Category: Explosive Death!

Death In A Powder Mill

Posted by – November 16, 2013

Steele Scrapbook – January 18, 1892




How the Awful Wreck Was Brought About Not Likely Ever to Be Known—Names of Some of the Killed and Injured—Damage Done for Miles Around the Place.

CINCINNATTI, Jan. 18.—Special from the cities near Ceredo, W. Va, tell of terrific explosion of the Phoenix Powder Mills which was very distructive [sic] to life this morning. The Phoenix mill is situated at Central City, near Ceredo, and about half way between Huntington, W. Va., and Cattlettsburg, Ky. This is the third explosion at this mill within three months, and is by all odds the most destructive one. The last one before this happened six weeks ago and was a trifling affair. How the wreck to-day was brought about will never be known, because not a soul that was in the mill is left alive to tell the story. At half-past eight o’clock this morning people in Ironton, twenty-five miles away, heard the terrible detonating roar. In Ceredo, three miles away, windows were broken and wares in the stores were shaken from the shelves. In Cattlettsburg, nearly ten miles away, the earth shook and people were alarmed. Everybody divined the cause, and there was a rush from all directions to the scene.

The local authorities organized and surrounded the ruins with a cordon of police, through which none of the thousands of spectators were permitted to pass. It has been ascertained that the first explosion was in the glazing-room, where there were ten tons of powder. Thus successively the packing-house, the magazine and the four-wheel mills, and lastly a carload of gunpowder, went hurling in the fiery fragments through the air. No vestment of the entire plant remains, and the country for half a mile is strewn with fragments of the buildings and of the bodies of five men, victims of the disaster. It is not known definitely, but at the present writing it is believed that not less than thirty-five tons of powder were burned in the several explosions. The killed are:

ARCHIE LIVINGSTON, a Scotchman, who has been superintendent of the mills since they started. He was blown to atoms. Only his hand was found.

ED WINTON, the architect and engineer, who built the works, was in the magazine when it exploded and strange to say his body was very little mutilated.

JOHN BENTON, a workman, body horribly mangled.

JOHN SCHLOSSER and CHARLES SCOTT, workmen, were both terribly mutilated. All these are either known or supposed to have been in the buildings when the explosion occurred.

Robert Cook, a glazing mill hand, was approaching the glazing mill when it blew up. His clothing, hair and whiskers were burned off. He ran 200 yards to a stream and jumped in. He will not live till midnight.

The seriously injured are: K.O. Reece, James Esteep and John Justice, who happened to be in the vicinity when the explosions occurred. There are no doubts but that there are many slightly injured, whose names have not been ascertained.


Can you imagine why anyone would want to work in such a place? 3 explosions in 3 months? I don’t like those odds!!
Finally – don’t you love the detail they put in the description of the victims? Can you imagine if we still went into such detail? 9/11 would have been even more morbid than it already was!

Senselessly Stolen From Alf