Balize, LA Area Steamer TANGIPAHO Fire, Mar 1838


The Tangipaho, N. Sharpe, master, was on her way from the lake terminus of the railroad to the Balize, and when about forty miles from her place of destination, she was discovered to be on fire. After some time spent in the vain effort to extinguish the flames, Captain Sharpe, Mr. Wilson, the pilot, and Mr. Smith, a passenger, left the boat (being obliged to use the hatches for a raft, as there was no small boat on board), with the intention of reaching the nearest land. Mr. Phillip Grennell, the mate, and six colored men employed as deck hands, remained in the steamer. About night-fall the chimneys fell in, and then the mate and his assistants succeeded in extinguishing the fire. Mr. Grennell then constructed several sails by joining blankets together, and put the boat before the wind, hoping to reach South Pass, or some other place of security.

After drifting about all the succeeding day, Saturday, March 3d, they cast anchor near the beach,and went on shore for water, but were unable to obtain any. They weighed anchor, and ran the boat on shore in the marshes on Sunday afternoon. From thence they travelled to Johnson's store on the Mississippi, where they procured a skiff, crossed to the opposite side, and were taken on board by the tow-boat Farmer, Captain Morrison.

The gentlemen who betook themselves to the hatches, viz : Captain Sharpe and Messrs. Wilson and Smith, were doubtless lost, as nothing was heard of them afterwards. All might have been saved, had the steamer been provided with a small boat!

Lloyd's Steamboat Directory and Disasters on the Western Waters, Cincinnati, Ohio; James T. Lloyd & Co, 1856, page 113