CFRS WDOTCF Essence : 1870 – 79

28 Jun

Boats and Navigation on the

Cape Fear River.


Our river transportation is becoming more active and extensive.  This, with the continued large production of Naval Stores, and the very large increase in cotton farming, shows plainly that the substantial business of this section is improving.  The Cape Fear Navigation Company now reorganized is to open out the river, and keep it in better navigable order.

There are now two new boats building, another in contemplation, three lines of steamers, and three other separate boats, as follows:  The Cape Fear Steamboat Company have two boats, the Hurt, run by Capt. Sam. W. Skinner, and the Gov. Worth, run by Capt. A. P. Hurt.  The Hurt makes two trips to Wilmington a week and the Gov Worth about three trips in two weeks—both excellent boats for passengers and freight.  This company embraces the Messrs. Worth, Lilly, Hurt and others.

The Express Steam boat Company have two boats, each making two trips a week, the R. E. Lee, run by Capt. Wm. Skinner, and the D. Murchison run by Capt. A. Garrison.  Both are new and fast going steamers and do a large business.  This company embraces Messrs. Williams, Murchison, Lutterloh, &c., we believe.  The Peoples’ Line is a new company recently organized embracing F. W. Kerchner, Adrian & Vollers, Smith & Strauss, W. A. Whitehead & Co.  Capt. T. J. Green and others, as we learn.  This company has the Marion run by Capt. Phillips, and which was formerly owned by the Messrs Mallet, Capt. T. J. Green, formerly of the R. E. Lee, is superintending the business of the company, and they are building a new boat at Fayetteville, which is expected to be in use by May next.  The capacity of this new steamer will be about 700 bbls. and 36 passengers, and will be some larger than the Hurt.

The People’s Line Company (capital of $25,000) expect to build another boat during the year perhaps, and with the three, they may accept mail contract and also connect with the Rail Road, both ways, three times a week.

The Juniper also a light new boat is run by Capt. A. Worth, but not on regular schedule.  This boat is owned and used by the Messrs. Bullard, Willard Bros. & c., and some week or two ago went up to Averasboro during a freshet, and received there a heavy load of naval stores, and could not return until the freshet yesterday.  The Halcyon has been repaired and is again on her regular trips, run by Capt R M Orrell.  There has been some proposition by the People’s Line to purchase this steamer.  The Orrell, a light boat is in damaged condition, and we hear is to be repaired and used for freight transportation—perhaps above Fayetteville.

Capt. Samuel W. Skinner is also building a small light steamer, the Little Sam, for use as we hear, on Waccamaw river to Georgetown in S. C.  It will be finished in a few weeks.

Thus we see there are seven steamers actively and profitably engaged in our business now—half of them new and all in good condition, besides three more to be in use on the river during the year.  With such facilities for cheap water transportation, Fayetteville can certainly receive the products of central North Carolina and furnish supplies in return, on better terms, than any other town in the state.  We think arrangements might be made soon for travelers from Raleigh to Wilmington to come this way and spend the night on the boats—all within 24 hours either way, and for eight or ten dollars.

[The Eagle – Thursday, January 20, 1870]




WILL run the following Schedule between Fayetteville and Wilmington:

The New Iron Steamer DUNCAN MURCHISON, Capt. ALONZO GARRISON, will leave Fayetteville at 8 o’clock A. M. every Tuesday and Friday.  Returning, leave Wilmington every Wednesday and Saturday, at 2 o’clock P. M.

The Steamer ROBERT E. LEE, Capt. WILLIAM SKINNER, will leave Fayetteville at 8 o’clock A. M. every Wednesday and Saturday.  Returning, leave Wilmington every Monday and Thursday, at 2 o’clock P. M.

The EXPRESS STEAMBOAT COMPANY offers to the public both security and comfort in the above Boats, and asks for a share of the travel on the Cape Fear.

J. D. WILLIAMS & CO.                                                         Agents, Fayetteville, N. C.

WILLIAMS & MURCHISON,                                           Agents, Wilmington, N. C.

The Eagle – Thursday, February 24, 1870]

Correspondence of the Eagle.


Old “Squi Bob” is now afloat again after a retirement of nearly two years—still his vigor is the same, tho’ oft repeated misfortunes have befallen him in his peregrinations in this elaborately curled up world of ours—which a man of more nerve and determination would have “caved in under.”  I must here tell you what a terrible mishap befell that trusty old friend of mine the Carpet Bag, just on the point of my leaving that always happy and desirable place which you know nothing about –home.

You know when any great personage is making his extensive arrangements for a long journey, there is a great amount of assorting, packing, sewing on buttons, starching collars, darning socks, which causes a great deal of excitement and bustle about the house.  All know just what you want and must get it for you and it finally proves to be the very thing you do not want.  But all both great and small must have something to do with packing.  Squi’s little daughter who is very smart, willing and anxious to lend a helping hand, must volunteer her services to bring the said carpet bag, partly filled down from the second story, when lo!  Such a rumbling, tumbling and tearing away as was heard.—When Squi looked around to discover the cause of this tumultuous uproar, here came daughter, carpet bag, collars, cravats, socks, combs, unmentionables all in glorious confusion.  Sometimes carpet bag “top rail,” then daughter “top rail,” and when all reached the lower floor you could hardly have told daughter from the other dry goods, so perfect was the mixture.  The result was carpet bag mashed—stove in—lock gone and a goose egg protuberance on said daughter’s head.

I can assure you, your ‘old friend “Squi” felt his breath pass easier when the extent of the catastrophe was ascertained, because this little individual is the only female boy of any #iz# “Squi” ###.

It was a dark and stormy morning the clouds were low and murky.  The winds blew cold and bleak, the mud was very soft and deep, when your humble correspondent left the town of magnificent distances with all the valuables which years of toil and anxiety had placed under kind protection, upon one of those vehicles which transport merchandise to and from the town, just one mile from the river, and myself upon another with a small box 2 by 3 that contained slight mementoes to friends in “furren lands.”

The Capt. of the D. Murchison had been waiting for my august body ever since the day before, and it would have done your soul good to have seen that kind and genial smile which pervaded his countenance as he saw me drive down to the gang plank with my beautiful caparisoned steed and equipments.

He says, “Squire,” I am very glad to see you, for we have been anxiously waiting for you.  At the same time he remarked, I suppose you intend taking a long trip by the magnitude of your baggage.  This I thought a gratuitous compliment therefore paid no attention to it.

We are now off, and down the Cape Fear we are speeding our way towards the sea.  While it is cold without, we are comfortable within this snug and coy little cabin.  Old Sol keeps his face in obscurity for the present so that when he shall conclude to cast upon us his effulgent rays, we may, more fully appreciate his revivifying power.

There is nothing of interest, which I have seen in our voyage but what all of your readers have heard and seen before, still all have views different from each other that an interchange might produce some good result.

In passing along this river, all I have no doubt, have noticed the large amount of marl which has lain in its present bed for thousands of years and may continue so to do thousands of years more, if the hand of men should not be raised to take it from its present resting place.  Those that are good judges have pronounced some of these marls equal to the “Green sands” of New Jersey.  This being the case why not dig them and apply them to the lands along the Cape Fear, in preference to paying the exorbitant prices asked for imported and domestic manipulated fertilizers.  Some of which have a good portion of snuff colored clay found in almost inexhaustible quantities in the New England States and Pennsylvania mixed with them.

These marls could be easily transported on flats up and down the river at a small cost.  And when prudently applied to land after being composted, for years cotton and corn are stimulated by them to produce abundant yields and no deleterious effects remain after their stimulating qualities are gone.

Night approaches and I must put up paper and pencil for the very agreeable task of destroying a few refreshments prepared by our hospitable captain.  Yours, SQUI BOB.

[The Eagle – Thursday February 24, 1870]

–Says the Eagle: A dangerous collision with two of our steamboats occurred last Friday evening, the 4th inst., some 20 miles above Wilmington.  The Steamer D. Murchison going down the river, while turning one of the short curves in that part of the river, ran into the Gov. Worth which was coming up.  The Worth has side wheels and one of these was completely crushed and disabled, and the adjoining upper portions of the boat were badly damaged.  A negro woman on the lower deck of the Worth was severely and perhaps fatally wounded.  Fortunately the Worth was not damaged below the water’s edge, and by the use of one wheel reached Fayetteville Saturday evening.  The Murchison was not seriously hurt.  The Gov. Worth is now being repaired and will be on duty again perhaps in a month.

[Wilmington Star – March 12, 1870]

NEW BOAT LAUNCHED. – From the Eagle we learn that the new boat now being constructed at Fayetteville for the People’s Line was launched last Tuesday.  Some of the machinery has arrived, and the cabins and upper deck, &c., will soon be finished, and then we will have another splendid steamer for passengers and freight on the Cape Fear – 8 boats in all.  The name of the new boat is not yet announced.

[Wilmington Star – April 2, 1870]

STEAMER D. MURCHISON. – The Steamer D. Murchison came in on a flying trip from Fayetteville, having left that place at 7:04 A. M., and reached Wilmington at 4:08 P. M.;  making the trip in nine hours and five minutes, including two stoppages.  The late fast trip of the A. P. Hurt was made in nine hours and forty-five minutes, including four stoppages.—There is evidently but little difference in the trips; but we think the Murchison has the advantage by a few minutes.

There is no telling what our Fayetteville boats may accomplish.  Soon, no doubt, passengers will take breakfast in Fayetteville, and dinner in Wilmington.

For the benefit of parties at a distance we will add that the distance from Fayetteville to Wilmington, by river, is 120 miles.

[Wilmington Star – April 6, 1870]

—–We regret to learn that Mrs. Morgiana C. Hurt, wife of Capt. A. P. Hurt, of the steamer Gov. Worth, died in Fayetteville on Monday last, aged 50 years.  Mrs. H. was a daughter of the late Henry Erambert, of Fayetteville.

[Wilmington Star – May 6, 1870]


FRIDAY, May 27.

—  We learn that the North State, the new steamer for the Peoples’ Line, is expected to commence her regular trips on the river in a few days.  Her boiler is now undergoing the process of covering with Captain Brain’s Non-Conductor.  Capt. T. J. Green, formerly of the North Carolina, Lee and Murchison, will, we understand, take command of the North State.

[Wilmington Star – May 28, 1870]

— The venerable Capt. Hurt has retired from the command of the Gov. Worth, with the intention, we learn, of permanently abandoning active life upon the Cape Fear.  He is succeeded in command of the above steamer by Capt. Albert H. Worth.  Capt. Hurt, we hear it stated, will hereafter devote his attention to the work of improving the navigation of the river, which is being carried on under the auspices of the Cape Fear Navigation Company.

[ ? – May 28, 1870]

The New Steamer.

Yesterday the new steamer for the “People’s Line,” the North State, glided gaily into our waters for the first time.  Immediately upon her arrival a large number of our citizens repaired on board to take a look at the beautiful steamer, and she was pronounced on all hands to be a most magnificent craft, provided with excellent arrangements for the convenience and accommodation of passengers.  A personal inspection of her various apartments convinced us that the high encomiums passed upon her were by no means extravagant, but fully warranted.

The North State was built at Fayetteville, under the immediate supervision of Capt. Thos. J. Green, her polite and accommodating commander.  The carpenter’s work was done under the superintendence of Mr. A. G. Black, Master Carpenter, a skillful and experienced workman, and the painting by Mr. Thomas Wright, an adept at his business.  In dimensions she is 118 feet in length, 18 feet breadth of beam and 5 feet depth of hole, has a carrying capacity equal to 800 barrels of naval stores, and accommodations for 36 passengers.  She has two inclined engines of 13 inches bore and 5 feet stroke.  The ladies’ cabin contains 12 berths, and the gentlemen’s the same number; besides which there are two state rooms containing double berths, convenient for ladies or for small families.  These state rooms are so constructed as to be made strictly private and communicate with the ladies’ cabin, which is neatly arranged, and handsomely furnished and carpeted.  There are also two state rooms for gentlemen, opening from the outside, a gentlemen’s sitting room and other conveniences.

Her boiler, pipes, &c., are being covered with the “Non-Conducter,” manufactured by a company in Norfolk, of which Capt. John C. Brain is President.  All the different apartments have an air of comfort and elegance which is really charming, and when another coat of paint is added, the windows properly curtained and other little necessary touches placed upon her, which will be done without delay, the North State will be one of the handsomest steamers that floats upon the Cape Fear.

We congratulate the People’s Steamboat Company upon this new and beautiful accession to their line, and also Capt. Green, who has cause to feel proud of the noble and majestic craft that “Walks the waters like a thing of life.”

[Wilmington Star – June 8, 1870]

THE STEAMER “ NORTH STATE ” returned from her trial trip and excursion to Wilmington last Friday, 10th inst., and all concerned were well pleased at her success.  She carried a large freight to and from Wilmington also several passengers and excursionists.  On Thursday the proprietors of the new boat gave a brilliant entertainment, when champagne #### and many good things were said and enjoyed.

The North State is not yet announced on a regular schedule, but we learn she is to make regular trips.  She will carry freight and passengers.— Another boat is to be built for the People’s Line resigned for freight and then the North State can be a regular passenger boat with quicker trips.

The North State cost about $12,000, and displays as good workmanship and skill as any boat built at Fayetteville heretofore.  Her furniture cost $950, and not yet complete.  Fine walnut bureaus, tables, cup-boards, &c., with ornamental window lights, and fine carpeted saloons, mirrors, &c., fill the apartments of the upper deck, and impress you with an idea of comfort, luxury and splendor.  The boat can carry 700 or 800 bbls. of naval stores or proportionate amount of other freight.  The stockholders of the People’s Line are Capt. J T Green, W A. Whitehead & Co., A H Slocomb and A W Steele of Fayetteville; and F W Kerchner, Adrian & Vollers, Smith & Strauss of Wilmington.  Some others may own small amount of stock.


ANOTHER SUNDAY SCHOOL EXCURSION (of the children of the Baptist church here) went down the river yesterday in the Steamer HURT.  About 100 of the scholars turned out under charge of Capt. J. F. Marsh, the Supt., and with a number of ladies and gentlemen left on the steamer about 10 ½ A. M. and reached Cedar Creek, 12 miles, by noon, where they landed.—The clouds had cleared away and the day was beautiful, and the scenery cheering.  The party retired to the Baptist Church near the landing, and enjoyed a most sumptuous and bounty- which they had brought in baskets.—The excursionists remained some three hours, much of which time was devoted to singing sacred music by the large crowd.  About 3 ½ P. M. they left the oak groves, cool springs and scenes of this pleasant visit and returned home, arriving here all save and happy by 4 ½ P. M.

[The Eagle – Thursday, June 16, 1870]

We are glad to learn that the new iron steamer Wave, for the People’s Line, has just been completed, and was to have left Norfolk, Va., on Saturday.  Three more iron steamers are in the course of construction in that city for the same line, and when they are completed will form a daily line between Augusta and Savannah.

The river measured four feet and nine inches at the toll-bridge yesterday.

[DAILY CHRONICLE & SENTINEL – Augusta, GA — July 14, 1870]

A New Steamer.

We were informed yesterday that the new boat in course of construction at Fayetteville, for the “People’s Line,” is rapidaly approaching completion.  The hull has been finished and work commenced on the cabin.  It is estimated that she will be ready for launching by the second week in December.  She is very strongly built and it is said that she will be the best wooden boat ever built on the river.  She will be furnished with new machinery out and out and her speed is expected to equal any boat on the Cape Fear.  Her dimensions are 115 feet long and 20 feet beam, with a capacity of between six and seven hundred barrels.  She will also be provided with excellent cabin accommodations.  Capt. Kenan Phillips will command the new boat.

[Wilmington Star – August 25, 1870]

THE STEAMER GOVERNOR WORTH is not just now engaged in the river shipping.  This elegant boat, the largest on our river, has been at our wharf some time undergoing slight repairs, painting, &c.  The boat belongs to the Cape Fear Company, and we learn negotiations are pending to sell or lease it to parties for use between Savannah and Florida.  Terms are not yet confirmed, but is very probably that in a month the Gov. Worth will be transferred to the inland trade along the coast of Georgia and Florida.  The boat, fixtures, furniture, &c., cost $40,000, some four years ago when prices were higher than now.  $30,000 might be fair value for this boat now, after 4 years use, though all the machinery, materials, &c., is no doubt as good as new. —  Well made boats built at the North with best material and workmanship, like the Gov. Worth, last 20 years or more.  Boats built here at half this expense but seldom last half as long.


