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Down the Cape Fear River in Twenty Hours

22 Apr

Snow at Fayetteville.

The steamer Wave reports three or four inches of snow at Fayetteville on Wednesday and Wednesday night.  Some of the young people enjoyed themselves at sleigh riding to a limited extent, but the under crust was not of sufficient strength and durableness to render the sport altogether as pleasant as it might have been.  The Wave brought quite a layer of snow on her upper deck, and appreciating the scarcity of the article in these parts, it was obligingly dumped upon the wharf, so that Wilmingtonians might luxuriate in the possession of imported snow.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Saturday, January 1, 1881]

RIVER AND MARINE.

—  Messrs. Worth & Worth are in receipt of a telegram from Fayetteville announcing that the steamer Governor Worth was snagged and sunk at Council’s Bluff, about thirty miles this side of Fayetteville, on Wednesday morning last, while on her upward trip.  A messenger was forthwith sent to Fayetteville to report the disaster, when the steamer A. P. Hurt was dispatched to the assistance of the unlucky steamer.  Steam pumps will also be sent up from Wilmington to aid in raising her, which will not be a very difficult matter unless the thaw now going on among the snow and ice in the upper Cape Fear should precipitate a heavy freshet upon her before she has been brought to the surface.  The cargo, which was a light one, was all saved.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Friday, January 7, 1881]

—  The latest news received in regard to the Steamer Governor Worth is to the effect that she is now completely under water, owing to the freshet, in the river, and that it has been decided not to attempt anything towards raising her until the water subsides.  She struck on the snag about five o’clock Wednesday morning, or about an hour before day, and ran a mile or so after the accident before it was discovered that she was leaking so badly, it being a very common occurrence for the steamer to strike on such obstructions without damage.  All the furniture and fixtures were saved.  The boat is well secured and no apprehension is felt that she will sustain any injury from the freshet.

RIVER AND MARINE.

—  A telegram was received by Messrs. Worth & Worth, yesterday morning, to the effect that there had been a rise of about twenty-five feet in the Cape Fear, caused by the great thaw of ice and snow going on up the river, and that the water was still rising.
—  We learn that the steamer A. P. Hurt was under pretty good control when she arrived here yesterday morning, with not the slightest chance of her “cutting up any capers” to hurt, there being no less than five steamboat captains on board to keep her straight, to-wit:
Green, Worth, Garrason, Thornton and Watson.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Saturday, January 8, 1881]

— The latest news received in regard to the Steamer Governor Worth is to the effect that she is now completely under water, owing to the freshet in the river, and that it has been decided not to attempt anything towards raising her until the water subsides.   She struck on the snag about five o’clock Wednesday morning, or about an hour before day, and ran a mile or so after the accident before it was discovered that she was leaking so badly, it being a very common occurrence for the steamer to strike on such obstructions without damage.  All the furniture and fixtures were saved.  The boat is well secured and no apprehension is felt that she will sustain any injury from the freshet.

[Wilmington Weekly Star – January 14, 1881]

RIVER AND MARINE.

— Several pieces of the upper works of the steamer Gov. Worth, sunk at Council’s Bluff, about thirty miles this side of Fayetteville, were picked up in the neighborhood of the ferry, on the west side of the river, having been brought all that distance by the freshet now prevailing in the river.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Friday, January 14, 1881]

–The steamer Gov. Worth, which was snagged and sunk a short distance above Council’s Bluff, between twenty and thirty miles this side of Fayetteville, on the 5th of January last, while on her upward trip, and which was raised a few days since under the superintendence of Capt. Skinner, arrived here on Sunday last, between 12 and 1 o’clock, and was tied up at Messrs.

Worth & Worth’s wharf.  The hull and machinery of the steamer seem to be but slightly damaged, but the upper works have been battered and broken up very badly, and present quite a demoralized appearance.  Some of the pipes are also bent to some extent.  The hole snagged in her bottom, and which caused her to sink, is only about eight or ten inches square, and is located near the bows.  After she was gotten up the leak was stopped as nearly as possible, when she steamed down to Wilmington without any assistance.  She was expected to go on Capt. Skinner’s railway yesterday.  The damage is estimated at $6,000.

[Wilmington Star – April 15, 1881]

–The work of rebuilding the river steamer Governor Worth is progressing under the supervision of Capt. Sam’l Skinner, at his ship-yard in this city.  Her upper works will be entirely remodeled, and the space between decks increased to thirteen and a half feet, which will largely increase her stowage capacity for cotton.

[Wilmington Star – June 3, 1881]

RIVER AND MARINE.

— The repairs to the steamer Gov. Worth, which sunk in the Cape Fear some months ago, have been completed, and she is now only awaiting a  sufficiency of water in the river to resume her regular trips.  The work was done under the supervision of Capt. Sam. Skinner.

[Wilmington Star – July 19, 1881]

DOWN CAPE FEAR RIVER
FROM FAYETTEVILLE TO WILMINGTON
IN TWENTY HOURS
.

PICTURESQUE SCENES ENJOYED BY DAVID DAVIS
AND HIS BRIDE ON THEIR WEDDING JOURNEY.

