HARDY BRYAN CROOM

A MAN OF MEANS, TALENT AND HISTORY

Hardy Bryan Croom

Portrait, ca 1835

Did you know that there is a flower named after a Croom? Yes, the Croomia. Of course, you already knew that if you read Judge Grady's address to the 1937 Croom Reunion printed in Doris Croom Outlaw's book, The Croom Family. The Croomia—it's botanical name is Croomia pauciflora—is a protected plant in the state of Georgia and perhaps in some other states as well. While there have been many illustrious descendants of Daniel Croom over the past few centuries, one particular individual stands out in my research: Hardy Bryan Croom of Lenoir County, born 8 October 1797, a son of William and Mary Bryan Croom. William was a son of Major Croom and his second wife, Susannah Hardee Enlow, a widow of Abraham Enloe.  Hardy Bryan Croom was a great-grandson of ole Daniel Croom of Virginia, the progenitor of the Croom Clan.

The following passage was copied from the Florida Law Journal, Vol IX, May 1935, No.5:

Hardy Bryan Croom was born in Lenoir County, North Carolina on October 8, 1797. He was graduated with an A. B. degree at the University of North Carolina in the class of 1817; he also received an A.M. degree from that institution in 1820. He derived a handsome fortune from the estate of his father, William Croom. In 1821 he married Frances Smith, the daughter of Nathan Smith, a wealthy citizen of New Bern, NC. He had large planting interests in Lenoir County, NC and represented that county in the state senate in 1828. He resigned his seat in the senate to go to Florida to look after investments. In 1831 he sold his plantation in Lenoir County and removed his plantation negroes to Florida. He divided his time among the enjoyment of his family circle, the care of his estate and his literary pursuits. Geology, mineralogy and botany were his favorite subjects. He was a member of the Philosophical Society of SC, a corresponding member of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, and of the New York Lyceum of Natural History. He was interested in the flora of Florida. In 1832 he obtained a plantation in Florida on the west bank of the Apalachicola River near Marianna. He also purchased and began the development of a plantation in Leon County, which he was induced to purchase "on account of its desirable location for a family residence, being but three miles distant from the City of Tallahassee, the capital of the Territory, in the centre of good society, pleasantly situated on the border of Lake Lafayette, and combining many advantages for a permanent family seat."

It was in passing from this plantation to the one near Quincy that he discovered one of the rarest of coniferous trees, which he named Toreya taxifolium. There are four species of this tree, of remarkable distribution, according to the "New International Encyclopedia," second edition. All the species are very local and very widely separated, occurring in restricted localities in China, Japan, California and Florida. After Mr. Croom ascertained that it was the first discovered in the United States of this species of coniferous tree, he desired that it should bear the name of Dr. John Torrey, a famous botanist of that time living in the city of New York, with whom he had collaborated in botanical work. Mr. Croom also discovered in Florida the botanically curious little plant which Dr. Torrey named Croomia panciflora in his honor.

On October 7, 1837, Hardy Bryan Croom, his wife Frances, and their three children, Henrietta Mary, age 15, William Henry, age 10, and Justina Rosa, age 7, boarded the steam packet, Home, bound from New York City to Charleston. Heavy seas off of North Carolina – effects of a hurricane – resulted in the boat springing leaks of such magnitude that the combined efforts of the crew and the passengers to bail the water were in vain. In the darkness and raging wind of the night of October 9, 1837, Captain White commanded that the Home be beached to save the passengers and crew. The Home grounded in the breakers off of Cape Hatteras about 100 yards from shore. Very quickly the in-coming waves broke up the steam packet. None of the Croom family was among the 20 passengers and 20 crew, including Captain White, who reached safety that night. A copy of a published account of the tragic loss of the Home is included elsewhere in this book.

Hardy Bryan Croom died at a relatively young age and we can imagine that he very likely would have made many more contributions to the sciences, particularly in the field of botany, had he lived a normal life span. At the time of his death, his name was well-known in many scientific circles; however his name was to become known to an even larger extent in legal circles after his death. Lawyers and judges would debate the loss of the steamboat Home and Mr. Croom's death for the next 20 years.