THE CAPE FEAR NAVIGATION COMPANY now represented by and chiefly owned by two steamboat companies, is operating in our river and making thorough improvements.  Some 10 or 20 hands and three large flats or lighters, with axes, chains, saws, hooks, &c., have been actively at work for two or three months.  They cut out stumps, logs, snags and obstructions, and remove threes projecting across or into the river from the banks.  Large logs and pieces of timber sunk to the bottom, also trees with roots or limbs are carried down in freshets, and when the changing channel shifts or washes out for itself a new course, these timbers become exposed, perhaps across the new channel, or, one end by some means may become elevated with the other embedded in the sand and thus present dangerous snags and obstructions.  Our river being lined with forests, and as vast quantities of timber are transported by it to market, the work of keeping navigation open in a changing sandy channel is no easy task.

The Navigation Company have been able to do but little to the river for several years, and every boat has had to “paddle its own canoe,” and no tolls have been collected recently.  Many years ago this company was chartered with a number of individual stockholders, while the State was the largest stock holder.  The State gave its interest to the Literary Board.  Since the war the Literary Board sold its interest to the Express Steamboat Company and the Cape Fear Steamboat Company.  These companies have bought also individual stock, so they now have a large majority of the stock.  These two companies by authority of the charter of the Navigation Company are at work, and their designed improvements are nearly completed.

The Company will now charge tolls on all boats on the river.  Boats not owning interest in the Navigation Company may dispute the payment of tolls, and claim a lapse or forfeiture of charter for non-performance of conditions.  But the rights secured by special charter are not easily denied, and positive proof and much direct damage, and perhaps a perversion of the charter, will probably be necessary to show cause for forfeiture of the charger.  The river has been navigated all the while, and perhaps not much damage has actually resulted to boats.  The present representatives of the Navigation Company have done work and entitled themselves to get pay for it, and thus keep the charter in full effect.  So the only question, it seems, would be whether their predecessors had kept the charter in full effect.

But legislation can yet be amended and enlarged on the subject. — Any how, tolls or no tolls, monopolies or what else, we hope a responsible party will have the duty of keeping the river in good navigable order.  All logs, obstructions from land slides, &c., have been removed for a distance of 15 miles from Fayetteville, and from there the most dangerous snags, timbers, &c., are out, down to a few miles below Elisabethtown.

The workmen are there now, and will move on with the work until the high winter water will stop them.  It is thought the entire work can be finished up thoroughly during the low water season next summer.  It is intended to erect jettees or low side-dams at a few shallow or shoaly places, and thus increase or collect more volume of water in the main channel.  Piling, of long plank or poles, driven in a line edge to edge, or else rock piled up, serve as the dams.  In removal of logs, as at present, they are pulled up so as to be cut or sawed, and then put singly or in small piles on the ground at the water’s edge, and long stakes are driven firmly in the ground on each side of the log with the tops of the stakes crossing or lapping over them.  Holes are bored through stake and log and both pinned together.  This is necessary to keep logs from floating back into the river, and it is less expensive than to carry them far out on land.  Capt. A P Hurt was first in charge of this work, but he has decided to quit river life, is disposing of his boat interest and preparing for other business, and Capt Jack Evans is now carrying on the Navigation work.  The cost of material, tools and implements for the work was about $6,000, besides the expense of 10 to 20 hands, and the constant purchase and repair of tools, &c.

[The Eagle – Thursday, October 6, 1870]

We learn from the EAGLE that the steamer which has been building in Fayetteville for the People’s Line and heretofore referred to by us, was launched last Tuesday evening.  The new steamer is to be called THE CUMBERLAND, and to be run by Capt. Kinnon Phillips.  This boat is 115 feet long, 20 feet wide in the hold, and 26 feet on lower deck, and can carry 800 barrels.  The machinery is not yet put in, but is to be all new and of the best.  The upper decks, rooms, etc., are not yet finished.  It is expected all the work will be done in a month or less.  Mr. A. G. Black, of Fayetteville, is the builder, and very well has he done his work.  THE CUMBERLAND will be about same size, shape, capacity and accommodations as the NORTH STATE, and will carry freight and passengers.  At present only the hull and unfinished decks and sides lie floating easily on the water.

[Wilmington Star – December 17, 1870 BRC]

At a meeting of the People’s Steamboat Company, held at their office in this city, Mr. F. W. Kerchner was elected President, and Messrs. H. Vollers, T. H. McKoy, A. H. Slocomb and F. W. Kerchner, Directors, and A. Johnson, Jr., Secretary and Treasurer.

This Company will have the elegant and commodious steamer CUMBERLAND, now building in Fayetteville, on the line by the 20th of the present month.

[Wilmington Star – February 1, 1871 BRC]

Good Time on the Cumberland.

In accordance with an invitation extended by the People’s Steamboat Company, a large number of our citizens assembled on board the new steamer Cumberland, yesterday morning, to partake of a bountiful collation prepared for the occasion.  The repast was of the most sumptuous character, being unstinted in quantity and quality, and was enjoyed to the fullest extent by those present.  After ample justice had been done to the substantials, the fluids were circulated and the success of the beautiful boat and her enterprising owners was drank in foaming bumpers of champagne.  The pleasure of the occasion was heightened by music from the band, which was stationed on the “hurricane deck” and played several beautiful airs.  Every body seemed to be well pleased with the “feast of reason and flow of soul” in which they had participated and were evidently in the humor to wish “many happy returns.”

The Cumberland, with the excursionists on board, left for Fayetteville yesterday afternoon.

[Wilmington Star – March 25, 1871]

For the Star

The Cumberland – Excursion to Fayetteville.

Left Wilmington at 5 o’clock on Friday, and was accompanied up as far as Sugar Loaf by some of Wilmington’s fairest daughters; also some of the belles of Bladen; who “pitched in” and had a gay time generally.  Danced at intervals all the way up, dancing the last set as we “tied up” at Fayetteville.  Capt. Phillips is one of the best hands to conduct such an excursion that we have ever seen, himself participating in all the amusements of the day, and “tripping the light fantastic toe” as much so as the youngest of the crowd.  He was certainly “the right man in the right place.”  He was the subject of conversation b the people of Fayetteville Saturday and Sunday, for each and every one had to tell their families and friends what a nice time we had, and what an amiable and accommodating captain we had, &c.  And now I can fully sanction one of the toasts of Mr. O. G. P., on the boat in Wilmington on Friday, viz: that the people of Fayetteville, whenever they come to Wilmington in the future, will always “Cum(by)berland,” under the immediate care of the affable Capt. Phillips.

The Cumberland is second to no boat on the river, either in speed, steadiness of movement or easiness of management, for she certainly rounds the points (and the Cape Fear is noted for its crookedness) better than any boat it has ever been our privilege to travel on in this river.

On our return trip we left Fayetteville at 8:30, and stopped at several landings and took in freight; but the most precious freight was that which we took in at Sugar Loaf – in the shape of the fair ladies (or a portion of them) whom we had left on our upward trip – all save one, who lives there and had gone up with us, and she, as the boat left, could only wave us an adieu with her handkerchief.  She was what might be termed the “Bladen belle.”  She has our best wishes.

[Wilmington Star – March 29, 1871]

—  The new Steamer Cumberland made good time to-day.  She left Fayetteville at 7 o’clock and reached her wharf in Wilmington at half past 5 o’clock, stopping one hour and 48 minutes on the way.  Actual running time 8 hours and 52 minutes.

[Wilmington Star – March 31, 1871]

A COLLISION.—The Steamer A. P. Hurt, on her way from this town to Wilmington, and the Steamer R. E. Lee, on her way from Wilmington to this place, collided at a point about 25 miles from Wilmington, on Monday evening.  But little damage was done to either steamer, both having made their trips as usual.

[The Eagle – Fayetteville, N. C. – Thursday, May 11, 1871]


Yesterday evening, about 8 ½ o’clock, as the steamer Cumberland was on her downward trip, and when about six miles from this city, one of her cranks suddenly gave way, causing the piston to carry away both heads of the port engine, rendering it entirely useless, and causing a delay of about one hour and a half in reaching the city.  Capt. Phillips informs us that the engine is an entire wreck and the steamer will probably be laid in for repairs about four or six weeks.  The accident is entirely attributable to imperfect work in building the machinery, a flaw being plainly perceptible in the crank where the breakage took place.  The accident resulted in no injury to any one, beyond a slight scald one of the men received on his arm, though of course a little commotion was caused at first before the extent of the injury was ascertained.

[Wilmington Star – June 16, 1871]



Fayetteville and Wilmington.

(120 Miles by River.)


Leave Fayetteville at 7 A. M., arrive at Wilmington same day at 7 to 10 P. M., (except that Steamers of People’s Line leave now at 5:30 A. M.)


MONDAY—Steamer Hurt, Capt. S. Skinner; Str. Cumberland, Capt. Phillips.

TUESDAY—Str. D. Murchison, Capt. Garrison, Str. North State, Capt. Green.

WEDNESDAY—Strs. R. E. Lee, Capt. Wm. Skinner; Str. Juniper, Capt. A. Worth.

THURSDAY—Steamers Hurt and Cumberland.

FRIDAY—Strs. Murchison and North State.

SATURDAY—Strs. R. E. Lee and Juniper.


Leave Wilmington at 2 p. m., arrive at Fayetteville next day at 6 to 9 a. m.


MONDAY—Steamers R. E. Lee and Juniper.

TUESDAY—Strs Hurt and Cumberland.

WEDNESDAY—Strs. D. Murchison and North State.

THURSDAY—Steamers R. E. Lee and Juniper.

FRIDAY—Strs. Hurt and Cumberland.

SATURDAY—Strs. D. Murchison and North State.


FARE—including state-room and meals, $3. Deck passage $1.

The Steamers Hurt and Juniper are of the Cape Fear Steamboat Company—J. A. Worth Agent at Fayetteville, Worth & Worth Agents at Wilmington.  Steamers Lee and Murchison are of the Express Steamboat Co.—J. D. Williams & Co. Agents at Fayetteville.  Williams & Murchison Agents at Wilmington.  Steamers Cumberland and North State are of the People’s Line—J. B. Starr Agent at Fayetteville, A. Johnson, Jr. Agt. At Wilmington.

The Hurt carries the United States mail each trip.

By above schedule, steamers on downward trip from Fayetteville, pass Cedar Creek about 8 1-4 a.m.; Willis’s Creek 9 1-4 a.m.; Elizabethtown 12 M.; White Hall 2 1-2 p. m., Railroad Bridge 7 p. m., arriving at Wilmington in time to connect with 9 p. m. train going north.  On upward trip from Wilmington, they pass Railroad Bridge (4 miles) about 2 1-2 to 3 p. m., (at which time and place the boats may connect with Wil. Charlotte & R. R. R. and with Wil. Columbia & A. R. R.); White Hall 9 p. m.; Elizabethtown 12 1-2 a. m.; Willis’s Creek 4 a. m.; Cedar Creek 6 a. m. reaching Fayetteville generally in time to connect with Western Railroad, 7 a. m.

[The Eagle – Fayetteville, NC – Thursday, July 27, 1871]

Fatal Accident.

Yesterday morning, about half past 9 o’clock, at the wharf of Messrs. Williams & Murchison, at the foot of Orange street, a colored man by the name of Stephen Jones met with a fatal accident.  He was employed on one of Mr. Orrell’s flats, being a green hand just engaged that morning.  The flat was loaded with rosin and ######, with another man, was in the act of pushing the flat from the wharf when his pole slipped and he fell between the flat and the wharf.  In falling he caught hold of the bow of the flat with the view of pulling himself out, but before he could effect his purpose he became jammed in between it and the wharf.  The witnesses of the accident saw the peril he was in and called out to him to let go and drop into the water, knowing that the flat would thus pass over him, and, as he was a good swimmer, there would have been little danger of his drowning; but the suddenness of the accident seemed to have deprived him of all presence of mind.  Assistance was at hand as soon as possible, and the unfortunate man was taken into the flat and thence removed to Mr. James Anderson’s shed, where he died in about fifteen minutes after the accident occurred.  A physician was summoned, but it was found impossible to do anything for him, as the pressure on the chest had been so great that the very life had been crushed out of him, although, strange as it may seem, not  a bone was broken.  He also received injuries about the head.

Deceased was a man of powerful frame, and was seemingly about 30 years of age.  He formerly lived at Point Peter, where, some time previous to the last session of the Superior court, he got into a difficulty with a fellow workman by the name of Mingo Moore, during which blows passed between them.  For this they were arrested and lodged in jail, where Moore, who was sort of half-witted, was taken sick and died just before the assembling of Court.  Jones stood his trial and was acquitted.

Deceased leaves a wife and children, who live at the Young place, near this city.

Coroner Hewlett summoned a jury and held an inquest over the body, a verdict of accidental death being rendered.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Wednesday, August 16, 1871]

The river is still so low that loaded boats cannot run.




Just as we go to press, we learn the steamer R. E. Lee bursted her boiler some miles below here this morning.  We have only time for the following:

As the Steamer Lee was on her way up at 2 o’clock this morning, as she was crossing at Tim’s Shoals, she blew up, killing Wm. Gilmore, Sam McKee and Alex. Jackson, all colored.  Gilmore has not been found.  The injured are Capt. W. Skinner, seriously; slightly, Gif. Chance, Zac. Roberts, Jack Hogans, colored, and one other name not recollected.

The cause of the accident cannot be accounted for, as the fireman attests that the glass on the boiler indicated 8 inches water on the crown sheet.

A colored woman is injured seriously.  Mr. Wilson, formerly a citizen of Fayetteville, in company with his daughter, was slightly injured, ### his daughter and family, Mrs. Vanorsdell, are not hurt.

The dead and wounded are on the way up on board of the Hurt.  The boiler went up and fell back on the upper cabin nearly demolishing the whole upper works, and then fell off into the river.  The hull of the boat is not injured at all.  All goods on board are safe.

[The Eagle – Fayetteville, NC – Thursday, August 17, 1871]

The Excursion Yesterday.

A large number of persons, both male and female, embarked on the Steamer Waccamaw yesterday morning, for an excursion to the seashore.  An excellent band of music accompanied the excursionists, and as the boat steamed gaily down the beautiful Cape Fear, the dangers commenced their pleasant and enjoyable pastime.  This was kept up with slight intermissions throughout the trip and formed an important feature, with many, of the day’s enjoyment.  Arrived at Fort Anderson, a stoppage was made to allow those who wished to do so an opportunity of landing and examining the ruins of the fort and Old Brunswick Church, located at that point.  A landing was next made at Smithville, and Fort Caswell, where the party landed and spent some time in inspecting the ruins and enjoying the breezes wafted from the ocean which was spread out to all its grandeur and beauty before them.

Returning, the boat again touched at Smithville, after which her prow was turned homeward, arriving at her wharf about 8 o’clock.

Ample provision was made to ensure a pleasant trip and to afford every accommodation necessary to make the excursion a great success.  How far this was the case is sufficiently demonstrated by the fact that the desire was almost universally expressed to repeat the excursion at an early day.

[Wilmington Morning Star —  Thursday, August 17, 1871]

The Late Explosion.

The latest intelligence from the steamer R. E. Lee, the boat that exploded her boiler near Fayetteville on Thursday, represents her as still lying at the place where the disaster occurred, about thirteen miles from the town.  Another of the hands employed on the boat, a colored man by the name of Jack Hagans, who was badly injured by the explosion, died at his home in Fayetteville on Saturday last.  This makes four (all colored) who have died from the effects of the accident, the other three having been killed outright.

We are glad to learn from a private letter received  by Messrs. Williams & Murchison, agents of the Lee, that the physician in attendance upon Capt. Skinner, the unfortunate commander of the boat, says he is improving and will eventually recover from the injuries he received.

[Wilmington Morning Star —  Wednesday, August 23, 1871]

THE STEAMER R. E. LEE.—In our last we gave account of the terrible steamboat accident of last Thursday at the Shoals near Thames’ Landing 13 miles below Fayetteville.  The Steamers Hurt and Lee were coming up the river from Wilmington, the Hurt about 100 yards ahead, and about two o’clock Thursday morning in pitch darkness and very low water, the Lee in struggling from one eddying channel to another along the sandy shoals. Burst her boiler killing and wounding several, and shattering the upper works of the boat, as briefly stated by us last week.

