Public Press 8 Mar 1882p7 c2 - - New Albany, Floyd County, Indiana
Steamboat: JAMES D. PARKER Pilot: Capt. Pink Varble
SINKING OF A STEAMBOAT
Submitted by Sue P. Carpenter 12 Aug 2004
The Steamer James D. Parker, Strikes on the Reef on the Ohio Falls and Sinks. The Boat a Total Loss
The James D. Parker, from Cincinnati to Memphis, was sunk in the channel under the railroad bridge shortly after noon on Sunday. The boat was being piloted over the falls by Capt. Pink Varble, and he accounts for the accident by the vessel refusing to answer her helm. She was drawing only six and a half of the eight feet of water in the chute. The boat lies at the lower end of Rubble Rock, with her bow up stream, and is a total loss.
The life-saving crew was at the scene in ten minutes, and by timely aid prevented loss of life. Amid the excitement the boat took fire but the efforts of those on board were sufficient to extinguish the flames before they had gained much headway. Captain Varble says:
"We passed down all right, steering nicely, until we entered the shoal water at the head of the chute, at which point the bow inclined a little to the left side; I immediately gave her the wheel, so as to give her a sheer to the starboard; she would not answer the helm, but kept sheering over to the port-side. I then saw she was bound to strike on the left side of the chute; I stopped the engines and waited a minute, until I saw she was not answering her helm. I had the engines reversed and succeeded in backing her, but to no good; the boat kept moving until she struck the left hand side of the roof. In the movement the boat sheered again, and by the time we got to the bridge she was broadside across the channel. About this time the mate informed me the boat was filling with water and sinking rapidly, and she sunk before I could get her to shoal water.
The boat was valued at about $25,000, and insured for half in Cincinnati. She as the property of the Cincinnati and Memphis Packet Company.
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