Stephensport, KY Steamer LEXINGTON Explosion, Jul 1855

Explosion of the Lexington.

The explosion took place at half past two o'clock Sunday morning, as the boat was ascending Chenault's Reach, about ninety miles below Louisville, and four miles above Stephensport. The steamer was under way, and the engines had been working steadily, without intermission, for 2 hours previously. There were about one hundred and twenty or thirty persons on board, all told; every one had retired to rest several hours before the explosion occurred, except the captain, the pilot on watch, the second engineer and his strikers, the watchman, and the firemen on watch at the time. There were about fifty cabin passengers, exclusive of eight ladies, one child, and a nurse; about twenty-five cabin crew, one half of whom a discharged crew, and whose places were filled before the boat started; these, with a few deck passengers, the officers, and deck crew, comprised the number of about 120, or thereabouts.
The three boilers exploded simultaneously, with a deafening report, blowing in fragments all the upper works to within six or eight feet of the ladies cabin. The wreck immediately took fire.
Then was presented a dreadful harrowing scene --- such as no pen can describe, no imagination conceive. Many were blown into the river, a few of whom swam ashore; many fell on the deck, and were mingled in awful confusion among the wreck; and to the spectator, to whose harrowed sight were visible blackened bodies of the dead, and the expiring agonies of those struggling in the water, and on whose ear smote the fearful groans of the wounded on the wreck, all lit up by the blazing fragments which, in the dead hour of night, lent an unearthly gloom to the spectacle --- the scene was one of the most heart-rending description.
Among the killed was MR. PHILLIPS, said to be of Liberty, Mo.; and MR. JOHN R. HALL, of Liberty, was wounded. MR. H. also lost a thousand dollars.

Liberty Weekly Tribune Missouri 1855-07-13