1874: The McKean And Buffalo Railroad
later the Western New York & Pennsylvania

still later the Pennsylvania Railroad or the "Pennsy"

comes to East Smethport, PA

Click here to see 1999 location of the East Smethport station.
In 1874 the McKean and Buffalo railroad was built into East Smethport.  The track came off from Larabee Y, just south of Eldred.  At Larabee Y there was a switch track to take you to either Smethport or Emporium.  If you decided to go to Smethport the track would run through Coryville & Farmers Valley on the way to East Smethport.  Once it got to Smethport it would continue on to Clermont.

This railroad was mainly used for one purpose and that was to deliver coal.  Once the coal was delivered it was then pressed and used for lamp oil.

In 1881 the BBK would connect to the McKean-Buffalo at East Smethport.

Two Train Collision
Mckean County Miner

July 26, 1895
Page 3, Column 4

Last Monday, as the passenger train from Larabee came in sight of the station at East Smethport, the engineer, John Kane, was horrified to see a heavy freight train coming down the track towards him.  The lever was quickly reversed and all efforts made to avoid a serious wreck, but a smash was unavoidable, although Mr. Kane had stopped until the engines clashed together.  When the trains collided passengers were thrown in every direction and several were slightly injured.  H.M. Sanders was sitting in the front end of the ladies' coach and was thrown with great force against the stove, Dan Keefe and N. H. Penny were sitting on the other side of the aisle and Keefe was cut about the face and his leg hurt somewhat; Penny's arm and leg were injured; John White cut about the head and some teeth loosened; Christian Tober, head cut quite severely; W. H. Prentiss, the express messenger, leg injured somewhat; little Ella Windsor, cut about the mouth and some teeth knocked out.  Conductor Burdick jumped out of the baggage car and unjointed his ankle which was quickly replaced, the pain being very severe.  He sustained a slight cut on the forehead.  Mr. Burdick was hurt the worst of any one on board.  Both engines were badly demolished, the heads knocked out of both boilers and shoved right up together.  The tender of the passenger engine was badly smashed, but was not such a wreck as the tender of the freight engine, which was driven back into a box car and almost completely hidden from sight.

Four flat cars about the middle of the freight train was broken in two and partly thrown from the track.  These cars breaking probably saved more serious injury as it had the effect of checking the force of the heavy freight.  If the collision had occurred one mile further down the track there would have been a terrible destruction of life as the long freight train would have been under such a speed that the passenger train would have been completely demolished.  John Kane, the engineer of the passenger train stood bravely to its post until the tender crowded him up against the boiler and he was compelled to climb up over the tender to get out of the cab.  His fireman and the engineer and fireman on the freight escaped without any injury.  As near as can be learned Mr. Baker, the engineer on the freight had been in the habit of passing the passenger train No. 122 at Farmers Valley.  The orders were for Baker to wait at East Smethport for 122 and pass 132, the second section at Farmers Valley.  Mr. Baker was negiligent and did not read the order properly and consequently the lives of about 35 people were placed on the verge of eternity.  Such negligence can hardly be overlooked.  Where the lives of passengers are at stake men in charge should exercise more care.  Taken all in all it was a very fortunate escape as it might have sent mourning into many a happy home.

Monday afternoon the wrecking gang worked like beavers and by 6:45 the main track was cleared.

"Sam" Rifle Struck by Train at East
Smethport and Dies Before Reaching His Home.
Mckean Count Miner
Oct. 18, 1895
Page 3, Column 4

This community was greatly shocked on Tuesday afternoon by the announcement that S.M. Rifle, the genial turnkey at the jail, had been fatally injured in an accident at the W.N.Y.&P. depot at East Smethport .  Mr. Rifle had been in the habit of assisting Frank Rumsey whenever it was necessary to send an extra team down with baggage, and it was upon an occasion of this kind that he was killed.  He was unloading trunks from a wagon to the platform, and after taking off two reached for another.  The two preceding ones were very heavy and it required all of his strength to handle them, but this one was much lighter and came off the wagon a great deal easier than he supposed it would, consequently he was thrown backward nearly to the rails.  Just then a heavy freight train came thundering by and the cross beam on the pilot of the engine struck him just under the left shoulder blade, throwing him quite a distance.  There seems to be conflicting theories by those who witnessed the accident; some claiming that he was struck twice while others think only once.  Mr. Rifle was assisted to the waiting room, and some one informed Frank Rumsey that "Sam" had been hurt.  Frank at once went in and asked him if he was hurt much.  He nodded his head and mumbled something.  Frank then asked him if he would like a drink of water, and again he nodded his head.  Mrs. Rifle and Dr. Clark were at once sent for, but he only lived a short time and did not speak after their arrival.

His untimely death seemed to cast a gloom over the entire community, as he was a genial, whole-souled citizen and had hosts of friends.  His two daughters, Maude and Madge, were both away from home at the time of the accident, one being in Kane and the other in Olean.  They arrived home in a heart-broken condition.

The deceased was born in Norwich township, Aug 10, 1847, and has resided in this section all his life.  On Dec. 27, 1869, he married Miss Merrick, who, with  the two daughters, are left to mourn the loss of a loving husband and a kind and affectionate father.

The funeral was held in the M. E. church yesterday afternoon, Rev. J. W.  Sanborn officiating, and the interment was made at Colegrove, the exercises being under the direction of the Odd Fellows, of which order he was a member.  The Miner unites with a host of friends in extending sympathies to the heart broken family.

Click here to see another picture of the 1874 train station.

Return to East Smethport 1895.