Capt. Irving Robinson | E. A. Hawes | Climax

05 Jun



The Hurt and Cape Fear Left on the Hillside at Fayetteville by the Receding Waters—The Latter a Total Loss.

Information was received here yesterday that disaster had befallen the two steamboats plying on the river between this city and Fayetteville.

A dispatch to the STAR received last evening gave confirmation to the report, stating that the rapidly falling waters had left the steamboats Cape Fear and Hurt high on the hillside above the water, at Fayetteville, and that both boats were considerably damaged.

Capt. W. A. Robeson, master of the steamer Hurt, and Mr. W. S. Cook, manager of the Cape Fear River Transportation Company, arrived in the city last night from Fayetteville by train on the C.F.&Y.V.R.R.  They stated that both steamboats were left on the river bank by the receding waters, that the Hurt had sustained no damage, but the Cape Fear had broken apart amidships; her boiler had rolled into the river, and that she was a complete wreck.

The Cape Fear is a wooden boat and has been running on the river many years.  She was valued at $7,500.

The Hurt has an iron hull.  If she is uninjured, as supposed, she will soon be again afloat and in service.

The cause of the disaster is said to have been due to the negligence of the watchmen in charge of the boats.  It occurred between 4 and 5 o’clock yesterday morning.

The accident is greatly deplored in Wilmington.  Both boats, with their commanders, Capt. Irving Robinson of the Cape Fear and Capt. A. W. Robeson of the Hurt, were popular with people along the river, and all others having business with them.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Tue., January 15, 1895]

— The steamship Frank Sessoms, heretofore running on Black river, left for Fayetteville yesterday at 2 p. m., with passengers and freight for that place and way-landings on the Cape Fear river.  Capt. Irvin Robinson was in command.

[Wilmington Star – January 26, 1895]

Cape Fear River Steamers.

The steamboat Frank Sessoms, from Fayetteville, arrived yesterday morning covered with ice.  Capt. Robinson says the weather Thursday night was the worst he had ever experienced.   The Killam with flat in tow, also from Fayetteville, got in later in the day.  During the gale she was driven ashore and got aground on a rice field near Navassa.

[Wilmington Star – February 9, 1895]



The Cape Fear Transportation Com-

pany Gets Control of the Black

River Steamboat Company.

The Cape Fear Transportation company, which owns the line of steamboats plying on the Cape Fear river between Wilmington and Fayetteville, on yesterday bought out the Black River Steamboat company, or rather Capt. D. J. Black, owner of the steamers Lisbon and Frank Sessoms, which run on the Cape Fear and Black rivers between Wilmington, Point Caswell and Clear Run.  Col. W. S. Cook, of Fayetteville, general manager of the Cape Fear Transportation company, came down Wednesday evening and was here when the purchase was consummated.

The Cape Fear Transportation Company owns the steamers D. Murchison and A. P. Hunt, [Hurt – misspelled] which run to Fayetteville, and the steamer E. A. Hawes, which runs to Point Caswell and Clear river.  The A. P. Hunt [Hurt – misspelled] is laid up at present, and the D. Murchison makes regular trips between here and Fayetteville.  We understand that the E. A. Hawes will continue the run up Black Run, and the Lisbon and Frank Sessoms will be laid up for the present.

Capt. Black has been steamboating for thirteen years, and is exceedingly popular with the people wherever his boats touch.  He is always genial, clever, and accommodating, and will be greatly missed.

Capt. Black had the steamer Frank Sessoms steamed up yesterday, and was taking on a cargo for Fayetteville, but when the sale was made, the fires were drawn and she was left in the hands of her new owners.

[Wilmington Messenger – July 10, 1896]

Wesley Bass, a hand on the steamer Frank Sessoms, says the Fayetteville Observer of yesterday, had his heel crushed off Thursday night at White Oak, on the Cape Fear.  He was rolling a barrel down the hill at that landing when he slipped and the barrel passed over his heel.  As the Sessoms was on her way to Wilmington, Bass was sent to Fayetteville for medical attention.

[Wilmington ? – September 5, 1896]

Meeting of Steamboat Company.

The Farmers’ and Merchants’ Steamboat Company, which operates the Steamer Driver, met Wednesday afternoon at the office of the president, Mr. Oliver Evans.  There were present Mr. Evans, president, T. D. Love of Wilmington, secretary and treasurer, and directors Jas. Evans of this city, and Messrs. Melvin and Thompson of Bladen.

The old officers were re-elected.  The president reported a very prosperous year.  It was decided to put the new boat, the Climax, on the river within two months.  It was not decided what disposition would be made of the Driver.

[Fayetteville Observer – Thursday, January 10, 1901]

The Hawes Sinks.

Col. W. S. Cook, General Manager of the Cape Fear Transportation Company, received a telegram last week telling of the loss at Wilmington of the Company’s steamer A. E. Hawes.  Col. Cook went down to Wilmington this afternoon to make an investigation.

The Messenger of Thursday of last week, speaking of the wreck, says:

This morning about 3 o’clock, the steamer E. A. Hawes, while lying at her wharf at the foot of Chestnut street, met with a peculiar mishap.  While her crew was asleep on board they were awakened by the lurching of the boat and they immediately rushed out on deck to find that the boat was filling with water and was going down.  Before they could all get off on the wharf, she keeled over, with her house and deck out towards the channel.  The pilot did not get off in time, but he swam to the wharf and was pulled ashore by the assistance of others of the crew.