All our steamers have the boiler, engine and machinery on the lower or open deck, and the cabin, rooms, saloons, office & c. are all above or on the second story.  The boiler is in front and engine in rear of the boat and the steam passes from the boiler through the long space from end to end of the boat in a tube or pipe to the steam chest of the engine.  The cause of the explosion on the Lee seems not to be fully known.  Our river is very low, and a boat is so impeded in getting over sand banks and stopped so much when dragging on the bottom that the steam cannot work itself off.  The machinery must stop too and the steam is not worked off like it would be in deep water with full motion.

If heat is applied the steam continues to increase whether machinery moves or not, and close attention is required to test the steam continually and let it off through the valves.  The pump pipes when filled from muddy shallow water so near the bottom often becomes obstructed with mud, and water is not forced in at the rate indicated by any measurement attached to the machinery.  Thus the boiler does not always have in it the regular proportion of water, and if the water gets very low the boiler becomes hotter, and then if fresh water be thrown in rapidly an explosion may occur.

{The next 14 or 15 column lines are mostly to partially torn and missing leaving a partial record of the article at that point.}

The boil ###

good by ###


much changed o###

as above indicated

engineer could have kno###

not, we will not now undert###

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machinery is good ###

ought always to kee##

informed on the real ###

steam, of the heat, and ####

ing capacity and deficien###

pipe, valve and pump in ###

trol and directly dependent on the movement of his steam.  We hear so far no blame attached to any one for this unfortunate accident, and probably no blame is due.

The boiler, some 10 feet long by 4 feet in diameter, was much larger than was necessary for use on this boat, and the tremendous sound from its explosion shows it to have been strong.  It seemed to rise upward, and moved endways towards the rear of the boat.  In doing so it tore up the upper floor, and in its slanting upward course at lightning speed it passed centrally through the sleeping berths, the dining room and other apartments, smashing and bursting like a huge shell.  In one apartment the middle berth was shattered and carried forward in splinters while the upper and lower berths in the same room were untouched.  The boiler was thus thrown up and through one side of the boat from end to end, and all upper works on that side were knocked to pieces, ###

### along the other side were only jostled.  The posts and walls being so knocked away, the remaining side slowly keeled or tumbled over and rested in a slanting position on the engine, broken timers, tables, rods, &c., that were now crowded on the lower deck.

A lady passenger, Mrs. VanOrsdell, of Wilmington, and two of her children were asleep in these rooms that were left standing an that fell over into the vacant space caused by the boiler.  Mr. Wilson, of Wilmington, father of Mrs. VanOrsdell, was asleep in one of the bunks directly in the course of the boiler on the side of the boat that was knocked away.  The boiler carried Mr. Wilson, bunk and all, with it, and Mr. Wilson, we hear, knew nothing of the situation until he awoke out in the river several feet from the boat.  The water being shallow he was able to wade and get out easily.  The boiler did not leave the boat, and its force was so checked by the many objects it came in contact with that it stopped at the rear end of the boat, and, the timbers being shattered or loosened, it fell and rolled down into the engine room, and then tumbled off the edge of the boat into the river.

John Martin, the engineer, reports, so we hear, that he distinctly heard the boiler in its course, and when it began to fall down, he ran out of the engine room and escaped being crushed.  Just as he ran towards the other end of the boat, the portion of the upper rooms that had been left standing began to fall or tumble over into the opening made by the boiler.  He then saw one of Mrs. Van Orsdell’s children falling through the shattered floor and timbers and caught it before it fell to the lower deck, and thus saved its life.  On account of low water the freight was nearly all on a flat boat fastened to the rear by a long rope.  Some four hands were on the flat and they and the goods were all safe.  The casualties are, killed:  Alex Jackson, pilot; Wm. Gilmore, and Sam McKee all colored; wounded, scalded, &c., Jack Hagins, (since dead,) Zack Roberts, (will probably die,) Griff. Chance, another man and one woman, all colored, badly hurt; and Capt. Wm. Skinner badly bruised, cut and scalded.  He is recovering.  Mr. Wilson was slightly hurt in the foot, and some others were slightly wounded.  Mrs. Van Orsdell and children escaped unhurt.

Capt. Skinner was sent headforemost 50 yards up the river and into the water, and was not conscious of the situation until his head struck the bottom of the river, where he slided along the bottom several feet.  On making effort to swim he found himself in water only two or three feet deep and stood up.  Capt. Sam. Skinner, a cousin of Capt. of the Lee, was in charge of the Hurt, and just after the explosion, all hands on the Hurt at once jumped into the water and went to the aid of the Lee.  They waded along easily in the shallow water, and very soon came up with Capt. Wm. Skinner in the darkness and rescued him.  Had not assistance come to him so soon he would probably have drowned, as he was so exhausted by the shock and bruises.

It was a mere accident that the Hurt was near, and had this not bee so the loss of life and property must have been much greater.  Altogether this was the most frightful, destructive and remarkable explosion that ever happened on our river.

The R. E. Lee was owned by Williams & Murchison and belonged to the Express Line.  This boat was built here in 1866-’67 of excellent material, and was still in good order.  It was sold to the present owners about last of 1868 or first of 1869 for about $11,000, and had more than paid for itself, we learn, up to the time of the accident.  The machinery, boiler and engine of the Lee are the same that were used on the steamer North Carolina which had been used several years before the Lee was built.  The boiler was made new for the North Carolina, and the same engine and machinery now on the Lee was used on the ill fated Magnolia that blew up near White Hall in 1858, when Capt. J. M. Steadman and others were killed.  The Lee, first designed for light freight boat, was enlarged and refitted last year for passenger accommodation, and was worth, perhaps, $6,000 or $8,000.—Wooden bottom boats like the Lee cost from $10,000 to $15,000 and will do service 6 or 8 years, and the Lee has paid for herself in about half this time

{Remainder of article missing because page is torn.  Appears to have been no more than about 12 lines missing.}

[The Eagle – Fayetteville, NC – Thursday, August 24, 1871]

The Late Explosion of the Steamer

R. E. Lee—Further Particulars.

Owing to the lowness of the river and the consequent irregularity in the arrivals and departures of the river steamers our means of obtaining full and accurate particulars of the recent explosion of the boiler of the R. E. Lee have been very limited.  From Capt. S. W. Skinner, of the steamer Hurt, which boat arrived here on Tuesday night, we are at last able to give the particulars of the disaster more in detail.  The explosion occurred at Thames’ Shoals, about 13 miles from Fayetteville (as previously stated by us) about 2 o’clock on Thursday morning.  It seems that the steamer Hurt was on the shoals on the opposite side of the river, endeavoring to get over, when the Lee came up and stopped.  The Captain then went over to the Hurt to sound the channel in order to find the best water for crossing the shoals, and was engaged to this task for about half an hour.  At the expiration of that time he went back to his boat and started her over the shoals immediately in the wake of the Hurt.  The instant almost that that she was started ahead her boiler exploded with a tremendous crash, being removed bodily from its position, going through the Captain’s office and gentlemen’s cabin, carrying away the wheel house on the upper deck, and the, in its descent, falling into the lady’s cabin, carrying away about one-third of the same, falling on the starboard engine, breaking that pretty badly, and thence going overboard all the berths in the gentlemen’s cabin with but one exception, were carried away, making a complete wreck of that apartment and the sitting room.  In fact, only two rooms in the boat were left uninjured.

Of the passengers, Mrs. VanOrsdell, wife of Mr. C. M. VanOrsdell, of this city, with two of her children and a little child of Mr. H. H. Munson, who was in her charge, were sleeping on the port side of the ladies’ cabin, and were uninjured, with the exception that Mrs. V. received a slight wound on her arm from a splinter.  The father of Mrs. VanOrsdell, Mr. Wilson, of Fayetteville, together with one of Mrs. V.’s children, was in a berth on the starboard side of the cabin.  The boiler passed on that side of the cabin, carrying away the berth in which Mr. Wilson and the little child were sleeping.  The child was subsequently picked up on the deck of the boat, where it had been thrown by the force of the explosion, while Mr. Wilson was thrown into the river, from which he afterwards was rescued.  Mr. Wilson and the child were found to be very slightly injured.  One colored woman, who was in the gentlemen’s cabin at the time of the accident, was, strange to say, entirely uninjured.

Capt. Skinner, of the Hurt, was standing on his boat and witnessed the explosion, when he, together with five of his men, jumped into the river and waded across the shoals to the Lee, the water only being about waist deep.  They picked up the Captain of the ill-fated steamer about half way between the two boats, who, with the rest of the passengers, together with the wounded and dead, were placed on a flat.  Dr. Lesesne, who resides not far from the scene of the disaster, was then sent for and arrived in about three quarters of an hour, after which the Hurt proceeded to Fayetteville, arriving there just about dark the same evening.

Capt. Skinner’s wounds were very severe.  His right cheek, from the ear to the nose, was cut open to the bone, the right side of his cheek and back of the head badly scalded, and his right arm, shoulder and side also badly hurt.  Every particle of his coat, with the exception of one sleeve, which adhered to the arm, was blown from his body.  Notwithstanding the severity of his injuries, however, his physician expresses confident hopes of his ultimate recovery.

Mr. Frances Moore, who embarked as a passenger on the Lee at this place, got off at Elizabethtown and took passage on the Hurt, to which freak of good fortune he may possibly be indebted for his life.

Mr. E. E. Hewes, local inspector of boilers, who went up on the Hurt yesterday, for the purpose of instituting an investigation into the cause of the explosion, has, we learn, given instructions to the various Captains and owners of steamers within his jurisdiction, that an engineer must never be permitted, under any circumstances, to be away from his boiler more than ten minutes at a time.



—  The passengers of the ill-fated steamer R. E. Lee speak in the highest terms of the services of Capt. Saml. W. Skinner, rendered immediately after the explosion.  He commands the Hurt which, it will be remembered was within a short distance of the Lee when the accident occurred.  “Old Reliable” is as gallant a steamboatman as ever walked a deck.

—  There has been a rise of a few inches in the Cape Fear below Fayetteville; but above that point no rain has fallen recently.  We can have no certain navigation until there is a freshet in Deep and Haw rivers.

—  The steamer Hurt arrived from Fayetteville Tuesday night.  She started on her upward trip at 1 P. M. yesterday.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Thursday, August 24, 1871]

A new steamer arrived here yesterday morning from Savannah, and created some little excitement among the river men and boat men.  The steamer, called Governor Worth, is a brand new vessel.  She is a small craft well adapted to the shallow stream of the Savannah.  It is beautifully made, and seems to be stout and serviceable.  We understand that she will ply regularly between this port, and the village (sic) of Savannah during the fall and winter.

[Daily Chronicle & Sentinel  — Augusta, GA —  October 17, 1871]

Local Dots.

—  The steamer Wave, of the Express Line, is on her way here from Augusta.  She will probably arrive in a few days.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Wednesday, November 1, 1871]

The steamer Wave, formerly plying between Augusta and Savannah, on the People’s Line, having been purchased by the Wilmington (N. C.) Express Steamboat Company, arrived in Savannah Friday on her way from Augusta to her point of destination.

[Daily Chronicle & Sentinel – Augusta, GA – November 5, 1871]


— The steamer Wave, purchased for the Express Steamboat Company to run regularly between this city and Fayetteville, arrived here yesterday.  The Wave is a new iron hull, stern wheel steamer, having only run for three or four months on the Savannah river before she was purchased by the above company.  She will be in command of Capt. W. W. Skinner.  Her carrying capacity is 300 bales of cotton or 600 barrels of rosin.

[Wilmington Star – November 12, 1871]

THE CAPE FEAR RIVER is still high, though the freshet has abated.  ‘four boats, The Wave, North State, Governor Worth and Cumberland, have been up to Averasboro, 26 miles above here, and have brought down all the produce and naval stores ready for shipment in that section.  An immense quantity of rosin is thus thrown into market that has been awaiting shipment.  We still hear of much loss from timber floating away.  Persons from here have gone down the river to tide water region and near Wilmington to gather saw timber that has floated off.  There is said to be much profit very often in recovering rafts and parts of rafts of timber that thus get scattered along the banks and swamps in the low country.

[The Eagle – Fayetteville, N. C. – Thursday, February 22, 1872]

The steamer Gov. Worth has been repaired, and resumed to-day regular trips on the river.  Comfortable berth room is afforded for 36 passengers.—The Gov. Worth is to carry U. S. mail in place of the Hurt which is now undergoing thorough repairs.

[The Eagle – Fayetteville, N. C. – Thursday, March 28, 1872]

Our boats are about to be consolidated in two lines.  The Cape Fear and People’s Lines are to go in one with three boats, and the Express Line to unite with Capt. Sam. Skinner of the Lee, with three boats, leaving two boats, one of Cape Fear, and one of People’s to be sold or run elsewhere.

[The Eagle – Semi-Weekly – January 28, 1873]

The steamer Cumberland on the up trip yesterday morning, we learn, rescued three men from a very perilous situation some miles below here.  They had landed from the Murchison a few hours before.  The river was so high they could not be put out at the place where they wanted to go, but were put on the opposite bank.  In attempting then to cross the river in a canoe, they were upset, but held on to limbs of trees and kept above water until the Cumberland came along.  The captain had a small boat at once sent to them.  As it got near, one of them jumped in so hastily and violently, that he upset the boat and things were again “at sea.”  But by diligent effort the steamer backed down to a convenient position and ropes were thrown to the men, and they were thus drawn aboard, and saved.  One of the men had a tickler of “old rye” in his coat pocket which he had kept safe through all his troubles and dangers.

[The Eagle – Semi-Weekly – February 11, 1873]

THE STR. GOV. WORTH—UNDER REPAIR.—We learn from Capt. D. M. McDonald that this elegant and commodious river steamer is at the wharf for repairs.  Captain McDonald says that a new deck will be made for the Worth, and that she will be thoroughly painted.  This work will consume several weeks.

[The Statesman – Fayetteville, N.C. – April 12, 1873]

BODY DISCOVERED.—The body of Dennis Gill, the colored boat hand who was drowned off the Steamer North State on the 30th ult., about 12 miles below Fayetteville, was discovered a few days since, by passengers on the same boat, tied to a bush on what would be the banks of the river were they not overflowed to such an extent.  It is supposed that the body was found by some person passing in a canoe and tied there until some one should appear to perform the rites of burial.  The boat would have been stopped and the body buried at the time we allude to, but there was no possibility of landing on account of the flood.

Wilmington Star.

[The Eagle – Fayetteville, NC – May 20, 1873]

The Cape Fear River is getting very low, but the boats continue to make their regular trips.


STEAMBOAT ACCIDENT.—On up trip of the steamer “Cumberland,” of the Cape Fear and People’s line, Sunday morning, when within, about 16 miles of Fayetteville, she broke her shaft, which rendered her unable to travel, and she is now anchored near where the accident occurred.  The “North State” will tow her up to-day.

[The Eagle – Fayetteville, NC – Thursday, June 24, 1873]

Today’s Headlines:


On Monday morning last, as the steamer “North State” was lying at the yard of Messrs. Williard Brothers, opposite this city, she caught on fire somewhere in the engine room, and the flames leaped up several feet above the deck.  Fortunately the fire was discovered in time and extinguished.

[?? – August 13, 1873]
{Unknown Original Source – Bill Reaves Collection

BOAT HAND DROWNED.–  On Monday after-noon a colored hand named Rufus Thomas, on the steamer R. E. Lee, fell off the boat about Indian Wells, and was drowned before assistance could be rendered.  He was playing with another negro – striking at him – and losing his balance, fell over board.


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]

DROWNED.—The Wilmington Star of the 24th has the following:

In our paper yesterday morning we published a brief paragraph announcing that a colored deck hand had been drowned off the Steamer R. E. Lee near Kelly’s Cove.  This is a point about forty-two or forty-three miles above this city.  The name of the deceased, who was only about 19 years of age, was Rufus Biner, and he belonged in Fayetteville.  It seems that about sunset on Monday evening deceased and another boy by the name of Joe got to “skylarking” on the deck.  Joe had a small switch with which he had struck Rufus, when the latter endeavored to snatch it from the other, but in doing so he lost his balance and fell overboard.  The steamer was almost immediately stopped and a small boat lowered, but before assistance could reach the boy he had disappeared beneath the treacherous waves and was seen no more.  It is a little singular how few escape a watery grave who are once plunged into the depths of the Cape Fear, where the immersion is caused by accident.  The increasing frequency of these accidents on the river boats suggests the propriety of having it so arranged that a small boat can be lowered at an instant’s warning.

[The Statesman – Fayetteville, N.C. – Saturday,

September 27th, 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.


