Re: Ferryboat Landing Tragedy

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Posted by Webmaster on June 29, 2007 at 22:08:17:

In Reply to: Ferryboat Landing Tragedy posted by Webmaster on June 29, 2007 at 21:58:30:

No one in particular is to blame, and no one more deeply deplores the sad affair than does Mr. Johnson; and he will spare no expense that the bodies may be recovered and delivered to their families.

Mr. Barrett leaves a wife and three small children almost wholly unprovided for, and Mr. Higgins a wife and two children who were who were dependent upon his daily labor for support. Both were hard-working peaceable men, attending strictly to their own affairs, and leave a large circle of friends who could not speak other than words of praise in their behalf.

It was August 26, 1890, when Wilson Bros., extensive buyers of cattle, drove up a large herd from South Missouri at the south ferry landing seeking passage across the Osage.

Tom Johnson was still proprietor of the ferry, and he had Johnny Weitz in charge, with Bob Sullivan and Wm. Witt assisting. Most of the cattle had been brought across. Forty-three head of cattle remained on the south side. Mr. Johnson was standing on the north shore watching the operations, and when Mr. Weitz informed him from across the river that there were 53 more cattle to bring over, Mr. Johnson told him to put them all on the boat. The fateful order was obeyed.

According to a reliable version of the affair, the boat was a new one, about 50 feet long and had been used by Capt. R. M. Marshall with the Str. Hugo in the transportation of wheat. Mr. Johnson bought the boat for the ferry. On one side of the boat was a guard or walk-way, outside the railing. For some reason, the side of the boat with this guard, which extended out from the boat, was turned up-stream and that was responsible for the capsizing. No sooner had the boat gotten well under way than the 43 head of cattle began milling around on the boat, crowding the upper side until the current caught the top of the guard. In an instant the boat had turned bottom-side up. Sullivan and Witt escaped with little difficulty, but Weitz was caught underneath the boat between the banisters among all the cattle. He was almost drowned before he could extricate himself. He finally freed himself and came up near the side of the boat and was dragged up by his companions on top of the capsized boat, where he fell in an exhausted condition.

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