The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI), June 22, 1865

Full Text
The Tug "Fanny Stafford" Literally Blown into Kindling Wood
– One man Killed and the Rest of the Crew Injured.

From the Chicago Journal, June 19.

At five minutes past twelve o’clock noon to-day, occurred one of the most violent and disastrous explosions ever known in the city. The tug "Fanny Stafford," commanded by Captain James Ogden, was coming down the river with a schooner in tow, and when in the bend of the stream, just below Lake street bridge, her boiler suddenly exploded, literally breaking the entire tug into small fragments, everything above the keel going instantly to pieces, filling the air and the river with flying timbers and splinters. The boiler was thrown upwards and towards the south side docks, going over the top of a five-story brick building then across South Water street, landing on the roof of a four-story brick building at the junction of South Water and Lake and Market streets, where it crashed through two floors and lodged. The streets, wharves and shipping were immediately covered with excited and immense crowds of people, all anxious to learn the results of so frightful a casualty.

On the tug, besides Captain Ogden, were the engineer, fireman and two wheelsmen. The three latter and the captain were blown into the river, and were soon after picked up, bruised, cut and, some say, scalded, but not in a condition that our informant considered dangerous, though severe. In truth, in the excitement that exists, it is almost impossible to tell to what extent they were injured, rumor giving many different versions of the whole affair. The engineer was a recent shipment on the tug, and the agent of the boat did not know his name. He was probably killed on the instant, and when we left the scene his body had not been recovered. The wonder is that all on board were not killed outright.

Media Type:
Item Type:
The name was actually M. FANNIE STAFFORD and she was a harbor tug of 42 tons which had been built at Buffalo only two years previously.
Date of Original:
June 22, 1865
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Dave Swayze
Copyright Statement:
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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Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI), June 22, 1865