Grant Station, NY Lumber Mill Boiler Explosion, Feb 1872
V. Allen, a former proprietor of the mill, testified that the boiler had been in use but two years. That a company of which he was a member had purchased them in Cleveland. They were warranted, and he never knew any defect about them. He examined them since the explosion and could not see any defect. The flues had collapsed, without even injuring the shell of the beads. The boilers had only two flues each, and each flue was fourteen inches in diameter, and the top of the flues was about twenty inches in diameter. The boiler was forty-eight inches in diameter, and the top of the flues was about twenty inches from the bottom of the boiler. One gauge of water would show the water to be about two inches above the top of the flues.
Two other witnesses were examined one of whom Mr. J.T. Barker, was in the mill at the time of the explosion and saw the steam gauge marked 80 pounds, ten minute’s before the explosion occurred.
The above is the substance of the evidence given, and upon which the jury gave a verdict that Mr. Davis came to his death from an accident which was unavoidable, and that no person was liable to censure.
The facts regarding the trouble with the pump, are those. The engineer, in pumping water into the boilers the night previous, found that the pump did not work on account of the “plunger” being out of order, and it being near quitting time he concluded to leave it until morning. The boilers were each filled by the same connection to the pump, and as a consequence, the one nearest the pump was filled first. It is fair to infer that the boilers were not filled as they should have been, for had they been the explosion would not in all probability have occurred. In the morning when the engineer and fireman, Mr. Mather, went to the mill and built fires under the boilers he found the pump frozen up. There was probably plenty of water in one boiler, but the water was low in the boiler farthest from the pump, and it made steam rapidly. H found assistance from men in the mill to help him about thawing the pump, and six pails-full of water were drawn from the then nearly empty boiler, and the water poured upon the pump without effect. Mr. Davis and Mr. Mather were in the act of drawing more water when it is supposed they opened the connection between the two boilers, and the water rushed into the empty one and caused the explosion.
Davis was taken out of the ruins dead, his body terribly mangled. Tanner, who was standing near, was dangerously scalded, and died at 7 o’clock Thursday morning. Mather is badly burned about his body, and has his left leg below the knee crushed to a jelly. He presents a horrible appearance, and no hopes of his recovery are entertained Mr. Davis was a comparative stranger to all connected with the mill, having come there but a short time previous from Wilder’s pail factory, Corry. He was about thirty-eight years of age, and was unmarried. His father resides at Willoughby, O.
Mr. Tanner, who died from injuries, was employed about the mill temporarily, and had only worked there the afternoon of the day previous. He was about thirty years of age, and leaves a widow. His injuries were terrible, and his suffering were all that is agony. He was so baldy scalded that the flesh came off his entire body, with the exception of his legs below his boot tops. A singular incident is also connected with is death. His wife was the widow of Frank Bohall, a young man who was killed by a boiler explosion which occurred about three years ago in the same mill. At that time the mill was owned by Mr. D. Allen, and Bohall was killed instantly. Tanner married his widow about a year and a-half since, and thus far the second time, from the same cause is she left a widow.
Dr. Boyd, of Ashville, was present at an early hour, and rendered every medical attention in his power.
The funeral of the two victims was held in the hall at the station this (Friday) morning at eleven o’clock. Davis’ remains were buried at the Station, and Tanner’s remains were taken to Panama for burial.
We are informed this (Friday) morning that Mather died Thursday evening about 1 o’clock, which makes three deaths from this terrible explosion.
Jamestown Journal, Jamestown, NY 2 Feb 1872