Boston, MA Schooner SARAH Explosion, Sep 1835
Sad havoc was likewise made with the windows in the vicinity, and it is estimated that between 2 and 3000 panes were broken; and in many instances the sashes and all were broken to pieces and driven in.
When we first arrived at the scene of action, the masts, sails and rigging of the schooner were completely enveloped in flames. One or two of the adjacent vessels were also on fire, and there was no possible way that we could imagine, the vessels being hard and fast aground, of preventing a wide spreading and ruinous conflagration. A few minutes after, came the explosion, and presto -- every thing was changed -- a large volume of smoke ascended to the clouds, but almost every vestige of fire had disappeared.
The engines poured in torrents of water, but with the exception of the sails and rigging of the neighboring vessels, some of which had taken fire, there appeared to be but very little for them to operate on, so completely were all the combustible materials scattered by the explosion.
At this moment, the captain, officers and crew of the Greek brig now in port, had a fine opportunity of showing, not only their sailor like habits, but the utter fearlessness with which they looked danger in the face. The fine packet brig Junius, bound for Baltimore, laid directly astern, and had taken fire aloft in a number of places, out of the reach of the operation of the engines -- seeing which the Greeks immediately jumped into the rigging, sprang aloft like cats, and with the assistance of some Yankee sailors, in a few minutes the sails were unbent, lowered upon deck, and all danger from this quarter extinguished.
Capt. GRISWOLD, as well as the owners of the Sarah, maintained that with their knowledge, there was not a particle of powder on board; this we can well believe, but that the explosion on board their vessel was occassioned by gun powder, and gun powder only however it may have got there, no man in his senses can for a moment disbelieve. We hope this subject will receive a full, ample and thorough investigation, and that whoever is to blame may be brought to justice. The lives of our firemen and our citizens generally, are too valuable to be jeoparized in this foolish manner.
The vessel, and property on board, were partly insured, but to what amount precisely we have been unable to learn.
We also hear that Mr. Joshua Sears, had $1000 worth of tea on board, which was not insured.
It is supposed that twenty-five or thirty thousand persons visited the scene of destruction yesterday.
The shock was distinctly felt several miles off; and the column of smoke which ascended from the vessel afforded one of the most beautiful and magnificent sights ever witnessed.
The Peoples Press Gettysburg Pennsylvania 1835-09-04