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The Daily Davenport Democrat, Monday, May 13, 1867, page 1.



      We learn from Mr. Wm. Rambo, an old Rapids pilot of LeClaire, who came down from that place this afternoon, on the steamer Goldfinch, that as they passed Hampton they saw the steamer Lansing, the Western Union Railroad packet, wind-bound at that place, and when a short distance this side of Hampton attention  was called to the Lansing, which appeared to be on fire near the forepart and immediately they heard an explosion and saw the forepart of the boat, together with the smoke stacks, disappear in the water, and the cabin fall in.  There being at the time a very strong wind and a heavy surf which prevented the Goldfinch from going back for fear she might also be wind bound; they were, therefore, unable to learn full particulars.  From the fact that the entire forepart of the boat sunk and the pilot house and cabin fell in, it is supposed that a number of lives were lost.
      There were undoubtedly several of our citizens on board--several are known to be if the explosion happened on the up trip.--Several persons have gone up to the scene of the disaster, and definite intelligence will be awaited with painful anxiety and apprehension.
     She was forcing on steam to get away from Hampton, the wind blowing her directly ashore.  At present writing we are unable to learn any other cause of the disaster.
     The Lansing was owned by the Western Union Railroad Company, and last year plied  between Savanna and Dubuque.  She was commanded by Capt. H. M. Hughes, with Mr. Stern in the office.
     P.S.--We understand that the pilot of the boat, Geo. White, the cook and a deck hand, were killed; that Jim Tracy, a well-known boatman, was also killed, and that Judge Hubbell, of this city, had a leg broken.
     We learn that there were four ladies aboard, among whom was Mrs. Strong, of this city.  Two of the ladies were slightly injured--we could not learn which.
     There were also two men missing--supposed to have been blown into the river.
     Our informant, Mr. Eldridge, says that his trunk. Standing front of the cabin was blown 40 yards into the river.  He was aft, assisting in pushing off the boat, and was uninjured.  Capt. Hughes was uninjured.


Daily Gazette, Tuesday Morning, May 14. 1867, page 4.



Destruction of the Steamboat Lansing!


A Man Blown 300 feet through the Air.

A Steam Chest Blown 400 feet.

          Yesterday afternoon our city was startled and alarmed by a report, first brought by passengers of the Steamboat Goldfinch, that the Port Bryon Packet Lansing, of the Western Union Railroad Line, had exploded her boilers at Hampton on her way up.  The Goldfinch passed Hampton at noon.  The wind was blowing a gale, and the waves were rolling with such violence that Capt. W. Dalzell, her commander, declined to land.  The Lansing was then lying at the Ferry landing just above the town of Hampton.  When three quarters of a mile below Hampton, the passengers on the Goldfinch noticed a volume of steam issuing from the Lansing and a few persons saw the smoke pipes fall over.  It was evident that an explosion had taken place, and Capt. Dalzell was desirous of returning to Hampton to attempt assistance to the sufferers.  But Mr. S. H. Lancaster, the pilot, gave his opinion that the attempt would not only be hazardous to the boat, but would seriously imperil the lives of the passengers on the Goldfinch; the boat therefore continued her course until a safe harbor was reached, near Duck Creek; from whence some of the passengers  proceeded by land to the city, bringing the news of the disaster.  The report spread over the city with great rapidity, causing much alarm, especially among those whose friends were, or were supposed to be passengers on the ill-fated boat.  Subsequently, Mr. L. H. Eldridge, of this city, who was on the Lansing when the explosion took place, arrived with much particulars as he could collect in the excitement of the occasion.

      Immediately on hearing the report, though a passenger of the Lansing, we hastened to procure the facts for our readers.  Making a sudden call for a span of Mart-Hewit's fast travelers, and inviting our friend Capt. Mitchell of the Jas. Mears, to accompany us, we sped for Hampton, via Valley City.  Crossing at Poston's ferry, we had an excellent opportunity to see the wreck from the river side.  The Lansing lay with her broadside on the beach, and her bow up stream.  The forward part of her upper works, back to midships, were entirely gone.  From midships half way to the stern, the cabin floors and hurricane deck hung in a mass of crushed ruins over the dismantled hull.  The later seemed to be broken in two about midships and only the capstan and extreme front of the bow were visible above the water.  Not the least sign of the boiler, or smoke stacks, were discern-able.

                                                                              THE FORCE OF THE EXPLOSION.
      On the shore, evidence of the terrible destructive force of the explosion were seen on every hand.  The entire length of the river bank for thirty rods, or more, below the Lansing, was lined with pieces of the wreck blown to the land and washed up by the waves.  From the water’s edge back, from two to three hundred feet, pieces of deck, flooring, cabin lining, blinds, sash, etc., lay strewn about in every direction.  A remarkable fact was the smallness of these various fragments of the boat.  A very large proportion of these were less than two feet in length, and many of them only six, four, and even two inches.
      Immediately above the bow of the boat and nearly covered with water lay a large piece of the boiler.  Another piece, composed of parts of four plates of irregular shape, jagged and torn, and measuring about nine feet in length, lay on the bank about thirty feet from the river and nearly abreast of where the boiler should be on the boat.  A few feet further along the bank and up the river lay a nest of fourteen of the boiler tubes; of which several were bent outward at their centers, but no one of them showed any evidence of being in the least burned, or collapsed, or burst.  Three or four other tubes were thrown off to a greater distance, and were very much bent.  One of these, with a piece of the pilot wheel lay nearly abreast of the boiler stand on the boat, but about fifty feet from it.  The bell and a piece of the jack staff lay close under the bow at the waters edge.  A “man hole” head, weighting at least fifty pounds, lay about 150 feet aft of the boat and fifty feet from the river.  Near this lay a piece of the “hog chain” about twenty feet long.  The tree tops along the river bank were hung with papers, etc., blown up with the wreck.
      These details will give our readers some idea of the severity of the explosion.  But more remains to be told.  The river bank at this point rises a distance of about 120 feet to the road.  Beyond the road and nearly abreast of the bow of the boat is the residence of Mr. Benedict Smithall, and just south (or down the river) from this is a large field.  In this field we found first at distance of 800 feet from the boat, a piece of the boiler about four feet by two and a half.  Beyond this the safety value, and attached to this a strip of the boiler about 12 x 3 1/2 feet and weighing at least 500 pounds.  Still further, but south, lay the steam chest, a mass of iron weighing, it is estimated, 800 pounds, apparently uninjured, and as though gently lifted from the top of the boiler.  This immense weight lay nearly four hundred  feet from the boat.  All the various pieces of the boiler plates were very much torn and the edges of the broken parts were much jagged.  The tubes were of 8 ˝ diameter and apparently 12 feet in length.  When inspected by Capt. Guerdon, Government inspector, last spring, the boiler was by him considered a very good one.  It was of a make (tubular) however, now generally repudiated by the best steamboat engineers.

