[This story is true; this headline used by the Enquirer
refers to the “false work,” or scaffolding which collapsed]


Bridge Collapse bridge collapsecollapse

Not Only in Name
 Was the Licking Bridge of Death


 It Fell With Fifth Ill fated Workmen


 The Crowning Horror in the History of Three Cities


 Piling in the Shifting Bed of the Treacherous Stream
 Gave Way Beneath the “False Structure” of the Bridge


 Like A Toy it collapsed and Fell a Total Wreck


 Twenty Two Men Dead of Drowning or Worse


 As Many More Are Badly Hurt and Seven Are Missing


 Robert and Andrew Baird, The Famed Bridge Builders
 Go Down to Death With Their Two Score Workmen. 


One woman loses Three sons –Four Companions Die Together – Scenes of Horror and Woe  


An hour before noon yesterday, in the yellow, muddy valley of the treacherous Licking, occurred the most appalling calamity in the history of the three cities at the river’s mouth.

 Two score and more of workmen, toiling beneath the scorching sun for their daily bread, were suddenly hurtled in a mass of wreck and ruin, stunned and bleeding, beneath the rivers yellow blossom.

 Some rose to struggle desperately for life-most died miserably from wounds or by drowning, entangled in the network of the fallen bridge.

 No warning came to them.  There was but an instant of swaying, and then the chaos of crashing, grinding ruin and death.

 Those who left kitchen and babies and ran to the river bank found their worst fears more than realized.  Half a score of the sixty-three men who were employed on the bridge were standing about speechless and appalled.  The river was blocked from bank to bank with a mass of debris, which had been the false work of the central span.  In it were the bodies of twenty-five men or more [the final count was 41], while in the neighboring houses some poor, maimed, and crushed unfortunates were dying deaths of agony.

 It was a scene such as, in merciful probability, may never be witnessed again in the three cities.

 According to a careful estimate – for certainty is yet impossible – fifty four men were on the span which gave way.   Of these, twenty-two are dead, either in Covington or Newport, twenty-one are injured, many fatally, and five are missing – no doubt buried beneath the wreck of the bridge.  Four alone escaped unhurt.


How It Happened 

 The Story of the Casualty as Told by Eye Witnesses

 The bridge, which will be historical for the awful calamity attending its building, will, when completed, span the Licking River from Eleventh street in Newport to Twelfth street in Covington.  Two massive piers erected at the river’s edge are to support the ends of a long iron span.  A false structure had been erected between these two piers.  It was supported by piling driven in the slimy, shifting bottom of the river, and leaving a narrow channel for navigation.  The insecurity of the foundation of this wooden structure was the cause of yesterday’s awful accident.  The piles which upheld it were not fixed to bear the might weight of the iron span which was being built upon it.

 Yesterday, sixty-three men were employed upon the bridge.  Fifty-four of them were working upon the central span connecting the heavy iron girders which were being swung into place by the “traveler,” a huge contrivance of timbers, trussed together with iron rods, and running on rollers sixty three feet above the top of the piers and 126 feet from the surface of the river.  Some of the men were working at this dizzying height, but most of them were below the huge “traveler” working at the jointing of the iron girders.

 A good deal of uneasiness concerning the security of the wooden false work had been felt.  Murray Reardon, a carpenter who was working on the bridge, was talking to Frank Mure, the foreman, only a few moments before the accident concerning this very thing.  Mure laughed at his uneasiness, but Reardon reiterated what he said.

 “I tell you that false work won’t stand the weight of those girders,” said he. “It shakes every time the traveler runs out.  You can’t drive piles in that river that will be secure.”

 Reardon went out to work on the middle span. He started for the blacksmith shop for some bolts.  On of his fellow workmen called him back, saying that he had enough bolts to fill their needs for the present. 

“Never mind,” shouted Reardon, “I’ve come this far, I might as well get them now.” 

Providence was generous to this one man.  He had scarcely reached the east pier before he heard a cracking and groaning of timbers behind him.  He heard Charles Wilkinson, a “top man” standing near the engine, back of the pier, shout: “Look out!” and saw the other men bout the engine fleeing wildly from their places.

