|Wreck of Southern Railway's No. 35 Mail Train|
Night trains were considered convenient, but somewhat perilous as they traveled at high speeds, with only a few stops. Mrs. McIver had been worried about this type of travel, as a letter that she wrote to her husband only a few weeks before the wreck attests. There had been a recent train wreck that occurred at night and she wrote that she preferred him to travel by day – even if it delayed his homecoming several hours. He noted her concern, but tried to ease her anxiety with this anecdote told by Mark Twain: An insurance man tried to sell Twain a policy as he was boarding a train. Twain told him, “No, I don’t want it. More people die in beds than on trains.” Mrs. McIver's fears were realized when her husband’s train went off the rails that August night. Luckily, he was able to wire his wife immediately, informing her of his safety.
|Debris from the Wreckage|
Dr. McIver made it to Atlanta and regaled her of his adventure in a letter that he wrote that evening from the “delightful room on the fifth floor” of his hotel. He described the general pandemonium after the wreck, especially the cries of “murder” from an older passenger. He wrote of the engine that “lay flat on the side and whistled mournfully for 20 minutes” and the wood which was strewn everywhere and eventually used for a bonfire. He even enclosed a piece of the wood in his letter as a “souvenir of the wreck.” His general tone was surprisingly cheerful and he closed with “No news – Love to you all.” Ironically, Mark Twain’s story would not hold true for Dr. McIver. He died on September 17, 1906, after suffering a stroke while returning from Raleigh - by train.