Wheeling, WV Steamboat TRI COLOR Explosion, Apr 1831

Wheeling, April 20.

Yesterday morning, about nine o'clock, while the Steam Boat TRI COLOR, Capt. DROWN, was about getting under way from the landing at this place, her boiler exploded, and threw its scalding contents forward. Capt. DROWN and a number of others who were on the fore part of the boat, were all swept overboard. Eight persons have lost their lives by the immediate effects of the explosion, or by drowning. Eight others were scalded very severely, and one of them dangerously. The body of the Captain has been found. The boiler was an old one, repaired four years ago; and the explosion is imputed by the Engineer to the omission of several bolts or rivets which were left out in making the repairs. With a boiler eighteen years old, of defective workmanship, this disaster must be chargeable to others, rather than to the Engineer.
The following is believed to be an accurate list of the sufferers:
Captain DROWN, dead.
OLIVER B. NEWLAND, 2d Engineer, missing.
JOSEPH WHISTLE, deck hand, do.
______ CHERRY, fireman, do.
RODNEY MILES, passenger, do.
LEVI STEWART, of Wheeling, do.
BEN. STEWART, cold' man of Wheeling, do.
Colored fireman name unknown, do.
CALVIN MARVIN, passenger, badly scalded and leg shattered.
JESSE FIELDS, passenger, scalded not dangerous.
WILLIAM BAILEY, deck hand, do. do.
NATHAN DAY, fireman, do. do.
JAMES BROWN, fireman, do. do.
ABSALOM SCOTT, fireman, do. do.
JOHN McCLEAN, printer of Wheeling and JOHN MATTOX, a passenger on the Mountaineer, standing on the wharf at the time of the explosion, were both severely scalded, but are not considered in danger. Several others who were standing at the same place narrowly escaped.

The Torch Light And Public Advertiser Hagerstown Maryland 1831-04-28


Explosion of the Tri-Color

This sad event took place on the first day of April, 1830, [sic] at Wheeling, Va., on the Ohio river. The Captain, second engineer, and thirteen passengers, were killed. Four persons were wounded. The first engineer, who escaped unhurt, gives the following account. When the boat stopped at Wheeling to land passengers, he had the fires damped down, and was sure that there was a good supply of water in the boilers. He than went to his breakfast, but before he had finished this meal, the Captain came to the door and informed him that the steam was up, and he wished to start. The engineer arose from the table, went out, and found that the steam was very high, and the fire burning briskly.

The men were then employed in pushing out the boat from the wharf, but before the bell gave the signal to go ahead, the boilers bursted with the usual horrid effects. The engineer, who gives this account, ascribes the accident to the imprudent conduct of the captain ; who ordered the men to supply the fires with fuel, without notifying the engineer that this had been done. It appears that captains of steamboats were, at that time, too apt to interfere with the engineer's duties, affecting to be more familiar with the operation of the steam-engine than the men who were presumed to have the exclusive management thereof. The names of the killed and wounded are not given. Six [sic] persons were killed.

Lloyd's Steamboat Disasters, page 108