FIRST PASSENGER KILLED ON THE
The freight train between Goshen and Piermont carried passengers
also, in a car at the rear end of the train. A well known character
in Orange and adjoining counties was an Irish peddler, named Patrick
Fitzsimmons. He travelled about the country with a pack, a method
of trading by which people living at a distance from towns and
villages fifty years ago were provided with various kinds of merchandise.
October 27, 1841, a month after the railroad was opened to Goshen,
Fitzsimmons was at Piermont, and boarded the freight train to
take his first ride on the "steam cars." When the train
was passing up the grade west of the big trestle over the Hackensack
River, five miles from Piermont, it broke in two, and the loosened
cars started back down the grade toward the trestle. Fitzsimmons
became frightened, and rushed to the platform of a passenger car.
The runaway cars were then travelling at great speed. The frightened
peddler did not stop to consider the consequences, but leaped
from the platform. He was hurled violently down the embankment
and instantly killedthus the first passenger to meet death
on the Erie.
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