Our River Disaster – Colville

13 Oct



The Steamer Colville Gets Seven

Holes Snagged in Her Bottom

And Sinks in the Oconee—

Is Resurrected After Lying

Three Days in her Watery


On the morning of the 20th inst. The steamer Colville left the Dublin wharf with seventy bales of cotton for the Central Railroad. She proceeded prosperously up the river till about three miles above town, when the bow struck a rock causing the stern to dip and the prow to shoot up, and fall with great violence on the rocky bottom. Seven holes were pierced in the bottom and the water soon rushed in and filled the boat. She sank, or rather lodged, in water about five feet deep, leaving the lower deck above water’s edge. The cotton being put ashore, and men and buckets sent for, Capt. Henry set to work to patch up and bale out the water. After working three days and two nights, he succeeded in again setting her afloat, and returned to Dublin with her. An effort will be made to repair the boat at the Dublin wharf.




Boat for the Oconee and

Ocmulgee Rivers.

The Savannah Recorder “understands that a fine steamer is to be placed upon the route between Savannah and Dublin, touching at all points on the Oconee, and proceeding on each trip to Hawkinsville, stopping at all landings on the Ocmulgee both to land and receive freight.”

[The Dublin Post – Dublin, GA., November 27, 1878]


The Colville came down on last Saturday morning from the railroad, where she had been lying up several weeks undergoing repairs.

[The Dublin Post – Dublin, GA., April 9, 1879]



The Colville says it intends to make a trip weekly. It will work on the river five days each week, and take one, Saturday, to run up to the railroad and get all the freight there and bring it down, thus allowing the hands to spend the Sabbath in town.

[The Dublin Post – Dublin, GA., April 30, 1879]


We hear that Judge Wolfe contemplates building a warehouse in town for storing freights brought down by the Colville.

[The Dublin Post – Dublin, GA., May 14, 1879]


The Colville came down last Monday evening for the first time in many weeks.

[The Dublin Post – Dublin, GA., July 23, 1879]


Capt. Henry returned last week from the old North State with a Carolina bride.


The Colville left Dublin one day last week with 200 barrels of rosin; but grounded on the way, and waits for rain.

[The Dublin Post – Dublin, GA., July 30, 1878]


The river is up and the Colville is running.

[The Dublin Post – Dublin, GA., August 6, 1879]


The Colville met with another mishap last week. While being windlassed over Carr Shoals the rope broke and she fell back with such momentum that her bottom reached the rocky river bed which disabled her. The flat, Cyclone, which was being towed by the Colville was also sunk. But they have both been raised and brought back to the Dublin wharf.

[The Dublin Post – Dublin, GA., September 3, 1879]


The Colville lies idle at the Dublin landing and the flat does the freighting.

[The Dublin Post – Dublin, GA., September 17, 1879]


Cotton is being wagoned from Dublin to the railroad while the Colville looks idly on.

[The Dublin Post – Dublin, GA., October 1, 1879]


The Colville took down to Silver Leaf last Friday about one hundred sacks of guano.

[The Dublin Post – Dublin, GA., February 11, 1880]




More rain last Friday night and the Colville is again hopeful of getting along as well as could be expected.


The Colville went off Thursday and failed to put in its appearance again till Monday night. This caused some apprehension among parties having goods aboard.


The Cyclone Goes Down.

On last Friday as the “Cyclone,” which is the grand, gloomy and peculiar name of the flat which accompanies the Colville, was coming down with twenty tons of Mr. T. H. Rowe’s guano she went down. The nature of the mishap which carried her under we failed to learn. Most of the guano was recovered in a damaged condition. The boat company takes it off of Mr. Rowe’s hands and Mr. Rowe will immediately order twenty tons more to prevent disappointment to his customers.

[The Dublin Post – Dublin, GA., February 25, 1880]


Couldn’t Stem the Current.

Monday morning when the Colville weighed anchor from the landing, just above the ferry chain, she found she was unable to stem the current, but was swept down against the ferry chair, which was snapped. She finally recovered and went her way rejoicing.

[The Dublin Post – Dublin, GA., March 17, 1880]


The Colville whistled up and steamed off up the river Monday for the first time since – well, it has been so long we can’t remember when she did make her last trip.

