IOWA HISTORY PROJECT
Clinton Daily Herald
Saturday, Nov. 29, 1890
Panic on a steamboat
Loss of the T. B. Leathers on
the Mississippi River.
Five people find watery graves.
The Vessel Takes Fire in Mid-Stream,
Causing a Panic Among Passengers
and Crew--All on Board Compelled to
Jump into the Water to Escape the
Flames, and Five People Perish—Names
of the Victims.
New Orleans, Nov. 29. —A telephone message from Bayou Sara gives the following particulars of the loss of the steamer T.P. Leathers Thursday afternoon: One of the officers and survivors of the Leathers arrived here about 2 o’clock Friday morning. They report that the fire was first discovered about midships on the starboard side and was already blazing fiercely in a pile of sacks of seed, surrounded by the tiers of cotton bales. The boat was in mid-stream under way. The fire had gotten such a hold upon the inflammable material around it that to extinguished it was out of the question, and the captain ordered the boat headed for the landing at Point Breeze, opposite Fort Adams, Miss.
The passenger and crew ran about the burning vessel crazed with terror, which was every minute increased by the roaring flames beneath them and the cracking of the burning timbers. The people gathered on the front deck, so as to be as near shore as possible, while the steamer was being driven in under full steam. As the boat neared the bank those of the roustabouts who could swim began to jump into the river, and before the boat was within 100 yards of the bank the water around her was black with struggling men. The officers of the boat stood to their posts and did all they could to prevent the frightened passengers from jumping into the river.
The List of Victims.
When the boat got within a few hundred feet of the bank even the fore deck became so hot that it was impossible to stay there, and all on board were compelled to jump for their lives. Most of them were provided with life-preservers, and it is believed all of those who waited until the last minute to jump got safely to shore. Lucy Hill, the first chambermaid, jumped from the cabin deck and broke her leg. Those known to have been drowned are: Ike Mc Narris, the steward: the first cook, named Walker: the texas tender, Hamilton Jones, and a roustabout named Wright, all colored, and a white passenger whose name was not known.