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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
January 27, 2016     Hays Free Press
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January 27, 2016

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+ Page 2C COMMUNITY Hays Free Press January 27, 2016 Luxury steamboat ride turned out to be a pleasure cruise to hell The Mitfie Stephens steamed out of New Orleans on Feb. 2, 1869 on a pleasure cruise through the inland water- ways of Texas that ended in fiery tragedy on Caddo Lake. The 312-ton side-wheel steamboat was built six years earlier in Indiana. Used by the Union for a year as a transport and packet (a ship that carried mail, passengers and goods on an estab- lished route), the Mittie Stephens later saw less hazardous duty as a private passenger craft on the navigable rivers of Louisiana. Paying customers trav- eled in style on the luxury cruise ship, dining on the finest cuisine prepared by a staff of four-star chefs. Chamber maids, servants and other employees of the floating hotel waited on the pampered passen- gers hand and foot. The Mittie Stephens left New Orleans with 107 passengers and crew in the capable hands of an experienced riverboat captain named Homer Kellogg. The cargo con- sisted of 274 bales of hay, ten kegs of gunpowder and $100,000 in gold to pay the post-CivilWar occupation troops at the final destination- Jeffer- son, Texas. Thanks to a freak of nature, the East Texas community was the second busiest port in the Lone Star State. An enor- mous mass of logs, moss, weeds, vines, dirt and trash known as the Red River Raft made Jefferson accessible to 200 or more steamboats a year. The six-day voyage to Shreveport was unevent- ful. J.W. Lively, who had a ticket all the way to Jef- ferson, disembarked with several companions and never got back on-board. "To this day we don't know, can't explain why we done it," Lively told a This Week in Texas History by Bartee Haile reporter in 1921. "But all at once we decided to leave the Mittie Ste- phens." The ship departed Shreveport at four in the afternoon following a five-hour layover. At dusk the crew lit torch baskets and pine knots, which cast a bright-red glow from metal cages. At ten o'clock the Mittie Stephens steamed into Caddo Lake on the Texas- Louisiana border and set a course for Big Cypress Bayou and Jefferson. An hour later, Capt. Kellogg docked at Moor- ingsport, where James C. Christian boarded the ill- fated vessel. He had sent his ten-year-old grandson home for a coat, but by the time the boy returned the Mittie Stephens had left for Swanson's Land- ing on the south side of Caddo Lake. Long-distance greet- ings were exchanged with the steamboat Dixie, which was waiting for daylight in a sheltered cove. Capt. Thornton Jacobs was a cautious sort, who did not believe nighttime crossings of the Caddo were worth the risk. Pilot William Swain and steersman Joe Lodwick were in the pilot house around midnight, when Lodwick smelled smoke. Searching for the source, he discovered the hay bales on the larboard or loading side of the deck had caught fire appar- ently from sparks given off by the pine knots. The pair quickly sounded the alarm and turned the Mittie Ste- phens toward land. Crew members rushed on deck to douse the flames but to no avail as the fire raged ARBREY COMPLETES MARINE GRADUATION Hays High School class of 2015 gradu- ate and Buda resident Colby Ardrey completed graduation from the U.S. Marine Corps on Jan. 8 at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, CA. In addition, Ardrey, a private first class, com- pleted his requirements for Eagle Scout in August 2015. His Eagle project was the installation of the crushed granite walkway and cedar fence along the parking lot of the Buda Library, which was designed to reduce foot traffic on on the lawn. While home on leave, Ardrey attended his Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony on Jan. 12. Ardrey returns to Camp Pendleton, then will go on to Twentynine Palms, CA for further training and education in com- munications. While in boot camp, Ardrey quali- fied as Expert Marksman on Edson Range at Camp Pendleton, and was a fire team leader. Thyme f....~ , . ..~ ~!., ~,?.