CFRS WDOTCF Essence : 1880 – 89

28 Jun


—  Frank Williston, colored, of Fayetteville, who arrived here from Elizabethtown yesterday morning, reports that he left the steamers D. Murchison and A. P. Hurt at Morehead shoals, five miles above Elizabethtown, on Wednesday, trying to pull over, the former making her way up and the latter down.  He went across the country to Abbottsburg, and there took the train for Wilmington.  Up to the time he left Elizabethtown not a drop of the recent rains, so abundant here, had fallen there or anywhere in the vicinity.  The steamer North State, which left here for Fayetteville Tuesday, cracked her cylinder head near Elizabethtown, and will, we learn, return to the city for repairs.  No tidings of the Wave, which left Fayetteville for this place Monday.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Friday, July 2, 1880]

Excursion Down the River.

Our friends will not forget the grand excursion to take place on Monday, on the steamer Passport.  The boat, as before stated, will leave her wharf at 8 o’clock.  The Italian String Band has been engaged for the occasion, and will stop at Fort Caswell with the dancers, while those who prefer the trip outside are gratifying their inclinations in that respect.  The excursion bids fair to be a very enjoyable one.  It is under the management of a committee who will spare no pains to insure general satisfaction.

Refreshments will be supplied on board at city prices.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Sunday, July 4, 1880]

The Excursion Monday.

One of the most enjoyable and pleasant excursions of the season was that on the steamer Passport, Capt. Harper, on Monday, the 5th.  The crowd was limited to just enough to make everybody comfortable, and it was altogether one of the most orderly and well behaved excursions we have ever participated in.  The boat left her wharf at about half past 8 o’clock A. M., touched at Fort Fisher, stopped at Smithville a few minutes, and then steamed to Fort Caswell, where a large number of the excursionists, with the Italian String Band disembarked, while the remainder went out to the Blackfish grounds.  Those who stopped at Caswell amused themselves by walking about among the ruins of the fort, in strolling on the beach, and in dancing in the building erected there for that purpose.

When the boat arrived from the Blackfish grounds there was a rush to get on board, but the crowd were turned back, with the information that it would take fully a half hour to wash off the decks and cleanse the boat, which told a tale that it needed not the ghastly countenances and demure aspect of many of those who ventured out among the “rolling billows” to verify.  On the homeward trip the boat stopped for an hour at Smithville, again touched at Fort Fisher, to take in those who had stopped at the rocks to fish, and reached her wharf at a very reasonable hour, the excursionists being delighted with their trip, much of the pleasure of which was due to the admirable arrangements of the Committee.

The Passport was very handsomely decorated with flags in honor of the day and the occasion.

Owing to the short notice given the excursion to the Hamme plantation, on the Steamer John Dawson, Capt. Sherman, was not as largely patronized as would otherwise have been the case, but about forty ladies and gentlemen embarked for the trip and enjoyed it immensely.  Dancing was kept up all the way there and back, and also in the building used for that purpose on the grounds.  The boat returned to her wharf about half-past 4 o’clock, no untoward accident or incident happening to mar the pleasure of the voyage.

The day was a very pleasant one for excursions.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Wednesday, July 7, 1880]

=-  Capt. Green, of the steamer North State, reports only twenty inches of water on the shoals at what is known at “The Cypress,” and says the water has not been so low before since 1866.  No rain of consequence has fallen up the river recently.

[Wilmington Star – October 7, 1880]

— We have omitted to mention a matter of some moment in steamboating circles, and that is the recent resignation of Capt. Garrason, of the steamer D. Murchison, whose long and faithful services on the river had endeared him to his employers and won him a host of friends.  He gives up his position, we learn, to engage in other business.  He is succeeded in command of the steamer by Capt. Jerre Roberts, of Fayetteville, a gentleman of experience, and who, about twenty-five years ago, was one of a firm who run on the river, between this city and Fayetteville, what was known as the Frank & Jerre Line of steamers, being called after the brothers, Frank and Jerre Roberts.

[Wilmington Star – December 1, 1880]

Snow at Fayetteville.

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

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



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

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

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


—  A telegram was received by Messrs. Worth & Worth, yesterday morning, to the effect that there had been a rise of about twenty-five feet in the Cape Fear, caused by the great thaw of ice and snow going on up the river, and that the water was still rising.

—  We learn that the steamer A. P. Hurt was under pretty good control when she arrived here yesterday morning, with not the slightest chance of her “cutting up any capers” to hurt, there being no less than five steamboat captains on board to keep her straight, to-wit:  Green, Worth, Garrason, Thornton and Watson.

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



—  The latest accounts from the river are to the effect that there has been about a forty feet rise, with a prospect of still more water before the freshet abates.  The upper works of the steamer Gov. Worth, which was sunk near Council’s Bluff on Wednesday morning last, are also reported to be carried away by the torrent of water precipitated down the river, and it is now apprehended that she will prove a complete wreck.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Sunday, January 9, 1881]

A Severe Fall.

Mr. John R Paddison, of Point Caswell, Pender county, left the steamer John Dawson, at the foot of Princess street, on Monday evening, to attend the temperance lecture at the Opera House, at which time the tide was so high that a person could step from the boat to the wharf or from the wharf to the boat without any difficulty.  When he returned, after the meeting was over, the tide had fallen considerably, causing the boat to  be some distance below the cap of the wharf, and he, not being familiar with the wharf or with the actions of the tide, attempted to step on board of the boat, when he slipped and fell a distance of about four feet upon the deck of the steamer, his head striking one of the fenders, by which he received a severe gash over one of his eyes, besides being badly shocked.  A physician was called, who pronounced his injuries painful but in no wise serious.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Wednesday, January 12, 1881]


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

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

— Capt. Robeson, of the steamer Wave, reports the river rising pretty rapidly, under the influence of late rains, with about twelve or fourteen feet of water now on the shoals.  In consequence of the breakage of one of the heavy cross-beams of the steamer Governor Worth, to which a chain was attached and an attempt being made to get her up, she settled back to her old position in the river, and operations are now again temporarily retarded by the light freshet.

[Wilmington Star – March 22, 1881]

–Through the efforts of Capt. Skinner and his associates the Steamer Governor Worth, which was snagged and sunk up the Cape Fear River, near Council’s Bluff, about thirty miles this side of Fayetteville, on the 5th of January last, has been finally raised to the surface, and is expected here for repairs in the course of a few days.

[Wilmington Star – April 8, 1881]

–The steamer Gov. Worth, which was snagged and sunk a short distance above Council’s Bluff, between twenty and thirty miles this side of Fayetteville, on the 5th of January last, while on her upward trip, and which was raised a few days since under the superintendence of Capt. Skinner, arrived here on Sunday last, between 12 and 1 o’clock, and was tied up at Messrs. Worth & Worth’s wharf.  The hull and machinery of the steamer seem to be but slightly damaged, but the upper works have been battered and broken up very badly, and present quite a demoralized appearance.  Some of the pipes are also bent to some extent.  The hole snagged in her bottom, and which caused her to sink, is only about eight or ten inches square, and is located near the bows.  After she was gotten up the leak was stopped as nearly as possible, when she steamed down to Wilmington without any assistance.  She was expected to go on Capt. Skinner’s railway yesterday.  The damage is estimated at $6,000.

[Wilmington Star – April 15, 1881]

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

[Wilmington Star – June 3, 1881]


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

[Wilmington Star – July 19, 1881]

THE RIVER FREE.—The Cape Fear Navigation Company received a few days ago from the U. S. Government a check for $10,000, the sum named in the act of the U. S. Congress, to be paid the company for the surrender of their rights in the C. F. River.  The deed of surrender has been signed, sealed and delivered, and the river is now free to all navigators and all craft from a dug-out of the size of a horse trough to the Great Eastern.  We are glad that the job is over.  The next thing is to increase the depth of water, which practical men say can be done.  It is not probable that any thing will be done in that direction until the season of low water, which may be expected during next summer.

[Fayetteville Examiner – Thursday, December 1, 1881]

River and Marine.

—  Capt. Roberts, of the steamer D. Murchison, which arrived from Fayetteville yesterday morning, reports about 20 feet of water on the shoals, showing a falling off of about five feet from the highest point reached during the present freshet, which was thirty feet.  It was very blustery during the trip, and on Friday, about sixty miles up the river, in the neighborhood of “The Cypress,” Capt. R. noticed that the atmosphere was quite thick with snow for a few minutes.

[Wilmington Morning Star —  Sunday Morning, January 1, 1882]

— Capt. W. A. Robeson, for many years the popular commander of the Wave, has bought that fine steamer from the Express Steamboat Company, and will hereafter run her on his own account.  Messrs. G. W. Williams & Co. will be the Wilmington agents.  “Sandy” is one of the “institutions” of the Cape Fear river, and he has the best wishes of a host of friends.  Long may he Wave.

[? – January 6, 1882]

An Old Citizen Has His Skull Fearfully
Crushed by a Falling Block of Wood, &c.

Mr. A. G. Black, formerly of Fayetteville, but for the past two or three years an esteemed citizen of this place, met with a terrible accident yesterday morning, about 9.30 o’clock.  It appears that Mr. Black, who was employed at Capt. Sam. Skinner’s marine railway, went to Wilson’s steam saw mill to get some large block, for use at the shipyard; and also to pay a bill which was due by Capt. Skinner to Mr. Wilson.  He called at Mr. W.’s office, paid the bill and presented the order for the blocks, when he was told that they would be sent as soon as possible.  He said he would go and pick some out that he wanted for immediate use, and left the office for that purpose.  Mr. Wilson supposed he had gone out into the yard where the blocks were usually piled up, but instead of that it seems he went around the mill to a point where blocks were being thrown from an upper window, and where he was immediately after hit by one, which struck him bleeding and senseless to the ground, where he was shortly afterwards discovered.  He was taken with all possible dispatch to his home, above the store on the northeast corner of Front and Dock streets, and surgical attention procured, when his condition was pronounced a very critical one, his skull being badly fractured on the right side, near the temple, and his entire right side being paralyzed.  He remained totally unconscious and speechless during the day.  The only wonder is that he was not killed instantly, as the block, which was thrown from a window about fifteen feet high, was about seven or eight feet in length and ten by ten in its other dimensions, weighing about two hundred pounds.  The place where he received the terrible blow was an unfrequented one, except by those employed on the premises; hence no look-out was kept or fear entertained of a possible accident.  A large number of the friends of the unfortunate man called to see him during yesterday, and the attentions upon him were unremitting.

At 12 o’clock last night Mr. Black was still alive, but his condition was unchanged.

Local Dots.

—   The colored military company came down from Fayetteville on the steamer Hurt last night, to take part in the Decoration ceremonies to-day.

Local Dots.

—  Capt. R. P. Paddison came to town yesterday with the first ripe peach of the season pinned to the lapel of his coat.  It made a nice button-hole bouquet.  It belonged to the Amsden variety and came from Capt. Paddison’s orchard at Maultsby’s Point.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Tuesday, May 30, 1882]

River and Marine.

—  The little steamer Lisbon, Capt. Phillips, on the line between this city and Lisbon, Sampson county, was ashore at last accounts, near Newkirk’s Landing, in Black River, which is an evidence that the water is getting pretty low.

[Wilmington Morning Star —  Wednesday, May 31, 1882]

The Masonic Excursion Down the River – Dinner at the Hotel Brunswick, &c.

Contrary to the apprehensions of those who remained at home the excursion of our Masonic friends on the steamer Passport yesterday proved a very enjoyable one, and the visitors as a general thing expressed themselves as delighted.  It rained here a good portion of the day, and also blew a gale.  Down the river it blew a pretty stiff breeze, which reddened the faces of the excursionists as much as if the sun had shone; but the only shower of rain of any consequence very considerately came while they were at dinner at Smithville.  The dinner, by the way, was an excellent one and was served by mine host of the Hotel Brunswick, which was opened for the first time, informally, for the reception of his Masonic guests.  About one hundred and thirty persons went down on the boat, and over one hundred took dinner at the hotel.

In consequence of the stiff breeze and heavy sea the Passport did not go outside, but went close to the Bar, to give the visitors a good sniff of the salt breeze of “Old Ocean.”

The boat left her wharf at 9 A. M. and returned about 6 P. M.

Death of Mr. A. G. Black.

After lingering speechless and unconscious since meeting with the terrible accident at the steam saw mill of Mr. A. Y. Wilson, in this city on Monday morning last, the particulars of which appeared in Tuesday’s STAR, Mr. Archie G. Black breathed his last yesterday afternoon about 2 o’clock.  Deceased came to this country from Scotland and worked in Wilmington for a number of years as a shipbuilder, having been the master builder in the construction of the North State, the Cumberland and other steamers running on the line between this city and Fayetteville.  He removed to Fayetteville some time previous to the war where he resided until within the last two or three years, when he returned to Wilmington, and has been since employed at the marine railway of Capt. S. W. Skinner.  He was a man of very industrious habits, of strict integrity and deep piety, being a consistent, useful and devoted member of the First Baptist Church.  He leaves a large family to mourn their loss, but they are consoled with the reflection that he was prepared for the great change.

The remains will be taken to Fayetteville for interment, leaving on the steamer at 2 P. M. to-day.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Friday, June 2, 1882]

The Military Excursion on the Steamer Passport Yesterday.