15      BARRELL STILLS properly made for FOUR HUNDRED and FIFTY DOLLARS.

12      BARRELL STILLS properly made for FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS, by


[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]

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 a 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 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]

A Reminiscence of 1865.

After the occupation of Fayetteville by the Federal troops, every one will remember the great scarcity of provisions which prevailed here.  Every thing had been eaten up, or swept away.  The Rail Road was cut off—the Steamboats captured and detained at Wilmington—and the war was not yet over.  What was the destitute people to do for sustenance?

In this emergency, six citizens of Fayetteville, four white, and two colored, volunteered their services to the town authorities to go to Wilmington and endeavor to get supplies.  The four white citizens were Col. John A. Pemberton, Major Robert M. Orrell, Capt. A. P. Hurt and Ralph P. Buxton.  The two colored men were Isham Sweet and John Dunston.  Their offer of service was accepted by the Mayor and Commissioners.  Major Archibald McLean was at that time Mayor.

Having hastily constructed a common Batteau they proceeded in it down the River under a flag of truce, reaching Wilmington the third day.  They were kindly received by the Federal authorities.  General J. C. Abbot being in temporary command, during the absence of Gen. Hawley, and were promised assistance upon his return to the city.  When Gen. Hawley returned, they delivered to him their letters from the Mayor and Commissioners, and laid before him the state of things existing in Fayetteville, and solicited aid.  Unfortunately for their application, news had just reached Wilmington of the assassination of President Lincoln, and the rejection of the Sherman Johnston treaty, which immediately followed.  The Fayetteville delegation were informed that hostilities were renewed, and that they must leave the Federal lines at once.  At the earnest entreaty of Mr. Buxton, who begged to be allowed to remain in Wilmington, on any terms, even, to being placed in confinement, he was allowed to remain—his purpose being, if possible, to procure some relief for the sufferers of Fayetteville.  The other gentlemen were required to leave at once which they did in the same Batteau in which they had gown down, and rowed their tedious way back to Fayetteville.  In a day or two the war cloud passed away, Gen. Johnstone surrendered, and peace followed.  Mr. Buxton, who had remained in Wilmington for the purpose, immediately renewed the application for supplies with increased earnestness, and General Hawley placed at his disposal a Steamboat freighted with brad, flour, meat, fish and other provisions, all donated as supplies to Fayetteville.  The Steamboat reached the wharf at Fayetteville the very morning his weary associates had landed their Bateau at the same place.  On the same Steamer, the “Hurt,” returned to Fayetteville many refugees, citizens, who had been absent from their homes a long time.

The Boat load of provisions was turned over to the Mayor and Commissioners, and was by them properly distributed among the suffering citizens of the town.

These things are well known to the people of Fayetteville, but are now placed on record for the first time.

[The Statesman – Saturday, July 18, 1874.]

Extensive Robery on a Steamboat—

Part of the Money Recovered—Ar-

rests on Suspicion.

We have known for a day or two past that quite an extensive robbery had occurred on the steamerer [steamer – misspelled] D. Murchison, while on the trip from this place to Fayetteville, on Wednesday last, but have withheld the facts for prudential reasons.  It seems that the boat was stopped at some point on the river for the purpose of landing a lady passenger, Capt. Garrason accompanying her some distance.  In the meantime the hands were directed to gather moss on the shore, and it was during this interval that some person or persons of those remaining on the boat went to the Captain’s desk, got the key of the safe, unlocked it and took therefrom a package of money amounting to $5,000, which had been forwarded by Messrs. Williams & Murchison to some party in Fayetteville, after which the safe was relocked and the key returned to the desk.  They money was not missed until the boat arrived at Fayetteville, when circumstances which came to the knowledge of Capt. Garrason led to the arrest of Perry Cotton, Assistant Pilot, and the fireman, known on the river by the appellation of “Big Allen,” who were lodged in jail.  A colored boy employed on the boat was also held until the examination came off.  Subsequent to the arrest of these parties a portion of the missing money, amounting to $2,500, was found secreted in what is know as the “dome house,” which would lead to the impression that there were two persons concerned in the robbery and that the money was divided between them.

The trial of the parties mentioned was to have taken place at Fayetteville on Friday.

[Wilmington Star – November 29, 1874]

The Late Robbery on the Steamer


The examination into the case of Perry Cotton and Allen Gilmore, or “Big Allen,” as he is generally termed, both colored men, who were arrested on suspicion of having appropriated the $5,000 which was stolen from the safe of the steamer D. Murchison on Wednesday of last week, mention of which has been made in the STAR, came off in Fayetteville on Monday.  The evidence was entirely of a circumstantial character, and, not being deemed by the Magistrate sufficient to convict, the defendants were discharged.  It will be remembered that $2,500 of the stolen money was recovered a day or two after the robbery, having been secreted on the boat.

[Wilmington Star – December 3, 1874]

Death of Capt. Dailey.

Capt. Jno. K. Dailey, so well known as an old steamboat man on the Cape Fear River, died of consumption at Mrs. Pickett’s boarding house, in this city, on Friday night, aged about 36 years.  Capt. Dailey was well known throughout this section.  In his last hours he received the kind ministrations of those around him and several old acquaintances and friends in this city.  His remains were yesterday sent to Fayetteville, his home, on board the steamer D. Murchison, being escorted from the house to the boat by Capt. W. M. Parker and several other former members of the LaFayette Light Infantry, of which organization Capt. Dailey was a member during the war.

[Wilmington Star – June 6, 1875]

River News.

The boats arriving from Fayetteville yesterday report a sudden rise in the river at that place of from 34 to 40 feet, caused by a heavy rain on Wednesday night.  It is presumed that the freshet extends to the other rivers, in which case we may expect quite an influx of naval stores which have accumulated during the prevalence of low water.

The boats report heavy fogs on the river.

The steamer Wave broke her eccentric on the downward trip, which delayed her arrival somewhat.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Saturday, January 1, 1876]

Local Dots.

— The steamer D. Murchison reports a very heavy freshet in the river, the rise at Fayetteville being at least 40 feet when she left.


—  The revenue cutter Colfax collided with the D. Murchison in the fog yesterday morning, causing some unimportant injuries to the latter.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Sunday, January 2, 1876]


The Cape Fear and People’s Steamboat Company, at their annual meeting in this city Tuesday, selected the following stockholders as officers for the ensuing year:

F. W. Kerchner, President.

D. G. Worth, Secretary.

B. G. Worth, F. W. Kerchner, A. A. McKeithan, H. Vollers, D. G. Worth Directors.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Thursday, January 13, 1876]

Local Dots.

—  It is now stated that Capt. Jas. Smith will go out to Florida in command of the steamer Cumberland, instead of Capt. Albert Worth, as heretofore announced.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Friday, January 14, 1876]

Hath Left Us.

The steamer Cumberland, formerly connected with one of the lines of steamers between this port and Fayetteville, left yesterday after noon for Fernandina, Florida.  She is under command of Capt. James C. Smith and is expected to run, in the interest of the owners in this city, between Fernandina and St. Mary’s, on the St. John’s River.  Mr. T. G. Smith goes as Engineer and Mr. John H. Marshall as Pilot.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Wednesday, January 19, 1876]







January 30th, 1876    }

MESSRS. EDITORS:–The Steamer Cumberland, under command of Capt. James C. Smith, left her moorings at the wharf in Wilmington on the 19th, and steamed bravely towards old ocean, en route for Fernandina, Fla.

It was deemed a hazardous undertaking for a slight craft like ours to make the venture at this season, and many forebodings from “old salts” and knowing ones followed us out to sea.  We started from Wilmington with a stiff breeze, which raged itself into a perfect hurricane before we reached Smithville, compelling us to take refuge at the river wharf at that point.  We left Smithville at 12 o’clock at night, and were soon rocking on the broad Atlantic.  The winds seemed to lull and the waves to sleep for our especial benefit; a shinning moon rested on the ocean to greet us, and then rose to light us through the wilderness of water, as we glided along smoothly and safely, conveyed by myriads of stars.  A run of nine hours, without the slightest accident or apprehension, brought us to the bar at Georgetown.

The muddy waters of the Pee Dee reach far into the sea at this point, beyond the sight of land—a comforting home signal to mill-pond mariners like ourselves.  On the trip we coasted as far as eighteen miles from the shore; and, despite the fair weather, several of our Fayetteville party made their acknowledgments to salt water in good style.

We arrived at Georgetown twenty miles from the bar at noon, and waited on the weather until next day.  A revenue cutter followed us in, but a squint at our name and humble origin was enough to turn her back without hailing us.  Georgetown is a sorry looking place, swarming with lazy, lounging negroes.  I saw no signs of trade or traffic, except an old saw-mill; it claims, however, to have a considerable source of business from turpentine.  A dingy-looking steamboat, exploring the river as far up as Cheraw, represents its shipping—but it could hardly be otherwise in South Carolina.

From Georgetown we turned back to sea, and took the ocean track for Charleston—seventy miles.  A long sandy shoal obliged us to part with the sight of land for fifteen miles, but our path was as smooth and enjoyable as at the start; the vast blue expanse before, behind and around us was undisturbed by a single ripple, a gentle swell being the only reminder of our dangerous experiments.  We sighted Charleston early in the afternoon, obtaining a splendid view of the harbor, and passing, besides other interesting points, Sullivan’s Island and Fort Sumter, upon which latter we noticed a number of workmen with carts engaged at some sort of labor—possibly putting it in Spanish condition.  Sullivan’s Island is now a group of attractive dwellings , street-cars run the length of the island, and many handsome residences occupy the old camping-ground of our troops during the war.  Charleston wears the same old dismal, antiquated look the natives love so well; nothing stirring or fresh helps its appearance, and the pitiless storm that bowed its proud head still broods over its fortunes.  Many of the merchants, however, believe that a restoration of the old prosperity is not far distant.  I counted about a hundred vessels in port – mostly barques.  We spent two days at Charleston and “did” the city to the best of our ability.  Charleston is sadly wanting in the one great charm of any city, town or village—that is, pretty women.  The few I saw would make a Mormon shudder.

Our inland route commenced at this point.  Heading up Cooper river a short distance we entered a small inlet, which gradually narrowed to about the width of the boat, and was crooked enough to paralyze a county surveyor.  We circled about in a waste of marshes all day, and finally ploughed through the mud into Stone River—a broad stream which tided us fifteen miles to a safe anchorage thirty miles from Charleston.  Here some of the crew went ashore in search of palmetto cabbage, so they said, while the remainder went after crabs and oysters, both of which they found in abundance.

The next day found us navigating the same interminable savannahs, our objective point being Beaufort.  We ditched along this course until the retiring tide left us a solid foundation in the mud, where we stuck until we could hear from headquarters outside.  It was morning before the tardy and unspeakable relief came; and chunking in our last cord of wood, we steamed into the loyal port of Beaufort.  A regiment of dusky voters heralded our approach, and guessed everything about us except ‘pirates.’  What I have said of Georgetown can be said also of Beaufort—only more so; it is so near a counterpart that a description of either town would make a common photograph, except that the latter brags of a custom-house and steam fire-engine.  It is also the peaceful abode of Judge Whipple.  We made the purchase of ten cords of wood at Beaufort, and gave the town an opportunity to start a bank.

Our inland route continued from this place to Savannah, distant sixty miles.  We passed numerous plantations on this part of our journey, which yielded princely revenues to their owners before the war, but which are now nearly abandoned.  We were carried on through a number of sounds and inlets with strange names, making Port Royal and Tybee Island on the way.  The latter was a naval strategic point during the war—which meant a recruiting station to make Yankee soldiers out of all the niggers in the neighborhood.  Port Royal is the present rendezvous of a considerable war fleet; we passed and saluted six or seven armed vessels sand one monitor, with several others in sight.  It must mean Cuba or Whipple.

We took the next day to make a fresh start, and crossed into the Savannah River at its mouth, 21 miles from the city.  We spent two days at this port, shipping our last supply of wood for the trip.  Savannah is a lovely city; situated on a high bluff, it overlooks a wide range of the surrounding country, commanding a most charming view.  It has a bustling air of business, in marked contrast with its sister sea-port towns.

Over six hundred thousand bales of cotton were received here the past season.  Its shipping interests are far in advance of Charleston.  You see the change at once in leaving South Carolina; a spirit of energy and thrift pervades everything in Georgia that has no existence in Carolina.  The police in Savannah are distinguished by a grey uniform; they are the most gentlemanly-looking men I ever saw on such duty.  The market house here eclipses any like building in the South or even in New York.  A number of elegant restaurants constitute its foundation, leaving the second floor for legitimate business. Foreigners form a large part of the business element of the place.

The last stretch of our journey—and by far the most interesting, unless I except the outside trip – we made from here.  We had no ditches, shoals or mud to encounter; beautiful bays and broad rivers led us the whole way through.  The scenery and surroundings were all strikingly different as we approached our destination.  Vast flocks of ducks were constantly in sight, while countless sea birds kept us company.  We sighted the ocean and heard the thunder of the surf a number of times while passing through the numerous sounds on the route, making us sensible of its indulgence upon our first acquaintance.  Darien and Brunswick were on our watery road –both neat and thriving little towns.

At dinner time we entered St. Mary’s Bay, and the Land of Flowers lay before us, its gleaming bench and summer breath bidding us a pleasant welcome.  An hour more of our journey, and the lines of the Cumberland were on the wharf at Fernandina.

Altogether the trip has been simply delightful.  It is due to the officers of the boat to say that it was in capital hands.  The unflagging vigilance of the captain, his discretion and careful foresight, left no room for accident.  Capt. J. H. Marshall was our pilot, and we cannot value his services too highly.  His knowledge of the coast and all the intricacies of inland navigation was wonderfully perfect; every bearing or current or inlet or landmark at sea, and every river, bay, creek, and harbor seemed to be mapped on his wheel, and to it all was joined an unerring knowledge of the signs of the weather.  We had a faithful and efficient ocean chief as engineer, assisted by Mr. Elliott as river chief.  In their keeping and management the Cumberland had full trust in her engines, and so declares most gratefully.

And now I will close my communication by subscribing myself.                                    W.

[North Carolina Gazette – Fayetteville – Thursday, February 10, 1876]





Fernandina—The St. Mary’s River—North

Carolina Tourists Fishing and Prospecting-Lemon

Groves and Orange Plantations.



Feb. 38th.                     }

MESSRS. EDITORS:–Fernandina is an island city, lying directly on the ocean.  It is most beautifully located, fronting a broad bay which extends nearly to the bar, and is girdled by a magnificent beach, as firm as a turnpike, with a shining border on all sides as grand a stretch of shimmering sand and dashing wave as earth and ocean ever fashioned, a broad shell-road connecting it with the city, the road being a beautiful avenue of myrtle and orange nearly the whole distance.

The streets of the town are regular, and, except the thoroughfares of business, are adorned with elegant dwellings and cottage-like mansions, all embowered in tropical shrubbery of every description.

A large shipping belongs to the place:  hundreds of foreign and New England vessels seek this port for cargoes, and a line of magnificent steamers carry on a traffic with Savannah, New York and other ports North.  Its fine harbor and location mark it as the great future outlet and principal sea-port of Florida, while it has railroad communication with all parts of the State.

Fernandina is free from epidemics, and is remarkably healthy; but it suffers from one drawback—negro domination.  The St. Mary’s River is the principal channel for the local trade of the place; it is the navigation of this river, together with Brunswick and adjacent points, which makes up the employment of the steamer Cumberland.  The St. Mary’s is navigable one hundred and twenty miles from its mouth, and is a wide, deep stream for a long distance, fringed by broad marshes and savannahs, within whose black depths numberless alligators have their haunts, and evince a “shocking tameness.”

Higher up the river we get into a well-settled and finely-timbered country.  Numerous saw-mills at different points make up the vast lumber business of this section, and a great number of schooners and larger vessels are constantly loading with the commodity.  Every enterprise of this sort appears to be in the hands of Northern men, mostly from Maine and Canada; from the former, especially a great many are now cutting and rafting timer on this stream.  If it pays in North Carolina to get oak timber and haul it for miles, and then raft it a long distance to Wilmington, it must be profitable business here, where you find the trees in sight of a landing and a market right to hand.  That the business constitutes an immense interest may be gathered from the fact that I have seen rafts on the St. Mary’s more than a mile long, secured by a single chain or rope, and under the management of one man:  they seem to be turned loose with the tide, to pilot themselves to their stopping-places.

The trading-points on this river are more numerous than they are on the Cape Fear, and although it is not quite so extensive a field for naval store operations, the opportunities for the business are the finest in the world.  Virgin land of the first rank both for timber and turpentine can be purchased at from 40 cents to $1 per acre.