When the steamer keeled over on her side, her boiler pitched from its station out of the boat and went to the bottom of the river.  The cargo of cotton seed and over 300 barrels of rosin also went overboard and floated away or sank.

The crew consisted of ten men, including Captain Irvin Robinson, Mr. Frank Creel, the engineer, and eight deck hands.  It is marvelous how they all escaped, when the accident occurred at the unusual hour it did.

The cause of the accident is not known, but it is supposed that the steamer sprang a leak and filled with water, causing her to lose her balance.


The Sinking of the Steamer Hawes.

Col. Cook returned Friday night from Wilmington, where he went to investigate the sinking of the steamer Hawes.  He made arrangements to have the boat raised and the boiler recovered from the bottom of the river.

The Wilmington Messenger of Thursday says:

The cause of the sinking of the steamer E. A. Hawes, which went down at her wharf at the foot of Chestnut street yesterday morning at 3 o’clock, was not ascertained yesterday, as the vessel is still under water and no examination of her hull could be made.  Negotiations are pending and the vessel will probably be up-righted today and the boiler fished up from the bottom of the river.

Mr. Frank Creel, the engineer, was the first to discover that the vessel was sinking and gave the alarm to the ten people on board.  All hands were asleep.  Mr. Creel was awakened by a noise as if steam was being gotten up.  He laid still, thinking the fireman had started his fire, but in a few minutes a peculiar noise caused him to get up and go into the boiler room.  He found the vessel filling rapidly with water and he at once alarmed everybody on board.

All hands hurried off, as the vessel was then going down.  Captain Irvin Robinson, Mr. Creel and the colored cook, a woman, were the only ones who got ashore without getting wet.  The seven other members of the crew, all negroes, had attempted to get off at one end of the steamer, but could not do so and had to walk clear around the guard rail to the other side.  Before they could get off the vessel lurched and carried all of them into the water.  They swam to the wharf and luckily all escaped.

[Fayetteville Observer – January 17, 1901]

The Steamer Climax Burned.

A telegram was received here early Saturday morning from Mr. T. D. Love, agent at Wilmington of the Peoples’ Steamboat Company, saying that the steamer Climax was destroyed by fire.

The Climax was built at Wilmington and was only recently launched.  The machinery for her had been ordered several months ago and it was expected to place it in her during next week.

Mr. Oliver Evans, of this city, who is president of the Peoples’ Steamboat Company informs us that the Climax was insured for $3,000 – less than two-thirds her cost.  The machinery which has been ordered will, of course, have to be disposed of at a sacrifice, unless the company decides to build another boat.

This boat was built for the run between Fayetteville and Wilmington to supplement the steamer Driver of the same company.

[Fayetteville Observer – May 16, 1901]

Adjusted Satisfactorily.

Mr. Oliver Evans, President of the Farmers and Merchants Steamboat Company returned last Friday from Wilmington, where he has been on business connected with the burning of the Climax, the new steamer of his company.  The insurance was adjusted satisfactorily, but the company is as yet undecided whether to build another boat or not.

[Fayetteville Observer – May 23, 1901]



Between Three Boat Lines.


The three steamboat lines that ply the Cape Fear between Fayetteville and Wilmington, to-wit:  The Cape Fear and Peoples Company, of which Col. W. S. Cook is General Manager, which owns the Hurt and Hawes; The Merchants & Farmers Steamboat Company, of which Mr. Oliver Evans is President, which owns the Highlander and Driver; and The Fayetteville and Wilmington Steamboat Company, which owns the “City of Fayetteville,” of which Mr. A. A. Lisman is President, and Mr. E. W. Cooke General Manager, have formed a traffic arrangement; and Col. W. S. Cook has been made the agent at Fayetteville, and Mr. T. D. Love the agent at Wilmington for the three lines.

There was a meeting Friday of the stockholders of the Fayetteville and Wilmington Steamboat Company, at which the following stockholders were present:  Messrs. H. W. Lilly, W. L. Holt, W. M. Morgan, R. P. Gray, A. A. Lisman, S. H. MacRae, L. A. Williamson, E. H. Williamson and E. W. Cooke.

The meeting was for the purpose of reviewing the financial condition of the company, and to take preliminary steps for the operation of the line, pending the annual meeting of stockholders in February.

Under the new arrangement all the boats of the several lines will use the splendid new wharf of the Fayetteville and Wilmington Steamboat Company.

[Fayetteville Observer – Thursday, January 15, 1903]


Captain Irvin Robinson

Captain Irving Robinson (Courtesy Bladen County Library via Neill Lindsay.)

Captain Irving Robinson (Courtesy Bladen County Library via Neill Lindsay.)

Grave marker, online.  His wife’s marker is also online (listed as Mary Irving Robinson).  His father, Heman Harwood Robinson’s marker (Oakdale Cemetery, Wilmington, NC) is also online.  *Heman Harwood Robinson Ancestry (PDF).

The Cape Fear River Steamers

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Posted by on June 5, 2009 in Uncategorized


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