 They saw that the bridge was going down and were getting beyond the reach of breaking and flying cables.  Then Reardon and every other workman who was safe beyond the fatal center span saw a sight which they will remember to their dying day. The great wooden structure of the temporary bridge, with the fifty men doting it above, below, and on every side, “wavered,” sank, and fell with a mighty crash into the river.  Here and there a man jumped clear of the falling structure, but most of the workmen went down with the wreck.  There was a moment during which every man stood paralyzed with horror.

 Then they ran for the skiffs to begin the work of rescue.  The news that the bridge had fallen spread like wildfire through Covington, Newport, and Cincinnati.  Within less than half an hour the banks were thronged with horror stricken crowds, which fell back in silence to permit the passage of stretchers bearing the dead bodies of the working men. 

Rescuers at Work


How the Wounded and Dead Were Got Out of the Wreck

 The quest for the bodies of the men who went down with the might mass of broken timbers and twisted iron was at first an easy one.

 Some of the motionless, bleeding bodies lay upon the elevated portions of the wreck, clear of the water.  These were the men whom the fall had killed.  Others, caught in the mass of wreckage, were but half submerged, and the few who witnessed the awful sight saw the struggling limbs of drowning men raised in mute appeal for succor.  Skiffs put out hastily from either shore.

 Rudolph Smith, the floating bath proprietor heard of the horror almost immediately and sent a large skiff with three men, Thomas Jordan, William Duffy, and Thomas McHugh to the scene of the catastrophe.  They succeeded in recovering five bodies from the wreck. 

 It was not difficult to find the bodies.  They lay mostly in plain sight, although many were pinned by fallen timbers or iron trusses, which had to be lifted away before the bodies could be taken aboard the skiffs.  Before noon, nineteen bodies had been landed, eleven on the Newport banks, and six on the Covington side [11 + 6 = 19 ?].

 Among the first of them were the bodies of the two contractors, Robert and Andrew Baird.  Andrew had seen the bridge for the first time yesterday morning.  He had just arrived from Pittsburg, and was inspecting the bridge when the crash came.  He had been scarcely an hour upon the structure.  The bodies of both contractors were bruised and crushed beneath the falling timbers.

 On the Covington bank of the Licking a hundred or more men were at work in the Licking Roller Mills when the crash came.

 They all yelled “The bridge has gone down,” as if they had been forewarned.  They ran out, and saw struggling in the water the unfortunate workmen who had gone down in the awful wreck.

 Like an army, a score or more of mill hands jumped into the muddy water and swam to the wreck.  Two or three men would gather a body and swim with it to the Covington shore.  Most of them were dead or dying, but a few escaped with light injuries.  In all, the mill men pulled out eleven bodies.  The injured were hurriedly placed in vehicles and move to the St. Elizabeth Hospital.

 The dead were placed on a float.  Some had drowned, while others had me with a more violent death.

 After all of the injured had been removed, Patrol 1 of the Cincinnati force, came tearing down the street, and soon all the bodies were removed to the morgue at Menninger’s undertaking establishment.  Among the mill men who assisted in the rescuing was E. A. New.  He relates a very sad story of the death of one workman.  There was a cry for help from the wreck in the middle of the river.

 New heard it and jumped into the river after having placed an injured man on a float.  He swam to the wreck and found the man who was crying for help.  He was a young fellow, and when asked by New why he did not jump out and swim he said “I can’t my leg is caught.”  New grabbed him by the hand and pulled, but it was no use.  The poor fellow’s right leg was held fast between two large pieces of iron. They pinioned it near the thigh, and the blood trickling down his pants told that the iron had cut the flesh.  “For God’s sake, pull me out,” pleaded the poor fellow, and again New pulled, but he could not budge him.

 “I can’t get you out, your leg is caught,” said New.

 “Then, by G-d, cut it off.  Take your knife and cut me out. Do something,” the pinioned man fairly shrieked.

 “I’ve got nothing to cut you out with. Wait, I’ll give you another pull,” said New, and just as he was about to grab the fellow by the hand the wreck settled.  The iron girders slipped from the unfortunate’s legs and caught him under the chin.  New jumped from the wreck just in time to save his own life and to see the heavy irons sink, with the poor fellows head between them.  His head was dragged down under the water and he was drowned.

 The body was not secured.

