Today’s Death Record Challenge: A train crash couldn’t kill him. What could?

Posted by Pam Velazquez on October 28, 2013 in Site, Contest


B&W Train

When legendary railroad engineer John Luther “Casey” Jones selflessly stayed at the helm of his doomed train in 1900, he saved countless lives.

But this mystery is only about one of them — the fireman Casey told to jump as the train careened out of control, surely sparing him from a grisly death.

Today’s challenge:

So how did the mystery fireman meet his end?


Start searching for the answer (and then answer the challenge) at




1 Phil Vanden BoutOctober 28, 2013 at 4:09 pm

“Casey” Jones dies at 352 am on 30 April 1900 as his train hi another stalled on the track.

2 meda haddingOctober 28, 2013 at 4:38 pm

i grew up beleaving that casey passed away trying to stop the train from hitting another train ,but it was casey he didnt watch the signs and flags,so all in all i would say the train is what killed him ,RIP

3 Iris ShulmanOctober 28, 2013 at 4:41 pm

The “mystery” fireman, Simeon Webb died at home on July 13,1957 at the age of 83.

4 Rhonda BrooksOctober 28, 2013 at 5:00 pm

He died on July 13, 1957 in a Memphis Hospital.

5 KC SkubaOctober 28, 2013 at 5:03 pm

He.was trying to slow his train down when it collided with a stopped train on the tracks. He was the only fatality.

6 Pamela VandenbergOctober 28, 2013 at 5:24 pm

Simeon Taylor Webb died of “Bilateral Broncho pneumonia due to cancer of the mouth” as shown on his death cert shared online.

7 Patricia WrightOctober 28, 2013 at 7:13 pm

The Fireman, Simeon Taylor Webb died on July 13, 1957, aged 83, in John Gaston Hospital, Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee.
The informant was his Daughter, Agnes Thompson.
Immediate Cause of death was Bilateral Bronchpneumonia, due to Carcinoma of the mouth.
The Certificate was signed by James J. Acker, MD of John Gaston Hospital.
Burial took place July 18, 1957 at New Park Cemetery in Memphis.

8 Cathy FilliauxOctober 28, 2013 at 7:45 pm

Simeon Taylor Webb, died from Bilateral Brocho pneumonia due to a carcinoma of the mouth, date of death July 13, 1957 in Memphis, Tenn.

9 R. ComerOctober 29, 2013 at 11:51 pm

A LITTLE HISTORY LESSON: On June 24, 2012, two Union Pacific freight trains collided head-on in the Oklahoma Panhandle. There were 2 crew members in each train. Three crew members were killed, but one jumped (think the Casey Jones story) and survived. One train was going at least 60 mph. So, the question could be asked, “How could two freight trains get on the same track in the year 2012, collide head-on and kill 3 of the 4 crew members?” That’s an easy one! NO GPS TRACKING! That’s right. Even though the trucking industry has had GPS TRACKING for over 20 years, virtually no freight trains have it. So, NO GPS tracking = head-on collision. Oh, BTW, one of the Engineers was color-blind (!) and Union Pacific knew it (it’s in the NTSB report.) So, why would they let him drive a train? And, why didn’t the Conductor (not color-blind), see the track-side signals to slow down and then stop? It is assumed that he was sleeping. How else could he have missed the track-side signals? Reading a book? Watching a movie on a hand-held device? Casey Jones was killed because he didn’t know there was a train ahead until it was too late. How much has railroading changed since then? It would be nice to ask the crew member who survived on June 24, 2012.

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