CFRS WDOTCF Essence : 1890 – 99

28 Jun

Fishermen’s Day.

About 125 persons went down to the “Rocks” and the Blackfish Grounds yesterday on the Sylvan Grove, the steamer leaving at 6 a. m. and returning about the same hour in the evening.  The fishermen report good sport at the “Rocks” and some fine fish caught.  The fishing outside at the Blackfish Grounds was not so good, the sea being rough with a high wind; but nevertheless some of the party caught a good many fish.

[Wilmington Star – June 24, 1890]



The Steamer’s Machinery Disabled While

on a Trip to the Blackfish Grounds.

An accident occurred to the steamer Sylvan Grove yesterday morning while she was steaming out to sea with a party of excursionists for the Blackfish waters.  When just outside the bar, about four miles from the “Bell buoy,” her steam-pipe burst at its intersection with the steam-chest, resulting in a great escape of steam and rendering the engine useless.

A signal of distress—a flag union down—was immediately displayed.  It was seen at Southport and in a few minutes the tug Alexander Jones went to the assistance of the disabled steamer.  The U. S. live-saving crew on Oak Island also saw the distress flag flying and signaled the Signal Service observer stationed at Southport.

Officers of Sylvan Grove behaved with conspicuous coolness and courage.  Capt. Harper was just as he always is under trying circumstances, brave and imperturbable.  Engineer Platt was just outside the engine room when the accident occurred; he rushed in through the dense cloud of escaping steam and cut it off from the broken pipe.  The conduct of all the officers, including Mate Wilson, was highly commended by the passengers.

There were about fifty excursionists on board, including a number of ladies and children.  Some were very much frightened, and considerable disgust was expressed at the behavior of a few of the male passengers who became panic-stricken.  Accounts of eye-witnesses generally agree that the ladies showed more deliberation and self-control than did some of the sterner sex.

The disabled steamer was towed up to the city by the tug, arriving at 4 o’clock in the afternoon.

Until the necessary repairs are made, the Passport will run the trips of the Sylvan Grove to Carolina Beach, and the Bessie will take the place of the Passport.

[Wilmington Star – July 29, 1890]

She Reports Promptly.

The repairs on the popular steamer Sylvan Grove were competed yesterday, and she resumes her place on the Carolina Beach line this morning.  The work was of a rather complicated character, but it was admirably executed by employees of Messrs. Burr & Bailey’s foundry and machine shops, assisted by Mr. Philip Platt, engineer of the steamer.  The casting, a composition of copper and brass, was made by Mr. Adolph Nelson, and the finishing and fitting was done by Messrs. Philip Platt and Price Yopp.  Competent and disinterested judges pronounce the job highly creditable to the skill of Wilmington mechanics and equal to anything of the kind they have ever seen.

[? – ? {verifiy source & date} ]

Excursion on the Sylvan Grove.

The steamer Sylvan Grove having been repaired, will to-day resume her trips to Carolina Beach.  Her machinery has been thoroughly overhauled and is in a better condition than ever.  The steam pipe was repaired by Mr. Adolph Nelson at Burr & Bailey’s shops and Capt. Harper pronounces the work done as well as it could have been done in any shop in America.

The Sylvan Grove will take down the excursion of the Ladies’ Aid Society of Fifth Street church and will make two trips, leaving at 9:30 a. m. and 2:30 p. m.  The steamer Passport will leave at 5:30 p.m., and the fare on her will be 25 cents.  The last train leaves the Beach at 10 o’clock to-night.

[Wilmington Messenger – August 1, 1890]



The Loss $30,000 With Insurance for

$20,000—A New boat Will be Built or

A Railroad Will be Built to Carolina


In yesterday morning’s MESSENGER we chronicled the burning of the steamer Sylvan Grove at Northrop’s wharf on the west side of the Cape Fear River, where she was laid up for the winter.  The flames were first discovered by the watchman at the Carolina Oil and Creosote Works and he sent in the alarm.

There was a watchman, Daniel L. Smith, colored, on board the steamer, but he was asleep in the after cabin, just below the ladies’ saloon.  He states that his first intimation of the fire was when the hurricane deck fell in.  he arose hurriedly and made his escape with difficulty, taking to his skiff which was tied near the cabin.  His opinion is the fire caught from a steamer passing during the day or perhaps caught from the stove pipe running up out of the cabin where he was asleep.  He lost all his effects, except the clothes he wore.

Mr. W. L. Smith, a member of the Southport Steamboat company, which owns the Sylvan Grove, went over to the burning vessel after she had been burning about an hour and a half, thinking probably the watchman was not safe.  Other than this, the boat could not be reached by the fire department.  The Marie played on the fire to prevent the hull from sinking but the fire was too hot, and when it burned to the water’s edge the hull sank.  Only the flag staff could be seen above the water’s edge yesterday morning.

The Sylvan Grove cost the Southport Steamboat Company $30,000 and was insured for $20,000 in several companies represented by New York agencies.  They cannot replace her for $30,000 and consequently their loss over and above insurance will be more than $10,000, including the expense in sending after and bringing out another boat.

The burning of the Sylvan Grove will not be in any way to the disadvantage of Carolina Beach, as the Steamboat company will buy another steamer and have her here in time for the opening of the season.  The directors held an informal meeting yesterday and that much was decided.  They propose this time to select a boat exactly suited to the purpose—that is running trips from Wilmington to Carolina Beach during the summer months.

We learn that parties interested at Masonboro Sound have approached the Steamboat company with a proposition to build a railroad to Carolina Beach instead of buying another steamer to run on the river.  It is desired that the railroad be run by way of Masonboro and citizens owing interests or living there propose to take considerable stock, if the Steamboat company will build the road.  The Steamboat company will hold a meeting soon to consider the matter and we would not be surprised to hear of their deciding to build the road.  At least we understand this much, if the inducements held out to them are of a particularly encouraging nature.

[Wilmington Daily Messenger – January 11, 1891]

The Cape Fear and Its Pleasant Travel.

The steamer Murchison has recently been overhauled , painted inside and out, its state-rooms renovated, and the craft put in thorough order from the water line to the smokestack-tip – and she will soon be “walking the waters like a thing of life” under the efficient command of Capt. R. H. Tomlinson.  The same “heroic treatment” is in store for the Cape Fear, she having already modestly gone into retirement in view of the new “rigging” about to be donned.

You may gird us all about with the iron rail, intersect us and network us; but the fondness is still within us for the good old-time river riding – the dolce far niento of travel – with its charming glimpses of still life gracing every curve of the picturesque stream.

[Fayetteville Observer – June 11, 1891.]

Almost a Water Spout.

Capt. R. H. Tomlinson, of the Murchison, came in Tuesday morning, and reports a fearful downpour of rain at Hawley’s Ferry Monday night.  He says the rain came down in sheets resembling very much his idea of a water-spout.  So great was the rain that he found it necessary to tie up the boat for a couple of hours.

[Fayetteville Observer – July 2, 1891.]

Wrecked and Abandoned.

A recent issue of the Wilmington Review has the following paragraph:

The bones of the Henrietta, the first steamboat that ever plied on the Cape Fear river, lie rotting a few miles below the city.  They ought to be preserved, if possible, as a historical relic.

We are heartily in accord with our contemporary’s ideas.  They are rich in memories and associations of the past—every decaying spar and yawing rib—and, if no more, we can shelter them from the assaults of time and the rack of wind and wave, and with a white stone show posterity where they moulder.

The changes of fortune have scattered to the winds of heaven the rich argosies that her keel has carried, and the travelers that walked her boards have long since passed down the current of time; the iron tongue of the old cannon is voiceless that caught her distant call amid the plash of waves and the echoes of the winding stream, and the grim old warehouses  have crumbled into ruins, or shriveled into ashes under the fierce breath of conflagration, which took in keeping the freights of the staunch old steamer.  Yes, her and hers the earth hides beneath its shifting sands , and cherishes under its heaped-up, grass grown mounds; but the yellow waters from the eternal hills flow on in majesty forever, murmuring the stories of all these things into the boundless, secret bosom of the everlasting sea.

[Fayetteville Observer – Thursday, July 9, 1891]

A Little More of a Very Good Thing.

The unmarred success and unalloyed enjoyment of the Cape Fear river excursion given last month by the Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry Cornet Band very naturally emboldens the corps to repeat that very excellent thing.  The second excursion of the season will take place next Thursday evening, 23rd inst., on the handsome steamer Murchison, Capt. R. H. Tomlinson commanding, with the concomitants of nice refreshments and delightful music.

[Fayetteville Observer – Thursday, July 16, 1891]

A New Departure Back into Old Scenes.

