Greene County, Arkansas


Four Persons Killed Outright---
Their Mangled Remains Found
in Many Places

Special Sun Correspondence


J. M. Slatton’s mill at Bethel was the scene of an accident on last Saturday morning which will long be remembered by those present and who were fortunate enough to escape uninjured or even with life. Saturday, and the regular day for grinding, a number of persons had assembled with their grain, and lounging in groups about the mill were startled by a terrific explosion as if the earth had burst her bounds, while fragments of timber filled the air and a dense cloud of steam arose as though to shut out from sight the horrible spectacle wrought without a moments notice.

Parties standing at a distance saw the mill boiler rise in the air to the height of fifteen or twenty feet when suddenly it began to turn end for end and struck the ground at a distance of seventy-five yards from the mill, leaving a hole in the earth four feet deep, only to rise once more and with the same motion fly through the air to settle at a distance of one hundred and thirty-five yards from where it set before the explosion.

People rushing to the spot were horrified at finding the mangled remains of four persons who had been thrown thirty or thirty-five feet from where they were standing. One man was blown into three pieces and a boy had both legs torn off at the knee while two other men were horribly mutilated. These parties were standing in front of the
fire-box and while they were blown in one direction the boiler passed out the other way. The killed were: T. J. Wood, J. B. Wood and son, William, and Brice Waugh.

J.D. Wright, the engineer, was standing about twelve feet from the boiler at the time of the explosion and was but slightly injured. He says he had but sixty pounds of steam, but other parties seem to think that the boiler contained at least two hundred pounds of gas, which would equal three hundred pounds of steam. The weight of the boiler was seven thousand pounds and tremendous force is necessary to carry that weight such a distance.

The Coroner was summoned and impaneled a jury who returned a verdict to the effect that the four named persons came to their death by the accidental explosion of a boiler at the place and time above mentioned.

(Note - T. J. Wood, born 30 Nov 1841 in AL, married Elizabeth H. Powell and is buried at Wood's Chapel. J. B. Wood, born 1856 in Byhalia, MS, married Susan Stoddard. William Wood was born 1877 in AR.)

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