McShane's Bride (The Dotsero Train Wreck)

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Based on an actual event.

In 1908 and sight unseen, Iowa born Ethan McShane gave over half of his life savings to buy land near the small town of Palisade, Colorado. Eager to see the land, he caught the next train out. However, with no assurance of a proper home for her, he left his bride of just a few short days behind. Just a few weeks later, she too excitedly boarded a train bound for Colorado – a train that would never reach its destination.


Author’s note:

In reading our family history, my grandmother spoke of being in a terrible head on train wreck. At the time, she was pregnant and as a result lost her unborn baby in 1909. Grandmother Martha Mary McClurg did not elaborate on the wreck, but the one at Dotsero is the only one I could find in that time period. The two little girls with her would have been my Aunt Nedra and my mother.

I found four different accounts of the Dotsero train wreck, all inconsistent with the others. For example, one lists a caboose at the last car on the passenger train while another says it was an observation car. One article mentions the jackknifed coal cars and another does not.


Eyewitness Accouunt,

Mountains, Men & Memories: Death and Destruction in Dotsero, by Kathey Heicher

Dotsero, Co, Train Wreck, killed & injured

Old Grand Junction Train Station - Colorado Preservation, Inc.

Wicked Western Colorado: Mayhem, Mischief & Murder in Colorado, by D. A. Brocket

1909 price of things, Morris County Library

 Transportation Facts from 1909 - Roanoke Public Library

Glossary of rail Transportation Terms - Wikipedia

Interesting pictures of Dotsero History - Eagle Valley Library District



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Historical Romance novels