Lachine, QB (Off Shore) Steamer SHAMROCK Explosion, July 1842
DEPLORABLE ACCIDENT AND LOSS OF LIFE.
It is our painful duty to announce a calamity unprecedented in extent in British North AMerica, which occurred on our waters on Sunday Inst.
The steamer Shamrock left the Canal Basin at Montreal on Friday evening, and the Locks at Lachine early on Saturday morning, having in tow three barges, two empty and one partially laden. She carried no cargo besides the luggage of passengers, whose number, we understand, amounted to 120 souls. About 11 o'clock, when the steamer had proceeded about five miles from Lachine, her boiler exploded, scattering death and destruction. So sudden were the effects, that in less than five minutes, 62 human beings were precipitated into eternity.
The passengers were English, Irish, Scotch emigrants, but principally English, and were distributed at the time of the accident, nearly as follows:
The English, in number about sixty-five, exclusively occupied the bow of the vessel.
The Irish and Scotch occupied the stern.
In the cabin were three English women, and two men.
Between decks, in the fore part of the vessel were a number of loiterers.
The explosion carried away the decks, and opened the sides, so that the vessel immediately went down. It is easy to conceive how inevitable because the destruction or irreparable injury of the majority of such a crowd of passengers huddled on board of a small canal boat. The loss fell principally upon the English who were in the bows; the three women and two men in the cabin perished, and all who were between decks, with the exception of three Irishmen.
The accident was distinctly visible from Lachine; at least a number of persons remarked a vast eruption of smoke, and in a few seconds the disappearance of the vessel. The steamer Dolphin was at the time about half a mile in the rear of the Shamrock, and on board her the explosion was heard; and its effects perceived. The Captain dropped two barges which he had in tow, and made all haste to carry succor. When the Dolphin reached the scene of the disaster, the sight was appalling; the unfortunate steamer had disappeared, and the surface of the water was covered with living and dead bodies, the living clinging to fragments of the wreck, and to the sides of two barges which remained unimpaired. By the exertions of the master and crew of the Dolphin, sixty persons of different ages and sexes were picked up. Of these about thirty are more or less injured, and about thirty, principally Irish, escaped unhurt.
It is now out of power to paint in all, their horror, the details of this disaster. Some instances are presented of heart-rending misery.
One old lady, named COUSINS, from Cleveland, Yorkshire, was found alive, floating on a feather bed, but her husband and seven children perished.
A man named COVERDALE, from Damby, Yorkshire, sank on Saturday night under amputation, leaving behind him a wife who, besides her husband, lost six children.
The Experiment Norwalk Ohio 1842-07-27