The military excursion yesterday turned out to be (as we expected) and exceedingly pleasant affair, and those who participated in it are to be congratulated that they had an opportunity of exchanging the heated atmosphere of the city, where the thermometer was ranging among the nineties, for refreshing and invigorating ocean breezes.  There were more that two hundred persons on board, and a season of enjoyment, unmarred by a single untoward circumstance, was the verdict of all who participated in the excursion.

The most of the members of the Wilmington Light Infantry, under whose auspices the excursion was given, were not in uniform, only a color guard of about twelve or fourteen being required to attire themselves in military rig.

The excursionists visited the forts and other places of interest below, and also went a short distance outside.

On the way up the votes were counted to ascertain who had been “elected” as the most popular lady on board, and it was found that the honor belonged to Miss Hill, of Goldsboro, to whom the handsome floral tribute, in the form of a cross-bow, was awarded, Lt. E. A. Oldham, of the New South, making the presentation speech.

Returning, the boat reached her wharf about 6 o’clock.

[Wilmington Morning Star —  Friday, June 30, 1882]

Accidentally Drowned.

At Whitehall, on the night of Tuesday, the 18th inst., between 1 and 2 o’clock, Walter Dobbin, about 18 years of age and a son of Monroe Dobbin, colored, in attempting to step from a flat to the steamer North State, with a torch-light in his hand, missed his footing, fell overboard between the boat and the flat, and was drowned.  Search was made for the body, but at last accounts it had not been recovered.

[Wilmington Star – July 21, 1882]

Death of Capt. E. C. Skinner.

The Richmond State has this to say of this gentleman, a brother of Capt. S. W. Skinner, of this city:  “Capt. Ed. C. Skinner, a well known and popular gentleman, died here yesterday at his mother’s residence of paralysis.  Capt. Skinner was a native of Richmond, and the son of the late Capt. Samuel Skinner.  He was a gallant soldier in the Confederate army, and served with distinction at Gettysburg.  For the past seventeen years he has been in the towing service on the James river.”

[Wilmington Star – September 29, 1882]

“Hysted.”—Two charming young ladies recently fixed the matrimonial noose about the necks of Commadant Mckethan and Private R. H. Tomlinson, of the Independent Light Infantry; and while the command was on parade the other day, their comrades finished the business by “hysting” them.

[Carolina Observer – Thursday, March 1, 1883]





WILMINGTON, N. C., March 17. – No one who has business in Fayetteville, N. C., should ever be in a hurry to get there or in haste to get away, for if anybody has gone there in that state of mind, or should go there expecting to arrive and get away speedily, he will be disappointed.  A man in a great hurry there would be sadly out of place in one of the serenest villages on the footstool.  No one ever is in a hurry there, and the only instance recollected of anybody’s getting away in a hurry is that of the departure of Gen. Joe Johnston with the rebel army, just 18 years ago.  To get to it from the North one must travel on the Coast Line by way of Richmond and Petersburg to Weldon, and then change cars, proceeding by the Raleigh and Gaston Railroad in a very leisurely manner to Raleigh.  There another change must be made to the Raleigh and Augusta Air Line in order to reach Sanford.  At Sanford a halt must be made over night, for the connecting railroads do not find it convenient to arrange their timetables for the traveler.  On the contrary, it is so disarranged that the Fayetteville-bound traveler gets to Sanford just after the arrival from Fayetteville of the only train each day from that place while he who wants to get away from Fayetteville reaches Sanford on his way North half a day before or after the departure of the only train.  A merciful veil of darkness conceals the dreariness of Sanford from the eyes of the stranger who reaches it for the first time.  A glimmer of light attracts him to the only hotel.  Upon entering he finds the house to be mean and untidy, and the bed to which he will retire, in the fond hope of rest after a rough and tedious jolting over an uneven railroad in dingy cars, will probably be supplied with a husk mattress, into the stuffing of which a too liberal proportion of corn-cobs appear to have found their way.  Daylight will reveal ceilings and walls of unpainted boards, a carpetless and not too clean floor, and primitive meagerness of furnishing unrelieved by neatness.  If the traveler’s appetite be not ruined by the contemplation of his desolate quarters, and he rise in time, he may get a breakfast.  To the sound of a clanging bell he will be marshaled into a bare dining-room, in which are set several circular tables.  Each table is made in two sections.  An outer rim, a foot or two in width, is set with plates and their accompanying knives and forks.  The inner section is movable, and when the traveler sits down at one of the plates, the movable section, as it is whirled about by persons accustomed to the contrivance, presents to him, on its edge, a panorama of breakfast, a “merry-go-round,” where the places of hobby horses and riders are occupied by plates of butter, bread, port scrap, scraps of beef fried brown and indigestibly hard, eggs, fried chicken, fried hominy, shortcake, and other variously larded things in which the palate of the native Tar Heel delights.  As a linen cloth is impracticable on such a table, the viands are spread on oiled cloth nailed down.  Fortunate is the man who can so time his efforts to pick as he prefers from the uninviting spread, for it is much more than probably that the novice who reaches for eggs will put his hand in the butter, or aiming for fried chicken will thrust his fork into the sugarbowl.  The head will swim with the recollection of this waltzing breakfast-table long after the only east-bound train of the day has lazily pulled away from the row of squalid shops and bar-rooms that make up the hamlet and goes most leisurely puffing and thumping along toward Fayetteville.  A good runner might begin at his breakfast and easily catch the train after he had seen it start.  Going out of Sanford soon after 8, it clatters over an ill-ballasted track through pine forests full of withered trunks, past many trees tapped for turpentine, and many stacks of newly cut pine kindlings, and if no untoward accident prevents arrives at Fayetteville, 42 miles away, in about three hours, reaching that peaceful village some time before noon.

To one who has time to look about Fayetteville in the Spring of the year, when, as now, the peach trees are in bloom, the birds singing in gardens and orchards, the laburnum, spirea, and flowering almond beginning to scatter their blossoms on the ground, the jonquils, the hyacinths, and the narcissus brightening all the borders, and the trees putting on their garments of delicate green, a few days could be pleasantly spent.  There are, too, miles of the old rebel works, raised to defend the place against the advance of the Union army, but these are worn down in places where roads have been broken through them, and nature and time are hiding them with grass and trees or washing them back into the fields from which they were raised by rebellious hands.  The man who has not time to inspect these interesting works, or recall the stirring events of March, 1865, because he is impressed with the necessity of getting away, may yet find time to walk a few hundred yards to the spot where once stood the Fayetteville Arsenal.  When Gen. Sherman was here he visited it, and when he left there was not one brick of the arsenal and its many outbuildings standing.  He utterly destroyed it, and at the same time demolished several other buildings, and the ruins of the Observer, a newspaper which had not carefully regulated its abuse of Gen. Sherman, still stands on the principal corner, just as they were left, a black and moldy memento.  Here and there one comes across a chimney standing in the midst of similar ruins.  The colored people will all tell you when you ask what these ruins are, “Sherman done it,” and with a grin that conveys no suggestion of regret.  “Were you glad to see Sherman come?”  I asked of an old and grizzled black may out at Tokay.  “Yes, mas’r; glad ter see um come, and glad ter see um go.”  One may look long and fruitlessly for signs of that advancement upon which North Carolina is disposed to pride itself.  They are not here.  There is the dusty, unpaved road, common to all Southern towns.  At the end of the main street is a quaint old brick building, once the Capitol of the State; now it is a market-house, and outside, drawn up close to the sidewalk, is a cart full of weather-beaten leather buckets and a truck of ladders, this collection of apparatus being the sole public protection against the spread of fire for a town of 4,000 population.  These primitive appliances are never housed, for fear delay might be caused, in case of discovery of a fire, in hunting for the keeper of the key.

The visitor who dreads the way out of Fayetteville by rail may leave the place by boat.  When David Davis was married here, on Wednesday last, he chose to make the first stage of his wedding journey in this manner, going down the Cape Fear River to Wilmington.  The distance is 112 miles, and is traversed by steam-boats almost as antiquated as the fire apparatus which stands idly in the market-place.  A boat leaves nearly every day from each end of the route.  As the passenger traffic is light, no tourist ever choosing this route for pleasure, the boats are not built with much regard for beauty of outline, but rather with the object of carrying as much turpentine, resin, and cotton as possible, as fast as the usually shallow stream will permit.  Most of the half-dozen boats are, therefore, dingy, old-fashioned craft, flat as to hulls, with their guards close to the water, with a capacious main deck and a saloon deck perched high upon the frailest-looking supports.  As the stream has normally an average width of only about 200 feet, the channel being narrower, all but one of the boats are propelled by a large wheel at the stern.  Your correspondent embarked on Thursday morning on the only side-wheeler on the river, the General Worth.  A less attractive-looking object than this vessel probably never tied up to shore as a steam-boat.  She had no more lines of beauty than a dry goods box, and from bow to stern was in evident need of repair, while her ancient coat of white paint was obscured by soot where it had not been scraped off by hard usage, suggesting the thought that General Worth {Governor Worth} had gone through a prolonged battle with the elements and been frequently under fire.  Twenty-four hours before, David Davis had started with his bride and her friends on one of the stern-wheelers, the only one, by the way, that is tidy and comparatively comfortable for passengers.  The General worth got away, after much noise on the part of the negro deck-hands in shipping the last lot of cotton bales, at 8:30 o’clock, her high-pressure engines working with much thumping and wheezing and her steampipes snorting sterterously.  As she gained headway, her nose plowed deep into the stream, rolling the water, thick with mud, in heavy swells against the steep and deeply steamed banks.  The shad fishermen, who were at work with drift-nets, guiding them from long, narrow, square-ended skiffs, paddled hurriedly out of the steamer’s course and into out-of-the-way nooks to escape the wash.  As the steamer sailed along she passed several landings, and inquiry having been made as to their names, the Captain produced a list two feet long containing the names of the 160 landings between Fayetteville and Wilmington.  There were others not names, and if a man should have come down the steep bank at any point where the shore was not incumbered with fallen pine trees, and waved his hat to the negro pilot, the General Worth would have run her bow against the bank and taken him aboard.  Old Ferry, nine miles from Fayetteville, was a type of all the other landings.  Here the boat was slowed up against the red clay bank, before a steep hillside, in which there was a well-worn gully.  At the top of the hill 30 or 40 barrels of resin were awaiting shipment.  The way in which these barrels, each weighing about 350 pounds, were transferred from shore to boat was very simple, requiring the least possible exertion on the part of the negroes who did the work.  The first barrel was swung head to the steamer, in the gully leading to the gangway.  All the other barrels were rolled against this, in a long line.  Two strong negroes, one at either side of the first barrel, just restrained it as it was forced down the hill by the weight of the barrels following, and when the head of the line touched the steam-boat’s guard the entire line was allowed to roll one by one upon the deck.  There was no hurry about the work, and the throng of black men who performed it sang merrily, in a peculiar sort of style, one man leading with such expressions as “Come ‘long yer,” or “She’m guine to roll now,” long drawn out as the sailor sings his “Heave ho!” the gang of roustabouts falling in with a harmonious but wordless refrain.  The long afternoon was spent in making frequent landings, with short runs between, the stops being now for resin, again for cotton, and at regular intervals for wood only.  There were few houses to be seen along this watery track through the pine forests.  A half-dozen persons at a landing was a large crowd, and when so many human beings were seen together they would stare at the passengers on the General Worth as intently as if they had but then seen the first of a strange race of people.  Curiosity, by the way, is not alone a Yankee weakness.  I will defy anybody to produce men and women who possess greater capacity for concentrated staring than some of the people who are to be met in this same North Carolina.  The scrutiny which strangers have to undergo, particularly ladies, would be offensive if it were not so laughable.  It is not meant to be offensive, for the people meet you very kindly and treat you courteously, and the impression that they are suspicious wears away on very short acquaintance.

Out of the recesses of a very dingy and greasy-looking cook’s cabin, hidden somewhere behind one of the cranks that turned the General Worth’s wheels, a dinner was early in the afternoon brought forth by the steward, and after its aroma had distributed itself among the hungry passengers they were summoned to eat it in the plain little dining-room.  The group of strangers, three newspaper correspondents, and the wife of one of them, a lady who proved an excellent traveler and observer, found it good; a well-cooked meal, better in quality and in preparation than the meals at most of the North Carolina hotels, which are as a rule excessively bad.  When night fell the boat was signaled from the shore by burning brands of pine, and as the vessel waited for more barrels of resin or bales of cotton the shouting negroes were lighted to their work by the same sort of illumination.  The scene at night was weird and picturesque in the extreme.  The burning torches, the shadows of the negro deck-hands as they passed between the light and the wooded banks, the somber forest draped with gray moss that swung fantastically in the pale moonlight, the clouds of smoke and sparks rising from the steamer’s funnel, were all strange and interesting, and the songs of the roustabouts, still kept up, did not cease to be curiously amusing.  During the evening, while the General Worth was steering carefully through some of the sharp turns in the river, the D. Murchison, which had carried David Davis and his bride to Wilmington, was met and spoken on her way back to Fayetteville.  She had had a remarkably quick passage, having run to Wilmington in 13 hours, the only stops made being eight for “wooding up.”  The General Worth stopped everywhere that freight offered, and did not reach Wilmington until 4:30 in the morning after she left Fayetteville, the trip being made in 20 hours, or at the rate of five and three-fifths miles an hour.  That was a little faster than canal-boat traveling, but not much.  Slow as it was, it was as expeditious a way out of Fayetteville to the North as that by rail through Sanford, and it was a welcome route by which to escape the dreary railroad ride through the pine forests and the dizzying revolving table at the Sanford Hotel, which every traveler to and from Fayetteville must sit down to contemplate or else go supperless to bed to pursue his journey fasting.