Many interesting signs of the early settlement of the country are to be seen along the banks of the St. Mary’s:  there are mill-sites and old fields once owned and cultivated by Spanish inhabitants; a clearly defined road from St. Augustine to King’s Ferry, opened in 1769 by Spanish emigrants, is used at the present time as a mail route; and many Indian mounds can be plainly seen in passing.

The woods everywhere in this section of Florida abound in game, and there is no end to the fish in the creeks and rivers.  I have become tired of the sport, owing to the excessive population of the limy tribe.”  While agitating the fish subject I will give you an account of an ocean “minnow” caught recently at Fernandina.  It was a monster Devil fish, and was estimated by moderate guessers to weigh seven or eight tons.  It measured twenty-two feet in width, its length being a trifle less, and it filled a depth of eight or ten feet.  Its arms and legs resembled those of the Cuttle fish, and were “too numerous to mention;” possibly it had nothing but arms, as legs are a rare thing in fish, especially mermaids.  The monster was killed after a vigorous assault from the whole town.  My authority for this fish story is Mr. W. J. Woodward, who was an eye-witness of the capture, and who is very cautious in his statements about fish.

The most interesting feature of Florida to me is the common and exuberant growth of oranges and other fruits.  The former appear to be in universal cultivation; hardly can you see a garden or inclosure which fails to contain more or less orange trees.  The yield of a fully-matured tree is astonishing; an old grower of the fruit assured me that from four to five thousand oranges were the usual production of a single tree, and you would not think the estimate large were you to see one in full bearing.  A more beautiful sight can hardly be conceived than a grove of these trees full of their golden fruit.  Not more than one-fifth of the oranges grown in Florida are offered for sale, and the owner of a two-acre orchard can have an independent income.  I wonder that the business of orange-growing is not as common and popular as making rosin, for it is certainly a more profitable and engaging vocation:  I think I shall be an orange planter—or lemon.

This part of the State does not possess all the tropical features of Florida, being the most northern portion; Jacksonville and Palatka on the St. John’s River seem to possess more attractions for the traveling public.  The former place is altogether a Northern town in the character of its population.  Our Northern brethren enjoy the idea of having a tropical climate of “our own,” and being independent of Cuba and the Sandwich Islands.  It never seems to them that it was ours before the advent of Sherman and negro equality.  When they can perfect Northern civilization out here so they say the future of Florida is assured.

But I am spinning my letter out too long though I would like to add a mention of the visit of your two townsmen, Messrs. S. and S., both of whom declare themselves pleased and even delighted with this country.  The “Cumberland” took a special cruise for their benefit, making a trip to Brunswick and Stilla rivers in Georgia, and St. Mary’s and other points in Florida thus affording an opportunity for both investment and pleasure.  An incident in the excursion to Brunswick was particularly interesting to Mr. S.  Our route lay through St. Andrew’s Sound, twenty-five or thirty miles in width; and on our return trip we were unexpectedly confounded in a very dense fog.  Our pilot was no less befogged than the rest, and made his reckoning for Liverpool or China instead of Fernandina.  At any rate, we found ourselves at a late hour ploughing through the ocean instead of being safe in port.  Mr. S. enjoyed the thing hugely at the start; he was enchanted with the scenery, infatuated with the porpoises and ducks, sung “Life on the Ocean Wave,” and smoked his pipe in a frenzy of happiness.  The boat was not big enough for his enthusiasm until the stunning fact was announced that we were out at sea and “breakers ahead.”  Cheap land in Florida now developed into a fabulous price, if he could only see it; one pine tree; if only in sight, would meet all his speculative views on timber; all grades of rosin were at once reduced to a floating valuation, regardless of quotations.   Even the porpoise played circus around the boat unnoticed, and North Carolina grew suddenly into a vision of heaven.

In truth, we were in great peril; enveloped in a fog of midnight blackness, amid unknown breakers ours was not a pleasant situation.  It was too much excursion for Mr. S., and he said so.  Fortunately, we discovered our danger in time to escape disaster, and, after much tribulation, we recovered our course.  Then everyone found out that he wasn’t scared worth shucks, and thought it was funny.  I was particularly struck with the sailor-like qualities of Mr. S. after we got on land.

The “Cumberland” contemplates a trip to St. Augustine and other points soon, and I may send you some items if you wish.  In the meantime I remain,

Yours, &c.,



Without wishing to discredit any statement of our correspondent, we think it only right to state at a gentleman just from Florida declares that “W.” was known down there as the “North Carolina Fisherman;” that he was always off fishing except at grub and grog times—when he would contrive to be present though known to have been only a few minutes before at least twenty miles off – and the aggregate results of his piscatorial efforts were three small “eats.”  He now goes by the soubriquet of “kitty.”

“A gentleman from Florida, “states the dimensions of this “Devil” fish at fifteen feet long and sixteen wide.

[North Carolina Gazette – March 9, 1876]

Local Dots.

The steamer D. Murchison is to go on Messrs. Cassidey & Ross’ ways for repairs.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Thursday, March 9, 1876]

Our River Steamers.

The steamer Juniper, Capt. Skinner, formerly run by Messrs. Vick & Mebane, has been purchased by the Cape Fear and People’s Line, and will hereafter be run in connection with that line.  The United States mail, between this city and Fayetteville, heretofore carried by the Juniper, will from this date be transported by the steamer A. P. Hurt.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Tuesday, March 14, 1876]

Local Dots.

—  The steamer J. S. Underhill will take the place of the steamer Dixie, temporarily, to run between this city and Smithville.  The latter, in the meantime, will be repaired, repainted, &c.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Sunday, March 19, 1876]


AObituary notices must be paid for in advance.  The first ten lines are inserted free.  The excess over ten lines are charged for at the rate of ten cents per line.  Correspondents can ascertain what an obituary will cost by counting eight words to a line, and multiplying each line by 10 cents.


After an illness protracted through many months, on the 23d of March, 1876, Mrs. VIRGINIA E. CARTER, wife of Mr. Archibald Carter, of Fayetteville, N. C., in the 45th year of her age.

Before the war the deceased belonged to the Wilmington Presbyterian church, and was much attached to its pastor and membership.  Removing to Fayetteville, she identified herself with all the interests of the Presbyterian church in that place.  While ability was given, she was disposed to co-operate in all measures for promoting its welfare.  She was a woman of impulsive disposition, warm affections, and active mind.  Tenderly attached to her children and family connection, she labored for their good with an energy that evertaxed her failing strength.  Wasted by lingering disease, for a time she flattered herself with hopes of recovery, and dreaded the sundering of earthly ties by death.  But God’s grace wonderfully sustained her under trial, sanctified her afflictions, and transformed her character.  She bore loss and pain without murmuring, ceased to dread dissolution, and passed through the valley of the shadow of death, leaning on the arm of a loved and trusted Divine Saviour.  Her surviving husband, children, relatives and friends, have much consolation and hope in her death, and should strive like her to “depart in peace,” their eyes having seen God’s salvation.   H. G. H.

[The Presbyterian – Wilmington, N.C. — Wednesday, May 24, 1876.]

OVERBOARD.—A passenger on the steamer Wave, last Saturday night, fell overboard while the boat was in motion, and was drowned before help could be given him.  He was a Mr. Porter, of Bladen County, and lived near Little Sugar Loaf.

[North Carolina Gazette – Fayetteville – Thursday, June 1, 1876]

A Sad Case of Drowning.

A young man by the name of Alexander M. Porter, aged about 22 years, was drowned off the streamer Wave, on her upward trip on Sunday morning last, about one o’clock , near Kelley’s Cove, some fifty miles up the river.  Mr. Porter, who resided at Little Sugar Loaf, Bladen county, where he kept a little store in connection with his farm, had been in Wilmington on a trading expedition.  He had been drinking considerably during the day, and soon after dark lay down on the deck and went to sleep.  At the hour mentioned, he got up and commenced walking about, when, dazed and bewildered, as he probably was at the moment, after waking from a sound sleep, he unconsciously walked overboard.  The fireman, who was standing nearby, clutched at this clothing as he fell, but could not retain his grasp, and the unfortunate man immediately disappeared in the darkness and was seen no more.  Capt. Robeson backed his boat and made every possible effort to find and rescue him, but without avail.  His body was recovered Tuesday morning, and from a severe cut on the head, it is evident that he must have gone under the wheel and been struck by the boxes, in which case he was so stunned that his death was no doubt almost instantaneous.

Deceased was well known among business men here, and was generally liked by those with whom he was in the habit of trading, and he is also said to have been much esteemed in the neighborhood in which he lived.  He leaves no family.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Thursday, June 1, 1876]

BAPTIST PICNIC.—The Baptist Sunday School and invited guests made an excursion down the Cape Fear yesterday, halting at Cedar Creek and taking dinner in picnic style.  The fine steamer Worth, with its best of Captains for all sorts of trips—Captain A. H. Worth—was engaged for the excursion.  The crowd reached home late in the day, voting the holiday in every respect delightful and full of pleasure.

We attended the picnic by the cordial invitation of the managers, and were delighted with all the enjoyment and pleasures of the day.  We never saw happier, more gleeful crowd; and at Cedar Creek the dinner set out is beyond our powers of description, but those who watched as while we helped the rest of the 256 to clear off the table will bear witness to our powers of appreciation.

[North Carolina Gazette – Fayetteville – June 8, 1876]

— The steamer Wave, while on the way up the river Tuesday night, struck on a stump, which went through her bottom.  Capt. Robeson, getting clear of the dangerous projectile, placed a blanket in the hole made by it and returned to Wilmington.  He then discharged his cargo, and yesterday the steamer was hauled upon Messrs. Cassidey & Ross’ ways to undergo repairs.

[? – June 27, 1876]

— The steamer Gov. Worth, Capt. Worth, while on her way to Fayetteville, and when about twenty miles above this city, on Wednesday night, had the misfortune to lose her rudder, which became detached from its position in consequence of the worn and dilapidated condition of the rivets and other fastenings.  The rudder was secured, placed upon a flat, and brought to this city for repairs, reaching here yesterday evening.  In the meantime the Worth will remain tied up at the point where the accident took place.  It will take but a short time to complete the repairs necessary.

[Wilmington Star – July 14, 1876]

SERIOUS COLLISION.—The steamer North State collided with a vessel being towed by the Waccamaw, near Wilmington a few days since, and had her upper work badly smashed.  We regret to learn, too, that Capt. Green was painfully injured during the collision.

[North Carolina Gazette – Fayetteville – January 4, 1877]

RIVER EXCURSION.–  There was a very pleasant excursion down the river last Friday on Captain Green’s steamer, the North State.  The picnic was complimentary by Miss Fannie Green to Misses Maggie and Mamie Johnson, of Wilmington, and was very much enjoyed by all, the dancing being pleasant and the return trip to the wharf delightful.

[North Carolina Gazette – June 28, 1877]




MESSRS. EDITORS:– It is to be regretted that more of the citizens of Fayetteville and surrounding country did not avail themselves of the opportunity offered them last Thursday of taking a trip to Smithville and the Forts on the Cape Fear river.  These little excursions cost but a small amount of money, and are extremely pleasant this hot August weather.  As I hear there will probably be another such excursion shortly, I have concluded to write a short account of the Odd Fellows’ excursion, in hopes that others may be induced to take advantage of the next opportunity offered them.  A short notice only having been given, some 25 or 30 of our citizens embarked on the fine steamer Gov. Worth, commanded by that genial gentleman and clever host, Capt. A. H. Worth, on last Thursday morning, for a trip to the Forts.  Shortly after 8 o’clock the whistle blew, the gang planks were taken in, the wheels began to turn and we thought we were off, but alas for our expectations; we had not gone more than 100 yards when bump, and our boat was on the ground.  Here we pulled first one way and then another for some time, and finally we “got off” fairly on our way.  The water being very low, we went along very slowly, for the first thirty miles the rain pouring in torrents, preventing us from gaining any accessions to our crowd.  We expected at Elizabethtown to get quite a number, but as before remarked it was raining, raining, and no one put in an appearance.  A trip down the river, as you know, Messrs. Editors, is monotonous, but with pleasant companions you can always make the time pass rapidly.  Your time, too, can be occupied watching the various turns of this beautiful river, with its willow and ash, elms and tall sycamores casting long, varying shadows into the water as the mighty stream glides on to meet the waving billow.  It is curious, too, to watch with what dexterity the jolly boat hands handle the barrels down the long slide, or roll them up the steep banks.  There are no persons who seem to enjoy live more or take more pleasure in their work than these hands on the Cape Fear.  With frequent stoppage to put out the mails, we proceed very slowly, and night caught us a long way from Wilmington.  What took place then your correspondent knows not.  He heard next morning that the boat ran into the bank during the night and broke her rudder chain, but this is only hearsay, as he was too much engaged to know what was going on then, and knew nothing more till the “music from the entire band” aroused him as we reached the “city by the sea.”

Here we found quite a number of persons, including many ladies, waiting for our arrival.  After some delay the boat steamed to the foot of Market street, took on our passengers and started on the most pleasant part of our journey.  As we pushed out into the river the band gave us some of its finest music, which was echoed back by the shout from the shore.  And then commenced our pleasure.  The lower deck was cleaned and swept, and you heard above the noise and splash of the water the cry “partners for the first set!”  The younger portion of the crowd commenced in earnest to “trip the light fantastic toe.”  Ahead of us was spread the majestic river, now widened and deepened by the action of the tide, and sparkling like a sea of glass.  The wheels of our gallant bark were beating time to the music of the waves, and gay young men and beautiful women were whirling in the mazes of the dance.  But your correspondent desired to look upon some of the scenes enjoyed (?) by him in other years, and repaired to the hurricane deck to get a better view.  On the right as you passed along frowned Battery Anderson, its mound once covered with bristling bayonets and sullen looking guns, now overgrown with bush and brier.  On the left, high above the other shore was Sugar Loaf hill whereon he stood, and intently watched long ago the desperate attack on “Anderson” opposite, when the iron-clad monitor ran up to the walls of the fort and poured her deadly missiles into it, and the shot from the fort had no effect on her, but struck and rebounded as if they had been made of rubber.  On the left, a little farther on, was the famous “Fisher,” now dismantled and overgrown.  After we passed the “mound,” we ran along to the opening of New Inlet, where the government boats are at work filling up the inlet with rock.  Here our boat rolled and tossed about, and your correspondent thought it the better part of prudence to get down to where the boat was steadier, so he left that deck; when he reached the lower deck he found that the dancers, too, had stopped, probably concluding that they could not worship Terpsichore and bow to old Neptune at the same time.  There you could see more than one of our party looking pale and haggard, and I was particularly struck with one who had taken the wood-pile, he said, to rest.  After we passed the inlet and the water became smooth, dancing was commenced and continued till Smithville was sighted on our right.

Here the Revenue Cutter Colfax lying in the stream gave us a salute, which we returned, and as our boys “wanted to get to the surf” we stopped only a short time, and then started for Caswell, which we reached in a short space.  The tide was running out and the boat could not get near the shore, but our gallant captain was equal to the emergency.  He placed benches in the shallow water with boards on them from the boat to the bank, and soon we were getting off in single file – one or two falling in – not being too steady.

Here the party divided, some walking on the beach and others in the fort – some gathering shells and sea-weed, while others were bathing in the surf.  In the latter could be found most of the “up countrys.”  Caswell was a strong fort, but is now dismantled and mouldering away.  The guns used by us are still there and regularly pointed, but the carriages are falling to decay; and herds of goats now roam where not long since the tread of soldiery was heard and the warlike men were waiting for the fray.  What a sad looking thing a dismantled fort is!  Years of work and toil and thousands of dollars thrown away!

After enjoying the beach for an hour or so the whistle sounded for our return.  On our way back we stopped at Smithville for a short time and walked about that old town.  It must be a pleasant place to spend a summer in, with its grassy streets and beautiful oaks.  It is a great mistake to suppose (as some do) that is a hot, sandy place.  Such is not the fact; it looks cool and shady and quiet.  While here an oar boat from the Colfax came over and took the band, our Mayor and some others to it, the band playing that sweet tune “Annie Laurie” as it was rapidly borne towards the cutter.  Over there they were feasted by the officers, and found our Congressman, Hon. A. M. Waddell, rusticating for a few days.

