Scioto Tragedy – Day 2 part 1
July 6, 1882
List of Dead and Missing Increases
The Total Will Exceed One Hundred
Melancholy Work of Gathering in the Dead.
Fifteen Bodies Found and Eighty-seven Missing..
Crowds About the Wreck – Coroner’s Inquest.
Interest in the /Scioto tragedy continues as strong as ever. All day long yesterday the crowds trave3led to and fro between the city and Mingo, while each train was filled with persons from Wellsville and East Liverpool, some there merely out of curiosity, but others present to search for acquaintances and friends. Incidents of that terrible night are still coming to light, most of them sad enough, and others with a comical side to them. Quite a party had intended getting on the boat at New Cumberland, but, fortunately for them, they were prevented by the crowd already on bard. However, Columbus Stewart and wife got aboard there, and were in the pilot house when the collision took place. John Stillwell also got on there to take a place in the band. He was carried under the boilers by the current when the boat sunk, but worked his way out, and was pulled upon the hurricane at the back of the boat by Stewart. He was perfectly exhausted, but revived, Stewart gives the following account of what he saw of
At the time of the collision my wife and I were in the pilot house. Keller, the pilot, was there, his wife and a young man whom I did not know (Clint Thomas). We were watching the Lomas approach. She came on until the boats were not 100 yards apart. Mrs. Stewart said, “It is strange that boat don’t whistle..” Keller, who was looking out, answered, “Yes, I’ll make her whistle, and he reached for the valve. Just then the Lomas whistled once for the right. Keller saw that it was too late to take that side and answered with two whistles, at the same time reversing the engines. The Lomas did not whistle again, but kept coming on and Keller gave two or three short toots on his whistle. The Lomas began backing, but it was too late, and we saw the collision was coming. When they struck, both boats were backing. Keller said to me, “tell the people to keep away form the guards, and stay in the center of the boat; if they don’t they’ll upset her!” I couldn’t get the pilot house window open, and I kicked it out. The crowd was excited, but soon understood what was wanted and got to the middle of the boat. I am a river man, as was my father before me, and I have no hesitancy in saying that Keller did his duty as a man should. The Lomas was the down boat and should have whistled first. Keller stood there watching her come on, with his hand on the valve ready to sound his signal, an finally was going to blow rather than wait any longer, The fault lies with the pilot of the Lomas/ He did not sound his whistle soon enough, and then the Scioto could not take the side he indicated. Keller is a good pilot, was attending to his business and was perfectly cool.
second engineer of the Scioto, says the whole trouble was caused by the new signals, for this way it don’t give either boat much of a chance. He was in the cabin when the crash came, and the first cry was that the boat was afire. I rushed down and back to the engine room and yelled to Charles Page, a striker, to jump and not stay there. He reversed the engines, and that was the last I saw of him. I ran back to the stern but before I got there the water was rising fast. I climbed up outside, and just as I reached the boiler deck two women jumped toward me and threw me back into the river. They gave a scream and went down.
A REIGN OF TERROR.
I again tried to climb up, for the boat was going down fast, and somebody again jumped upon me and threw me back into the water. This was repeated four times before I got on deck. The scene was frightful. Men and women yelling, screaming and praying. On each side and behind the boat the water was full of struggling humanity. I don’t know how many are lost, but I think there were as many women as men, for the crowd was about equally divided.
THE COLORED STEWARD’S BRAVERY.
James Brown, a young colored man, steward on the Scioto, related the following: I was in the kitchen when the crash came. I heard yells and cries and women screaming. I rushed into the cabin and saw a lot of women standing on the piano. Somebody told me there had been a collision with a towboat. I started up to the hurricane deck to get an axe to cut a hole in the roof to let the people in the cabin out. I couldn’t find one, so I began kicking the skylights in. I know that I broke at least twelve of them. With the aid of some gentlemen on the upper deck I pulled four ladies through the skylights. They got pretty badly cut but I think they were saved. The blood from their wounds can be seen on the skylight sashes. I saw a young lady who got on by herself at Wellsville jump into the water. I dumped in and pulled her out. I think that a great many perished, for the river was black on both sided of the boat with people in the water.
A DRUNKEN CROWD
There were a good m any of the excursionists under the influence of liquor. It was not what you might call a drunken crowd, yet nevertheless there were a dozen or so that were drunk. I don’t know that there was any liquor sod on the bat, yet I couldn’t say that there wasn’t. It was what I would call a “wild” crowd. The women were pretty lively and a good many of the men were “full.” It was a sort of “free and easy” crowd. After all our passengers were landed the Lomas left for Wheeling about 12 o’clock.