The Sunday-school teachers and pupils of the 1st Baptist Church of this city have decided to depend on the beautiful old Cape Fear river for the recreation and enjoyment of their annual summer “outing” this year.  A steamboat excursion down that picturesque stream will be taken soon—the exact date and point of destination to be given hereafter.

The old-fashioned picnic of this kind has been so much neglected of late years that there will be a pleasurable and piquant spice of novelty in this “new departure,” which will admit of a programme brimful of harmless amusement.  There are charming spots on the sinnous banks with turf soft as velvet and green as emerald; where the swinging branches clasp each other and defy the noonday heat; where springs pure as the breath of heaven and pellucid as the diamond’s depths cool the blood and slake the thirst—where kindly nature has gathered up all her resources to form a banquet-hall for the harmless reveler in her countless charms.

Some of the most delightful picnicking jaunts of our past life owe their joys to the beauties of the Cape Fear river.

[Fayetteville Observer – Thursday, July 16, 1891]



Of Capt. R. H. Tomlinson of the Steamer Cape Fear.

Maj. T. D. Love received a telegram from Fayetteville yesterday morning announcing the death in that city very suddenly on Monday night, of Capt. R. H. Tomlinson, well known in this city as the master of the steamer Cape Fear.  His death is said to have resulted from congestion of the lungs.  Capt. Tomlinson’s wife and three children who were spending the summer at Carolina Beach, were at once informed of the distressing event, and came up to this city and left for Fayetteville by train on the C. F. & Y. V. railroad yesterday afternoon.

Capt. Tomlinson had been suffering from some months past with rheumatism, and had not been running regularly on the steamer Cape Fear recently.  He was about 33 years of age, a native of Fayetteville, and enjoyed the respect and esteem of a large circle of acquaintances, and the warm friendship of many who deeply sympathize with his family in their sad bereavement.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Wednesday, August 12, 1891]


Capt. R. H. Tomlinson died at his residence on Ramsey street in this city on Monday night, 10th inst., after an illness of only a few days.  We are not justified in the statement by any expression of medical or surgical opinion, but some of his friends think that his death was probably somewhat accelerated by internal injuries received from a fall which he had during his travel on the railroad between this city and Charleston.

The deceased was for some time actively engaged in mercantile business in Fayetteville, but was subsequently connected with the boating service on the Cape Fear river, and at the time of his death was commander of the steamer Murchison, and in his official relations with the public added to the circle of friends in his native place.  He married Miss Jane Monaghan, daughter of the late lamented B. Monaghan, of this place, who, with three children, survives him.

The funeral services took place from the residence yesterday morning at 10 o’clock, Rev. Dr. J. C. Huske, of St. John’s Episcopal Church, conducting the ceremonies, and the remains were escorted to the grave by the Knights of Pythias, of which order Capt. Tomlinson was a member.

[Fayetteville Observer – August 13, 1891.]

Capt. Irwin Robeson, an experienced navigator on the Cape Fear river, has been elected Captain of the Steamer D. Murchison, to succeed the late Capt. R. H. Tomlinson, with Mr. John Cook, of Fayetteville, as first mate.  Both are excellent appointments.

[Fayetteville Observer – August 20, 1891.]

98th Annual Election of Officers.

Quite a large and enthusiastic meeting of the Fayetteville Independent light infantry Company was held in their armory Monday night, the occasion being the annual election of officers for the ensuing year, and which resulted in the re-election of the present officers, as follows:

Jno. B. Broadfoot,    Major.

Jno. C. Vann,          1st Captain.

E. L. Pemberton,     2nd

B. R. Huske,            3rd

W. W. Huske,          4th

J. B. Tillinghast,      Secretary.

J. G. Hollingsworth   Financial Sec’y.

Dr. J. C. Huske,       Chaplain.

Dr. W. C. McDuffie   Surgeon.

The meeting was characterized with perfect harmony, during which time “the boys” were unstinted and without reserve in expressions of their pleasure and delight at the courtesies extended them and the enjoyment of their recent encampment at Carolina Beach; and particularly were they warm and loud in their praise of the wholesale courtesies and hospitality received at the hands of that model and experienced navigator, Capt. J. W. Harper, of the elegant steamer Wilmington, than whom no more polite, chivalrous, sociable gentleman ever pulled a throttle.

On motion, a committee was appointed to draft resolutions expressive of the Company’s feelings and appreciation of the royal entertainment accorded them by the New Hanover Transit Company, Capt. J. W. Harper, and all who contributed to their comfort and pleasure, which could not be had for this week’s paper.

[Fayetteville Observer – Thursday, September 3, 1891]

A Handsome Compliment.

The following very pleasant and graceful “open letter” to the Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry was published in the Wilmington Messenger of last Friday:


Editor of the Messenger:

The “boys in gray” having returned to their homes from an encampment lasting five days at Carolina Beach, we desire space in your valuable paper to add a word of commendation to the high praise which has been accorded the Fayetteville Light Infantry by both press and people, and to express our exalted appreciation of their visit to the Beach.

During their encampment here thousands of visitors from abroad were witnesses of their conduct as citizens and soldiers, and it affords us great pleasure to say that the boys won for themselves golden opinions by their respectful and courteous demeanor.  Their uniform kindness and urbanity made their presence a source of pleasure and their departure cause for regret to both friends and strangers.  Their military bearing is on all occasions indicative of the patriotic spirit and dauntless courage which characterized their fathers in troublous times of war, and made glorious the record of the old Independent Company.  They are indeed worthy sons of noble sires, the pride of the old historic Cape Fear city which claims their nativity and an honor to the military of the Old North State.

We desire also to tender our sincere thanks to the members of the F. I. L. I. band for the excellent musical treats with which they treated our guests daily.  Although only six months have elapsed since the organization of this band, it has attained a degree of proficiency which distinguishes it as one of the best bands of the State.

Here’s our boys, and if you should conclude at any future season to pitch your tents toward Carolina Beach, we will extend to you a most cordial welcome, and your tables shall be spread with the choicest bivalves of old ocean’s briny depths.

Yours truly,


General Manager New Hanover Transit Co.

Without “resolving ourselves into a ‘mutual admiration society’,” or allowing the suspicion that this may be a case of “you tickle me, and I’ll tickle you,” we think we may venture, in behalf of the corps so highly spoken of, to reciprocate Capt. Harper’s friendly feeling to the full.  Speaking for the company, it becomes us to simply acknowledge with a bow his tribute to their soldierly bearing and gentlemanly deportment; and, for the band, to express our pleasure that, even in their performances before critical audiences, their music was pronounced of high-class in selection and artistic in execution.

Of Capt. Harper the judgment of the public is unanimous:-that he is a thorough, efficient officer in a very responsible position; his friends know how pleasant and genial he is in his social relations.

[Fayetteville Observer – Thursday, September 3, 1891]



Honor to Whom Honor is Due.


For the Observer.]

FAYETTEVILLE, N. C., Aug. 31st, 1891.

MESSRS. EDITORS:–After a careful reading of the reports in the OBSERVER of August 27th, relative to the Encampment of the Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry during the month of August, the question occurred to my mind:  “Did the reporters intentionally ignore the fact that the military of Fayetteville were invited by the New Hanover Transit Company, Capt. J. W. Harper, General Manager, and that said company did encamp at Carolina Beach?”  If not, why was no reference made to the assiduous attentions of the New Hanover Transit Company, and especially the general manager thereof and the indefatigable Capt. Nolan, Superintendant of the beach, to every detail, even the most minute, of the necessary arrangements for a cordial reception and a comfortable entertainment of the company and its veterans at the beach?  To these gentlemen, more than to all others, the people of Fayetteville are indebted for the handsome manner in which the boys were entertained for a week (and yet their names appear nowhere in your columns):  and, considering the limited time which the company had to prepare for the encampment , after the acceptance by the F. I. L. I. of the invitation to pitch their tents on Carolina Beach, everything else must have been subordinated to the preparations that were made.

And yet no mention is made of the fact that, on the evening of the arrival of the company in Wilmington, the magnificent steamer Wilmington, under command of Capt. Harper, was held at the wharf, subject to the orders of the company, until 11 o’clock at night, to transport the boys, bag and baggage, and veterans, free of charge, to Carolina Beach, and that on their arrival there, they were invited to a well-lighted, comfortably-furnished pavilion, where they luxuriously enjoyed tired nature’s sweet restorer until rosy morn.  Neither was there any mention made of the fact that Prof. Miller’s Orchestra and Germania Band were employed daily at the Beach, or that hundreds of dollars were spent by the New Hanover Transit Company during Thursday, Friday and Saturday, for balloon ascensions and other attractions, to make the occasion enjoyable; or that the uniform of the soldiers was their passport to and from Wilmington and Southport; or that sail-boats, bath suits and everything necessary to their comfort and pleasure, had been prepared, free of charge.

