Tyler, MO Steamer ROWENA LEE Explosion, Mar 1899
ROWENA LEE SINKS IN THE MISSISSIPPI.
ALL ABOARD THE STEAMER PERISH EXCEPT THE CAPTAIN AND ONE MATE.
SIXTY PEOPLE LOST.
AN EXPLOSION SPLITS THE VESSEL IN TWAIN AND STUNNED PASSENGERS DISAPPEAR IN THE RIVER.
New Madrid, Mo., March 29. -- The steamer Rowena Lee of the Lee Line of Mississippi boats sunk in seventy feet of water at Tyler, Mo., twenty-five miles below here, between 3 and 4 o'clock this afternoon. She is said to have broken in two and gone down with all on board except the captain, Geo. Carvell, and one mate, John Crasty, who escaped. Sixty people are believed to have been drowned.
The following is only a partial list of those who perished, as the complete passenger list and names of the crew outside of the officers, is not yet obtainable.
ED BANKS, pilot of Lee.
L. BOOKER, first clerk on Lee.
ALBERT CALDER, engineer.
PATRICK FLANNIGAN, second mate.
WILLIAM HIGHT, (colored) barkeeper.
S. C. HUMPHREY, general agent for Chicago Mill and Lumber Company of Cairo.
AL FARRIS, of Hickman, Ky., passenger.
M. T. KELLY, mail clerk on Lee.
H. C. LEWIS, traveling freight agent for Lee line.
SAMUEL LEWIS, third clerk.
D. X. LOGOMARSINO, barkeeper.
AUGUSTUS MITCHELL, second clerk.
"SID" SMITH, pilot.
FRANK STULL, engineer.
GEORGE W. TODD, steward.
Most of the Rowena Lee's crew lived in Memphis. The names of her passengers cannot be learned. The boat was the property of the Lees at Memphis.
The Rowena Lee was laden with railroad iron for Memphis, with some packages of way freight. She passed this point shortly before noon. She had finished discharging and taking on cargo at Tyler, and had cast off her lines, when a terrific explosion occurred, which to those on the bank who were watching her seemed to cause her to break in two amidships. The broken ends of the craft were forced upward until each stood momentarily on end and then disappeared under water. The upper works were thrown up with such force that they were literally broken into kindling wood and the air was filled with wreckage of the pilot house and cabin, with the light cabin furniture and with luckless human beings who constituted her crew and passengers. That the captain and one of the mates escaped is regarded as miraculous by those who saw the boat destroyed.
The current at Tyler is swift, and, though dazed, the eye-witnesses acted as promptly as they could in the matter of manning skiffs and getting out to the wreckage. They succeeded in saving no lives except those noted, and they probably would not have been saved had they not providentially been caught in and kept afloat by a large section of the cabin. Both were unconscious, and since being revived can give no coherent account of the occurrence.
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