He is perhaps most famous for what he wasn’t. On April 16, 1876, he was elected mayor of the City of Chicago. He took the oath of office May 9, and attempted to act as mayor. The City Council and some city department heads accepted him. Other departments claimed that election was invalid. Harvey Doolittle Colvin still claimed to be mayor since the election was not called by either the City Council or the mayor.
During 28 tumultuous days in 1876, Chicago had two men claiming to be mayor. Chicago adopted the Illinois Cities and Villages Act in 1875. The Act changed the date of the mayoral elections and extended the term of Harvey Colvin, the current mayor. Thomas Hoyne was nominated in a mass meeting and subsequently won an April 16, 1876 election. Colvin claimed the election was illegal and that he was entitled to serve for another year.
|Harvey Doolittle Colvin|
The impasse was resolved by the June 5 ruling of the Cook County Circuit Court that the April election was illegal--meaning that Thomas Hoyne had never legally been mayor. Monroe Heath was elected mayor July 12th, nearly bringing the saga to an end.
However, in August, after Heath took office, the city attorney was asked if Hoyne and the department heads he appointed should be paid. The city attorney issued an opinion stating that although Hoyne was never mayor de jure, he had been mayor de facto, and thus he and his appointees should be paid.
Thomas Hoyne continued to be active in public affairs until his death in a train crash July 28, 1883 in Carlyon, New York. He is buried in Rosehill Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois.
THE CARLYON TRAIN WRECK:
ITEM IN THE NEW YORK TIMES, JULY 29, 1883
A BAD RAILWAY WRECK.
A SCORE OF PERSONS KILLED AND MANY WOUNDED.
THE STEAM-BOAT EXPRESS ON THE ROME, WATERTOWN, AND OGDENSBURG DASHED TO PIECES — THOMAS HOYNE KILLED.
Rochester, N.Y., July 28, 1883. — The Rome, Watertown, and Ogdensburg Railroad, heretofore so free from disastrous accidents, has at last met with one which has cost dearly in life and property. The news received has been very meager all day, and the morning papers here published the most scanty details of one of the worst accidents which has occurred since the Spuyten Duyvil disaster. The accident occurred at the flag station on the Oswego and Niagara Falls Division of the road known as Carylon, 30 miles west of Charlotte, and almost directly north of the village of Albion, on the Falls Branch of the Central Railroad. The train was the steam-boat express, which runs regularly between Niagara Falls and Cape Vincent, and frequently draws from seven to 10 sleeping cars, filled with Thousand Islands excursionists from the West. Last night it consisted of eight sleeping cars, one regular coach, a smoking car and baggage car, and was drawn by two locomotives, engines Nos. 61 and 51.
A terrible gale was blowing, and rain was falling in torrents. The train was running at the rate of 35 or 40 miles an hour. It was not marked to stop at Carylon, and there was no one to warn the engineer of any danger. A box car had been left on the siding, and this car was started by the wind and blown down and upon the main track, so that it stood upon an angle, half on and half off the track. The express train struck this car and the terrible wreck which followed was the result. The crash was heard by persons living near, above the storm, and they rushed out of doors to behold nothing, but to hear groans and cries for help. The front engine was flung from the track on the north side, while the one following left the rails on the south side, and, turning around parallel with the train, literally made a somersault, landing in the ditch with its trucks in the air, with escaping volumes of smoke and steam coming from it. The baggage car was jerked after it and tossed as if only the tail of a kite on top of the locomotive. The smoking car, which followed, was torn from the rails and dashed into a thousand splinters. The scene was indescribable. The first sleeper kept on the track, although it was hurled from the trucks, and the sides and ends were smashed in. It was completely flattened out. The second sleeper was telescoped half upon it and left its trucks and the track. The third left its forward trucks and mounted the wreck, but stood on its rear trucks and was not demolished.
Under and around the wreck could be seen heads and arms, and men and women were calling for help in most piteous accents. For a wonder the engineer and fireman of the pilot engine were not seriously injured. Their companions on the following engine did not fare so well. Engineer McCarthy, one of the best on the road, was terribly scalded, and his death was a question of only a few hours. Fireman Lucius France was instantly killed, his body being scarcely recognizable. W. H. Chauncey, trainmaster of the road, sat upon the fireman's side of the engine, and is among the injured, but notwithstanding his wounds he superintended the work of rescuing the victims.
A wrecking gang was at once sent out from Oswego, and also from Lewiston, and the work was commenced of getting out the killed and wounded. Surgeons were sent from Oswego, and also from Rochester. The list of the dead, so far as known this evening, is as follows:
Lucius France, fireman, Oswego.
James McCarthy, engineer, Oswego.
_______ Sill, colored porter, Watertown.
Mr. Thorp, residence unknown.
Archie Tyler, baggageman, Watertown.
Prof. C. W. Stone, Battle Creek, Mich.
Thomas Dickson, No. 249 Pearl-street, Cleveland.
Thomas Hoyne, Chicago.
Mrs. Worthy, Saline, Mich.
Henry McCormick, Benton, Mich.
Dr. Schenck, Oberlin, Ohio.
Willie Lefever, Bay City, Mich.
O. B. Troop, Schoharie.
Bernard Bostwick, Toledo, Ohio.
Mrs. Jane E. Carl, Lansing, Mich.
_______ Cromb, residence unknown.
_______ Adams, Chicago.
_______ Dower, Lansing, Mich.
Unknown, young lady, of Leslie, Mich.
Mary Troop, daughter of O. B. Troop.
Louis J. Booth, No. 1,108 Pine-street, Philadelphia.
Mrs. Louis J. Booth.
Those of the injured who could travel were placed in a sleeper and taken to the Falls, while the rest were taken to the neighboring houses and cared for. One man, who lives only a few rods from the wreck, had driven his son to Lyndonville, a distance of three miles, to take the train and got home just in time to find him a corpse. The work of removing the débris is being pushed forward rapidly, and the track will be cleared in a few hours.
There are about 50 persons injured, some of whom will die. There were about 270 persons on the train. The list of wounded is as follows, as far as ascertained at this hour:
W. H. Chauncey, Oswego; bruised.
W. E. Rockfellow; leg broken.
Mr. Aiken and wife, Sarnia.
The conductor on the train was E. Garrison. He was in the fourth car, but when he heard the signal he ran back to the car to set the brake, and, seeing the car breaking up, he jumped and saved himself. This afternoon a special train arrived at Charlotte with 12 bodies from Carylon. During the afternoon the Coroner of Orleans County impanneled a jury and commenced the inquest. The station agent at Carylon states that he set the brake when he left the car on the siding, and he is of the opinion that the car was pushed to the junction with the main track by some maliciously inclined persons.
Chicago, July 28, 1883. — Thomas Hoyne, who was killed by the accident at Carlyon Station last night, was born in New‑York City and came West in 1835. He lived in Galena for two years and then came to Chicago, where he began the practice of law. He found his professional work very remunerative and amassed a large fortune. He was a charter member of the Iroquois Club and a member of the committee from that organization which recently visited the East and interviewed Tilden, Hewitt, and other Democratic lights for the purpose of securing the next Democratic National Convention for Chicago. Mr. Hoyne was at one time Mayor of Chicago. He leaves four sons and a daughter, all residents of this city. It was not until 10 o'clock tonight, 25 hours after the disaster, that Mr. Hoyne's relatives here were informed of his death.
Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.