                                                                         MAN BLOWN 800 FEET.
     Entering the house of Mr. Smithall, already allured to, we found in bed, and under the kind care of Mrs. S., a gentlemen who was sitting on the boiler-deck of the Lansing, just in front of the smoke stack, when the explosion took place, and instantly thereafter picked himself up within a few yards of Mr. Smithall’s residence, or 350 from the boat!  This gentleman is Mr. John J. Kreedler, of Clinton, DeWitt county, Ill., but for some time past staying in Rock Island.  He is about thirty-five years of age, and must weigh, at least, 160 pounds.  Mr. K. informed us that he remembers well his location before the accident, and the fact of his getting up, after his fearful flight through the air, and hastening to the house where we found him.  Although semi-delirious on reaching the house, he proceeded to wash himself as though quite well.  His right arm is quite severely scalded; also his left ear and the left portion of his forehead.  He complained of much pain in his back, but, was otherwise comfortable.  Dr. Vincent, of Hampton, dressed his scalds and assiduously gave all needed surgical attendance.  He will, doubtless, soon recover.

                                                                       ANOTHER NARROW ESCAPE.

      Judge S. A. Hubbell, of this city, United States District Judge for New Mexico,  had also a very narrow escape.  Judge H. informed us that he was sitting by the stove immediately over the boiler, reading and was hurled by the explosion against one of the cabin windows immediately under the hurricane deck, and toward the stern of the boat.  In this window the judge hung by one ankle until released.  As a result he is scalded slightly on the left side of his face and has the small bone just above the right ankle broken.  He received no internal injuries and was very comfortable last night when we left him, in bed in the pleasant parlor of Dr. Vincent.  Judge H. spoke in the highest terms of the kindness of Dr. V., his wife and daughter.
                                                                      THE REST OF THE WOUNDED
     Of whom we have not now space to speak in particular, are: Mr. Peter Oliphant, of this city, scalded in the face and shoulder blade broken; injuries serious but not dangerous;  Mrs. Nellie Richardson, wife of Mr. H. M. Richardson, of this city, leg scalded, not serious;  Mr. Alleck W. Powell, of Ottawa, Illinois, seriously injured in the stomach;  Mrs. John A. Logan, of Cordona, Illinois, cut on the head and bruised in the face.

                                                                           THE DEAD AND MISSING.
     The saddest part of the story remains to be told.  While many providentially escaped death, six persons met a sad fate under circumstances most afflicting to the bereaved ones left to mourn their sudden loss.  First among the victims was Mr. George White, the pilot, an estimable citizen of LeClaire, and married only about two years ago to the daughter of Captain W. Allen, of that place.  Mr. White was not the regular pilot of the Lansing, but took the place, for one day only, of his brother-in-law, Mr. Robert Allen, whose family were sick.  Mr. White was an excellent pilot and was much respected by all who knew him.  His sudden death is a terrible affliction to his young wife.
     William Wasesigner, for Fort Madison, and cook of the Lansing is another of the dead.
     W. H. Rnieb, of Colona, Illinois, is a fourth.  The sum of $105.40 was found on the deceased and was taken charge of by Justice Wells.
     Each of the above named persons were instantly killed.  Mr. H. Noble, passenger, of Burlington, Iowa, died within an hour after being carried to the house of Mr. Delancy Cook.
     Mr. H. Curtis, of Dubuque, a well known and extensive grain dealer of that city and son-in-law to Capt. Parker, of the Davenport, is known to be killed, but his body has not yet been found.  It is supposed that he was blown into the river with parts of the wreck.
     Notwithstanding the fact that the loss of the boat's books and papers renders it impossible to make up a list of passengers, there is every reason to believe that the names given include those of all the lost.


      The escape of the remainder of the passengers, and the officers and crew, seems really wonderful and providential.  The Lansing had made her landing at Hampton and was endeavoring to start for Port Bryon.  The high wind had, however, blown her on to the shore, and detained her there nearly an hour.  It became necessary, therefore, to “spar” off her stern.  While the spar was being worked on, the engineer under orders from the pilot, was “backing” with the engine.  More help was needed on the spar.  Capt. Hughes, Mr. Stern, the clerk, the carpenter and several of the passengers, hastened aft to aid in working on the spar.  The ladies too, with one or two gentlemen in the cabin went aft to see the boat pushed off.  This saved their lives, doubtless.  The engineer, Mr. John Bromley had just been to the front of the boat to try the water gauge and order the furnace doors to be opened, and had returned to the throttle valve to await the ringing of the pilot’s bell, when the explosion took place.  Thus the engineer escaped with only a slight bruise.  The mate was at the extreme point of the bow with a deck hand handing in a line.  Destruction rioted all around these two men, but neither of them were injured.  The watchman was asleep in his room right over the boiler.  He was blown over the starboard side and saved himself from drowning by clinging to a “fender” hung over the guards by the explosion.


Was held last evening before Lucius Well, Esq., Justice of the Peace.  The following were the jurymen:
     A. Freeman. D. V. Plants, G. Apley, Samuel Hagy, H. P. Shurtliff, Wm. Eddleman, Clatus Glance, R. T. Melville, A. Haywood, Saml. Dennison, M. J. Rengler and Jacob Guikirt.
     Among the witnesses were T. T. Melville, who was Clerk of the Lansing last year, and who testified that he had known the boat to be run on 185 pounds of steam, there was less than that pressure when the explosion occurred.  The inquest was not concluded when we left at a late hour.
     Captain Mitchell informs us that Mr. Bromley as ran his engineer for several months, and he always considered him one of the more careful and reliable of men in the management of an engine and boilers.


was built at Prairie du Chein, seven or eight years ago, for Lansing capitalists.  Her present owners are Messrs. Stewart & Lowry, the former gentlemen of Lyons, the latter of Dubuque.  She was valued at $6,000.  Last year she ran in connection with the Western Union R. R. from Dubuque to Savanna.  It is only during this season that the Lansing has been running to Davenport.  Her regular officers were: G. Huges, Captain; L. H. Stein, Clerk; Frank Campbell, Mate; Robert Allen Pilot.
     Great praise is awarded to Capt. Hughes and to all the officers and crew for their care of the passengers, etc., after the accident.
     Among the passengers on board were Mr. and Mrs. Strong of this city.
     Dr. Vincent of Hampton, faithfully devoted his services to the care of the sufferers.
     A special train was sent down from Port Bryon, in the afternoon with assistance; also, one later from Rock Island.  Our fellow citizen, G. E. Hubbell, Esq., hastened to Hampton to care for his brother, on hearing the sad news.


The Davenport Democrat, Tuesday, May 14, 1867, page 1.



Six Men Killed and Six Passengers Injured.