The following excerpts were copied from the Florida Law Journal, Vol IX May, 1935, No. 5
 (inserted parenthetical comments are those of this writer):

THE STEAMBOAT HOME


PRESUMPTIONS TO ORDER OF DEATH IN A COMMON CALAMITY


By D. H. Redfearn of the Miami, Florida, Bar

Based on the famous Croom case, 7 Fla. 81, decided by the Supreme Court of Florida in 1857.

As a result of the wreck of the steamboat Home, one of the most interesting cases in the legal history of Florida was filed in the circuit court of Leon County on the 24th day of January, 1839. In this case Henrietta Smith, the maternal grandmother, and Elizabeth M Armistead, the maternal aunt of the three Croom children, filed a bill of equity against the sister and the brothers of Hardy Bryan Croom, deceased, for the purpose of determining who was entitled to his estate. They alleged in their bill of complaint that the domicile of Hardy Bryan Croom at the time of his death was in the state of North Carolina; that all of his children survived him and inherited his estate; that William Henry Croom was the last survivor of the children, and, therefore, was the sole distributee of the personal property of his father, Hardy Bryan Croom; that his grandmother, Henrietta Smith, as the next of kin of William Henry, under the laws of North Carolina, was entitled to all of the personal property of the estate; that by the laws of Florida she inherited one moiety of two-thirds of the real estate in Florida which descended to William Henry immediately from his two sisters; that the complainant, Mrs. Armistead, inherited the other moiety of this two-thirds, under the statutes of descent in Florida, and that the defendants were entitled to the other one-third of the real estate which William Henry inherited immediately from his father, and not through his sisters.

The defendant Bryan Croom, brother of Hardy Bryan Croom, contended that this family had departed from North Carolina with the intention of making their domicile in the State of Florida; that for this reason, the domicile of Hardy and his family was not in North Carolina but was in Florida; that Hardy had survived his wife and children and that, under the laws of Florida, he, Bryan Croom, was entitled to the entire estate, as he had purchased the interest of his sister and brother in the estate.

It will be observed from the foregoing that the two main issues in this case were: first, whether the father, the mother, or one of the children was the last survivor; and, second, whether North Carolina or Florida was the domicile of the father at the date of death. If the father survived the other members of the family, then his estate went to his brothers and sister. If the mother survived the other members of the family, then she inherited the estate before her death, and upon her death it went to her relatives. If one or more of the children survived their parents, and if North Carolina was their domicile, all the personal property would be distributed to the maternal next of kin, under the laws of North Carolina then existing; but, if Florida was the domicile of this family, the personal property, which was the most valuable part of the estate, would be distributed between the maternal and the paternal next of kin, under the laws of Florida then in force. – (Some material omitted) –.  As stated above, the evidence of a number of survivors indicated that William Henry was the last of the family to die. However, there was some conflict in the evidence. On account of this conflict, and by reason of the fact that Mr. Croom was a good swimmer and the strongest member of the family, Judge Thomas F. King of the Southern Circuit, who was trial judge, decided in favor of the defendants and dismissed the bill of complaint. The complainants, Henrietta Smith and Elizabeth M. Armistead, then appealed to the Supreme Court of Florida and, in 1857, that court reversed the decree of the lower court and held that, in the common calamity in which the Croom family perished, Hardy Bryan Croom survived his wife, Frances, and his daughter, Justina Rosa; that the daughter, Henrietta Mary, and the son, William Henry, survived their father; that William Henry survived his sister, Henrietta Mary, and was the last survivor of the family; that the domicile of Hardy Bryan Croom on the date of his death was in the state of North Carolina, and not in the territory of Florida, and that the domicile of the father at the time of his death was the domicile of Henrietta Mary and William Henry, the two children who survived him. Under this decision, the mother of Mrs. Croom, Henrietta Smith, obtained all of the personal property, which was the most valuable part of the estate, and one-eight of the real estate. Mrs. Elizabeth M. Armistead, the sister of Mrs. Croom was awarded one-eight of the real estate, and the heirs of Hardy Bryan Croom the remaining three-fourths. The real estate was governed by the laws of Florida, where it was located, and the personal property by the laws of North Carolina, the state of domicile.