But pleasure cannot last always, and the shrill whistle of the Worth called them back.  “All aboard!” was sounded, and we started back for Wilmington.  Up the river now we are steaming; dancing again commences, and gaiety is kept up as we pass back by Fisher, by Sugar Loaf, by Battery Anderson, to the city.  Here we leave the largest part of our crowd, and at half-past ten start for home again.  The party were tired – most of us desired to sleep – but the young ones would not permit it; what with singing, playing, dancing and noise-making generally, little sleep was had that night.  But next day we took things quietly, and in good time reached home, all having enjoyed the trip and wishing to go again.  The only regret was that the excursion was not patronized as it ought to have been, it having been gotten up for the benefit of a benevolent order in our midst.

O. F.

[North Carolina Gazette – August 9, 1877]



Trip on the River – Pleasant
Company – Commodore Tatnal
– The Bladen Springs – A Beautiful
Country – A Dance –
Homeward Journey, &c.


In accordance with a courteous invitation from the committee of arrangements, we attended a picnic held at Bladen Springs, near Whitehall, Bladen county, last Friday, 17th inst.  Everything seemed to combine to render this little jaunt of ours an occasion of unalloyed pleasure.  Taking the steamer Worth on Thursday, and having under one escort three young ladies of Fayetteville, we had the good fortune to find assembled on board a very pleasant party, composed of ladies going to Wilmington and others whose destination, like our own, was Whitehall.  The river was low, and the Worth seemed to crawl rather than run, while her whistle was constantly engaged in the effort to clear away its hoarseness by screaming at a hundred different landings, all of which wanted a little room for a few rosin barrels.  But we were content:  what mattered it {is} that the stream was sluggish and the pulling steamer lazy? our mood was in unison with the lazy sunshine, and the bending willows, and the sleepy cranes which seemed to mock us with their drawling, drowsy flight along the banks.  Never have we spent a more delightful day on the Cape Fear – a congenial coterie which seemed to extract a pleasing incident from everything; the skill of the boatmen in shifting freight from landing to gangway; the charms of conversation, the pleasures of a game of whist, a little mixture of frolicking – and when Whitehall was sighted our hearts were torn between the anticipation of the enjoyment in store for us there and regret at bidding good bye to our Wilmington friends.

At Whitehall the shore was crowded with persons in waiting; to receive us, while upon the bank was a great illuminated banner, bearing the kind greeting, “WELCOME!.”  Here we found that the committee had made their arrangements perfect: our crowd, consisting of eighteen or twenty from Fayetteville and Cumberland county to other, was divided up into small parties, and sent off to different residences in the neighborhood, amid much mirth, merriment and laughter.  That night we stayed at Whitehall, the guest of Mr. James Evans, where we were nicely entertained and enjoyed a good night’s rest. Here we made the acquaintance of Commodore Tatnal, to give him his official title, though he is known to the masses as “Jim Ferryman.”  As we sat in the piazza overlooking the Cape Fear, listening to the fast receding paddles of the North State, sounding like the beats of some great heart in mortal struggle (has some other great brain evolved this idea from its inner consciousness?), there came a call from the other bank, so clear, so shrill, that it seemed to cleave the sheeny moonlight as a sharp dinner knife would make its way through fresh cream cheese – “Hallo! ho!! hallo!!!” “Dat’s Bill Simpson.  I jess know!” exclaimed a great ragged creature who had been lying at my feet, rising and stretching his remarkable length before me.  Then he strode off, and soon I heard the plash of the waves, the reverberating sound of the pole thrown on the flat, and the ferry-boat was ploughing its way across to the other shore.

“Old massa give me holiday.

I wish he’d give me more;

I thanked him very kindly

As I rowed my boat from shore,

And down de riber floated,

Wid a heart so light and free,

To de cottage of my dearest May

I longed so much to see” –

Sang the Commodore, as he bent his tall, gaunt form to the guiding pole, while the moonlight fell on his broad slouch hat, and trickled down over his matted beard like molten silver.

“Ah! yes, you nigger! if I was behind you I’d teach you ‘dearest May!”  Come ‘long back heah wid dat boat, you old fool, and go to bed!” – screamed a strident female voice from the door of a cabin on the bank to the right of me.

“Such is life!” mused I; “even the Commodore must come down off his ‘high horse’ when the domestic broomstick is brandished aloft, and the romance of the ferryman’s life wilts before the blighting influence of his practical fireside.”

“Jim Ferryman” is as honest, and faithful as the day is long, and there is not a man on the river who would not trust him with any amount of money.  All honor to the old fellow, rough thought his exterior and untutored be his mind!

A fearful thing happened the night we reached Whitehall; we shudder every time the recollection of it comes across our troubled soul.  A trunk, which was intended to be taken off there, was accidentally carried on by the Worth; in that trunk was a vest, a pair of pantaloons (if we may be pardoned the expression), a shirt (still asking for pardon), and a cravat; these articles of apparel were intended to adorn the rather lofty person of the chairman of the committee of arrangements, Mr. Jas. Evans, and the world is left to conjecture what would have been the effect on the fair sex at that picnic if the Worth hadn’t carried that trunk to Wilmington.  He raised old Cain round Whitehall when he found out what had happened, and rejected with scorn a proposition of ours to lend him a suit.  However, he took the matter philosophically at last, lay down saying something about “spilt milk,” and we think he snored that night just as loud as if he had been arrayed like Solomon in all his glory.

Friday, the picnic day, was bright, balmy and cloudless, and with a large party of ladies and gentlemen we set out for the springs.  Along the main road and from every cross-road poured streams of wagons, carriages, buggies, horsemen and pedestrians, preparing us to believe what had been told us – that this would be the biggest picnic we had ever seen.  Bladen Spring is situated about two hundred yards from the main Wilmington and Fayetteville road, near the splendid residence of the late lamented Mr. Russ.  It is a great basin of about 100 gallons capacity, the water of which is as clear as crystal, as cold as ice, and possessed of fine medicinal virtues.  We thought we could detect both iron and sulphur, but we were not under favorable circumstances for exercising our chemical knowledge while we drank – for eyes deeper and clearer than this great bubbling fount of nature were looking into ours, and on the pellucid surface of this noble spring was mirrored a form as full of grace as that of any naiad that ever tripped from wold or dell to lave in rippling stream in days of yore, and crowned with that chiefest glory of woman – a wealth of golden hair which caught every shifting ray as it danced on the woodland leaves and the ripples of the limpid stream.

The scene of the picnic was a large grove, garlanded and festooned in moss with a beauty that no art could rival, imparting a picturesque, ancient look which was charming.  Every tree seemed to us to have its history, and we could almost imagine that as their majestic forms towered over us, and their gnarled and knotted limbs swayed to and fro above our heads, they were whispering of other days, when tired invalids knelt at their feet and drank the sweet waters which God has given his creatures; when the silence of their peaceful realm was startled by merry laughter; when lovers lingered where the stillness and the shades were deepest; when the fathers and the mothers of the young men and women gathered there that day were as gay and fair as they – but the sturdy oaks and the gray old moss have outlived the soft cheeks, bright eyes and graceful forms which have fallen away into the dust!

At one end of the grove is a vacant house, where we soon heard the familiar sounds of tuning fiddles and scraping bows.  In a few minutes a set was formed, after which we became forgetful of the programme until a messenger came to tell us that the crowd was ready for the speech; it required some little force on the part of the committee to drag as out, as we were dancing with a very pretty girl, but we made our appearance at the stand, around which the people were thronged on benches, on the ground and in carriages, and did the best we could for them in the way of an address for 58 minutes by the watch, after which Mr. Allen, of Duplin, and Dr. Devane, of Bladen, responded to repeated calls which had been made upon them by brief but pleasing remarks.

We cannot describe the dinner to which we were invited at 1 o’clock.  It was an avalanche of beef, fat mutton, old ham, chickens, ducks, &c.; it was a deluge of cake, pies, tarts, puddings, &c.; it was a flood of pickles, fruits, jellies and sweet meats; it was a glut of all sorts of good things; it was a feast tendered to bounteous hospitality, overflowing in good will and generosity – the offering of a liberal, whole souled people.  The remainder of the day was devoted to dancing, promenading and conversation, and sunset closed the Bladen Spring picnic, the road being alive for an hour after with homeward bound parties.  There were hundreds present from every direction, and the counties of Bladen, Duplin, Pender, New Hanover, Brunswick, Columbus, Sampson, Robeson and Cumberland were represented on the grounds.  The hospitality of that section and people were lavishly offered to us, but we wish for ourselves and the ladies in our charge, to thank the families of Mrs. Wooten, Dr. Graham and Mr. Gilliam, and Mr. Evans, for many kindnesses.  It required some care on our part to keep the Fayetteville girls from being purposely left by the up boat, as they wanted to stay still another day, and were strenuously urged to do so by their Bladen friends.  We boarded the Worth about 9 ½ o’clock on Friday night, and reached home Saturday at noon.  Not the least pleasant part of our trip were the rides down and up on the Worth; it is an admirably managed steamer – good fare, clean berths and nice state rooms – and its captain is not only a good officer, but a pleasant companion, ever attentive to the wants and pleasure of his guests.

Crops are generally good in Bladen, though cotton has rather a bad stand in some parts of the county.  The people speak cheerfully, and hopefully, and look forward to the future, cherishing a bright anticipation of the restoration of their former thrift and prosperity.

Mr. Allen, in his speech the other day, spoke of Bladen county as a “land flowing with milk and honey.”  This is ought to be, literally as well as figuratively; much of its soil is almost inexhaustible in fertility, while it possesses upon the banks of the river, at the doors of many of its farmers, vast beds of marl which is invaluable for the restoration of impoverished land.  It is also admirably adapted to sheep husbandry, and we found the people down there almost unanimous in the determination to join us in our struggle for the protection of this important agricultural interest.

[North Carolina Gazette – First Edition – Thursday, August 23, 1877]

ACCIDENTALLY SHOT. – The steamer North State left her wharf last Saturday morning at the regular hour, and while on her way to Wilmington Capt. Green was shot under the following circumstances:  A New York salesman, a Mr. Strauss, was examining his pistol when it was accidentally discharged, the ball passing through a wooden partition, a pair of pantaloons hanging against the wall, and lodging about an inch and a quarter in the fleshy part of Capt. Green’s leg, who happened to have his feet up on a table at the time.

The North State was turned around and Capt. Green brought home, where an examination proved the wound to be not dangerous, though it has caused him a great deal of pain.

[North Carolina Gazette – March 7, 1878]

An Accidental Shooting – Wounding
of Capt. Green, of the Steamer
North State – A Narrow Escape, &c.

Capt. T. J. Green, of the steamer North State, met with quite a serious accident on Saturday morning last about 10 o’clock.  The boat left Fayetteville for this place that morning, and had proceeded about fourteen miles in this direction, when one of the passengers, a drummer, took out a common brass-mounted pistol, the barrels of which would not revolve to suit him and was examining it, when suddenly the weapon exploded, the ball going through a partition which intervened between himself and the Captain’s office, which is located in the bow of the boat, also passing through the legs of two pairs of pants which were hanging up in the room, and entered the fleshy part of the thigh of Capt. Green, who, at the moment, was sitting in a chair with his feet upon a table.  Capt. G. immediately cried out that he was shot, and parties on board rushed to his assistance{.}  The boat was then turned back and steamed with all haste to Fayetteville, where the wounded man could receive the necessary medical aid.  The physician announced that the wound was not necessarily dangerous, though the ball had passed within about an eighth of an inch of an important artery, and that he had therefore made a narrow escape.  The ball penetrated the flesh about two inches, and at last accounts had not been extracted, owing to its close proximity to the artery referred to.  The patient, however, was doing as well as could be reasonably expected under the circumstances.  The misfortune is more to be regretted from the fact that Capt. Green has on more than one occasion previous to this been the victim of an accident of a serious nature.

The party who was the innocent cause of the accident appeared to regret the occurrence very much.  He said he was not aware that there was a room or office located forward of the partition toward which he had the pistol pointed when it exploded.

The steamer again left Fayetteville for this place at 3 p. m. on Saturday.

[Wilmington Star – March 8, 1878]

— The steamer Wave is now at Fayetteville, where she is to be thoroughly overhauled.  She will be supplied with new engines from the works of Pusey, Jones & Co., Wilmington, Delaware, and her cabins are to be enlarged for the accommodation of passengers.  It is claimed that with her new engines the Wave will be the fastest boat on the river.

[Wilmington Star – May 24, 1878]

FOUND DROWNED. – We are indebted to the Coroner for the following facts:  As the steamer Murchison was on her upward trip on Thursday, the 23rd inst., about four miles below this place, the deck hands discovered the body of a drowned person in the water, which was afterwards identified as that of Betsy Manuel, a colored girl, fourteen years old, the cook’s assistant on the steamer Hurt.  She was missing on Saturday, the 18th inst., and was last seen on the boat, playing with a bucket with rope attached, used for drawing water from the river; this bucket was found floating in the river, about half a mile below, a short time after.  There were many rumors in circulation, and many opinions expressed, as to the fate of the unfortunate girl.  Some supposed she had run away to marry a young man with whom she had been familiar; some thought she had been decoyed from the boat and foully dealt with; while others believed she had been murdered and thrown into the river.  Owing to these facts it was deemed imperative that a thorough investigation of the case be had before a jury of inquest, in order that the guilty parties, if any, might be discovered, and that any upon whom unjust suspicion rested might be exonerated.  After a post mortem examination of the body by Dr. W. C. McDuffie, and a careful sifting of the matter by the Coroner’s jury, they rendered a verdict that the deceased came to her death by accidental drowning.

[North Carolina Gazette – May 30, 1878]

— The steamer Wave, which has been absent at Fayetteville for some weeks past, where she has been undergoing thorough repairs, has put in her appearance again in a new and handsome dress, which is decidedly becoming and sets her off to great advantage.  Among her improvements is a handsome lady’s cabin, neatly carpeted and upholstered, a smoking room, and a general overhauling of the rooms in general, which have been put in fine condition.  Her cabins are also to be provided with new and handsome furniture.  There are two state rooms, both fixed up in good style, a reading room, a promenade deck for the ladies, and other conveniences, besides which the promenades on either side of the upper deck have been considerably widened.  She has been furnished with a  splendid new engine, and newly painted throughout, white and yellow being the predominating colors.  “Long may she Wave!”

[Wilmington Star – June 22, 1878]

Excursions To-Day.

The steamer Gov. Worth will take down a family excursion, under the auspices of the Hibernian Benevolent Association, visiting Smithville, Fort Caswell and other points of interest below.  No efforts have been spared by the committee having the matter in charge to make the excursion a pleasant and agreeable one.  There will be excellent music for dancing, and refreshments will be served at reasonable prices.  Care will also be taken to preserve the utmost good order and decorum, and nothing intoxicating will be allowed on board.  The boat will leave the wharf between Market and Dock streets promptly at 9 o’clock.

The steamer Passport will make an excursion to Smithville, Forth Caswell, Fort Fisher and Bald Head, leaving her wharf at 9:30 o’clock.  There will be music and refreshments.

The Steamer J. S. Underhill will take a select family party down, visiting Smithville and other places, and there will doubtless be several other private excursions.

The colored people have their excursions mostly by rail, one of the most important going to Goldsboro, and another to Columbia, S. C.

[The Wilmington Morning Star – Thursday, July 4, 1878]



Excursionists to Smithville, Bald Head,

&c. – A Fine Day – Pleasant Trips, &c., &c.

A large number of excursionists went down to Smithville and other points of interest on the seashore on Thursday.  The number altogether is estimated at from one thousand to twelve hundred, including the colored firemen and others, who went down on the steamer Waccamaw.  It was our fortune to be one of the large party who took passage in the fine steamer Gov. Worth, Capt. Watson, chartered by the Hibernian Benevolent Association.  This boat left the wharf between Market and Dock streets shortly after 9 o’clock, and had a fine run to Smithville.  After remaining there about twenty minutes she again shoved off and proceeded to Bald Head, where the most of the party landed, a large proportion of the males going up the beach for  some distance and taking a bath in the “salt sea waves,” and others, including quite a number of the ladies, making their way to Bald Head light – house, going up the winding stairs leading to the summit of the tower, from which a fine view of the surrounding scenery is to be had, including the white – capped ocean as far out as the eye could reach, the various forts, Frying Pan Shoals, stretching far out into the billowy waste, Cape Fear, and last, but by no means least, the beautiful and romantic scenery on the island, one portion of which is covered by a perfectly impenetrable mantle of green undergrowth, which cannot be traversed except where narrow paths have been cut, while through another portion of it Bald Head creek and other small streams meander through a perfectly level bed of green sward, which, viewed from the top of the tower, presents a spectacle as lovely as could well be pictured or even imagined.  Several families reside on the island, and enjoy the full benefit of the ocean breezes, which here have full sway.  The company partook of a drink of deliciously cool water from a well on the premises attached to the lighthouse, rested briefly from the labor incident to climbing the steep tower, and then returned to the boat, which soon afterward proceeded on the return trip to Smithville.  Passing Fort Caswell a number of people were seen on the beach making signs for the boat to stop, but, owing to the condition of the tide at the time, Capt. Watson deemed it a dangerous experiment to stop for fear of grounding and having to remain there for an indefinite period.  We afterwards learned that Rev. Father Gross and three or four sisters of Mercy, who were on a brief visit to the fort, were among those who signaled to the boat, and it was very much regretted by all that it was inexpedient to stop.