As stated yesterday, Captain Thomas was taken to Wheeling on the Abner O’Neal. He was in a most distracted and pitiable condition. No one was allowed to visit his stateroom but his most intimate friends. One could hardly recognize Cap[t. Thomas, he was so changed after the horror of the most horrible night. He was almost crazed, and lay in his bunk, his face haggard, a wild look in his eyes and his hands clasped tightly over is forehead, as if his head would burst. An old friend entered his room and he burst forth, “Oh my God; my God, John, it was awful. I can see the poor wretches now in the water, and Dan—oh, where is my boy? We were going along so nicely and in two or three hours more would have been all right, and the care would have been off my mind. I was in the cabin, boys, seeing that everything was kept straight, when I heard the whistle blowing. I knew something was wrong, and going out on the guards, I climbed up the jack-post to the hurricane deck and yelled to Dave to back her. He answered that that was when he was doing, but it was too late and the crash came.” And here the strong man hid his face and sobbed while the men in the cabin also wiped their eyes. Suddenly speaking again, he said, “Am I accused of carelessness in anyway?” and a decided negative answer was given. Capt. Thomas declared he could not go home without his boy Dan, and when the news came that his body had been found, the lingering hope that he mi9ght have reached land safely fled, and it was a sad sight to witness the father’s grief. He was bound to go back. He was taken to his home in Clarington on the Telegram, accompanied by Cyrus Higgs, the head engineer. The opinion of river men is that Captain Thomas will never recover from this shock. He was one of the most careful pilots on the river, in his day, and as a captain had no equal. The sympathy expressed for him was heard on all sides. Tuesday evening on the up trip he refused to allow the boat to land at Wheeling but took off in a yawl all those who desired to land. The reason for this was that a large number desired to fill their whisky flasks.
the sternwheel steamer, Welcome arrived, having on board Capt. C. H. Booth, President of the Wheeling & Parkersburg Transportation Company, owners of the sunken boat, Capt. Asa Booth, of the Courier, David Keller the pilot of the unfortunate Scioto at the wheel, John Sweeney, of Wheeling, Inspector Thomas Wilson, a son of Capt. Thomas and others. The Welcome laid along side th3e Scioto, and all the movables from the latter boat were transferred to her. It was reported that Capt. Booth had prevented searches for bodies tearing up the floor of the cabin, but we learned from Capt. Bayard Dougherty, of the Annie L., that this was not the case, but the he rendered every aid possible. The interior of the boat now presents a dismantled appearance, and the cabin is the very picture of desolation. When the cabin floor of the steamer was removed, a number of hats belonging to men and women, were seen floating on the top of the water, which substantiates the theory that a number of bodies had lodged in the deck room.
VANDALS WERE ABOARD,
of course, and some of them had to be prevented from even tearing off the number of staterooms and carrying them away. The boat was
NOT AN OLD ONE.
as has been reported, having been built inJune, 1875, at Portsmouth, Ohio, by the Bay Brothers. It was one of the fastest boats on the Upper Ohio. It was first put in the mail trade between Huntington and Portsmouth and then was put in the Ironton and Gallipolis trade. She has been thoroughly overhauled the past year, and was purchased by the Wheeling and Parkersburg Transportation Company last March. Word has been telegraphed to Cincinnati for a diver, who will be here with his apparatus tomorrow to examine the hull. It will then be determined as to the expediency of attempting to raise her before the water falls.
A DREDGING PARTY
was organized in East Liverpool last evening by Council, and placed in charge of Jason Neville, an experienced man, and every member of the party was carefully chosen. They left East Liverpool in twenty skiffs, with all the necessary appliances for thoroughly dragging the river for the bodies of the drowned. This morning a relief party dame down on the train with Leo Dobbins at the head and there are now forty in each crowd. A cannon was fired continuously last night and today in hopes of raising some bodies, but without success. The river has fallen so that nearly the whole of the boiler deck of the ill-fated steamer is out of water. The many skiffs in the river, the large crowds on shore, and the many occurring incidents, make it a stirring scene, unequaled at least for length of time by the great railroad accident of four years ago.
DEAD AND MISSING
Revised List of Bodies Found- A Total of 101
The body of E. P. Smith, of Wellsville, was found last evening at 9 o’clock, also Charles Leith. Thomas Beardmore, of East Liverpool, was recovered this morning. The Captain’s son was found on the rudder of the boat. Also Charles Swearingen, of Hanover, Ohio, station, was found; he leaves a family, and is 45 year sold. Following is a revised and corrected list of the dead brought ashore at Mingo up to this time:
Dave Fogo, of Wellsville, Ohio, age from 20 to 25 years, was a member of the band and clerk in Sam Martin’s clothing store.
