There is an awesome show on Netflix called Mysteries at the Museum. It talks about different artifacts from various museums around the nation and the stories behind them. The other night, they showed a lantern and told the story of Kate Shelley.
Kate Shelley was an Irish-born immigrant living in the Honey Creek area of Iowa in 1881. One day, a massive storm hit the Shelley’s rural home. Kate heard a loud crash and looked out her window to see that a flash flood had caused the timbers underneath the railroad bridge to fall apart. Kate knew the train schedule by heart and realized that a passenger train would come barreling over that bridge in less than two hours. It would surely kill all on board.
The nearest train outpost was two two miles away and the quickest way to get there was over the rickety, damaged bridge. In torrential downpour, Kate grabbed her lantern and started across the bridge. The bridge however, had no railings and with the high winds, it was only possible to cross on her hands and knees.
Her dress kept getting caught on the railroad spikes, but she pressed on. While going across the bridge, her lantern went out. She continued carefully along in almost near darkness. Finally, when she reached the other side, she ran as fast as she could the rest of the way. When she arrived at the outpost, she yelled as she entered, “The bridge is out ahead!” and immediately fainted.
The workers were able to get a message to the train which was diverted, saving 200 people. The people of the train took up a collection for Kate and she was also given a medal for her heroic act. The bridge, after it was fixed, was renamed the Kate Shelley bridge in her honor.
Kate Shelley, one brave lady!