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Miss Marion Shepard

(Heroine of the Disaster)


Born: Aug. 14, 1855 in Albany New York

Married: Francis Hinkle on Aug. 27, 1879 - (Unmarried at the time of the disaster)

Died: Nov. 25, 1938 in San Diego, CA



Marion Shepard was born in Albany, New York on Aug. 14, 1855. She was a heroine on the train from the “Palatine” car. She somehow came out of the accident virtually unharmed and helped rescue many who described her as an angel.


She was traveling alone to Ripon, WI during the time of the crash, possibly to see her future husband, Frank Hamilton. Her father’s name was Charles Townsent Shepard and her mother's name was Emma (Holt) Shepard.


After freeing herself from the wreckage of the car named "Palatine," she alone, with a little assistance of others, managed to free most of the passengers of the car who survived the fall.


The young “Miss Marion" dragged survivors a few feet from the car so she could quickly return to assist others; however, she realized that the lives of the survivors were in jeopardy again because they were exposed to the fire. She then drug the survivors another thirty feet through the ice, snow and freezing water to the banks of the river to safety. More passengers survived from that car than any other car directly because of her heroism.


Miss Shepard's heroism did not end there. She was then seen taking broken planks from other railroad cars and smashing car windows to free other passengers. She assisted the fireman and other rescuers until no more survivors could be found. Miss Marion Shepard's heroism did not end there either. The survivors were taken to the engine house. Marion was there wiping the blood from their faces and comforting them the best way she knew how. When the survivors were taken to the make shift hospitals, she went with them and assisted the doctor throughout the night.


Even though the book by Rev. Stephen D. Peet states this young lady was uninjured, she actually had been injured, although not seriously. Later newspaper articles and letters indicate she had been indeed injured. It wasn’t until a doctor pointed out to her the blood on the back of her dress that she realized she might be injured. All along she thought the blood came from one of the other survivors.


Miss Marion Shepard was one among many heroes and heroines that night. When a lot of men and women would have only thought of their lives and other people's money, she risk her life time and time again.


Three years later she married Frank Hamilton in Ripon, WI on Aug. 27, 1879. Together they had a daughter named Marion Ethel Hamilton, born Nov. 3, 1881. Soon the family moved west to San Diego, CA and lived a long life. At the age of 83 Marion (Shepard) Hamilton died on Nov. 25, 1938.


Her daughter Marion Ethel (Hamilton) Hinkle became a rather well-known poet. Some of her poems were set to music. Her Husband Francis Hinkle was a West Point graduate who fought in World War I, and eventually retired as a Lieutenant-Colonel. Marion Ethel (Hamilton) Hinkle died in Dec. 14, 1960. Her husband Francis Hinkle died in 1960 as well. 

The last paragraph of information on this page was supplied by Bill Thayer. 

(*.html).  Bill Thayer American & Military History 






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