Maysville, KY Area Steamer A. N. JOHNSTON Explosion, Dec 1847

Steamer A. N. Johnson Explosion, 1847

Boat's Crew.— A. Fairchild, Wheeling, first clerk, killed ; Jacob Johnson, second clerk, missing; James Bellsville, carpenter, missing ; John Lyle, second engineer, killed ; Matthew Wilson, first mate, of Pa., leg broken ; James Fennell, bar-keeper, of Cincinnati, slightly scalded ; John Fennell, first steward, do., Alfred Burrows, second steward, do., both badly scalded ; William Dorsey, second pilot, of Wheeling, Va., badly bruised ; Samuel P. Hardin, first cook, missing; porter and barber, both scalded badly ; two men found dead, names unknown.

One of the boilers was blown into a corn-field two hundred yards distant; another boiler was blown a hundred yards further into the same field. There was supposed to be one hundred and sixty passengers on board, of whom from sixty to eighty were killed or missing. Many others were wounded. All the ladies on board, six or seven in number, and four or five children, were saved. The steamer Boone went from Maysville to the scene of the disaster, and brought away thirty-seven of the dead and wounded. Some others were taken to Cincinnati. Many were so badly wounded that there were no hopes of their recovery. The death of the first clerk was attended by singular circumstances. He was blown to the distance of one hundred yards, and fell on the shore ; he then sprang up, and ran in a phrenzied manner nearly a quarter of a mile to a house, which he entered, and ran under a bed. When taken from thence life was almost extinct, and he expired within a few minutes.

The engineer, just before he died, stated that he had tried the boilers a short time before the explosion, and found a sufficiency of water ; but one of the clerks reports that he heard the engineer complain several times after they left Cincinnati that the pumps did not work well.

The City Council of Maysville assembled on the afternoon of the fatal day, and made an appropriation for the relief of the sufferers.

Lloyd's Steamboat Directory and Disasters on the Western Waters, Cincinnati, Ohio; James T. Lloyd & Co, 1856, pages 151-153