Napoleon, AR Area Steamboat BELLE ZANE Sinking, Jan 1845

Sinking of the Belle Zane


On the eighth of January, 1845, the steamboat Belle Zane, while on her way from Zanesville, Ohio, to New Orleans, struck a snag in the Mississippi, about twelve miles below the mouth of White river, and immediately turned bottom upward! This terrible accident took place in the middle of an exceedingly cold night. Of ninety persons who were on board a moment before the disaster, only fifty escaped drowning—and many of those who succeeded in reaching the shore were afterwards frozen to death. At the time the boat was snagged, the passengers were all in their berths ; those who were able to extricate themselves when the boat suddenly turned over, had scarcely any clothing to protect them from the inclemency of the weather. No situation could be more wretched than that of the people who escaped to the beach, almost naked, unsheltered and drenched with water on a freezing night in December. They remained in this miserable situation for nearly two hours, when the steamboat Diamond came down and took off all who remained alive, sixteen in number. There were five ladies on board, all of whom were saved in the yawl. The feet and hands of some of the survivors were so badly frozen that amputation was necessary.

The following is a list of those who perished, as far as their names could be ascertained :—Dr. Brant, Ohio ; Abner Jones, C. Banks, Mrs. Williams, two daughters and a colored slave, Miss. ; Hettie Frazier and cousin, name unknown, Boston ; Edward Bossing and son, Illinois ; Mrs. Wilkes and family, consisting of eight persons ; seven deck hands, fourteen slaves, and thirty other names unknown. Sixteen bodies were picked up, including four ladies, and buried on the banks of the Mississippi.

Lloyd's Steamboat Directory and Disasters on the Western Waters, Cincinnati, Ohio; James T. Lloyd & Co, 1856, pages 265-267