Brighton, NY Powder Mill Explosion, May 1855

THREE POWDER MILL EXPLOSIONS, FIVE MEN KILLED. About twenty minutes past four o'clock P.M. yesterday, the city was shaken by three successive explosions a few seconds apart. It was soon ascertained that the powder mills on Allen's creek, in the town of Brighton, four miles from the city, had blown up, involving the loss of five lives. The men were employed about the works, and their names are James McCann, Christian and Frederick Myers, brothers, Mat. Clarck, and Edward Moran. Some of those men leave families. Of course nothing is known of the cause of the calamity, as all who were in the mills were instantly killed.--The shock was very great, shattering the windows in surrounding buildings, though doing no material damage beyond the limits of the premises occupied by the powder makers.

The powder mills were owned by E. Gilbert & Co. They had five buildings, but a few rods apart--two of these were mills, one a corning house, another a picking house, and the last a drying house. All these buildings were bestroyed[sic] except one mill, which was running with cylinders filled, only two hundred feet from one of the buildings which explode. The first explosion took place in the corning house, as a driver states who was going to the mills, and was only some forty rods distant when the explosion occurred. The quantity of powder destroyed is estimated at from 300 to 400 kegs 25 pounds each.

The bodies of the unfortunate men were scattered in all directions, some of them were torn in pieces and all denuded and blackened so they could scarcely be identified. One body was thrown some eighty rods distance. The unfortunate men bore and excellent character for industry and sobriety, and some of them had accumulated considerable property.---Rochester Union, May 9.

Barre Patriot, Barre, MA 18 May 1855


FATAL EXPLOSION.---The Powder Mills, owned by J. Connells & co., about 5 miles from Rochester, N. Y., exploded on the 8th inst. killing 15 men and blowing the surrounding buildings to atoms.

This is the fourth time these Mills have exploded during the past five years.

Wisconsin Free Democrat, Milwaukee, WI 19 May 1855