This case was heard and determined in the Supreme Court of Florida by Justices Bird M. Pearson and Charles H. DuPont, and by Circuit Judge Jesse J. Finley of the Western Circuit, who sat in the place of Chief Justice Thomas Baltzell, who was disqualified.

(end of excerpts from Florida Law Journal)

 

Reporting the Loss of theSteamship Home and The Croom Family

In our "modern and enlightened age", we sit in front of television sets in our own homes and view reports of calamitous events throughout the world. Oftentimes, we witness such events as they are actually happening. The narration accompanying the graphic scenes bombarding our senses seems sterile and often uncaring. By comparison, read the account of the loss of the steamboat Home which I have included in the following pages. This publication, the styles of several writers, choice of words and the readers' appetite for this news account most likely were representative of such reporting in that period. Note in the reading of this account the reference to New York as "this community." The city was surely much less populated in those times.

AUTHENTIC ACCOUNT
of the loss of
STEAM PACKET HOME,
FROM NEW YORK TO CHARLESTON.
COMPILED FROM VARIOUS SOURCES:
Together with
MANY FACTS, INCIDENTS, AND ANECDOTES
BY JAS. W. HALE.
- - - - -
NEW YORK
PUBLISHED AND SOLD, WHOLESALE AN RETAIL,
AT HALE'S NEWS ROOM, CORNER OF WALL AND WATERS STREET.
- - - - -
Printed by J. F. Trow, 36 Ann-street.
- - - - -
1837.
- - - - -

Entered, according to Acct of Congress, in the year 1837 by John F. Trow, in the Clerk's office of the District Court of the Southern District of New York.

INTRODUCTION.

The melancholy loss of the steam packet Home, with her devoted passengers, has excited the most universal sympathy in this community, and indeed through every part of the country. It has been the object of the compiler of this little work, to throw into this form, for preservation, such facts as have come to his knowledge through the newspapers, together with many others obtained from survivors, or from those who had friends on board. Many interesting articles in this book have never before appeared in print, and it was thought that the friends of those who perished would wish to preserve an account of the disastrous event, by which so many interesting ties were suddenly rent asunder, and such a number of beings were in a moment sent on the voyage of eternity.

From the very short time which was given to prepare these pages, it was found impossible to obtain particulars relative to all who were lost, although such labor was spent in endeavoring to do so. The compiler therefore request that any persons who have in their possession, any interesting facts, relative to his most afflicting event, would communicate them to him forthwith at his News Room, corner of Wall and Water Streets, in order that they may be inserted in the next edition.

New York, Oct. 24, 1837.
- - - - -
LOSS OF THE HOME

The splendid Steam Packet Home sailed from the harbor of New York on Saturday, Oct. 7th, for Charleston, commanded by Captain Carleton White, with the following persons on board as passengers: Messrs C. C. Cady, J. Root, W. H. Tileston, J. Johnson, Jr., T. Smith, J. M. Roll, T. Anderson, James Cokes, Vanderzee, J. D. Roland, W. S. Read, Capt. Hill, Kennedy, C. Drayton, Walker, Fuller, Cohan, Benedict, Coher, A. Lovegreen, J. Holmes, J. Boyd, G. H. Palmer, A. C. Bangs, Whiting, Reverend C. Cowls, B. B. Hussy & Lady, C. Williams, H. B. Croom & Lady, Miss Croom, H. Anderson, Weld, O. H. Prince, Clock, J. Paine, A. F. Bostwick, Miss Levy, Miss M. Levy, Mrs. Commack, Mrs. Whiting, Mrs. Hill, Miss Stow, Miss Roberts, Mrs. Prince, Mrs. Boyd, Mrs. Faugh, Mrs. Flynn & two Daughters, Mrs. Miller, Miss M. Croom, Mrs. Levy, Mrs. Schroeder, Mrs. Bondo, Mrs. Rivere, Mrs. Lacoste, Mr. Desabye, lady & Servant, A. Desabye, f. Desabye, Captain Salter, Professor Nott & Lady, Master Croom, C. Quin, Mr. Smith, Larocque, Broquet, lady, child & Servant, P. Domingues, Labadie, Walton, Hazard, Cawthers, Finn,

Note. This list is copied from the newspapers, and is known that some of the names are incorrectly spelled.

