East Texas, PA Boiler Explosion, June 1879


Reading, Pa., June 21. -- When the explosion took place at East Texas, in Lehigh County, this morning, the men were just assembling to commence work. The boiler was torn into atoms, and pieces of iron and splinters of the boiler house were blown in every direction.
A. ETTINGER, from Emaus, had his head completely blown from his body, and it was picked up in a gulch about thirty yards from where the body was found. The neck appeared as if the head had been pulled from his body. He was an elderly man and leaves a family of grown children.
JAMES SMITH, a German, was found a short distance from ETTINGER. He was terribly mangled and dead. His face was black with fire, sulphur and dirt.
FRANK FEGELY, contractor and operator, was instantly killed. His body was frightfully torn and disfigured.
CHARLES SMOYER, one of the head owners, was also instantly killed. He leased the track on a royalty and was near the boiler when the explosion took place. His breast, head and arms were frightfully torn. SMOYER and FEGELY also leave families.
AMOS DERR was picked up about fifty feet from the boiler house. He was insensible, mangled and bleeding, and, a few minutes after one of the men had reached him, he died. He was unmarried.
The bodies were gathered up and placed side by side. Their appearance was shocking in the extreme. Near by were laid the wounded men, groaning and dying. Their agony was intense. KECK, the engineer, could not speak to give any account of the condition of the water in the boiler. Two men named YOST and HERRICK were picked up near the engineer very badly hurt. They were scalded and mangled by splinters. One of them begged to be killed to be relieved of his terrible pain. The surroundings presented a shocking appearance and strong men fainted at the horrible sight of the dead and dying.
Four of the wounded cannot live. The wives and children of the victims of the explosion soon gathered, and their cries were heart-rending.

Logansport Journal Indiana 1879-06-22


East Texas

Believe it or not, my late mom, Sarah, was the postmaster of the East Texas, PA post office for over 20 years. My late sister lived in East Texas until she passed away 3 years ago. Strange but true.