WILMINGTON, N. C., March 17. (mp3) – No one who has business in Fayetteville, N. C., should ever be in a hurry to get there or in haste to get away, for if anybody has gone there in that state of mind, or should go there expecting to arrive and get away speedily, he will be disappointed.  A man in a great hurry there would be sadly out of place in one of the serenest villages on the footstool.  No one ever is in a hurry there, and the only instance recollected of anybody’s getting away in a hurry is that of the departure of Gen. Joe Johnston with the rebel army, just 18 years ago…

…     The visitor who dreads the way out of Fayetteville by rail may leave the place by boat.  When David Davis was married here, on Wednesday last, he chose to make the first stage of  his wedding journey in this manner, going down the Cape Fear River to Wilmington.  The distance is 112 miles, and is traversed by steam-boats almost as antiquated as the fire apparatus which stands idly in the market-place.  A boat leaves nearly every day from each end of the route…

… Your correspondent embarked on Thursday morning on the only side-wheeler on the river, the General Worth.  A less attractive-looking object than this vessel probably never tied up to shore as a steam-boat.  She had no more lines of beauty than a dry goods box, and from bow to stern was in evident need of repair, while her ancient coat of white paint was obscured by soot where it had not been scraped off by hard usage, suggesting the thought that General Worth had gone through a prolonged battle with the elements and been frequently under fire.  Twenty-four hours before, David Davis had started with his bride and her  friends on one of the stern-wheelers, the only one, by the way, that is tidy and comparatively comfortable for passengers…

[The New York Times – March 19, 1883]

RIVER AND MARINE.

—  Capt. Smith, of the steamer D. Murchison, reports that there had been a rise of about twenty-five feet in the river up to the time he left Fayetteville Tuesday morning, and that it was still rising slowly.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Thursday, March 29, 1883]

NOTES: I love the NY Times’ article for several reasons:

First, it is an excellent prelude to reading the story of “Miss Erambert of Richmond, Virginia“.  If you were travelling from Richmond to Fayetteville, and then on to Wilmington, NC by boat, the article provides a roadmap for your journey.  That it was written just 3 years prior to Miss Erambert’s adventure means that very little might have changed between the two jaunts.

Secondly, I love the unflattering, unromanticised portrayal of the towns, the boats, and the journey.  Whether intentional, or just inattention to detail, the writer’s naming of the steamer, the “General Worth” instead of her actual name, the “Governor Worth,” tells as much about the writer as it does about what he is describing.

Thirdly, the article brings to life many instances of the journey, the “lazy Susan” breakfast tables in Sanford… the landing at “Old Ferry” and loading of the rosin barrels (compare with “Andy’s journey to Wilmington [of “Andy & Nan Marie“]), and “the burning torches, the shadows of the negro deck-hands as they passed between the light and the wooded banks,…”

Old Ferry Landing” appears to be behind the old Monsanto Plant on Cedar Creek Road.

ADDENDUM [10/05/15]:  This article turned into something so much more that just an aid in understanding what river travel was like during this time.  The article only mentions the name of the groom as “David Davis” and doesn’t even mention his bride’s name.  I should have realized that the article was written by a correspondent of the New York Times.  I had thought that the writer was a guest of the wedding party and that the only reason the article had been published was as a fluff piece on travel.

When I googled “David Davis Fayetteville 1883” just recently (the first time there was nothing found about him), the results came back as Judge David Davis.  And then the info began to flood in…  Davis had been a Circuit Court Judge in Illinois and Abraham Lincoln had tried 87 cases before Davis.  Davis had only found in favor of Lincoln forty times.  But, Davis and Lincoln became friends.

David Davis became Lincoln’s Campaign Manager and was instrumental in Lincoln becoming President of the United States.  Lincoln’s third appointment, once in office, was to make David Davis an Associate Supreme Court Justice in 1862.

On the morning of President Lincoln’s assassination, Todd, his son sent a telegram to David Davis asking that he immediately come to Washington and take care of his father’s affairs.  David Davis was an executor of the Lincoln estate.

In 1877, Judge Davis resigned from the US Supreme Court and won election to the US Supreme Court from Illinois.  In 1879, Davis’ wife took ill and died.  A young family friend, Addie Burr, nursed Sarah Davis during her illness.  After Sarah’s death, David Davis and Addie Burr continued to correspond.

President James A. Garfield was elected President and soon into his term was assassinated.  Garfield’s vice president, Chester A. Arthur (a widower) became President.  This left the position of Vice President vacant, and at the time, there was no process for filling the VP position.  The US Senate elected Senator David Davis as “President Pro Tempore” which made him “Acting Vice President of the United States.”

President Arthur asked Addie Burr if she would fill the position of First Lady, but she declined.  She did not want to marry David Davis while he was in office.   Senator Davis’ senatorial term ended in early March 1883, and by mid-March 1883, he had traveled by train from Washington, DC to Fayetteville, NC and specifically, Tokay Vineyard the home of Addie Burr.  Tokay Vineyard was actually owned by Wharton J. Green and his wife was the first cousin of Addie.

After the private wedding at Tokay Vineyard, the wedding party traveled by carriage to board the Steamer D. MURCHISON, Capt. Smith.  Eventually, the newlyweds would make it back to Clover Lawn, Davis’ Victorian mansion in Bloomngton, IL.

The wife of Wharton J. Green died just a couple of months after the Davis-Burr wedding.

In 1886, David Davis took ill and died.  This left Addie Davis and Wharton J. Green both widowers.  They married in 1888.

Wharton J. Green died in 1910.  In 1911, Addie Green had a home built in the Haymount area of Fayetteville.  She lived in this home until her death in 1931.  The Tokay Vineyard home burned in 1961.

The Cape Fear River Steamers
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Posted by on April 22, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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