       In our last evening’s edition we announced the appalling intelligence of the explosion of the steamer Lansing at Hampton, Ill., about ten miles above this place,  but owing to the lateness of the hour at which the intelligence arrived at this place, were unable to give the particulars connected with the frightful catastrophe.
      The Lansing left our levee yesterday morning, at about half past eight o’clock, to make her usual  connection between this point and Port Bryon, fifteen miles from here, where she connects with the Western Union Railroad.  At about half past ten she landed at a wood yard about an eighth of a mile above the village of Hampton.  During the time occupied in wooding up, the wind that had been pretty strong out of the northwest all the morning, so far increased in force as to prevent the boat from pulling out.  The usual method of backing and sparring were resorted to, to get her off, but without much effect.  At a quarter to twelve, while Capt. Hudges and his men, aided by some of the passengers, were diligently sparring off from the shore, at the stern, the engines in full play backing to the tune of 137 pounds of steam, all at once there was a dull, heavy sound, a hissing of steam, and upon the crowd in the stern, saw the cabin sinking upon them, and were soon enveloped in steam, dust, sand, sticks and rubbish--the starboard boiler, the one nearest the shore, had exploded!  Quicker than thought, the most of the men present sprang into the water--though none in that part of the boat were injured.
      Horrified at the awful shock, and momentarily realizing the fearful circumstances attendant thereon. Those who escaped injury naturally resolved to respond to the cries of the injured, and to arrest the spread of fire.  Some climbed into the cabin to aid those they expected to find suffering there, and others used the best means within their reach to prevent a second horror in the shape of a conflagration.
      In a few moments the steam and smoke had disappeared and the full wreck and the awful results of the explosion were full in view.
      In the cabin where were four ladies and several gentlemen, but fortunately most of them were in the after part, and these were not so seriously injured.  Of the four ladies--Mrs. C. W. Strong, and Mrs. H. N. Richardson, of this city, and Mrs. John A. Logan, of Cordova, Ill., and Miss Chamberlain, of Rock Island, Ill., only Mrs. Richardson and Mrs. Logan were at all injured.--The former was slightly scalded on one leg, and the latter somewhat cut and bruised on the head and face--nothing serious.
      The male passengers in the cabin were less fortunate.  Hon. Sydney A. Hubbell, of this city, U. S. District Court Judge for New Mexico, who was on his way up the river, was sitting in the cabin, directly over the rear of the boilers, leisurely reading when the explosion took place.  He was hurled some twenty feet through one of the aft windows, in which his right foot caught, and by which he hung suspended until help came to his relief.
      Peter Oliphant, Esq., of this city was also in the cabin.  His shoulder blade was broken by the shock, and was otherwise bruised, besides being pretty badly scalded, though he has good reason to thank all his stars for being so slightly molested.
      Mr. A. W. Powell, of Ottawa, Ill., was also roughly handled and somewhat bruised and sprained, but received no serious injuries.
      Mr. John Kreedlar, of Clinton, DeWitt county, Ill., fared worse.  He was directly over the boiler when it exploded, and wonderful to relate, after being hurled through the air for a distance of 400 feet in company with hot steam, whizzing scraps of jagged boiler iron, beams, sticks and splinters, he struck the earth comparatively uninjured.  We say comparatively, for under ordinary circumstances instant death would have the result of such a flight.  It was like being blown from a mortar.  He picked himself up and found himself all there--not a joint dislocated, or a bone broken.  He went directly to the nearest house--Mr. Smithall’s--where he proceeded to wash off the dust and dirt insistent upon the uncerespondeus transacties, where he discovered his right arm and ear was pretty badly scalded, and as might be expected, he was pretty wrenched and bruised.  He will probably be about in a few days.  It is truly a remarkable escape.
       But the most melancholy part of the story is yet to be told.  Six men,--named Geo. White, William Wasseigher, James Tracy, W. H. Noble, W. H. Rhieb and H. Curtis were full victims to the awful event.
      George White, a resident of LeClaire, and son-in-law of Capt. W. Allen of that place--temporary pilot of the Lansing, in place of his brother-in-law, Robert Allen, who was detained by sickness in his family, was at his wheel at the time of the explosion, and consequently in the most dangerous position.  He was hurled through the air, and when found three spokes of the wheel were driven though his thighs--one though each; both legs broken, and his spine injured.  He was dead when found.  He was an excellent man, and leaving a young wife to mourn his untimely and frightful death.
      William Wasseigher, was the boat’s cook; was a resident of Fort Madison, Iowa.  He was dead when found.
      James Tracy, was fireman, resided in Rock Island, where he leaves a wife and two small children in indigent circumstances.
      W. H. Noble, a resident of Burlington, Iowa.  Life remained when found, but so terrible were his injuries that he died in a short time, at the house of Mr. D. Cook, where he had been taken to be cared for.
      W. H. Rheib was from Colona, Ill.; killed instantly.
      Mr. H. Curtis was from Dubuque--a grain dealer--son-in-law of Capt. J. W. Parker, of the steamer Davenport.  At the time of the explosion, he was writing a letter in the Clerk’s office, which is on the larboard side, and so his body has not been found, it is likely that he was blown into the river.
      This ends the chapter of horrid accidents--and heart sickening indeed they are.  Our informant--our young friend L. H. Eldridge, Esq.,--one of the passengers, informs us that the scene was frightful beyond all comparison, and many were the narrow escapes encountered.  A desire to be useful saved his own life.  He left the gentleman's cabin just before the explosion, went down on deck and aft to assist in sparring off.  He remarked to the engineer, Bromley, when passing that the boilers were getting mighty hot, but thought no danger.  The engineer went back to his engine to answer signals from the pilot, and he went to work at the poles.  Just as he got there the explosion took place.  His trunk that he had just left, was blown forty yards into the river, and was afterwards shod out.  He says that it was the starboard boiler that exploded.  The larboard boiler was not to be found afterwards.  It had unquestionably been blown far out into the river.  Fragments of the exploded boiler were scattered all over the adjacent shore in every imaginable freak of contortion.  It was a tubular boiler--twelve feet tubes, three and a half inches in diameter.  At its inspection last spring, it was pronounced to be in good condition.  The general impression as to the immediate cause of the disaster is that it was occasioned by fouling.  The wheel had been working backwards in the mud and sand for nearly an hour, and a large amount of this sand and mud, thus driven under the boat by the back action of the wheel, had been sucked up into the boiler, either choking up some of the pipes or forming so much foam as to bring about the awful result.
       The Lansing has been running about 8 years, having been built at Prairie du Chien for Lansing men.  At present she was owned by Mr. Stewart of Lyons, and Mr. Lowry, of Dubuque, and valued at about $5,000.  She ran last year between Dubuque and Savanna in connection with the Western Union Railroad.  She is now a total wreck from the bottom of her hull upwards--nothing being left on which to found repairs, excepting her engines and wheel, which was unharmed.--The books and papers were all lost.
      Mr. Eldridge informs us that Capt. Hughes used every exertion possible, as did others, to care for the dead and wounded.  The citizens of Hampton, and Dr. Vincent of that place, deserve great credit for their efforts in behalf of the afflicted.
      A coroner’s jury, consisting of A. Freeman, D. V. Plants, G. Apley, Samuel Heagy. Samuel Dennison. M. J. Rengley, H. S. Shurtiff, Wm.  Edleman, Clatis Glance, R. T. Melville, A. A. Woods, Jacob Gukart, was called.
      The inquest adjourned without a verdict to re-assemble this morning with the witnesses.
      The W. U. R. R.Co. will put another steamer on the line at the earliest moment, which will be duly noticed.
      The boat’s regular officers were H. M. Hughes, Captain; L. H. Steen, Clerk; Frank Campbell, Mate; John Bromley, Engineer.  Mr. Bromley is considered a very careful and competent Engineer.  No blame is attached to him or any officer of the boat.  Robt. T. Melville, who was upon the Lansing as Clerk last season, says she has been run under 140 lbs. steam--more than 40 pounds more than she had when the boilers exploded.
      It is a sad calamity--one that rarely happens in these waters, and the like of which we hope never to be called upon to report again.