 A floating derrick was towed into position above the wreck, and the towboat Hercules Carroll brought barges from the mouth of the Licking for the rescuers to work from. A dozen men stripped to their underclothes, and some of them, seeming semi-amphibious, clambered about in the wreckage which clogged the river, or disappeared beneath the waters surface for minutes at a time, groping blindly for the bodies of their fellow workmen.  At 1 o’clock, Charles Wilkenson, one of the divers, who had himself been on the pier of the bridge when the middle span fell, found the body of  James Johnson, caught between two timbers, ten feet below the rivers surface.  With the assistance of other divers, Chris Beck, Herman Burgess, Barney King, and Wilkenson succeeded in getting a chain fastened to the submerged timber which held Johnson’s body.  Then the engine of the floating derrick dragged the timber to the surface. Johnson’s body floated up with it and the divers caught it.

 An hour later the divers found the body of john Sullivan.  It was pinned tightly in the wreck and it took a half hour’s work to loosen it. The next body recovered, and the last, up to the hour of going to press, was that of Chas. Gresham.  It was found a few minutes before 3 o’clock.  It was caught but a foot below the surface of the water, and the divers had been within a yard of it for half an hour before it was discovered.  It also was taken to the Newport morgue.

 The divers continued their work during the afternoon and late into the night but without avail.  It seems probable that no more bodies will be recovered until a large part of the wreckage has been cleared away. 

Three Heroes


One of Whom Saved Several Lives After the Terrible Fall

 Charles H. Wilkerson, A Louisville bridge carpenter, who boards at No 159 East Twelfth Street, Covington, acted a heroic part.  He was firing a pile driver engine at the end of the Newport pier when the span gave way and precipitated its living fright into the Licking River.   The fragment of timber he stood on fell with the rest, and he alighted in twenty feet of water near the Covington shore.  He was bruised slightly, but was otherwise uninjured.

 The German known among his fellow workers as “Skyhooks,” came to the surface.  Wilkerson swam to the injured man and kept him afloat until he was on dry ground.  Wilkerson then turned his attention to the other wounded men who were floating in the river, and succeeded in rescuing three of them.  He is subject to heart disease. One man he was unable to reach drowned before his eyes, and the spectacle so affected him that his heart refused action, and he fainted.

 A glass of brandy was given him, and he recovered sufficiently after a few moments to go again into the water.  He dived for the missing bodies, and succeeded in bringing up six of them – James J. Johnson, Andrew Baird, Robert Baird, A Canadian called “Shampoo,” Sullivan, and a name named Charley.

 Wilkerson’s work of finding the bodies was greatly facilitated by his knowledge of diving.  He was a professional diver in Lake Erie and on the Maumee River before he abandoned that kind of work for bridge

Presence of Mind

 Ben Arnold, a young workman, riveting a piece of metal over the doomed span, was one of the few who heard the first warning crack of the timbers.

 He had been advised, in case of danger of the kind, to climb as high as possible to escape being crushed to death.  He began going up one of the scaffolds, but had not ascended a dozen feet before the entire mass collapsed.  He fell a distance of 110 feet, striking a floating timber.  He shoulder was dislocated and his right arm broken between the shoulder and the elbow.

 He was taken to William Parmerlee’s boarding house, 419 Eleventh street, Newport, and attended by Dr. Pythian.

 Arnold’s presence of mind undoubtedly saved his life. 

John Murray is another man whose life was saved by his presence of mind.  In telling of his experience he said, “I was twenty feet above the superstructure and about 100 above the water when the work fell.  I lost my head until I was about half way down.

 “A mass of timber and two men shot by me.  Remembered that I was on a lot of planks.  I jumped so that I would land further out on the water and clear the debris that caught the other two men and killed them.” 

Pure Carelessness


Murray Rardin Says it Was the Cause of the Accident

 One man who can congratulate himself on his most miraculous escape is Murray Rardin, residing on East Seventh street, Newport, who was employed on the bridge as a carpenter. He told the story to an Enquirer representative, and it throws the responsibility upon the shoulders of the dead contractors.

