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A Mystery Boat Wreck
From site visitor
Mary Lou Bartee 

Dave, I need a little help.

There is a story that my g-grandparents came to Texas from Michigan by boat of some kind. There was a wreck. They threw a feather mattress overboard and tossed my great aunt onto the mattress. They followed and in the process the mattress got away from them. They were rescued as the mattress floated away. On down river someone managed to get the mattress and rescue my aunt, took her to the site of the wreck and all were reunited. This would have happened in between Aug 1870 and late summer 1872. They were in Michigan for the census taken in July 1870 and in Titus Co, TX for the birth of their second child in Oct 1872 and spent some time in Tyler, TX first. Do you have any ship wreck stories or know who or what sites I could check out. Thanks for your time and any info offered. Mary Lou Bartee

I have been unable to help this visitor. Anybody know of a boat that met ill fate around that area and time? D.


Warrington Pilot and Masters Licences
From site visitor
Dawn 
 The first is regarding my husband's great great 
  grandfather(S. Warrington). The second is for my husband's great grandfather 
  (Capt Stokely Warrington) who was lost at sea October 10, 1916. UNITED 
  STATES INSPECTORS CERTIFICATE TO PILOTS NO.21 This is to certify that 
  S. Warrington has given satisfactory evidence to the undersigned Local 
  Inspectors of Steam Vessels for the District of Philadelphia that he is 
  a skillful Pilot of Steam vessels and can be entrusted to perform such 
  duties upon the waters Delaware Bay and River also as mate from Philadelphia 
  to Boston, MA and he is hereby licenses to act as 1st class Pilot on Steam 
  vessels for the term of one year from this date on the above named route. 
  Given under our hand the Fourth (4) day of November, 1845. (The number 
  1270 is inred at the bottom left) Signed by Joseph ?, Inspector (I can't 
  make out his last name) Inspectors' License to Masters Issue No.-21,-25 
  This is to certify that Stokely Warrington has given satisfactory evidence 
  to the undersigned Inspectors of Steam Vessels for the District of Baltimore 
  that he is a skillful Master pf Ocean steam vessels and can be entrusted 
  to perform such duties upon the waters if the Chesapeaked Bay and Tributaries, 
  also to Norfolk and Newport News, Atlantic Coast to Portland, Maine and 
  intermediate Ports also First Class Pilot on said waters and he is hereby 
  licensed to act as such Master of Steam Vessels for the term of five years 
  from this day. Given under our hands this 28th day of may, 1902. Signed 
  by Chas. Wright ?, Inspector of Hulls Edwin F. Weil ?, Inspector of Boilers 
  (In red is the number of this certificate) #23042. Have been trying to 
  find out more about this Prehaps you could steer me in the right direction? 
  Thank you, Dawn  

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From The Daily Gazette
Feb. 18, 1873
The Rivers
A Flood in The Monongahela 
GREAT DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY
 
Two steamboats Sunk and Two Lives Lost Large 

Number of Loaded Coal Barges Sunk

About three o'clock yesterday morning a very sudden and unexpected rise in the Monongahela River commenced, and continued with a rapidity seldom before known, and soon assumed the proportions and irresistible force of a terrible flood, proving the most disastrous casualty that has occurred on this part of the river for many a day . When the sudden rise was first noticed, it seemed as if an ice gorge had suddenly given way letting down an immense flood without a moment's warning. The water could be plainly seen crawling up the shore and for a time the rise progressed at the almost unprecedented rate of one foot per hour. The flood was entirely unlooked for, and coming upon the fleet at that hour found the boats and barges totally unprepared for the emergency, and the result was a general sweeping of everything movable which offered the slightest resistance to the current.

- Loss of Life -

Great confusion prevailed on board the numerous steamboats lying a the Warf, and some time ensued before anything definite was known as to the loss. Frightful rumors prevailed to the effect that twelve or fourteen men had been drowned; but when the truth was known the number was reduced to two. One, named Joseph King, was drowned at McKeesport; the other a man named Henry Smith, who lived at Neville Island, was drowned on board the steamer V. F. Wilson.

- Coal Boats Lost -
The first pray to the flood was a fleet of 30 loaded barges, attached to the Smithfield street suspension bridge, and as the current struck them their cables parted like thread, and the boats were floated off. Several of the barges lodged below, while others were captured by the tugs and landed without loss . Many of them , however, sunk and will be a total loss. Five of the barges , owned by Samuel Cable were among the barges of this lot, and witch were lost.

-Boats Recovered-

The tugs were active in their efforts to save the coal barges , and were successful to a certain extent. The tow boats Abe McDonald, Fair Play and Three Lights caught and landed [unreadable word] the following boats and barges. Two barges No's 1 and 5 owned by Connell & McGowan, the No's 9 and 10 owned by Briggs & Keer; one at Duffy's bar, No. 2; one No. 2 J. Manges; one No. 12, Bonner; one new barge no name; one flat, Lysle & Son; one barge, John McCluskey; three barges, Stella; one barge was struck on Deadman, one on head of Whites Ripple, and two opposite Glendale. Out of thirty four barges which are known to have floated off, twenty were saved.