The compiler of this sent to the office of the Home to obtain the names of the officers, crew, and firemen of the boat, and regrets to say that he could not procure them. Probably it is not customary to keep a record of the names of persons engaged on board steam-boats, as is the case with vessels going to foreign ports.

It is impossible to portray the agonized feelings which pervaded the community on receipt of the dreadful intelligence of the wreck. Few there are among us, who did not know personally or by report, some of the wretched sufferers. But if there was consternation and dismay amoung those who were safe, what must have been the feelings of those exposed to the howling storm-who, cut off from all human assistance, could only look forward to the promises of an ever-merciful God.

"Many may imagine (says the Star) but few describe, the horrors of that dreadful night. The fearful raging of the Hurricane - the foam of the sea and the white caps of the billows breaking on the rocky shore - the light bark dashing her ribs on the pebbled beach, and rent asunder by repeated shocks - the screams of despairing souls shut out from hope - the uplifted eve to heaven - the silent prayer - the clinging of mother to daughter, and father to child - the roar of the tempest - the pale glimmering of the full moon shedding its rays on the appalling sight - the hoarse voice of the mariners "piercing the night's dull ear."and the last shriek of the dying as the mountain billows swept them into the deep - closes this dreadful scene, terrible to think upon much less to behold. The will of God be done.

The Home was an elegantly constructed vessel, and cost $115,000 -- only $35,000 of which was insured. She was built for Mr. James B. Allaire, of this city, and had only made two voyages to Charleston. That she was not the kind of vessel to withstand the tempestuous gales of the Atlantic, has proved fearfully true; but her fate was predicted, before she started on her first voyage. Much has been said in the newspapers, against the conduct of Capt. White, in taking his boat to sea, after having been aground at the entrance of the New York harbor - but, on that subject we shall not at present touch. Some remarks upon the construction of steam-boats for sea, will be made hereafter.

Owing to the speed of the Home, her very excellent accommodations, and the high character of Captain White as a commander, the number of passengers who started in her on her last and ill-fated voyage, was very great. In addition to those whose names have been published, there were, we understand, tow or three who went on board at a late hour: also several deck , or forward passengers, whose names we have been unable to obtain.

The weather was not very favourable on the 7th Oct., but it was presumed it would clear off by the next morning, some to visit friends from whom they had been long absent, on business or pleasure: some who had left their homes for the recovery of their health, others who had been usefully passing long months of study, to prepare themselves to make better in the business of life, and all filled with joyous expectation of a pleasant and speedy return to their friends: none dreaming that the adieus made here, were the last, or that those who looked upon them while leaving port, "would see them no more, for ever."

The following thrilling account of the sailing and wreck of the Home, was furnished to the editors of the New York Express, by Mr. John D. Roland, now of Alabama, formerly of this city, who was a passenger. The compiler was present when Mr. R. told the heart-rending tale, and oft would the big tear steal into his eye as he recounted the horrors of that awful scene.

Mr. Roland states that he went on board a total stranger to every person - that the boat left the dock at about five o'clock on Saturday afternoon, with a light wind, rather cloudy, and in going out, after passing the Narrows, she struck on the Roamer, where she lay four or five hours. He understood the next morning that she got off about 10 o'clock the previous night. Whether the boat received any injury while she lay on the Roamer or not, he does not know.

The Home then ran out past Sandy Hook and continued her course during Sunday, without anything happening worthy of notice - the weather being fine. At 10 P.M. the wind changed to the North East, blew hard, and the boat labored much and leaked some. On Monday Morning, made the land about 25 miles to the northward of Cape Hatteras, the sea very rough. The boat was then put off shore, and she ran out to sea for the purpose of getting round the Cape, and sheltering under the lee in smooth water. She stood to sea until 2 P.M. All hands during the time were at pumps, and all the passengers, women included, were bailing with buckets, pails, pans, etc., the leak, however increasing constantly.

It was then calculated that they had passed the outer Caper of Hatteras, and the boat was turned to shore to beach her, for the preservation of all on board. The sails were set, the wind on shore and the engine was working very slowly, and boat settling fast. With every possible exertion the water gained constantly. The boat worked and bent like a reed. The bows would work up and down three or four feet, and those best acquainted with her, expected that she would break in two every moment - that she would go down, and that all on board would perish.

