Peoria, IL Storm -- Ships Capsized, July 1892




A Sudden Cyclone at Peoria, Ill., Causes the Disaster -- Scores of Small Craft and Their Occupants Missing.

An Awful Disaster.
Peoria, Ill., July 12 -- It is reported that the tow boat Frankie Folsom capsized and sunk on Lake Peoria thia evening, with 150 people on board. Seventy-five people are reported to have been drowned.
Prof. PAINE has been giving a pyrotechnic display here for the past tow weeks. A good view of the exhibition can be obtained from the lake in the northern part of the city, and large numbers on excursion boats and small rowboats took advantage of the free exhibition.
This evening about 10:30 a strong wind storm suddenly arose, and the craft were unable to withstand the violence of the wind storm. One boat yard claims that nine skiffs have not returned, and it is thought that the occupants have been drowned. There is great excitement and particulars are hard to obtain, as it is not known who were in the boats.

Further Particulars.
Peoria, Ill., July 13 -- The Frankie Folsom, an excursion boat from Pekin, went down in a storm last night with all on board. At the time she had on board at least forty people and but twenty of those were rescued alive. All the rest are drowned. At this time -- 1 o'clock a. m. -- but two of those who were drowned have been brought ashore. There is nothing positive to be learned as to the exact number of the dead, but it mus amount to almost, if not quite, a score of people. The boat was tipped completely over, and is now floating bottom side up in the middle of the lake.
MRS. BEEBE, of Pekin, and a man by the name of MILLER, said to have got on board in Peoria, were the two who were found drowned. Who the others are it is impossible at this time to find out.
The cruel waves of the Illinois tonight born down to death a score of persons who were enjoying themselves in the Frankie Folsom, a Pekin boat, which started out last evening with forty passengers aboard.
A landing was made and two or three couples joined the party. There were also fifteen who got on the boat at the park, so that the passenger list reached fully sixty. As the boat come out of the landing and started down to the city she was struck by a cyclone and turned over. She was about midway in the river and sank rapidly. Owing to the howling tempest the cries of the passengers could not be heard.
The Longfellow with seventy-five passengers from Kingston, passed her and ran to the foot of the next street. Her passengers were driven off and the boat made preparations to go to the aid of the Folsom, when her wheel broke and she was left helpless.
Word was conveyed to the police station and Mayor WARNER ordered every man to the scene of the disaster. The Rock Island road sent a special train to the scene of the disaster, and small boats were put off to the Folsom, the hulk of which could be seen when the lake was illuminated by the vivid lightning. Four persons were taken off at a time. It is known that there are a dozen in the cabin of the ill-fated steamer. When the boat careened over every one rushed to the sinking side and many were washed overboard.
A man who was brought off said he saw several women carried down, and cooked into death by steam. Every time the boat careened some of the poor unfortunates clinging to the rails would release their hold and disappear in the waves.
Some persons who were out in small boats managed to reach the shore. They saw several bodies floating away which they could not reach. So far the following are known to be dead:
MRS. DUISDECKOR and two girl companions, names unknown.
Three Unknown Girls.
All of these people were from Pekin.
Some thrilling stories are told by the men who have been brought off the boats.
SAM SUTTON missed his wife when the cyclone struck the boat and he heard her calling for him as the cabin filled with water. He dived into the hold to what seemed certain death and managed to bring her to the surface. For an hour they clung to the rail and were both saved.
WM. HART also went into the cabin and brought up the unconscious form of his wife. It it[sic] thought she will live.
The greatest fears are entertained concerning the fate of over a hundred persons who were out in small boats. It is certain that eight lives have been lost in this manner.
At this hour the river bank is lined with crazy friends and relatives of those who have been lost.
There are eighteen dead in the Folsom, according to the count just made. Only about half of these will be found in the cabin of the boat, for the others were swept off the boat. Two bodies have been sighted floating through the lower bridge, nearly two miles from the scene of the disaster. Whether those are from the Folsom or bodies of persons from overturned boats cannot be stated.
There is a large number of carriages at the upper wreck, and as fast as bodies are brought ashore they are put in carriages and hurried away to where they can be cared for. Every house in the vicinity has been thrown open to the victims of the disaster and the work of rescue is going on rapidly. The cries of those on the sinking hulk are growing fainter and those brought ashore say there are some whose strength will not last themuntil they can be taken off.

Decatur Daily Republican Illinois 1892-07-13