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Wapwallopen, PA Dupont Powder Works Explosion, Feb 1888

FOUR MEN BLOWN TO PIECES.

AND A METHODIST CHURCH COMPLETELY WRECKED.

WILKESBARRE, Penn., Feb. 10. - At 10 o'clock this morning a severe shock was felt in this city. Shortly afterward it was learned that a violent explosion had occurred at Dupont's powder works, at Wapwallopen, 20 miles from here, and that four men were blown to pieces. Their names, as given, are Peter Kishbaugh, George Stout, John Rossman, and Olean Teets. The explosion took place in the packing house, where several tons of powder had been stored. The explosion was the most violent that ever occurred in the Wyoming Valley. At Nanticoke and Wanamie chimneys toppled from the roofs of buildings, and school children ran in terror from the schoolhouses. Men and women flocked toward the mines, where they thought the explosion happened, and were members of their families were at work. At Shickshinny the glass in almost every window was broken, and many persons were thrown to the ground. At Wapwallopen nearly every building was damaged or wrecked. Besides the killed, over 40 persons were injured. The cause of the accident is not known, as all those who were in the building are dead.

The new Methodist church at Wapwallopen, which was dedicated last week and stood 300 feet from the scene of the explosion, was completely wrecked, entailing a loss of $5,000. There were about two tons of powder in the building when the explosion occurred. Kishbaugh, who was killed, recently lost his wife, and leaves six children. Rossman leaves a widow and five children. The other two men were single. There is no trace of the packing house left, not even the foundation remaining. Rocks weighing 100 pounds and more were blown to the top of the mountains a quarter of a mile away. Dupont's loss and the loss on some thirty buildings that were more or less shattered cannot be estimated to-night, but will reach several thousand dollars.

The New York Times, New York, NY 11 Feb 1888

Comments

John Rossman was my great-grandfather

John's children with Emma included Mary (married Garrison), Clarence (adopted by Eiferd), George (adopted by Willis) and Jesse. John then had a daughter with Martha McAfee, her name was Elizabeth Rossman. That was my grandmother. The monument is located at Mount Zion Cemetery - the same cemetery where Emma and some of their children are buried.

John Rossman was my great-grandfather

My grandfather, George Washington Rossman, was orphaned by the explosion, and was taken in by a family named Willis. My father has a picture of the monument to the four men killed.

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