[The New York Times – March 19, 1883]

 NOTE [10/01/15]:  Although I had come across the above article several years ago, I had known nothing of who David Davis was, until today.   When I originally googled the name there was nothing regarding who he was.  Today, I found copious amounts of information.

Judge David Davis was a lawyer and close friend of Abraham Lincoln.  In fact, Davis was instrumental in Lincoln’s Presidential nomination and campaign.  Davis became a US Supreme Court Justice and later, a US Senator from Illinois.  He only served one term as Senator, but that was during the period when President James A. Garfield was assassinated and his Vice President, Chester A. Arthur, succeeded Garfield.  Although a freshman Senator, Davis was elected President Pro Tempore.  President Arthur served out Garfield’s term and never had a VP.  This meant that if anything had happened to President Arthur, Senator Davis would have served as President of the United States.

Judge Davis’ first wife, Sarah, took ill and died in 1879.  During her illness, Addie Burr, served as Sarah’s nurse.  After Senator Davis’ term in the Senate ended (1883) he married Addie Burr of Fayetteville, NC in March of that year.  After the wedding in Tokay, about 4 miles north of Fayetteville, at the home of Wharton J. Green, the couple took the river steamer, MURCHISON, to Wilmington, NC and then south to Florida and California and eventually back to Judge Davis’ home, “Clover Lawn,” in Bloomington, IL.

Judge Davis died just a few years later on June 26, 1886.  His widow, Addie, married Wharton J. Green in October 1888.  Addie Burr Davis Green lived in Fayetteville, NC and died in 1931.

Launching a New Steamer.

The steamer alluded to a few weeks ago as being under process of construction at the yard attached to the dry dock, was launched on Friday, at 12 o’clock, in the presence of quite a large crowd, including a number of ladies, who had previously decorated the steamer with flowers, etc.  The new craft, which was very appropriately christened the River Queen – as she is claimed to be the lightest draught steamer on the river, drawing only about ten inches – is 100 feet long, 21 feet width of beam and 4 feet deep.  The machinery, which is all new, is now being put in position, and it is expected that she will be ready to commence her trips on or about the 12th of May.  She is owned by Messrs. James Bagley and James C. Stewart, who design running her on the North East River and Long Creek.  She was launched under the superintendence of Capt. B. W. Berry, the contractor and builder.  She is a very neat and handsome boat.  By the way, Messrs. Bagley & Stewart request us to extend their thanks to the ladies who so kindly manifested their interest, by contributing floral offerings on the occasion.

[?? — May 4, 1883]

Express Steamboat Co.




ON and after April 1st and until further notice the Steamer D. Murchison, Capt. J. C. Smith, will leave Fayetteville every Tuesday and Friday at 7 o’clock A. M. and Wilmington every Wednesday and Saturday at 2 P. M.

Steamer Wave, Capt. W. A. Robeson, will leave Fayetteville every Wednesday and Saturday at 7 o’clock A. M. and Wilmington Monday and Thursday at 2 o’clock P. M.


Agents, Fayetteville, N. C.

[Fayetteville Observer – Thursday, April 12, 1883.]

Sudden death of Capt. A. P. Hurt.

A private letter was received here yesterday announcing the sad intelligence of the death of Capt. A. P. Hurt, which took place suddenly in Fayetteville on Friday.  It appears that he retired to his room in the Fayetteville Hotel about 12 o’clock, requesting to be called to dinner, and when a servant was sent to arouse him it was found that he was cold in death.  Deceased was between 60 and 70 years of age.

Capt. Hurt came here from Virginia about 1851 or 1852, and superintended the building of the steamers A. P. Hurt, which was named for him; the Governor Worth, the Flora McDonald, and other steamers.  For many years he was a favorite captain on the river, known and respected by everybody who frequented the Cape Fear, and left the river about ten years ago, having achieved a moderate competency, since which time he has been engaged in merchandizing.  Deceased lost his wife many years ago, and leaves no immediate descendants; but a large circle of attached friends mourn the departure from among them of one who held a high place in their affection.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Sunday, June 10, 1883]

SUDDEN DEATH OF CAPT. HURT. – Last Friday, at about dinner-time, the community was startled by the news that Capt. Hurt had been found dead in his room at the Fayetteville Hotel.  About 12 m. Capt. Hurt went to his room to lie down, Mr. Chas. Glover, the proprietor of the hotel, handing him a paper to read as he passed.  At dinner-time a servant went up to his room, but returned to the office and reported that he could not be roused.  Mr. Glover then went to the room and found that Capt. Hurt was indeed dead, though his body was still warm.  Physicians were summoned who pronounced it a case of apoplexy, and Dr. J. W. McNeill, the coroner, considered the cause of death so patent as to obviate the necessity of an inquest.  The deceased was not a man of robust health but he was not an invalid, and was apparently as well as usual, talking with friends and acquaintances an hour or two before his sudden death.

Capt. Hurt was for many years prominently identified with our boating interests, being one of the best known captains on the river and a large stockholder in one of the lines.  A steamer now plies the Cape Fear, bearing his name.  After the war Capt. Hurt engaged in mercantile business for a time, but of late years he has led a life of quiet and retirement, spending the summer in the mountains and the winter in Fayetteville.  He was a Virginian by birth, and was about 73 years of age.

[Fayetteville Observer  June 14th 1883]

—  The steamer North State, Capt. Green, arrived yesterday from the “Cypress,” having there exchanged cargoes with the steamer A. P. Hurt.  The Wave is on the other side of the shoals.

[Wilmington Star – July 28, 1883]

—  The steamer North State, Capt. Green, arrived here yesterday, being the first Fayetteville boat here in several days.  Capt. Green has had word from Capt. Worth, of the steamer A. P. Hurt, not to leave Wilmington again until he hears from him at Fayetteville.  In the meantime, however, the North State will make a trip to “The Cypress” with a quantity of freight for that place, intermediate points, and Waddell’s Ferry and Elizabethtown.  The freight for “The Cypress.” For Waddell’s Ferry, seven miles above, and for Elizabethtown, ten or twelve miles above, will be left at “The Cypress” and the persons notified by letter from the agents here to call and get their goods.  The river was still falling at last account.

[Wilmington Star – August 4, 1883 BRC]

— Capt. Thomas J. Green, so long in command of the North State, is now performing the same functions on the steamer Bladen, while Capt. Irving Robinson has assumed the command of the North State.  They are both familiar with the devious windings and uncertain tide of the coquetish Cape Fear and know how to handle a steamboat under any and all circumstances.

[Wilmington Star – January 18, 1884]

Collision on the River. -– Saturday night, in rounding one of the bends on the Cape Fear, the steamers Murchison and Wave came into collision, but without material damage to either. On arrival at Wilmington the colored stewardess, Lottie Hollingsworth, was found dead in the cabin, but whether from heart disease with which she was afflicted, or in consequence of the collision, is not yet known here.

[Fayetteville Observer – Wednesday, January 23, 1884.]

—  The river is still quite high, but the water is gradually falling.  On Monday of last week the steamer North State took five hundred bags of guano from the Navassa Guano Works at this place to Red Rock, some twelve or fourteen miles above the bridge at Fayetteville, and on Friday the steamer A. P. Hurt took five hundred more bags for the same destination.

[Wilmington Star – February 1, 1884]

Sale of a River Steamer.

The steamer North State has been purchased from Messrs. Worth & Worth by some parties in Georgia to run on the Altamaha and tributary rivers.  She will be commanded by Capt. R. P. Paddison, who owns an interest in her.  The North State has been long and favorably known as one of the most popular and successful boats on the river.  She will leave for her destination about the latter part of the week.  Capt. Paddison contemplates making no change in his boat on the Black river at present, and will not remove his family to Georgia.  We are glad to know that we are not likely to lose Capt. Paddison permanently.

[Wilmington Star – February 15, 1884]

—  We learn that the steamer North State, Capt. Paddison, on her way from this port to Georgia, put in at Calabash, N. C., about two miles and a half this side of Little River, S. C., for a harbor from the gale on Saturday morning last.

[Wilmington Star – February 26, 1884]


— The steamer Bladen, commanded by Capt. Thos. Green, which we stated a week or two ago was to be lengthened twenty feet, provided with a steel boiler, heavier engines, and other improvements, is now up for the desired changes and her trips will therefore be suspended until she comes forth in her new dress and equipments.

[Wilmington Star – March 28, 1884]

—  Capt. R. P. Paddison, who left here some weeks ago on the steamer North State, for Georgia, after making a stormy and eventful trip, but going through without the slightest mishap, and making one trip, has returned home for a brief season on a visit to his family.  He expects to return to Georgia next week.  The North State is to run up the Altamaha river to the junction of the Oconee and Ocmulgee rivers; up the Oconee river to Mt. Vernon and up the Ocmulgee to Abbeyville, making a distance of about three hundred miles.  Doctortown is the terminus on the Altamaha river, and here the freight is transferred to the Savannah, Florida & Western Railroad.  Capt. Paddison informs us that he has met with good success so far and the prospect ahead is very encouraging.  He expected to leave for Point Cawell last evening.

[Wilmington Weekly Star – March 28, 1884]

— Arrangements have been entered into whereby the steamer Gov. Worth, of the Cape Fear & People’s line of steamers, will hereafter be run between certain points on the St. John’s River, Florida.  She will go out next week in charge of Capt. Thos. R. Payne, an experienced coast pilot and steamboat captain of Florida, and will make no more trips between this city and Fayetteville. The boat has not been sold.

[Wilmington Star – April 6, 1884]


— The steamer Governor Worth, which is hereafter to run on the St. John’s River, Florida, as stated by us a few days ago, was cleared at the Custom House yesterday and will leave for her destination to-day or to-morrow, in charge of Capt. Thos. R. Payne.  It is like losing an old friend, the “Governor” has been so long on our river.

[Wilmington Star – April 10, 1884]

A Mule Commits Suicide.

A mule was being led ashore from the steamer D. Murchison, yesterday morning, when he suddenly conceived a disgust for sublunary things and jumped overboard and drowned himself.  The dead body of the animal was subsequently taken from the river in front of Messrs. Hall & Pearsall’s store, by some of the street force, and buried at the expense of the city.  No inquest.

[Wilmington Star – May 9, 1884]

THE STEAMER WAVE.—In common with their numerous other friends, we regret to hear of Capt. W. A. Robeson’s and his brother’s loss by the sinking of their steamer near Wilmington last week. But we were glad to hear that it is thought the larger part of the cargo is saved, and that the boat can be raised without great expense. The reported drowning of the colored cook, Ned Beebe, is a sad feature of the accident.

From the Wilmington Review of Monday evening we learn later particulars of the disaster, as follows:

The steamer Wave, Capt. Robinson, capsized in the Cape Fear at Wanet’s Landing, at 5 o’clock yesterday morning, while on her way from Fayetteville to this city, and three of those on board were drowned. The circumstances were as follows:

In coming round a curve in the river, near that place, the speed of the boat caused her to careen so that her outside guard was under the water. This caused the cargo, which consisted of between 400 and 500 barrels of rosin and spirits of turpentine, to ship to that side, the weight of which capsized the boat. Those drowned were Empie Hill, a passenger, Lucy Brewington, colored, a passenger, and Ned Beebe, colored, cook. The accident happened at an hour when all the passengers and those of the crew not employed were asleep in their berths, and all those came very near being lost. The other passengers were Messrs. Edward Lilly and E. D. Burkhimer of this city, Mr. Buchanan, of Charles-ton, S. C. and Miss Shepherd, aged about 14 years. Mr. Lilly was badly bruised and was saved with considerable difficulty. Messrs. Buchanan and Burkhimer came very near drowning and were saved only by super-human efforts. Miss Shepherd was in eminent peril, but she maintained the most perfect composure and coolness throughout the trying ordeal through which she was compelled to pass with an almost inevitable death staring her in the face. The door of her stateroom was locked and it was some time, and not until the water had reached above her waist, before she was rescued by the determined efforts of Capt. Robeson. After the accident Capt. Robeson started and walked to this city, reaching here at about 1 o’clock yesterday afternoon, and gave the first intelligence of the disaster. The steamtug Wm. Nyce was immediately sent to the scene and returned about 10 o’clock that night with the passengers. The dredging boat was sent up this morning to render such assistance in raising the Wave and securing the cargo as may be necessary.

[Fayetteville Observer – Thursday, June 5, 1884.]



— The body of Mr. Empie Hill, one of the victims of the Wave disaster, was found Wednesday night just below Turkey Point, and that of Ned Bebee has also bee recovered, having been found about half a mile from Wanut Landing.

The steamer is now afloat and it is expected to get her entirely clear by this evening.  Her wheel is now about a foot out of water.

[Wilmington Star – June 7, 1884]



The Steamer Wave Upsets on the River and Three Persons are Drowned—Narrow Escape of Others—The Steamer Nyce Goes to the Rescue—The Survivors Brought to this City.