Your humble correspondent would not detract one iota from the praise which has been bestowed upon the citizens of Wilmington, or any particular member of the Wilmington Light Infantry, for their hospitality; but we would remind our reportorial friends that their failure to suitably call attention to the courtesies extended by “the principal actors of the drama” was an inexcusable omission, and places the Fayetteville boys in a position to be criticized for not being able to appreciate properly the hospitality of their true friends.

Again, with reference to the attention shown the F. I. L. I. by the members of W. L. I., much credit is given to Capt. Kenan, and none to Seargeant Moore, when the facts show that the only recognition given the company by Capt. Kenan was at the reception on the evening of the arrival of “the boys” in Wilmington, when, in response to a call, he made a few remarks.  He never visited the encampment, *  *  *  while Seargeant Moore and about half a dozen other members of the W. L. I. gave their presence and contributed largely to the enjoyment of the boys at the beach and in the city.

The boys had a big time, and with were delighted with their trip, and were right royally entertained by some of the most generous citizens of our sister Cape Fear city; and while they duly appreciate all that has been said in praise of those of their friends whose names have been mentioned, they would not have it said that they ignored or failed to appreciate the most excellent courtesies extended to them by others whose names have not yet appeared in the public press.  That’s all.

Yours truly,


[Fayetteville Observer – September 3, 1891]

Black River Freshet.

Capt. J. D. Black, of the steamer Lisbon from Point Caswell, reports an immense amount of damage by the freshet in Black River.  The lowlands were covered until crops were out of sight, and the water spread out until a breadth of two or three miles was reached.  Stores at Mill Creek were flooded.

He says in some places he lost the river, and the stream ran over corn-fields which were so submerged that he could not see the tops of the corn in some places.  People were taken from their houses on the Lisbon.  One old negro, standing on the top of his house when the boat passed, cried out:  “For de Lord’s sake!  Yonder comes Noah’s ark.”

When the boat reached Wilmington you could pick up a bushel of acorns on her deck, swept from trees while passing under the boughs.  The crops of corn and cotton in the lowlands are a total loss.  At last accounts the river was falling.—Wilmington Star of last Saturday.

A private letter from Duplin reports a similar condition of affairs existing throughout the territory contiguous to the North East river, in Pender as well as Duplin.  At Chinquepin, the high water carried away about twenty-five feet of the bridge, which spans the river at that place, where the water is said to have been higher than since 1868.  Thus far heard from great loss to crops along the water courses everywhere is reported all over the State, and the East in particular.

[Fayetteville Observer –  September 10, 1891.]

Interesting Reminisence.

Our esteemed friend, Major R. M. Orrell – than whom no one is better versed in the former boating history of the Cape Fear river contributes to our columns the following very interesting facts with regard to the steamer Henrietta , recalled to his mind by our article of last week:

The Henrietta was built, I think, from traditional information, in 1814, and was geared to work with cog wheels like a mill.  On reaching abrupt points on the river like Blennan, Elbow, Pull, Cove, and occasionally Big and Little Sugar Loaf, she had to be dropped around with a line.

In 1820, Capt. Benj. Rush, a practical machinists, who came here from Philadelphia, changed her gearing to a chain-motion, and subsequently to a connecting-rod and crank motion, which enabled her to steam around the points.  She had no upper deck at first, and her cabin was set down in the hold, like those on the flats of the present day, with capacity for carrying 6 or 8 passengers.  She must have run during her river life at least 1,500,000 miles, and earned for her owners about $1,500,000  She was very much improved by Messrs. Hall & Johnson both in appearance and speed.

On one occasion, while I had charge as managing agent of the line, I ran the Henrietta against the Chatham, both carrying passengers, and I promised mine that they should be in Wilmington ahead of the other boat, which had 15 minutes the start.  I left the wharf at exactly 6 o’clock, A. M., and my passengers were up town in Wilmington at 4:30 o’clock in the afternoon.  I made but two stops, for wood, and beat the Chatham by two hours.  The latter was keel-bottomed, and, when loaded, was very fast.

I ran the Henrietta up to Averasboro—the first boat ever to go up that high—took off her smoke-stack to pass under Clarendon Bridge, took along three flats, and brought back 3,400 bbls. of rosin, nearly all of it for the late A. A. McKethan.  While I was agent of the line the Henrietta towed up the Ben Rush, a very large flat, with 4,500 bushels of rock alum salt and 50 hogsheads of molasses for the late Chas. T. Haigh, and 46 hogsheads for the late E. W. Wilkings.  What would you think of one of our merchants in these days buying at one time 4,500 bushels of rock alum salt (the lumps of which were in size from a marble to a walnut)?

I have had the Henrietta, with the Ben Rush in tow, to come up loaded with measurement goods; and, although I owned a four-horse wagon and a dray, and got my share of the other drays, it would take me two weeks to discharge the freight, which amounted to about $1,500.  E. W. Wilkings’s freight bills would be $700 or $800, as Maj. A. J. O’Hanlon knows, as he audited the bills and forwarded the goods.  Mr. Wilkings loaded wagons daily for Salisbury, Greensboro, Salem, Charlotte, Raleigh, Statesville, Wilkesboro, Hillsboro and Wentworth.

Capt. Doyle O’Hanlon also owned a line of boats, and was doing a large business.  All these things show that we had business here before the North Carolina Railroad was built.

[Fayetteville Observer – July 16, 1891]

— The steamer D. Murchison left here yesterday afternoon for a point above Elizabethtown, where she will meet the steamer Lisbon and a transfer of freight will be made.  While the low stage of water continues the Lisbon will run in connection with the Murchison.

[Wilmington Star – November 2?, 1892]


—  The steamer Cape Fear, on her last trip up the river, stuck in the ice about five miles below Elizabethtown, but got through after some hard work.  The agent of the steamboat line in Fayetteville, in a letter to Mr. Madden, the agent here, says that no boats will be able to run until the ice breaks up.

—  At Kelly’s Cove, some forty miles above Wilmington, the ice Sunday morning last was strong enough to bear a man half way across the river.

[Wilmington Star – January 19, 1893]

Death of Mr. Worth

We are pained to learn (just as we go to press,) of the death of Mr. J. A. Worth, which occurred at half past six o’clock last evening, at his residence on Haymount.

Joseph Addison Worth was the youngest of five brothers, all of whom became prominent in political or business life in this State. Messrs. T. C. and B. G. Worth were for many years leading merchants of Wilmington. Mr. B. G. Worth continuing the business there. Jonathan Worth became Governor of North Carolina after the war; and Dr. J. W. Worth for many years the honored Treasurer of the State.

Mr. J. A. Worth removed to this city from his native county of Randolph about 1850, and became one of our foremost merchants and steamboat owners. He was a man of strong character, and for many years was one of the leading citizens of Fayetteville. For some year past, he has been an invalid, and for some two weeks past has been confined to his house by an attack of pneumonia. He was reading his newspaper shortly before his death. After his sturdy fashion, he had refused to keep his bed.  Laying aside his paper, he walked across the room, took his seat in a chair, and almost immediately expired.

He was in his 74th year. He leaves a widow, who was Miss Walker, of Guilford and seven children. Mrs. Duncan O’Hanlon, Capt. Albert Worth, Mrs. N. A. Sinclair, Mrs. Wm. Overman, Mrs. Moody, Mr. S. G. Worth and Mr. John Worth.  Mr. Worth was greatly honored and respected in this community, where his loss will be severely felt, and was well known throughout the State.

[Fayetteville Observer – Thursday, February 9, 1893]

New Steamer for the Cape Fear

Capt. John W. Harper left for New York with a crew to bring to Wilmington a steamer recently purchased by the New Hanover Transit Company to be used on the Cape Fear between Wilmington and Southport, and to carry excursionists to Carolina Beach this summer along with the steamer Wilmington.  The steamer, says the Messenger, is a propeller and will probably be named Southport.  She is two years old and has been run at New York as an excursion boat.

[Fayetteville Observer – Thursday, March 23, 1893]

The Cape Fear River Captains

“Capt. Alonzo Garrason, for many years one of the most popular steamboatmen on the Cape Fear river,” says the Wilmington Star, “but now a popular and prosperous merchant of Fayetteville reached here last night.”

What a good lot they have ever been, anyway, those delightful River boat captains!  His heart must indeed be a dull one which does not quicken its beats when the fine figures of Rush, and Wilkinson, and Hurt are recalled of those who are gone, and the good cheer and good company they presided over, in the cabins, in the winter nights.  And we never see one of the modern ones – Green, Albert Worth, Jim Smith, Garrason and Robeson – without feeling an impulse to embrace him for old times’ sake.

How the time slips by!  Veterans of the Independent and LaFayette companies will recall the May morning when the A. P. Hurt swung out into the stream, thirty-two years ago, loaded down with the young fellows who then made up the pride of Fayetteville, destined for the great war.  And that, by the way, was the only communication by stream conveyance that Fayetteville had with the outside world.

[Fayetteville Observer – Thursday, July 20, 1893]

Accident to the Steamer D. Murchison.

The steamboat D. Murchison, from Fayetteville, arrived here yesterday afternoon in a disabled condition.  Monday night, on her way down, she ran into a lot of drift wood, near the mouth of Black river, about fourteen miles from Wilmington, and broke her wheel and rudder.  Capt. Robeson, in command of the boat, came to the city yesterday on the steamer Lisbon, and sent the tug Pet up to the scene of the disaster to tow the Murchison to the city.  The Murchison brought a full freight of cotton and naval stores.  She will be taken off the line for a few days until the necessary repairs are made.  Mr. Madden, the agent here, telegraphed to Fayetteville for the steamboat A. P. Hurt, and the latter was expected to arrive here this morning.

[Wilmington ? – January 12, 1894]

Carolina Beach.

The steamboat Murchison is chartered to run between Carolina Beach and Wilmington.  The managers are fortunate in securing this steamer, one of the best boats of the Cape Fear River Line, for she is commodious and speedy.  Being of light draft and independent of steering to a channel course she can made the voyage either way, a distance of 13 miles, in 45 minutes.  She is a vast improvement over the Clarence, and, thus facilitating transportation must largely increase the popularity of this delightful Resort by the Sea.—Fayetteville Observer.

[Wilmington Messenger – July 6, 1894]



The Steamboat D. Murchison Running

Between Wilmington and Carolina Beach

Pier – Insured for $6,000.

The steamer D. Murchison, Captain John S. Sellers, running on the Cape Fear river between Wilmington and the Carolina Beach pier, was burned to the water’s edge Sunday last about noon, near the mouth of Brunswick river, three miles below Wilmington.  The boat was on her return trip to the city.  There were only four passengers—a gentleman on his way to the city, Capt. Sellers’ wife and two children.  The fire broke out near the furnace and spread rapidly.  The pilot headed the boat for the west side of the river and beached her in shoal water, and the passengers and crew were safely landed in boats.

The following statement was made to a STAR reporter by Capt. Sellers:

“We left on the regular trip from Wilmington at 9.30 o’clock with quite a number of passengers, and it was on the return trip, at about a quarter to twelve when the alarm of fire was given.  It was discovered in a pile of wood in the bow of the boat near the furnace, by my little son, who at once notified the pilot.  It was not over two minutes after the alarm was given that the hose and buckets were brought in use.  At the time there was a brisk wind blowing and although the boat was quickly turned stern to the wind, the fire had gained such headway that it was impossible to extinguish it.  While I was throwing the burning wood overboard, my clothes took fire and seeing that the fire was rapidly gaining on us, I went up stairs, (where the smoke was becoming very dense) for my wife and children, and took them to the stern of the boat.  We then launched the lifeboat which was truck by the revolving wheel and capsized.  A boat then came from the shore in which I sent my wife and children ashore.  The rest of the crew came ashore in the life-boat, after it was righted, and in a boat from the shore.  All the crew stood at their posts until ordered away by me.  There was only one passenger, my wife and two children and the crew on board.  The burning took place near Clark’s Island, about three miles from the city.  The boat burned to the hull, which is of iron.”

The crew of the Murchison—all colored men and all from Fayetteville—were:  David Jackson, pilot; Jno. W. Webb, engineer; Larkins Bell, fireman; Irving Dedmer and Jno. Manuel, deck hands.

Jno. H. Waddell, colored, who lives on the east side of the river, near the scene of the accident, launched a boat and went to the rescue of the people on the Murchison, and assisted them in getting ashore.

The Murchison was owned by the Express Steamboat Company, having stockholders in Wilmington and Fayetteville.  She was built at Wilmington, Del., in 1869, at a cost of $24,000, and had been running on the Cape Fear river nearly twenty-five years.  She was a light-draught, speedy boat, with good accommodations for passengers, and was always one of the most popular of the river craft that ploughed the muddy waters of the Cape Fear between Wilmington and Fayetteville.  Up to the first of June last she ran a regular schedule between the two places under command of Capt. Robeson, and was then withdrawn and the steamer Cape Fear put on her run.

About the first of this month she was chartered by Mr. Hans A. Kure to run the Carolina Beach schedule.  She was insured for $6,000, in agencies at Fayetteville.

[Wilmington ? – July 10, 1894]

The Steamer D. Murchison Burned.

The steamboat D. Murchison which has been plying between this city and Wilmington for more than 24 years, and which was recently leased by Mr. Kure to run from Wilmington to Carolina Beach, was burned to the water’s edge last Sunday morning about three miles below Wilmington. The Murchison was one of the three boats belonging to the Express Steamboat Company which ply between this city and Wilmington. The other two are the Hurt and Cape Fear, both good boats, and still in active service. Mr. A. H. Slocomb is president, and Col. W. S. Cook is manager of the company.

The stockholders are Messrs. S. P. McNair, D. McEachern, Dr. A. J. DeRosset, of Wilmington; A. H. Slocomb, R. M. Nimocks, Mrs. J. A. Tomlinson, W. A. Robeson, J. H. Currie and W. S. Cook, of Fayetteville; Mrs. C. S. Love, of Elizabethtown, Bladen county, and Mr. L. Shaw, of St. Pauls, Robeson county.

The steamer was built at Wilmington, Del., in 1869, and cost $24,000. The insurance on her is about $6,000 and is in the agencies of D. H. Ray and J. A. Pemberton, of this city.

The Murchison was the finest of the three boats and was recently thoroughly overhauled and repainted. She had a passenger capacity of 50.

The Wilmington Messenger says:

The Murchison was under command of Capt. J. S. Sellers, and Dave Jackson, colored, was pilot. The steamer left here Sunday morning at 9:30 o’clock with quite a number of passengers for Carolina Beach. They were landed safely at the Beach pier and the steamer started back immediately for Wilmington, the only persons on board being Capt. Sellers, his wife and two little sons, Louis aged 7 years and Hood aged 4 years. Mr. Will Pinner, the mate, Dave Jackson, the pilot, and the engineer, the fireman, two deck hands and Mr. Nance Windsor, former engineer on the steamer Clarence, who was coming up as a passenger. At 11:45 a.m. Capt. Sellers was aft when his little son Louis came and told him a pile of wood was on fire. The pilot also blew the alarm from the wheel house. Capt. Sellers had been forward only five minutes before the fire broke out, and as soon as his little son told him about it he and Mr. Windsor hurried forward and when they got there the wood pile was in a pretty good blaze. He and Mr. Windsor went to throwing off the wood, and in a minute all hands were at work throwing water with the pumps and buckets. The wind was blowing from the east so the steamer’s stern was put to the wind and the engine was stopped.

The fire gained rapidly, but Mr. Windsor and Capt. Sellers stood their ground until several holes were burned in the latter’s clothes. Seeing that there was no chance to control the fire, the captain went upstairs for his wife and children. He met her on the stairway badly frightened and carried her and the children aft and launched the life boat.

When the Murchison caught on fire she was a quarter of a mile from the west shore, but Capt. Sellers says if a large number of passengers had been aboard he would have saved them by running ashore. After the steamer had been abandoned, she drifted on the point at the south side of the mouth of Brunswick river. It was floodtide at the time, and the iron hull of the steamer can be seen from boats passing on the river. She will be a total loss.

[Fayetteville Observer – Thursday, July 12, 1894]

Capt. Black’s New Boat.

Capt. W. H. Gannon and Capt. E. E. Groom, government inspectors, on yesterday inspected the Frank Sessoms, the new steamboat which has just been finished in this city to be run on the Cape Fear and Black rivers between Wilmington and Point Caswell.

The new boat is the finest and most commodious ever on this run.  She is 100 feet in length, twenty-two feet of beam and is so light that she will draw only sixteen inches of water when loaded.  She also has a fine carrying capacity, easily accommodating 500 barrels of flour or rosin, for instance.  She also has nice accommodations for passengers, the salons and sleeping berths being on the upper deck and neatly furnished.

The Frank Sessoms is owned by Capt. J. D. Black, one of the cleverest and most accommodating of men.  He has displayed praiseworthy enterprise in having such a commodious boat built, and the fact that he has thus shown his appreciation of the generous patronage bestowed upon his line, will add to his popularity among his patrons.

