Thursday, August 25, 2016


Many years ago I remembered  reading about a fellow surnamed DOBBINS who was killed when a boiler on a steamboat blew up.  At the time, I had no interest in genealogy, but the article caught my eye because my maiden name was Dobbins and I wondered if maybe he had been related in some way to us.  But I soon forgot all about this....until recently when I read an item that indicated explosions on steamboats were just one of the hazards that befell folks as our nation grew toward the west.

When this long-forgotten Dobbins death came to mind recently, I asked Google to do something my mind couldn't do -- and sure enough using the few words I put into its search engine, it brought up the very Dobbins that I was looking for.

Here's the article from the the Quincy Daily Whig, Illinois 1854-06-01:



An extra from the office of the Oregon Spectator, published at Oregon City, dated April 8th, received in this city yesterday, from Thos. Pope, Esq., contains the following:
The Wallamette Fall Co.'s new steamer Gazelle left her wharf this morning at 6 o'clock, and had just landed at Canemah at 15 minutes before seven, when a terrible explosion of her boilers blew her into atoms, killing twenty persons and wounding many others.
Probably a more heart-rending scene has never occurred on the Pacific coast. As soon as the smoke cleared away a little, hundreds of citizens, who were ready to assist the dying, gathered on the wreck, and the work of aid commenced.
 The newspaper article went on to name the dead, and describe the gore of both the dead and the  injured. It indicated that CRAWFORD M. DOBBINS lost a leg and ultimately died.  

His family was from Illinois, but he was on a boat in Oregon.  Since he is not a member of my family, I have not researched him, but I can tell you that he has a large tombstone in the Lone Fir Cemetery in Portland, Oregon, and from what is written on it, he died four days after the explosion. 

In 40 years of genealogical research, I have never found that any of my Dobbinses were in Oregon. But now after finding Crawford Dobbins for a second time, I don't want him to be lost again.  And for researchers, he also appears in Findagrave. 

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