On Sunday our community was startled by the announcement of the intelligence that the steamer Wave, of the Express Steamboat Company’s line, had met with a terrible disaster and that three persons were drowned; which number, by common report, was afterwards erroneously augmented to four.  The news of the accident was brought by Capt. Robeson, Mr. Nick Carr and Mr. Bryant Watson, who left the steamer at the point where she went down.  The steamer Wm. Nyce got up steam and started about 5 o’clock for the scene of the disaster, arriving there the same evening about 8 o’clock, when the survivors were taken on board, with the exception of Capt. Jeff. Robeson and two deck hands, and brought them to this city.  We first interviewed Mr. Carr, and subsequently talked with Mr. H. D. Burkhimer, from whom we obtained the following particulars.

The steamer was rounding a sharp curve or point in the river, about twenty-two miles above this city, at or near John Wanut’s Landing, about half past 5 o’clock on Sunday morning, just as the sun had commenced rising, when she keeled over too far on one side, and the water began to pour in over her guards, when the freight, consisting of barrels of naval stores, boxes, crates, etc., was shifted from the starboard to the port side, which had the effect to turn her over.  She rested on one side, with the upper part about two feet above the water, and the lower part apparently on the bottom, for a few minutes, when, being relieved of the greater part of the cargo, she gradually uprighted and settled down in about twenty feet of water, having one hundred casks of spirits of turpentine in her hold.  In the meantime the stancheons had broken loose between the cabin and the main deck, and the former, with hurricane deck and pilot house attached, left the hull and settled down on the boiler and part of cargo of rosin at the side of the boat, a portion of the hurricane deck being out of the water.  The passengers were mostly in their berths when the alarm was given.  They consisted of Messrs. E. Lilly, N. Carr and H. D. Burkhimer and Miss Katie Shepherd, of this city.  Mr. J. A. Buchanan, of South Carolina, Mr. Empie Hill, of Bladen, Mr. Bryant Watson, of Fayetteville, and Lucy Brewington, colored, of Fayetteville.  The passengers got out as best they could, Mr. Lilly and Mr. Burkhimer both having some difficulty in getting their doors open.  Mr. Burkhimer also got his hands badly cut in trying to escape by a window and when he finally succeeded in getting out by the door the water was up to his waist.  Miss Shepherd was rescued from her berth by Capt. Jeff. Robeson and placed in a position of safety on the hurricane deck.  Mr. Burkhimer, upon reaching the deck, thinking the boat was about to go to pieces, jumped overboard, and himself, Mr. Buchanan and the colored steward were carried away from the boat about one hundred yards and landed among a parcel of rubbish, where they remained until Capt. Robeson sent a boat and took them off and put them ashore; Mr. Burkhimer sustaining himself with a spirits cask under one arm and a plank under the other and Mr. Buchanan clinging to a piece of the engine house.  Mr. Burkhimer says that Mr. Hill was some distance lower down the river and he heard his call three times for help after which he threw up his hands and sank.  The fireman, when he awoke, was completely submerged by the water.  Mr. Lilly, who had jumped overboard in the first excitement and confusion, was assisted upon the hurricane deck by Capt. Robeson and others.  As soon as possible the survivors were all landed on the shore and repaired to the residence of Mr. John Wanut, by whom they were very kindly treated.  It was ascertained that Mr. Empie Hill, aged about 25 years, a nephew of the late Adam Empie, of this city; Ned. Beebe, the colored cook, aged about 50, and Lucy Brewington, colored, of Fayetteville, aged about 30, were drowned.  It is a wonder, considering the number and quantity of barrels, boxes, rubbish, etc., that was drifting about, and among which many of the men were at one time struggling, that more lives were not lost.  There was very little excitement among the crew and passengers, and the coolness displayed by all, and especially by Capt. Jeff. Robeson, was one reason why so many were saved.

Among the few articles saved from the wreck were two boxes of eggs, and these served to help out in furnishing the large number with dinner and supper.

In the meantime Capt. Robeson, Mr. Carr and Mr. Bryant Watson had started for the railroad station at Northwest, a distance of about five or six miles, hoping to meet the train on the Carolina Central road, but reached there about ten minutes too late.  They then started to walk to Wilmington and reached there about 12 o’clock, when they dispatched the steamer Nyce to the assistance of their shipwrecked friends and comrades, and she returned about 10 o’clock Sunday night with all of the passengers and crew except those named as staying by the wreck.  Yesterday the dredging boat was sent up to see what help could be rendered.  At last accounts the cargo of naval stores, or a portion of it, was drifting off.

Mr. Lilly, who was quite badly bruised, lost his valise, pocket book containing about $50 and a gold watch chain.  Miss Shepherd’s trunk drifted off, but was picked up by persons on a raft and was taken off by the steamer Nyce as she came up Sunday evening.  Mr. Burkhimer was considerably bruised and cut by glass, and got a sprained ankle.

This is the first accident of a serious nature that has happened on our river for a long time.

The following is a list of the officers and crew of the Wave:  Capt. W. A. Robeson, master; Capt. Jeff Robeson, engineer; Dallis Austin, assistant engineer; Ned Beebe, cook; Sam Williams, steward; Horace Williams, fireman; Sam Dunn, Charles McIntire, John Smith and two others, deck hands; Archie White, 1st pilot; Wm. Roberts, 2nd pilot.

Archie White, colored, one of the pilots, was active in picking up those in the water and displayed much zeal and courage.

[The Wilmington Weekly Star – June 7, 1884]



— The body of Mr. Empie Hill, one of the victims of the Wave disaster, was found Wednesday night just below Turkey Point, and that of Ned Bebee has also been recovered, having been found about half a mile from Wanut Landing.

The steamer is now afloat and it is expected to get her entirely clear by this evening.  Her wheel is now about a foot out of water.

[The Wilmington Star – June 7, 1884]

— The steamer Bladen, which has been off the line between this city and Fayetteville since the 25th of March last, undergoing certain alterations, improvements and repairs, has been launched from Capt. Skinner’s steam marine railway, and left for Fayetteville yesterday afternoon, the demand for freight room being such that it was decided to complete the work of painting her while running.  The present trip is not considered a regular one.  She will return next Wednesday night and clear on Thursday, and after the 1st day of July will run a regular schedule, leaving here every Tuesday and Friday and carrying the United States mail.  She has undergone very decided improvement, thirteen feet have been added to her length, while she has been provided with new steel boilers and heavier machinery.  Everything about her is new, including four nice state-rooms, saloons, &c., affording first class accommodation for twenty-passengers.  Capt. T. J. Green, so long and favorably known as first officer of the steamer North State, is still in command of the Bladen, and will be glad to see his old friends and as many new ones as may be pleased to called upon him.

[Wilmington Star – June 14, 1884]

Steamer Bladen.

The Steamer Bladen has been thoroughly overhauled and repaired, indeed it has really been made a new boat of and has made its appearance on the Cape Fear in such improved dress that her old acquaintances will scarcely recognize it.  We welcome it back and hope that it may have a prosperous course among its sister boats on our beautiful river.


Steamer Wave at Wilmington.

The Steamer Wave which met with such a severe accident two weeks ago on her down trip from this point to Wilmington, has been raised, and towed into the latter place where she will be pumped out and the necessary repairs added.  The Wave is one of the smartest little boats that ever plied the upper Cape Fear.  Her speed was never surpassed.  Her owners deserve great credit for the enterprise, they have displayed in raising and getting her to Wilmington.  The dispatch with which this result was accomplished was truly wonderful.  We shall soon expect to hear her whistle at this wharf.

[The Sun – Fayetteville, N.C. – Tuesday, June 17, 1884]

— Capt. Jeff Robinson and his carpenters came down on the steamer D. Murchison, yesterday, for the purpose of making necessary repairs upon the steamer Wave, which will be hauled up on Capt. Skinner’s marine railway to-day.

[Wilmington Star – June 19, 1884]



— The river is very low and the water is still falling. So steamboatmen report.

— The steamer Lisbon has been thoroughly overhauled, enlarged and improved and started out on her first trip yesterday.

— The steamer Wave, which met with a serious disaster up the river some months ago, which necessitated extensive repairs, has now commenced her regular trips again having arrived here from Fayetteville yesterday morning, and left

on the return trip at 3 p. m. The Wave has been remodeled in a measure, being lighter and more roomy than before. The gentlemen’s cabin and dining room have been completed and workmen are now engaged in putting up the ladies’ cabin.

She draws less water than before the accident and is believed to be a stronger and better boat in every way. The engine room is open, in accordance with the custom of steamers on many other rivers, instead of being inclosed as heretofore, and will remain so all summer, or as long as the weather will permit. The boat is being thoroughly repainted and will present a handsome

appearance when completed. She is commanded by Capt. Jeff Robeson.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Friday, August 29, 1884.]

— Intelligence was received here yesterday to the effect that the steamer Wave had sunk near Whitehall, on her way down to this city.  It is supposed that in consequence of the low stage of the water in the river she had run on a snag, which caused the accident.

[The Wilmington Star – December 2, 1884]



— Capt. S. W. Skinner went up the river yesterday on the steamer Excelsior, with two steam pumps and a gang of hands for the purpose of raising and floating the steamer Wave, sunk at Whitehall.  From Capt. Jeff Robinson, who came down for assistance, we learn that the Wave lies close in shore, with the freight deck out of water.

[The Wilmington Star – December 4, 1884]

— The steamer Wave arrived here early yesterday morning, and was hauled up on Capt. Skinner’s marine railway for repairs to her hull, etc.

[The Wilmington Star – December 7, 1884]

Steamer Wave Explodes Her Boiler and Sinks.


Yesterday afternoon shortly after 3 o’clock, a heavy explosion shook the offices and other buildings about the wharfs and created widespread alarm for a few moments, as no one knew what to make of it. Some thought the deadly dynamite had begun its work in their midst. There were some, however, who were witnesses to the sad cause of the terrible concussion, and soon it was known that the steamer Wave, on the line between this city and Fayetteville, had exploded her boiler and almost immediately sunk. She was lying at the time of the accident near Mr. A. A. Willard’s wharf, on the west side of the river, nearly opposite Messrs. Worth & Worth’s wharf, and soon tugs, yawls and other small craft were taking excited crowds to the scene of the disaster. Crowds also lined the wharves and eagerly awaited tidings from the wreck, and as one and another of the boats would return to this side of the river the persons on board would be quickly interviewed.

First along it was reported that all hands on board had gone down with the boat, but later information places the loss of life at only three. They were Neill Jessup, a stevedore; Jim Stedman, an employee; and Kitty Harvey, the cook—all colored. The injured were Perry Cotton, pilot, and Dave McPherson, a deck hand—both colored. They were both badly scalded; both of them were taken to the Marine Hospital. All the killed and wounded were residents of Fayetteville, except Cotton, who is said to live here at present.

Mr. J. D. L. Smith, engineer of the boat, says he had just come from the boiler, and was sitting in the engine room when the explosion occurred. He says there was plenty of water in the boiler and not too much steam, the pressure being only eighty pounds. He saw the three persons drown whose names are given. A boy named Turner had one of his ears blown off, and received several gashes about the head. The flue of the boiler was found after the accident on top of a warehouse several hundred feet distant.

The boat was taking on fertilizers and there were about four hundred and fifty bags on board, which all went down with the wreck. The bags had been wheeled across a flat to the boat, and at the time of the accident the flat was being loaded.

Mr. J. G Wright, shipping clerk for Messrs. G. W. Williams & Co., was on the boat, and he and the engineer sprang on the flat. Mr. Wright was slightly hurt. Mr. Smith had to feel his way out of the room, which was quickly filled with a dense smoke.

Part of the boiler in its upward flight struck the top mast of the schooner Nellie Potter, lying close to the boat, and broke it off. The smoke stack was blown to atoms. The furniture went down with the boat, but a good deal of it was subsequently fished out. The boat went down in almost one minute after the explosion. Several persons jumped into the river besides those that were drowned.

Mr. L. B. Love, assistant engineer, got jammed between the cabin of the boat and a schooner and made a narrow escape from being carried down with the wreck. One of his hands was pretty badly bruised.

At the time of the accident Capt. Jeff Robeson was on this side of the river, attending to some business.

The boat is a complete wreck, the hull, it is thought, being broken in twain. She was owned principally by Capts. W. A. and J. D. Robeson, but Smith, the engineer also owned an interest in her. She was valued at from $8,000 to $10,000, and was insured for $5,000. Much sympathy is felt among the many friends of the owners on account of their loss, and much regret is felt at the loss of life.

Mr. Robert Sweet, of Mr. Willard’s establishment, was on the boat at the time and was blown into the water, from which he was rescued, as he could not swim.

The schooners Nellie Potter and Alice Hearn were in the immediate vicinity of the boat and Capt. Pennswell, of the former, says he was badly shaken up. He rushed from the cabin as soon as he thought safety would admit of it and saw the three persons  drown—Wilmington Star.

[The Fayetteville Observer – Thursday, March 12, 1885.]

The Wreck of the Wave.

There were no new developments yesterday in regard to the ill-fated steamer Wave, which was wrecked by a boiler explosion on Thursday afternoon.  None of the bodies had been recovered up to yesterday evening, and as the boat had on no freight except guano at the time of the accident, the wreck has been disturbed by no efforts to save cargo.  The two men at the Marine Hospital—Perry Cotton, the pilot, and Dave McPherson, deck hand—were reported as doing as well as could be expected.  It is now quite certain that only the three persons named in yesterday’s report perished by the accident.

