The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
J. A. Crawford (Propeller), exploded boiler, 24 May 1863

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Propeller (tug) JAMES A. CRAWFORD, exploded her boiler and sank at Chicago, three men lost.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Wednesday, January 20, 1864

      . . . . .

      Chicago, May 25. - The tug JOHN A. CRAWFORD blew up last night outside the harbor, and sunk immediately. The Capt., Engineer and fireman were lost. The boat was valued at $12,000.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      Tuesday, May 26, 1863

      . . . . .

      (From the Chicago Times, Monday)
It appears that on Sunday night, the tug JOHN A. CRAWFORD, went out for a vessel, and as she was in the act of taking a line from the schooner TRAVELER her boiler exploded, causing a total wreck of the tug and the instant death of three men out of the four who were on board. The CRAWFORD was blown into fragments and the hull sunk instantly carrying down the men.
      The explosion was distinctly heard by the people on Michigan Avenue. The only survivor of the hapless crew is a deck hand named Nick McCarty. Those who were so suddenly hurried into eternity were Captain Ezra Ozier, John Dunham, engineer and Richard Coughlin, fireman. These men leave families, residing in this city.
      The CRAWFORD was owned by Messrs. Bowman Crawford & Larned, and was entirely new, having been launched a short time ago from the ship-yard of J. W. Banta, in this city. She was a beautiful and staunch craft, swift and powerful, and cost not far from $12,000. Her boiler was from the Excelsior Works of Carlisle Mason, and so far as earthly judgment goes, was perfect in every respect. As a matter of course, the cause of the explosion will forever remain a mystery.
      Pieces of the wreck have been brought into port by a tug which has been detailed to hunt for the sunken steamer and her unfortunate crew.
P. S. The hull has been found, but the bodies will not be recovered until the hull is raised.
      Buffalo Evening Courier & Republic
      Saturday, May 23, 1863

      . . . .

      BLOWN UP. - The tug CRAWFORD, owned by Bowman, Crawford & Leonard, but recently launched from the shipyard of J.W. Banta, of Chicago, valued at $12,000, was blown up in Chicago harbor and sunk, instantly killing the Captain Ezra Osler, engineer John Dunham, and fireman Richard Coughlin. One fireman escaped. The persons lost leave families in Chicago.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      Wednesday, May 27, 1863

      . . . . .

      RAISED. - The tug CRAWFORD, that was blown up a few days since in Chicago harbor, has been raised.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      Monday, June 8, 1863

      . . . . .

Propeller J.A. CRAWFORD ( 12770) of 51 tons, built 1863 at Chicago. Renamed PATHFINDER May 31, 1887. Abandoned 1909.
      Merchant Steam Vessels of the U. S. A.
      1790 - 1868. Lytle-Holdcamper List

NOTE -- The Lytle List gives it's name as J. A. CRAWFORD, not JOHN or JAMES

Media Type:
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Reason: exploded boiler
Lives: 3
Remarks: Raised
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Illinois, United States
    Latitude: 41.85003 Longitude: -87.65005
William R. McNeil
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J. A. Crawford (Propeller), exploded boiler, 24 May 1863