The Kellogg gunpowder factory was a large industry located near the intersection of Magazine Ave (think gunpowder magazine) and Burlington Road (so named because Burlington Road led to a ferry which led to Burlington, Ohio) in the Westmoreland area. Unfortunately, it exploded several times causing damage for miles around.
Ironton Register Jan. 21, 1892
Last Monday morning, about 15
minutes past 8 o'clock, the earth shuddered as if from an earthquake. There was
no explosion, no sound, except the trembling of the windows and the trembling
of the house. It really seemed as if an earthquake had passed; but no, it was
the explosion of the Kellogg Powder Mills, located in West Va., between
Huntington and Ceredo, 14 miles distant from here.
This concern is composed of
several unpretentious buildings, separated from each other on consideration of
safety. The explosion took place in one of these buildings known as the Glass
mill, where there were 800 kegs of powder stored. The building was blown to
fragments. Here, Chas. Scott, and John Benton were at work, and these two were
blown to atoms. The shock of the explosion here seemed to have caused the
explosion in the other building. The Packing house, with five tons of powder,
was demolished. The Corning mill, also, was completely destroyed. The Magazine
where much powder was stored, went with a crash and so did a carload of powder
near by. The Engine house, the soda buildings, the wheel houses, in fact
everything except the office, was badly shattered.
But the loss of property was
not the serious damage. There were six persons killed and a dozen more or less
injured. Besides the killed named, there were, also, Arch Livingston, who was
the foreman of the concern; Ed Winton, the Engineer; John Schlosser and Robert
Reece Estep, ----Kinnee, John
Justice and ten others were hurt, more or less severely, but none of them
fatally. There were about 30 men employed at the mills. It is not known what
caused the explosion.
The scene in the neighborhood
of the wreck is a sight. Pieces of the building, of kegs, of machinery are
scattered everywhere. Many are the narrow escapes told, and really, it is a
mystery how so many escaped.
Windows in neighboring towns
were badly shaken and some glass broken three miles away. The shock of the explosion was felt 25 miles
from the scene of the calamity.
There were eight buildings
blown up. The glazing mill had not been acting just right, and Mr. Livingston
was in there fixing it, and the probability is, that the explosion was started
It is likely that the mill
will not be rebuilt at its old location. The Central City Co. has been trying,
for some time, to get it removed, three or four miles back in the country, but
no agreement could be made. Such an arrangement is now probable. It certainly
ought to be moved. This is the third time it exploded in its short career.
Ironton Register Feb. 4, 1892
Register. - We do not want to condemn
the Powder Mill, or interfere either by word or act with the manufacture of
powder, for we regard it as a necessity. We must have an explosive substance
and this seems to be best adapted to the general use. So it is not the object of
this article to protest against the manufacture of it, but to object as to
where it is manufactured. We give the following objections - and the grounds
upon which we object. All who are acquainted any with such work, know that is
is dangerous, and that it requires the strictest attention, experienced men to
carry on successfully and safely the work. The material being taken from the
mixer is placed under the wheels. Here it remains a short time and
if it is not removed just at the proper time it will explode, which it very
frequently does. And of course does serious damage. The glass is much more
destructive however, but somewhat less liable to explode. But this must work
with exactness or the men and buildings are in great peril of being blown to
pieces. If the powder is put in too wet it throws it out of working order. This
will give a small idea of the risk there is taken.
mill in question (the one at Kellogg) has blown up three times in the last few
months. The first and last caused great loss of both lives and property. Well
have the papers compared it to an earthquake or volcanic eruption. Terrible
must have been the concussion to break windows and hurl the clocks from their
places three miles away. Draw from this the result it would have on buildings a
quarter or half mile off. Burlington is one of the scenes of the destruction.
Behold her buildings, with her windows, sash and pane shivered to pieces or
crushed upon the inmates or floor! Fire and ashes scattered on the hearth and
carpet, and the furniture turned topsy-turvy! The whole frame work wrenched
from center to circumference and many made almost untenable! Think too of the
citizens being subjected thus to the severity of the winter.
Now to obviate such a state of
affairs we must remove the cause. How is this to be done? Will the company quit
making powder? No. Ought they? No. Will they build again? Yea. In the same
place? They say so. Shall we willingly submit to this? Now let all rise and say
no. Why? Because we have a right and it is our duty to decide thus. Pope says
Whatever is, is right Better say Whatever is reason, is
right. This is man's law, God's law. No one will doubt the veracity of
the statement that it is very reasonable and altogether right to protect
ourselves and our property. Shall we virtually subject ourselves to the jaws of
death without a murmur or complaint? I don't think that to be right. This
surely is not a visitation of God's wrath upon us. Certainly not, for our men
escaped and bear witness of the terrible event when men's bodies were torn to
atoms or subjected to the flames to burn and parch.
Now, my friends, why should we have
the agent of death and destruction planted in our midst. Should an army plant
its artillery right in front of us and stifle its bellowing cannons in our
faces, we would regard it as a very unfriendly act. I tell you we would ask
them to face about or we would begin a retreat ourselves. We are so arranged.
We have to face a monster more direful and not knowing all the while just when
we will be prostrated to the earth. As we can not retreat in the case let's ask
the company in all kindness for them to move a few paces back and give us a
better show. This is right and honorable. Longfellow says, Life is real! Life
is earnest! And the grave is not the goal. He certainly was right. If the grave
were the goal how willingly would we bear our bosoms to the hand of death and
thus triumph in the act. But such is not the case. Shall we then stand with our
arms folded and watch the work go on and not even ask the gentlemen to regard
our person and our property? They probably do not know our wishes and desires.
We need but to inform them and they will be to willing to grant our requests.
On hearing our claims, the head manager, if he be a man of reason and whose
heart is not adamant would lend an attentive ear and move that Little
Vesuvius to the country (where no one lives) where it would have nothing
save the hills and mountains to combat against.
Ironton Register Jan. 21, 1892 - Everybody
thought Monday, it was only an earthquake; but they were mistaken; it was
greater than an earthquake; it was a powder mill.
Ironton Register Jan. 21, 1892 - Three
Burlington men were working at the Kellogg Powder Mill when it exploded, but
none of them were hurt.
Ironton Register Jan. 21, 1892 - The
Kellogg powder mills have already killed more people than the concern is worth,
several thousand times over.
Ironton Register JUNE 4, 1903
May Enjoin Operation of
Powder Mills at Kellogg.
Says the Huntington Herald: “The Phoenix Mills at Kellogg resumed operations this morning in full, after an
idleness of almost six years. These
powder mills are the largest on the Ohio river and give employment to about 50
people. Huntington people are thoroughly familiar with the former
operation of this mill, as explosions were of frequent occurrence, and during
their three or four years of operation quite a number of people lost their
lives. The management now states that
with the improvements made to the plant of late, that the chances for an
explosion are reduced to a minimum.
“There is much opposition to the plant’s
operation from citizens living in Kellogg and Burlington, and it is rumored that a score or more damage suits
will be entered in the Wayne Circuit Court before the week is over, and it is not at all
improbable that an injunction will be resorted to have the plant cease