While the bulk of the excursionists were indulging in the trip to Bald Head, a number of those from the Gov. Worth, joined by some of those from the Underhill, which arrived shortly afterwards, repaired to the academy, accompanied by the music from the former boat, where there was a pleasant dance during the interval of the departure and return of the Gov. Worth.  As this steamer neared her wharf on the return from Bald Head, the steamer Underhill, with her party, was steaming off in the direction of Wilmington, and the Waccamaw, loaded down with colored excursionists, with a brass band on board, was backing out from the shore to commence the return trip.  The Worth remained at Smithville about thirty minutes allowing all an opportunity of taking a short stroll on shore, when she also turned her prow homewards, followed by the Passport, our party arriving at the wharf about 8 o’clock.

As we arrived at Smithville a salute was being fired from Fort Johnson in honor of the day, and the town was gaily decorated with flags.

The excursion, taken altogether, was an exceedingly pleasant one, and was greatly enjoyed by those who participated in it.  The boat was roomy and provided with every convenience, and the committee in charge were attentive, courteous and obliging.

The party on the Underhill, under the general supervision of the “Deacon,” ably assisted by the “Doctor” and one or two others, also had a good time, as we presume those on the other boats did.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Saturday, July 6, 1878]



Several Stores, Warehouses, Sheds and Stables and Two Steamboats Destroyed – Loss About $60,000 to $75,000.

Shortly after our paper had gone to press on Tuesday morning, or about half past 3 o’clock, our firemen and citizens were again called upon to battle with the fiery element in one of its most spiteful and destructive moods.  The flames were first discovered in the starboard quarter of the steamer J. S. Underhill, which has been laying up at Mr. O. G. Parsley’s wharf for some time awaiting repairs.  The steamer was laying with her bow down the stream, and the fire is supposed to have been communicated to her by a spark from a fire on a raft, which was close alongside.  The steamer North East, Capt. R. P. Paddison, running between this city and Point Caswell, was tied up at the stern of the Underhill, with a space of only about twenty – five feet between them.  With an ebb tide and the wind blowing directly towards the wharf, it was found impossible to move her.  The flames spread with great rapidity, and soon the wharf to which the Underhill was moored was, on fire, which was speedily communicated to the North East.  Captain Paddsion’s family, together with quite a number of other passengers, were on board, and so rapidly did the flames spread, after once getting headway, that the passengers had to be hurried from the burning steamer.  Captain Paddison’s private papers and about $100 in money were in his desk, and were consumed, together with his apparel, &c.  The North East burned to the water’s edge and sunk, while the wreck of the Underhill was towed to the west side of the river, in the neighborhood of Mr. C. W. McClammy’s distillery, where she was sunk, her smoke – stack being just visible above the surface of the water.

In the meantime the devouring element, fanned by a brisk Southwest wind, was making rapid headway towards Front street, sweeping in its resistless course everything that came in its way.  First the wood – yard of Mr. O. G. Parsley was swept by the flames, which thence communicated to the adjacent sheds and warehouses, destroying them and their contents, and finally taking hold upon the block of stores facing upon Front street, which were soon a mass of seething flame.  Up to this time the Fire Department had been mainly endeavoring to stay the march of the insatiate fiend, and now, under the direction of their worthy Chief, they commenced an herculean effort to prevent the flames from crossing the street, or diverging from their hitherto straight course the to direction of Dock street, which in either case would have resulted in woeful disaster to our city.  The steamer “Adrian” was broken down early in the battle and could not be made to work.  It therefore devolved upon the “Little Giant” and the “Cape Fear” to stay as far as possible the progress of the flames, in which they were greatly assisted by the Hook and Ladder Company.

In the meantime, the fierce wind wafted showers of sparks and cinders and tufts of burning hay over the entire width of the city, in an easterly or northeasterly direction, and parties had to be stationed on the shingle roofs, for squares from the scene of the conflagration, in order to keep the fire from communicating to them.  The danger was at its height when the flames burst forth from the warehouse on the corner of Front street and Muter’s alley, which as filled with hay and other combustible material, the flames almost lapping the residence of Mr. J. Loeb, on the opposite side of the street, while the showers of sparks were redoubled in their density, falling upon the buildings, in the yards and on the sidewalks like snowflakes, calling for the utmost vigilance on the part of those who were on the lookout.  It was about this time that a burning brand fell upon the roof of Mr. T. M. Smith’s kitchen, on Market, between Sixth and Seventh streets, and set fire to it, which would have resulted in starting a fresh conflagration but for the vigilance of a near neighbor, who hastily procured a ladder and mounted the roof, when the fire was speedily extinguished after burning a hold about a foot square.  The roof of the residence of Capt. W. M. Stevenson, on Fourth street, between Market and dock, also caught in the same manner.  A large tree in St. James’ Church yard caught fire, and the flames were also communicated to the grass in the vacant lot corner of Third and Dock streets, adjoining the Catholic Church, and also to the grass plat in the middle of the street adjoining.

By the almost superhuman efforts of the firemen and hook and laddermen, after the flames had communicated from Lippitt’s Block to Mr. C. Stemmerman’s store on the corner of Front and Orange streets, which was partially destroyed, the fire was finally gotten under control.

Through the exertions of Messrs. Robinson & King (who had an office in the building on the corner of Orange and Water streets), Jimmie Smith, Martin Willard, and a colored man named Hankins, aided by the crew of the Norwegian barque Frank, the large warehouse, filled with hay and spirits turpentine, and the adjacent wharf with tar, on the south side of Orange street, were saved, thus preventing an extensive spread of the conflagration in that direction, with great destruction of property.

The losses and insurance, so far as can now be estimated, are as follows:

The Steamer J. S. Underhill, the property of Mr. O. G. Parsley, Jr., was insured for about her full value, $3,000 in the Phoenix, of Hartford, represented by Mr. Norwood Giles, and $3,000 in the Connecticut, represented by Messrs. W. L. Smith & Co.

The Steamer North East was valued by her owner, Capt. R. P. Paddison, at $3,600 and was insured for $2,000 in the Phoenix, of Hartford, Mr. Norwood Giles.

Mr. O. G. Parsley, in addition to the steamer Underhill, loses seven hundred tons of coal, from four hundred to five hundred cords of wood, from two hundred thousand to three hundred thousand shingles; two engines on the wharf, tools, wheelbarrows, two or three carts and drays, &c., altogether valued at $7,000 or $8,000, upon which there was no insurance.

Mr. J. E. Lippitt owned all but one of the buildings destroyed, and his loss upon the various stores, warehouses, sheds and stables amounted in the aggregate to about $17,000, upon which there was only $7,800 insurance.  This is divided up as follows:  $2,000 in the Phoenix, of Hartford, Mr. Norwood Giles; $1,000 in the Home, of New York, Mr. Norwood Giles; $2,400 in the Lancashire, Messrs. DeRosset & Northrop; $2,000 in the German – American, Messrs. W. L. Smith & Co., and $400 in the Petersburg, Metsrs. DeRosset & Northrop.

The brick building on the corner of Front and Orange streets, the property of Mr. C. Stemmerman, was insured for $4,000 in the Underwriters’ Agency, Messrs. DeRosset & Northrop.  Mr. S.’s stock of furniture was also badly damaged, upon which there was no insurance.  Messrs. E. Kidder & Son lose about $10,000 in molasses stored in one of the warehouses, upon which there was insurance for $5,000 on the Queen of Liverpool, Messrs. Atkinson & Manning.

Mr. P. Cumming & Co., lost in hay, grain, horses and harness about $4,000, in which there was insurance in the AEtna, of Hartford, and North America, of Philadelphia, for $3,400.

Messrs. Adrian & Vollers lost about $1,400 in salt and fish stored in one of the warehouses, on which there was insurance for $1,000 in the Howard, of New York.

Mr. H. B. Eilers lost 800 barrels of rosin and had a small lot of spirits turpentine destroyed, valued at about $1,500.  Insured for $2,000 in the Hartford, of Hartford, Messrs. Atkinson & Manning.

Messrs. Robinson & King lost in office furniture $150.  Covered by insurance in the Atlantic, of New York, DeRosset  Northrop.  They also lose some rosin, &c., amount not asceretained, which is covered by insurance in the London Assurance.  Their books and papers were all saved, being in a safe.

Mr. B. D. Morrill’s loss in stock, tools, & c., is about $800.  Insured for $300 in the Wilmington Mutual, Mr. S. N. Cannon.

The house on the east side of Front street,

owned by Mr. W. G. Fowler, and occupied by Mr. A. Weill, was damaged to the extent of about $250 by water.  Covered by insurance in a company represented by Messrs. J. W. Gordon & Bro.  Mr. Weill’s furniture was considerably damaged, which was covered by insurance with Messrs. DeRosset & Northrop.

Messrs. Paterson, Downing & Co., had a small loss in naval stores, which was covered in the London and Liverpool and Globe, Messrs. J. W. Gordon & Bro.

Messrs. Preston Cumming & Co. lost two valuable mules, Mr. Edgar Parmlee two horses and harness and drays, and Mr. O. G. Parsley a driving horse, all of which were burned in their stables, it being impossible to remove them.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Wednesday, December 25, 1878]


The steamer Isis, Capt. S. W. Skinner, belonging to the above company is now being thoroughly overhauled and refitted.  It is expected that she will be ready to commence running regularly between this city and Point Caswell on or about the 3rd of February.

Capt. R. P. Paddison, formerly of the steamer North East, whose place the Isis fills, is the general agent of the company.  We learn that the loss of the North East has caused considerable inconvenience to shippers, who are compelled at present to resort to the use of flats to move their produce.  Fortunately they will not have to wait long before the line is again reopened, and a steamer running regularly.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Saturday, January 4, 1879]

Local Dots.

—  The Fayettevillians have been in the frigid zone for some time past.  Captain Garrason, of the steamer Murchison reports not only good skating in that region, but miniature specimens of icebergs floating  around, from Haw and Deep rivers.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Thursday, January 9, 1879]

Local Dots.

—  The divers found it too cold yesterday to begin the work of raising the wreck of the steamer North East.  They made a preliminary examination of the situation of affairs beneath the river’s surface, and will do nothing more until the weather is warmer.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Saturday, January 11, 1879]

Up the Cape Fear – Condition of the River.

From Capt. Garrason, of the steamer D. Murchison, which arrived here last night about 9 o’clock, we learn that the river had risen 55 feet at Fayetteville, but had commenced to fall a few minutes before the Murchison left yesterday morning.  Capt. Garrason reports that a good many cattle were drowned by the freshet, and that many more will probably be, as he passed several herds on submerged islands, from which they would almost certainly be swept by the rapidity of the current.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Wednesday, January 15, 1879]

Local Dots.

—  The first “down the river” of the new year, in the nature of pleasuring, was made on the steamer Passport Saturday morning.  The party of ladies and gentlemen not only went to Smithville, but outside, and in spite of the little unpleasantness of “going to Europe,” in which the ladies reluctantly indulged, the trip was one of decided enjoyment.

[The Wilmington Morning Star – January 19, 1879]


Down the Cape Fear – Early Rising – A
Morning Ride – A Merry Party on
the River, &c.


MR. EDITOR: — When I think how often ye poor defenceless {misspelled} editors are overwhelmed by countless dozens of just such scrawl as the one I am about to inflict upon you, I must confess that I feel some compunction in regard to the matter.

Charles Lamb says:  “Epistolary matter usually comprises three topics:  news, sentiment, and puns.“ Don’t, I pray you, look for either here.

No, I only wish to tell you of our trip down the river to Wilmington a few mornings ago.  Monday, Feb. 24th, found us up, not exactly at “six o’clock in the morning,“ but just at two-quarters past.  After an early breakfast we set off on our ride of three miles to the river.  The fresh, crisp morning air blew into our faces, putting more roses into the cheeks of the fairer portion of our party than they had known in many weeks before.  We were a merry crowd, I assure you!  How we laughed and chatted!  How the jokes went round!  How we all enjoyed them – all except one of our cousins, who would – very naughty of him, I’m quite sure – persist in keeping up the reputation he had somehow acquired of late of being “immensely sober and dignified.“ We bowled along at a rapid pace.  “Those dreadful (?) girls“ had been so long getting ready we hadn’t more than time to catch the boat.  Just at the foot of the hill, within half a mile of the market-house, one of the traces snapped.  Such a time as we had fixing that trace, only to go a dozen yards and then break down again!  Such was the pressure upon the good nature of our sober cousin that I’m very much afraid he regretted his inability to say a naught word then.  The last time that trace broke was just opposite harness store.  A new one was soon secured – no a new harness store, but a new trace – and in ten minutes more we were bowling along all right.  We caught the boat – not just in the “nick of time“ – but fully an hour and a half before she left the wharf! Now don’t think all the clocks in the house had run down, and all our watches had gone on a John Gilpin gallop.  No, the boat had been under repair, and could not get off at the usual hour.  We went on board, and for the first time I had an introduction to that clever, genial gentleman, Capt. Albert Worth.  He is a prince of steamboat captains, and deservedly one of the most popular, if not the most popular on the river.  He manages his boat with the skill and dexterity a finished young lady displays in the management of the ample folds of her voluminous train.  There! is not that a comparison for you?

At nine o’clock and twenty ### minutes there was the warning whistle, and those of our party who had only come to say “good-bye“ hurried ashore.  Two minutes later the steamer Governor Worth, with “pennons gaily flying“ – there, what am I saying? – the colors were not up.  I forgot – well, the Governor Worth steamed away from the wharf.  We stood on deck, gaily waving our handkerchiefs to friends on shore, just as long as the white cloth (there’s another mistake! Mine had a blue border) was visible; then turned to watch the retreating roofs and spires of Fayetteville till a bend in the river shut them from view.  Then Mr. McR. Our gallant and gentlemanly escort, brought chairs, and, seated on the upper deck, in full view of the “sounding waves“ – no, the murmuring waves; which is right, anyhow? – O, I have it now, the “ripple of the translucent water“ – bad again, the Cape Fear is too muddy!  I’ll begin again:  Seated on the upper deck in plain view not of the  “banks and braes“ of “
Bonnie Doon,“ but of “bonnie Cumberland,“ as they flitted by, we prepared to discuss  “Mrs. Battle on Whist.“  She was a sensible old lady, don’t you think?  But the book did not occupy us long.  We preferred to use our eyes in another direction just then.  It was the loveliest of days, not a cloud in the sky, and the blue of the most beautiful and vivid coloring.  The Cape Fear is truly a winding stream.  The trip down the river must be delightful in summer.  Even at this season it is quite enjoyable.  There seems to be such dense foliage along the banks, such a mingling, like Joseph’s coat, of “many colors.“  Even now the trees are beginning to bud, while the cane and smaller undergrowth are displaying a generous leafing of vivid green.  Five or six miles down the river the boat stopped at its first landing to take on some barrels of tar and ###n, ###rawsen,“ as Mr. Mc R. cautioned me I must pronounce it here in Wilmington.  Now I must confess, as I had never seen the modus operandi before.  I was all agog with curiosity to take in every detail.  The steamer “rounded“ in handsome style, and lay alongside.  Where in the world was the landing?  Nothing but a steep bank full thirty-five or forty feet, all on a “down grade,“ and on the summit those “rawsen“ barrels, all in  “grim array,“ waiting to be taken on board.  Now how was it going to be done?  I couldn’t understand it.  A brilliant idea struck me; I would appeal to the Captain.  “Now, Captain Worth,“ I said, “if you please to explain how you are going to get those rawsen barrels aboard, I shall be much obliged.  You certainly are not going to tumble them down that steep bank.  Why, they will either burst open or tumble into the river.  And certainly the men are not going to tote ( that is a very expressive word of ours out in Georgia ) them down on their shoulders.  Why, it will take them a month of Sundays, and we won’t get into Wilmington in time to attend the next 4th of July celebration!“  [These last are what our dear old sober-sided cousin would call “exaggerations of speech.“]  The Captain didn’t reply to these eager questions; he only pointed to the bank, and said, “Look yonder!“  What did we see?  Why, those self-same barrels, all in one nice, precise, exact row, one behind the other, like soldiers in a rank, like ducks in a file, coming gently yet swiftly “down grade,“ closely packed together, yet never encroaching one upon the other.  No smashing, no bouncing, no getting out of order, yet coming with an exact precision to the hands outstretched to lift them on board.  Yes, that was it exactly.  But how did they get that first barrel in place, and start the whole raft of them rolling?  We determined to find out next time.  We wouldn’t turn our back again, and waste so much time talking.  “And now,“ said the Captain, “we will stop a few hundred yards below here and take on water.“  “Take on water?“  we echoed.  “You surely don’t mean to swamp us.  O, I dare say you mean water to drink.  Now where are you to get it?  Not out of the river, I hope.  If you do, I shall decline with thanks.“  The Captain smiled again, and drew our attention to a clear, sparkling rill of water, coming with a rapid, graceful flow from out the mouth of a wooden spout some dozen yards ahead of us.  I tackled the Captain with very nearly the same question I had in regard to the “rawsin“ barrels, “How are we to get it? “ “Lean over the railing and drink from the spout,“ he said, with a  sly twinkle in his eye, “or catch it in your hand ## ### .“  “A very brilliant idea,“ we answered him, “but will you please be so kind as to get out a life insurance policy for us before we do the leaning.“  The boat moved in close to the bank and stopped; a plank was thrown across, a little negro boy leaped upon it and dexterously fitted a long pipe-like piece of canvas and rubber hose to the mouth of the water-spout, an, lo! The water flowed gracefully and freely into the vessels placed on deck to receive it.

