Lexington, KY Steamer SALUDA Explosion, Apr 1852
EXPLOSION OF THE SALUDA.
The Saluda exploded on Missouri river, near Lexington, April 9th, 1852. It appears that this boat had been detained in the neighborhood of Lexington for four days, by a strong tide. Several of her passengers left her to seek other conveyance. On the day above mentioned, the Captain made another effort to stem the current. The steamer left the landing at half past one o'clock, A. M., and five minutes after, the boilers exploded with such tremendous effect that the cabin and all the wood-work forward of the wheel-house were completely demolished, and not a piece of timber was left above the guards. The boat sunk within a few minutes. The books were all lost, and the names of all the passengers who were killed by the explosion or who sunk with the boat could not be ascertained. The number of those who perished is estimated at one hundred.
The commander, Capt. Belt, who was on the hurricane roof, was blown high in the air, and fell against the side of a hill in Lexington, at least one hundred feet from the wreck. The second clerk, Mr. John Blackburn, was standing on the boiler-deck, and was also blown on shore, to a considerable distance from the boat. He was taken up dead. It may be mentioned as a melancholy coincidence, that a brother of this gentleman, (E. C. Blackburn,) was killed by the accident on the Pacific railroad in November, 1855. They were both highly esteemed by all who knew them. The mutilated bodies of a large number of the passengers of the Saluda were found in the streets of Lexington. Charles Labarge and Louis Gareth, the pilots, and Messrs. Clancy and Evans, the engineers, were lost. Their bodies were blown into the river, and were never recovered. One of the surviving passengers lost his wife and seven children. A lady was deprived of her husband and three children. Such was the force of the explosion, that a part of the boiler passed through a warehouse on the wharf, and quite demolished it. The citizens of Lexington subscribed $1,000 for the relief of the sufferers. The accident is ascribed to the negligence of the engineer.
KILLED.—Mr. Laynell, second bar-keeper ; Mr. Nash and Mr. McClency ; E. S. Halfer, second engineer ; Mr. Leggett ; Mr. Wayley ; J. Brick ; Mrs. Dunbar and child ; Mrs. McGehas and child ; two children of Mr. Rollins ; two Messrs. Bayley; two second clerks ; a first engineer ; two pilots ; Mr. McAllister ; W. H. Bridges ; five firemen, and many others, names unknown. Many of those who perished were Mormons.
Sixteen persons were wounded, two of them mortally ; names not mentioned.
Lloyd's Steamboat Directory and Disasters on the Western Waters, Cincinnati, Ohio; James T. Lloyd & Co, 1856, pages 277-278