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