On April 30, 1900, Casey Jones, a legendary railroad engineer, died tragically in a train wreck while driving the Cannonball Express near Vaughan, Mississippi.
Jones was known as a daring and skilled engineer, famous for his punctuality and ability to make up lost time. He had become something of a folk hero, with songs and stories written about his exploits as he fought against the clock to keep his trains running on schedule.
According to reports, the Cannonball Express was running nearly an hour behind schedule on the night of the crash. Jones was determined to make up for lost time, pushing the train to its limits. As they approached a section of track where work was being done, Jones saw that the switch was set incorrectly, sending the train hurtling down a side track and into a stationary freight train.
Despite his best efforts to stop the train, Jones was unable to avoid the collision. He was killed instantly, along with his fireman, Simeon T. Webb. Several other members of the crew were injured in the crash.
News of Jones’s death spread quickly, and he soon became a legend. Songs and stories about his bravery and dedication to his job were passed down from generation to generation. Today, Casey Jones is remembered as a symbol of the Golden Age of the American Railroads, when the railroad was the heart of American transportation and commerce.