Clayton, LA Steamer CONCORDIA Sinking, May 1913
THIRTEEN PERSONS DROWN IN RIVER.
STEAMER CONCORDIA SINKS IN MISSISSIPPI AT CLAYTON, LA. -- COLLIDES WITH BRIDGE.
120 SOULS WERE ON BOARD.
SWIFT CURRENT PUTS VESSEL BEYOND CONTROL OF PILOT -- UNINJURED PASSENGERS SWIM ASHORE.
Natchez, Miss., May 3. -- Flood waters from the crevasse at Gilbsons Landing today contributed to the death list when the steamer Concordia struck the iron railroad bridge at Clayton, La., and sank, drowning two white men and eleven negroes. A negro boy also was fatally injured. The steamer was engaged in rescue work in Tensas and Concordia Parishes.
The two white men who were drowned were:
A. D. GEOHAGEN, 70, planter, Jonesville, La.
W. L. PRIMM, 35, chief clerk of steamer, Natchez, Miss.
The boat left Natchez Wednesday, carrying a large cargo for the relief of points on the Atchafalaya, Black, Little and Tensas Rivers where flood refugees are located. She was returning to Natchez with 120 persons aboard, including officers, crew and flood refugees. Seventy-two of the number were negroes.
Owing to the flooded conditions the tracks of the New Orleans & Northwestern Railway being flooded from Clayton to Ferryday, the 200-foot drawbridge at the former station was left open and weighted with cars loaded with iron. The current of the rever is very swift, and the pilot of the steamer lost control, the right bow striking the north pier, which stood two feet above water. As the boat struck she gave a slight rebound and then crashed against the drawbridge, wrecking the upper end of the bridge. Timbers were sent flying in every direction. A negro who sprang from the deck to the pier was caught between the pier and boat and crushed to death, his body falling into the river.
MAURICE BLOCK, a Concordia Parish planter, sprang to the pier and was struck by a piece of flying timber, his left arm being broken and his shoulder injured. GEOHAGEN and PRIMM were on the deck when the crash came. Their bodies have not been recovered. The boat careened as she struck the second time, her hull filled with water and as she sank the current dragged her down stream for a mile and a half.
The Concordia was built ten years ago at Jeffersonville, Ind., for Captains George Prince and Ollie K. Wilds, present owners. She was 156 feet long, 32 feet beam and displaced 850 tons. She struck a snag in April a year ago at Jacksons Point, fifty miles below Natchez, while making a landing in a flooded cotton field; sank, was raised, taken to Paducah, Ky., and rebuilt. Captain Sam Pennywitt, an experienced pilot, was at the wheel at the time of the accident.
All officers of the boat escaped. The boat may be a total loss. Many of her passengers and crew leaped on the bridge. Others thrown into the water, swam ashore. The total number thus saved was 107.
Galveston Daily News Texas 1913-05-03