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New York City, NY Steamer AETNA Explosion, May 1824


We this morning received slips from our correspondents of the New York Gazette and Daily Advertiser offices, dated on Sunday last, giving the following particulars of the explosion on board the Steam Boat AETNA, on her passage from Washington, New Jersey to New York, by which truly unfortunate occurrence, twenty passengers were killed and wounded.
About half past seven o'clock, on Saturday evening, near Robin's Reef, a mile this side of the mouth of the Kills, the entire boiler of the AETNA exploded, spreading instant destruction among the passengers, machinery, &c. and filling the minds of the survivors with undescribable misery.
There were on board at this time, the passengers in the Citizens' Coach Line from Philadelphia, and others taken on board at Elizabeth Point, making in all including the AETNA'S crew about thirty souls. As far as we have been able to ascertain their fate, the following is believed to be correct:
Lost in the cabin by the explosion, the wife of MR. JOB FURMAN, her sister, a daughter of MR. WATERS FURMAN, and MRS. MESEROLE, daughter of MR. JOB FURMAN, all of one family who had been to Elizabethtown to attend the funeral of a near relative. A young lad about 13 years of age, belonging to the same family, was, at the time of the explosion, sleeping on the covering of the boiler, was thrown into the air, and fell into the vacuum, caused by the removal of the machinery and received no injury !
A female child about 4 years of age asleep in the after cabin, supposed to be MRS. DOUGHERTY'S and a MISS BATES, of this city also perished.
Three persons jumped out of the forward cabin windows, two of whom were drowned, viz: one a gentleman with green spectacles, supposed to be a foreigner, and who had been reading music a few minutes before the accident; and, the other VICTOR GRASSE, the bar keeper.
MR. CHARLES HOLLINGSHEAD, of Princeton, New Jersey, who was in the forward cabin, jumped overboard through a window, was saved by seizing a bench that was thrown over, and afterwards picked up by the AETNA'S boat.
After the boat had been towed up, the body of a stout man was found covered with pieces of the wreck, whose linen was marked M.P.
The following persons were sent to the Hospital, two of whom are since dead:
JOHN WINTER and JOHN GILLUNS, both of Philadelphia; ALEXANDER CROMWELL, of Jamaica; NANCY DOUGHERTY, of Auburn; LITTY TAYLOR, of New York; JOSEPH STEVENS, of Ireland; MICHAEL ECKFELT, of Philadelphia; THOMAS BRADEN, of Wilmington, Delaware; and MRS. ANN THOMAS, of Philadelphia, all but two of whom belonged to the boat.
It is believed that five others will not survive; but that MR. BRADEN, and MR. ECKFELT, stated to have been drowned, will recover.
MR. JOHN PEARCE, and MR. RYERS, both of Philadelphia, escaped without injury, being on deck near the bow.
JONATHAN CASE of Schenectady; BENEDICT ARNOLD, of Amsterdam, N.Y., MR. HEACOCK and lady, are also among those saved.
When this awful occurrence took place, the steam boat U. States was about five miles astern, and coming up with the AETNA, took her in tow, and left in Whitehall slip. Captain ROBINSON, who was not much injured, did all that it was possible for man to do, to save those injured, & to afford assistance to the wounded. His conduct is spoken of in the highest terms of praise. The AETNA was under an easier pressure of steam than usual, making, as we are informed, but 18 strokes a minute, while 22 is her usual age.
The AETNA has been running for several years past on the Delaware, and was brought round here a few weeks since on account of her being well adapted to the narrow passage from the Raritan to the town of Washington. As she is propelled by what is termed high pressure, most people are of opinion that this is the cause of the present accident.
Fed. Gaz.

The Torch Light And Public Advertiser Hagerstown Maryland 1824-05-25

article | by Dr. Radut