Extensive Damage in 1895 Parkersburg Explosion


Transcribed by Norma Knotts Shaffer from microfilm of the Calhoun Chronicle dated 6/11/1895.

The glycerine explosion at Parkersburg on the 1st inst., has been the all absorbing topic of conversation.  The following from one of our exchanges seems to be about a correct report:

Parkersburg, W. Va., June 2 - Not until the arrival in the city this evening, of James Hines, of Petroleum, was the identity of the man killed by yesterday's terrible explosion of nitroglycerine in the Little Kanawha river, disclosed.  He was August Cooley, of Pittsburg, and he had successfully made several trips to the oil fields before.

Mr. Hines says that at Pittsburg 1,000 quarts of the deadly explosive was loaded on the craft.  At Sistersville 150 quarts were left, and at Marietta he took from the boat 50 quart which was transported by him safely to Petroleum over land in an ordinary road wagon.  There still remained in the boat 800 quarts, and Mr. Jas. Hines says that Cooley discharged the explosives accidentally, as it will not explode under 190 degrees.

A small piece of the unfortunate man's flesh is on exhibition in Boreman's drug store window.  It is about 2-1/2 x 3 inches in size and is all that could be found of him.

The damage to the city is worse than first thought, and will exceed $100,000.

The Catholic church, which was nearly a mile from the scene of the explosion, is damaged to the extent of $2,000.

The report is current that several hardware stores in the city have a big amount of nitro-glycerine in stock, and the citizens are very uneasy and look for a possible repetition of the disaster.

Extra police have been put on duty, as a majority of the store fronts are torn out and goods are scattered about promiscuously.

The streets of the city are strewn with broken glass and fragments of buildings, and the town presented a very shaken up appearance this morning.

The damage to the plant of the Parkersburg Milling Company is particularly to be regretted.  The concern was the chief industry of the town, and gave employment to about three hundred men.  It will take some time to get the plant in running order again.