by James Rickards
On April 30, 1900, a railroad engineer named Casey Jones was driving his passenger train, The Cannonball Express, on a midnight run from Memphis, Tennessee to Canton, Mississippi. Jones started his trip behind schedule.
He tried to make up for lost time by running the Cannonball as fast as he could. At 3:52 am, Jones and the Cannonball crashed into another train whose cars were blocking the main line. After smashing through several of the obstructing cars, the Cannonball Express jumped the tracks.
Casey Jones was killed in the wreck, but amazingly no passengers were killed. Jones was regarded as a hero because he refused to abandon the train, and did everything possible to slow his speed just before the collision. He died with one hand still gripping the brake handle, and the other hand on the train’s whistle.