 “The news spread like wildfire” said Rardin,” and I went to the nearest telephone and summoned surgeons and Coroner Dr. Fred A. Davis.  The cause of the accident was due to carelessness on the part of the contractor.  Weeks ago I told Frank Mure, the head carpenter, that the false work was not sufficient to bear the strain of the span.  He was a rampant democrat, and I, being a strong Republican, he laughed at me and said that we Republicans were afraid of our own shadows.  I told other people the same thing.  When the piles were being driven in the Licking, some of them would spring fifteen feet out of the ground, and again they would be sunk simply with the weight of the hammer, which was 3,400 pounds.  The false work was completed last Friday night, and the first girder was taken out Saturday morning, and the false work shook like an aspen leaf.  The false work was not sufficiently strong to support the weight, and the whole had to be supported by the traveler – the whole thing then went down.

 “The job,” said Rairdon, “was what was termed a stake job.  In other words, it was not thought that there was much in it.  The whole thing can be attributed to carelessness and nothing else.” 

“Old Sis” Sponsor


Three of Her Sons Killed in the Accident

 Out in the south-eastern Covington there is a tract of ground known as “No Man’s Land.”  It is to Covington what Deercreek was to Cincinnati in its palmiest days.

 Every resident of the place carries a sawed off musket for a cane and every man and woman in the “suburb” has a record. The most prominent woman in the “Land” is “Old Sis Sponsor.”  She is as well known in Covington police circles as Johanna McNamara is in Cincinnati.  She has been arrested time and time again for drunkenness, but she always escaped the Work-house, because Kentuckians never send women to the rock pile. 

 Old Sis had three sons Jack (24) Frank (21), and Dick (18).   They knew the weakness of their mother, but they cared for her all the same.  They all worked on the bridge, and went down with the wreck.  Everybody in Covington and Newport knew they had gone down, because they were well known, but the poor living in no man’s land knew nothing about it, and where she lived they have no telephone or telegraph wires to carry the news of anything.  Several hours passed but the mother heard nothing about the accident.

 She stood in the yard of her house overlooking the muddy waters of the Licking.

 But along in the afternoon, she heard that the bridge went down.  Who told her no one knows. It might have been a news boy carrying the news. Without waiting to cover head to protect it from the hot sun, she ran toward the city.

 She was wringing her hands and crying for her “poor boys.” They were all men but they were still her boys.  The street she ran, weeping as if her heart would break. She had received many shocks in her day, but this was the saddest of all.  At last she reached Twelfth street.  Turning down, she saw before her hundreds of sightseers coming and going to the wreck.  Some were laughing, and, while others, with sad faces said, “What an awful accident.” 

 Old Sis pushed herself through the crowds and at last reached the river bank where thousands of men, women and children were watching for the wreckers to “pull out another.”  They heard Old Sis’s cries, and they made way for her.  Down near the water’s edge, she was stopped by a man who knew her, and knew her sons.

 “You had better go back, Sis, you can do no good.  Jack and Frank are killed and Dick is missing,” said the acquaintance.

 The information may have been meant in kindness, but it was cruel to Old Sis.

 “My God! My darling boys are all gone now,” shrieked the poor woman as she sank to the ground.  Kind hands carried her to a shady spot, where she was cared for until Patrol 1 arrived and took her to Cincinnati to the home of a friend on Walnut street, near the river.

 Many think that the death of her three  loved ones will kill Old Sis. 

“Don’t Cry, Annie”


Said Dying William Roby – Scenes at the Hospital and Morgue

 William Roby, a twenty year old boy, at work on the bridge with his brother, John Roby, was taken out of the river frightfully mangled.  His brother’s body had already been recovered and taken to the boarding house, 524 Thornton street, Newport, and his widow was screaming hysterically.

 The younger brother was taken in a room, and soon regained consciousness.  He sent for the grief stricken woman and tried to console her.

“Don’t cry, Annie,” he said painfully. “Jack’s all right, I hope, and I’m not going to die.”  He did not know that “Jack’s” dead body was laid out in the other room or that his own injuries were of so frightful a nature.  A piece of timber had almost torn his stomach away and the lower part of his body was already paralyzed. 

 A few minutes afterward he sent for the distracted woman a second time and said, “Don’t cry, Annie, It hurts my head so.” Annie checked her sobs until a short while after, and saw the wounded boy die without adding to his suffering by telling him of his brother’s death.

 As soon as news of the accident reached the St. Elizabeth Hospital, the good sisters prepared to receive the injured.

 In a very few minutes a rag wagon, with the old horse going as fast as his legs could move, drove into the yard.  It carried Henry Kramer, 25, of Covington.

