Thursday, April 25, 2013

Explosion of the Steamer Raymond - 1866

About 10 o'clock yesterday morning, when in the vicinity of Island No. 40, the steamer James Raymond, sold to Campbell & Co., of St. Louis, at the Marshal's sale in this city, on Monday last, exploded her starboard boiler, while en route from this point to St. Louis, with the steamer Bostona in tow.  Immediately after the explosion the steamer caught fire, but by the energetic exertions of the uninjured on board, the flames were soon extinguished.  In the meantime, however, the two steamers floated about five miles down the river, where she was made fast to the banks.  The loss sustained by the explosion will probably amount to $4000, as the forward part of the steamer was entirely destroyed, and the chimneys blown into the river.  

Mr. John Graham, the chief engineer of the Raymond, was blown overboard, with a negro deck hand.  The injuries sustained by Mr. Graham were of such a nature that he sank almost instantly.  The deck hand was rescued from a watery grave.  A man named Gabriel Spriles, of Nashville, was frightfully scalded.  Mr. Gholson, the engineer on watch at the time of the explosion, was so seriously scalded and injured by bruises, that his recovery is thought to be impossible; although, when landed at the Memphis wharf, he was able, by the assistance of friends, to walk.  

Shortly after the explosion, the steamer Tennessee came along and rendered considerable assistance.  The captain and the wounded parties came down to the city on her.  No blame is attached to the officers, as there was plenty of water in the boilers at the time of the explosion.
Originally posted in the Public Ledger April 25, 1866

FOUND--The body of James (sic) Graham, engineer of the ill-fated steamer Raymond, was found yesterday, about eight miles above the city.  He will be buried this afternoon by his friends.  He leaves a wife and child to mourn his loss.  
Originally posted in the Public Ledger April 25, 1866

A search of brings up little information regarding John Graham.  His parents were Hugh Graham and Lettice/Letitia Swan.  Miss Swan was born in New Hampshire.  It appears that the elder Graham's were living in St. Louis Missouri and died there in the 1850's.  As for the wife and child of John Graham, for now they remain nameless.

Mr. Graham is interred in Elmwood Cemetery.

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