.
A black man named George Washington Davis was arrested two days later. Witnesses claimed to have seen him with a lantern at the crash site. He was convicted during a second trial but was paroled ten years later by Governor John Mickey. Nobody else was ever charged.
Davis had a lot of support, both then and now, claiming he was nothing but a convenient scapegoat for a community out for punishment. Others believed that he was involved, but he didn’t act alone. The lack of a motive led them to conjecture that Davis might have been hired to sabotage the rail, perhaps by a Rock Island competitor. However, even now, over a century later, all of this remains pure speculation.
Sounds to me as if the man convicted was, indeed, a scapegoat. One of those things I reckon we will never know for sure!
Coffee inside the kitchen again. The reason...it is just too hot outside to be comfortable.