La Crosse, WI steamboat explosion, July 1872


Later Particulars of the Explosion - Six Persons Killed, Fourteen Wounded.

CHICAGO, July 31. - Later dispatches from the scene of the explosion of the steamer Malben, on the Upper Mississippi, yesterday, add little to the facts already telegraphed. Six persons, including Capt. Malben and the pilot, Tom Wilson, are known to be lost. Of the sixteen saved, fourteen are wounded or scalded. H. Smith, who with his wife and two children, was among the passengers, saved himself and wife and one child, but the boat sank so rapidly after the explosion occurred that the other child was drowned in the state-room before he could get to it. The accident occurred just as the passengers were sitting down to dinner, and the force of the explosion was such as to tear the entire upper part of the boat into fragments, and [sic] sank in a few minutes in ten feet of water. The cause of the explosion is unknown.

DUBUQUE, IND. [sic] (IA), July 31. - Of the twenty-two persons aboard the steam boat that exploded her boiler near MacGregor, yesterday, eight are dead and missing. The Coroner's inquest on the body of Charles Young resulted in a verdict to the effect that a defective fluewas the cause of the accident, and censuring the Government Inspector for accepting the boat registry instead of using the proper instrument or making a test of the boilers.

The New York Times, New York, NY 1 August, 1872

The list of lost is as follows:

Capt. James Malbon, Thomas Wilson, Patrick O'Niel, Chas. Young, Henry Tillman, a child of Hub. Smith, Kelly, the cook, and a Norwegian named Olsen.

The wounded are as follows:

John Malbon, severely scalded and bruised; Alex. Applegate, of Grafton, Ill., slightly scalded; John McHanlon, slightly injured; Dan White, of California, slight scald. None of the wounded are fatally injured.

The following is a list as far as can be ascertained of the


C.E. Bradford, fireman; Alex. Applegate, J. Honrer, ---- Pierce, 1st engineer; John Ross, 2d engineer; F.B. La Faver, Hub Smith and wife and one child; John Dimond, 2d cook; Ole Hansen, A.A. Agalorn, of Sandwich, Ill.; and Mrs. Captain Malbon.


John Malbon is the only one of the woulded who is seriously hurt, and his woulds are entirely about the head, and probably not fatal, although his face presents a fearfully ragged appearance now. Both of his eyes are closed, and it is feared he will lose his right eye. The left eye and right arm he lost in the army. Poor boy! No one can ever know how much he has suffered the past 48 hours! and yet he does not complain.

"Hub" Smith's little boy, who was lost, was sleeping in a state-room in an upper berth. We found a state-room door, the top of which had marks of blood. There was also a partition, apparently between two state-rooms, with the upper portion covered with blood. After we had given up all search at night, "Hub," looking at these sad indications of violence to his child, said "I guess this is all there is left of my boy."

Republican and Leader, La Crosse, WI 1 August, 1872