[The Dublin Post – Dublin, GA., September 21, 1881]


With the Wadley down the river engaged in the turpentine traffic and the Laurens condemned by the Government inspectors. Dublin merchants are having a hard time of it in securing their freights from Raoul Station. Cotton is accumulating also, at this point, and the chances are that it will continue to accumulate for some little time before a chance for shipment occurs. Just at this time the Wadley cannot come up to lend a helping hand, and as a last resource an attempt is being made to induce the Cumberland to come up and carry off a load of cotton. Whether the effort will succeed or not is doubtful.


The Wadley.

A recent letter from Capt. R. L. Hicks, of the steamer Wm. M. Wadley, says that steamboating down the river is exceptionally good – plenty of work and good water – and that the Wadley is forever on the go. Vast quantities of turpentine has accumulated all along the river and steamboatmen have their hands full. He also tells of a race which recently occurred between the Wadley and the Cumberland. The race was between Gray’s Landing and Doctortown a distance of 111 miles. The Wadley made the trip, unloaded and reloaded her freight and met the Cumberland 30 miles down the river, running 161 miles while the Cumberland ran 81. The Cumberland has always been recognized as the fastest boat on the Oconee river, but she sadly overestimated her speed when she tackled her new competitor, the sprightly Billy. Capt. Bla?? Knew what he was talking about when he said, “The Wadley will show a clear pair of heels.”

[The Dublin Post – Dublin, GA., January 9, 1884]



A Guano Boat Sinks in The Ocmulgee.

Hawkinsville Dispatch.

On the way to Hawkinsville last week, at a point about twenty miles below here, the steamer Cumberland came round a bend in the river and unexpectedly met the flat boat “Poor Robin,” loaded with guano to Mr. Norman Duster and other citizens of Wilcox county. The flat boat was heavily loaded, almost to the water’s edge, and the meeting was so sudden the steamer Cumberland was not able to reverse her wheels and back out of the way in time. The waves were rolling very high, and the crew on “Poor Robin” had no means of checking their boat, and the waves rolled over it, sinking it in about six or seven feet of water. The Cumberland put out her life boats and picked up the crew of the “Poor Robin,” and brought them to a landing point up the river.

Mr. Thomas Dixon, the purser of the Cumberland, who furnished us with the details of the accident, thinks that the “Poor Robin” may be raised and a few tons of the guano saved.

[The Dublin Post – Dublin, GA., Wednesday, April 20, 1881]


The steamer Cumberland, well-known here was recently carried b her somnambulistic pilot from the channel of the river into the timber, where she attempted to remove a large tree from her path by butting. Finale: A boat laid up for repairs and a pilot in search of a situation.


Reports from the Wadley say that she continues to bear the name of being the fastest boat plying the waters between here and Savannah, and that she is universally popular among the turpentine men. Owning to the Cumberland being laid up for repairs the Wadley will commence making two trips a week between Doctortown and Wilcox’s Old Lake. When you take in consideration the fact that the distance between the two places is about 250 miles, and that the facilities for loading and unloading along the river are of the worst kind, some idea of the Wadley ??y’s speed may be attained. She will be running 1,000 miles every week and making all the landings on the Ocmulgee river, which by the way, are not few in number. And yet it is claimed with two sets of hands she could make three trips a week and instead of two. Capt. Hicks has a bonanza in his new boat.

[The Dublin Post – Dublin, GA., February 13, 1884]





Something About Steamboats,

Railroads and Naval

Stores Business.


[Correspondence Savannah Weekly News.

DOCTORTOWN, Ga., Feb. 19.—In my former communication I promised to advise your readers of any improvements to facilitate navigation, and report with much pleasure and satisfaction the successful effects in this direction of United States steamer Tocoa, under command of Capt. Westerfield. Personal observation, as well as the statements of river pilots, established the fact that the once almost impassable shoals at Piney and Town Bluffs have yielded to dynamite, and a fair channel over these points is now open. Numbers of snags and other obstructions have been removed and the boat is still doing good service, but unfortunately, the appropriation is about exhausted, and we trust our representatives, Cols. Nicholls and Blount, will not fail to urge the very modest sum asked for by the Engineer Corps to complete that which has been so happily commenced. This is a matter beneficial not alone to our town citizens, but particularly so to many of your own flourishing and beautiful city.