The new boat made her trial trip yesterday and behaved very handsomely.  Her first work was to tow a bark down the river.

[Wilmington Messenger – November 14, 1894]



Capt. Black’s New Boat Leaves on

Her First Trip up Black River—

The Lisbon to Run on the

Northeast River.

Capt. D. J. Black’s new steamboat, Frank Sessoms, made her first trip yesterday on her run up the Cape Fear and Black Rivers to point Caswell and Clear Run.  She left here at 4 o’clock with a number of passengers and a good freight list for the merchants in Bladen, Pender and Sampson counties.

Capt. Black kindly showed the MESSENGER reporter over his new boat and we must say he has every reason to be proud of it.  He designed the boat himself and she was built under his directions.  As we have heretofore mentioned, the length of the steamer is 100 feet and the width is twenty-two feet.  Her freight compartments will carry 500 barrels of flour, and she has ample accommodations for fifty passengers, and room for 300 on excursion trips.

On the upper deck aft there is a ladies’ saloon ten by twelve feet in size, and forward on the same deck is a gents’ smoking and lounging room twelve feet by twelve feet eight inches in size.  Both rooms have heaters, and the boat has waterworks, lavatories, and conveniences to add to the comfort of passengers.  In the ladies’ saloon there are six comfortable berths, and between the saloon and the gents’ smoking room there is a saloon eight by nine feet with sleeping room for six men.  Adjoining it is another room about the same size containing one single and two double berths, suitable for a family or a party of several travelling together.  The captain’s cabin near by is a commodious room furnished with a desk, berths and other conveniences.  The dining room is ten by twelve feet and is well lighted and comfortably heated.  All the rooms and saloons are nicely carpeted and furnished.  The wheelhouse on the hurricane deck is a nice room and it also contains two double berth.  The engine room is large and conveniently fitted with berths for the crew.  Besides the captain the crew consists of the engineer and five other men.

The new boat carries 150 life preservers, and besides two good sized life boats on the hurricane deck there is a large yawl boat on the main deck capable of holding forty people, so that there is ample provision for saving life in the event of an accident.  The yawl boat is one picked up by a ship at sea with thirteen people who had deserted a wrecked vessel.

All in all the Frank Sessoms is a nice boat, and Capt. Black tells us that she will make from ten to twelve miles an hour.  All the machinery is brand new, and was furnished by the Wilmington Iron works.  The boat will make trips to Clear Run, which is in Sampson county, 100 miles from Wilmington.

The people of Black river section will be proud of the new boat, and as everybody will want to take a trip on her Capt. Black expects to bring down lost of folks during Welcome Week.

The steamer Lisbon, which has heretofore been making trips to Point Caswell and Clear Run, is to be run on Northeast river as high up as Shaken, in Duplin county, 150 miles from Wilmington.  She is to be in charge of Captain C. P. Moore, and will make two trips a week.  She will make her first trip up the latter part of next week.

[Wilmington Messenger – November 16, 1894]

Capt. Black’s New Boat.

The new steamboat Frank Sessoms, Capt. D. J. Black, left here late last evening on her first trip up Black River, with a large freight and some fifteen or twenty passengers.  Her destination is Mill Creek, one hundred miles above Wilmington.  Her captain says she will make two trips each week hereafter, leaving Wilmington every Tuesday and Friday.

A brief description of the Sessoms has heretofore appeared in the STAR.  Captains Sherman and Driver, two of the oldest steamboat men on the river, say that she is the best boat of her class ever on the river.  She was built in Wilmington, under the personal supervision of her owner and master, Capt. D. J. Black; even her machinery, which was turned out by the Wilmington Iron Works.

[Wilmington Star – November 16, 1894]



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Traffic Will Be Soon Resumed.

Col. W. S. Cook and Capt. W. A. Robeson, of the Cape Fear River Transportation Company, were in the city yesterday and made arrangements of resumption of traffic on the river between Wilmington and Fayetteville. The steamboat A. P. Hurt will be floated as soon as possible. The small steamer Navassa will run between the two places, carrying mails and towing a flat-boat for freight. The Navassa left Wilmington late yesterday afternoon for Fayetteville, under command of Capt. Robeson.

[Wilmington Morning Star Wed., January 16, 1895]

Steamers Wrecked at their Wharves.

The steamers Cape Fear and A. P. Hurt were left high and dry on the banks of the Cape Fear at Campellton Sunday morning by the receding waters of the great flood. This most unusual occurrence created a great sensation in this city and from sunrise to sunset the streets leading to the river were black with people, some walking, some on horseback, some in private and livery vehicles, (run as during a Fair,) and many others on bicycles, all presenting a scene of the liveliest kind. The OBSERVER reporter was on the scene early and in an interview with the watchmen could learn nothing satisfactory, in fact they seemed disposed to give no explanation at all. Unusual precautions had been taken by the managers to prevent any such accident, and extra heavy and long hawsers had been attached to the bank so as to give the steamers plenty of play. Sunday morning found both boats aground, with the river 25 feet below and fast falling. The Cape Fear was lodged on a ridge and the weight of her machinery, etc., soon caused her to break in half and topple over. She is a complete wreck.

The Hurt was fortunately grounded square on the ridge and having an iron hull is very little, if any at all damaged.

The Cape Fear which is almost a total loss was valued at $7,500. She was owned by the Bladen Steamboat Company, composed of the following: A. H. Slocomb, R. M. Nimocks, and Mrs. R. H. Tomlinson of this city and Dr. Armand J. DeRosset and the estates of C. S. and Major T. D. Love, of Wilmington. The Cape Fear was built at Wilmington about 12 years ago under the supervision of Capt. T. J. Green, and has done good service on the Cape Fear ever since. She has been under the command of Capt. Irving Robeson for several years. The Hurt is on a bluff nearly fifty feet above low water and apparently intact. It is estimated that it will cost over a thousand dollars to float her. Experts say she will have to be placed in a cradle and a marine railway built to run her on—although we should think some simpler means could be devised. The Hurt, which is valued at $10,000, is owned by the Cape Fear and People’s Steamboat Company, composed of the following: Capt. W. A. Robeson, Col. W. S. Cook and Mr. J. H. Currie, of this city, and Mr. Duncan McEachern, of Wilmington. She was built at Wilmington, Delaware, in 1861, and was considered then a very fine boat. Both boats were under the management of the Cape Fear River Transportation Company of which Col. W. S. Cook is manager, with headquarters in this city. The loss of the Cape Fear and grounding of the Hurt is certainly a great disaster, but the present management are full of pluck and Col. Cook is now in Wilmington trying to secure steamers to take their place.

Of the three large and well equipped river steamers which were plowing the waters of the Cape Fear less than six months ago, not one is afloat, the Murchison having been burned to the water’s edge near Wilmington last summer.

[Fayetteville Observer – Thursday, January 17, 1895]


Capt. Jno. W. Harper Meets with a Bad Accident.

Capt. Jno. W. Harper, of the steamer Wilmington, met with an accident Friday afternoon of an exceedingly painful and serious character. The Wilmington was steaming down the river to Southport, and near Clarendon plantation, about five miles below the city, was hailed by the master of the German steamer Remus, who asked that the Wilmington take his vessel in tow. Capt. Harper went on board the steamship to make arrangements to tow the Remus, and in passing through a gang-way struck his head against the sharp edge of an iron beam, which almost completely scalped him. The loss of blood was very great and Capt. Harper fainted from exhaustion. Capt. Schwaren of the Remus showed Capt. Harper every possible attention. With a German preparation of balsam he quickly checked the profuse hemorrhage produced by severed arteries, and bandaged the wound with the skill of a ship’s surgeon. Capt. Harper was taken to his home in Southport and at last accounts was as well as could be expected. The wound, however, will keep him a prisoner at his home for several weeks.

[Morning Star – Sunday, January 20, 1895]

Personal Paragraphs

— A friend of Capt. John Harper, who visited him at Southport yesterday, informs the STAR that his condition is very much improved. He is able to walk about the house, and hopes to be out in a few days.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Wed., January 23, 1895]

Echoes of the Freshet.

From all accounts the damage done along the banks of the Cape Fear by the great freshet was phenomenally small.  The river is now about at its normal condition.  At a meeting of the steamboat stockholders in this city Tuesday it was decided to rebuild the Murchison, the iron hull of which is at the company’s wharf in Campbellton.  The contract was given to Capt. W. S. Skinner, of Wilmington, who says he will have the steamer ready for service in six weeks.

The Hurt is still where the waters left her but we are informed that she will, as soon as possible, be railroaded into the water, fifty feet below.  The Cape Fear is, as we stated last week, a total wreck and is fit for little more than kindling wood.