The Daily Gazette, Wednesday Morning, May 15, 1867, page 4.
Lansing Disaster.

     Desiring to place before the readers of the Gazette the fullest particulars of any additional developments in relation to the Lansing disaster, we visited Hampton again yesterday afternoon.  So far as relates to the facts of the explosion and its results we found nothing to add to the very full and correct account given in our columns yesterday morning, from data collected by us on the spot, except in supplying a single omission made in the haste of the compositors, who left out a paragraph from the manuscript furnished.  The third person on our list of killed was James Tracy, of Rock Island, fireman of the Lansing, who leaves a wife and two children to mourn his loss.  Inasmuch as we did not return from Hampton in time to complete the writing of our account before a quarter to three yesterday morning; while the compositors did not finish the last “take” until five o’clock, it would be strange if no omission was made.  The procuring of the facts and the publication of so correct a report, may be accepted as a fair illustration of Gazette enterprise.
     Yesterday we found Mr. Kneedler, the passenger who was hurled 300 feet through the air, still under the care of Dr. G. Vincent at the residence of Mr. Smithall.  Mr. K. was evidently, as was to be expected, much worse than on the evening previous.  His scalded arm was very sore and the patient had some fever.  His recovery will probably be long delayed and there are reasons to fear that his spine is seriously injured.
      Mr. Powell, of Ottawa, Ills., who lies at the residence of Mr. Webster, and is under the care of Dr. Charles Clarke, is recovering slowly, but complains of much of pain from the blow received on his stomach.
     Mr. Peter Oliphant, of this city who lies at the residence of Mr. Clapp, and is now attended by his nephew and niece, Mr. and Mrs. Barger of this city, and is under the care of Dr. C. Clarke is suffering seriously from his injuries.  His left hip and side is very badly scalded, and he complains much of severe pain in his left breast.  The pain from his broken shoulder blade is also quite serious.  Dr. J. M. Baker of this city, has been sent for and will go to Hampton to see Mr. Oliphant this morning.
     Judge S. A. Hubbell was brought to this city last evening on the Ben Campbell; being carried from Dr. Vincent’s residence, in Hampton, to the boat on a lounge, and thus from the boat on his arrival here.  Dr. Vincent and Geo. Hubbell, Esq., attended the Judge to his home.  Dr. W. F. Peck was sent for this evening.  He found Judge H. injured more seriously than we had reported.   His leg was broken just above the ankle joint, and the ankle itself dislocated.  The scalds on the left side of his head and ear are severe, and his right hip is much bruised.  His recovery must, necessarily, be slow.
     The rest of the wounded, not above enumerated, have gone to their respective homes.
     The coroner's inquest did not complete its investigation yesterday; but adjourned until eight o’clock this morning.  The bodies of the dead, with one exception have been taken care of by relatives and friends.
     The body of Mr. Curtis, of Dubuque, has not been found.  Search will be made today, should the wind abate its fury of the past two days.  An effort will be made, also, to find the larboard boiler.  It is not known whether that boiler exploded or not.  The pieces of the starboard boiler alone were blown ashore.
     The safe from the clerk’s office has not been found.  A part of the papers filed away in an old safe, the door of which was not closed, have been found scattered over the boat.
     The engines being located far aft, are uninjured.  Precisely how much damage has been done to the hull, cannot now be determined.  The whole remains of the boat lie on the sandy shore, with the starboard side of the hull in less than two feet water.  It is not improbable that the hull can be repaired and the boat again floated.  The boat was built at Prairie du Chien only four years ago.
     Capt. Hughes was on the hurricane deck less than five minutes before the explosion.  He left his place there for the express purpose of visiting the engine room, under the impression that the engineer had not steam enough on and was not doing all he could to work the boat off.  He found the gauge indicating between 130 and 140 lbs, and passed aft.  This statement corresponds with that of the engineer, Mr. J. C. Bromley, whose evidence places the steam gauge, just before the explosion, at 135 to 140 lbs.
     Much feeling exists, we learn, against the Captain of the Goldfinch, for not landing on witnessing the explosion.  It is charged that he was only below Hampton, on the Iowa side; was hailed by Captain Hughes after the explosion, and could easily have returned to the wreck.  We have given Captain Daizell’s reasons for not returning, and now give the other side in justice to all parties.
      Miss Julia A. Chamberlin, Music Teacher, of Rock Island, was among the passengers favored with a narrow escape.  Five minutes before the explosion this lady was seated by the stove near Judge Hubbell and Mr. Olipliant.  Feeling sleepy, she retired to the ladies cabin, laid down on a sofa, and when next conscious, found herself near the door leading from the cabin to the guard, and saw the front part of the boat in ruins.  With Mrs. Strong of this city, Miss C. was aided from the cabin by Captain Hughes, and was carried to shore by a citizen who waded to the boat up to his waist in water.


Daily Gazette, Thursday Morning, May 16, 1867, page 4.


The Coroner’s Inquest!

Two More Deaths Probable!!


