Millikens Bend, MO Steamer OLIVER BIRNE Fire, Oct 1891



Twelve Persons Lose Their Lives in the Fire - The Captain the Last Man to Leave the Craft - She Came From St. Louis.

St. Louis, Oct. 28. - Private dispatches just received here say the steamer Oliver Birne, used here as an excursion boat during the summer and as a cotton carrier in the lower Mississippi in the fall and winter, was burned at Milliken's bend, twelve miles from Vicksburg this morning. Twelve lives are reported lost.

The fire was discovered in cotton in the hold early this morning, and the flames spread so rapidly that many of the crew and passengers had very narrow escape.

The dead are: The daughter of J. D. Adams of Omaha, Mrs. Frazer's nurse, five cabin boys, two colored chambermaids. A number of "rousters" are also missing.

The Bierne left here about a week ago and carried 7,008 bales and 100 tons of other freight. She was one of the finest and largest boats on the river.

NEW ORLEANS, Oct. 29.- The Vicksburg special says that at Greenville the mate had some trouble with the rousters, many of them grunting work after which the mate hired eleven men, paying them 25 cents per hour. This enraged the negroes who made open threats against the mate and the boat.

At 3:30 o'clock a. m. the cotton in the deck room was found on fire and the boat was a mass of flames in a short time.

Every effort was made to save the lives of those on board, but it is feared the death list will reach twelve or more.

A yawl was lowered to pick up those who could be reached in the river. It was about the only hope of saving many who were compelled to jump into the river.

The Macon Telegraph, Macon, GA 31 Oct 1891