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Entries - Entry Category: Water - Starting with P

Pennsylvania [Steamboat]

The Pennsylvania was a steamboat that burst a boiler and burned on the Mississippi River near Ship Island north of Helena (Phillips County) on June 13, 1858, resulting in the deaths of 160 passengers and crew members, including the younger brother of famed author Mark Twain. The Pennsylvania was a 486-ton sidewheel paddleboat. Its hull was constructed at Shousetown, Pennsylvania, and it was finished out at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1854. The Pennsylvania was 247 feet long and thirty-two feet wide with a 6.3-foot draft. It originally ran between Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, Ohio, but in 1858 switched to runs between St. Louis, Missouri, and New Orleans, Louisiana. John Klinefelter was the steamboat’s captain. Samuel Clemens, who wrote under the pen name …

Persian [Steamboat]

The steamboat Persian suffered a deadly boiler explosion on the Mississippi River near Napoleon (Desha County) in 1840, costing the lives of thirty passengers and crew members. On the night of November 7, 1840, the steamboat Persian stopped near Napoleon to take on wood to fire its boilers. The vessel was about three miles below Napoleon when a boiler flue collapsed, releasing scalding steam and water that killed six people instantly and left dozens of others with dreadful injuries. The ship’s captain, described as “one of the best men of his vocation on the western water,” was asleep at the time of the accident. Several of the Persian’s firemen claimed that the pilot was drunk. A passenger on another vessel …

Pocahontas [Steamboat]

The Pocahontas was a steamboat that ran between New Orleans, Louisiana, and cities along the Arkansas River. In 1852, the vessel suffered two fatal accidents, the second of which resulted in its destruction. The Pocahontas was a 397-ton sidewheel paddleboat that was constructed in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1849. By early 1852, the vessel was one of only three steamboats “running in the Arkansas river and New Orleans trade,” with Captain H. J. (or H. S.) Moore offering service to Little Rock (Pulaski County), Van Buren (Crawford County), Fort Smith (Sebastian County), and Fort Gibson, Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma). The Pocahontas’s first accident occurred on March 14, 1852, as the steamboat left the woodyard at Hog Thief Bend on the Arkansas …