 Drs. Kearns and Malloy were soon at his side, and they found that his arm was broken and that he was badly bruised about the body.  He is an iron worker and was on top of the traveler when the accident took place.  He went down in the debris and had a very remarkable escape.

 The next man brought in was S. K. Kiel.  His back was hurt.  Inspector Wilson was received a few moments later, with his back sprained.

 Then Patrick Murray was brought in.  He was unconscious.  His ribs were broken and his skull was fractured.  He lingered until 3:20 o’clock, when he died.  The body was removed to the morgue.

 Patrol 1 was the next arrival with a man who is known only as “stock-yards.” His skull was fractured at the base of the brain, and he died half an hour after he arrived at the hospital.

 The bodies of Robert and Andrew Baird, the contractors, lay side by side at the residence of the former, 1022 Columbia street,  [Newport].  They are both badly cut and bruised, the latter especially, part of his intestines protruding.

 Andrew Baird arrived from Pittsburg but an hour and a quarter before the accident, and but a few minutes before was joking with some o the men.  He was a magnificent specimen of manhood.

 The following telegram was received two hours after the accident by Mayor Thomas of Covington:

 MAYOR OF COVINGTON: Do not spare expense but wire at once condition of Andrew Baird, who was injured on the bridge.  Can we help him by coming on tonight’s train?  Answer quick.  Hutchinson, Wilmot & Baird.”

 When the telegram arrived, Andrew Baird was in the morgue at Newport.  He was instantly killed in the accident. 

At the Morgue         


Thousands of People View the Long Row of Silent Bodies

 There were over 5,000 people at Menninger’s Morgue, in Covington, last night anxious to ascertain who the dead were.  Many people were making inquiries about missing people,  Thee was six [sic ] bodies at this place, and all bit one was identified up to 10 o’clock.  The man that was not identified died at the hospital, and his name is said to be Meavers, but this is not positively known.  Two of the bodies will be sent to their relatives today.

 The crowd became so large that Mr. Menninger was compelled to call a policeman to keep them back.  Coroner Wilson will commence the inquest upon the bodies today. The scene at the morgue was a distressing one.  Anxious-eyed women came frequently – anxious, and yet fearing to look upon the bodies.

 The bodies have all been embalmed.

 There was a surging mass of humanity on East Sixth street, in Newport, where M. Betz & son’s morgue is situated.

 There were nine bodies packed in ice, and hundreds of people viewed the mangled remains.  There were few of the friends or relatives, however, and all that were recognized were identified by fellow workmen.

 James Johnson, of Harve de Gras[sic], Md., when found had $27.40, a silver watch, and a railroad pass from Natchez to Jackson, Miss.  It expired April 20.  A god initial and a plain ring were on his fingers.  The latter could not be gotten off owing to the size the finger had swollen. 

Major Bigstaff


President of the Bridge Company, Talks of the Affair

 Major Samuel Bigstaff, President of the company building the new bridge, was seen last evening at his residence at Fourth street and Washington avenue, Newport.

 He knew nothing of the accident until informed about it two hours after the occurrence.  Major Bigstaff said, “The name of the firm doing this construction is the Kenton and Campbell County Bridge Company.  The estimated cost of the bridge, when finished, was about $175,000.  The King Bridge Company of Cleveland, who had the contract for the building of the new bridge between Cincinnati and Newport, also had charge here.  They in turn sublet the contract for the spans and iron work tot he Baird Bros., who had their headquarters in Pittsburg.

 The Baird Brothers were known all over the country, and I might say all oer the world, for their excellent works.  Bridge builders will feel their loss keenly, as their services were required for most of the intricate and important bridge building in this country.  They built the spans for the Memphis Bridge and many others of the kind.  I estimate the loss in money by this accident at about $25,000, which, however, I consider trivial as compared with the loss of life. As to the cause of the accident, I am not prepared to speak positively.  I heard a few days since that Inspector Wilson, of the King Bridge Company warned the Baird Brothers that the false structure of the affair was unsafe.  Whether any attempt to remedy the defect was made I do not know.  The chief engineer is Epes Randolph, who has as his assistant J. A. Stewart, of Cincinnati.  

Chief Deitsch Assists


He Sends Two Patrol Wagons To The Scene

 A few minutes after the accident it was reported at police headquarters in Cincinnati.  Chief Deitsch called up chief of Police Goodson and offered him any assistance.  Chief Goodson replied that he could use two patrol wagons.  Patrols 1 and 2 were given a “hurry” call and were soon on the scene.