Harry Beardmore, East Liverpool age, 14 or 15 years, son of Joseph Beardmore.
Ellis C. Smith, of Wellsville, (first reported from Steubenville), age 16 years.
Cecil Sprague, age 18 years, of Hammondsville, Ohio.
Evan P. Burke, aged 23 years, East Liverpool, was a stone mason, His father is John Burke, of Beaver, he was unmarried.
Mrs. Belle Branon, of Wellsville, formerly of East Liverpool.
Joseph Connor, of Wellsville
Miss Sallie Kiddy, of Wellsville.
E. P. Smith, Wellsville, carpenter, native of Canada, aged 40.
Thomas Beardmore, Liverpool
Charles Leith, Wellsville, drummer of the band.
Charles H. Swearingen, Hanover, Ohio, aged 22.
Dan Thomas, Captain’s son.
An unknown, first reported as Stewart Pipes.
One man unknown
Has now reached 87, and is as follows, as far as can be ascertained:
Charles Davidson, a boy of 14 years, cymbal player in the Wellsville Cornet Bank, son of K. L. Davidson.
Columbus Armstrong, 15 years, played the bass drum in the Wellsville Cornet Band.
John Maylone, E. flat in the Wellsville Cornet Band.
Arthur E. Hoagland, son of Rev. E. S. Hoagland, pastor of the M. P. Church.
John Maylone, Ab Maylone, Willie Maylone, opposite Wellsville.
Sam Hunter, 17 years old.
George E. Pinkerton
J. C. Stevens
Two children of E. P. Smith
Miss Prosser, opposite Wellsville
Miss Malone, near Wellsville, O. Two sisters were on board, one is missing
—— Nichols, son of James Nichols, formerly of Wheeling, W. Va.
Lou Harper, 19, member of band
Harry DeTemple, 15
Willie Ewing, 11
Ad. Hayes, 21
Kate Poflenbaugh, 14
Sam Hunter, 17
Marie Booth, 15
G. C. Thompson
D. C. Shannon
A. E. Houghton
C. B. Armstrong
A boy, 15 years, name unknown
Wilson Paul, a plasterer about 30 years of age
Miss Carrie Beardmore
G. C. Thomp0son, farmer in suburbs, 22 years of age
Eugene Farmer, clerk, about 23 years old
Miss Marin Boothe, 20 years
Lincoln Wright, pattern maker, about 19 years old
Benjamin Stebbins, son of Dr. Stebbins
Stephen Kent, a bricklayer, 30 years.
Michael Emmerling, wife and child
David Fried, Jethrow
Woods, a boy of 14
Miss Dray, of Jethrow
M. E. Estline and wife
Two Cross boys, 22 and 24
Ed Duffey, Steubenville.
Vandine, a young lady whose mother resides at Mingo Junction
Charles Elliott, a young man living at Beaver Falls
Cornelius Palmer, Washington, Pa.
George C. Thompson, 22, Calcutta
West Higgins, Toronto
Frank Hall, Wheeling
This makes a grand total of found and missing at this writing 101. The report that one of the Captain’s sons had been found at Brilliant was untrue. Ed. Duffey, of this city, a youth of 19, was not found as reported yesterday. His father was down at Mingo this morning expecting his body to be brought in. Jas. Gibson and wife, of East Liverpool, reported in the morning papers among the missing, were not on the boat. We saw Mr. Gibson this morning. They came to Steubenville on the cars, and have been visiting friends here.
THE NEWS AT HOME.
East Liverpool and Wellsville in Mourning.
An East Liverpool dispatch says that ever since 4 A. M., yesterday, at which time the special train arrived bearing the survivors of the ill-fated Scioto, our city has been thrown into a fever of excitement never before experienced. At all corners of streets, on the sidewalks and wherever you might look you could see bunches of men, women and chi9ldren talking and weeping. The telegraph office has been thronged all day with anxious enquirers hoping to hear something from missing friends.
At Wellsville the telegraph office was besieged by scores of anxious ones seeking information of lost ones, the majority of them being grief stricken parents. The suspense awaiting the arrival of the different trains was awful, and when they finally rolled slowly into the depot and the lifeless remains of those who left a few hours ago in such ? were delivered over to the waiting relatives, the scene was heartrending in the extreme, and the moans and cries of anguish of the bereaved ones presented a sight for which no one was prepared, and few dry eyes were to be seen in the vast assemblage. Only one body was brought on the first train, but slowly the missing ones were discovered, and at this writing six bodies have been recovered and delivered to relatives.