[Wilmington Weekly Star – March 3, 1885]

Not Recovered.

Nothing thus far has been seen or heard of the bodies of the three unfortunate colored people who lost their lives by the explosion on the steamer Wave, which took place on Thursday, the 5th inst., if we may except a rumor to the effect that some fishermen had found some mangled portions of the remains of a man some miles below the city, and that there were some marks by which they were known to be those of Neill Jessup.  This rumor, which was being circulated some two or three days ago, could not be traced to a responsible source.  It has been ascertained to a certainty that the three persons mentioned were the only ones that lost their lives.  No attempt to raise the wreck has yet been made.

[Wilmington Weekly Star – March 20, 1885]

New Steamboat.

The attention of our readers is directed to an “ad” in this issue of the new Steamboat Excelsior, which will run in the place of the ill-fated Wave.  May better success attend it than its predecessor.  Mr. James DeL. Smith is an experienced boatman, and we sincerely hope that success may attend the Excelsior.

[The Sun – Fayetteville, N.C. – March 25, 1885]



The Steamer Excelsior


Leave Fayetteville on Wednesday and Satur-days.  The customers of the Wave and all who have freight is solicited.  Cheap rate from Wilmington to Bennettsville.

For freight and passage apply to

J. DeL. Smith.

P. O. Box 44, Fayetteville, N. C.

[Fayetteville Observer – Thursday, March 26, 1885]

The Excelsior Burned.

The steamer Excelsior, which has for a week or two past been on the dry dock in Wilmington undergoing repairs, on last Wednesday the 22nd, the boat was relaunched and at about 1 p.m. commenced her journey to Fayetteville.  She proceeded only a short distance on her journey, and had arrived opposite Point Peter when the dreadful cry of fire!  fire!! Rang out from every side and the flames were rushing through the hatch.  The vessel having been on the dry dock was almost like tinder, all efforts to stay the wild career of the fire proved futile. The Murchison and the tug Alpha came to her assistance and rescued the crew, but were unable to save the boat from the devouring elements.

The crew were able to save only a small portion of their own baggage.  In one hour from the time the cry of fire rang out, the vessel had sank.  No lives were lost and no one suffered any serious hurt.  The Excelsior was building up quite a handsome trade and its prospects were bright.  Its owner, officers and crew have our sympathy in this hour of disaster.  The damage to the boat was estimated at $2,500, to the cargo at $200.

[The Sun – Fayetteville, N.C. – April 29, 1885]

Capt. A. H. Worth, a steamboat captain of many years’ experience on the Cape Fear, gives us a graphic picture of the pains and perils of river navigation last week.  At Harrison’s Creek, last Thursday, his steamer, the River Queen, became as completely ice-bound as ever was Dr. Kane in the frozen regions of the North Pole.  The water seemed to be solid almost to the bed of the river,
and by no power of steam could the boat cut its way through the dense mass, while the roaring sound of the great cakes of ice grinding and crushing one upon another reminded one of a dozen steamers ploughing their way along the stream.

[Fayetteville Observer & Gazette January 21, 1886]

The drift ice made a clean sweep of everything in its way in the lower part of the Cape Fear River Thursday night.  It carried away the light-house built on piles of Drum shoals, just above New Inlet and the Drum shoals buoy.  No. 7 buoy, in the Horse Shoe, and the buoy in the lower part of Snow’s Marsh channel were also carried away, besides the piling along the channel.  Some of the fields of ice were half a mile square or more and four to five inches thick.  At Smithville the pilot boat Oriental, Capt. Newton, was dragged from her moorings and carried out about a mile before she could be freed from the ice.  The copper on her sides was cut through in places.  The schooner Ware, used as a lighter, was jammed on Battery Island shoals, where a hole was cut in her side and she filled and sank to the water’s edge.  She was loaded with rosin for the barque Richard, lying at Smithville.  Pilots say that all the marks at the mouth of the river are now gone, and until they are replaced navigation will be difficult, especially in thick weather.

[Fayetteville Observer & Gazette January 21, 1886 from the Wilmington Star.]

Capt. T. J. Green has sold his interest in the steamer Bladen, and we are informed will retire altogether from the river, devoting his whole time hereafter to other business pursuits. Capt. Jeff D. Robeson will succeed Capt. Green in command of the Bladen.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Saturday, January 23, 1886]


Miss Annie Erambert, of Richmond, has been visiting the family of Mr. M. A. Baker of this town.

[Fayetteville Observer – Thursday, January 28, 1886]

The Burning of the Bladen.

The loss of the steamer Bladen, briefly mentioned in the account of the fire at Wilmington on Sunday morning last, was caused by fire which occurred when the steamer was within 150 yards of her wharf. The most strenuous efforts immediately became necessary to save the lives of the passengers and crew, as the flames increased with fearful rapidity, and the Bladen was run in at the shed of the New York steamers, where the passengers were with difficulty landed in safety from small boats, but with the loss of all their baggage.

The Bladen was a stern-wheel steamer of wooden hull, remodeled in the spring of 1885, was fitted up for both passengers and freight, and had a capacity of about 800 barrels of rosin.  She was owned by the “Bladen Steamboat Company,” and Messrs. A. E. Rankin & Co. were the agents at Fayetteville.  She was built at a cost of $9,000, and was insured for $5,500, with $2,500 on cargo.  A lot of 112 bales of cotton shipped by Mr. R. M. Nimocks to Messrs. Sprunt & Son, Wilmington, was protected by a floating policy.  Capt. R. H. Tomlinson had recently been made commander of the Bladen, and at the time of its burning both he and Capt. Jeff. D. Robinson were on board.

The passengers on board the Bladen, were Messrs. Robt. Lee, of Wilmington, A. J. Harmon, of Bladen county, Dodson, a commercial traveler, Mrs. Thos. Hundley and child, of Fayetteville, Miss Erambert, of Richmond, Va., and one or two others whose names were not learned.

We learn that Miss Erambert was for a few moments in great danger, her hair being singed and clothing scorched before she could be rescued from the boat.”

[Fayetteville Observer and Gazette – February 25, 1886]


— The hull of the schooner Lillie Holmes lies under water at Parsley’s wharf. She was burned down to the copper on her hull.

— The steamer Excelsior, Capt. J. L. Thornton, will take the place of the burned steamer Bladen on the river between Wilmington and Fayetteville. The Excelsior has accommodations for a few passengers and is of about two hundred barrels capacity.

— The steamer River Queen will be rebuilt as soon as Messrs. Bagley and Stewart, the owners, can make the necessary arrangements to this end. One of the steamer’s engines was raised yesterday by divers and found to be in good condition. The boat was insured for only $1,000, and was valued at about $5,500. Her cargo was fully covered by $3,000 insurance.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Thur. Feb. 25, 1886]

The freight steamer River Queen, which ran between Wilmington and Fayetteville, and from which Capt. A. H. Worth had only a few days since

retired as commander, was burned at her wharf in Wilmington during the big fire of Sunday last.  The River Queen was owned by Mr. Bagley, and was

partially insured.

[Fayetteville Observer And Gazette – February 25, 1886]

— Fayetteville News:

We learn from Capt. Green that the Bladen Steamboat Co had to pay Sprunt & Son for the 112 bales of cotton shipped by Mr. R. M. Nimocks on her late trip when she was burned.  The Bladen Steamboat Company had the loss to pay yesterday which was promptly done to the amount of $4,150.  Captain Green says that after collecting the insurance on the steamer and on the cargo combined there will be only $2,000 left to the stockholders.  Therefore, our readers will observe that the stockholders lost about $7,000.

[Wilmington Star – March 3, 1886]


— The Bladen Steamboat Company will have a steamer here shortly from Newbern to take the place of the steamer Bladen between Wilmington and Fayetteville.

[Wilmington Morning Star –  Tuesday,  March 9, 1886]


— The steamer Trent, Capt. Dickson, from Newbern, N. C., arrived in this port yesterday. The Trent is owned by the Neuse & Trent River Steamboat Company of Newbern, and has been chartered to run between Wilmington and Fayetteville in place of the burned steamer Bladen. She will make her first trip up the river to-day under command of Capt. R. H. Tomlinson. The Trent draws about three feet of water, is a propeller, and has a carrying capacity of about 650 barrels of rosin. She has limited accommodations for passengers which it is proposed to enlarge.

[Wilmington Morning Star –  Thursday, March 18, 1886]

–The steamer Governor Worth, formerly running on the Cape Fear between Wilmington and Fayetteville, has been sold by Messrs. Worth & Worth of this city to the Jacksonville, Tampa & Key West Railroad and will be run on Indian river in connection with that road.  Capt. R. P. Paddison, formerly of this section, will command the steamer.

[Wilmington Star – April 23, 1886]

A New Steamboat – Quick Work.

= Messrs. Bagley & Co ‘s new steamboat, to take the place of the burned River Queen on the river between this city and Fayetteville, will probably be launched to-day from Captain Skinner’s Marine Railway.  Work on the boat began under Captain Skinner’s direction, on the 15th of March last, but for the first three weeks he was able to employ only three men on half time, on account of difficulty in getting timber of the proper kind; afterwards, twenty-three men were employed on full time, four of them being from Fayetteville.

[Wilmington Weekly Star – April 30, 1886]

A Wreck Raised.

The hull of the steamer River Queen, which was burned in the great fire in February last and sunk near the wharves above Chesnut street, was raised yesterday by means of a steam dredge boat and towed up the river and beyond the dry dock, where it was left in the marsh, out of the way of boats or other craft.  The same parties also took up the hull of the schooner that was destroyed by the same fire, and carried it out of the way.

[Wilmington Star – June 16, 1886]

—  The Messrs. Bagley’s new steamboat, to take the place of the burned River Queen, is getting in her boilers at the dry dock.  All the wood work of the boat is completed.  She will be ready for business in about a week.


—  The new steamboat Cape Fear, at the marine railway, is nearly finished.  She will be commanded by Capt. Tomlinson, of Fayetteville.

[Wilmington Weekly Star – June 25, 1886]


WILKERSON. — On the morning of the 27th ult., after a long and painful illness, Mrs. ANN WILKERSON, aged 83 years. This venerable lady, whose domestic virtues and christian graces had united to her many loving friends, had been for years a devout member of the Presbyterian Church, and died in the assurance of a blessed immortality.

[Fayetteville Observer – Thursday, July 1, 1886]

— The new steamboat Cape Fear, under the command of Capt. T. J. Green, will start on her first trip to Fayetteville to day.  The new boat takes the place of the steamer Bladen, destroyed in the great fire in February last.  She is a light draft boat, about the size of the Bladen, and has accommodations for about twenty first-class passengers.  The Cape Fear was built at Capt. Skinner’s ship-yard in this city.

[Wilmington Weekly Star – July 30, 1886]



Vessels Wholly Engaged in Domestic


Few people have any idea of the number of steamboats, small schooners and other craft, tributary to the trade and commerce of Wilmington and plying upon the waters of the Cape Fear, Northeast and Black rivers, and along the coast to New River, Shallotte, Little River, S. C., and other places adjacent.  The total number of craft of all descriptions engaged in this local traffic and in river and harbor towage is forty-three—sixteen of which are propelled by steam.  And if to these are added the revenue cutter and the government steamers engaged on river improvements the total number is forty-eight.  Not the least among these craft are a number of flat-boats that make regular trips between this city and points in Pender, Bladen, Brunswick, Sampson, and Onslow counties, and carry from two to four hundred barrels of naval stores.

A carefully compiled statement of these vessels and boats, made by Capt. J. M. Morrison, of the Produce Exchange, is as follows:

Steamers engaged in river and harbor towage—Passport, Capt. J. W. Harper; Blanche, Capt. Jacobs; Italian, Capt. J. T. Harper; Louise, Capt. Woodsides, (mail boat to Smithville); Marie, Capt. Williams; Pet, Capt. Taft; Dudine, Capt. Bowdoin.

River steamers to Fayetteville—D. Murchison, Capt. Smith; Cape Fear, Capt. Green; A. P. Hurt, Capt. Robinson, J. C. Stewart, Capt. Bagley.

Black River steamers—Delta, Capt. Hubbard; Lisbon, Capt. Black; Excelsior, Capt. Burkhimer; Susie, Capt. Snell.

Flat-boats bringing naval stores—Cudger Larkins;, from Long Creek, Pender; Sessom’s from Beatty’s Bridge, Bladen; McIntire’s, from Long Creek, Pender; Pound’s, from Town Creek, Brunswick; Lon Johnson’s, from Beatty’s Bridge, Bladen; Littleton’s, from Town Creek, Brunswick; Johnson & Son’s, from Ingold, Sampson; Shaw & black’s from Clear Run, Sampson; Herring & Peterson’s, from Ingold, Sampson; Marshburn’s, from Shaken, Onslow.

Schooners of less than seventy-five tons.

—E. Francis, from Little River; Snow Storm, Little River; Minnie Ward, New River; Lorenzo, New River; William, Shallotte; Mary Wheeler, Calabash; Katie Edwards, New River; Argyle, Lockwood’s Folly; Stonewall, New River; Gold Leaf, New River; Fairfield, Smithville; Rosa, New River; Jos. H. Neff, Smithville; Maggie, New River; John Griffith, Orton, Mary and Ray, New River.

The Government vessels in port are the Revenue Cutter Colfax and the steam tugs Gen. Wright, Woodbury, Easton and Oklahoma.

