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W.R. Arthur, Cornelia, Henry Ames, Lizzie Gill


The W.R. Arthur was a side-wheel, wood hull packet. The hull was built in Chousetown, Pa, and the boat was completed in Louisville, Ky in 1864. It weighed 763 tons, and was 260 x 42 x 8.5.
E. & N. Porter built the hull under supervision of Capt. C.W. Batchelor for Capt. Dan Able and others, St. Louis. Operated St. Louis-New Orleans, Capt. Hugh Campbell, with Stanton J. Batchelor, clerk. She was hauled on the Carondelet Marine Ways January-February 1868 and the hull was enlarged to measure 296 x 53 x 8. She also got new engines. Was in the Atlantic & Mississippi Steam Ship Co., until that firm failed May 1869 and then had other owners. Hit a log near Grand Tower, Ill., and sank in latter December, 1869. Exploded boilers upbound abreast of Island 40 on January 28, 1871. She had on board 1000 tons of molasses and sugar and 1066 bales of cotton; had 75 cabin passengers and 20 on deck. Capt. Harry W. Brolaski was her master. George Ritchie, pilot on watch, was blown to the hurricane roof, jumped overboard, and clung to a cotton bale until rescued. The burning boat floated to Redman's Point where she sank with the bow under water and stern high in the air. Death toll was set at 45. A repurcusion many years later happened when a loaded barge in tow of the J.D. Ayers. struck something and sank, September 1929, believed to have been part of the Arthur wreck. Later investigation showed that five of the six boilers exploded; one was badly twisted, gouged, but othwerwise intact. The Memphis U.S. Inspectors revoked the license of George Reed, chief engineer, and suspended for 60 days the license of Hugh Reed (brother), 2nd engineer.

The Cornelia pictured was also a side-wheel, wood hull packet. It was built in St. Louis, Mo. in 1865. It weighed 647 tons and measured 224.8 x 37 x 5.6. Machinery came from the Des Moines built in 1857. It had three boilers, each 44" dia. by 26 ft.
Owned by Capt. Charles K. Baker and Jacob Conrad, both of St. Louis. Ran to New Orleans and in 1869 was running New Orleans-Camden, Capt. J.W. Blanks. Burned and lost at Algiers, La., Nov. 16, 1870.

The Henry Ames was also a side-wheel, wood hull packet. Built in Carondelet, MO. in 1864. It weighed 777 tons and measured 260.7 x 22.4 x 7.6. Ran St. Louis-New Orleans owned by stockholders of St. Louis and Jefferson City, Mo., Capt. Thomas L. Crawford. Ran the blockade at Columbus, Ky., mid-June 1864 downbound with a gunboat lashed on the shore side, came off unscathed. Hit a snag and sunk seven miles above Cairo on July 30, 1864, raised. Capt. Thomas L. Crawford was still master 1866, same trade. Rebuilt 1870, and in 1873 Capt. J. West Jacobs, master, with W.C. Aiken, clerk, same trade. Snagged and lost at Waterproof, La., August 1874 with loss of two lives.

The Lizzie Gill was a side-wheel wood hull packet. The hull was built in Cairo, Ill. and finished in St. Louis in April 1865. She measured 242 x 49 x 7. The paddlewheels were 30 ft. dia. working 13 buckets. Named for Lizzie Tate Gill, for whom the Lizzie Tate also was named. Sank at the mouth of White River downbound with a full cargo early January 1866. The Kate Bruner hit the wreck later that year and was lost.


All information obtained from Captain Fred Way's Packet Directory 1848-1983. Copyright 1983 by the Sons and Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen. All Rights Reserved.


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