Wednesday, September 10, 2008

City of Golconda Goes Down

The following article appeared in the 20 August 1901 issue of the Evansville Courier and describes the sinking of the steamboat Golconda.

City of Golconda Goes Down Five Miles This Side of Paducah

The Drowned
Miss Lizzie Graham, Grahamsville, Ky.
Miss Trixie Grimes, Grahamsville, Ky.
Mrs. W.A.. Hogan and three children, Paducah, Ky.
Watts Davis, Livingston County, Ky.
Mrs. David Adams, Smithland, Ky.
Miss Lockey Barnett, Smithland, Ky.
Clarence Slayden, Lola, Ky.
Unknown man, Lola, Ky.
Five negro rousters
Two peddlers, names unknown.

Paducah, Ky., Aug. 19 - Eighteen people lost their lives in the sinking of the steamer City of Golconda tonight. It was the worst disaster that has taken place on the Ohio river in 50 years.

Caught in a storm which came up suddenly, the boat was turned over in the middle of the river in the twinkling of an eye and 18 lives were sacrificed. Forty-five passengers escaped.

The City of Golconda plied between Golconda and Elizabethtown (Illinois) and was on her way down the river with a large number of passengers. The boat had fine sailing and nothing had happened to mar the trip of the many pleasure seekers on board.

When the boat was five miles above this city, a storm came up. It was sudden. The crew did not see the black clouds in the west. In fact, the passengers were at supper and all were merry.

Suddenly there was a loud noise, like a clap of thunder, and the boat was turned over in mid river. It was too sudden for those on board to tell how it happened.

In an instant passengers were fighting for their lives in the middle of the river and many were caught in the cabin like so many rats in a cage, never to escape.

The fortunate ones who happened to be thrown in the river held on to the steamer until she drifted down stream a mile. Skiffs that are always kept on top of a steamer were finally secured and with these the passengers got to shore.

News of the terrible disaster reached here at 8 o’clock and a relief party was sent up the river to aid in the work of rescue. The party arrived too late to save any lives and began searching for bodies of the dead.

Some of the passengers who lost their lives were from the most prominent families of Kentucky. Watts Davis was a cattle buyer of Livingston County, Ky., and one of the wealthiest men in western Kentucky. Miss Locky Barnett was the wealthiest woman in Smithland and her father, who recently died, was prominent in politics.

The City of Golconda was the property of Golconda, Ill., people and was valued at $10,000. She was one of the best little boats in this port and was insured for $5,000.

On board the steamer when the accident happened was a Methodist minister. There was also a white horse on the boat. Passengers who saw the horse taken on remarked at the time that there would be an accident of some kind, as there was already a minister on the boat. The minister escaped with his life and says he will never again go on board a steamboat where there is a white horse.

Published 10 September 2008, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

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