BLEW IT TO RUINS ~ The Argus 22 Mar 1893
Terrific Explosion in a Big Flouring Mill.

Legs and Arms Burned Off and Body to a Crisp - The Structure Reduced to Splinters and $1,000,000 in Property Consumed - The Shock Felt Fifty Miles Away, and the Machinery in a Manufactory Damaged by the Jar - Nine Persons Badly Hurt - Details of the Litchfield Disaster.

Litchfield, Ills., March 22. - One of the largest and most destructive fires ever chronicled in this city's history visited here yesterday morning, resulting in a loss of at least one life and about $1,000,000 worth of property. The facts as near as could be gleaned are as follows: About 3:15 a. m. an alarm of fire was turned in, and upon investigation it developed that the Litchfield "Planet" mills, located in the south-western part of the city, were in flames. Before the firemen arrived upon the scene the fire had gained such headway that for some time nothing could possibly be done to check it, and it seemed as if the entire south part of town would be consumed. The fire is supposed to have been started by a spark from a passing locomotive falling in one of the dust rooms.

Jarred the Country for Miles.

The hose and hook and ladder companies immediately repaired to the scene. They had hardly succeeded in getting their apparatus in working order when an explosion, terrific in its violence, caused by the flames burning the mill dust, shook the earth for miles around, the shock being felt even as far as Decatur, a distance of fifty miles. The explosion broke large plate-glass windows in a majority of the stores in the city, prostrated almost everyone on the street, shook houses loose from their foundations, and jarred the machinery in the Litchfield Car and Machinery company to such an extent that work has been suspended until necessary repairs can be made.

Horrible Death of John Carve.

The head millwright, John Carve, of Waterloo, in making an effort to secure his tools from the burning building, was stunned by the explosion, and endeavoring to escape was pinned against the smokestack and burned to death. When found about three hours afterward his legs were burned off at the hip, the right arm and left hand were entirely consumed and his body was burred to a perfect crisp. As yet it is not known whether any one else perished. The mill was blown to splinters.

Licked Up a Big Elevator.

The large elevator standing immediately across the Wabash track west of the mill, and containing 250,000 bushels of wheat, was quickly in flames and together with its valuable contents burned to the ground. Ten or twelve cars of wheat standing on the house track were reduced to ashes. A large pile of debris, about ten or fifteen feet high, fell on the main track of the Wabash railroad, and as a consequence traffic on that road is badly impaired. The Western Union telegraph wires are also down, which makes matters a great deal worse. The firemen battled the flames for three hours before they got them under control.

Discredits the Flour Dust Theory.

The theory that the explosion was caused by flour dust finds no favor among local millers. The awful tremor of the earth indicates that a high explosive was used. "I know nothing about the particulars, "said Alex H. Smith, "but I am certain that flour dust was not the cause. Since the invention of the dust machine by George T. Smith no such explosions are possible, and as all mills are provided with them and there is no dust in the air, the explosion in all likelihood was a dynamite or a boiler explosion: it was certainly not due to dust."


And Other Loss Serious Casualties – Sketch of the Town.

The list of injured is as follows: Mrs. Hoffman, leg broken; Mrs. Lynch, badly cut about head and face; Thomas Donoghue, head cut and body badly bruised; Mrs. Henry Steigle, arm horribly crushed; Mrs. Levi Hussey, arm badly maimed; John Nother, John Kevenry, D. P. Greenwall and Andrew Duncan, wounded about heads and faces. A number of less serious casualties are reported from the falling debris.

Losses by the Concussion.

The other losses from the explosion are: A. Neuber's grocery saloon, and residence, completely wrecked, $3,000; the V. Hoffman estate, $2,200; Jacob Krans, grocery and residence, $3,100; Bendorf Bros., machinists, $6,000; Litchfield hotel, $1,200. It was estimated that $5,000 worth of glass was destroyed in the town.

Carried $350,000 Insurance.

The mill was the property of Kehlor Bros., of St. Louis. The capacity of the Litchfield mill was 2,000 barrels of flour daily. It employed 150 men and was the largest flouring mill in the United States. General Manager A. L. Smith, of this city, when interviewed stated that the amount of insurance carried on the mill, elevator and contents is about $350,000, while the loss will run up to almost $1,000,000.

A Suburb of St. Louis.

Though Litchfield is in Illinois and forty-five miles from St. Louis, it is in reality a suburb of the Missouri metropolis. It is a wealthy town and though it contains but 7,500 inhabitants it has factories of all kinds and descriptions. First of these is the Kehlor mill, a branch of the Laclede mills, of St. Louis, of which the Kehlor Bros. are proprietors, and members of this firm are quoted as millionaires.

Other Industries of the Town.

Then there are the Litchfield Car and Machine company, a number of cigar factories, an electric light and heating power company, marble and granite works, paint and oil works, coal mines and general business stores. The city also contains a public library of 2,700 volumes, three graded schools, a high school and two public parks. It is situated on the line of three railroads.
EPPERSON, Leonora (ASH) ~ Salt Lake Tribune 25 Aug 1937
Prominent Kaysville Woman Dies in Salt Lake Hospital
Mrs. Leonara A. Epperson, widow of William Perry Epperson, former manager of the Inland Printing company, and prominent in Kaysville civic and social circles, died of complications following an appendectomy Tuesday at 7:48 a. m. in a local hospital. She was 76 years old.
Mrs. Epperson was born July 19, 1861, in Raymond, Ill., a daughter of John and Tabitha Ash. When she was 10 years old when moved with her parents to Colorado City, Colo., where she married Mr. Epperson May 10, 1888.
Active in Civic Affairs
During her residence in Colorado she was active in civic enterprises. She was a member of the school board of Colorado City for many years, and was grand chief and supreme representative of the Pythian Sisters of Colorado.
In 1909 she moved in Greenriver, Utah, where she and her husband lived until 1912, when they moved to Kaysville.
In the latter community she was credited with obtaining the public library. She was vice chairman of the Davis County Red Cross for many years, and during the World war participated in Liberty loan drives. She was also a founder of the Kaysville Bay View Reading club, and a communicant of St. Mark's Episcopal church in Salt Lake City.
Private Funeral Services
Surviving are a son and daughter, Clyde A. Epperson, Kaysville; Mrs. Estella E. Barbour, Bronxville, N. Y.; a brother, Adelbert E. Ash, of Kingman, Kan., and three grandchildren.
Private funeral services will be conducted at the family residence in Kaysville Thursday at 4 p. m., followed by public services at the graveside in the Kaysville-Layton cemetery.
Friends may call at the Evans and Early mortuary chapel in Salt Lake City Wednesday from 7 p. m. until 9 p. m., and at the home in Kaysville Thursday from 1 p. m. until 3 p. m.

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