During the whole of this time, the passengers cut up the blankets into strips for the purpose of lashing themselves to spars and to whatever else that ever there might be in the way, nothing withstanding the men were working (with pieces of cords and blankets around their bodies,) the leak increased and men kept on bailing, with faint hope of ultimate safety. All labored like heroes and rational beings, and no consternation or unnecessary alarm was manifested.

At 6 P.M. the water reached the engine, to the alarm of all, and extinguished the fires, when of course the machinery stopped. The boat was still out of sight of land, but was running with sails - the gale severe, and she laboring dreadfully. The greatest efforts were all the time made, by bailing, etc., and all were actively engaged, until 10 P.M. when the boat struck about a quarter of mile from, but in sight of, the outer breakers.

In an instant after the strike, all was utter confusion and alarm: men, women, and children screaming in the most agonizing manner. The scene was most heart-rending: women clinging to their husbands, children to their mother and death almost certain death before them. It was apparent that the boat could not hold together but a few moments, and that few, very few could under any circumstances be saved. The wind blew a gale -- the sea was high, and there were only three boats, and one of them had been stove.

All were engaged in efforts to save their lives - some lashing themselves to spars and all in making preparations for throwing themselves into the sea. Our informant, made his calculations, that his only chance was in swimming ashore, and he accordingly threw off his clothes but his shirt and pantaloose, and before and had left the wreck, threw himself into the water. He found the sea so high that he could with difficulty encounter it, but on reaching the surf, he came near perishing. He, however, landed in safety, though the current took him about a mile and a half to the southward of the wreck.

On reaching the shore, Mr. Roland found all manner of pieces thrown up, from which it was evident that the boat had broken up. One man he pulled out of the surf. Only two persons on board had life preservers, both of whom were saved - one of them, however, had no use for his, as he went ashore on the forecastle. The other person was saved (although he could not swim) by means of his life preserver.

The boat fortunately had a high forecastle, on which a number of the crew and passengers had collected. This fortunately parted entire, and all or nearly all on it, some eight or ten persons at least, were ashore, and were saved - Captain White amoung the number. It was mere accident that these persons were saved, for it was not considered any safer place than any or many other parts of the boat.

The boat, almost immediately on striking, went to pieces. Her keel and kelson both drifted ashore about a mile from the wreck. About twenty bodies were found, men and women - among them an infant and the chief mate - all of whom were decently interred in the sand, without commits. The shore, for some miles to southward, was covered with fragments. The engine of the boat was to be seen, but every vestige of the vessel had vanished.

Of the three small boats belonging to the Home, one was stove by the violence of the gale as she hung in the davits, one other filled alongside, and the other was cast off with a number of passengers in her, but she was upset in the surf, and only one person was saved. One of the stewards swam safe ashore naked, and nearly afterwards perished with cold.

The scene the next morning was too horrid to describe. The engine and boiler being the only unbroken relics of what was the beautiful packet Home. The shore was lined with bodies constantly coming up. All hands were engaged in collecting them together. The survivors in groups were named, famished, and exhausted. The few inhabitants appeared very friendly, but the many trunks that came on shore were empty, and whether they had been robbed or not was not known.

Mr. Roland further states, that he is unable to tell in what manner the survivors generally got ashore, as he had but little conversation with them on the beach, and left for the North before the rest, in company with one other gentleman only, Mr. Homes. He is very confident, however, that with buoyant mattresses, or life preservers, most would have been carried over the surf in safety.

Capt. White, immediately after he got on shore, wrote the following letter to the owners of the Homes:

To Mr. James P. Allaire, New York.

Ocracoke, (N.C.) Oct. 10th

Dear Sir: I have now the painful duty of informing you of the total loss of the steam packet Home, and the lives of most of the Passengers and crews. The following passengers are saved: Mr. H. Vanderzee, New York; Capt. John Salter, Portsmouth, N.H.; Capt. Alfred Hill, Do.; I. S. Cohen, Columbia, S.C.; Andrew A. Lovegreen, Charleston; Charles Drayton, Do.; B. B. Hussey; Thomas S. Smith, Do.; Mrs. Locsote, Do.; C. C. Cady, Montgomery, Ala.; J. D. Roland, New York; James Johnson, Jr., Boston; James Bishop, New York; Darius Clar, Athens, Ga.; William S. Read, New Haven, Conn.; James Holmes, New York; John Mather, Do.; Hiram Anderson, Do; Conrad Quin, Jersey City.

