Steamer City of Pittsburg Burns


April 24, 1902

 

SCORES OF LIVES LOST.

The Steamer City of Pittsburg Burns.

 

Thrilling Experience of Dr. Daughtery.

 

The steamer City of Pittsburg burned Sunday morning between four and five o'clock, at Ogden's landing on the Ohio river between Paducah and Cairo, on her way down the river.  The fire started in the hold among some hay and cotton, and was soon beyond control.  Within a few minutes the upper decks were swept by the flames and the passengers were penned in on all sides.  The boat was run ashore but too late to allow the passengers to escape, as the upper part of the vessel was in flames.  A panic followed; the passengers rushed to the guards and many jumped overboard to take their chances between death by drowning and death by burning.  The loss of life was much greater than it would have been if the officers had been able to control the terror stricken people.  There were 145 people on board, of this number probably seventy perished.  Those who were saved only escaped in their night clothes and lost everything they had.  The City of Pittsburg was one of the finest steamers on the Ohio River.

Dr. W. T. Daughtery, wife and child, of this city, were passengers on the ill-fated steamer.  They were on their way to Anniston, Mo., where they intend to reside.  They were among the survivors.  Their experiences were thrilling.  Dr. Daughtery's struggles to save his wife and child were heroic.  The following is the contents of a letter received by Mr. John A. Moore, from the Doctor:

CAIRO, ILL., April 20.--Mr. Jno. A. Moore, Marion, Ky.--Dear Cousin:  Our boat burned at 4 p. m. [a. m.] Caught from hay.  Fire all over in five or ten minutes.  She ran into shore head on, but we were cut off.  I got life preserver on Ella and myself, took Escal under my arm, climbed down a rope with my other hand, Ella followed into the water.  We swam ashore about mile below, nothing on any of us but night clothes.  We got to Cairo at 5 o'clock p. m.  My hands are bruised and swollen.  Ella was burned some.  Escal was not even scratched.  One family of thirteen all lost but one.  It was the wildest time I ever saw.  People went wild; ran up and down the cabin and burned to death.  Some did not wake up until it was too late to get out of the state room.  One lady with three children lost all children.  Our feet are very sore from walking so far through the woods and drift.  Will leave tomorrow for Anniston.

Yours truly,

W. T. Daughtery,

Dr. Daughtery lost all of his household goods, and his horses.

 

 

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Knights are Generous.

Yesterday Blackwell Lodge, Knights of Pythias, of this place, wired Dr. W. T. Daughtry fifty dollars.  He is a member of the lodge, and when his loss became known, his brother knights promptly ordered their exchequer to forward him the amount.

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Substantial Sympathy.

On learning of the narrow escape from death made by Dr. W. T. Daughtry and family, who were passengers on the City of Pittsburg, and the total loss of his personal property, the many friends of the doctor in this city sent him a donation amounting to $450.  Dr. Daughtery resided in this city for several years, and is very popular throughout the town and county.  He is an excellent physician and was regarded as one of the most skillful surgeons in this section of the State.  He is a deserving man and we regret to give him up.  The people of Anniston, Mo., his new home, will find him to be a perfect gentleman in every respect.  The PRESS wishes him much success in his new home.

 

Source:  Crittenden Press. (Marion, Ky.) 1879-1907, April 24, 1902, Images 1, 5 - Chronicling America - The Library of Congress.

 

[My comments are in brackets.]