There are various opinions as to the height of the Butler freshet in comparison with the Sherman freshet.  The most authentic places the former at about four inches above the latter.

[Fayetteville Observer – January 24, 1895.]

Cape Fear River Boats.

Mr. D. McEachern returned yesterday from Fayetteville, where he attended a meeting of the Cape Fear and People’s Steamboat Co. He confirms the announcement made in the STAR several days since that the company decided to rebuild the steamer Murchison and to launch the Hurt. The contract for both was given to Capt. S. W. Skinner of Wilmington. It is expected that the Hurt will resume her regular trips in about three weeks, and that the Murchison will be ready for service in six weeks.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Thurs., January 24, 1895]

The Frank Sessoms to Run on the

Cape Fear.

Mr. R. R. Love, agent, gives notice that on and after next Friday the steamer Frank Sessoms will make regular trips up the Cape Fear river.  The steamer is nicely fitted up for the accommodation of travelers and the carrying of freight, and will be in command of the popular and experienced Capt. Robeson.  See advertisement.

[Wilmington Messenger – January 23, 1895]

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

[Wilmington Star – January 26, 1895]

Capt. Sam. Skinner, of Wilmington, arrived in the City Monday, and is now engaged with a large force in floating the Hurt.  He is having a marine railway built to the water’s edge, and after being placed in a cradle the Hurt will be railroaded into the river.  He says the Hurt will be floating on the river as sound as she ever was in from five to six weeks.

[Fayetteville Observer – January 31, 1895]

Fayetteville, N. C., Feb. 5. – The steamer D. MURCHISON, which was burned to the water’s edge last summer, below Wilmington, is being rebuilt in handsome style.  The hull was made of steel and was not injured.  The cabin, state rooms, etc., will be handsomely finished and when the steamer again takes her place on the river she will be the handsomest one that has ever yet ploughed the waters between this city and Wilmington.

[Wilmington Messenger – February 6, 1895]

Fayetteville OBSERVER, Feb. 7th – The steamer D. MURCHISON is being rebuilt at the company’s wharf.  The deck has been laid on the steel hull which was not injured by the fire last summer and upon this will be erected an upper deck with handsome cabins and a salon.  She will be completed in a month or two.

[Wilmington Messenger – February 8, 1895]

Cape Fear River Steamers.

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

[Wilmington Star – February 9, 1895]

The steamer HURT, which left on her trip for Fayetteville yesterday, carried up the boiler for the rebuilt steamer D. MURCHISON.

[Wilmington Messenger – April 3, 1895]

Ready for Her Trips on the River Again.

The steamer D. Murchison, which has been rebuilt at Fayetteville, was inspected on the river at that city on Wednesday and will again be on the river in a few days between Fayetteville and Wilmington.  The steamer was inspected by Capt. O. H. Gannon and Capt. E. E. Groom, United States inspectors of steam craft, who give her a creditable certificate.

[Wilmington Messenger – July 27, 1895]



A New River steamer to Run Between

Fayetteville and Wilmington.

The handsome steamboat D. Murchison, Capt. Sandy Robeson in command, arrived yesterday morning at 6 o’clock from Fayetteville, with a number of passengers and a good freight, including 28 casks spirits turpentine, 153 barrels rosin, 63 barrels tar and two barrels crude turpentine.  She left on her return trip about half-past three o’clock with passengers and freight for Fayetteville and way landings.  The Murchison will (as stated by the STAR) take the place of the Hurt, her regular days for departure for Fayetteville being Tuesdays and Fridays.

A number of persons visited the new steamboat yesterday while she lay at her wharf foot of Chesnut street, and were shown through the boat and cordially received by Maj. Cook, the agent at Fayetteville, Capt. Robeson, Mr. D. McEachern, one of the owners, Mr. A. H. Williams, the mate, and Mr. Jas. Madden, the agent here.

The Murchison is a handsome and commodious boat.  She was built at Fayetteville; is 120 feet long, 20 feet beam and 11 feet 2 inches from main deck to upper deck.  She is a sternwheel boat, with non-condensing engine—14 inches in diameter, with a 4 foot stroke.  The boiler is of steel.  She has accommodations for thirty-six passengers, and can carry 350 bales of cotton or 800 barrels of rosin.

[Wilmington Star – July 31, 1895]



The D. Murchison Rebuilt and Again

on the River Between Wilming-

ton and Fayetteville—A Credit

to the Line.

The steamer D. Murchison, Capt. W. A. Robeson, of the Express Steamboat company’s line, between Wilmington and Fayetteville on the upper Cape Fear, arrived here yesterday morning at 5:15 o’clock with a good freight list and several passengers, among them being Col. W. S. Cook, of Fayetteville, general manager of the Express Steamboat company; Mr. D. McEachern, of Wilmington, one of the stockholders; Capt. T. J. Green, of Fayetteville, one of the company’s commanders; Sheriff W. J. Sutton, of Bladen county; Mr. John W. Hall, of Elizabethtown; Mrs. F. H. Lutterloah, of Fayetteville, and Mrs. Roxanna McNeill, of Harnett county.

The Murchison caught fire last Summer while running between Wilmington and Carolina Beach, and was beached near the mouth of Brunswick river, where she was burned to the water’s edge.  The hull was taken to Fayetteville last spring, and during this summer the boat has been entirely rebuilt by the company.  Her length is 120 feet and her beam 22 feet.  She now has a freight capacity of 400 bales of cotton or 800 barrels of rosin.  She has stateroom accommodation for thirty first-class passengers, and is the finest boat that ever ran on the river between here and Fayetteville.

The steamer is a double decked boat with the first deck for freight and the upper deck for passengers.  Between the decks there is a pitch of eleven feet, giving ample room for freight.

The upper deck with its cabins and state rooms is handsomely finished in North Carolina pine painted white on the outside and finished in oil on the inside.  A handsome saloon eight feet in width runs the full length of the steamer on the upper deck, and on either side of this saloon are twelve double state rooms with berths for three persons each.  The state rooms are handsomely carpeted and furnished with oak washstands, and everything about them is as neat as a pin.  In the forward cabin on the upper deck is a nicely carpeted saloon 12×22 feet in size, to be used as a rendezvous for passengers.  In the middle of the cabin there is a pretty dancing room 10 x 12 feet in size.  The saloons and staterooms are handsomely lighted and ventilated, and in all respects the equipments are a big improvement on the old arrangement.  The captain’s room is forward on the upper deck and is 10 by 12 feet in size.  It is nicely carpeted and furnished.  The pilothouse is commodious and is one the hurricane deck.

Altogether the new Murchison is a credit to the river, and it is gratifying to note the enterprise of the Express Steamboat company in providing their line with such a vessel.

The steamer A. P. Hurt will now be laid off for repairs and the Murchison will [will will – repeat of word] leave here for Fayetteville every Tuesday at 2 p. m., and every Friday at 2 p. m. Capt. W. A. Robeson, the old veteran, will be in command.

[Wilmington Messenger – July 31, 1895]



Editor Star: — Those who came down on the excursion Thursday from Black River on the steamer Sessoms, praise the kind treatment of Capt. Black and Mr. Frank Sessoms who were in charge.  On the return Thursday evening the freight deck was converted into a pavilion, and many shook the fantastic to the lively music rendered by Mr. J. M. Corbett’s string band, until Long View, their destination, was reached, when the ever thoughtful and clever Frank Sessoms started the ball rolling by giving a complimentary supper and ball in his large hall to all hands, who enjoyed themselves until the “wee sma” hours of daybreak.  After the dance they parted well pleased with their trip.

[Wilmington Star – August 17, 1895]

The steamer Frank Sessoms, which left Fayetteville on Wednesday arrived here yesterday, as also did the steamer Lisbon which left Long View on Thursday morning.  The water is very low in both the Cape Fear and Black rivers, but the tides help out considerably in the way of furnishing enough water in Black river to float the boats.  Long View is six miles above Point Caswell and the tide reaches as high as Mill Creek which is several miles above Long View.

[Wilmington Messenger – October 26, 1895]

The steamer Frank Sessoms has been taken off the Cape Fear and put on Black river to assist in moving the great bulk of freight that has been accumulating faster than the regular boats on that line could move it.  We congratulate our steamboatmen on their increased volume of business.

[Wilmington ? – February 1, 1896]

Arrest of a Raft.

Six breathless negroes came rushing into town yesterday morning and were so much excited that it was some time before they could intelligently tell their troubles. They said they had been employed by a man named Raleigh Seabury to cut timber and make a raft on Upper Little River, about 17 or 18 miles from this city. After completing the raft, they carried it to the mouth of the Cape Fear, where they were to be paid off, Seabury and another man carrying the raft on to Wilmington. Seabury took the men to a certain place to pay them, and left them there, saying he would be back in a few minutes with the money. The men waited and waited, until finally suspecting some treachery, they rushed to the spot where the raft was left, only to find it gone. To add to their chagrin they could see Seabury floating placidly down the river on the raft, smoking a pipe.

