Fatal Boiler Explosion ~ 1906

THIS PHOTO SHOWS the aftermath of the explosion, and parts of the boiler can be found today near the explosion site. Brent Moore, of Dunmore, offers this interesting addition to the story: Hosterman is about halfway between Cass and Durbin, and just behind Arbovale. The explosion happened on what is now William Hevener’s farm – his Granddad Uriah’s farm – just north of Arbovale.  Harold Crist’s dad used to walk from Arbovale through the Hevener farm to teach at the Hosterman school.
THIS PHOTO SHOWS the aftermath of the explosion, and parts of the boiler can be found today near the explosion site. Brent Moore, of Dunmore, offers this interesting addition to the story: Hosterman is about halfway between Cass and Durbin, and just behind Arbovale. The explosion happened on what is now William Hevener’s farm – his Granddad Uriah’s farm – just north of Arbovale.  Harold Crist’s dad used to walk from Arbovale through the Hevener farm to teach at the Hosterman school.

Someone recently requested a copy of the following article which appeared in the August 2, 1906 edition of The Pocahontas Times. The photo is courtesy of the Pocahontas County Historical Society Museum.

Hosterman, W.Va. – The boiler of the locomotive of the Hosterman Lumber Company’s log train exploded with fatal results last Thursday afternoon. William Addleman was killed and Henry Harding seriously injured. No reason can be definitely assigned as to the cause, which probably will never be known. Each person seeing the wreck has a different theory. The rupture starts at the bottom of the boiler, in front of the firebox near the ash pan. The plate covering the flues for three or four feet was literally blown away, and little of it can be found. There is scarcely a rod in the whole machine that is not twisted and bent out of shape, and, except the trucks, what was a fine cogwheel engine is only fit for junk. The large mill of the Hosterman Lumber Company, which gives employment to a score of men, will lie idle until another locomotive can be secured. Theodore Hosterman is now in Pittsburgh to purchase one, and it is thought the mill will be able to start by September first.
On the day of the accident the “dinkey” had taken a load of steel across the mountain to the Hevener side to lay track, and was returning to load with logs for the mill. Just as it reached the summit, at a skidway, two of the men, known as truckers, who load and unload the logs, stepped off to the side of the track to get a couple of “spiked’ skids.” The engine was going very slowly. William Addleman was beside the boiler and Henry Harding some twenty feet in front of the engine. It is thought each had picked up his skid when the whole thing exploded. Mr. Addleman was thrown a distance of one hundred feet, across a little hill. When found he was literally cooked, except his feet and head. He was lying on his back, his right leg torn off above the knee and lying on his breast. His left leg was also broken. All the ribs were torn from the back bone, breast bone crushed, shoulders dislocated and skull broken in. In this condition, he lived probably an hour and a half.
The skid Mr. Addleman held was of spruce, something like 4 x 6 inches; this being found where the body was thrown. Mr. Addleman came here from Harter about a year ago. He was an inoffensive, good man and a hard worker. He leaves a wife and five children. His body, accompanied by his wife, was taken to Farmville, Va., his former home, for burial the morning after the wreck.
Henry Harding, though seriously injured, is considered to be in a way to get well. He was bruised and mashed about the head and body and badly scalded. They think he will lose at least one of his eyes, though the doctors are not sure as he is so badly swollen about the head it is impossible to tell the extent of his injuries. He is at the Cass Hospital.
Oliver Spact, the engineer, was in the cab when the explosion occurred. He was blown out and received considerable injury in the way of bruises, but is in a fair way to recover. He is able to get around a little.
Perry Shalter was sitting on the pilot of the engine, under the boiler head. Barring a bad scalding, he was not hurt. He is laid up, however.
Thomas Moore was on the drawhead of the engine under the boiler head. He was thrown a considerable distance, and except for a bad shaking up and a crippled knee is none the worse.
Theodore Hosterman was ahead of the engine two or three trucks away. He was thrown several yards by the force of the explosion, badly shaken, but not hurt.
Allen Guiswite was on a truck between Hosterman and the engine. He was thrown some distance, but was not hurt in the least.
John Spacht, the fireman, was in the cab of the engine and escaped without a scratch.

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