On August 6th, 1903, the Wallace Bros. Circus’s two trains traveled from Charlotte Michigan to Lapeer. The first train stopped in Durand at 8:30 in the morning and put up a red signal to alert the second train. When the engineer applied the brakes they failed and realizing a collision was inevitable, the engineer and fireman jumped from the locomotive. The train crashed into the rear of the first train with tremendous force killing 22 men sleeping in the rear railroad car. Four other men would die at the hospital. Several animals died from the collision and were buried at the site. Many of the bodies were so badly disfigured they were not recognizable and unable to be identified. Ten of the unknown corpses were buried at Lovejoy Cemetery a few miles south of Durand. A stone obelisk was erected and carved on it the words.
In Memory of the Unknown Dead. Who Lost Their Lives in the RAILROAD WRECK of the GREAT WALLACE SHOWS August 6, 1903
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