Fall River, MA Fatal Boiler Explosion, Jan 1887

Fall River, Mass., Jan 18,1887. The tug Theodore Birely was towing the schooner Sylvester Hale to Somerset this afternoon, and had reached a point between Slade's Ferry Bridge and Forest Hill Garden, when the boiler of the tug exploded with terrific force, killing Engineer Elmer Whitmarsh, of Dighton , and wounding George Payne, of Taunton, steward of the schooner, his jaw being broken and his face cut. Captain Hathaway, of the tug, was in the pilot house at the time of the explosion and was hurled to the deck of the schooner, which was lashed alongside. Engineer Whitmarsh was talking to Captain Coleman, of the schooner, when the accident occurred, He was hurled over the main boom. His body was not recovered. Whitmarsh was 25 years old and was unmarried. A piece of Captain Coleman's ear was cut off and he was also cut about the head. The tug J. P. White, with the schooner Clara M. in tow, which was just behind the Birely, left her tow and took Captain Hathaway and fireman Cobb on board and brought them to Fall River and afterward towed the Sylvester Hale to Somerset. The Hale was damaged to the extent of about $60.. The mate of the schooner, Edward Felch, of Taunton, had his arm injured and he was cut about the head. The cause of the explosion is unknown. The Theodore Birely was owned by Staples & Phillips, of Taunton, and is a total loss