Rome, IN Explosion Of Steamer LEXINGTON, June 1855

From the Louisville Democrat Extra.

Louisville, Saturday, June 30, 1855 -- 10 P.M.
By the J. C. Fremont, just arrived in port, we learn the terrible and harrowing particulars of the explosion of the steamer LEXINGTON, on her way from St. Louis to this port.
The accident occurred about 3 or 4 o'clock this morning, about five miles from Stephensport. Her entire works forward of the wheel were blown away; the boat then took fire and burned to the water's edge, and then turned bottom up. Skiffs and flatboats put off from the shore as soon as possible, and succeeded in saving considerable numbers.
The D. A. Given was coming up, a short distance behind her, and came in sight in time to see the burning wreck, and saved all she could pick up. She then went back to Stephensport to bring a doctor up for the wounded that were on shore. The J. C. Fremont came up behind the Given, and rendered all the assistance that could possibly be given. The D. A. Given succeeded in saving the baggage to a great extent.
The Fremont brought up eight of the passengers, all badly wounded. The officers and pasengers of the Fremont did all in the power of human beings to alleviate the sufferings of those they brought up, as well as to save all they could find on or about the wreck. The few who had been taken ashore by the flats and skiffs were cared for the by the Given and Fremont, and the people on shore.
The officers of the G. A. Given and J. C. Fremont acted a noble part.
The explosion occurring as it did, before day, and no one being up about the boat except the bilot, the watchman, and the engineer, with two or three firemen, the engineer being lost, or supposed to be, and the pilot, too, there was no one to give information of the cause of the disaster.

From the Louisville Courier, July 2.
This terrible disaster occurred near the town of Rome, Indiana, one hundred miles below this city, while every soul on board, with the exception of that portion of the crew who were on watch, were asleep in their berths totally unconscious of the danger and death that surrounded them.
The boat, it is supposed, exploded all her boilers, with a terrible noise, causing death and destruction to all around. The upper works of the boat, forward of her water wheels were blown to fragments, throwing the sleeping passengers and the crew about like "chaff before the wind," many of them falling in the river, and others alighting among the fragments of the burning boat and the red hot furnaces on the lower deck, as the boat, almost on the instant of the explosion, caught fire, thus exposing the survivors of the wreck to the horros[sic] of being either burnt alive or drowned. At this juncture the boart careened and commenced sinking, when a wood boat was caught, and that, together with skiffs, and the steamers J. C. Fremont and D. A. Given, which came up, saved many lives.
The J. C. Fremont, with eight of the survivors, all wounded, reached this port Saturday evening. The D. A. Given stayed by the wreck some time, and arrived here yesterday morning with a good many of the wounded and the passengers who were saved. Capt. WOOD and officers of the D. A. Given, and Doctors ROBERTSON and JONES, of Rome, La., merit the warmest thanks of the survivors and the community for their many kind acts on the occasion. Capt. WOOD had his boat turned into a regular hospital at once, and was most assiduous in his care and attention to the wounded.
Capt. THROOP, who was terribly burnt, went back to St. Louis, accompanied by his mate, JOHN JOHNSON, first engineer, MR. DAVIDSON, the clerk, and a number of the cabin crew, on the Baltimore. The boat turned bottom upward, and sunk near Stephensport. The second mate was standing near the forward bitts at the time of the explosion, and the first thing he knew, he caught the Captain in his arms. The latter was on the hurricane deck the moment before. Several of the passengers who were saved, including Capt. T. WHITE, who arrived on the Given, knew nothing of the disaster till they found themselves in the river, in their night dress, among the floating portions of the wreck. How they were saved, or in what manner they reached the shore, was equally a mystery. A passenger asleep in an upper berth was saved, and the one in an under berth of the game room.
The second engineer, WILLIS, who was on watch, was killed, and his assistant saved. The second clerk and an assistant barkeeper were killed, and two firemen, names not known, burnt to death in their bunks. Two passengers, who got on the boat at Smithland, were killed. One of them was a gentleman about 30 years of age, medium size, with brown hair and dark goatee. MR. WILEY JOHNSON, of Madison, had his leg broken, and received several contusions. He was taken to Madison on the Strader. A German deck hand and a colored man, who lived back of New Albany, died on the D. A. Given. All the ladies, children and passengers in the after part of the boat were saved unhurt. One or two dead bodies, and portions of the wreck were met by the Rainbow, thirty-five miles below the scene of the disaster.
The LEXINGTON lacked only a few days of being five years old. The machinery was made by PHILLIPS, HISE & Co., of New Albany, and the boat was quite old enough to be condemned. She had been a packet in our trade, but was recently sold to St. Louis. The Inspectors, of course, now that the damage is all done, will investigate as usual. The boat was under way, had but two firemen on watch, and it is the opinion of those who saw the wreck that the boilers had no water in them. All the wounded persons are burnt, bruised or crippled. Annexed is a full list of the killed, wounded and saved:
List Of The Killed And Missing -- PHILLIPS, Liberty, Mo.; HENRY LEWIS; JOSEPH MILLER, second clerk, Nashville, Tenn.; PONEY WILLIAMS, second engineer; M. FAIRCHILD; HAYNES, carpenter; JOHN TAYLOR, colored; BALDWIN, colored, New Albany; HARRISON, New Albany; SAMUEL LEWIS, colored. Two brothers, names not known, got on board at Smithland, supposed to be from Georgia; one killed and the other missing. Two Irish deck hands missing; supposed to be burnt.
Wounded And Crippled -- JESSE BAYLES, Louisville; THOMAS PAINE, Cincinnati; THOMAS F. GIBSON, first mate; HARRY, New Albany; J. M. GARDENER, King's Landing, Ky.; P. FLYNN, Auburn, N. Y.; S. B. JOHNSON, St. Louis; A. BADGETT, pilot, St. Louis; Capt. THOMAS WHITE, Louisville; Capt. J. THROOP; E. G. DAVIDSON, Paducah, first clerk; SNEAD STRONG, Nashville, pilot; J. P. JOHNSTON, first engineer; MR. McELROY, Lebanon, Ky.; J. R. HALL, Liberty, Mo.; M. FRING; CHAS. SQUIRES; S. W. FUNDERSMITH; DAVID HARRIS, Cincinnati; JOHN BARNARD, pilot, Louisville; W. C. HARKINS, Madison.

The New York Times New York 1855-07-06