Messrs. J. K. Clarke & Co., of Savannah, do so immense business at English Eddy, and the thirty four manufacturers of naval stores on the banks of the three rivers are mainly indebted to the capital of your enterprising merchants for carrying on the business. Flourishing country stores are on almost every bank whose supplies are drawn from your city, via the railroads and river boats.

Three fine steamers now make connection with the Savannah Florida and Western at Doctortown, and still another from cape Fear river N. C., will be added to our line. One of the number (though I by no means disparage the others) I desire especially to commend to your citizens, being a purely Georgia institution, and admirably adapted to the trade. She was built at Dublin Laurens county, by Capt. Blaine, of Columbus, one of the most compe??? Steamboat designers and builders in the State. Her frame and timber are of Georgia white oak, her planking of the finest Georgia yellow pine machinery and boilers of latest improved style, manufactured at the Columbus Iron Works; length 114 feet by 22 beam; capacity from 700 to 800 barrels naval stores; draws light but 14 inches of water, and consequently can navigate our stream when the others, by reason of greater depth, are unable to run. Her commander and part owner, Capt. R. L. Hicks, is by birth a Georgian, a graduate of the University of Virginia, a strict temperance man, fine disciplinarian and a thorough worker. This boat bears the name of the late distinguished and lamented Wm. M. Wadley.

Mr. Editor, as I look back to years numbered with the past, the idea forces itself upon my mind that were it possible for this great railroad chieftain to rise from his grave, he would be tempted to tear his honored name from the pilot house of this steamer for daring to convey even one bale of cotton from his beloved Central. She was originally intended to ply between Dublin and the Central Road, but owing to unreliability of the waters of the Oconee and misunderstanding with officials of that road, she was transferred to this river, and under the management of her gallant and genial captain, is doing good service.

What a change since the great Wadley lived and ruled. He would now see magnificent through Pullman sleepers crowded with tourists from the North and West passing within sight of his last resting place, and could his vision follow would see them transferred from his great thoroughfare to long trains of palace cars on that once despised, but now courted, Savannah, Florida and Western, and speeding over??? Rails for the Land of Flowers at the rate of 40 miles an hour. Would he not exclaim it cannot be true, ’tis surely an illusion. He lived for his Central, died its chief, and his memory is enshrined in many grateful hearts.


[The Dublin Post – Dublin, GA., March 5, 1884]


River Notes.

The Hawkinsville News has this item: “We learn that in a few weeks, a new line of boats will be placed on the river between this place and the Altamaha. The boats will be owned and run by Messrs. W. A. Jeter & Co, and will be run in connection with the East Tennessee Virginia and Georgia railroad.”

Morning News: The steamer North State arrived last night about 9 o’clock from Wilmington, N. C., bound for Darien, where she will ply between that place and Doctortown on the Altamaha river, in connection with the steamer Governor Worth between this port and Darien. The Governor Worth will arrive here in a few days. They are both sternwheel steamers, but are great carriers and this line will be a decided acquisition to the merchants along the Altamaha river.

[The Dublin Post – Dublin, GA., March 12, 1884]


“… Capt. Jeter was one of the movers of the Hawkinsville Navigation Company which sought to put in operation a through line of steamers to Savannah last summer, but owing to certain difficulties hard to overcome the project was abandoned. ..”

[The Dublin Post – Dublin, GA., December 10, 1884]


Mr. F. G. Parnall, once a watchman on the North State, is now on the police force at Savannah. Much success to Frank.

[The Dublin Post – Dublin, GA., December 2, 1885]


Dr. Henry and Mr. T. B. Hicks left on the North State for Doctortown on Thursday last.

[The Dublin Post – Dublin, GA., February 25, 1885]



The steamer North State arrived yesterday afternoon with a large cargo of guano. She is considered the swiftest boat on the rivers.

[The Dublin Post – Dublin, GA., February 11, 1885]


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