When the men had collected their wits, they went before Magistrate Overby and swore out a laborers’ lien, a warrant, and an execution. They started to find Township Constable Maultsby, and when nearing his house in Campbellton, caught sight of Seabury hurrying towards the river. A lively chase ensued, in which officer Maultsby, who had just finished hitching up his horse, took part. He was soon overhauled, and his raft found fastened to the river bank, was levied upon. Seabury was released, and said he would soon return and fix matters straight, but he has not been seen since.

[Fayetteville Observer – Saturday, February 15, 1896]

The Arrested Raft

Messrs. Daniel Turner and Jno. McArtan, of Harnett, got possession of the arrested raft yesterday, under claim and delivery papers. Their claim, which is for selling and hauling the timber, comes in ahead of the laborer’s lien, by which it was seized by the six negroes last week. The raft will probably realize enough to pay all accounts.

[Fayetteville Observer – Saturday Evening, February 22, 1896]

We regret to learn that Capt. Sandy Robeson, of the steamer Murchison, is laid up at Fayetteville with an attack of rheumatism.

[Wilmington Messenger – February 27, 1896]

Drowned on the Cape Fear.

Tuesday night a colored raft hand named McNeill from Harnett, while drunk, fell or jumped from the Steamer Murchison and was drowned.

The man with his two brothers had taken a raft to Wilmington and were returning on the Murchison.

Two of the brothers were watching the other one who was drunk and laying asleep near the boiler when they too, went to sleep, just after passing the Navassa Bridge.  They were awakened by the Steamer’s blowing for Piney Bluff and looking where they had left their brother found him gone.  A search was instituted but the man was not on board.  One of the brothers took a boat and went in search of him but with the same result.

[Fayetteville Observer – Thursday, April 16, 1896]



The Cape Fear Transportation Com-

pany Gets Control of the Black

River Steamboat Company.

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

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

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

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

[Wilmington Messenger – July 10, 1896]

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

[Wilmington ? – September 5, 1896]

The Steamer Murchison to Go to Savannah

The Savannah Morning News of Monday says:

“It is rumored that the steamer Murchison of Wilmington, N. C., is to be brought to Savannah to take the place of the Katie, which sank and went to pieces recently.  The Murchison has been running on the Cape Fear river for several years.  Her owners are interested in Gibson’s line on the Savannah river.  It is said that the Murchison will be manned by the Katie’s crew, with Capt. Bevill in command.”

[Wilmington Messenger – October 14, 1896]



This estimable lady passed painlessly into rest yesterday a few minutes after noon.  For years she had been in feeble health and for more than a year her decline has been steady, but the end came at last after only a few days of confinement to her bed.

Mrs. Worth was by birth Mary Elizabeth Carter, the daughter of John Paine Carter and his wife Cornelia Murphy.  She was born at her father’s place, “The Oaks,” in Davie county, near Mocksville, Oct. 1, 1827.  On the death of her father when she was three years old, she went with her mother to live with her grandfather, Judge Murphy, of Haw River.  Her mother died when she was about ten years of age and she returned to the place of her birth to live with her uncle, Archibald Carter.  Here she was educated and spent her girlhood until she went to live with her first cousin, the wife of Mr. Jonathan Worth (afterwards Governor) near Asheboro.  Here she met Mr. B. G. Worth, and they were married June 26, 1845.  In 1853 they came to live in Wilmington, and with the exception of a few years after the war, have lived here continuously, so that they have long been reckoned among our oldest citizens as they have been among those most valued and respected.

Mr. and Mrs. Worth have been blessed with a large family.  Our readers will recall the interesting occasion Summer before last of their golden wedding when all their children and all but two of their grandchildren gathered to honor them.  At that time the remarkable circumstance was noted that there had never been a break in the family by the death of either a child or grandchild.  Their sons present were Mr. Archibald Worth, of Orange, N. J.;  Mr. Joseph B. Worth, of Petersburg, Va., and Mr. W. E. Worth, of this city; and their daughters, Cornelia, the wife of Geo. R. French, Mary, the wife of W. J. Woodward, both of this city, Eunice, the wife of J. Weller, of Covington, Ky., and Julia, the wife of W. S. Herring, of this city.  All of these survive her except Mrs. Herring, who died in August, 1895.  From this loss Mrs. Worth had never recovered.

Mrs. Worth’s protracted ill health, lasting for twenty-five years, caused her to lead a very retired life.  But she was very strong in her friendships and devotedly attached to those within the circle of her friends.  She was full of kindness and charity and used freely to give up the society of those dearest to her that they might engage in ministering to others in which she could not share herself.  She early gave her heart to the Saviour and was a devoted member of the Presbyterian Church.  Its services were her greatest happiness while she was able to attend with regularity, and the rare occasions when she was able to attend of late like oases in her life.  One of these occasions was within the past few weeks.  When the shadows were falling over her mind almost her last conscious act was to engage in prayer with her pastor and family on Christmas day.

The funeral will take place from the First Presbyterian church on Saturday (to-morrow) at 10:30 a. m.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Friday, January 1, 1897]

The many friends and acquaintances of Captain Samuel W. Skinner and his wife Mrs. Emily J. Skinner, are deeply grieved at the death of the latter, which occurred last night at 10:45 o’clock at the family residence, 611 Orange street.  The deceased lady had been ill with gastritis for about two weeks.

Mrs. Skinner was aged 63 years on the 21st of last January.  She was the daughter of Mr. E. J. Erambert, a merchant of Wilmington, who died very many years ago.  A brother, Mr. Louis H. Erambert, once a prominent druggist of this city, died of the yellow fever in 1862, and a sister, Mrs. A. M. Carter, died since the late war.  Mrs. Skinner was first married to Captain Wilkinson, of Fayetteville.  She leaves besides a husband, so sadly bereaved, a son, Mr. Louis H. Skinner, and two daughters, Misses Sallie and Augusta, to mourn the loss of one of the most affectionate and devoted of wives and parents.

The deceased for many years had been a member of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian church.  Her Christian character was exemplified in acts of helpfulness to those who sadly needed aid, who but for her had no friend.  So quiet and unobtrusive were these deeds of kindness and of love, that only those who knew her well could know them.  But they are wrote in Heaven.

The arrangements for the funeral will be announced later.

[Wilmington Messenger –  Sunday, September 26, 1897]


Mrs. Fatima Worth, widow of the late Joseph Addison Worth, died on yesterday morning at her residence on Haymount, in the 74th year of her age.

She came here with her husband in the early fifties, having four children: Albert H.; Miriam, who afterwards married the late Duncan O’Hanlon; John, and Lou, the latter marrying Edwin Anders, of Bladen, and dying a year or two ago.  After coming here, there were born to her: Stephen; Kate, now Mrs. Thomas Murphy, of Salisbury; Irene, now Mrs. John S. Moody, of Rockland, Me., and Augusta, wife of N. A. Sinclair, Esq, Mrs. Worth’s maiden name was Walker, and her people, of Randolph, were of Quaker origin.

As memory treads the path between this next door neighbor’s and the writer “well-trodden these forty years” it finds no places to step over.  Her tastes, pleasures and work in life were all domestic; work was to her a pleasure, and she pitied those, too proud, too lazy, or too good to work.  Her word about household affairs was authority; an helpmeet was she to her husband, and home and its belongings filled her ideas of wifely duty.  Mrs. Worth had full measure of woman’s crowning grace.  She had as lief wear a fashionable bonnet as serve on a public committee.

Blest with a sweet voice, gentle manners and a kindly heart, the last guest who came to her house (oftimes crowded to overflowing) received as hearty a welcome as the first.  Having a keen sense of the ludicrous, she heartily enjoyed a joke, but was never so happy as when giving pleasure to those around her.  Her eye fell instinctively upon the weakling, and he or she was sure to receive her delicate attentions.  The sick will miss her cheerful presence; the poor will miss her liberal hand.

A useful life has run its allotted race; a sheaf of golden grain, full ripe, has gently bowed its head, and had its rich fruitage first threshed, then garnered by the reaper.

And now strong, robust, rugged manhood “hindered in other ways” would pay this feeble tribute to her memory.  B. Fayetteville, Jan. 11.

[Fayetteville Observer – Thursday Evening, January 13, 1898]



Excursion Yesterday on the Steamer

Frank Sessoms.