[Wilmington Star – August 13, 1886]

From Up the River.

The steamer Cape Fear, Capt. Green, brought down a party of excursionists, about fifty in number, from Prospect Hall and other points along the river.  On their arrival here the party embarked on the Passport and went down to Smithville, returning about 5 o’clock in the afternoon, and leaving for their homes on the upward trip of the Cape Fear.

Capt. Green reports that he noticed an unusual commotion in the river and heard a faint rumbling noise Wednesday night, about the time the earthquake shock was felt here.

In Fayetteville, Tuesday night, the violence of the shocks drove people into the streets from their houses, exciting great alarm.

[Wilmington Weekly Star – September 10, 1886]

— New River Craft.

Capt. H. P. Bowdoin, who has built several of the small steamboats that ply on the waters of the Cape Fear, has turned out a new craft in the shape of a steam-flat, to be used for lightering.  It is at present lying at the wharf of the upper cotton compress, awaiting the arrival of the government boiler inspector before entering upon its career.

Mr. George Morton appeared on the river yesterday afternoon with a unique craft that might be called a “steam row-boat.”  It will seat comfortably a dozen or fifteen persons, and is propelled by steam; kerosene being used as fuel.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Friday, September 10, 1886]

— Mr. Morton’s new yacht is named the Vertner.  It consumes one gallon of oil an hour as fuel; is very fast, and is intended for use as a pleasure boat on the river.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Saturday, September  11, 1886]

Fire on the River

A flat-boat loaded with cotton and naval stores, in tow of the steamer D. Murchison, just arrived from Fayetteville, caught fire and burned to the water’s edge about a mile above the city, yesterday at 11 a. m.  the freight on the flat consisted of 124 bales of cotton, 4 barrels of spirits of turpentine and 178 casks of rosin.  The four casks of turpentine, 25 bales of cotton, and a few barrels of rosin were thrown overboard and saved.  The rest of the cargo was burned with the boat.  The loss on freight was fully covered;  Messrs. Williams & Murchison, the consignees, having insurance to the amount of $6,000, in the Hartford of Connecticut, Phenix of Brooklyn, and the Home of North Carolina, with Messrs. Atkinson & Manning.  The flat-boat was not insured.

The officers of the Murchison claim that the fire was caused by sparks from the smoke-stack of the steamer Cape Fear; the officers of the latter boat, however, say that they smelt something burning before they reached the flat, and as they passed called to the hands on board that something was on fire, and almost immediately afterwards saw one of the bales of cotton in flames.

The burning flat was made fast to the shore, but before it was entirely consumed the lines parted and the boat drifted down stream, lodging on the opposite side of the river just above Point Peter.  It was towed up the river again by the tug Marie, and subsequently the “Atlantic” fire engine was sent up on a lighter to extinguish the flames.  The “Atlantic” was brought back to the city about 6 p. m.

[Wilmington Star – November 26, 1886]



The Steamboat J. C. Stewart – Her Arrival

At Hawkinsville – Freight and

Passenger Accommodations.

The new steamboat, J. C. Stewart, from Wilmington, N. C., to Hawkinsville, on Monday night last, in charge of Capt. J. G. Bagley, with Anderson Newsome and George Bennefield as pilots, arrived at Hawkinsville.  The Stewart is a boat of substantial construction, with a carrying capacity of one hundred and twenty-nine tons and accommodations for twenty cabin passengers.  She was built in Wilmington, N. C., last summer for Messrs. Lasseter, Ham & Co., of Hawkinsville, and this is her first trip up the Ocmulgee.  Capt. Bagley left Wilmington on the 4th inst., but lay up several days at Darien.

The Stewart has a light draught of eleven inches, and can traverse the Ocmulgee at six and a half to seven miles an hour up stream.

She brought up on her first trip several bales of cotton and three hundred barrels of rosin and spirits turpentine, and carried down a large quantity of flour and other merchandise for landings between Hawkinsville and Lumber City. The boat is 101 feet in length and 21 feet beam.

Captain Bagley, who was in command of the Stewart, informed us he was in Hawkinsville thirty-four years ago (1852) as engineer of the steamboat Isaac Scott, which may be remembered by some of the older citizens. He says the Isaac Scott on her first trip from Hawkinsville had on board eight hundred and eight bales of cotton for Savannah.  All the cotton raised in this portion of the State in those days was carried to Savannah by boats on the Ocmulgee.

There are now three boats on our river, and all are owned by the business men of Hawkinsville.  Mr. Robert V. Bowen, who owns the Mary Jeter and Colville, is now building a new boat at this place. The railroad track has been extended to the river, and the wharf shows that business is lively.

[The Hawkinsville Dispatch – Thursday Morning, December 23, 1886]


Mr. James G. Bagley died last night at his residence in this city, from an attack of malarial fever, supposed to have been contracted in Florida, from whence he returned to Wilmington about a week ago.  Mr. Bagley had been engaged in the steamboat business on the Cape Fear for several years, being the owner of the steamer River Queen, destroyed by fire in March last, and part owner of the steamer J. C. Stewart, which ran on the river between Wilmington and Fayetteville until a few months ago when the boat was sold to parties in Georgia or Florida.  The funeral of deceased will take place at half past # o’clock this afternoon, from the Second Presbyterian church.

[Wilmington Weekly Star – January 21, 1887] {see original, this part cut out}

Steamer D. Murchison, which has been lying at her wharf for some weeks undergoing repairs, putting in a new boiler, &c., is now running regularly.  The large amount of freights compelled her to leave before the work was entirely completed.  The carpenters, however, will continue to work upon her as she runs.

[Fayetteville Observer – Thursday, March 3, 1887]

—  The steamer Cape Fear has been chartered to run to the colored camp meeting grounds at Gander Hall, a few miles down the river.  Yesterday carpenters were at work on the boat, putting in benches on the lower deck, to accommodate passengers.  The camp meeting opens to-day.

[Wilmington Star – May 27, 1887]

Fatal Accident on the River.

Information was brought to the city yesterday by the steamer Hurt, that a Mr. Brennon, a passenger on the steamer Cape Fear, which left here Thursday afternoon for Fayetteville, fell from the lower deck of the steamer into the river and was drowned.  The accident happened when the Cape Fear was about eighteen miles from Wilmington, where the water is very deep.  Brennon was a Canadian, in the employ of Mr. A. Y. Wilson, at Dawson’s Landing.  It is supposed that he was struck b the wheel of the steamer, as his hat found floating on the water, had a large hole torn in it.  The body of the drowned man was not recovered.

[Wilmington Star – June 18, 1887]

Body Found.

The body of Mr. John Brennon, of Bladen county, who fell overboard from the steamer Cape Fear and was drowned near the “Devil’s Elbow,” while the boat was on her trip up the river, last Thursday, was discovered by officers of the same steamer on the return of the boat last Sunday.  It was floating in the water, fastened by a rope to a tree on the river bank, about thirteen miles above this city.  It is supposed that the body had been found and secured, by persons who had gone to notify the coroner of the county.  Capt. Tomlinson, of the Cape Fear, had the remains of the unfortunate man covered with a tarpaulin, as protection from the birds, and upon the arrival of the boat here notified the friends of the deceased.  An undertaker with a coffin went up on the Cape Fear yesterday afternoon, to remove the body to Dawson, Bladen county, the home of the deceased, for interment.  Mr. Brennon was a native of Canada, but had married in Bladen county, where he leaves a wife and one child.  His friends say that he had about sixty dollars in money on his person when he left this city for home last Thursday.

[Wilmington Star – June 21, 1887]

The low stage of water in the Cape Fear during the summer months is a great inconvenience to the people living near the river, especially in the matter of mail facilities, and a river post route should be established for their convenience.  It would be well for our business men to take the necessary steps to procure it.

[Fayetteville Observer – Thursday, July 28, 1887]

We learn from the Wilmington Messenger that Capt. Sam’l Skinner, of the Ship Railway, of that place, will commence at an early date to build a steamer to ply between Wilmington and Fayetteville, to be called the Green.

[Fayetteville Evening News – Tuesday, August 2, 1887]

The steamer Cape Fear, which left here last week for Carolina Beach, gathered in a goodly number before she arrived in Wilmington.  Willis’ Creek, Tar Heel, White Oak, Elizabeth, Sugar Loaf and White Hall, all contributed their quota, and the number when she reached Wilmington was about one hundred and twenty-five.  Dancing and all sorts of fun kept the party in good spirits, and they had a good time.

[Fayetteville Observer – Thursday, August 25, 1887]

The steamer A. P. Hurt carried to Wilmington last week 742 barrels of rosin, 81 casks of spirits, 115 barrels of tar and 12 barrels of crude turpentine making a total of 950 barrels.  This one of the largest freights of the season.

[Fayetteville Observer – Thursday, September 1, 1887]

A New Steamboat.

Capt. Sam Skinner is building a steamboat at his shipyard at the foot of Church street.  This new addition to the river fleet will plough the muddy waters of the Cape Fear and run between Wilmington and Fayetteville.  She is intended for a freight and passenger boat, will be 110 feet in length, eighteen feet breadth of beam, and will have about the same freighting capacity as the Cape Fear or the Murchison.  It is expected that she will be finished about the first of January.  Capt. Green, the popular commander of the North State for so many years, will have charge of the new steamer.

[Wilmington Star – November 4, 1887]

— Capt. Dick Paddison is commander, and Mr. H. Clay Cassidey and Mr. Richard Andrews, first and second mates, of the steamer Rockledge, (formerly the Governor Worth), running on the Indian river in Florida from Titusville to Rockledge, on which the President and party were passengers on their recent trip to Florida.

[Wilmington Star – February 26, 1888]

Gone for the Sylvan Grove.

The Sylvan Grove, the elegant steamer which the New Hanover Transit Company will run to Carolina Beach this summer, will be brought out from New York in about ten days.  Captain John W. Harper left by rail several days ago and will be joined in New York by Captain W. A. Snell, who will act as coast pilot, Mr. A. M. Wilson, who will be mate, Mr. W. C. Price, who will be engineer, William Brown, who will be cook, and Prince Swain, colored, who will be fireman on the steamer.  Captain Snell and his party left on the last New York steamer.

[Wilmington Messenger – April 24, 1888]



The Queen of the St. Johns to Ply the Cape
Fear – The Propitious Excursion Season
About to Open.

Wilmington’s boom is not confined in any one direction.  It is a live, healthy boom that takes in everything.

The outlook for the excursion season in our city is more propitious than ever in the history of the place.

There is Captain Harper’s elegant steamer the “Passport,” which is now making her regular trips to Southport and is ready for excursion parties.  There is the splendid new steamer, Sylvan Grove, which the New Hanover Transit Company will have on from New York in a few days, and now it is settled that the large and magnificent steamer “the Queen of the St. John’s” will ply the waters of the Cape Fear this summer.

The owner of “the Queen of the St. Johns,” Mr. J. G. Christopher, was in the city yesterday and with a party of gentlemen went down to Southport on the Marie to make arrangements to run his steamer between this city and that.  The arrangements were perfected, and in a week or two the Queen will be brought out and will begin her trips under command of that well known, thorough-going and efficient officer Captain R. P. Paddison.  The Captain’s boat will be the most magnificent and the largest that ever ran on the Cape Fear.  She has a carrying capacity of 1500 passengers, has sixty-eight staterooms and can sleep 150 people.  She has three decks, and a saloon 170 feet in length.  The length of the steamer is 200 feet and her breadth is 56 feet.  She draws three feet fore and aft, is a side wheeler with double engines and her speed is fourteen miles an hour.

With such a steamer in our waters, ample accommodations will be offered to excursionists this season and with the other steamers on the river our thousands of visitors this summer will have great opportunities for enjoyment.  The Queen has been running on the St. John’s river, Florida, from Jacksonville to Sanford and Enterprise, and during the past season in the Land of Flowers has done a large business.  She is one of the most popular vessels in Florida, and in the winter season will run there, and hereafter will be run through the summer season on the Cape Fear river.

With the Seacoast railroad to carry the people out to the Sound every few minutes, the Sylvan Grove to transport them to Carolina Beach, and the Passport and Queen to ply the river and carry excursions, outside, it will be seen that it will be worth one’s while to be a resident in our visitor to Wilmington this summer!

In addition to the steamers mentioned, it may as well be stated here that Mr. Dozier of the firm of Dozier & Wiggs, of Southport, is now in New York, where he has purchased an elegant steamer to run between Wilmington and Southport to carry mails and passengers.  A letter from Mr. Dozier conveys the information that their steamer will be brought out in a few days as also will the Sylvan Grove which sails from New York for Wilmington this morning.

Mr. Christopher who owns the Queen, is also proprietor of Murray Hall, Pablo Beach, Fla., which is one of the most magnificent hotels South.

[Wilmington Messenger – April 28, 1888]

—  The steamer Cape Fear has gone upon the marine railway at Capt. S. W. Skinner’s ship yard, for a general overhauling, and to fix the boat up for the better accommodation of excursionists this summer.

[Wilmington Star – May 1, 1888]



The Elegant Excursion Steamer Arrives

From New York.

Captain John W. Harper and his crew steamed into the city yesterday afternoon about 12:15 o’clock, with the excursion steamer Sylvan Grove, for which they went to New York a fortnight ago, to bring out for the New Hanover Transit Company.  At Market street wharf about two hundred people had gathered to see the new steamer come in and at all the wharves up the river large crowds lined the wharves to get a glimpse of her as she steamed along for the wharf of the Champion Compress Company.  There another crowd had gathered and as soon as the handsome steamer was made fast and the gang plank laid, the eager throng rushed aboard of her.

