Spechts Ferry, IA Explosion, Sept 1895



Shot Into Dynamite Stored Under a House and Five Persons Were Killed as a Result.

Minneapolis, Minn., Sept. 8. --- A frightful accident, resulting in the death of five persons, occurred to-day at Spechts Ferry, a small station on the Milwaukee road, twelve miles above Dubuque, Iowa.
A. KIRSCHNER of Fountain City, has the contract for putting wing dams in the river and has a large force of men employed. These men boarded at a large shanty run by EDWARD LATSHAW, whose home was in Victory, Wisconsin. This morning Foreman C. H. OWENS was passing the building when he noticed on of LATSHAW'S boys firing a rifle near the house, which was raised from the ground and under it a large amount of dynamite was stored. OWENS pointed out the danger of an explosion and the kid promised to stop firing the gun. OWENS passed along and got about fifty feet when the gun was again fired and an explosion of dynamite followed . There were seven persons in the building, which was blown to atoms. Of the seven four were killed, also the boy outside who fired the fatal shot.

The scene of the explosion is a little hamlet containing only a hotel, depot, warehouse and a few shanties. The force of the explosion tore a hole fifteen feet deep in the solid rock, wrecked the building above it and damaged nearly every other building in the place. The mother, two daughters and a younger son were found in the wrecked house. The baby girl was lying across her mother's dead and mutilated body, crying piteously for her. LATSHAW'S body was found 200 yards away. His head was partly buried in the earth. The boy who did the shooting was thrown over the top of high trees, falling to the earth a shapeless, unrecognizable mass. HANS BJORNSTADT'S body was found 100 feet from the building, every bone broken and his body bruised and blackened. The mother's head was crushed to a jelly while her body bore no marks of the terrific explosion.

New Castle News Colorado 1895-09-14