Cannelton (Lafayette Spring), IN Steamer MECHANIC Sinking, May 1825
LOSS OF THE STEAMBOAT MECHANIC.
(WITH GENERAL LAFAYETTE ON BOARD.)
The steamboat Mechanic had been chartered at Nashville for the conveyance of General Lafayette and suite to Marietta, Ohio. She departed from the former place on Friday morning, May 6th, 1825, having on board, besides her officers and crew, General Lafayette, General Carroll and staff, Governor Coles, of Illinois, General O'Fallon, Major Nash, of Missouri, and several other gentlemen as passengers. On the following Sunday, about 12 o'clock, midnight, while the steamer was ascending the Ohio, and when near the mouth of Deer Creek, about one hundred and twenty-five miles below Louisville, a severe shock was felt by the persons on board, and it was soon ascertained that the boat had struck some object under the surface of the water. The commander, Capt. Hall, presently announced to the passengers in the cabin that the boat had snagged. Capt. Hall then caused the yawl to be made ready to convey General Lafayette and the other passengers ashore. In the meanwhile, the General had been aroused from his slumbers, and was soon prepared to leave the steamer. As the night was very dark, and great confusion prevailed on board, General Lafayette, while attempting to descend into the yawl, was precipitated into the river and would have been drowned but for the assistance of one of the deck hands, whose name we have been unable to ascertain. The General, although far advanced in age, was able to keep himself above water until help arrived. He lost eight thousand dollars in money, besides his carriage, clothing, &c., but finally reached the shore in safety.
While Capt. Hall was devoting all his attention to the preservation of his passengers, his desk, containing one thousand three hundred dollars, was lost overboard and was never recovered.
Lloyd's Steamboat Directory and Disasters on the Western Waters, Cincinnati, Ohio; James T. Lloyd & Co, 1856, pages 260-261
Historical Marker Text:
LAFAYETTE AND HIS PARTY SPENT THE NIGHT IN THIS COMMUNITY AFTER THE STEAMER MECHANIC SANK IN THE OHIO RIVER MAY 9,1825.
PIONEERS CAME FROM MILES AROUND TO VISIT HIM AT THIS SPRING BEFORE HE DEPARTED THE FOLLOWING DAY ON A PASSING STEAMER.
FROM THIS HISTORIC SPOT LAFAYETTE SPRING CHAPTER, D.A.R., TAKES ITS NAME
ERECTED BY LAFAYETTE SPRING CHAPTER, D.A.R.