      The Coroner’s  Inquest on the bodies of George White, William Wasesigher, James Tracy, W. R. Rheib and W. H. Noble, five of the six persons killed by the explosion of the Lansing, completed its investigation and made up its verdict yesterday afternoon.  Lucius Wells, Esq., Justice of the Peace, acted as coroner.  The following persons composed the jury on the body of George White:
       R. T. Melville, (Foreman), A. Freeman, D. V. Paints, G. Aplez, Samuel Haegy, Samuel Denison, M. J. Rengler, Jacob Guchert, H. S. Shurtliff, William Edelman. Clatus Glanty, Augustus Hayward.
      The same jury served on each of the other bodies, except that Samuel Haegy was excused and Solomon Meader served in his place.  The following is a correct report of the evidence taken:
      James Zuver(or Zover), of Freeport, Ills., sworn:  Know the body of George White, who I understand was the pilot of the boat.  The explosion took place at 12 o’clock, noon, or thereabouts.  Know the death of this person was caused by the explosion.
      E. W. Sheets, Dayton, Ohio; sworn:  Was a passenger on the steamboat Lansing, May 13, 1867.  The boat was attempting to get off the landing at Hampton.  The crew and passengers attempted to force the stern into the stream.  Know, almost, the steam had on the boat.  I first looked at the steam gauge fifteen minutes before the explosion:  It indicated 140 to 145.  At the time of the explosion it indicated 155.  Was standing six or eight feet from the steam gauge.  Felt a great head of steam on.  The machinery was under full head of steam at time of explosion.  Recognize body (G. White) as being a man I saw on boat, but as to his position do not know.
      Albert G. Lane, of Chicago, sworn:  Was  passenger on steamer Lansing.  Took passage at Rock Island.  Went aft on our landing at Hampton.  Left the engine room for a few moments and on returning noticed her steam gauge; it stood at 135.  This was some time before the explosion.  The engineer was at his post.  Engineer spoke to pilot; asked for reason to rosin raise more steam, I went forward, and returning found  steam raised to 155.  Machinery in full operation all the time.  Engineer hung a wretch on the safety valve about five pounds in weight.  Am prepared to swear to addition of this weight and this head--steam gauge rose to 155.  Was at work with poles on posts to get stern of boat into the stream; passengers and crew assisting.  I swear that the indicator stood higher after the wrench was hung on the valve.  Do not remember safety valve blowing off before explosion.  Recognize the body of deceased as pilot.  Recollect the engineer going forward to try gauge cock two or three times.  All the officers were at their posts.
       Drs. Clerke, of Hampton, and Fleming, of Port Bryon, were sworn, and testified the cause of death of George White to be fracture of spinal column; compound fracture of leg; compound fracture of right thigh.  The actual cause of death was injury of spinal column.  The other injuries were not sufficient of themselves to cause death.
       R. T. Melville, of Hampton, Ills., formerly Clerk of the Lansing, sworn:  Am acquainted with the rules of steamboats.  Know the steamboat Lansing.  She is allowed to carry more than that pressure.  Do not know how much she could carry.  Have known her to carry 135 pounds and be safe.  Could not say how old her boilers were.  (By a juror) “Would a year’s service weaken the boiler?"  Ans. “Of course service wears a boiler.”
  John C. Bromley, of Rock Island, sworn:  Was engineer of the Lansing at time of the explosion.  We left Davenport at 8:45.  The machinery and connections were all right at that time, as far as I could tell.  Moline was our first landing after leaving Davenport; Hampton was the second.  We landed at Hampton and took on wood.  In the meantime I oiled the machinery.  Asked the Captain how long he would lay.  He answered until he took on all the wood.  I then went back and packed one of the valve stems; then I went forward and told the fireman to open the dampers; then tried the water.  The steam was up to 130.  They pulled in the stage plank.  Commenced backing her out and steam went down to 120.  Then told the pilot we had better stop and get more steam.  She then went back up to 130.  I then went back and started the “doctor”, then steam went up to 135.  Commenced backing engines for 10 to 15 minutes.  During this time I tried the water about twice.  Went forward and tried the water; found plenty of water.  Went around the boilers and told the fireman to open the dampers.  Came back to the engine room.  Laid my hand on the throttle valve, expecting to back her.  Looked at the steam gauge.  Next thing I recollect the throttle valve and I were laying on the floor.  There was a little noise.  The Captain came to me and asked “Johnny what’s the matter?”  I said It’s all over.  She is blown up.”  He asked me if I had plenty of water.  I told him I had as far as I knew.
      By jurors.--”What amount of steam is the Lansing allowed?”  Ans.  “119 lbs.”  “What did she usually carry?”  Ans. “120 to 125 lbs.”,  “Do boats usually carry more than Inspector’s papers allow?”  Ans.  “They generally do.”  “Could the Lansing carry more than the law allowed with safety?”  Ans. “I do not think it safe.”  “What was your opinion of her boilers?”  Ans.  “They were old , and had carried more than they should and had been strained.”
    “Were there any weak places in the boiler?”  Ans.  “The shell that extends beyond the head forward, is used as a support on the furnace, and the bottom is burned out.  Yesterday I cleaned out the boiler, and put a piece of boiler iron 8 inches wide and 26 inches long, under and bolted up to the main shell; then built brick linings under to protect it from fire.”
     “What is your opinion regarding the explosion?”  “I can’t tell.”
      “Did the boilers leak any?”  “There was a small leak around the bolt that went forward though the hand hole blade, but, it only dropped a little.”
      The Captain was just forward of the starboard engine at the time.  I put a small wrench, 3 lbs, on the safety cord to keep her from foaming.
     “Was there any danger of the supply pipe being stopped?”
  Answ.--”No; if there was I should have known it.”
       L.H. Steen, of Sabula, Iowa, sworn; was Clerk and bar-keeper on the Lansing.  Landed at Hampton to let off passengers.  The wind commenced blowing on the shore.  Tried to get back out; engines kept backing; stopped engines once for a short time; was working steam nearly all the time.  I was standing on the starboard side, just outside the “doctor,” on the guard.  They were trying to shove her out at the stern; did not notice the steam gauge; at one time thought she was working very slow at the time the Captain came to the deck room; do not know what he came for, know nothing of boilers.  Lansing used tubular boilers.  Do not know the opinion of others regarding these particular boilers.  Know Mr. J. C. Bromley, the engineer, since he has been on the boat.  He bears a good character.  Did not note, at any time, any inattention on his part as an engineer.  He was at his post at the time; I saw him.  Since he was on the boat he took care of the boilers, and he cleaned them, and fixed them though last Sunday.  Never hear him express an opinion of safety of boilers.  Can’t say the officers were at their posts.  Saw the Captain in the engine room.  Should judge that due care was taken to prevent explosion.  Don’t know that Mr. Bromley has his engineer’s papers.  He acts as First Engineer.  Don’t know the amount of steam allowed.  Have seen her carry 130; never noticed her carry more than 135.  Do not know of the steam gauge being light or otherwise incorrect.
      Frank Campbell, of Savanna, Ill. Sworn: Am mate of the Lansing.  At Hampton, after we had landed to put off passengers and take on wood, the wind rose; we tried to back off, then to shove off with poles; then used a spar and was trying to shove off when the explosion occurred.  Was at the gangway door, forward of the starboard cylinder.  Do not know the amount of steam the boat was carrying.  The boilers were tubular.  Am not a practical machinist; never heard an opinion of the boilers of the Lansing; have heard that tubular boilers are not so safe as others.  Know Mr. Bromley since he has been on the boat--about three weeks; have heard him recommended as a good engineer; he acted as first engineer; was always at his post.  The boilers were cleaned and machinery overhauled last Sunday.  Do not know the amount of steam allowed; have seen her carry 120.  The Captain was on deck the last time I saw him; do not know what he came on deck for; he helped me spar.  She was blowing off; can’t say she has a lock valve.  Officers were attentive to business.  Did not see engineer hang weight on the valve cord.  Don’t know how the valve is numbered.  Recognize the body of the cook; helped to take him out of the hold.
       James Conners, Davenport, sworn.  Was a hand on the Lansing at the time of the explosion.  Left Davenport at 8 1/2 or 9 a. m.; landed here at 10 or 11 a. m.  Know nothing of the boiler;  was standing by the “doctor”; didn’t know how much steam she was carrying; the engineer was at his post.  The boilers were cleaned last Sunday.  I helped clean them.  I heard something said about making steam; the engine was stopped for a short time.  Have known the engineer for two years.  He is a good engineer, was on the James Means the greater part of last season; is a temperate man.  Recognize the body as the cook, saw him in the kitchen a few moments before the explosion.  Don’t know the amount of steam allowed.
       Pat O’Donnell, Port Bryon, steamboat man on Lansing, sworn:  Heard nothing about machinery; was at the stern at the time of the explosion; don’t know the amount of steam she carried; heard nothing about making steam; know Mr. Bromley on the boat.  Have been on the boat four weeks.  I recognize the body as that of the cook, saw him on the boat in the kitchen a few minutes before the explosion; saw him next when being carried out of the hold;  don’t know his name or residence.
      James Connelly, Dubuque, steamboatman on Lansing, sworn.  Heard nothing about machinery.  Landed at Hampton about noon, were trying to spar off stern to get off, was on the starboard fantail.  Don’t know the kind of boiler.  Have noticed the steam gauge, have seen it at 125 and 138; don’t know the amount of steam allowed, heard that she had on 80 or 90, heard no blowing off.  Have known Mr. Bromley since he came on board; had good reputation as an engineer, was temperate and always at his post.  Don’t know where the Captain was; he used all care to get the boat off.  Recognize body of the cook; don’t know his name; his father held an office under U.S. at Savannah.
      Harry Davis, New Orleans, steward on Lansing, sworn:  Boat left Davenport at 9 o’clock.  Was back aft in engine room when landed at Hampton; heard no opinion about boilers; boilers were tubular.  Had been in engine room about five minutes when I heard the engineer speak to the fireman, and saw him try the gauge; when he came back he took hold of the throttle and the explosion went; the doctor was running, and the engineer tried the gauge two or three times; don’t know whether there was water enough; carried 130; have seen her carry that much.  Mr. Bromley was always attentive; never saw him drink.
      Captain H. M. Hughes, Davenport, Master of Lansing, sworn.  Machinery reported upon favorably.  Landed at Hampton about eleven o’clock; at the time we landed wind was blowing fresh, quartering on shore; took wood, and wind rose to a gale, dead toward shore; told mate to hang on to headline; told pilot to ring bells to back; engines were working all the time except three or four minutes; stopped them twice.  Think we laid there nearly an hour.  Mate took spar to starboard aft, could not set it; chopped it off and set it again; I was on the roof, but went down just before explosion, because I thought the engineer was not doing his duty.  Do not recollect the exact amount of steam,  noticed about 125 pounds or 130 pounds; engineers was at his post.  About 140 pounds of steam were allowed.  Boat inspected; was inspected Sept. 1866; had not a lock valve.  I believe the boilers were tubular; heard no opinions about boilers; they were cleaned and repaired last Monday; a sheet was riveted on the boilers on the fire front, the old plate being burned out.  I would not have started had I thought the boiler unsafe.  Have known Mr. Bromley while on boat; he bears a very good reputation; inquired about him very particularly; was temperate and always at his post.  Recognize the body of the cook; have learned his parents reside at Fort Madison, Iowa.
      John  O Bromley, Engineer.  Sworn.  Know that the steam gauge is light; shown 15 lbs. more then it actually carries.  Am a licensed engineer, license issued formerly by McMurchy, and Oct. 1866 by J. W. Gurdin.  Steam can come up from 125 to 155 from a lack of water, but from a lack of water it would explode before it could be noticed.
      The testimony of Dr. Clerke showed that Wm. Wasserzehr, cook of the boat, died of fracture of the skull and rupture of the bowels, allowing the intestines to fall out and that W. H. Rheib and W.H. Noble both died of fracture of the skull.