Many were the cordial greetings extended to Captain Harper and his crew, and they in return received all kindly.

Captain Harper sailed from New York on Saturday morning last about 2 o’clock, and after running seventy miles out from Norfolk put into that port Saturday night at 10 o’clock on account of the heavy seas running.  She left Norfolk Thursday morning at 2 o’clock and reached Southport yesterday morning about 5 o’clock.  Leaving Southport at 10:30 o’clock yesterday morning, he reached the compress wharf at 12:15 p. m.

Captain Harper says the Sylvan Grove rode the waves in a most gallant manner and stood the trip splendidly, proving herself a staunch vessel.

She is a double side wheel craft with wood hull, and was built at New York in 1858.  She is something more than 320 gross tons and a little more than 219 net tons burthen, having a length of 148 feet, and a width of forty-five feet amidships.  Her machinery consists of one condensing engine, thirty-six inches diameter of cylinder, and eight feet stroke of piston.  The boiler is twenty-seven feet long, eighty-eight inches in diameter, [diameter – misspelled] and is allowed a steam pressure of fifty pounds to the square inch.  She carries four life boats and oars, one life raft, life lines, 660 life preservers, 300 feet of fire hose, two hand fire pumps, forty-four fire buckets, and has pipes for forcing steam into the hold in case of fire.  The pilot house and engine room are connected with signal tubes and bell pulls, and all minor equipments that go to make her safe and comfortable.

The vessel draws about five feet of water, and the hull above water is painted white, with black gunwales.  The main and upper decks, cabins and saloons are also painted white and the wheelhouses are a light buff.  She has three decks including the hurricane deck.  She has a promenade deck forward, a double cabin 100 feet long, and aft a ladies’ saloon which is handsomely carpeted and upholstered.

Connecting the main and upper decks are two permanent stairways, at the head of the stairway aft being a large and magnificent mirror.  The upper deck also contains a double cabin 100 feet in length and there are promenade decks fore and aft.  She contains state rooms for her crew, but being built for short trips contains no accommodations in this respect for passengers.

The carrying capacity of the steamer is 650 persons, but by special permit she has carried 800 with ease.  She can house 650 people from rain.  She carries a flag on which is her name in large letters, and on the pilot house the name is printed in six inch letters.

The Sylvan Grove belonged to the “Highland Steamboat Company” of New York, and was run as an excursion boat.  She was quite popular in New York, and now that she is to ply between Wilmington and Carolina Beach she will become a popular institution here.  Her accommodations are ample, and the thousands of visitors Wilmington will have this season will have every opportunity to enjoy themselves in the way of excursions.

[Wilmington Messenger – May 5, 1888]

A Handsome Boat.

The Sylvan Grove, the steamer chartered by the New Hanover Transit Company for the excursion season, arrived here yesterday.  Capt. Harper, who is in command, says that he had a quick and pleasant trip from Norfolk; leaving that port Thursday morning last, the Grove passed Hatteras that evening and arrived at Southport at 5 a. m. yesterday.

The steamer came up to the city about noon and made fast to the wharf at the Champion Cotton Compress, where crowds of visitors, anxious to see the new craft, thronged her decks all day.  Every one seemed pleased, and there was but one expression of opinion—that the boat is admirably adapted for the purpose for which she is to be used, of just the right size, comfortably fitted up, with well sheltered decks, abundant light and ventilation in all parts of the vessel, and with every appliance for safety and speed.

The Sylvan Grove is licensed to carry 650 passengers, but has ample accommodations for a much larger number.  She registers 320 tons, has one condensing engine of thirty-six inches diameter and eight feet stroke, a turtle-back boiler twenty-seven feet long, and is equipped with a full complement of life-boats, life-preservers, fire extinguishers, etc.  She has three decks, including the hurricane deck, that are all roomy and comfortable, the boilers and engines all being below the lower deck.

The ladies’ saloon is on the upper deck, abaft.  It is handsomely fitted up with mirrors and elegantly upholstered furniture.

The steamer will open the excursion season next week, and will probably make her first trip on Monday.  She will make the run to Harper’s Pier, the landing for Carolina Beach, in less than sixty minutes, her speed being about sixteen miles an hour in smooth water.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Saturday, May 5, 1888]

Family Excursion.

With flags flying and happy faces thronging the decks, the Sylvan Grove made her baptismal excursion yesterday afternoon to Orton and return.  Three hundred passengers or more availed themselves of the first opportunity to show their appreciation of the enterprising spirit of the managers of the popular Carolina Beach in putting on their line the new, handsome and commodious steamer Sylvan Grove.

The run from Market Dock to Orton and return was accomplished in such rapid time that the excursionists were back before the sun was down, and all were delighted, with the boat, the management and the trip.

Carolina Beach can but grow in popularity.  The manner in which the people responded to the efforts of the management last year but augurs a more successful season for this.  As a place for a day’s recreation it is unsurpassed, and with increased accommodation, more rapid transit, and with the ever popular and proverbial clever Capt. Harper to take charge of the boats and their freight, it cannot fail to draw this season.

To-day the regular schedule for the season opens, and the steamer will make both morning and evening trips to the Beach.  To all who wish a pleasant time and an invigorating salt air bath, we commend the trial of a trip to the coming resort of North Carolina—Carolina Beach.

[Wilmington Star – May 8, 1888]

Steamer Cape Fear.

The steamer Cape Fear came out from the dock at Skinner’s shipyard yesterday, looking as bright and neat as a new pin.  The boat has been thoroughly overhauled and repainted from stem to stern and will this week take her place on the river fully equipped for the excursion season, which it is confidently expected will be a leading feature in the traffic of the up-river boats this summer.  Capt. Tomlinson, the commander of the Cape Fear, is one of the most popular men on the river, and under his control the boat will get her full share of the business.

[Wilmington Star – May 13, 1888]

CAROLINA BEACH. — We have been favored with a beautiful view of this new established watering place, now made more convenient and comfortable to health seekers.  It is refreshing to find our energetic men opening up at our doors places of beauty that have been hidden away so long as to be regarded as among the things that were not.

These places, while offering to the invalid and to pleasure-seekers all that the more fashionable resorts of the North can present, give at the same time a degree of home-comfort that can be found nowhere else.  Our people will find here near home, an opportunity never before open to them, of resting awhile from the cares and business of life, breathing in vigor, strength and renewed energy for home duties.

Situated only a few miles below Wilmington, with fine steamers plying to and fro every day, at very little cost, it offers many inducements to those who can only leave home for a few days, and who wish to bathe in the refreshing waters of the ocean.  One meets there, too, home people and friends from all parts of the state.  In fact, it is to become for us what the crowded watering places of the north are to health and pleasure-seekers there.

[Fayetteville Observer – Thursday, May 17, 1888]

Steamer D. Murchison.

The crank pin of the steamer D. Murchison broke Friday morning while the boat was on the way down the river, causing the cylinder-head of one of the engines to blow out.  The accident occurred near Prospect Hall, in the upper part of the river.  The Murchison returned to Fayetteville, where her machinery will be repaired.  She is expected to resume her trips to this city next Tuesday.

[Wilmington ? – June 1, 1888]

Family Excursion.

The first family excursion of the season to Harper’s Pier and Carolina Beach was enjoyed by some three or four hundred ladies and gentlemen and children.  The trip up and down the river on the Sylvan Grove was delightful, and the surf bathing at the beach afforded great enjoyment to many.  A singular feature was the absence of rain, which fell in torrents here at midday.

[Wilmington Star – June 2, 1888]

The Queen of St. Johns.

The steamer Queen of St. Johns is expected to arrive here either to-day or to-morrow.  Capt. R. P. Paddison is in command, and Mr. W. H. Christopher, a clever and courteous gentleman, who is a brother of Col. John G. Christopher, the owner of the Queen, is her Purser.  The News and Courier of yesterday says she was at Charleston on Friday en route for this city.  Her length is 200 feet.  When light she draws three feet six inches of water and when loaded six feet.  She has accommodation for 300 cabin passengers and a total capacity for 1,200 to 1,500 people.

[Wilmington Messenger – July 1, 1888]

—  The Cape Fear brought a large number of colored excursionists from Fayetteville to spend the Fourth in this city.

[Wilmington Star – July 6, 1888]



Another Excursion Boat for Trips on the Cape Fear – The First Excursion To-day Something About the New Comer.

The long looked for, much talked of and extensively written of steamer Queen of St. John’s has arrived in Wilmington at last.  She steamed in yesterday afternoon at 12:05 and was greeted with salutes from all the steam whistles of the boats in the harbor and of the saw mills along the river.  She came up the river slowly, and responded to the salutes with her musical chimes whistles that awakened the echoes along the river and struck the ears of the busy people in the city.  The whistles were a signal to the people that the Queen must be coming, and when she steamed up to the wharf several hundred people, white and black, big and little, had gathered to get a glimpse of her.  She moored at Walker’s wharf, between Dock and Orange streets, and when she came alongside, the crowd greeted her with cheers and rushed aboard in a mass.  For the moment it seemed as if the crowd considered that the boat belonged to them, as the people without ceremony scattered all over her, taking possession of her decks, saloons, cabins and state rooms.

The principal of the Queen’s crew aboard were Captain R. P. Paddison, master and general manager, Mr. W. H. Christopher, purser, Mr. Frank Kurtse mate, Captain C. C. Morse, pilot, and Mr. William Hearn chief engineer.  All of the crew came around with the boat from Jacksonville with the exception of Captain Paddison and Mr. Christopher, who came through by rail and had been here several days.  They, and some ladies, went down the river yesterday morning on the Passport, and met the Queen about half way between this city and Southport and came back upon her.

The Queen having left Fernandina, Fla., on Wednesday, June 27th, arrived at Southport yesterday morning at 7:40 o’clock, and leaving there at 9:20 arrived in Wilmington at 12:05 p. m.  A MESSENGER reporter, who boarded the new comer found her to be a side-wheel steamer one hundred and ninety-three feet length of boiler deck and fifty-nine feet length of boiler deck and fifty-nine feet over all across decks.  She was built in 1884 at Cincinnati, Ohio, and rebuilt in 1885 at Jacksonville, Florida.  She is a wooden hull vessel of 413 68 100 tons net burthen, and is run by two high pressure engines of twenty-inch cylinder and seven feet three inches stroke of piston.  The engines are fed by four steel boilers twenty-four feet in length and 3 2-12 feet in diameter.  The steam pressure allowed is 191 pounds.  She carries life lines, three life boats, one life raft, 274 cork life preservers, 300 feet of hose and other fire apparatus.  She draws 3 ½ feet of water and 4 ½ feet when freighted.  She is owned by Capt. J. G. Christopher, the clever proprietor of the Pablo Beach Hotel, near Jacksonville, Fla.

The queen is licensed to carry 1,500 passengers, and has 60 state rooms with 180 berths.  The state rooms are on the promenade deck and open from each side of an elegant saloon 170 feet in length.  Altogether she is quite well suited for excursions, and will no doubt be a popular boat during the season which has set in so auspiciously.

Her first excursion down the Cape Fear will be run this evening as a compliment to the Chamber of Commerce and Produce Exchange.  She will leave her wharf at 2:30 o’clock, and will return about 7 p. m.  The Cornet Concert Club, the Germania Cornet Band, the Wilmington Light Infantry, the Mayor and other representatives of the municipal government, a large number of ladies and other citizens have been invited.

[Wilmington Messenger – July 6, 1888]

— The lower Cape Fear is now well supplied with passenger boats.  Besides the Sylvan Grove, running to Carolina Beach, there are four steamers running regularly between Wilmington and Southport—the Queen of St. Johns, Passport, Louise and Bessie.

[Wilmington Star – July 10, 1888]

Fun on the Cape Fear.

There was a little fun on the Cape Fear yesterday.  The Queen of St. Johns and the Sylvan Grove were both announced to leave at 2,30 p. m.  But the time of departure arrived, and neither boat was in a hurry to get off.  The Queen was probably delayed on account of the immense crowd going on board.  But the Sylvan is usually so prompt with her schedules that some surprise was expressed at her provoking tardiness.  In response to the interrogatory of a lady Captain Harper said he was waiting for a little boy who had gone home after his bathing suit.  People stood on the wharves and watched and wondered.  Heavy columns of black smoke shot upward from the “stacks” of the two steamers, au{inverted character – and}d it was evident that somebody was pitching wood into the furnaces.

Finally, the suspense was relieved.  Slowly and gracefully the Queen backed off from her wharf until she  reached a point about midway of the stream, where she remained almost motionless for a moment.  Then the veteran Captain Morse, who stood in the pilot house, rang his bells, and it was “forward on the port and back on the starboard wheel.”  This soon brought the bow around to the South, and away went the Queen with her thousand excursionists.

The gallant Harper, who was at the wheel, then gave the signal to cast the Sylvan loose from her moorings and his proud craft stood out from her wharf.

For nearly thirty seconds the Sylvan Grove remained almost stationary.  But the Queen of St. Johns having gotten under headway, Harper gave his bell wires a quick jerk, the beam began to move rapidly, and all was excitement on board as she “walked the waters like a thing of life.”

