“The Wreck of the Virginian Number Three”


"Come all you brave, bold railroad men and listen while I tell The fate of E. G. Aldrich...." He was "the oldest on the road," but still loved his work and would not retire. He and his fireman die in a crash. Railroad couples are told to be faithful


Cohen observes three recorded songs about this accident (recorded and probably composed by Blind Alfred Reed, Roy Harvey and the North Carolina Ramblers, and John McGhee). There is, at best, limited evidence that any of them went into tradition.

Cohen notes that the Reed recording was withdrawn from circulation at the request of the Virginia Railway -- ironic, given that the Reed version doesn't blame anyone. - RBW

Historical references

  • May 24, 1927- A freight train and Virginia Rail passenger train #3 collide near Ingleside, West Virginia. The fault was apparently that of the crew of the passenger train. Engineer "Dad" Aldrich, fireman Frank O'Neal, and one other are scalded to death; 22 are injured


  • Blind Alfred Reed, "The Wreck of the Virginian" (Victor 20836, 1927)


  1. Cohen-LSRail, pp. 250-253, "The Weck of the Virginian Number Three" (1 text plus texts of two other songs about the same incident, 1 tune)
  2. BI, LSRai250


Author: probably Blind Alfred Reed
Earliest date: 1927 (recording, Blind Alfred Reed)
Keywords: train wreck death warning