Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The 1917 Eddystone Ammunition Plant Explosion

The Eddystone Ammunition Plant, in 1916, was looking for a thousand girls to work at their ammunition plant outside of Chester Pennsylvania, piercing fuses and filling shells with gunpowder for the Russian army. Included in the people hired at the Eddystone Ammunition plant were Martha Parsons and her husband Anthony Parsons from the Delmar Maryland area. On April 6, 1917 President Wilson asked Congress to declare war and Congress officially declared it. About this time at the plant rumors were floating that the Russian, Leon Trotsky, had put out an order to sabotaged the plant in order to prevent the shells from reaching the new Russian government run by Kerensky, which was democratic. On April 10, 1917 at 9:55 A. M. “F” Building at the Eddystone Ammunition Plant, where 380 girls and women worked loading shells with black powder, exploded . One hundred and thirty-three persons, lost their lives in the explosion. Fifty-five of the dead would never be identified. Among the identified dead were Anthony and Martha Parsons.

From the Wicomico News April 19, 1917
April 13, Delmar – Two of the victims of the Eddystone disaster Anthony G. Parsons and his wife, who had been employed in the factory only a short time, were from the rural section, near this town. Their remains were brought home today for interment.

Martha E. Parsons May 23, 1886 to April 10 1917 Buried at Cemetery in Melson.

Anthony G. Parson May 29, 1880 to April 10, 1917 Buried at Melson.

The unidentified dead were buried at a mass funeral service in Chester Rural Cemetery. The service was held on April 13 at 11:00 a.m. An estimated 12,000 people attended the funeral service. The Eddystone Ammunition Company paid for all the funeral services.

Monument to the unidentified dead at Chester Rural Cemetery

Eddystone, Pennsylvania is located on the Delaware River next to Chester PA


  1. Does anyone know exactly where this monument to the unidentified victims is located?

  2. Does anyone know where exactly this monument is located?

  3. My grandmother & great-aunt worked in that plant, & I believe that building. Fortunately, they happened to stay home the day of the explosion after a picnic the day before.

  4. My grandmother, Sophie VIrksas Lipcius, & great-aunt, Apolonia Virksas Slyvinas, worked at that factory and I believe, in that building. Fortunately, they happened to stay home on the day of the explosion after a picnic the day before or I would not be here to write this.