The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
A. S. Field (Propeller), exploded boiler, 6 Jul 1860


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Prop. A.S. FIELD, exploded her boiler at Detroit. Five men killed.
      Buffalo Morning Express
      March 11, 1861. (Casualty List 1860)

      . . . . .

      DETROIT, JULY 6. - The tug-boat, A.S. FIELD, exploded her boiler at half past eight o'clock this evening, tearing the vessel to fragments, and instantly killing, as is supposed, four or five, and seriously injuring three of her crew. Several persons on adjacent vessels and the wharf, were also badly injured.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Saturday, July 7, 1860

      . . . . .

      TERRIFIC EXPLOSION OF A BOILER
      FIVE MEN KILLED, AND SEVERAL WOUNDED!
      ------------
      At about fifteen minutes before nine o'clock last evening the city was startled by a sudden jar as if caused by a falling building or the combined discharge of several cannon. Buildings for the distance of several blocks from the river, and
up and down from the vicinity of the foot of Bates Street, trembled as if starting from their foundation, and sudden alarm seized upon all. In a few moments the cause was known. The boiler of the steam tug A.S. FIELD, lying at the dock
between Bates and Randolph Streets, had exploded and the boat was a total wreck. Thither the citizens hurried by hundreds, clambering and climbing as best they might in the darkness over piles of wood, and hugh timbers and around every kind of rubbish. A mass of sticks and planks was all that remained to be discovered of the tug, and her timbers, cabin, portions of her boiler shell, flues, wood, &c., were lying in heaps upon the dock near by, and strewn about the
neighboring premises for the distance of three or four hundred feet. Outside timbers of the dock had been thrown several feet out of place and some lifted high upon piles of wood. In fine it was but a scene of general wreck.
      There was upon the tug at the time of the explosion 7 persons, viz; the mate, Remo Dumont, well known as once the captain of the schooner MONTEAGLE, and last season captain of the schooner CREVOLA; the wheelsman, William Mc.
Kenzie, a young man of Scottish parentage; the engineer, Easton or Eton Owen, of Newport; two firemen, one a negro, and one whom we understand was Geo. Abbot; the cook; Mrs. Morey was thrown upon the dock, and was picked up and taken to Harvie's Hotel. She is not much injured, one side of her face was burned, and one side and arm bruised. Some said she was upon the deck fishing at the time, but thiswe believe to be a mistake. She was attended by Dr. Allen.
McKenzie was taken to the hospital of the Sisters of Charity. His front teeth were knocked out, and his face and breast badly scalded.
      The first mate was found under a pile of wood near by, still alive, but he died immediately before, or just after he had got out. He was scalded, cut, and bruised.
Geo. Abbot was blown several rods away, and over a low building. He was dead when found, being terribly cut and scalded.
      The boy Hoover was also found dead on the dock. He had a severe cut in the forehead. What direct injuries produced his death or either of them, is not known yet, as no examinations have been made.
These are all the bodies recovered last night. It is known that one, supposed to be the engineer, Owens, was blown into the water as he called faintly, " come quick," "Hurry," or the like, and was seen with head and arms above the water, struggling.
A boat was sent with all speed to him, but he sank before it reached him. The other two are doubtless in the water; as a diligent search made about the dock and in the yards resulted in finding only the three bodies named, and the woman, Mrs. Morey.
The tug arrived up yesterday noon with the dismasted schooner BAY CITY in tow and tied up at the dock named, the schooner lying on the outside of her. Just before the explosion, Captain Stephen Grummond, master and owner of the tug, told one of the firemen - the negro, and who had been shipped only that day - to go on board, wake up the engineer, who was sleeping, and fire up, as he was to start in a few minutes a short distance down the river for the barque GREAT WEST, which he had towed up at the same time he towed the BAY CITY. This is all that is definately known, for in a few minutes, and while Capt. Grummond was sitting in the store of Trowbridge, Wilcox & Co., the explosion occurred. Those who are likely to have known anything further are dead. - Detroit Adv.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Monday, July 9, 1860

NOTE:- The schooner towed in by the A.S. FIELD was the BAY STATE, not the BAY
CITY (see BAY STATE casualty, July, 1860)

      . . . . .

      We are informed by Capt. Grummond, owner of the tug A.S. FIELD, that it is his intention to have her raised and rebuilt, the injuries to her hull not being as serious as at first apprehended. The contract has already been given to Mr.
James Melrose to raise her and take her into Clark's drydock, where the work of rebuilding her will be carried out, and in 6 weeks time she is to be again in running order.
      Detroit Free Press
      July 12, 1860

      . . . . .

      The work of raising the wreck of the A.S. FIELD has been commenced, and is being prosecuted vigorously. The hull has been partially raised above water, and the engine will be removed as soon as possible. If the hull is not seriously damaged by the explosion, the tug will be rebuilt, and made as good as new. The engine, after refitting will do good service again.
      Detroit Free Press
      July 17, 1860

      . . . . .

      The wreck of the tug A.S. FIELD has been raised and everything of any value taken from her. It was first contemplated to rebuild her, but what is left is in such a shattered condition as to be of no further use whatever.
      Detroit Free Press
      July 26, 1860

      . . . . .

A.S. FIELD prop. of 115 tons. Built Buffalo 1853. First Home Port, Toledo. DISPOSITION:- Exploded July 6, 1860 at Detroit. Lives lost, 4.
      Merchant Steam Vessels of the U.S.A.
      1790 - 1886, Lytle - Holdcamper List

      . . . . .


Media Type:
Text
Newspaper
Item Type:
Clippings
Notes:
Reason: exploded boiler
Lives: 5
Hull damage: $5,000
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
1860
Subject(s):
Local identifier:
McN.W.4006
Language of Item:
English
  • Michigan, United States
    Latitude: 42.33143 Longitude: -83.04575
Donor:
William R. McNeil
Copyright Statement:
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
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A. S. Field (Propeller), exploded boiler, 6 Jul 1860