 Patrol 1 went to Covington and the Twos went to Newport.  The experience of the Cincinnati officers in hauling dead and injured made their services valuable.  As soon as they arrived on the scene, stretchers were pulled out, and nearly all the dead and injured were cared for by the Cincinnati wagons.

 Coroner Davis, of Newport, desires through the Enquirer the sincerest thanks to the citizens of [Cincinnati] and himself to Chief Deitsch or sending patrol wagons, and a corps of men to aid the authorities of Newport.  He also desires to thank the officers on the wagons for their splendid work. 



At a Laborer’s Cottage, Where a Pleasure Trip Was Planned

 At no place did the horrible disaster cause more grief and consternation than at John Phillips little cottage, 427 Hodge Street, Newport. Phillips kissed his wife and children goodbye in the morning and went to work as usual.

 They had planned a pleasure trip to Cincinnati in the afternoon, and Phillips was to ”knock off” at 3 o’clock to cross the river with them.  A few minutes after the bridge fell four men carried him home on a litter.  He was met at the gate by his frightened children, and tried to quiet their cries by saying he was not badly hurt.

 “We won’t go to Cincinnati today, babies,” he said, trying to smile, “but we’ll try to go tomorrow.”

 One of his legs – the left one – was broken in three places below the knee, a long gash was cut over his eye and he was probably fatally hurt internally.  Drs. Thomas and Pythian did all they could [to] alleviate his pain and lessen the danger to his life.

 It is hardly possible that he will ever make the pleasure trip with them.  He had an internal hemorrhage which passed from him congealed blood, and his entrails are supposed to be torn.  The bone of his leg is literally smashed: the leg may mortify. 

Looking For Papa 


The Sad News Received By a Boy Carrying His Father’s and Uncle’s Dinner

 Standing near one of the big doors leading into the mill, and a few feet from the patrol wagon was a boy about 7 years old.  In one hand he carried a bucket of coffee and in the other a basket of lunch.

 He was crying, and in his attempt to dry his eyes with the hand that carried the bucket he spilled the coffee all over his white waist.

 Jack Donnelly, the big hearted driver of Patrol No 1 saw the lad, and, calling him over, asked what was the matter.  The little fellow, between sobs that were breaking his heart, said he had come down with dinner for his father and uncle, but he could not find them.

 It was true.  The little fellow could not find his father or his uncle for they were buried in the wreck. They were William and John Roby.  When the little fellow was told that they were both dead he started for home to carry the sad news to his mother.  But he never parted with his papa’s lunch and coffee. 

Came Here To Die 


Two New comers on the Bridge Mortally Crushed in the Wreck 

A week ago yesterday Harry Obsorn, a young Englishman direct from London came to this country to make a fortune building bridges.  He came to Cincinnati to work for the Baird Bros.

 He was stationed on one of the bridge stringers when the crash came and he fell amid the flying timbers and iron supporters.  A heavy bar fell across his shoulders and forced him under the water.  He floated to the surface bleeding and half dead, and was going under a second time when Charles Wilkenson, one of the other workmen, caught him, and towed him to shore.  The back of his skull was crushed and his face bathed in the blood that flowed from other wounds on his head.  He was carried up on the Newport bank and put in a Cincinnati ambulance, which took him to the Good Samaritan hospital.  He was still alive last night, but not expected to recover..

 One of the victims, James J. Johnson, was on the bridge by the merest accident.  He and his brother, Albert, left Harve de Grace, Md., to work on a bridge built at Hanover, Va., by the Baird brothers.  In an accident there, both were injured.  Albert’s skull was fractured and he became a lunatic.

 The sound-minded brother instituted suit against the contractors for $10,000 damages.  He came to Cincinnati yesterday and went to the bridge to see an acquaintance at work on it.  He was on the structure when it fell, and was crushed to death between two iron girders. 

Four Companions


 Together They Lived, Together They Died

 On Patrol 1 that carried a dead body to the Morgue, was a coat-less young man who was crying bitterly.  He was Billy Riddle, who was at work on the “nigger head” when the work went down. He had charge of the engine on the pier, and was watching the men set an iron girder when the trestle gave away.