It is estimated that the Queen started about a quarter of a mile in the lead, but this only served to heighten the excitement of those on board the Sylvan.

There was music, and there was waving of hats and handkerchiefs, and there were shouts on the old Cape Fear as the two boats went humming down the stream.  The Queen’s people crowded to the stern of their boat, while those of the Sylvan hurried to the bow.  Remembering the old axiom, “a stern chase is a long chase,” doubts were expressed as to what would be the result.  But the pace of the Sylvan was too hot for her rival, and it was soon discovered that the boats were getting nearer together.  Finally, just as they reached the “dram tree,” about two miles from Market dock, the Sylvan Grove passed the Queen of St. Johns with a rush; and then there was more music, and more wild hurrahing, and more waving of hats and handkerchiefs and a might sound from the steam whistles.

It is not for the STAR representative to call this little “spin” a race, but as a faithful chronicler of events, he took some notes and concluded to “print ‘em.”

[Wilmington Weekly Star – July 13, 1888]

The Marine Parade.

A meeting of masters of steamboats was held yesterday evening to make arrangements for the grand marine parade, to take place on the river on the 24th inst.  Capts. Williams and Crapon were appointed a committee to draft rules and regulations to govern the parade, to report at a meeting on Saturday evening next.  There will be twenty-seven steamboats in the parade.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Thursday, July 19, 1888]


The Programme Arranged for To-day

Boats to form at 3 p. m. on the west side of the river, the line commencing at Point Peter and extending up the river alongside of the timer pen.  Boats to come into line as hereinafter named;

1st Vertner, Capt. Morton.

2d.          Ida Louise, Capt. Evans.

3d.          Oklahoma, Capt. Stewart.

4th.         Navassa, Capt. Thornton.

5th.         Boss, Capt. Manning.

6th.         Louise, Capt. Sellers.

7th.         Bessie, Capt. Crapon.

8th.         Pet, Capt. Taft.

9th.         Craighill, Capt. J. H. Williams.

10th.         Enterprise, Capt. Ward.

11th.         Acme, Capt. Taylor.

12th.         Lisbon, Capt. Black.

13th.         Delta, Capt. Sherman.

14th.         Easton, Capt. Kinyon.

15th.         Italian, Capt. J. T. Harper.

16th.         Blanche, Capt. Jacobs.

17th.         Passport, Capt. Snell.

18th.         Murchison, Capt. Smith.

19th.         Hurt, Capt. Robeson.

21th.         Sylvan Grove, Capt. J. W. Harper.

22nd.Queen of St. John, Capt. Paddison.

23rd.         U. S. steamer Colfax, respectfully invited to join the parade.

Steamer Marie, Capt. E D. Williams, will act as the starting boat and see that the line is kept in order.


Starting from Point Peter, proceeding in mid-stream down the river.  When the leading boat is opposite Market Dock, at a signal from the Marie, each boat will give one long blast of the steam whistle when opposite the Creosote Works.  Proceeding down the river to Black Buoy, opposite the Dram Tree, rounding the buoy, turning from the eastward to westward, following the west side of the river up opposite to the Champion Compress.  As each boat arrives opposite the Compress it will give three blasts of the steam whistle, turn and proceed to its dock.

Boats are requested to display all their bunting.  It is especially requested that all boats will use extraordinary caution while in the line, and when breaking line, give the proper signals at the proper time, in order to avoid any accident.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Tuesday, July 24, 1888]

Local Dots.

—  The steamers Cape Fear and Hurt brought a large number of visitors to the city yesterday from Fayetteville and points along the river to witness the parade.



A Gallant Display of Marine Craft in

Honor of the State Guard and the

Visit of His Excellency Gov. Scales.

The marine parade early in the afternoon was witnessed by a multitude of people.  The river front all along the city was thronged with spectators, who covered the wharves and filled the offices and buildings and even swarmed on the house-tops.  Besides these, the steamers Sylvan Grove, Passport, Queen of St. John’s and Cape Fear were crowded with passengers, who had embarked to witness the grand pageant.

The steamboats which were to take part in the parade had been busy all the forenoon preparing for the event, and by 3 o’clock were covered from bow to stern with flags and bunting.  The Marie, under command of Capt. E. D. Williams, which acted as the directing boat, and the Sylvan Grove were particularly resplendent, and the handsome revenue steamer Colfax sported all her gay colors.

Promptly at 3 p. m. the boats began to get in line in accordance with the published programme.  The Colfax took position on the west side of the river, opposite the Custom House, her with anchor down, two of her ports open and guns run out, ready as it seemed, for anything that might happen.  One after the other the boats taking part in the parade steamed up to Point Peter and took the places assigned them, and at half past 3 p. m. the leading boat, the Vertner, at a signal from the Marie led off, and was followed by the other boats in the following order:  Ida Louise, Capt. Evans; Boss, Capt. Shaw; Navassa, Capt. Thornton; Louise, Capt. Sellers; Craighill, Capt. J. H. Williams; Pet, Capt. Taft; Acme, Capt. Taylor; Delta, Capt. Sherman; Easton, Capt. Kenyon; Italian, Capt. J. t. Harper; Blanche, Capt. Jacobs; Passport, Capt. Snell; Cape Fear, Capt. Tomlinson; Sylvan Grove, Capt. J. W. Harper, and Queen of St. Johns, Capt. Paddison.

The boats steamed down the river in line, each giving one blast of her steam whistle as she passed the Colfax and receiving an answering signal from the latter, and as the last boat passed all the whistles were blown, blending in one long deafening blast.

It was in the programme that Gov. Scales should view the parade from the deck of the Colfax, but there was delay in the arrival of the party, and it was not until the last boat had passed that the Governor’s party drove down to Market street dock, where the cutter’s boats had been waiting some time in readiness to receive them.  The party consisted of Gov. Scales and wife, Lieut. Gov. Stedman, wife and daughter several members of the Governor’s staff, Collector Robinson, Mayor Fowler, Judge O. P. Meares and others.  The visitors were received by Capt. Moore and his officers with all due courtesy, the State flag of North Carolina was run up on the foremast of the cutter and a salute of fifteen guns fired in honor of the Governor.  When the last gun was fired, a beautiful wreath or circle of smoke ascended slowly from its muzzle as high as the masthead and floated northward.  It was seen by many persons on shore, who spoke of it as a singular and noticeable occurrence.

By this time the leading boats had reached and rounded the buoy opposite the Dram Tree, and the procession of steamers reformed, passing the Colfax again, but in two ranks, and again with redoubled blasts from the steam whistles of all the boats.  After steaming a short distance up the river the parade was dismissed and the boats returned to their respective wharves.

All in all the display was a magnificent one, and great credit is due to Capt. Edgar D. Williams and the other captains of the fleet, for the manner in which it was conducted.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Wednesday, July 25, 1888]

The Hurt, Murchison and Cape Fear steamboats took part in the grand marine parade at Wilmington on Tuesday.  The people of Wilmington all enter heartily in everything that attracts or is for the good of the city.  A spirit that will do much to ensure her future progress.

[Fayetteville Observer – Thursday, July 26, 1888]

The Cape Fear Steamers.

A formal transfer was made yesterday of the steamer D. Murchison to the Cape Fear and People’s and the Bladen Steamboat Companies, who, as announced several days ago in the STAR, have jointly made the purchase.  This is practically a consolidation—all the steamboats of the two lines now being under one management, with Maj. T. D. Love, agent at this port and Col. W. S. Cook agent at Fayetteville.  The price paid for the Murchison is, as has been stated, $12,000.

With this new arrangement no change will be made in the running of the boats.  They will have the same days as heretofore for arrival and departure, and the Murchison will still be under the command of Capt. Smith, a most careful and efficient officer, under whose management the Murchison has acquired a popularity with the public that any one might envy.

[Wilmington Star – January 13, 1889]

Two Small Fires, and a Section of Ordinance.

An old tree on Front street between Ann and Nunn caught fire yesterday between 12 and 1 o’clock from a spark blown into it from the smokestack of the steamer Cape Fear.  A strong gale was blowing at the time, and danger threatened.  A hose reel was sent to the scene, and a stream thrown on the burning tree.

Shortly after an alarm of fire was turned in from box 21, caused by the burning of an old shed roof on the premises of Mr. J. F. Lord, at the foot of Ann street.  This, too, was supposed to have originated from a spark from a river steamer at the wharf.  Damage small.

In this connection the following section from a City Ordinance on River and Navigation is pertinent:

SECTION 4.  All steamboats plying on the river, within the corporate limits of the city, shall be provided with spark arresters, or some other appliance for preventing the escape of sparks or cinders, and the exhaust shall not be discharged into the smoke stack.  And the owners, or Captain, of any boat moving by steam within the limits of the city, without having such safety appliances as aforesaid, shall be fined $50 for each and every such boat which may so move.

[Wilmington Messenger – February 19, 1889]

Capt. J. C. Smith, who has been master of the steamer Cape Fear for some time, has resigned that position, and will be in charge of the transfer steamer of the Cape Fear and Yadkin Valley Railroad in this city.

[Wilmington Messenger – May 26, 1889]

No Boat to Carolina Beach on Sundays.

The New Hanover Transit Company has decided not to run the Sylvan Grove or the Passport to Carolina Beach hereafter on Sundays.  This announcement is made upon the statement of the President of the Company, and is therefore authoritative.

[Wilmington Messenger – May 28, 1889]

— Mr. Geo. L. Morton has sold his pretty steam yacht Vertner to Messrs. Davenport, Costner and Owens, to run on the Catawba river, and to be used in towing a gondola for passengers between Mountain Island, Tuckasegee and Mount Holly, during the summer excursion season.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Wednesday, June 5, 1889]

— The river steamer A. P. Hurt is laid up at Fayetteville for repairs and repainting. The steamer D. Murchison has taken her place on the line, and arrived here yesterday under command of Capt. Sandy Robeson, formerly in command of the Hurt.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Wednesday, June 5, 1889]


Wilmington, N. C., July 10.—The large steamer Queen of St. John’s burned to the water’s edge at her wharf just above the city to-night.  She was owned by J. C. Christopher, and was brought from St. John’s River, Florida, last Summer to run as an excursion steamer.  She was an immense boat, with capacity for 1,200 passengers.  The origin of the fire is unknown.  The steamer had been tied up since last season.  She is said to have been partially insured.

[New York Times – July 11, 1889]

The Queen of St. Johns Fire.

It was reported on the streets yesterday that there was insurance on the steamer Queen of St. Johns to the amount of $10,000, but insurance agents in the city know nothing of it.  One of them said that application had been made a short time ago for a $12,000 policy on the vessel, but it was not issued.  The machinery of the boat is thought to be worthless.  There were sixty cords of lightwood in the hold of the vessel.

Mr. J. O. Bowden’s wharf, to which the steamer was moored, was destroyed by the fire, and a large shed adjoining.  Mr. Bowden estimates his loss at $1,000, upon which there was no insurance.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Friday, July 12, 1889]

Burning of the Queen of St. Johns.

The steamer Queen of St. Johns was burned at her moorings just above the city last night about 9 o’clock.

The Queen was owned by Mr. J. G. Christopher, of Jacksonville, Fla.  She was built to run on the St. John’s river, and was brought to Wilmington last summer, where she ran #### excursion boat to Southport; but ### enterprise did not pay and she ## withdrawn and tied up to the river bank, where she remained during # winter and the present summer, # charge of a watchman.  The Queen was a costly boat, had a magnificent saloon and staterooms for several hundred passengers, and her equipments in furniture and machinery were first-class in every respect.

Nothing could be learned as to the cause of the fire.  The boat was ablaze amidship when attention was first directed to her by the bright light which illuminated the river and sky, and the flames spread rapidly fore and aft until the boat was entirely enveloped.  The fire burned with such brilliancy that hundreds of people, including many ladies were attracted to the river side to witness the grand and beautiful sight afforded by the conflagration of the luckless steamer.

The steam tugs Marie and Philadelphia went up to the burning vessel but could do nothing to save her.  The Marie, however, got her hose into play and extinguished the fire that had spread from the Queen to Bowden’s naval stores yard adjoining among a lot of dross, and as usual did excellent service.

The watchman who has had charge of the Queen ever since she was tied up, was on board when the fire broke out.  He said that he thought that the boat caught on fire from sparks from a passing steamer.

Mr. Elisha Warren, who went up with the young men to the burning vessel, got on her deck and threw the anchors overboard, and then with others cut a hole in her side to let the water in.

[Wilmington Weekly Star – July 12, 1889]

Sale of the Queen of St. Johns.

The submerged hull and boilers of the steamer Queen of St. Johns, which was burned to the water’s edge and sunk near Point Peter some time ago, were sold by auction yesterday for $95.  The chains, hawsers, etc., saved from the vessel the night of the fire were also sold, and brought about $80.  Messrs. Cronly & Morris were the auctioneers.

[Wilmington Star – August 23, 1889]

— Fayetteville Observer:

Capt. J. C. Smith, a well-known and very efficient steamboat man, has recently relinquished his command of the Murchison, being succeeded by Capt. R. H. Tomlinson, and will have charge of the new ferry boat to ply between Point Peter and the city wharves of the Cape Fear & Yadkin Valley railroad at Wilmington.  The boat is in construction at Wilmington, Del., whither Capt. Smith goes to remain until it is completed, and bring it around to Wilmington.

[Wilmington Star – September 24, 1889]

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