La Crosse, WI (off shore) Steamboat BELLE MAC Explosion, Apr 1882



St. Paul, Minn., April 7. -- News reached St. Paul this afternoon of a fatal steamer explosion on the Mississippi River, near La Crosse. The first detailed advices say that a little after 6 o'clock this morning the boat BELLE MAC, belonging to McDONALD Brothers, blew up between La Crosse and Brownsville. Six of the crew were killed and two others probably fatally wounded. One body has been recovered so far. Three or four others are more or less injured. The members of the crew were imprisoned in their berths by the explosion, and were held there by the settling of the upper works, and were taken out with difficulty. The boat Alfred Toll arrived at 12:30 to-day with the dead and dying. THey are mostly residents of La Crosse. The boat was worth about $8,000. The steamer was apparently a local boat, plying between La Crosse and points above, in the lumber trade. Another dispatch says the crew consisted of 17 persons. FIve are missing and all are badly scalded. Capt. GORDON was saclded and cut on the face. A man named MORRIS had his leg broken and his face, arms, and body badly scalded. C. M. MONAHAN was scalded on the face. S. WELFOHN'S face and arms were scalded. The cook was scalded on the head. The second engineer was on watch at the time. The village people are doing all they can to assist the sufferers, who are attended by a doctor from Lansing.
The following is a complete list of the killed and missing:
SWIFT BELL, deck-hand, missing.
CHARLES R. MARTIN, son of Mrs. C. B. Lambert, of Winona, 18 years old, a negro tender on watch at the time of the explosion. His body was found on the wreck about midships covered with debris, badly cut about the face, and horribly scalded. This is the only body that has so far been recovered.
GEORGE and WILLIAM McCARMISH, brothers, supposed to be drowned.
FRANK McINTYRE, second pilot. He was off duty at the time of the explosion, and is supposed to have been drowned.
JOHN NOLAN, of New Orleans, fireman; missing.
The injured are as follows: Capt. W. W. GORDON, first pilot, he was on watch at the wheel at the time of the accident, he is badly cut about the head and bruised about the body generally, he will soon recover. JAMES TULLY, of Dubuque, head engineer, he was off watch, was scalded about the face and blown into the river. CHARLES MONAHAN, of Dubuque, second engineer, he was on duty and had his hand on the throttle at the time of the explosion, had his arm hurt and was scalded about the face. MORRIS LESEUR, of La Crosse, fireman, on watch, had a leg broken and was badly burned on the back, his injuries are probably fatal. TOM RICE, of La Crosse, colored tender, off duty, had both legs badly burned. Amputation was necessary, and he cannot recover. HENRY TULLY, of Dubuque, brother of JAMES TULLY, was scalded about the face and hands. DAVE McCANISH, of Cassville, was very badly scalded and otherwise injured, he will probably die. DICK WAGONER, of La Crosse, fireman, off duty, was slightly burned. WILLIAM LACHLEIDER, of La Crosse, cook, was slightly injured. LOUIS SUELFLOHN, of Sheboygan County, mate, was scalded and bruised, he will recover. LEWIS JOHNSON, of La Crosse, a boy, had an arm hurt.
The BELLA MAC was a comparatively new boat, this being her third year of service, and has always been considered perfectly safe. It will require about $8,000 to rebuild her. The cause of the disaster cannot be ascertained. The second engineer says that the boiler had plenty of water, and that at the time of the explosion he was carrying about 135 pounds of steam.

The New York Times New York 1882-04-08