~. ~ 726 Manic haca.Rd: Austi i 8748 (on the out of control. Twenty feet from shore, the blazing bow hit bot- tom in three feet of water. The pilot and steersman kept the paddle wheels turning in a desperate attempt to drive the ship onto land. With the fire closing in and cut off from the rest of the ves- sel, Swain and Lodwick jumped into the pitch- black lake and swam the short distance to safety. In spite of the chaos, the clear-thinking ship's carpenter remembered the gunpowder in the hold. He saved countless lives by singlehandedly wrestling the kegs over- board. Panic-stricken pas- sengers retreated to the stern or rear of the Mittie Stephens, where the lake was eight to ten feet deep. Most of those that went over the side were crushed to death by the paddle wheels or drowned not knowing how close they were to shallow water and dry land. Several survivors owed their lives to a pass- ing horse and rider, who saved them one by one from a watery grave. The vast majority of fatali- ties were women and small children that clung to their mothers. Lodwick later spoke of the women's "strange infatu- ation with the burning boat" and how nothingsmoldering hulk bumed could induce them "toto the water line. Capt. leap overboard, their only ]acobs transported 43 means of escape. Onlysurvivors to Jefferson and four were returned the next day Lodwick later saved, with grappling hooks to probably retrieve the bodies. The spokeofthe from their official death toll was 61, being on but estimates ranged as women's "strange thelower highas70. infatuation with deck." However, no one had Another a bad word to say about the burning boat" eyewitness Capt. Kellogg and his recalled crew, who were praised and how nothing watching for their cool-headed could induce "the poorcourage. Grasping at creaturesstraws, one newspaper them "to leap as the blamed the tragedy on flames "the passions of the overboard, their swept American people for only means of over them, rapid transit, reckless of some life and limb." escape." with out- stretched Bartee welcomes your arms and comments and questions others meekly yielding to at the inevitable death." or P.O. Box 152, Friend- When the Dixie swood, TX 77549 and reached the scene, the inuites you to visit his web Mittie Stephens was a site at Texas Crossword and Sudoku sponsored by , LP 4 1 1 ,i!iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!i!i iiiiii!iliiii!iiiili)iiiiiiiiiii !~!~!!!iiiiiiiiii!ili!i!iiiiiiiii! i!ili!iii!i!i!iii!i!i!iiiiiii!iiii ili!iii!i!i!i!iiiii!iiiiiiiiiiiiii iiii!i;ililili!iiiiiiiiiii]iiii!i] See Solution on 3C iiiiiiiiiiii!ill ;i~iiii!iiii~i~i~iiii!ii~ii!iiiii!ili ii)ii!i!ilili!i!i!i!i!iiiii!i!iii!ii i~i~!~)i~!iii!iii!i!i!i!i!i!!!!!iii!i 1 iiiiiiiiiiiii!iiiiiiiii!iiiiiiiiii !iiiiiiiii!iliiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!iiiii!i !i~i~i!ii!iiiii~iiiiiii~iiiiiii!i ililiiiiiiiiiii!iiiiiiiiiiiii!iill N ACROSS 1 this actor Andrews was in "Laura" with TX Gene Tierney 5 TX-based "Giant" was an film 6 TX Dabney film: " to Five" (1980) 7 golf ball holders 8 state fair me, (abbr.) 9 African hunting expedition (2 wds.) 16 TXism: "1 that like an armadillo needs an interstate" 18 TXism: "hunkered down and __ go" 20 Parkland Hospital's receiving area for the injured (abbr.) 21 A&M started as a grant college 22 Houston Oilers old league (abbr.) 24 E. Myers designed the state capitol 30 bad dream 34 airline once head- quartered in Dallas (abbr.) 35 "42" tile piece 36 TX "Moonraker" actress Chiles 37 TX Luby's CEO at time of '91 killings 39 abrasive ABC reporter from TX 43 consumers expect after X-mas (2 wds.) 44 most secure 45 TXism: "cut some slack" 46 once a Texarkana AM 47 what the faucet did before it was fixed 49 Boerne has a llama, kid, and fair 52 TXism: "let' rip!" 53 Ozona football class 54 a hot time at the spa 55 TX Gale Storm TV show: __ __ Margie" 58 San Marcos dance hall: Cheyenne ____ Club 59 LBJ's party (abbr) 60 whiz 61 road curve DOWN 1 home of TWU and UNT 2 TXism: ?just down the road _ __ 3 teen age 4 high poker cards 9 "Cowpokes" artist Reid (init.) 10 TXism: " __ away" (save) 11 male sheep (2 wds.) 12 former Dallas- based oil co., now Alert USA 13 TX Cullen Davis was accused of killing this daughter of Priscilla 1 2 5 6 7 3 __m m 8 __ m _m 16 m 2O 29 30 40 41 --m" 14 a TX Gatlin (init.) 15 TXism: "call __ _ day" (quit) 17 football precision dancers (2 wds.) 19 film about TX woman: "Son Starr" 23 lumber is sold by the foot 24 TV horse: Mr. __ 25 __ Ebanos, TX 26 Gov. Hogg's daughter 27 TXns Bowie, Hogg & Reeves 28 TX "Steak will try to make a comeback in 2016 29 TXism for"dancer" by Charley & Guy Orbison Copyright 2016 by Orbison Bros. m__-+-~ 21 57 37 46 51 38 31 Brazes means "arms of 32 TXism: "he's lying through __ teeth" 33 this Dodger Carl was a TX Nokona ball glove signee 38 TX Trini Lopez also sang "La P,1256 40 err. for some TX teachers (abbr.) 41 "and ye shall receive" 42 Shepherd, TX newspaper: San Jacinto 48 TXism: "never in all my born __ 50 Texans mess of chili 51 TXism: "he's of spit and vinegar" (energetic) 56 big mountain cabin 57 before TX 7-11's slurpees See Solution on 3C + 2 t | I lill i[ II