                                                                            THE VERDICT.
                                                                    STATE OF ILLINOIS )  ss.
                                                               ROCK ISLAND COUNTY )

  An Inquisition indentured and taken for the people of the State of Illinois, at the Park House of Marich W. Wright, in the town of Hampton, in said county of Rock Island, on the 13th  day of May, A.D., 1867, before Lucius Wells, one of the Justice of the Peace, in and for the county aforesaid, upon the view of the body of Wm. H. Rheib, a passenger of the steamer “Lansing,” then and there lying dead, upon the oaths of A. Freeman, D. V. Plants, G. Apley, Sol. Meador, Sam’l Dennison, M.S. Ringler, Jacob Gushert, H. S. Shurtleff, Wm. Edelman, Clatus Glanz, R. F. Melvill and Augustus Hayward, good and lawful men of said county, who being duly sworn to enquire (as written)upon the part of the people of the State of Illinois, into the circumstances attending the death of the said Wm. H. Rheib, and in what manner the same was produced and when and where the said Wm. H. Rheib came to his death, do say upon their oaths aforesaid, that the said Wm. H. Rheib was found on the shore of the Mississippi river, at the town of Hampton, county and State aforesaid, near the public highway, known as the Port Bryon road, on the 13th of May, A. D. 1867, that the said Wm. H. Rheib when as found as aforesaid appeared as follows, viz:--A fracture of the skull; that the said Wm H. Rheib was at the time of his death of the age of 40 years, more or less; and so the jurors aforesaid, upon their oaths aforesaid, do say that the said Wm. H. Rheib came to his death as aforesaid by reason of said wounds caused by the explosion of the boilers of the aforesaid steamer "Lansing," plying between the ports of Davenport, Iowa, and Port Bryon, Illinois, while the aforesaid steamer "Lansing'" was lying at the port of Hampton, County of Rock Island, State of Illinois, on the 13th of May, A.D. 1867, at or about noon of the said day.  And we, the jurors aforesaid, having examined the circumstances connected with the explosion of the boilers of the aforesaid steamer "Lansing," do further say that the boilers of the said steamer "Lansing," exploded by reason of an undue pressure, cause of pressure unknown.
      In witness whereof the jurors aforesaid have to this inquisition set their hands, on the day of date of this inquisition as aforesaid.
      (Signed by all the jurors.)
     The same verdict was returned on each of the bodies.
     For opportunity to copy the above evidence and verdict we are indebted to the courtesy of Lucius Wells, Esq., of Hampton, made for the benefit of our readers, afforded us every possible facility for procuring all the facts.

                                                                       THE CONDITION OF THE WOUNDED.

