Cincinnati, OH Area Steamboat MOSELLE Explosion, Apr 1838

Steamboat Moselle Explosion, Apr 1838

KILLED,—Elijah North, of Alton, Illinois ; Miss Mary Parker, (drowned,) and B. Furmon, merchant, Middletown, Ohio; Job Jones, of Loudon County, Virginia ; B. Mitchell, barkeeper, of Cincinnati ; Capt. Perrin, master of the Moselle ; J, Chapman, second clerk ; T. C. Powell, of Louisville, Kentucky ; H, B, Casey, of Cincinnati ; James Barnet, of Missouri ; Calvin R, Stone, of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts; James Douglass, of Fort Madison, Wisconsin ; J, Williams, colored ; Henry Stokes, second steward ; Holly Dillon, fireman ; J. Madder, first engineer ; Robert Watt, deck hand ; E, Dunn, chambermaid ; James B. McFarland, Knox County, Ohio ; Miss Dunham ; J. M. Watkins, of Virginia ; M, Thomas, first mate ; A. Burns, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ; Halsey Williams, second engineer ; a child of P. Troutman ; G. Kramer's wife and five children; J, Fleming, pilot, (body blown to the opposite side of the river,) and J. Dillon.

Many whose names are inserted under the head of "missing" may properly be added to this list. A large number of those who perished were Irish and German emigrants, whose names are unknown.

BADLY Wounded.—William H. Inskeep, St. Clairsville, Ohio ; Mr. Sherwood, of Cincinnati ; Benjamin Bowman, first clerk ; James Tyrrell, deck hand ; — De Jaune, fireman ; Stephen Bailey, carpenter ; Isaac Van Hook ; a brother of Capt. Perrin; D. Higbee, of Cayuga County, New York ; Edward Sexton ; Mr. Teed, of Worcester, Massachusetts ; — Franklin, second cook ; James Fry, third cook.

Missing.—Lieut. Col, Fowl, U. S. A ; two children of George Kramer ; Wm. Parker's wife and two children, Dr, H. Huey, U, S. A. ; Joseph Swift, Buffalo, N. Y. ; Joseph Fotler, Filbain Fotler, Grechan Fotler, and Jacob Fotler, of Boston, Maas. ; John Beaver, Joseph Beaver, Eva Beaver, Mary Beaver, Jacob Beaver, and several children of Joseph and Eva Beaver ; a child of Peter Trautman, aged two and a half years ; Thomas Watt, a deck hand ; Michael Kennedy's wife and two children ; D. Higbee's wife and two children ; E. Raymond, wife and child, of Baltimore, Md. ; John Endig and John Leim, and the wife and child of each ; John Tyree, St. Louis; Payton Bird, fireman ; John Anderson ; Mr. Weber and three children; 3. Weaver, St. Louis ; Wilson Burrows, deck hand ; Mr. Fox, first clerk ; J. Duncan, wife and two children ; M. Manning and J. Lander, from Ireland ; Wm. Dougherty, G. Weaver, D. Brackwell.

On the day after the accident a public meeting was called at Cincinnati, at which the Mayor presided, when the facts of this melancholy occurrence were discussed, and among other resolutions passed was one deprecating "the great and increasing carelessness in the navigation of steam vessels," and urging this subject upon the consideration of Congress. No one denied that this sad event, which caused so much consternation, suffering, and sorrow, was the result of a reckless and criminal inattention to their duty on the part of those who had the management of the Moselle, nor was there any attempt to palliate their conduct.

The Moselle was built at Cincinnati, and she reflected great credit on the mechanical genius of that city, as she was truly a superior boat, and, under more favorable auspices, might have been the pride of the waters for many years. She was quite a new boat, having been begun on the 1st of December, 1838, and finished on the 31st of March, less than one month before the time of her destruction.

Lloyd's Steamboat Directory and Disasters on the Western Waters, Cincinnati, Ohio; James T. Lloyd & Co, 1856, pages 89-93


Moselle Disaster Portrayed

The Moselle disaster is portrayed in an historical novel called Early's Idaho.

There are print and Kindle versions of the book available here:

I too am a descendant. This

I too am a descendant. This has been a family "legend" for many years. Have you ever found anything else out?

Joseph McMahon

I am a descendent of Joseph McMahon and if you have any evidence that he was on the Mosselle please share it with me. I have been told that his son in law Daniel Snyder was killed also

Mr. Seth Post, wife and 2 children

The History of Jo Daviess County, Illinois, containing a history of the county, its cities, towns, etc., a biographical directory, page 558

A Mr. Shaw and Seth Post came to the county in the Fall of 1836. Post made a claim in the town of Rush, but Shaw did not select a claim until after they had gone back to Alleghany County, New York, and he returned with his family. When they started back to New York, Mr. Post left his two sons, Alonzo and Joseph, in charge of his claim and other property here, and during his absence " the boys " were very industrious in settling the house in order against the coming of their father, mother and the rest of the family, a coming they were destined never to realize.

When the two families were ready to leave New York for new homes in the west, they hired their passage on a lumber raft from Olean Point, which was bound for Cincinnati via Pittsburg. This raft not only conveyed the two families, but all their household goods, and one span of horses and wagon belonging to Mr. Shaw. Shaw was to come overland with his team from Cincinnati, while Post was to come by water to Galena. Arriving in Cincinnati, Post took passage on the steamer Moselle, and just as they were rounding the outer pier, the boiler exploded, killing Mr. Post, his wife and two children. This caused Mr. Shaw to remain until the goods belonging to the two families (which had been shipped on the steamer) could be saved. This delayed Mr. Shaw so that he did not arrive here until late in the Spring, and the duty of imparting to the Post brothers, who were "watching and waiting" for father, mother and little ones, the sad intelligence of the terrible calamity that rendered them parentless, was one that he would gladly have had imposed upon others. But there was no other to discharge that duty, and with a heavy heart and in trembling accents, he related to the grief stricken sons and brothers a full account of the terrible scenes attending the fatal boiler explosion.

After Shaw's arrival, he selected a claim on section 18, now the beautiful and attractive home of his son, J. P. Shaw. Alonzo and Joseph Post, the two sons of Seth Post, made a claim on section 19, just opposite that selected by Mr. Shaw. They have since pushed on "out West," and their whereabouts are unknown.

Steamboat "Moselle"

It is believed that a "Josef McMahan" was also on board and presumed killed in the explosion.