California, OH Steamship MAGNOLIA Disaster, Mar 1868
FEARFUL STEAMBOAT DISASTER.
THE MAGNOLIA BLOWN UP.
FEARFUL CONDITION OF THE PASSENGERS.
ATTEMPTS AT RESCUE -- KILLED AND INJURED -- A RECORD OF THE WRECK.
One of the most terrible steamboat disasters that has occurred in this vicinity since the blowing up of the Moselle, took place yesterday, a short distance below California, at the mouth of Crawfish, and about seven miles up the river. The ill fated boat was the Magnolia, one of the regular Cincinnati and Maysville packets, and the popular boat upon the list. She left her dock at the usual hour, 12 M., with, as is estimated, fully one hundred passengers on board, and in about an hour afterwards the explosion took place.
Mr. Gus Miller, who resides opposite where the catastrophe occurred, and on the Kentucky shore, was a work in his garden, and immediately, with Mr. Abel, who was formerly connected with the National Theater, put off in a skiff to the rescue of the unfortunates on board. They state that after the explosion the boat went some distance ahead, and he pulled a mile before the flames burst forth, so that he estimates the interval at nearly ten minutes. When he arrived near the wreck, a most fearful sight presented itself. Beneath the guards a dozen men were clinging, and shrieking for help, the while the flames were seething their heads, hands and faces.
The heat was so intense that it was impossible for the skiffs to approach near enough for their rescue, and one by one they dropped into the water. One man who still remained on the boat, with a little girl in his arms shouted to the men in the skiff, "for God's sake save the child." While the fire was scorching behind, until the heat becoming intolerable, he dropped the little girl into the water, and then jumped overboard himself. We understand that both were saved.
In the meantime other skiffs had put out from the Ohio shore, and by desperate exertion many persons, principally ladies, were rescued from the burning wreck. Two, however, were swept beneath the guards, and every effort to rescue them was in vain. One man was seen hanging from the hog-chain, his beard and the hair of his head burning. Mr. Miller shouted to him to let go, and he dropped into the water and was saved, although terribly injured by the flames. Another, badly burned, was taken off the rudder, but the raging element was so rapid in its progress, that but short time was vouchsafed either to the victims or those who came to their aid. In the meantime the steam tug Falcon came up, and took some twenty-four of the injured on board. The steamer Panther, too was headed as rapidly as possible to the scene of the disaster, and brought a great number of the unfortunate people to the city. The scene upon these boats was of the most harrowing description. Many of the poor creatures, half charred, were moaning piteously, while others lay in a state of stupor, happily, for the time being, oblivious to their terrible condition. During the progress to the city every attention was devoted that kindness could suggest, and nothing was left undone that could in any wise alleviate their suffering.
Several were rescued and taken to the shore at California. The following is, as near as we can ascertain, a list of their names, and their condition: L. E. RELMAN, N. D. RIDENHOUR, COLONEL CHAS. MARSHALL, MRS. WILES and daughter, RUFUS MARTIN and lady, MRS. ALBERT N. FULTON, WM. D. ROSS, slightly injured: T. COX, editor Flemingsburg Democrat, C. D. ARMSTRONG, same place, G. H. HUSTON, Berlin, Ky., slightly hurt; T. F. JONES, G. W. KERR, Bridgeton, Ind., badly hurt; ELLIOT, second clerk.
Saved From The Wreck.
MR. LEVI, MRS. BAKER, of Ripley, Ohio; MR. PRATHER, brother of the Captain [JAMES H. PRATHER]; MR. EVANS; JACKSON, the steward, saved, but badly injured; J. STEWART, First Engineer, and B. GARDNER, badly injured, HENRY CLARK, messenger Adams Express Company, one leg broken below the knee; LEW MILLS, first mate and porter of the boat, G. L. GILLIS, unhurt. WILLIAM BURTON, barkeeper, slightly injured; THOMAS CURRAN, of Daver, Ky., slightly injured; J. M. GILLIMAND, of Ripley, two ribs broken, JAMES MILLER, badly scalded; J. R. HAWES, Minerva, Ky., shoulder broken and otherwise injured; CHARLES LEWIS, of Iona, frightful hole in the skull; J. P. LUWILL, of Aberdeen, scalded badly; GEORGE WILDER, of Higginsport, badly scalded.