The Steamboat Saluda Disaster - Lexington, MO, USA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
N 39° 11.073 W 093° 52.801
15S E 423995 N 4337625
Mormons traveling to Utah, don't make it out of Missouri
Waymark Code: WMNNX9
Location: Missouri, United States
Date Posted: 04/11/2015
Published By:Groundspeak Regular Member coisos
Views: 2

County of site: Lafayette County
Date Marker Erected: April 9, 2002
Location of site: Franklin Ave. & 13th St., Heritage Park, Lexington
Markers Erected by: The Mormon Historic Sites Foundation & Lexington Historical Association
Detailed Mormon Account: Don’t Go Aboard the Saluda!
Site of disaster: N 39° 11.073 W 093° 53.801

Marker Text:

APRIL 9, 1852
In early April 1852 the aging side-wheeler steamboat Saluda churned up the Missouri River from St. Louis, bound for Kanesville (Council Bluffs), Iowa. Unable to push past the Lexington Bend due to ice flows and strong currents, it docked at Lexington's Upper Landing. Among 175 passengers still on board were people heading for various up-river towns, men bound for California gold fields, and about 75 Mormon emigrants, mostly Europeans, hoping to join wagon trains going to Utah Territory. On Good Friday morning, April 9, Captain Francis Belt vowed to "round the bend or blow this boat to hell." At about 7:30 a.m., the Saluda eased from the landing. Before the paddle-wheels made three revolutions, the red hot boilers exploded. The sound was heard two miles away. Passengers, crew, baggage, timbers, chimneys, and boiler scraps were blown ashore or into the river. The Saluda's bell landed high up the river bank, as did a 600 pound safe with a yellow spotted dog (killed) leashed to it. Two-thirds of the boat, everything above the lower deck and extending back to the wheelhouse, was blown away. Currents moved the Saluda's remains back against the levee, its stern section underneath several feet of water. Estimates of the dead and missing vary from 26 to 135. Best eye-witness accounts say about 75 were killed or lost and presumed dead, and three dozen injured. Captain Belt was killed. Only three officers survived. Lexington's shocked citizens rallied heroically to rescue victims, nurse the wounded, raise funds for those who lost everything, and find homes for orphans. Twenty-one victims were buried in Lexington that terrible Friday. Most survivors quickly found other transportation and continued their journeys. The Saluda disaster ranks as one of the worst steamboat tragedies, perhaps the worst, on the Missouri River. It caused the U.S. Congress that year to enact new operating rules and stricter inspection standards for steamboats.

Those who lost their lives in the Saluda disaster
Lois Locke Bailey*
Mary Ann Bailey*
Capt. Francis T. Belt
Jonathan Blackburn
J. Brick
William J. Bridges
Jonathan Brock
Daican Campbell*
Jane Campbell*
Neile Campbell*
James Campbell*
Josiah Clancy
Helen Dunbar*
Euphermia Dunbar*
Franklin Lorenzo Dunbar*
John Evans
Farmers on the Saluda (5)
Mr. Foleyfisher
Lewis Goerette
Laura Henry*
Mr. Kramer
Mrs. Kramer
Charles S. LaBarge
Mr. Laynell
Mr. Legatt
N. McCallister
William Mitchell*
Preston Mitchell*
Josephine Mitchell*
Mr. Nash
R. Nash
William Roberts
Selina Roberts
Sons of Roberts (4)
William Rowland, Sr.*
William Rowland, Jr.*
David Rowland*
Robert Rowland*
Sarah Rowland*
John Sargent*
Joseph Sargent*
E. Shaffer
Lewis Tebor
S. Wag
Sister Whitaker*
Mary Gleadhall Whitehead*
George Whitehead*
Catherine Whitehead*
George Whitehead (son)*
Isabel Whitehead*
* Denotes Latter-Day Saints.

Bell Tower and Marker:
This bell tower stands in memory of the victims of the steamboat Saluda explosion on April 9, 1852. It also honors the many Lexington citizens who came to the aid of the passengers. The Saluda's original bell now sits in front of the First Christian Church in Savannah, MO. This 1847 bell, with its similar Diana the Huntress design, was donated to the Lexington Historical Association by Pierre Collobert. The tower was dedicated on April 9, 2002, with the participation of Saluda descendents. [sic]

Who placed it?: The Mormon Historic Sites Foundation & Lexington Historical Association

When was it placed?: April 9, 2002

Who is honored?: Passengers and Rescuers

Website about the Monument: [Web Link]

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