25 Aug

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]

Local Twinklings

The River Queen is a new steamer which will soon ply the Cape Fear River and present its claims to public patronage as a carrier of passengers and freight. Capt. A. H. Worth will command the handsome craft.–an officer well known from many years of hard service and ripe experience.

[Fayetteville Observer – Thurs. October 29, 1885.]

Local Twinklings

We learn that Capt. A. H. Worth with the River Queen will soon be running regularly on the Cape Fear River. May the River Queen’s every trip carry a full complement of passengers, whose ride the genial commander will always make pleasant and agreeable, and a cargo of freights which will swell the profits every week.

[Fayetteville Observer – Thurs. December 10, 1885.]

Steamer River Queen.

CAPT. A. H. WORTH, WILL LEAVE WIL-mington every Monday and Thursday at 2 o’clock. Leave Fayetteville Wednesday and Saturday at sunrise.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Sat., January 2, 1886]

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]

Our city has had probably the most disastrous fire within its history. At about 2:30 o’clock on the afternoon of Sunday last, the steamer Bladen coming in from Fayetteville was found to be on fire when near the wharves on the city side of the river. Before she reached the wharf of the Clyde steamers, for which she was headed, the flames had enveloped the fore-part of the boat and driven the passengers to the stern. Fortunately, help was near and all of the passengers were safely landed. The flames from the burning steamer were communicated in a twinkling to a flat loaded with wood, lying at the landing place, and almost immediately, under the influence of the gale that was blowing at the time, to the shed on the New York Steamship wharf. Thence with lightning-like rapidity the devouring element sped its course in a northeasterly direction to the fine large warehouse and store only recently erected by Col. F. W. Kerchner. Soon the building of Messrs. Kerchner & Calder Bros., was in flames, and on the fire swept taking in its course the buildings and yards occupied by Messrs. S. P. Shotter and A. H. Greene. Crossing Water street the building occupied by M. J. Heyer was seriously damaged, but not destroyed, but all buildings from Heyer’s north to Mulberry fell before the fury of the flames. Leaping to the warehouse of Messrs. Worth & Worth all the buildings on their premises and contents including sheds, naval stores, cotton and general merchandise were swept away. Messrs. Patterson & Downing’s office in the Worth building went of course with the building. The flames kept hence a steady onward course bounded by the river on the west, and there fell rapidly before them the office and warehouses of Messrs. Alex. Sprunt & Son, with such stocks of naval stores and cotton as were in them, the saw-mill of Mr. J. A. Fore, the Champion Cotton Compress with some 2,500 bales of cotton and the freight warehouses of the Wilmington, Columbia and Augusta and the Wilmington and Weldon Railroads. On the east side of Nutt street, the Seaman’s Hotel was the first to go. Then followed the meal and flouring mills of Messrs. G. J. Boney and C. B. Wright, and in rapid succession a long row of buildings mostly of wood till Red Cross street was reached. The freight office of the Railroads, on the north side of Red Cross street, was destroyed and the general offices of those companies, on Front street, as were also every other building in the square upon which they stood.

The residence of Hon. George Davis on Second street was ignited by sparks before the flames in their steady progress had reached Front street. The Front Street Methodist church took fire in the belfry from sparks before buildings on the opposite side of Front street had encountered the flames. Every building on the square bounded by Front, Mulberry, Second and Red Cross was reduced to ashes except the Methodist parsonage which stands on the corner of Second and Mulberry streets. About 7 o’clock the fire attacked the former residence of Mr. Henry Nutt on the northwestern corner of Second and Red Cross streets. This was consumed and here the work of destruction in this part of the city ceased. We should have noted the total destruction of the steamer Bladen and her cargo of some 125 bales of cotton, the burning of the steamer River Queen, and of the three-masted schooner Lillie Holmes, of New Bedford, Mass., the last named valued at $30,000.

While the fire we have described was raging, over in Brooklyn, a suburb of the city, something like a mile away from the great disaster, the sparks had caught the steeple of St. Barnabas school-house in the charge of St. Mark’s colored Episcopal church. It was consumed as also Trinity Methodist church (colored) and a large number of dwelling houses occupied by white and colored families. Some nineteen buildings were consumed in this part of the city. The loss of property falls heavily on many who are little able to bear it, and on none more heavily than those who suffered in Brooklyn and some of whom have no places of shelter.

The total loss is variously estimated, some rating it at one million dollars, none lower, we think than $500,000. The amount of insurance on property destroyed is about $400,000, and as none of the railroad property, it is understood, was insured, and there was much other property in the same category, it seems not unreasonable to estimate the loss total as at least $700,000.

We ought not to close without bearing testimony to the self-sacrificing members of the Fire Department and to the trying services of the Wilmington Light Infantry, who spent the night under arms guarding the property which had been saved from the general wreck.

The Goldsboro engine was telegraphed for, but could not reach us on account of the blocking of the railroad track. The Florence fire engine came through and did efficient service. Both these companies received the thanks of a public meeting of citizens assembled on Monday. At the meeting just referred to measures were taken looking to the relief of distress among the sufferers by the fire, and a generous response will no doubt be made.

[North Carolina Presbyterian – Wilmington, N.C. – February 24, 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 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]

— Messrs. Bagley & Stewart, owners of the steamer River Queen, will rebuild the boat at once, and expect to be running on the river again in about two months.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Sat., February 27, 1886]

Local Twinklings

The River Queen is to be rebuilt at an early day. One of her engines has been raised and is found to be in good condition.

[Fayetteville Observer and Gazette – Thursday, March 4, 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]


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}

Comments Off on The RIVER QUEEN

Posted by on August 25, 2009 in Uncategorized


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: