While  the 1904  Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis  propelled the city into an  international spotlight city. 40 percent of the 20 million fairgoers came from the local midwest states.   With only 10,000 automobiles on the roads of America, most people from the United States came to the Fair by train.  The Missouri Pacific Railroad offered attractive Fair rates to take passengers from  the Midwest to St. Louis. 

Often selling  more tickets than there were seats, the  Missouri Pacific Railroad  was rather lax on railroad passenger safety;  some passengers had to stay in the aisle or in between cars. 

On October  10th, an eastward train was taking  a packed group of excited passengers  to the  World's Fair in St. Louis.  They were operating on a single track. 

A westward freight train were told to   enter  a side track (near Knob Noster), and wait for four eastbound trains to pass through.  The crew, working  17 straight hours with out rest,  fell asleep  as they were waiting for the passing  trains. Upon wakening, they did not know how many trains had gone by.  Recklessly, they  decided to get back on the single track and continue west, not knowing that the eastbound St. Louis  train  had not  yet passed!

As the westbound freight train  whooshed through Montserrat, an alert railroad agent  telegraphed the eastern Sedalia station,  that something was wrong, because the train passed too soon. The Sedalia operator,  immediately  wired Warrensburg to stop the eastbound passenger train headed to the World's Fair, but it was too late, he knew they would crash. 

At 4:10 a.m. at Dead Man's Curve, the two trains collided in the pitch black wildness  miles from any town. Slamming on their brakes, the crew jumped off the train (which was company policy). Only one crew member (a brakeman), died. The tremendous energy of the force smashed  the  passenger locomotive underneath the freight engine forcing it upward, where it landed  on top of the first passenger car, steam scalding the injured and dying.

After hours  before help arrived,  the injured were taken to hospitals in Sedalia and Warrensburg. The Missouri Pacific backed in trains to help  take out the injured and remove the dead.  Most of  the fatalities  were from Kansas and southwest Missouri, as the first to board,  they   took seats in the forward cars.

30 people who were going to attend the World's Fair were killed. Many more were  injured.

The  freight train engineer and conductor were brought up on counts  for manslaughter, but were found not guilty,even though the  engineer's stated  that to keep awake,  he was "pumped full of morphine."

Two brakemen on the freight train  were seen robbing valuables from the dead including   the  brakeman killed on the passenger train. They were convicted.

Kansans who died in the train wreck of 1904:

  Mrs. W. J. Darst,  Dexter
  Gilbert Darst,   Dexter
  W. H. Allen, Pittsburg
  Baird Allen,           Pittsburg
  Marion Francis Allen,   Pittsburg
  Dollie Sullivan,       Cedar Vale
  T. H. Alley,            Cedar Vale
  Ollie Herring,         Coffeyville
  Jessie Herring,      Coffeyville
  Clarence Herring,   Coffeyville
  Bruce McIlheney,   Kingman
  Dr. H.P McIlheney, Kingman
  Susan Cooper,       Oxford
  Phil Ragel                Edna
  Rose Emma Regel   Edna
  Joseph Arther Regal     Edna
  Harry Carr,            Sedan
  Mrs. J. J. Cassment,    Sedan
  Nell Sullivan,          Cedar  Vale
  Dollie Gregg,           Sedan
  Kansans who were injured: 
  A. J. Wood,        Oxford       
  Mrs. A. J. Wood, Oxford
  J. H. Sullivan,    Cedar Vale
  Mrs. J. J. Esch, Dexter
  J. J. Esch,         Dexter
  Robert Vaughan, Cherokee
  Estell Mahan,     Cherokee
  Clem Dozier,       Cloverdale
  J. R. Venning,     Grenola
  Mrs. C. C. Huston,    Wellington
  Mrs. Noah Bowman,  Oxford
  Noah Bowman,    Oxford
  Fred Barnes,      Oxford
  J. R. Cole,          Winfield
  William Looke,    Oxford
  Mrs. William Looke,  Oxford
  Irma Caldwell,    Oxford
  Cora Reese,       Oxford
  James England, Dexter
  Ameila England, Dexter
  Bert Potwin,      Fayette
  Mrs. W. E. Foreman, Independence
  W. E. Foreman,   Independence
  Clifford Ragel,     Edna
  J. D. Hale,          Dexter
  Mrs. J. D. Hale,  Dexter
  Ruth Stewart,     Independence
  Julia Wood,        Oxford
  Bert Trottman,   Cedar Vale
  E. C. Nicholson, Dexter
  William J. Darst, Dexter
  George R. Eakes,     Kaler
  Charles Cassment,   Sedan 

Lee  Gaskins'  AT THE FAIR  The 1904 St. Louis World's   Fair  
                     Web  Design and Art/Illustration   copyrighted  2008 
The Train Wreck  from  Dead  Man's  Curve. 1904  original  scans (both)  courtesy  of- Debi McDaniel, which I  image  processed and retouched.  (Thanks  Debi)