Twenty passengers are all we can find. The following persons of the crew were saved: Firemen. Levi Miller, Stanford, Conn.; William Bloom, New York; Thomas Smith, New York; Timothy Stone, Do. Deck Hands Michael Burns, James Duffee, John Trust, Samuel ______, Calvin Marvin, boy, New York, David Milne, Steward; and six waiters (names not given); making 18 belonging to the boat. 20-Passengers 19-Hands 1-Captain 40 souls saved.

There can be very little saved from the wreck. We had a heavy gale of wind after leaving New York, from N.E. The boat sprung a leak a little to the northward of Hatteras. At first we were able to pump the water out as fast as it came in, but the leak soon increased so that it gained very fast on us. We scuttled the cabin floors, and all hands, passengers, gentlemen, and ladies, commenced bailing with buckets, kettles, etc. but the water soon came up to the furnace, and put the fires out, and we were obliged to run under sails only. By this time we come to the shore, the water was over the cabin floors, and we ran her head on, but owing to her having so much water in the she stopped in the outer breakers. The first sea struck, she went all to pieces, and I suppose, about 80 souls were drowned. Both Mates and all three of the Engineers were lost. Most of the passengers saved, have lost all of their baggage,. I lost every thing, have nothing but one pair of pantaloons, and a shirt that I had on when I was washed ashore. Yours respectfully, in haste, Carleton White.

After the survivors reached the shore, they separated in various directions - some to Raleigh, N.C. others to New Bern - two as before stated, come to New York, and the remainder made their way towards Charleston, by the best conveyances they could find.

The following very interesting particulars respecting many of these ill-fated beings, have been furnished us by friends of parties, or have been gathered from the various newspapers. Most of the facts however are now for the first time published.

Mr. Vanderzee, who has arrived at Charleston, communicated the following facts for publication. He says:

At 11 o'clock at night, the Home grounded about 100 yards from the shore. The ladies had all been requested to go forward, as the place where they were more likely to reach the shore, being nearest the beach, but a heavy sea struck her there, and swept nearly one half of them into the sea and they were drowned. One boat was stove at this time. Another boat was launched, with two or three persons in it, but capsized. The long boat was then put overboard, filled with persons, twenty five in number, it is supposed, but did not get 15 feet from the side of the steamer before she upset, and it is the belief of our informant, that not one of the individuals in her ever reached the shore. The sea was breaking over the boat at this time with tremendous force, and pieces of her were breaking off at times, and floating towards the shore, on some of which persons were clinging. One lady with a child in her arms was in the act of mounting the stairs to the upper deck when the smoke stack fell, and doubtless killed her and her child, on the spot. Some few of the ladies were lashed to the boat, Mrs. Schroeder was confined in this manner to one of the braces of the boat, and another lady was tied to the same piece of timber. Mr. _____ was standing near them when the latter lady slipped along the brace so that the water broke over her. Mr. V. seized her by the clothes, and held her up for some time, and made every exertion that was possible to release her, but failed. She herself, endeavored to unloose the rope, but was unable to do so, and shortly afterwards the brace broke off from the boat, and went towards the shore, Mrs. Schroeder still fastened to it, while her unfortunate companion, slipped off and was lost. Mrs. S. after striking the beach, with great presence of mind, drew the timber up on the beach so far as to prevent it from being washed away by the waves, and thus was saved.

The hull of the boat broke into three pieces, and the shore was completely strewed with portions of the wreck, baggage, and etc. for four or six miles distant the next morning.

Captain White, with six or seven other persons clung to a piece of the forward part of the boat and reached the beach in safety. Mrs. Lacoste floated ashore nearly exhausted, and had she not been taken up would most probably have perished.

Mr. Lovegreen was on the upper deck and tolled the bell until almost every one had left her, when he sprung off and swam ashore.