 He ran down to the bank and reached there just in time to see Bruce Thomas come up.  He grabbed him and pulled him out.  When Thomas reached ground, he said “Well, Billy, this ends bridging with me.”  In a few minutes he was at work searching for bodies.

 Thomas had a very remarkable escape.  He was at work in a swinging scaffold, and when the wreck took place he escaped with a few bruises and a sprained ankle.  Riddle’s tears, however, were for others.

 Like every gang of men, there are certain cliques or gangs of men.  Riddle’s friends were Charlie Puffenbaugh, Tom Downey, Harry Osborn and Ben Arnold.   They all ran together and were intimate.  All were killed save Riddle.  Hence his tears. 

He Jumped


From the Top of the Traveler and Escaped – James Caldwell was Lucky 

Dan Binkley, of Newport, had a fall in the accident that he will not forget the balance of his days.  He was on top of the traveler at the time and fell with it, the fall being nearly 100 feet. His ace was badly bruised and he was otherwise stove up. 

James Caldwell, of Persimmon Grove, Campbell County, Ky., was lucky enough to go after a bucket of water but only a few minutes before the accident occurred.  He was on his way back when the entire thing gave.

 On Licking’s Banks


 Thousands Watch All Day For the Water to Give Up Its Dead

 All day yesterday and up to a late hour last night the river banks of the vicinity or the accident were crossed with people who were anxious to get a glimpse of every body that was brought out, and to view the wreck.  All night long men in skiffs patrolled the river in the vicinity of the accident in search of the missing bodies.

 When the crash came, a boat containing three ladies and one gentleman narrowly escaped being caught by the falling timber.  One man who fell from the bridge floated down the river below the Licking Rolling mill, when he disappeared.  It is thought that when the timber and iron are removed that there will be other bodies found.  An active search will be kept up today for the rest of the missing bodies.

 Their Lives Insured


 The Dead Men’s Families and Relatives Generally Well Cared For

 All of the men employed on the bridge were insured for $1,500, or at least that has been the common custom of the bridge company to insure all of their employees for $1,500 in case of an accident.

 It is not known how many of the employees were insured, as a number of them had only been in the employ of the company a short time.  This will be of some comfort to the bereaved families. 

Three wounded men were taken to William Parmalee’s boarding house, No. 419 Eleventh street, Newport – John Murray, whose scalp was laid open and one of his ears almost torn off; Ben Arnold, with a dislocated shoulder, and Thomas Lavender, of Covington, whose head was badly cut and lip split open.  Arnold and Murray live in Newport, and Lavender boards at 153 Third street, Covington.  All three men are unmarried.


 Sid Barnes, of Covington, was to have been at work yesterday, but he did not get up in time.

 Wm. Spaulding quit work about an hour before the accident occurred.

 There was considerable indignation about the action of the Newport patrol officers.  Chief of Police Cottingham notified the wagon to go to the accident, but they refused to remove a wounded man until there was some show to get money for their services.  There was quite a discussion about the matter, and later in the day the patrol wagon rendered some good service.  Superintendent Phillips was not in the city.

 Drs. J. L and C. T. Pythian, Dr. Brown, Dr. Ratchford, Dr. Higins, and Dr Humboldt were at work on the Newport side, and Drs. Wise, Mallory and Thomas on the Covington side.

 Edward A. Nolan, of Newport, was a “con man,” and when the crash came he jumped from the traveler into the river, and struck a barge that was moored at the Newport landing.  Nolan came from Erie, PA., about three years ago.

 Andy Kobinger was at the hospital yesterday afternoon to see how the injured were getting along.  He was still pale from his narrow escape.  Kobinger was at work on the traveler and had just stopped on the pier for some tools when the works went down.

 A Canadian, known as “Shampoo,” who was one of the fatally injured, worked on the big cantilever bridge at Memphis, and had a narrow escape from drowning in a caisson there.

 Chief Cottingham and the entire police force were soon upon the scene, and was Sheriff Betz and his deputies, Julius Plummer and Louis Betz.  They did excellent work in keeping back the crowd. 

 Coroner David of Newport, will begin the gigantic task of holding his inquests today.  It is hardly probable that any witnesses can be obtained before 2 o’clock, and it will hardly be finished before next week


From the Cincinnati Enquirer of June 16, 1892