- Steamboats Sunk -

The barges which broke loose from the Suspension bridge struck some of the boats lying at the Wharf , sinking the steamers V. F. Wilson and Oil Valley , and damaging the Coal Valley considerably . The steamer V. F. Wilson was valued at $15,000.00 . She was insured for $ 10,000.00 having $ 5,000.00 each in the Eureka and Citizens Insurance Companies . The Wilson was built in 1860 , and was owned by Capt. William Dunshee and Captain ?N?. Pollard , both residents of McKeesport. She sank in about two minutes after being struck. A seen of the wildest excitement took place , some of the crew being compelled to leave the boats in their night clothes. The deck of the Wilson now lies between the towboats Leopard and Hercules. The Oil Valley was owned by D. A. and J. S. McDonald , of this city, and was valued at $ 16,000.00 . She was insured for $ 10,000.00 : $ 2,500.00 each in the Pittsburgh and Peoples Companies of this city , and in the Peabody and another company name unknown , of Wheeling . She was two years old last summer , and was heavily coaled for her trip South . The steamer "Coal City" which lay near the "Oil Valley" had her starboard guard mashes by the collision of the "Oil Valley". The guard is mashes about amidships , and one half the wheel on that side is torn off . It is thought the damage will soon be repaired .

- From Up The River -

Telegrams from up the river reported the river rising at a rate of six inches an hour until about five o'clock when at Lock No. 4, it had been reduced to two inches per hour and at that time there was nineteen and three fourths feet of water at this point. About eleven o'clock a large fleet of coal boats hove in sight of the city adrift with no one aboard. Some thirty packages were in the fleet. It seemed certain that the fleet floating abreast of the channel would sweep the landing and cause immense destruction to the crafts moored there; but fortunately the fears were dispelled when it became evident that the fleet could not pass the railroad bridge without striking one or moor of the piers. The people linedthe bridges and shores in great numbers, and when the crash came it caused a shudder among them to see the property so melt away in the angry waters. The entire fleet sunk, with the exception of one loaded coal boat, which floated past and slightly rubbed one of the piers of the Smithfield street bridge , and passed into the Ohio river in a sinking condition.

At Augustine's Landing, near Six Mile Ferry, five coal boats tore loose and came down the river. One belonging to Henry H. Collins , sunk at the mouth of Ferry street, and one belonging John H. McCloskey, was sunk at the railroad bridge. At Stone Brother's Coal Works, opposite McKeesport, a new barge broke loose and floated away. At about noon the dock of Messrs. Horner & Sons, at McClung's Landing, broke loose and floated away , with a coal bottom attached. The dock came over the dam and swept broadside against the piers of the upper Birmingham bridge . O'Neil's coal fleet was moored to this pier, and was in eminent danger from the dock. The formidable object, however, broke in two and the separated halves floated down one on each side of the pier, barely missing the fleet. One coal boat, belonging to the Grand Lake Coal Company, moored near the Point, was struck by a flat and sunk. At Elizabeth this morning a number of coal boats and barges, and a large quantity of lumber and log rafts, principally belonging to Capt. Joe Walton, were swept away. It being estimated that the loss will reach $20,000.00.

- At Brownstown -

About twelve o'clock, a mass of lumber, empty coal boats, boat bottoms, etc. were swept away from the landing of Phillips & Mittenzwel, at Brownstown, and was carried rapidly down by the current. The floating mass struck two flats of coal belonging to, McKnigkt, Duncan & CO., of the Birmingham Iron Works, moored on the same side of the river, sinking both of them. Passing over the dam, a loaded coal boat belonging to Wm. Clark was struck and sunk; the mass passed by the piers of the Birmingham bridge and the railroad bridge, but part of it struck the Smithfield street bridge and was sunk. The remaining portion passed under the bridge, and carried with it two empty barges and one empty flat boat belonging to Walton & Co. These in turn were carried down with the current, and struck the head of a tow coal of barges in tow of the Lion, and sinking two barges and one flat, and breaking the cam and damaging the wheel of the steamer. A barge in tow of the Niagara, belonging to Walton & Co., was also injured by the same mass of wrecked matter.

- The Losses -

It is impossible at present to estimate closely the total loss by the flood. The item of coal alone will amount to perhaps sixty thousand dollars, and it is thought that the total loss on the Monongahela will not fall short of three hundred thousand dollars.

- At Midnight -

Last night at twelve o'clock the river stood 19 feet 10 inches, and was about on a stand. It is thought that the climax is reached, or that it will not rise above 20 feet. No further losses could be ascertained, and no more are anticipated.


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