Memphis, TN Area Tow-Boat CRESCENT CITY Explosion, Mar 1874



Memphis, Tenn., March 25. -- From survivors of the tow-boat Crescent City disaster, who arrived here this morning on the steamer Phil Allen, the following additional particulars of the disaster are obtained:
WM. BRIGGS, the first engineer, who was on watch at the time of the explosion, states that he was aft welding a fire-hook. He was knocked down by the concussion, though he heard no unusual noise. On regaining his feet he started forward, but was stopped by the steam. A moment afterward he found himself standing in the water, and, realizing his danger, he ran up stairs, closely followed by the water. Within three minutes after the explosion the boat sunk, leaving only the after part of the roof above water, on which the survivors were huddled until relieved by the Phil Allen's timely arrival. The engineer states that at the time of the explosion the boat was carrying 140 pounds of steam, and five minutes before he had tried the water and found it flush. He can give no theory as to the cause of the explosion. The steamer had five barges in tow, containing 500 tons of coal, 600 tons of sugar, and about 200 tons of queensware, all of which was lost. In addition to the list of casualties reported last night are the following: FRANK KELLY, of St. Louis, day watchman; and WM. DUNN, second cook, of Wheeling, who died on the Phil Allen; CLARENCE ADSIT, of Cairo, cabin boy; and the following colored firemen, JNO. DAVIS, "KI" ADKINS, of Cincinnati, and BEN JOHNSON, of Elizabethtown, Penn., were lost. The following were wounded: JAMES BREWSTER, cabin boy, of Madison, Ind., cut in the head; ARTHUR WELCH, a rouster, from St. Louis, cut in the head; THOS. McKUEN, rouster, from Memphis, shoulder bruised; LIZZIE ROSS, chamber-maid, from Cairo, skull fractured; GEORGE and ALBERT HALL, sons of the proprietor of the trading boat, of Davenport, Iowa, were considerably bruised, and their father was badly scalded about the chest.

The following persons are unhurt: JAMES O'CONNOR, Pittsburg; FRANK MILLER, Peoria, Ill.; GUS SOUER; JAKE LICHIT; JOE MILLER; MORRIS D. HENER; HENRY ERLENSTIEN; CHAS. HARRISON; HENRY MURPHY: ALLEN COOPER; GEO. TELLEY, of St. Louis; _____ ROSS, of Cairo; MRS. HULL and four children, of Davenport; and the following colored firemen: JOS. HUGHES, of Moundsville, West Va.; JERRY THOMAS, Brownsville, Penn.; JAS. ROBINSON; DAVE ACKER; DICK HARRIS; and ALFRED JONES, of St. Louis. Those who were unhurt, together with all of the wounded, except GEORGE VAN HOUTEN, pilot, whose left leg is dislocated, left for St. Louis on the City of Vicksburg. The survivors speak in the highest terms of the treatment received from the officers of the Phil Allen. None of the bodies of the killed were recovered.

The Memphis Ledger says the entire loss by the explosion of the Crescent City reaches nearly $300,000.

The New York Times New York 1874-03-26