Now, I dare say, after all this, you are beginning to think your correspondent very much of a “land lubber.“  Well, although I have been many times out on the “broad Atlantic“ and had more than one “salt water bath,“ yet this was my first trip on board a river boat, and the experience was quite novel, I assure you.

Many pleasing incidents occurred during the trip, but I have not time to tell you of them now.  We had the pleasure of meeting on board Gen. M. P. Taylor, who is representing the Sun and the South Atlantic, of this city.  We found him quite social, and decidedly entertaining in conversation.

We expected to reach Wilmington that evening, but, owing to several delays along the river, the boat did not get in till seven o’clock the next morning.  Therefore we had to spend the night on board, but did not regret it, as we had most comfortable quarters and the best of attention.

Our first impressions of Wilmington are most favorable.  We will write you more anon.

Yours truly,                           ANDY.

[North Carolina Gazette – March 6, 1879]

The Revenue Cutter Colfax.

The Wilmington (Del.) Commercial has the following in reference to the steamer Colfax:

“The U. S. cutter Schuyler Colfax, which has been at the shipyard of Pusey, Jones & Co., of this city, since last July, undergoing extensive repairs, is now ready to leave, and in a few days will depart for Wilmington, N. C., where she will report for duty.  This afternoon she goes out upon the Delaware for the purpose of adjusting her compasses, and will return this evening or tomorrow morning.  The vessel has been lengthened twenty-five feet, midships; has a new cylinder, new boiler, new wheels – in fact all her fitting is new, and, with the exception of the hull, she is a new ship.  She was built in 1871, by Dialogue & Wood, of Philadelphia.

“The following are the officers of the Colfax:  Captain, Frank Barr; First Lieutenant, Fred. M. Munger; Third Lieutenant, J. U. Rhodes; Chief Engineer, M. T. Chevers; Second Assistant Engineer, Eugene Webbar; Pilot, E. H. Cranmer.”

The Colfax, we learn, has been detained on account of the discovery that a portion of her copper sheathing had been torn off by the heavy ice in the Delaware.  She is now undergoing repairs, and it is expected will leave for this port in a few days.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Friday, March 7, 1879]

Up at Last.

The steamer North East poked her nose out of the water yesterday and looked like she was ashamed of herself for lying abed so long.  It was suggested that she could very properly be recorded as among the arrivals from below.  Captain Dick Paddison was present when she made her appearance.  The work of raising her will be completed to-day, we understand.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Saturday, March 8, 1879]

Local Dots.

—  The steamer North East was brought entirely to the surface yesterday.

[Wilmington Morning Star – March 9, 1879]


—  The new boiler for the steamer Wave has arrived, and the boat will be detained here for a week or two in order to have the old boiler removed and the new one placed in position.  The capacity of the new boiler is nearly fifty per cent. greater than that of the old one.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Tuesday, March 18, 1879]

Local Dots.

—  The new boiler for the steamer Wave will be put in at the wharves of the W. & W. R. R., where it has been unloaded from the cars.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Wednesday, March 19, 1879]


—  The steamer Wave has received her new boiler and has been overhauled and otherwise improved.  It is expected that she will resume her trips on the river next Tuesday.  It is now claimed that she will be the swiftest boat on the line between this city and Fayetteville.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Saturday, March 22, 1879]




Another Trip Down the Cape Fear – Parting with Friends – Good-bye, Fayetteville – “ Homeward-Bound “ – Retrospective – Incidents of the Journey, &c.


EDITOR GAZETTE: — In the fair sweet light of the early morning the steamer “Murchison“ lies alongside of her wharf; the gang plank is thrown out, we step on board; the gallant captain hastens to meet us; we make our way to the ladies‘ cabin, thence to the after deck, and stand there for a few moments to chat with friends.  Then comes the parting we have dreaded for so many days.  Once before we wafted a gay “good bye“ from the deck of the steamer “Worth“ for a jaunt down the river – a gay good bye, then, for we were coming back in a little while; but now this is a good-bye, it may be, like Enoch Arden‘s – “for years or forever,“ for though during the past few months our barque has many times drifted from its moorings, yet now it is “homeward bound.“

The ropes part; they are quickly drawn in; our steamer floats slowly and gracefully out to mid-river, then swings round under full steam, and with her monster wheel beating the waters into milk-white foam she heads away down the river.

Good bye, Fayetteville, good bye: Noble old town! Though thy former glory has departed; though “the axe has been laid at the root of thy throne,“ though the old glad days of thy brightness are gone, and the pomp of they pageantry shorn;  “yet thy people can still“ laugh from clear throats, “for their faith is ever-present with them – the faith of a near and bright future – when the phoenix, proud bird, shall spring from its ashes; when the shriveled beans, as in the beautiful legend, shall burst into life within the hollow of the empty gourd; when thine shall be not a mere sounding name, not a dead and buried past, but an every vivifying present.  Farewell!  To us, gazing with eager, ardent eyes, our own future lies bright and alluring before us.  We are “homeward-bound.“  Away out among the bright green valleys and “red old hills of Georgia“ – in one noon where the sun seems never to forget to shine; where the cherry trees are now one mass of snowy bloom, and the song of the robins is heard all day long, nestles the dear home to which our heart has turned many times since we left it.  Joyous will be the home coming.  Eyes will grow brighter, hearts beat faster, the alabaster boxes of love spring wide open at our touch.  Even now our lips quiver in eager anticipation.  Yet there comes one sad, tender thought – a thought of the present.  We are standing now one the deck of a steamer, each revolution of its wheels bearing us further and further from the place which, for three months past, has been to us a second home – from hearts that beat for us, too – whose tender words make tender re-echoes  within our own hearts, with whom we have lived, and mingled, and held communion for so long.  Is it a wonder, then, that we bow our head with deep emotion as we murmur our last farewell; that up from our heart leaps into one deep, long sob of regret as our boat rounds the curve, and the last glimmer of the banks, the trees, the tops of the houses – the arches of the old bridge fade from our view?

“Sweet Innisfallen, fare thee well!

May calm and sunshine long {be thine;}

How dear thou art let others tell,

While but to feel how dear be mine. ”

Once more “good bye.“  If in the coming years our feet should never press thy soil again; if our eyes should never more rest upon they “banks and braes,“ yet memory will ever keep fresh and green within our heart a tender thought of they and of thy clever, whole souled people.  Out on the great sea of life their barques and ours have drifted far apart – perhaps never to meet here again, yet we pray God each and every one of them may find the same welcoming haven at last,

And touch on the banks of the “Beautiful Shore.“

Our steamer glides along.  We hastily brush the tears from our eyes, and turning our back – not our heart – upon the past, prepare to enjoy the present, to anticipate the future.

Capt. Garrason, ever thoughtful, ever kind, brings chairs, and seated on the forward deck, with the soft warm sunshine falling in a happy flood around us, we give ourself up to dreaming.  The air is so soft – so delicious – it is simply bliss to breathe it; all manner of “sweet smells“ are wafted to us from the banks on either side.

“For the spring has come secure,

Raining blossoms over all;

And the woods, with blessings green,

On the earth-born children call.“

The cane looks brighter, the trees are more vivid in their coloring than they were three weeks ago.  The water ripples as the light breeze stirs across it, then breaks into graceful curves, which emit tiny jets and sparkles as the sunlight plays upon it.  The birds flit from tree to tree, or cleaving the air with long graceful downward dippings of their wings fly high above our heads, the joyous twitter, the merry trill, bursting forth from their tiny throats, and waking an echoing chord of sweetest music in our own heart.

The morning wears on; the trees fling their long shadows across the stream – how cool and inviting the banks look!  How the white sand glistens and stretches away on either side in great waves of gleaming light.  Down among the trees, in the shadow of the o’er hanging cane-brakes, so near the river’s edge their long tails idly brush the water, a group of mild-eyed cows are lying, blinking contentedly in the sunshine.

A sharp quick whistle arouses us from our reverie; the bell taps; the steamer “rounds to;” the plank is thrown across, and a lady her escort, and her trunk come aboard.  How lightly she trips across!  We can see nothing but a plump figure in a water proof cloak, with a palmetto hat trimmed with black velveteen perched jauntily to one side; but the manner in which she turns to speak to her escort, the laugh, the sudden pull she gives her hat, the way in which she holds her dress, all betray the rustic belle.  She throws her head back to look up at the deck where we are standing.  Our eyes meet.  She bows and smiles – quite a rustic bow, it is true, but charming in its naïve simplicity.  We bow and smile in return.  That is sufficient.  When she comes aboard she is not at all backward about cultivating our acquaintance.  One cannot be stiff or formal on a steamer or in a railroad car.  Directly we go back to our old nook on the forward deck and enjoy the sunning with all a turtle’s relish.  Very soon our attention is attracted by the cry: “Heigh ho! There!” We turn quickly.  On the bank are a half dozen darkies in all the glory of holiday attire, three women and three men; and two more making their way across the river just in front of us, in a light canoe.  If they do not mind they will be caught by the swell, or by the boat itself.  The women on the bank seem to think so, too, for their loud cries of “Look out!”  “Look out!”  “Better get out of de way, dar!”  come to us quite distinctly.  But evidently the men have no fear, all too well assured of their skill as expert oarsmen to expect a collision or a swamping.  As the boat runs near the bank one fat, good-natured old “mamma“ decked out in a flaming new print, and big white apron, her round ebony face fairly shining with delight, drops us a “courtesy.”  “How d’ye do, Missus?”  “How d’ye do, mamma.” Nodding and smiling, and just then thinking of our baby days – was it so long ago! When we used to cuddle down in the great, kind arms of our own dear old black “mamma,“ and with our head upon her bosom be lulled to sleep with the songs she used to crone.  “What’s up, Auntie?” we questioned, with another nod and smile.  “Gwine to a weddin at Rob’sons landing,” stooping down to brush off a bit of mud from her white apron.  “O, is that it?  Now, don’t forget to send us a bit of the cake, Auntie.”  At this “Auntie“ stares, and as the steamer glides by we can just catch the tones of her voice shouting after us; “Whar? whar? whar send it to?”

A half hour later comes the clear sound of the dinner bell, as it swings to and fro in the

###{paper damaged} be,” the polite and smiling {} We obey the call with alacrity, and at {}t of the well spread table, on which Aunt Chloe’s hands have arranged everything so temptingly, our mouth begins to water.  Capt. Garrason takes seat {at} the foot of the table and pre {}es with all the {} uity and grace of an accomplished host.  Su### Mrs. G. has had him in ### Among other things we have for {} twelve pounds.  It is served up in “Uncle### s” best sytle, and we do it full justice.

As we get up from the table the whistle blows for Elizabeth Town, and Capt. Garrason, ever polite, ever attentive, and solicitous for our enjoyment, proposes our going ashore and taking a walk through the small but quite famous little town.  There are many points of historical interest, which want of time only keeps us from visiting.  Among other places we visit the celebrated Tory’s Hole – a deep and rather picturesque ravine – where it is said many Tories had concealed themselves for days, and even weeks at a time.  One building in the neighborhood pointed out to us is over a hundred years old, and yet in a state of preservation.  At the store of Mr. Mulford we are shown quite a curiosity in the shape of a huge bone, dug from an old marl pit, within a short distance of Elizabeth Town.  It appears to be a part of the hip joint of some monstrous animal, and measures 12 inches across the widest point.  On our way back to the boat Capt. Garrason finds and measures a huge grape vine, declared by the good people of Elizabeth to be the largest ever yet discovered.  This monster vine measures 46 ½ inches in circumference.  Just think of that!

Three o’clock and fifteen minutes, P. M. when we come ### and steam away from Elizabeth Town #####  arm chair, on the forward deck, allure us once more.  With a little sigh of restful content we thrown ourselves within it, our elbows on the railing, our hands supporting our chin, and go to dreaming again.  The evening wears on  In all the beauty of its picturesque windings stretches the Cape Fear before us; away out yonder the water breaks into little ripples, tiny waves, gentle undulations, which toy and sport like coy, sweet nymphs in their frolics; the boat breaks in upon their play## them with stormy breath into tossing surges, which dash away on either side, and climb high up the banks.  “The charm’d sunset lingers low adown in the red west;” a golden, glow, delicious in its warmth and tint, lingers over land and sky, casting wavering lights and shadows on the gleaming sheet of foam below – glinting upon the stretches of white sand, while the maple, and elm, and pine tops are sunset flushed.  From out the cane-brake comes the low, soft piping of birds, the delicious fragrance of the yellow jessamines, and the amorous odor of the wild grape blooms are wafted to us from the depth of the green crown’d woods.  One of the bow hands lies half across the capstan fast asleep, another is coiled up at his feet, his head serenely reposing against a pile of wood; from the stern of the boat comes a low, faint whistle, never getting an octave higher, but low, and to us almost as musical as the bird tri’l on the banks.  Our eyes close, our head falls upon our folded arms;

“How sweet it were hearing the flowing stream

With half-shut eyes ever to seem

Falling asleep in a half dream.”

Where are we?  How far away are the “Happy Isles?”  Are we drifting away to that land in which it seems already afternoon, where round the coast the languid air doth swoon; the land of the lotus blooms?

An hour later when we come on deck again,

“The night already darkles;

Holy star succeeds to star;

Dazzling lights and fainter sparkles

Glimmer near and gleam afar.”

To-morrow morning when we open our eyes we will be one hundred and twelve miles on our journey and in Carolina’s “Queen City near the Sea,”

Au revoir!                    “NAN MARIE”

[North Carolina Gazette – April 3, 1879]

Resumption of Trips.

The steamer Passport, having undergone thorough overhauling in her machinery, and looking bright, as the “dollar of our daddies,” will resume her regular trips tomorrow.  Commodore Harper is still in command, and midnight prowlers have not yet placed Frank Wilkinson hors du combat.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Thursday, April 10, 1879]

— Capt. A. H. Worth, of the steamer A. P. Hurt, has been appointed mail agent on the route between Wilmington and Fayetteville.  We are glad to make this announcement, as we are satisfied the mail service on the river will now be properly performed.  Capt. Worth retains his old position also.

[Wilmington Star – April 11, 1879]

FLAT SUNK. – The fine new flat belonging to the Str. Murchison and being carried with the Isis,  Capt. W. A. Robeson, was sunk by “ snagging “ just about Kelly’s Cove Tuesday night.  One hundred bales of cotton went into the river, but we learn that the loss will be slight, as the cotton can all be got out with slight damage, and the flat can be raised.  The flat belonged to the Express Line, and the cargo was the property of Williams & Murchison.

[North Carolina Gazette – November 20, 1879]

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Posted by on June 28, 2009 in Uncategorized


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