from Allegany County Democrat Newspaper; January 23, 1884

Researched & Submitted by Mary Rhodes



A Rig and Other Property Demolished -- One Man Severely Injured.


     Tuesday afternoon, about 2:30 o'clock, our citizens were somewhat startled by a dull roar, like unto a distant clap of thunder, which was followed by a slight trembling of the earth.  Speculation was rife as to its cause.  The telephone soon reported that a glycerine explosion had occurred near Allentown and several persons were injured or killed.

     The accident occurred on the Vincent farm nearly north of Allentown and is known as the Lovell, Rumsey & Johnson lease.

     James Gormley, the injured man, is employed by Spence & Denns, torpedo firm, to take charge of of the shooting of wells in the Allentown district.  Tuesday afternoon he was called to the Vincent farm to put in a one hundred quart shot.  The first shell or section was successfully filled and lowered, the last shell was being prepared when the explosion occurred, shattering the derrick and demolishing everything in the vicinity.  Gormley, who was standing in the entrance of the derrick at the time of the explosion was blown some 80 feet, and, strange as it may seem, retained his senses and was sitting up in the snow when assistance arrived.  He was conveyed to Allentown as speedily as possible, and a physician summoned, who upon making an examination found his face badly lacerated and his right side injured, but the full extent of his injuries could not be determined.  Still his recovery is considered doubtful.

     The direct cause of the disaster is unknown, Gormley, as yet, not having been able to give a coherent account of the affair.  It seems that in cold weather, the glycerine is melted and prepared for use by being placed in a barrel of water heated by steam, and it is supposed the heat must have become so great through neglect as to have caused the explosion;  nevertheless, Gormley has the reputation of being a very careful man with the explosive.

     The derrick was nearly filled with casing which was blown in every direction; fragments of it being found nearly a half-mile from the scene of the accident.