NOTES AND INCIDENTS.
Small Fragments of the Great River Disaster.
The Lomas was running about 15 and the Scioto about 12 miles an hour at the time of the accident.
Capt. Stewart, of The Lettie, took down a party to the scene of the wreck this morning.
Henry Paulman’s farmhouse, about a hundred yards for the river, was used as a temporary morgue.
All the bodies have been taken home except the unknown man at Lindsay & Shannon’s.
E. P. Smith, of Wellsville, whose body has been found, had his four children with him, and all were lost. The body of his son Ellis was found, and Frank, aged *, and Lottie, aged 5, are still missing. Mrs. Smith, stepmother of the children, was the only member of the family who remained at home.
Denver Shannon, of New Alexander, was thought to be aboard the boat.
Clark McCann was not on as reported.
A boy named Tasta, aged twelve years, from East Liverpool, was supposed to be lost, but was picked upon the West Virginia shore.
Two children, about six years of age, were picked up near Wellsburg, three miles or more below, floating on a log.
Wm. Bagley, a boy of sixteen, went over with a small board, which he clung to and was rescued in an exhausted condition a mile and a half below.
Mayor Burgess, wife and two children were swept overboard and caught by some parties at the stern of the boat when she sank.
A drunken fellow from Calcutta played on the piano in the cabin until the key-board was under water.
The money box was not stolen. Mr. Milholland, the manage r of the excursion, when the boat was sinking seized the box, sprang overboard and swam to the shore, when he threw it into a barrel of water that was standing there and found it unharmed.
One old lady, who was rescued after much difficulty, grasped the arm of one of the men who had brought her out and pleaded with him to save her son’s bass fiddle.
Supervising Inspector Feherenbatch is expected here this evening.
Camps along the shore are decorated with flotsam from the wreck. Hats and bonnets, coats and circulars, parasols and umbrellas are plentiful.
Two men had been fished out of the water and were left at the camp fire with th3e blankets around them while their rescurers went out on the water again. On their return the men were gone, and so were their blankets.
A member of Wellsville band reports 625 tickets sold. On the going back that night there were 450 or 475.
James Cochran, son of Richard Cochran, of East Liverpool, boarded the b oat there, became alarmed on the way down, got off here and went home on the cars.
Charles Filson made a sketch of the scene of the wreck for the New York Graphic.
There were 15,000 words sent from the Steubenville telegraph office yesterday on the accident.
Testimony Before Coroner Fogg.
Coroner Fogg began holding an inquest yesterday afternoon, assisted by W. T. Campbell; for the purpose of taking down the testimony. The following was reported:
John Miller – This occurred between half-past eight and nine o’clock. My attention was first attracted by two whistles from the Scioto. She was coming up stream. When she whistled the second time we ? down. I don’t know whether I head any whistle from the other boat. When I first saw the Scioto she was going right straight up the river. I first saw the other boat was right. I heard the crash, then heard the screams of the people. The Scioto sank right away. I think the Lomas appeared to be on the Ohio side, but I didn’t not see them strike. After she sunk the Lomas came in on this side and landed her passengers. She then went out and got some more and brought them to this (the Ohio) shore. I don’t know how many trips she made. I saw the captain sitting around here last night crying, but did not hear him say anything about this. I didn’t see any of the other officers of the boat. The Scioto seemed to be crowded. I did not take notice how the Lomas was. I think Thomas was the name of the Scioto’s captain. I could not state as to the speed of the boats, nor I can’t say whether they had steam up when they struck.
James Stephenson – I first saw the Scioto between 8 and 9 o’clock last night. There was a crowd below hallooing at her. I heard her whistle once and then she gave two whistles. That’s a boat signal. I heard the John Lomas whistle then. I didn’t notice that the Scioto whistled again. This boat whistled first and then the Lomas. I couldn’t say how far apart they were. As soon as the Lomas whistled I went down. I heard the crash, but din not see them strike. The Lomas, when they struck, pulled out from the Scioto and she went down. She struck the Scioto on the right side next the fore bow. The Lomas did not seem to have much of a load on, but the other was loaded pretty heavy. The Scioto was heading to the West Virginia side when she struck. She was going up river. The Lomas then landed her passengers on this side, and made four or five trips bringing in people. As soon as I could I went out in a skiff myself. When I went out the other boats kept me back some. Then there was a woman and two men standing on the bow, and I brought them off. Threw was quite a number got out on this shore. There was a great deal of screaming and confusion. I saw the Captain of the Scioto around there last night, he was hunting his boy and crying. I did not hear him say anything about the accident.
Contributed by Bonnie