Off Galveston, TX Steamer HENRY A JONES Disaster, Feb 1873



New Orleans, Feb. 15. -- The steam-boat Henry A. Jones, from Houston, for Galveston, with a cargo of 442 bales of cotton, was destroyed by fire this morning, in Galveston Bay. Twenty-one lives were lost, including Capt. J. J. PRICE, first clerk, and JAMES B. HOGAN, second clerk, both well known steam-boat men.
Narrative of a Survivor.

Galveston, Texas, Feb. 15. -- The steamer Charles Forbes brought to this city the rescued persons from the burnt steamer Henry A. Jones, among them Assistant Pilot DAVID G. GORDON, who was on watch at the time of the disaster. He gives the following particulars: When about three miles above Redfish Bar, at 4:50 this morning, the watchman on the lower deck called out, "Redfish light in sight." The watchman was in the act of casting the lead when an explosion was heard, something like the escape of steam, but more resembling the report of a gun. The first pilot, who was on the roof, ran down to the lower deck, and immediately sang out to the assistant pilot to make his escape as the boat was on fire. GORDON immediately left the wheel and ran downstairs. When he got below he found that the fire had wrapped the whole boat and cargo in a sheet of flames. He had only time to reach the barge. The Jones had 442 bales of cotton, a lot of hides, &c., on board, and a barge in tow.

About the time GORDON reached the barge it caught fire, and was cut loose from the burning boat and floated away. MURPHY, the engineer on duty, did not escape, and all is conjecture regarding the cause of the disaster. The probabilities are that the firewall gave way, and that the report heard by GORDON was caused by its fall. It is certain the whole vessel and cargo were in flames within five minutes after the first alarm. The following are known to be lost: J. J. PRICE, first clerk; JAMES HAGEN, second clerk; WILLIAM MURPHY, first engineer; PETER PATTERSON, cooper; JOHN CUMMINGS; D. TURNER; JOHN CALLAHAN; CHRISTOPHER SHELBY; JAMES BROWN; WILLIAM HUGHES; H. HARITY; WM. BRADY; WHITE CHARLEY, deckhands; BOB GILLES, fireman; W. McGUIRE, first cook; W. BISHOP, second cook; one boy, name unknown; ALFRED, cabin-boy; ALEXANDER BOTTS, cabin-boy; and two stokers, names unknown. There were forty-eight persons on board, and twenty-seven were saved.
Loss, $50,000, to the Direct Navigation Company; no insurance.

The New York Times New York 1873-02-16