The Steamer WACCAMAW

20 Jan

—  The Waccamaw did not go down the river on Saturday, consequently only three excursions of this character came off.

[Wilmington Star – July 7, 1868]

NOTES:  Wilmington Star 12/20/1870 advertised for S. L. Fremont, Engineer & Superintendent of the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad Co. the auction of the Steamer WACCAMAW for Jan. 4, 1871.  Wilmington Star 01/06/1871, noted that efforts were being made to raise the steamer WACCAMAW which sank at her wharf “Sunday night last.”  Wilmington Star 01/13/1871, steamer WACCAMAW was sold, as she lies (bottom of Cape Fear?), to Mr. F. W. Kerchner for $1,750. [excerpted from files of Bill Reaves, Wilmington, NC 1994]

The Excursion to Smithville, &c.

The steamer Waccamaw will leave market dock this morning, at 8 ½ o’clock.  We learn that some seven or eight hundred tickets have been sold for the grad family excursion to Smithville and the forts below.  A very pleasant trip is anticipated and we hope nothing may occur to mar in the least the enjoyment of the occasion.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Tuesday, July 4, 1871]


 Steamer Waccamaw.

[steamboat image]

W. J. POTTER, Master.

     WILL IN ADDITIONTO HER REGULAR Daily trips, make an Excursion Trip on Tuesdays and Fridays of each week, leaving Wilmington on those days at 9:30 A. M., and returning at 4 o’clock, P. M.  Any part purchasing not less than fifty tickets may have music carried free and have control of the promenade deck by communicating with the Secretary a day in advance.  The excursions may be made by due notice to the Secretary and a guarantee of the sale of fifty tickets.

Fare for the round trip $1.

Children half price.

The Company reserves the right to exclude objectionable persons.

On Sundays the boat will leave Wilmington for Smithville at 7 o’clock A. M., and returning leave Smithville at 4 ½ o’clock, P. M.  Fare as usual.

No disorderly or improper conduct allowed.  Parties who have no other opportunity to reach the sea shore may be assured of a quiet trip.


Leave Wilmington,   daily,  at… 5 o’clock, P. M.

“   Smithville,         “      at… 6:15  “    A. M.

Meals furnished on board at the following rates:

Dinner,………………………………………..75 cents.

Breakfast or Supper,…………………..50   “

For further information apply to


Secretary and Treasurer,

S. L. FREMONT, President.                  July11:tf


 Stmr. Waccamaw,

[sidewheel steamboat image]

W. J. POTTER, Master,

     WILL LEAVE WHARF in front of Messrs. James & Meares Auction Room, on Sunday morning next, for Smithville, at 7 ½ o’clock, and returning leave Smithville at 5 o’clock P. M.  [pointing finger image>>] Passage as usual.  No interference with regular trips.


July 6-3t                 Secretary.

 [Wilmington Morning Star – Friday, July 14, 1871]

Excursion to Smithville.

The prospect is that the regular Wednesday excursion to Smithville, this week, on board the steamer Waccamaw, will be decidedly the most agreeable trip yet made to the seashore this summer.  The temperature of August in this latitude has a provoking tendency to overcharge “sons of guns” with heat and drive inhabitants inland into the very jaws of old ocean.  Those who go down to the sea in the Waccamaw, will not only enjoy the bathing at Smithville, but be taken to Fort Caswell and probably a short distance out to sea.  No doubt a large company will honor the trip with their presence.

 [Wilmington Morning Star –  Tuesday, August 15, 1871]

The Excursion Yesterday.

A large number of persons, both male and female, embarked on the Steamer Waccamaw yesterday morning, for an excursion to the seashore.  An excellent band of music accompanied the excursionists, and as the boat steamed gaily down the beautiful Cape Fear, the dangers commenced their pleasant and enjoyable pastime.  This was kept up with slight intermissions throughout the trip and formed an important feature, with many, of the day’s enjoyment.  Arrived at Fort Anderson, a stoppage was made to allow those who wished to do so an opportunity of landing and examining the ruins of the fort and Old Brunswick Church, located at that point.  A landing was next made at Smithville, and Fort Caswell, where the party landed and spent some time in inspecting the ruins and enjoying the breezes wafted from the ocean which was spread out to all its grandeur and beauty before them.

Returning, the boat again touched at Smithville, after which her prow was turned homeward, arriving at her wharf about 8 o’clock.

Ample provision was made to ensure a pleasant trip and to afford every accommodation necessary to make the excursion a great success.  How far this was the case is sufficiently demonstrated by the fact that the desire was almost universally expressed to repeat the excursion at an early day.

