Trains not only played an important part in United States history, they also played an important part in keeping my family connected. My Great-Aunt Margaret Wiley attended nursing school in Independence, Missouri, graduating in 1919. The only problem, she was born and raised in St. Louis. The train brought her to Independence on her initial voyage, but trains also brought visiting family. Margaret traveled back to St. Louis to visit frequently and soon, life on the “Western Frontier” lured both of Margaret’s younger sisters to Independence.
Very early on the morning of Friday, Sept. 23, 1910, Rock Island Train # 27 left Norton, KS westbound with a final destination of Denver. The train consisted of four Pullmans, two chair coaches, a smoker, a baggage car, and a mail car. One of the passengers in the smoking car was Harvey McIntire, a resident of Rexford, KS who was returning from Concordia, where his wife was recovering from surgery. Harvey was a father to thirteen children, the youngest aged two. Around 2 a.m., the train barreled into a torrential rain going at full speed, not suspecting the trouble that lay ahead.