Mid – 1880s Entries

31 Oct

Sudden Death on a Steamboat.

Lotta Robinson, the well known colored stewardess of the steamer Wave, dropped dead on that boat on Saturday night last, about 10 o’clock, while she was on her last down trip to this city. It appears that the boat stopped for a short time at Pridgen’s Landing, about thirty miles above this city, to take in wood, and while the crew were performing that work the cries of some one in distress were heard, and, upon investigation, Lotta Robinson was found prostrated upon the upper deck, back of the ladies’ cabin, in the agonies of death. Every attention was paid to the unfortunate woman by the officers and crew of the boat, but she breathed her last in a few minutes. Heart disease is supposed to have been the cause of her death.

Deceased, who was well known both here and in Fayetteville, was about 50 years of age. The remains were brought to this city, where they were prepared for burial, and then shipped back to Fayetteville, where they will be interred. She leaves five or six children.

[Wilmington Weekly Star – Friday, January 25, 1884]

NOTE: See very different account regarding a woman’s death on the Wave from the Fayetteville Observer — Wednesday, January 23, 1884. Woman listed as Lottie Hollingsworth, and found dead in cabin, possibly as a result of the steamer collision with the Murchison.

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

[Wilmington Weekly Star – Friday, February 1, 1884]


Navassa Guano Advertisement

Carolina Farmer & Weekly Star June 2, 1871

1871 Navassa Guano Works Landing (Google Maps)


— The steamer River Queen, Capt. Bagley, arrived here yesterday from Lillington, on Long Creek, in Pender county, which stream has lately been made navigable to the point named through the efforts of the workmen under Capt. W. H. James. Capt. Bagley says the people of Lillington gave him a warm reception when he first reached there.

The River Queen brings quite a freight and several passengers. Hereafter she will run alternately between Wilmington and Lillington and Wilmington and Bannerman’s Bridge.

[Wilmington Weekly Star – February 8, 1884]


NOTE: The Lillington referenced here is not the town of Lillington in Harnett County, but Lillington Hall in Pender County.  See John Alexander Lillington.


Found Drowned

Found Drowned.

The body of a colored man was found floating in the river opposite the fish market yesterday, and it was subsequently conveyed into the basin, foot of Dock street. The remains proved to be those of an eccentric individual who always insisted upon wearing the name of Annie Gaston, and partly arraying himself in the garb of a woman. He formerly lived at Dr. Anderson’s place on the Sound, where he was employed, but left there a year or so ago and went to the City Hospital, where he remained under treatment for some time. Since then he has been going as cook on some of the river boats, and following other pursuits. About two weeks ago he was missed from the house of Reuben McDonald, on Second street, between Market and Princess, where he was stopping at the time, and had not been seen or heard of since until his body was discovered in the river yesterday. His face was badly disfigured, but he was easily identified by his garb (particularly the apron, which he always wore) and the watch which was found on his person.

Deceased was about 30 years of age, and said he formerly lived about ten miles from Fayetteville. The remains were interred last evening in Oak Grove Cemetery, at the expense of the county.

[Wilmington Weekly Star – Friday, February 22, 1884]



Fayetteville, N. C., June 28, 1872

A COMPLAINT has been made to this office by a commander of one of the Steamers navigating the Cape Fear River, that Raftsmen are in the habit of connecting two rafts together and floating down stream abreast, thereby greatly obstructing navigation as well as endangering boats and passengers. Now this is to notify all such offenders, that in case of loss or damage resulting from the violation of the Navigation Law, as complained of, said offenders will be held to a strict account in law.

J. D. WILLIAMS, President

of the Cape Fear Navigation Company.

[Wilmington Weekly Star – Friday, February 22, 1884]


Steamboat Inspectors.

The inspectors of steamboats for this district are here on business connected with their office. Mr. Peter Taglio, of Charleston, comes in the place of our venerable friend, Mr. Kirkwood, who has so long and faithfully filled the position, but who was lately retired on account of his extreme age, he being 84 years old Mr. Taglio is inspector of hulls, Mr. Hewes retaining his position as inspector of boilers.

[Wilmington Weekly Star – Friday, February 29, 1884]



— We learn from Messrs. C. S. Love & Co., the agents here, that the steamer Bladen will undergo extensive repairs and improvements after she has made one or two more trips. She will be furnished with a steel boiler and heavier engines, and will be extended in length fully twenty feet. Besides, her cabins will be made larger and refurnished in a more elegant style. In a word, it is intended to make her a first class boat in all respects, and it is probable that her name will also be changed. The new boiler and engines are already here and ready to be placed in position. She will go on Capt. Sam Skinner’s marine railway.

[Wilmington Weekly Star – Friday, March 21, 1884]

A New Steamer – Her Successful Trial Trip, &c.

The new steamer Excelsior, which has just been completed by Capt. Bowdoin, made her trial trip yesterday afternoon, and we are pleased to know answered every expectation of her owner. The peculiar character of her construction renders the Excelsior an object of interest upon our waters. She is about the ordinary dimensions of our river steamers, her propelling power being a screw, which is adjustable to any depth of water not less than thirteen inches, and by these means her owner claims to practically overcome the inconveniences of the low water in the Cape Fear and its tributaries. The guests on the occasion of her trip were splendidly feted, the honors being done by Capt. W. H. James, and they, with us, join in wishing the new enterprise all success.

[Wilmington Weekly Star – Friday, April 25, 1884]



— The steamer Lisbon, which has for some time past been on the line between this place and Lisbon, Sampson county, is now at Point Caswell, where she is being thoroughly overhauled, and will have twenty feet added to her length. She will also be refitted with new machinery. Mr. A. J. Johnson, her owner, informs us that she is expected to resume her regular trips on or about the last of August.

[Wilmington Weekly Star – Friday, July 11, 1884]



— Capt. Robeson, of the steamer Hurt, reports continued heavy rains in the upper Cape Fear section, and the river rising. On the trip down from Fayetteville, the Hurt passed large quantities of timber, the wreckage apparently of a railroad bridge, as bars of railroad iron were bolted on some of the timbers. It is presumed that the wreckage was part of the temporary bridge of the Wilson & Fayetteville Railroad which spanned the Cape Fear some distance above Fayetteville. The Hurt passed the timbers about thirty miles below Fayetteville.

[Wilmington Weekly Star – Friday, June 11, 1886]

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