Buffalo, NY Steamer TROY Explosion, Mar 1850
Explosion of the Steamer Troy
Melancholy Accident and loss of Life
On Saturday afternoon last, our city was thrown into the greatest consternation by the report of the explosion of the stermer[sic] Troy, in the Niagara river, opposite the head of Bird Island Pier, about two miles from this city and the probable loss of ten or twelve lives.
The Troy was on her first trip this spring from Toledo to this city, and had on board some twenty or twenty-five cabin, and perhaps forty deck passengers from Toledo, Cleveland and Erie. She was sailed by CAPT. THOMAS WILKINS, a veterian[sic] Master on the Lakes. The engineer in charge was LEVI L. POST, an experienced engineer who was temporally employed on the Troy while on his way to this city with the majority of the hands on board, to join the steamer Griffith; neither engineer or men belonging to the regular season crew of the Troy.
The Troy had been in sight of our city several hours, trying to work a passage through the ice to the mouth of the creek; but being unable to do so, was on her way to Black Rock. Immediately before the accident, she had been backing, and CAPT. WILKINS had just rung the bell for her to go ahead, when after making one revolution the boiler burst with a tremendous explosion, the report of which was distinctly heard at the distance of several miles. Her main an upper decks were completely demolished, from the wheel house as far forward as the mast, some four feet abaft the pilot house; and many of the passengers and crew in that part of the boat were terribly scalded by the escape of steam or frighfully[sic] bruised by the flying fragments of engine and and timbers; while several were thrown by the explosion into the cold and swift current of the river, among pieces of the boat and the floating ice. It is impossible as yet to assertain[sic] the number of those thrown overboard. Several were picked up by small boats which were soon at the scene of the disaster, but it is morally certain that some must have found a watery grave, though the number is not so great as was at first supposed. From the most reliable information we could get we think that two men were certainly drowned --- one a very old man thought by a gentleman who saw him in the water and recognized him, to be about eighty years of age and said to be from Cleveland. Another was seen to sink a short distance from the bow of the steamer Union â€“ no description given.
The current and the wind brought the steamer to the dock outside Black Rock pier, and as she came alongside she presented a most melancholy spectacle of suffering and confusion. The memed [sic] and scalded uttered the most heart-rendering groans and shrieks of pain and anguish; while scarcely less affecting was the grief of the relatives and friends of the dead and dying. Among the deck passengers were a German family named SELAND, from Louisville going to Syracuse, and consisting of father, mother, three boys, and two girls. One of the sons was killed, the others dreadfully scalded, and parents and sisters were almost frantic with sorrow.
NICHOLOS SELAND aged twelve years was standing at the arches warming himself at the moment of the accident and was instantly killed ---his body blown in pieces and crushed by the ruins. GEORGE SELAND aged about eighteen or twenty, was supposed to have been drowned, but about seven o'clock in the evening he was discovered to be one of those who were most severely scalded in his face, lying nearly insensible at Lyon's tavern. His life is disappaired[sic] of, --- PETER SELAND, eight years old, badly scalded on the face, hands and feet. This little fellow behaved like a perfect stoic, maintaining the utmost composure while in intense pain and surrounded by his grief-stricken friends.
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