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Entry Category: Water - Starting with G

G. A. Thompson [Steamboat]

The G. A. Thomson was a sternwheel paddleboat that struck a snag and burned on the Arkansas River near Irwin’s Landing some fifty miles above Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) in the early hours of April 9, 1869; seventeen people died in the accident. The 366-ton steamboat G. A. Thomson was built at Eureka, Wisconsin, and finished at St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1865 for Captain James Alexander Fraser of Cincinnati, Ohio, and James H. Kelly of Racine, Wisconsin. The vessel normally ran between St. Louis and New Orleans. Kelly had apparently sold his interest in the G. A. Thomson to Captain Ben F. Davidson by mid-March 1869 when the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Davidson had accepted an offer from parties in …

General Bem [Steamboat]

The steamboat General Bem struck a snag below Walnut Bend on the Mississippi River in 1854, losing fifteen passengers. The General Bem was a 116-ton sidewheel steamboat built at Paducah, Kentucky, in 1849. The vessel was going downstream from Cincinnati, Ohio, heading for the Arkansas River under a full head of steam on January 3, 1854. As it approached the “Grand Cut-off” near Walnut Bend, east of Marianna (Lee County), at around 9:00 p.m., it struck a snag. According to reports, the General Bem “poised herself for a moment” on the snag and then “commenced swinging, in which operation she was torn into a thousand atoms.” The crew and several passengers rushed to the upper deck after the collision, with …

Greers Ferry Dam and Lake

Greers Ferry Dam on the Little Red River, approximately three miles north of Heber Springs (Cleburne County), is a concrete dam built between 1959 and 1962. The dam’s primary function is flood control, but it also serves as a hydroelectric power plant. Greers Ferry Lake, created as a result of the dam, is a popular recreational destination. The flow of the Little Red River was uncontrolled during the first half of the twentieth century, resulting in almost yearly flooding downstream; high water levels in the Little Red River could compound flooding problems further downstream along the White River. In 1938, Congress passed the Flood Control Act, which authorized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build dams on most of …

Gulnare and Westwood, Collision of

The steamboat Westwood ran into the steamer Gulnare in the early hours of September 8, 1844, at Walnut Bend above Helena (Phillips County), sinking the Gulnare and killing three passengers. The Gulnare, described as a “splendid, light draught and fast running steamer,” was heading up the Mississippi River with a full load of dry goods and towing a barge largely loaded with salt, heading toward St. Louis, Missouri. The vessel was at the foot of Walnut Bend around twenty miles north of Helena when the south-bound Westwood, a 249-ton paddleboat built in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1843, ran into the Gulnare’s starboard side across from the main hatch at around 1:00 a.m. on September 8, 1844. The Gulnare began to sink …