Princeton, MS Steamer ORONOKO Explosion, Apr 1838

From the Louisville Journal, April 28.

We mentioned yesterday the bursting of the boilers of the Steamboat Oronoko at Princeton on her way from New Orleans, and the great destruction of human life on board of her. We have since received from our friend G. W. Jackson, Clerk of the Peru, the annexed statement of some of the circumstances of the distressing occurrence. Mr. J. informs us, that the statement, as far as it goes, can be fully relied on, it having been obtained from fifteen to twenty of the passengers of the unfortunate boat, who came up in the Peru. We have conversed with several of the passengers, all of whom declare their inability to give any thing like an adequate idea of the scene of horror.

To the Editors of the Louisville Journal.
The steamer Oronoko, Captain JOHN CRAWFORD, left New Orleans on Monday, April 16, 1838. On Saturday morning, the 21st, at about 5 o'clock, having made but two revolutions after leaving Princeton, Miss., burst one of her boilers, blowing overboard some 15 or 20 persons and severely scalding between 40 and 50 that remained on board. Some 5 or 6 of the latter died previous to the departure of the Peru. Among the scalded that were on board, as near as could be ascertained, there were between 20 and 30 white men, chiefly deck passengers, 5 or 6 women, and about the same number of children from the age of 1 to 4 years that have since died. Among those that went overboard about 4 or 5 were saved. Some few cabin passengers were supposed to be missing. The 2d Cook, (a black,) who was badly scalded, jumped overboard some time after the explosion and was drowned. The general supposition of a physician that was on board was, that few would recover, having been scalded inwardly. The Peru remained so short a time, that it was impossible to ascertain the names of the scalded or the survivors, some having gone back on the boat which was towed to Vicksburg, and some on the Peru and N. Albany bound up. The number of cabin passengers on board the Oronoko at the time as near as could be ascertained, was from 70 to 80; on deck 60 to 70, including blacks and children. Most of the passengers in the boat were in bed at the time of the accident otherwise the loss of lives would have been immense. Every effort was made by both passengers and crew to alleviate the sufferings of the unfortunate beings, but of little avail.
The screams and groans were heart-rending in the extreme; prayers and supplications for water to put a period to their existence. Many thanks are due to Captain Shrodes of the Peru, Captain Young of the N. Albany, and Captain Wheeler of the Independence, for their prompt answer to the calls of distress.
May they never witness a similar scene on their boats. There was also a number of valuable race horses belonging to Col. Oliver and others badly scalded.

The Adams Sentinel Gettysburg Pennsylvania 1838-05-07