     Yesterday afternoon, on visiting Hampton the special reporter of the Gazette found Mr. Kneedler, better than on the day previous, and with every prospect of recovery.
     Mr. Oliphant, of this city, was much worse, and there is, we regret to announce, little or no hope of his being saved from death at an early day.  Dr. J. W. H. Baker visited Mr. Oliphant yesterday morning, and returned to him again last evening to stay all night.  It is almost certain that the unfortunate cannot survive more than a day or two.
     Mr. Isaac (not Aleck) W. Powell, of Ottawa, was last evening considered as certain to die before morning.  His father, Rev. Thomas Powell, a respected Baptist minister, long a resident of Davenport, arrived at Hampton yesterday.  The injuries of the young man are manly internal.
     Judge S. A. Hubbell is at his residence in this city, and is getting along very well, considering the nature of his injuries.  He rested well night before last, and is very cheerful and patient.


       Efforts were yesterday commenced to find the body of Mr. H. Curtis, of Dubuque.  Late in the afternoon yesterday, the men who were dragging caught the hook against a hard substance which they could not move.  After hard pulling the hook was brought to the surface with a piece of a paper collar attached.  This was supposed to come from Mr. Curtis body.  Dragging was again resumed, but our latest information gives us no news of success.  The work will be resumed today.


The Daily Democrat, Thursday Evening, May 14, 1867, page 2.


Coroner's Inquest on the Bodies of Those Killed by the Explosion of the Landing.




Two More Deaths Foreshadowed.

       The Coroner's Inquest which convened at Hampton on five bodies of those killed by the explosion of the steamer Lansing on Wednesday last concluded its labors and rendered its verdict yesterday afternoon.--The bodies set upon were those George White, William Waseigher, W. H. Noble, James Tracy, and W.H. Rheib.  Mr. Luscine Wells, Justice of the Peace, was the acting coroner, and the names of the jury were as follows:
       R.T. Melville, (Foreman)) A. Freeman, D. V. Plants, G. Aples, Samuel Haegy, Samuel Denison, M. J. Rengier, Jacob Huehert, H. S. Shurttiff, William Adelman, Clatus Glanty, Augustus Hayward.
       The same jury served on each of the other bodies, except that Samuel Haegy was excused and Solomon Mender served in his place.
      (The following report of the inquest and verdict is the same as the one that appeared in the Gazette article reported above.  So it has not been transcribed.)

                                                                        CONDITION OF THE WOUNDED.

      We are pleased to learn on reliable authority, that Mr. Kneedler is considerably better, and the prospects for his recovery was exceedingly good.
      The condition of Mr. Oliphant is such that all hope of his recovery has been abandoned.  Dr. J. W. H. Baker is in attendance upon him, but it is feared that he will not live more than a day or two longer.
       Mr. Issac W. Powell is in the same condition, and last night it was thought he could not last until morning.  Rev. Thos. Powell, his father, a Baptist minister, for a long period a resident of Davenport, is with him.
       Judge Hubbell is at his residence in this city, and is doing finely, all things considered.  He bears his injuries manfully, and rests very well at night.



       The dragging party are still making strenuous efforts to find the body of Mr. H. Curits, of Dubuque.  Yesterday afternoon the hook was caught in a hard substance which they found impossible to move for a time, but at last they brought it to the surface with a piece of paper collar attached to it.  Dragging was continued, but we have no news of their having succeeded in their object last night.  If not they will resume their work to-day.


Davenport Democrat, May 17, 1867, page 1.

        HENRY CURTIS.--This victim of the Lansing explosion, whose body has not been found, is thirty-six years old and was born in Newton, Conn, and began life for himself as a school teacher at Southbury.  He then engaged in the crockery business ans 1858 he came west as far as Detroit, remaining but a short time there when he moved to Milwaukee, continuing in the crockery business.  Twelve years ago he located in Dubuque,  and has since been in the wood and coal, and latterly in the shingle business.  In 1860 he married the eldest daughter of Capt. J. W. Parker, becoming in time the father of a boy now five, and a girl two years of age.  Besides his family, Mr. Curtis leaves a mother, a brother and two sisters in Connecticut who will bitterly mourn his untimely fate.  The Herald says he was upright in business, a Christian in profession and life, an affectionate husband and father, and a friend always to be trusted.


The Daily Gazette, Friday Morning, May 17, 1867, page 4.



     To meet the wishes of a number of persons, in our own State and in Illinois, we today print the full particulars of the explosion of the steamboat Lansing, with the report of the inquest on the dead, as presented in the several editions of the Gazette.  We also add the latest information as to the condition of the wounded, up to last evening.  Thus the reader will have a complete history of the tragic affair in a single issue of the Gazette.
      These accounts were not made up second handed, but from investigation made on the spot by editors and reporters of the Gazette; one of whom visited Hampton each day.  The disastrous results of this explosion fully justify the attention we have given to the procuring of full and correct reports of all the facts connected therewith.  Single copies of to-day's Gazette can be had for mailing at the Gazette Counting Room and at the News depots.

  (This articles, printed on page 3 have been skipped as they are the same that has been printed earlier.)


The Daily Gazette, Friday Morning, May 17, 1867, page 4.


       It is our pleasing duty to state to our readers that the surviving sufferers from the Lansing disaster are steadily improving, with every prospect of recovery.  Mr. Oliphant, of our city, was brought down from Hampton on the Ben Campbell on Saturday evening, on a bed, of course, and carried to his home, at the residence of his nephew and niece, Mr. and Mrs. Barger, on Farnam street.  Though still suffering severely, he is visibly improving and hope is entertained that his recovery is certain.  Drs. Baker and Witherwax, of this city, visited Mr. O. on Friday and Dr. J. W. H. Baker attends him now.
       Mr. Isaac W. Powell still remains at the residence of Mr. Webster, at Hampton, and was so much better on Saturday evening (our latest information) that little doubt remained of his ultimate recovery.  His father, Rev. Thos. Powell, remains with him.  Dr. Clerke attends him.
       Mr. Kneedler is getting along well, though on Saturday, he was not able to sit up.  His wounds are in good condition.  Dr. G. Vincent remains the attending physician, and Mr. K. is still at Mr. Smithsall's.
       Judge S. A. Hubbell remains at his residence in this city, under the care of Dr. W. F. Peck.  He is steadily improving and the prospects of his early convalescence are very good.
       No trace has yet, we regret to state, been found of the body of Mr. Curtis.  Capt. Parker (Father-in-law of the deceased) remained by the wreck through Thursday, Friday and Saturday, superintending the dragging for the body.  Capt. Hughes, of the Lansing, was also indefatigable in his efforts.  Our fellow citizen, Capt. Mitchell, of the James Means, who has taken much interest in the sad affair, spent nearly the whole of Saturday in dragging the river, but in vain.  Capt. Parker now offers a reward of $200 for the recovery of the body.