 [Wilmington Morning Star —  Thursday, August 17, 1871]


The arrival of the Governor Worth’s party at Smithville was soon followed by that of the steamer Waccamaw, with the Cape Fear No. 3 firemen and a number of other colored people; and later by the steamer Douglass, which left Wilmington at 4 A.M. for the Blackfish Grounds. The party on the latter boat caught quite a number of fine fish, but the most of the excursionist got sea-sick on account of the roughness of the water.


The Gov. Worth started for home shortly after 4 o’clock and arrived at her wharf soon after 6, the excursionists being well pleased with their trip. The dancing was kept up until the boat touched the wharf.

[Wilmington Weekly Star – Friday July 7, 1876]

     SERIOUS COLLISION.—The steamer North State collided with a vessel being towed by the Waccamaw, near Wilmington a few days since, and had her upper work badly smashed.  We regret to learn, too, that Capt. Green was painfully injured during the collision.

 [North Carolina Gazette – Fayetteville – January 4, 1877]


—  The steamer A. P. Hurt has temporarily taken the place of the steamer North State, running between Wilmington and Fayetteville.

 [Wilmington Star – January 6, 1877]

More Effects of the Late Storm.

“… The steamer J. S. Underhill, the Wilmington and Smithville packet, had her rudder disabled and was towed up to this city yesterday morning by the steamer Waccamaw.”

[Wilmington Weekly Star – Friday April 20, 1877]



Excursionists to Smithville, Bald Head,

&c. – A Fine Day – Pleasant Trips, &c., &c.


     A large number of excursionists went down to Smithville and other points of interest on the seashore on Thursday.  The number altogether is estimated at from one thousand to twelve hundred, including the colored firemen and others, who went down on the steamer Waccamaw.  It was our fortune to be one of the large party who took passage in the fine steamer Gov. Worth, Capt. Watson, chartered by the Hibernian Benevolent Association.  This boat left the wharf between Market and Dock streets shortly after 9 o’clock, and had a fine run to Smithville.  After remaining there about twenty minutes she again shoved off and proceeded to Bald Head, where the most of the party landed, a large proportion of the males going up the beach for  some distance and taking a bath in the “salt sea waves,” and others, including quite a number of the ladies, making their way to Bald Head light – house, going up the winding stairs leading to the summit of the tower, from which a fine view of the surrounding scenery is to be had, including the white – capped ocean as far out as the eye could reach, the various forts, Frying Pan Shoals, stretching far out into the billowy waste, Cape Fear, and last, but by no means least, the beautiful and romantic scenery on the island, one portion of which is covered by a perfectly impenetrable mantle of green undergrowth, which cannot be traversed except where narrow paths have been cut, while through another portion of it Bald Head creek and other small streams meander through a perfectly level bed of green sward, which, viewed from the top of the tower, presents a spectacle as lovely as could well be pictured or even imagined.  Several families reside on the island, and enjoy the full benefit of the ocean breezes, which here have full sway.  The company partook of a drink of deliciously cool water from a well on the premises attached to the lighthouse, rested briefly from the labor incident to climbing the steep tower, and then returned to the boat, which soon afterward proceeded on the return trip to Smithville.  Passing Fort Caswell a number of people were seen on the beach making signs for the boat to stop, but, owing to the condition of the tide at the time, Capt. Watson deemed it a dangerous experiment to stop for fear of grounding and having to remain there for an indefinite period.  We afterwards learned that Rev. Father Gross and three or four sisters of Mercy, who were on a brief visit to the fort, were among those who signaled to the boat, and it was very much regretted by all that it was inexpedient to stop.

While the bulk of the excursionists were indulging in the trip to Bald Head, a number of those from the Gov. Worth, joined by some of those from the Underhill, which arrived shortly afterwards, repaired to the academy, accompanied by the music from the former boat, where there was a pleasant dance during the interval of the departure and return of the Gov. Worth.  As this steamer neared her wharf on the return from Bald Head, the steamer Underhill, with her party, was steaming off in the direction of Wilmington, and the Waccamaw, loaded down with colored excursionists, with a brass band on board, was backing out from the shore to commence the return trip.  The Worth remained at Smithville about thirty minutes allowing all an opportunity of taking a short stroll on shore, when she also turned her prow homewards, followed by the Passport, our party arriving at the wharf about 8 o’clock.

As we arrived at Smithville a salute was being fired from Fort Johnson in honor of the day, and the town was gaily decorated with flags.

The excursion, taken altogether, was an exceedingly pleasant one, and was greatly enjoyed by those who participated in it.  The boat was roomy and provided with every convenience, and the committee in charge were attentive, courteous and obliging.

The party on the Underhill, under the general supervision of the “Deacon,” ably assisted by the “Doctor” and one or two others, also had a good time, as we presume those on the other boats did.

 [Wilmington Morning Star – Saturday, July 6, 1878]


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