May 8, 1902
Talks of His Escape from the City of Pittsburg---Returns to Kentucky.
Dr. W. T. Daughtery and family have returned to this city from Anniston, Mo. They came up the Ohio river on the steamer Joe Fowler, and have been the guests of the Doctor's father, Mr. Louis Daughtrey, residing near Walker's Landing, for several days.
Dr. Daughtrey lost his diploma in the fire and can not get it duplicated until August. When he arrived at Anniston, Mo. he found that he could not practice without his diploma, so he decided to return to Kentucky, and will probably resume the practice of medicine in this city.
In describing his escape from the burning steamer Dr. Daughtery said:
"I was awake when the alarm of fire was given. I heard the mate run across my stateroom and yell to the pilot that the boat was on fire and to run to the shore with all possible speed. I got up, awakened my wife and child, and put on my pants, coat and vest. We all put on life preservers and when I opened my stateroom door the flames were leaping inside the cabin and the glass in the doors and the windows was cracking. I told my wife we had better go into the water as quickly as possible, for when all the passengers got up there would be a stampede and we might get separated. She had on a night gown and the boy had nothing on but a union suit.["]
"The boat was going to the bank[.] The back doors were open and the draught was sweeping the fire from the front rapidly to the rear. We went to the outside, and, with my boy in my arms, I let myself down a rope back of the wheel house into the water and my wife followed. When she got into the water she said, 'Her I am,' and commenced swimming. The boy, according to my instructions crawled on my back and held on around my neck. He soon became numb and could not hold on, so I pulled his arms around my neck and caught hold of his shirt sleeves with my teeth. I held him in this way and stayed beside my wife until we got out on the bank. some estimated that we got ashore a mile below the wreck, while others said it was a mile and a half, and others two miles. The boy fell limp on the bank. I covered him up with my coat and started up the bank, but I was so stiff and exhausted that I fell every few feet. My wife had to help me up several times. finally a yawl came down and picked us up, and carried us near the wreck, where there was a good fire. I was uneasy about my boy and was afraid I was going to lose him. He was placed beside a good fire that had been built on the bank and in a little while he revived. It was an awful experience, and no one could find words to express the scene."
Source: Crittenden Press. (Marion, Ky.) 1879-1907, May 8, 1902, Image 4 - Chronicling America - The Library of Congress.
[My comments are in brackets.]