The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
William Peacock (Steamboat), steam-pipe broke, 17 Sep 1830

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DREADFUL STEAMBOAT EXPLOSION. -- The Steam-boat WILLIAM PEACOCK left Buffalo on the 17th. inst. with about 100 passengers, and when about three miles out, the flange of her connecting pipe, which came in close contact with the steerage cabin, gave way, and the whole volume of steam from the boiler entered that cabin where there were about 20 persons, mostly women and children. We have not room to give the details which are shocking; Ten persons are dead and more are expected to die; their names were Mrs. Curiveau & two children, Miss Parker, Mrs. Johnson and two children from Dover,Vt. for Ohio; three children of Mr. Palmer; an old lady from Ohio, is injured, but will recover.
      Cleveland Weekly Herald
      Thursday, September 23, 1830 p. 3 col. 2

      . . . . .

      We last week mentioned the disaster of the Steam-Boat Wm. PEACOCK, but had not room to give the particulars, which we now take from the Buffalo Journal of the 22nd inst.
      MELANCHOLY DISASTER. -- After witnessing the continued navigation of Lake Erie, by steam, for more than ten years, it now falls our lot, for the first time, to record a most distressing casualty that has occurred on board one of the boats upon its waters.
The Steam-Boat WILLIAM PEACOCK , Capt. F1eeharty, on Thursday last, left port for Detroit at 9 o'clock A. M. with upwards of one hundred people on board, most of whom were emigrating to the wild regions of the west, when about four miles outside the light-house, the pipe which conveys steam from the boilers to the cylinder, gave way just above the deck, and within a small cabin occupied by steerage passengers. This apartment being near the boilers and consequently warm, was thronged by women and children, as the morning was raw and uncomfortable, and the entire head of steam was discharged among them so suddenly us to leave no time for escape. The consequences, as may well be imagined, were terrible in the extremes. The sufferers were three children of Mr. John Parker, of Livingston Co. in this state; the wife and two children of Mr. William Johnson, of Dover, Windham Co. Vt.; three children of Mr. Isaac Palmer from the same place; Mr. E. Davitz Swiss emigrant, his wife and daughter; Mrs. Curiveau and her two children; and a Mrs. Hopkinson, an elderly lady from Ohio. Of all these none are now living except Mr. Davitz and Mrs. Hopkinson, both of whom were so slightly injured as to be now considered out of danger. Mrs. Curiveau, in the first agony of her suffering, sprang overboard; and a man, whose name is unknown, followed her from fright alone, as he had not been injured. The bodies of these two have not been found -- the remainder of the dead have all been interred here.
      The total of this melancholy catalogue is as follows:
      Dead, from scalding, 13
      Do, drowned, 2
      Total 15
      Slightly injured, and recovering 2
      So mournful and unexpected an event naturally caused much and deep sensation in the minds of our populace; and this, at the moment, engendered many rumors and surmises, to the prejudice of the owners of the boat and others immediately connected. All these rumors we have been at much pains to investigate, and so far as we can learn, the casualty is one of the class which occur in all pursuits of life, without a possibility of being foreseen or prevented. We examined the fractured pipe; it was slightly burnt in braying when made, but no inclination of this was visible upon the surface, nor do we see how the fact could have been known, even to the maker. Confident we are that when in its place, it was impossible for anyone to discover the approach of danger until the rupture actually commenced. The safety valve was within a few feet of the break, and the engineer had visited this but a moment before, at which time no defect was visible in the pipe that failed.
      Every attention was paid to the sufferers, by the owners of the boat; and by our citizens generally; and the exertions of several of our professional Gentlemen have been constant and unremitted from the first. The boat was repaired the same day, and in the evening again sailed for Detroit.
      Cleveland Weekly Herald
      Thursday, September 30, 1830 p.2 c.4 & 5

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Reason: steam-pipe broke
Lives: 15
Remarks: Repaired
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  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 42.88645 Longitude: -78.87837
William R. McNeil
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William Peacock (Steamboat), steam-pipe broke, 17 Sep 1830