Rev. George Cowles, (says the Journal of Commerce,) was a gentleman formerly well known to us and for two or three years until his health failed, was pastor of a Congregational Church in Danvers, Mass. His amiable lady was a sister of the Rev. Preceptor Phillips Academy, Andover. It is stated in the New York Observer, that when last seen, they were reclining side by side on the luggage, and a kind providence permitted a survivor to report, as the last words which fell from the lips of Mr. Cowles - "He that trusts in Jesus is safe, even in the perils of the sea."

Of the above gentleman and lady, the Commercial Advertiser remarks, "None have gone to their watery grave more justly esteemed or sincerely beloved -- none who habitually lived more expectant or better prepared for the coming of the son of man."

Another youthful aspirant for fame, thus suddenly cut off in the freshness of life was Mr. Kennedy of Charleston. He was a member of the Sophomore Class in Yale College, and was on his way to his home, where he designed to spend the winter.

Professor Nott and Lady were on their return to the south, after passing the summer recess of the Columbia (South Carolina) college -- as has been usual with them -- in our more healthy region. Mr. Nott was a person pf peculiar amiableness and intelligence. He traveled extensively, and his writings after his return to his native land had gained him much celebrity. It was in Belgium that he formed his matrimonial alliance, and Mrs. Nott though a native of that country, died with many a friend in ours, which she some years ago adopted as her own. The Professor himself was a native of South Carolina, where his father was a judge. He had been a considerable time a resident in Columbia, and contributed largely to the Southern Review, one of the most eminent of our critical periodicals. He published his "Odds and Ends from the Knapsack of Thomas Singularity," about two years since, through the Harpers: and left with them the manuscript of another work, which is speedily to appear and will be read with a deeper interest, in consequence of the melancholy fate of its author. They left a young family behind them: and numberless friends of their lamented parents will deeply sympathize in their bereavement.

The above sketch of Professor Nott is taken from the Sunday Morning News.

Mr. Richard F. Bostick (erroneously in the list of passengers, A. F. Bostwick) came to this city on the 4th Oct. In company with Miss Roberts: they stopped at the Astor House, and left together on the afternoon the Home sailed. The register of the establishment states they were both from South Carolina.

Mr. S. G. Fuller of South Carolina came to this city on the 31st Aug. He was about 28 years of age, and has friends residing in Brooklyn where he spent much of his time.

Mr. A. C. Bangs, was a very promising young man, about 19 years of age, son of Rev. Heman Bangs of Hartford, Conn. And nephew of Rev. Dr. Bangs of this city.

Mr. Phillip S. Cohen of Charleston, S.C. who was lost was the younger brother of Mr. Issac S. Cohen, of Columbia, who was fortunately preserved. Both brothers were on board the William Gibbons when she was wrecked, and narrowly escaped with their lives. We understand that their friends at time were very urgent in their solicitations that they should not return in the Home. Alas: That their entreaties were of no avail.

Hon. Geo. H. Prince and Lady, who with their servant were lost, had spent the summer at the north, where Mr. Prince was superintending the publication of the laws of Georgia. He was formerly U. S. Senator from that state, and was highly esteemed for his virtues, talents, and learning.

Mr. P. Anderson was a merchant belonging to Columbia, S. C.

Miss Henrietta Croom, was 16 years of age, a young lady of great personal accomplishments, and very beautiful. She was a native of North Carolina, and had been about three years in this city where she had acquired an excellent education at the boarding school of Madame Chegaray. By her amiable deportment and sweetness of manner, she had formed for herself an admiring host of ardent friends. The fair vision of the future had just opened to her view, and many were the promises made by this lovely girl, to return soon to re-visit those who had become to her as sisters and brothers -- but relentless death has severed these promises, for this world - but they will meet in another and better never more to separate.

Mr. and Mrs. Croom, who were lost, were the parents of the young lady above mentioned. Their son, a fine youth also perished. The father Mr. H. B. Croom was a member of the Lyceum of Natural History in this city, and a very worthy man. He was a resident of Florida but being in feeble health, generally spent his summers in the North.

Of this entire family, all we understand are not gone - may they be all united in a better world, where sickness, sorrow and distress can no more reach them.

