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Steamboat "Lucy Walker"

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    The Amis family (parents and three daughters) were passengers on the Lucy Walker when she blew up. Below is a quotation from the memoirs of Mary Amis, who was a baby at the time. Yes, I know that she got the month of the disaster wrong. Please forgive her; she was only a year old at the time.

    "When I was 11 months old, my father and mother left Warrenton and returned to Columbus, Miss. There were no railroads in those days, so they took the steamboat on the Ohio River to reach Cairo, where, they were to board a steamboat going down the Mississippi River. How the journey was continued, after leaving the Mississippi River boat, I do not know. They may possibly have gone as far as New Orleans, from there, to Mobile, and then, up the Tombigby to Columbus or, they may have landed at Vicksburg, and continued the trip by stage.

    I never remember hearing what route they took. In any case it must have been a long and tiresome journey, particularly, as it was in the hottest month, July. When the Lucy Walker, that was the Ohio Riverboat’s name, arrived opposite the town of New Albany, her boilers bursted, and the steamboat burnt to the water’s edge. We the only entire family saved. My father, being a good swimmer, swam to the shore, and returned with a small skiff, which he rescued my mother, Mammy, Sister Sallie and me. Sister Bettie was on deck at the time of the explosion, and was thought to have been killed, but on returning to the shore, was found safe and sound. A strange gentleman had swum ashore with her. My mother, in her great joy, neglected to ask the gentleman’s name, this she always regretted. She simply offered the stranger her purse which he refused."