The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
St. Catharines Journal (St. Catharines, ON), July 24, 1842

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The Disaster On Lake St. Louis

On Monday, an inquest was held in the house of Mr. Laflamme, in Lachine, on view of the body of one of the unfortunate individuals who perished by the explosion of the boiler of the steamer Shamrock. On a rigid examination, it appeared that the conduct and care of the captain, crew and engineers, could not be objected to, and a verdict of "accidental death" was returned. The boat herself was new, being only on her fourth trip, and was built at a cost of £2,250, for Atkinson, Matthie & Co., by the Niagara Harbor and Dock Company, which approved of the engineer, and warranted the boat and boiler for three months. The term of warranty has not yet expired.

The number of passengers on board was greater than we mentioned in our last, being one hundred and twenty, of whom fifty-eight were killed or missing, Only a small portion of the bodies have been found. The survivors of the explosion were picked up by steamer Dolphin, and brought back to Lachine, when a barge was prepared will all care, to convey the wounded to Montreal. A number of them were taken to the general hospital, where preparations for their reception had been made, and where several professional gentlemen were in attendance. - One man, after having both of his legs amputated, died in hospital, where his wife was also lying, with a wound upon her back. He was an Englishman, as also were the greater portion of the sufferers, although the passengers were composed of emigrants from the three kingdoms. The English portion, however, happened to be together in the portion of the boat which suffered most, and were of course most severely injured. One Scotch family, consisting of eleven persons, escaped scatheless - their name is M'Arthur. Their property, however, and a large sum of money, were lost.

One man was thrown, by the force of the explosion, into the air, and fell into one of the barges which the steamer had in tow. He escaped. The captain (Halliman) was in his berth at the time of the accident, and was made acquainted with the misfortune by the coming in of the water at the windows. He immediately rushed on deck, and did whatever a man in such circumstances might, to save the crew and passengers. He himself escaped, as did the engineers.

Of the "missing or lost" forty-three are from among the English portion of the passengers.

This is by far the most frightful and melancholy occurrence which has ever taken place upon our waters.

There is nothing on record which can be compared to it; and the sensation it has created is deep and universal. It is pleasing to be enabled to state, that the proprietors of the boat, the coroner, and others, have done all that could be done to ameliorate the condition of the unfortunate survivors; but, as their all has been lost, it will be necessary that relief, on a more extended scale, should be extended to them. Many of them in losing their friends and relatives, ahve lost, also, their sole dependence and support, and deep as their grief may be, it will be augmented by the knowledge that they are cast houseless, penniless and unprotected upon the mercy of the world.

The engine of the Shamrock was a high pressure one, and the dreadful lesson it has read to us, we trust, will not be thrown away. - Mont. Mess.

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July 24, 1842
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Peter Warwick
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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St. Catharines Journal (St. Catharines, ON), July 24, 1842