The Herald states, that "Mrs. Levy of Charleston with her two lovely and accomplished daughters were returning home after having spent the summer here. One of the daughters had come north for the recovery of her health. She had recovered and returned perfectly happy - happy the mother - happy the sister - happy she. On the day before the Home sailed, Captain Cohen called on them. He told them he was returning in the Home. "I should like to go in the Home," said Mrs. Levy. Capt. Cohen after a great deal of intreaty, persuaded the ladies to return in the Home. They are now in the grave - he, the Captain was saved.

Mrs. Alfred Hill, was the wife of Capt. Hill, who is among those saved from the devouring sea. Capt. Hill when the boat struck, secured a spar upon which he and his wife endeavored to reach the shore. They had almost gained the beach, when a sea struck them, rolled both over the spar, and the husband was doomed to see the wife of his bosom carried away from beyond his reach, just at the moment when he had believed they had escaped the horrible fate of so many of their companions. Mrs. Hill was a Welsh Lady, about 24 years of age, and had felt and left a little child, too young as yet to feel its loss. She was much esteemed by all who knew her. Capt. Hill has several times before this escaped the perils of shipwreck - and about seven years since was the only person saved on board a vessel taken by pirates, in the Gulf of Mexico. Every one else was murdered: he was saved by concealing himself in the hold: and as the vessel gradually filled with water, (having been scuttled by the pirates,) he floated out on a plank, and swam on shore, exposed to continual danger from sharks, and then had to walk twenty miles through mangrove bushes, etc. before he came to any human habitation.

Two gentlemen have been mentioned to us as having engaged their passages on board the boat, but were providentially saved by mistaking the hour of departure.

Two females were on board under fictitious names. With all of their imperfections on their heads.

We have now given the most full and particular account of this dreadful event, by which so many valuable lives have been suddenly lost, and so many agonized bosoms rent with anguish. Most sincerely do we sympathize with those who mourn for relatives and friends who found a watery grave, and as fully do we rejoice with those who so narrowly escaped an awful death. May it never again be our lot to record another such calamitous and heartrending disaster as has scattered such wide spreading desolation into the midst of so many families throughout our country.

There have been harsh remarks upon the conduct of Capt. White: these we shall not repeat, as he will no doubt be called upon to answer before a proper tribunal for his misconduct, if he was guilty of any. But we cannot refrain from urging the necessity of building a better class of boats for sea navigation. Few, if any, are calculated to withstand the terrible tempests which frequently occur on our coast. There is no want of lavish expenditure - money is freely appropriated in building steamboats, but for what purpose is it applied. We answer, generally for fancy, for show. In building elegant cabins, and supplying costly furniture, there has been a wasteful prodigality of expenditure - and for utility, as little as can possibly be got along with. When such steam vessels are built for our Atlantic coast, as are in sue in the English Channel, the North Sea and Irish Channel - then, and then only, will it be safe to trust ourselves, our families or our friends on board them. Good substantial ship will, and ought to have preference. There is no peculiar difficulty in navigating the ocean with steamers. Let the vessels be made sufficiently substantial, and they are as safe as sail vessels. The English steamers are in the habit of going out in the very teeth of the bad of the violent storms, that infest the British channel, and we rarely hear of strong steamers being wrecked there. Indeed, it has been supposed by good judges, that a strong steamer is much safer in a gale of wind with a lee shore, than a sail vessel of equal strength. The English steamers repeatedly have been sent out for the sake of experiment, in violent gales, and have proved themselves competent to make head way against the most severe tempests and to outlive the storm. May the time soon arrive when we shall have such vessels on our coast, and we shall then have few if any such heart rending accidents from steam navigation, as frequently recorded in American Journals, to the disgrace of our country.

Since the foregoing pages were prepared for the press, a card has been received from Charleston, signed by ELEVEN of the survivors, in which it was voted "that the boat was unseaworthy, and the captain incompetent by intoxication."

 

Note: I attempted to copy the foregoing account just as I found it. Some apparent misspellings and errors in punctuation may have resulted from copying by unknown transcribers.
JHC

The foregoing is an excerpt from the manuscript, Getting To Know Our Ancestors and Ourselves, as compiled and written by John H. Croom, III, Fall, 1996.

 

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