                                                                                  THE WRECK

       The river has receded more than two feet and left the wreck of the Lansing high and dry.  The hull is found to be injured much more seriously than had been supposed.  Several pieces of both boilers have been found in the river.  It is now known beyond all question that the larboard boiler was even more badly shattered by the explosion than was the starboard.  Two tubes of the larboard boiler were dragged up by Capt. Mitchell, on Saturday, far out in the river.  The head of the same boiler was found up the river near the old mill.  The piece of boiler with safety-valve attached,, mentioned in our first notice of the disaster as having been blown three hundred feet distant into a field, has been identified as being a part of the larboard boiler.
        These facts will awaken additional interest in the investigation soon to be made, by competent authority, as to the cause of the explosion



This add that offered a reward for who ever found Mr. Curtis' body appeared in the Davenport Daily Gazette on Monday Morning, May 20, 1867, page 1.


Daily Gazette, Tuesday Morning, May 21, 1867, page 4.

River News


         At a regular meeting of the members of the Association, the committee appointed to draft resolutions expressive of the feelings of the members in regard to the death of our late brother, George White, offered the following resolutions, which were unanimously adopted:
        WHEREAS, The members of the Association have learned with deep regret of the deplorable accident through which our brother lost his life, by the explosion of the steamer Lansing, while temporary filling the place of a brother pilot, whose family were sick.  He has been cut off in early manhood, leaving a young family to mourn his untimely end; therefore, be it
       Resolved, that in the death of our brother the profession has lost a skillful pilot, his family a kind husband and affectionate father, society a respected member, and as such he will be held in remembrance by all who knew him.
       Resolved further, That the family  of the deceased have our heartfelt sympathies in the heavy loss they have been so suddenly called upon to sustain.
       On motion the above resolutions were ordered to be spread on the minutes and published in the St. Louis Democrat and Davenport Gazette, and a copy sent to the family.
           CHARLES MULFORD, Secretary.


Daily Davenport Democrat, Monday, May 27, 1867, page 1.


       CURTIS BODY FOUND.--We learn by a private dispatch from Hampton that the body of Henry Curtis of Dubuque, missing since the Lansing explosion, was discovered this morning by a fisherman who happened to pass by the spot, on a sand bar half a mile below where the accident happened--and nearly opposite Campbell's Island.  The body shows no signs of having sustained any injuries, and had not been floating.  An inquest was held this morning.


Daily Gazette, Tuesday Morning, May 28, 1967, page 4.


        THE BODY OF MR. CURTIS, one of the victims of the Lansing disaster, was found early yesterday morning about a half mile below where the explosion took place.  James Smith, a fisherman, a poor and deserving man, when examining his "trout lines," noticed something in the river at the point of a small island.  Upon going to the spot he discovered the body.  The object that had attracted his attention was the skirt of the drowned man's coat, moved by the action of the water.  Getting assistance the body was towed ashore and an inquest held by Lucius Wells, Esq., of Hampton.  A metallic coffin was procured in Rock Island, and the remains prepared for forwarding to Mr. Curtis' family at Dubuque, who were notified by telegraph.  We understand the body was considerably swollen, but not marked or mutilated.  Mr. Smith, the fisherman, who is entitled to the reward of$200 offered for the body, has a large family to support.


Davenport Democrat, May 28, 1867, page 1.

         THE LANSING EXPLOSION.--The United States Inspectors have been at Hampton for several days, taking testimony in regard to the explosion of the boilers of the Lansing.  A considerable number of experienced engineers have examined the wreck and given their testimony--and others are yet to be examined.  Each engineer after examining the wreck is taken before the Inspectors, who take his testimony privately--no two engineers knowing anything about the testimony of each other.  Mr. Phil Keen, of this city, is one of the engineers who has examined the wreck and given his testimony.  The testimony will not probably be made public, but we suppose there can be no objection to publishing the result of the Inspectors.  The public will look for this with no little interest.  The public want to now and have a right to know the exact cause of the explosion and through whose fault it came.  They don't want any "whitewashing"--they want the truth, let it hit who or where it may.
--R. I. Argus


Daily Gazette, Wednesday Morning, May 29, 1867, page 4.

      THE LANSING DISASTER--From the Rock Island Argus, of last evening, we obtain additional particulars of the Coroner's inquest held upon the body of Mr. H. Curtis, the finding of which was noticed in the Gazette of yesterday.  Justice L. Wells had summoned as the coroner's jury, Francis Black, Foreman,--Charles H. Wells, Ira Crawford, David Weigandt, Edwin Brewster, John Mahoney, Benjamin Heavlin, Abel Propst, James Smith, W. W. Propst, Orvil S. Adams and Samuel S. Crompton.
      Mr. James Smith, who found the body, Capt. Hughes, late commander of the Lansing, F. Cammal, mate, James Conway, a deck hand, and W. J. McNabney, who knew Mr. Curtis intimately, were before the coroner's jury.
      Dr. Charles H. Clerke examined the body, and found both legs and right thigh, fractured, also a bad fracture of skull, sufficient to cause instant death.
      Mr. John Bromley, the engineer of the Lansing, testified before the jury.  The following is a portion of his evidence:
     "The cause of the explosion, in my judgment, was that the boat being now on the shore and fast to a tree, with her stern in the water, caused the water to run back towards the after part of the boilers, and being held in this position by the wind, sparring out out at the stern, caused the forward part of the fire lines to be above water and heating very hot; then starting up the Doctor, when the water struck the heated part produced so much steam instantaneously as to explode the boilers."
      The verdict of the jury, omitting the formalities, was as follows:
      The said Henry Curtis came to his death by the explosion of the boilers of the steamboat Lansing, at Hampton, on the 13th instant.
      The jury are of opinion, from the evidence before them, that the cause of the explosion of the boiler of said steamboat Lansing was, a sudden pressure of steam, caused in part by the untrim position of the boat; a lack of water in the forward part of the boilers; and an oversight on the part of the Engineer, in hanging a wrench upon the lever of the safety valve near the time of the explosion.
      The remains of Mr. Curtis were taken to Dubuque for internment.


Daily Gazette, November 16, 1868, page 4.

          MORE LANSING LITIGATION.--  Mrs. Henry Curtis, of Dubuque, whose husband last his life in the Lansing disaster, has brought suit against the Western Union Railroad Company for the recovery of $5,000 damages.


Daily Davenport Democrat, Friday, November  20, 1868, page 1.


         ANOTHER SUIT.--Since the decision of the court in the matter of Judge Hubbell against the W. U. R. R. Co., there seems to be a desire on the part of others to make the road pay damages to many more who were sufferers by the explosion of the Lansing.  A Mrs. Henry Curtis, of Dubuque, whose husband lost his life in the Lansing disaster, has brought suit against the R. R. Co., for the recovery of $5,000 damages.


Daily Gazette, August 16, 1869, page 4.



         The Steamer Lansing, made famous by the explosion at Hampton in 1867, and after wards rebuilt as a ferry boat at Dubuque, has been sold to the C. B. & Q Railroad, to run between New Boston and Quincy.  The price was about $6,000. (or $8,000).  J. K. Graves owned her.


Collected by Sue Rekkas


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