Wilmington, DE Du Pont powder mill explosion, Aug 1857

Explosion of Dupont's Powder Mill at Wilmington, Pa. [sic]

WILMINGTON, Sunday, Aug. 23.

A terrible explosion occurred here on Saturday. ALEXIS L. DUPONT, assisted by seven workmen, was removing a large and heavy box from a building, which had been used since 1812 as a powder-house. The box coming in contact with the wall caused friction producing fire, and an explosion followed, burning all hands in a shocking manner. Mr. DUPONT leaped into a race near by, and the others made every effort to extinguish the fire on their clothes.

Mr. DUPONT having succeeded in extinguishing the fire on his clothes, hastened to see if the press roof had caught fire. As he approached a terrible explosion took place, shattering the building to atoms. By the flying fragments Mr. DUPONT had his right thigh fractured, three of his ribs broken and one of his lungs perforated. He was found among the ruins and when taken up gave directions to the presons present to hasten and extinguish the flames.

To-day (Sunday,) at 5 o'clock, Mr. DUPONT, ANTHONY DOUGHERTY and EDWARD HURST, the foreman of the mill, were dead.

LOUIS VACHE was mortally wounded, and JOHN McCLAFFERTY and GEORGE FISHER were injured, but not fatally. The others escaped unhurt.

The New York Times, New York, NY 24 Aug. 1857
THE EXPLOSION OF DUPONT'S POWDER MILL - FURTHER PARTICULARS - The telegraph gave an account of a terrible explosion at Dupont's powder mill, in Delaware, on the 22d inst., accompanied by a distressing loss of life. The Delaware Republican has the following particulars: - We learn that Mr. A. J. Dupont, the proprietor; assisted by Edward Hurst, Anthony Dougherty, Lewis Vache, John McCafferty, Richard Hunter and George Fisher was engaged in removing a large, heavy box out of an old building about to be torn down, when the corner of it came in contact with the wall, and the friction produced a fire, setting off the building, which has been used since 1812, and although cleaned as well as possible, contained a large quantity of powder under the floor. Their clothes took fire and they hastened to extinguish the flames. Mr. Dupont jumped into the race, and after having accomplished his purpose, ran to see if the roof of the press room was on fire, when the building exploded and was torn to atoms with a terrible crash. Mr. Dupont was terribly injured by the scattered fragments. His ribs were broken and one lung perforated. He also received a compound fracture of the right thigh. He was found among the ruins unterrified and perfectly cool. He gave orders immediately to have water passed to put out the flames, so as to prevent further disastrous consequences. He was carried to his house, in the immediate vicinity, where his wounds were examined and dressed by Dr. Grimshaw. Mr. Dupont died about five o'clock the same afternoon. Edward Hurst and Anthony Dougherty also died from the effects of their injuries soon after the accident. Mr. Dupont was widely known and highly esteemed, and his loss will be deeply deplored, not only by his immediate relatives, but by all who knew him. A dispatch says that George Fisher, Lewis Vache, John McCafferty, Michael Higgins and Richard Hunter are among the wounded, being all more or less burned. Mr. Vache is mortally injured. The explosion was sensibly felt at Wilmington.

The New York Herald, New York, NY 27 Aug 1857