The steamer Frank Sessoms, Capt. Ward, arrived yesterday at 3.30 P. M. with an excursion from Mill Creek, Long View, Point Caswell, Heading Bluff, and other points up Black River.  There were about seventy-five people on board.  They had a delightful trip down the river.  Excellent violin music was discoursed by Messrs. H. S. Devane and son, and the excursionists danced nearly all the way down.

After spending an hour or so in the city, the Black River people boarded the Wilmington and went to Carolina Beach to spend the night.  The free dance at the big pavilion was greatly enjoyed, the visitors being reinforced by a number of Wilmington people.  The last rain left the beach at 11 P. M., but many of the excursionists stayed over and will come up early this morning.  They will visit Wrightsville Beach to-day and leave for home at 8 o’clock to-night.  The committee of arrangements is composed of Capt. J. D. Black, Messrs. John Hawes, J. A. Dew, John D. Beatty, Jesse Lucas and John Zibelin.

[Wilmington Star – August 19, 1898]

Sale of the Steamer Sessoms.

The Sessoms left her wharf in Campbellton Monday night for her last trip down the Cape Fear.  She was sold in this city that day by Col. Cook, Manager of the Cape Fear River Transportation Company, to Marks Moses, of Georgetown, S. C., who will use her as a freight boat on the Santee river.  She will be towed to Georgetown from Southport this afternoon by the tug Marion.

The steamer Frank Sessoms, a seventy-five ton boat, was built in Wilmington in 1896, and has since been plying the waters of the Cape Fear.

It is not improbable that the Sessoms will be replaced by a fine new modern steamer of light draught.

[Fayetteville Observer – Daily Edition – July 12, 1899]



Purchased by M. Moses, of Georgetown,

S. C., Yesterday—Will be Towed to

Destination by Marion.


The steamer Frank Sessoms, of seventy-five tons burthen, which has been employed as a freight boat plying between Wilmington and Fayetteville, N. C., by the Cape Fear River Transportation Company, was sold yesterday to Marks Moses, of Georgetown, S. C., the consideration being $3,000, according to the record of the sale seen yesterday at the Custom House.

The Sessoms will be used by her new purchaser as a freight boat on the Santee river, and in charge of Capt. Daggett, of Charleston, S. C.  The tug Marion, Capt. Edgar D. Williams, will tow her down to-day if nothing prevents.

The Sessoms was built here in the year 1896 and has been on the river in the capacity stated above since that time.  Capt. Ward, now of the steamer Buck, was her master until a few months ago when she was sent to Fayetteville to undergo repairs.  She arrived here yesterday preparatory to her trip to Georgetown.

The principal owners of the steamer are Messrs. D. McEachern, Mayor W. S. Cook, Capt. W. A. Robeson, Col. A. H. Slocumb and Mr. Jno. Thomson, of Fayetteville.

[Wilmington Weekly Star – July 14, 1899]

News of Interest.

The Wilmington Star of this morning says:

Capt. Ward, of the Buck, who assisted in piloting the steamer Sessoms to Georgetown, has returned.  He says the trip was a pleasant one, and the Marion towed her into the port without the slightest accident.

[Fayetteville Observer – Daily Edition – July 15, 1899]

Captain Harper, of the steamer Wilmington, told a member of the STAR staff that not in eight years has he known no large a number of visitors on Carolina Beach.  The Oceanic Hotel is crowded with guests.  The Captain also whispered into the STAR man’s ear that he hasn’t seen so many pretty Summer girls there in years as now.

[Wilmington Morning Star – July 23, 1899]

Death of Mr. Thos. Hunley.

Mr. Thos. Hunley, who has been sick for several months, died at his residence on Winslow street at noon to-day.

Mr. Hunley came here in the early ‘70’s from, we think, Warrenton, or near that town, having served as a soldier through the war of the Confederacy.  The first work done by him after his arrival here was to assist in putting in a dam and building a grist mill on the McKethan Mill Pond, afterwards torn down to make way for the Fayetteville Cotton Mills.

He afterwards assisted in putting in the machinery of the Novelty Wood Works’ plant, and was connected with that institution as foreman until it passed out of the hands of its then owners, when he secured a position with the C. F. & Y. V. shops as a carpenter, remaining there until its sale and removal.

About 1880 Mr. Hunley married Miss Neily Carter, daughter of the late A. M. Carter, who survives him together with three children.  They have nursed him faithfully and, with the kindly help of neighbors and friends, made the last hours of the deceased as comfortable as possible.

Mr. Hunley, while in good health, was a genial companion and very popular with those who knew him best.

The funeral will take place from his late residence at 10 o’clock to-morrow (Saturday).


[Fayetteville Observer – Friday, July 28, 1899.]



Interesting and Pleasant Visit to This

Historical Spot Yesterday

Captain Harper, the gallant commander of the steamer Wilmington, gave a trip to Old Brunswick yesterday, complimentary to the guest at Carolina Beach.  The party was composed of just the persons to appreciate and enjoy the occasion, with its many historic associations.  Among them were Professor and Mrs. Birney, from Columbia, S. C.; Mrs. Judge Douglas, of Greensboro; Miss Chitty and Mrs. Sibley, of Salem; Mrs. R. A. Jenkins, Messrs. Jenkins, Mr. and Mrs. R. M. McArthur and Mrs. Blum, of Winston; Miss Davidson, of Charlotte; Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Howell, Jr., Miss Whitaker, Mrs. Barrows, of Rocky Mount., and many others.  There were in all forty or fifty.

After refreshments, the party gathered within the walls of St. Phillip’s church, and Mr. A. J. Howell, Jr., read from Mr. James Sprunt’s “Tales and Traditions of the Lower Cape Fear” extracts bearing upon the historic locality.  Then most of the party explored Fort Anderson, while some walked to Orton plantation, finding enroute the remains of the foundation of Governor Tryon’s palace.

In all, it was an enjoyable occasion.  One of the party remarked, “What a grand work it would be for the young people of Wilmington to raise the means for preserving the old church and churchyard, and show their appreciation of the historic treasure they have in the site of the once important town of Brunswick.”  A suggestion, it was, which was well put.

[Wilmington Messenger – Semi-Weekly – Tuesday, August 1, 1899]

Carolina Beach and Old Brunswick.


Correspondence of the Observer.

The 9:45 a. m. train from Carolina Beach the other day took away all of the guests of the hotel Oceanic and many of the cottagers.

The exodus was occasioned by the acceptance of an invitation given by Capt. Harper, of the steamer “Wilmington,” to visit the ruins of the old town of Brunswick a few miles down the river.

This is one of the many interesting localities near Carolina Beach.  The town was gradually deserted a century ago for the new town of Wilmington, although it had once been the seat and chief seaport of North Carolina.

Upon landing, the party, preceded by guides bearing material evidences of Capt. Harper’s thoughtfulness, slowly wound its way along a path flanked by high, irregular mounds, outlining what was once Fort Anderson, a hotly contested point of the Civil War.  Here and there among the earthworks one found the foundations of houses that crumbled away a hundred years ago.  Passing a long, low ridge of the fortifications, the party came, suddenly into view of the ruins of St. Philip’s church and graveyard.

Upon every beholder fell a reverent hush.  Before them were the broken walls of an edifice built and consecrated one hundred and sixty years ago.  Within the ruin grow stately trees taller than itself, their interlacing boughs its only roof.  Without are the graves of some of the most prominent men of their day.  To the ravages of time among these broken tombstones the Civil War added Federal pillage.

Not far distant is the spot where the first armed American resistance to British tyranny occurred eight years before the Boston Tea Party.

Within sight of the Brunswick landing are several colonial plantations in a fine state of preservation.

The Carolina Beach party were intensely interested in the scene, which was made more real by the reading within St. Philip’s walls of historical sketches of the spot, from Mr. James Sprunt’s “Tales of the Cape Fear.”

It was a little journey to be treasured in one’s memory, and Capt. Harper never extended a more appreciated courtesy than this invitation was felt to be by the recipients.

[Fayetteville Observer – Wednesday, August 2, 1899.]

Capt. J. C. Smith Returns to His Old Love.

Capt. Jas. C. Smith, of this city, has succeeded Capt. Black as Master of the steamer E. A. Hawes and made his initial trip up Black River yesterday.

Capt. Smith was for years cammander of the Murchison and then of the C. F. & Y. V.’s steamer Compton, retiring soon after the A. C. L. acquired that road.

The Wilmington Star of this morning says:

Capt. Smith needs no introduction to the shippers and citizens along the lower Cape Fear.  His obliging manners and capable business management have always made him a favorite with river people, and his appointment to succeed Capt. Black is a good one.

[Fayetteville Observer – Wednesday Evening, November 8, 1899.]

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