Bill's Genealogy Blog

Bill Buchanan is a long-time genealogy enthusiast, living in Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada. This blog will describe my experiences as I research my family history and help others.

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Location: Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada

I am a retired online school teacher. I love family history. Since 2007, I have spent much of my time providing part-time support for the world's largest free family history site This is very rewarding. I have helped others with the Family Tree and related FamilySearch products.
Since April 2010, I have served in the Edmonton Riverbend Family History Centre. I have a FHC blog at Bill's Family History Center Blog For information the Latter-day Saints and family history click

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Bartlett's Shelldrake Sawmill in 1917

Last night I had a pleasant surprise in my email. Donna White, a volunteer in Michigan, found the actual newspaper account of my great uncle's death in a mill explosion, and she transcribed it for me. It is hard to find a nicer, more generous group of people than genealogists.

Anyway, I have the writeup on Frank Steele's death, which I retyped due to the darkness and blurring of the copy. Also, I went to the City Clerk's office yesterday, and found listings for both Frank and Mary at Riverside. I had done the transcription on the particular area, they are buried in and did not find stones for either of them. When I get back to the cemetery, I will ask the man in charge to point out which graves should be theirs. Perhaps there was a flat stone which has sunk. They are in the Protestant side of the cemetery in Block A1. Frank is listed as 2-9 and Mary as 13-10. I didn't ask which was the lot number and which was the grave number, but will find that out later. By the way their burial records stated that Mary died in childbirth, but no child was listed with her.



Explosion at Bartlett Lumber
Co., Shelldrake, Sunday.
Third Man, Seriously Injured,
Will Live; Bodies at Soo.

Frank Steele and Adam Schedeunk were killed and Percy Scott seriously injured at 7:30 o’clock Sunday morning when the battery of boilers at the Bartlett Lumber Co. at Shelldrake exploded and demolished the machine shops and dynamo room. Steele was killed instantly, but Schedunk was caught between two hot grates and his body almost burned in two without death relieving his pains for five hours. Scott is expected to survive his injuries.

What caused the explosion is not known. The two men, who are now dead, were acting as firemen for the machine shop boilers. The mill was shut down, but fires are continuously kept under the boilers. Scott was sleeping in the dynamo room, which adjoins the boiler room. It is evident that Steele and Schedeunk were working directly in front of the boilers when they let go. Steele was hit with some flying piece of iron or timber, and it is thought that he was not aware that an accident had occurred. His companion was not so fortunate, being pinned between the grates of the boiler and never losing consciousness until death came hours later. He was burned terribly. Scott’s injuries were due to being thrown high into the air by the force of the explosion. He was not burned.

The word of the accident reached the Soo at 6:45 Sunday evening when a telegram reached Capt. F. J. Allen of the Nippissing. The captain, immediately took the Nippissing to Shelldrake, where he got the bodies and brought them to the Soo. They arrived here at 12:30 this noon and were taken to the Vanderhook undertaking establishment to prepare for burial.

Steele, who was between 45 and 50 years old, was a widower and leaves six children surviving. Two of the children are grown sons, but the other four are young-two being boys and two girls and all living at the home in Shelldrake. Schedunk was a Russian Pole and has a wife in the old country.

The main mills of the Bartlett Lumber company will not be affected by the explosion directly and will continue operation. The two boilers, which blew up were large ones but were not connected with the main mill, which was not damaged.

The funeral of the two men will be held Tuesday afternoon at the Vanderhook chapel. Burial will follow in a local cemetery.


Blogger Matthew said...

My great grandfather would have worked there too. He was Mark Wilfred Calbeck. He also came from Ontario.

Sunday, October 18, 2009 at 8:14:00 PM MDT  

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