Cross Plains, WI Boiler Explosion, May 1857

Boiler Explosion - Awful Catastrophe at Cross Plains.

We are indebted to Mr. E.M. WILLIAMSON, Esq., of this city, who was on the spot, for the following heart-rendering intelligence. On Thursday last, as the workmen were engaged in running the steam saw-mill owned by P. L. MOHR, Esq., of this city, one of the boilers burst asnnder [sic] at about its middle, scattering death and destruction around. The engineer, whose name we could not learn, was approaching the fire place to light his pipe, when the explosion took place. His head was blown off, and he was otherwise mangled in a most horrid manner. Another man, (whose name we could not learn,) was blown some thirty or forty feet high, and some thirty or forty yards distant. He is probably dead ere this. Two others were badly injured.

The boiler parted in the centre, and flew with tremendous force in contrary directions. One portion was thrown a distance of 30 yards, plowing into the earth to the depth of three or four feet, and dislodging from its ped a rock of several tons weight. Particles of timber, lumber, and every species of movable thing, were scattered in every direction at a most astonishing distance.

The Weekly Wisconsin Patriot, Madison, WI 16 May 1857