By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber) | December 27, 2018
Construction on the Great Falls & Conway Railroad was “near” Milton, NH, when this blasting accident occurred on Thursday, December 23, 1852.
Three men who were at work on the Great Falls and Conway Railroad, near Milton, N.H., on the 23d ult., were severely injured by tbe premature explosion of a blast. One of them had an eye blown out (New York Times, January 13, 1853).
SAD ACCIDENT – On Thursday, the 23d ult., as some workmen on the first section of the Great Falls and Conway Railroad at Milton, N.H., were engaged in blasting on a ledge, the powder took fire from a spark produced from striking the tamping iron against the rock when “tamping down,” severely injuring three of the workmen. One man had an eye blown out, and was otherwise injured about the head, and the other two were severely burnt by the powder (Orleans County Gazette (Irasburgh, VT), January 29, 1853).
Nothing in this report indicates whether the “first section” of the railroad line had progressed “near to” Milton or just beyond it.
AN INTERESTING CLIPPING. The following paragraph of local interest is clipped from the Boston Journal’s department, “News of Fifty Years Ago.”
“Railroad Project. A meeting was to have been held at Portsmouth last evening to take measures to secure the construction of a railroad from Great Falls to Eliot. The Portsmouth Journal states that the whole expense of the construction of the road from Eliot, a little less than six miles, to Great Falls is about $100,000. About $60,000 of this sum has already been subscribed, and a subscription of $20,000 from Portsmouth would warrant its immediate construction. This would be a branch or extension of the Great Falls or Conway road, which is open from Great Falls to Milton, thirteen miles, and 300 men are now on the road between that place and Wakefield, nine miles further.” (Portsmouth Herald, February 3, 1903).
This Portsmouth Herald article of February 1903 reprints a Portsmouth Journal article of fifty years earlier, i.e., February 1853. It has the railroad open already as far as Milton, with 300 men working between there and Wakefield. The December 1852 blasting accident mentioned above must have happened in the stretch between Milton and Union, but closer to Milton.
The Great Falls & Conway Railroad reached Wakefield’s Union village by 1855.