Memphis, TN Steamer GOLDEN CITY Fire, Mar 1882



The Golden City destroyed by fire - flames spreading with terrible rapidity - the loss of life not definitely known - scenes on the burning boat.

Memphis, Tenn., March 30 The Cincinnati and New Orleans packet Golden City, enroute from New Orleans to Cincinnati, was burned at the wharf at 4:30 o'clock this morning. It is believed that about 35 lives were lost, the victims being principally women and children. The steamer when approaching the wharf this morning at 4:30 o'clock, was discovered to be on fire by the second engineer, Albert Kelley, who immediately informed Capt. Bryce Purcell, Sr., the pilot on watch. The boat's bow was at once headed for the shore, and in four minutes afterward she touched the wharf at the foot of Berle street, where the coal fleet is moored. A line was hastily thrown and made fast to one of the coal barges, but the current being swift, it soon parted, and the burning steamer floated on down the river a mass of flames, with many of her passengers and crew aboard, who were unable to reach the shore and were lost.

The Golden City left New Orleans last Saturday en route to Cincinnati. She carried a crew of about 60. She had on board 40 cabin passengers, 15 of whom were ladies, and 9 children. Her cargo consisted of 300 tons, among which was a lot of jute. The fire is said to have its origin in this combustible material. Among those known to have been lost are the following: BOYD, ANNA, colored chamber-maid and her assistant. CAMPBELL, MISS. CRARY, MRS., of Cincinnati. CRARY, MISS LUELLA, of Cincinnati. CRONE, J. C., owner of a side-show to Stowe's Circus. KELLY, ALBERT, second engineer. He it was who first discovered the fire and gave the alarm. He remained at his post until out off by the flames. KOUNZ, MRS. L. E., and three children. MRS KOUNZ was the wife of Capt. Kounz, a well known steam boat owner. MONAHAN, DR., of Jackson, Ohio, and wife. PERCIVAL, MRS. HELEN. SMITH, MRS ANNA, of Massachusetts. STOWE, W. H., wife and two children. MR. STOWE was famous as a singing clown, and was on his way to New Orleans with his wife and two children, having just been released from Natchez, where they had been imprisoned by the floods. He came of a family of performers, and was also known as a lightning-change artist, performing in variety theatres during the Winter season. His last appearance in New York was at Bunnell's Museum. He had traveled all over the world, having been connected with Barnum's , Murray's, and Forepaugh's shows. In January, 1881 he joined Dan Rice, and they opened a show in New Orleans, but the firm was soon dissolved, and he became sole proprietor. He was traveling through the South when this accident occurred. His wife was LIZZIE MARCELLUS, the famous pad rider, and his two children were 6 and 8 years old. WOOD, OLLIE, of Henderson, Ky., and his wife. Three colored deck-hands and a negro servant boy.

The books of the steamer were lost, so it is impossible to gather a complete list of the lost and saved. All of the officers of the steamer, except Second Engineer ALBERT KELLY and three roustabouts, escaped.