City of Boston & the Dynamite Fiend - Ocean Liners Magazine

City of Boston & the Dynamite Fiend

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City of Boston and the Dynamite FiendOn 20 January 1870, Inman Line’s City of Boston outbound from Halifax vanished at sea with 191 people on board.

In the days before radio, ships often disappeared without a trace—the vessels simply never turned up in port (in this case, Liverpool). After a while, people gave up waiting and the ship was presumed to be “lost at sea.”

People speculated for years about City of Boston’s fate. Some said the ship sank in a violent gale. Others thought she hit an iceberg. In 1875, after a ship carrying a hidden bomb exploded in Bremerhaven (killing 80 people), there was speculation that the same “dynamite fiend,” insurance extortionist Alexander Keith, Jr., might have planted a similar explosive onboard City of Boston.

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