Camera Obscura 1873-74

24 Apr

NOTES: The following chronological articles provide connective tissue.

IMPROVEMENT.– Capt. A. P. Hurt has refitted his store, on Hay St., very tastefully, and now has on hand a large and complete stock of boots and shoes.


ON THE CAPE FEAR.– We paid a business visit to Wilmington this week.  After we boarded the ” Hurt,” M. J. McSween, Esq., of the Eagle, came alongside.  When Capt. Worth saw we were both going to Wilmington, he seemed to be very much worried and troubled in his mind.  He asked us what we wanted to go for any way, and then he said a steam-boat captain’s life was a hard, hard, unsatisfactory one, and that he almost felt as if he could leap over into the cold, cold waves, and end his sorrows in a watery grave.  He told the passengers not to be uneasy – that he would not allow us to annoy or injure them; and then he directed the engineer if he found the boat getting too full of gas and steam, to put her nozzle to the shore, and hold her there until we got off.  But, we did not create much disturbance.  We asked a great many questions —  enough to make us very wise, if we should remember the answers to one-half of them —  and we interviewed a great many people on the subject of Jay Cooke and the Balloon and the crops.

The accounts from the crops all along the river are very generally the same for all sections:  Cotton badly damaged by heavy rains – not only cut short in quantity, but injured in staple – and a good deal of low land corn swept away by recent freshets.  A portion of the hay has been lost, and some fodder; but a large quantity, of very fine quality, has been harvested.  Farther away from the river grain is very favorable, and farmers will secure a more bountiful harvest than for several years.  We secured a good many new subscribers on the boat, at the landings along the Cape Fear, and in Wilmington; and every where our innate modesty was put to a severe test by hearing the GAZETTE spoken of in terms of the highest praise.  Many business men in the city of Wilmington declared it to be the best weekly newspaper in North Carolina, and subscribed for it for the benefit of their families.

Our trip was very pleasant; the ” Hurt ” is one of the best steamers on the river, and her commander, Capt. A. H. Worth, has no superior any where as a captain.  Ever watchful of the interests of his company, he omits nowhere the slightest iota of duty; is cautious, cool and deliberate; and gives passengers a feeling of security by the ability with which all his orders are given, and the promptitude with which they are executed.  Nothing is left undone which can add to the comfort of travelers, and render the ride from Fayetteville pleasant.

[North Carolina Gazette – September 25, 1873]

COLUMBUS COUNTY AND THE LOWER CAPE FEAR.- Last Monday, 22nd September, we left here for Superior Court at Whiteville, Columbus county.  We went down the river on the steamer Hurt, which is now in charge of Capt. A. H. Worth, one of the most gentlemanly and obliging captains that has ever been on our river.  He understands his business well and is a favorite with the people along the river.

Through freight and travel between Fayetteville and Wilmington is not so large now as formerly, but way freight and travel have increased.  For the whole 112 miles of river and country fro several miles on each side, the merchants, farmers and people have no other way of shipment or channel of trade except these river steamers.  At all the landings freight is put on or off once or twice a week or oftener.  Each steamer gets from one to a dozen passengers each trip at way stations.  Very often, too, there is a large number of through passengers.  At least 50 turpentine stills and 50 country stores along in this river country ship by these steamboats.  Freight charges have increased somewhat too since the steamboat lines have been consolidated.  Nearly all the rosin, spirits and cotton bought in the Fayetteville market are sent by the boats.

There are now eight steamboats on this river running to Fayetteville and owned by Fayetteville men, viz:  the Hurt, North State, Murchison, Governor Worth, Wave, Lee, Cumberland and Juniper.  The last two are now undergoing repairs and will not be running for a few weeks.  Heavy groceries for this town and vicinity still come by the boats, but most of Fayetteville goods and travel is now by the railroad to Raleigh and North.  Merchants here who are large stockholders in the boats ship by the river, and the freight by this route is said to be cheaper but takes one or two days longer.

These eight steamers cost $150,000 or more, averaging near $20,000 apiece.  Some of them cost $30,000 while others cost $12,000.  The boats make each two trips a week from Fayetteville and back at a cost of $75 to $100 per trip.  The time usually 12 to 16 hours from here to Wilmington, 112 miles, and fare $4, including bed-room and meals.  Altogether this is the most delightful and cheap route of travel in North Carolina or in the Southern country.  The boat officers are very polite and the table fare is good.

Columbus county is low and swampy and thinly settled.  The recent immense rains have flooded the country… {The majority of the rest of the article is about Columbus county, Whiteville, its people, businesses, Scuppernong wine, politics, and railroads, etc.}

We came up Thursday evening on the steamer North State, Capt. T. J. Green commanding, and there is not a more pleasant boat on the river.  It has most obliging officers and certainly affords first rate accommodations of every kind.  To pass off the time we beat an influential Methodist friend of ours the best two out of three at euchre.

[The Eagle – Fayetteville, NC – Semi-Weekly –  Saturday, September 27, 1873]

STEAMBOAT ACCIDENT.– The Steamer Hurt, Capt. Worth, was detained an hour or two at her wharf, by a portion of the stove pipe blowing out.  The accident amounted to nothing — very little damage and a short detention — but a negro hand became very much frightened, and jumped into the river.

