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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas Tragedy: Loss of the West Point - The Evening Telegram

Twenty Lives Lost On the
Steamer West Point

The Causes of the Accident Not
Definitely Known

Special Dispatch to the Evening Telegram
Richmond, Va.,Dec. 27.—News was received here this morning from West Point,on the York River of a terrible disaster to the steamer West Point, of the Clyde Line, plying between that point and Baltimore. The West Point arrived at West Point early yesterday morning and a stevedore and gang began to discharge her cargo. They had cleared out sit the freight between decks, and had cone below into the hold to taken out a quantity of kerosene oil in barrels, when, at ten minutes past twelve midday an explosion occurred which blew the off side of the vessel into the river and set fire to the ship.
Twenty persons, including some four of the crew and nearly all the stevedore's hands, were fatally burned.
The first and second officer escaped, one of them being badly injured. The captain, being on shore at the time, was saved. There are some four or five badly injured.
                                                      TWENTY LIVES LOST.
Twenty persons have perished by the accident. The crew are mostly from Baltimore, and the laborers from Richmond and West Point. The West Point was a new ship, having only made a few trips. She was valued a $60,000 and was insured. The cause of the accident is as yet unaccounted for. Some believe it was gas in the hold, while others attribute it to an explosion of the donkey engine which was at work in the forward part of the vessel.

The following is a list of the dead:—
L. S. BRADFORD (white), stevedore, of West Point.
Mess Boy (white), name and address unknown, of Baltimore.
RODERT KERSE (white), or Richmond.
— JARVIS (colored), fireman. West Point.
J. STAPLES (colored), of Richmond.
ALEX. WILSON (colored), of Richmond.
JOSEPH JOHNSON (colored), of Richmond.
LEE JENNINGS (colored), of Richmond.
BEN SMITH (colored), of Richmond.
L. LAMB (colored), of Yorktown.
SAM WATKINS (colored), of West Point-
SHEPPARD TAYLOR (colored), of West Point.
NELSON RAYLOR (colored), of West Point.
HORACE BIBS (colored), of West Point.
NELSON STARK (colored), of New Kent county.
CHARLES TYLER (colored),  City Point, Va.
SWEET HALL (colored), City Point. Va.
ALBERT JACKSON (colored), City Point, Va.
JACK PARKER (colored), City Point, Va.
J. ADOLPHUS (colored), City Point, Va.
In all twenty.
Soon after the fire commenced the ship was cut loose. She drifted Into the river. The wharves were saved.

The following is a list of the injured:—
PETER GEOGHEGHAN. first officer, of Baltimore.
WM. BOHANNON. quartermaster.
WM. BARNES, assistant stevedore, of West Point.
WM. GREEN, of Richmond.
all are badly burned

-The Evening Telegram (New York, NY) December 27, 1881

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