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Aurora, IN (Off) Steamer PAT ROGERS Burned, Aug 1874




Cincinnati, Aug. 5. -- The telegraph operator at Aurora, Ind., reports that the steamer PAT. ROGERS was burned this morning, one mile below Aurora, and about twenty lives lost, the victims being principally ladies.

Later. -- The particulars of the disaster to the steamer PAT. ROGERS, near Aurora, Ind., are coming in slowly. From those already received it appears that several bales of cotton, which formed part of her cargo, caught fire about 5 o'clock this morning, it is supposed from sparks from the chimneys, and the boat was burned to the water's edge. Both the boat and cargo, the latter consisting of cattle, sheep, and hogs, besides cotton, are a total loss. The passenger register and all the books were destroyed. The boat was valued at $60,000, and was insured in Cincinnati for $32,000, and in Louisville for $5,000. The value of the cargo has not been ascertained.
The names of the lost, so far as ascertained, are:
J. H. STUART, and MRS. SMITH, of Madison, Ind.; W. C. BROWN, of Cincinnati, son of H. W. BROWN, of the Union Line Transportation Company; CHARLES H. DITTMAN, the pilot; SHIRLEY SNYDER, and JACOB LIGHT, of the crew. The following persons are also missing, and are supposed to have been drowned: CHARLES PEZWIGER, stoker; MINER MUNTZ, barber, and several lady passengers, whose names are unknown. MRS. TUTTLE and child, of Harrison, Ohio, were drowned.
Account Given By The Engineer.
MR. HOLMES, the engineer of the steamer PAT. ROGERS, which was burned at Aurora, arrived in Cincinnati on the noon train, and was interviewed by a reporter of the Cincinnati Times. He gives the following account of the burning:
It was just about 6 o'clock, when the steamer was opposite Loughery Creek, that flows into the Ohio River two miles below Aurora, that I noticed a bright light among some bales of cotton on the after part of the boat. I hastened to the spot and found the cotton burning rapidly, and beyond any possibility of being immediately extinguished. I hurried on deck and gave the alarm to the pilot, and told him to run the boat ashore. He had just turned her head to the shore when she bacame unmanageable. The pilot states that he could turn the wheel but the steamer would not answer to her helm. He thinks the tiller-rope had been cut. From this fact it is thought that the fire was the work of an incendiary. Another theory is, that one of the deck passengers while smoking dropped a spark from his pipe into the cotton. When the boat became unmanageable she drifted on the sand bar, and there grounded.
The flames instead of spreading along the lower deck, at once shot up to the cabin and pilot-house, and then swept across the hurricane deck. The passengers were all around, and the boats lowered, and many were carried ashore, but others in their fright jumped into the water, and those who were not drowned reached a safe landing place, after drifting a long time with the current. There were nearly 100 people on board, but what proportion of this number is actually lost is not known at this time, as many of those reported missing were seen on shore after the disaster.

The New York Times New York 1874-08-06

article | by Dr. Radut