Oshkosh, WI Steamer BARLOW Explosion, Aug 1854



We are called upon to record oneof those deplorable casualties, which are generally attributed to causes beyond human control, but which, we are persuaded, in a large majority of instances, are solely the result of ignorance, negligence, or gross mismanagement on the part of those whose duty it is to guard, vigilantly and skillfully against the possibility of such occurrences.
About half past eleven o'clock this forenoon, just as the Steamer BARLOW was leaving the dock, one of her boilers exploded with terrible effect, instantly killing two men, one a deck hand named FREDERICK GOOR, the other a fireman, named BALTZUR GEIGER.
GOOR was blown overboard, badly scalded, and sunk immediately. GEIGER was in the fire hold at the time of the accident, and the force of the explosion drove his body to the extreme bow of the boat, under the main deck, scalded and mangled in the most shocking manner. Another person, a passenger, it is said, was blown into the river and drowned. Two or three others were blown overboard, but were rescued with but little injury. The body of MR. GOOR was recovered soon after, owing mainly to the exertions of our fellow townsman, JOHN WEBSTER, who was on the dock at the time, and noticed the spot where he had sunk, and who succeeded, after several ineffectual attempts at diving, in raising the body by means of grapples.
GOOR leaves a wife and children in this city, who are rendered destitute and helpless by this sudden and appalling bereavement.
The force of the explosion was so great that large pieces of the boiler head were carried full a hundred feet from the boat, and driven through the side of AMES' warehouse, and it is a matter of surprise that more persons were not either killed or injured.
The boiler was quite old, but we are informed had been examined, and subjected to the usual tests by the government inspectors this spring. There are various rumors afloat in regard to the immediate cause of the explosion, but we forbear giving currency to any of them until the facts are all elicited by a coroners inquest, which we understand will be immediately held. -- Daily Courier, 7th instant.

The Oshkosh Courier Wisconsin 1854-08-09