Tilton, AR Boiler Explosion, May 1909

An Explosion of Handle Mill Boiler Hurls Operatives Hundreds of Feet Killing Two; Seriously Injuring Three

Dead And Injured Were Brought To Jonesboro Last Night-One Victims Body Was Found 250 Feet Away From Mill; Others Were Hurled Far Into Surrounding Woods

J.E. Slocum was killed outright, his brother, R.L. Slocum, died in St. Bernard’s hospital here last night, and Frank Parkerson, also in the hospital here, will not survive his injuries, as the result of a boiler explosion at the handle mill owned by C.W. Kennard, at Tilton, in Cross County, eleven miles south of Fisher on the Cotton Belt, yesterday afternoon between the hours of three and four o’clock.

Those injured are A.O. Cagle, right leg dislocated, and Albert Slocum, both legs broken below the knees.

All the injured were brought to this city last night and placed in St. Bernard’s Hospital. Cagle and Albert Slocum will recover.

With the exception of J.E. Slocum all were employees of the mill. J.E. Slocum is a farmer residing at Tilton and at the time of the explosion was standing near the mill watching the works. His body was horribly scalded and burned and was mutilated considerably, and was lifeless when found a few minutes later. He was married and has children.

The body of R.L. Slocum was found burning on the grates, whom which boiler had torn itself and blown over 250 feet away. He was also scalded, burned, his left leg broken near the thigh, his right arm broken and was otherwise injured, but lived until last night at 12 o’clock. His body was prepared for shipment this morning by Undertaker Gregg and sent back to Tilton for burial, accompanied by his wife, who came up from Tilton last night. Slocum left several small children. He was employed at the mill wheeling blocks from the saw.

Frank Parkerson was the engineer and fireman. He was standing by the side of the boiler when it exploded and his body was carried fully seventy yards from the place by they force of the explosion. Several bones are broken in his body and he was injured internally. He was not burned as badly as were J.E. and R.L. Slocum, but will die.

Albert Slocum, a cousin of the two killed, was employed wheeling bolts to the sawyer. He was working sixty yards away from the boiler when it exploded and was struck by a portion of the smokestack and both legs were broken below the knees. His escape from further injury was miraculous. He is married and has three children.

A.O. Cagle, age 25 and unmarried, suffered only the dislocation of his right leg, but his escape was miraculous, as he was standing within three feet of the boiler at the front end. He was burned by the ashes, but not severely. Cagle was knocked down violently by the force of the explosion. Cage was a sawyer.

Flying pieces of the boiler and mill can be found within a radius of 400 yards, according to reports received here from Tilton.

The mill experienced its first working yesterday, but had been moved from Fisher, in Poinsett county, and the boiler was not a new one.

The cause of the explosion is attributed to an overexposure of steam, caused, it is said, by the steam gauge refusing to work, this misleading the engineer. The explosion came without a moment’s notice to the workmen, who were preparing to charge it with water. The boiler had been thoroughly cleaned out Tuesday.

Mr. Kennard, the owner of the mill was in Fisher at the time of the accident. His home is in Alton, Ill., but he has large timber holdings in this country and is well known, especially in Jonesboro.

Both those killed were well known in Jonesboro and Craighead county, also the ones injured-Cagel and Albert Slocum. Cagle’s father is here from Fisher.

Jonesboro Daily News, Jonesboro, AR 27 May 1909


Injured Ones May Recover

Engineer Parkerson Is Still In Dangerous Condition, However

He Was Thrown 250 Feet By Explosion

Funerals Of The Slocum Brothers, Who Were Killed In The Disaster, Held Yesterday

Those injured in the boiler explosion at Tilton Wednesday afternoon in the St. Bernard’s Hospital, Frank Parkerson, Albert Slocum and A.O. Cagle are doing well, and there is no change in any of their conditions.

Parkerson, the engineer, who was injured more so than either Cagle or Slocum, is yet in a dangerous condition but there is some home entertained for his recovery. Parkerson was thrown for 250 feet by the force of the explosion and suffered serious internal injuries as well as having his leg and arm broken and being burned and scalded.

Albert Slocum has both his legs broken below the knees and Cagle escaped lighter than any of the others, only having his right leg dislocated.

The funerals of the two Slocum brothers J.B. and R.L. were held yesterday at Tilton.

Jonesboro Daily News, Jonesboro, AR 28 May 1909