[North Carolina Gazette – Second Edition – Thursday, February 26, 1874]

” NORTH STATE.” — Mr. J. A. Worth, Agent of the Cape Fear Steamboat Company, invited us last Saturday to make a visit to the Steamer  “North State,” recently overhauled and refitted, and a small party of us were carried on a trial trip down the river.  The steamer runs well, as she made on that occasion six miles in 28 minutes.  The “North State” is very comfortably furnished, her ladies’ cabin tastefully fitted up, and with her kind and efficient master, Capt. Green, she will be one of the pleasantest boats on the river.  She now takes the place of the ” Hurt,” which rests for a while for repainting, &c.

[North Carolina Gazette – First Edition – April 23, 1874]

THE ” HURT.” — The steamer A. P. Hurt, Capt. A. H. Worth, always one of the best boats on the river, has recently been undergoing a general refitting and repainting, under the superintendence of Mr. Lewis Worth, a genuine artist in the work.  With her red, white and green blending of colors, the steamer is a beauty; and her accommodations and comforts are not inferior to her appearance.  She made a short trial trip down the river last Saturday evening, giving perfect satisfaction.

[North Carolina Gazette – Second Edition – May 14, 1874]

The Steamer Governor Worth.

We learn that the steamer Governor Worth, now at Fayetteville for repairs, is being thoroughly overhauled and remodeled, with the view of adapting her to the purpose of excursions on the river; not with the intention, however, of course, of confining her to that business altogether.  She will be furnished with new beams from stem to stern, new upper works, and new wheels, the latter to be constructed so as to give them about eight inches more dip than those now in use, with the view of increasing her capacity for speed.  The steamer Juniper will take up a lot of lumber to-day, to be used in the work of reconstruction, and when the Worth again makes her appearance in our waters, which will probably be about the 1st of July, at the furthest, we may expect to see a wonderful improvement in her appearance, as well as in her adaptability to the purpose for which she will be in part used-that is, excursions.

[Wilmington Morning Star – May 15, 1874]

STEAMBOAT EXCURSION.- The Baptist Sunday School, Superintendents, teachers, pupils and guests, indulged in a pleasant pic-nic excursion down the Cape Fear to Cedar Creek, on yesterday.  The safe, commodious and comfortable Steamer, “A. P. Hurt,” Capt. Worth, was engaged for the occasion, and the trip was greatly enjoyed.

[North Carolina Gazette – Second Edition – May 28, 1874]

A PRIVATE excursion party went down the river yesterday to Owen Hill, Bladen county, of young ladies and gentlemen.  Dancing on the boat was one feature of the occasion.  Many of our young people went, and we hope they will have rare excitement on their trip.

[The Eagle – June 11, 1874]

RIVER PICNIC AND EXCURSION.- A party of ladies and gentlemen, married and unmarried, fled from the hot brick walls and the sultry summer atmosphere of Fayetteville yesterday evening; and, with many a choicely freighted basket, took refuge on the pleasant, nicely fitted up ” Str. Hurt,” which conveyed them down the river thirty-four miles to Owen Hill, where they were received by Mr. C. P. Mallett.  The party were conducted to his residence where a picnic supper, dancing, &c., were the amusements nearly all night.  The return trip was then commenced, the steamer making the wharf about 5 o’clock.

Owen Hill is a beautiful country mansion, the former residence of Col. Guion, with grand old staircases, spacious rooms, and cool, airy piazzas; it is situated on a splendid elevation, overlooking the Cape Fear, is surrounded by lovely grounds, and is approached by a broad, smooth, shaded avenue.  Several gentlemen and fair ladies from the neighborhood made a very pleasant addition to the party, and the genial, hospitable lady and gentleman, of whom the excursionists were the guest, added much to the pleasure of the occasion.

The down and up rides on the river were delightful; the promenaders who thronged the avenue in slow-moving, soft-whispering couples, seemed to be at the acme of human felicity – to us, who sat and smoked and nodded on the front porch; the torch-light procession of a long cavalcade arm in arm, over bridge, hill and ravine, on the way to the boat at 1 o’clock at night, was conducted with great mirth and hilarity; Capt. Worth, by his politeness and watchful care, is the very captain for an excursion; and the party unanimously pronounced the pic-nic the pleasantest recreation of the season.

The dawn, which found the party on the river, lifted the pall of darkness and replaced with the gray, misty veil of uncertain day over forest and rushing stream, and its increasing light found no listless pallor on fair cheeks, but a good deal of sleepiness on heavy eyelids and in nodding heads.  The most of those excursionists won’t read this paper till supper-time.

[North Carolina Gazette – Second Edition – June 11, 1874]

—  The steamer D. Murchison, which has been laid up at Fayetteville for the past six weeks, undergoing repairs, will resume her trips on Tuesday evening next.

[Wilmington Star – June 14, 1874]

THE STEAMER MURCHISON.- Capt. Garrison’s splendid steamer, the Murchison, has recently been receiving some very handsome improvements; and last Saturday afternoon Capt. A. B. Williams, with a small company of ladies and gentlemen , visited the Murchison at her wharf, and were carried down the river about fifteen miles, on a short trial trip.  The LaFayette Cornet Band were among the invited guests, and gave sweet music during the ride, and also for a dance on the lower deck.  The ladies and gentlemen were full of life and gaiety, refreshments were served, and the excursion, though short, was delightful.  The Murchison is now in capital trim, and, with her popular commander, offers every comfort and facility for a journey down the Cape Fear.

[North Carolina Gazette – Second Edition – June 18, 1874]

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