1991 Season


After a two year hiatus, investigations on the site resumed in June 1991. Additional site survey became necessary to answer several management questions before planning any future work. The survey concentrated on mapping the exposed structural remains, measuring the depth of sediment overlying the deck and determining the outline of the port side. In addition, the access hole into the aft cargo hold was briefly opened to examine any changes in the interior conditions and an excavation was made at the stern to examine the rudder. The same surface supplied diving facility and logistical setup used in 1988 and 1989 was put in place for the 1991 work (Lee B. Manley, personal communication 1992; Manley 1992:155).

Mapping activities were confined to the port side of the vessel as defined by the baseline established in 1989. An XY coordinate grid system was established using the stem post as datum and marking the baseline in ten foot intervals (Figure 10). A twenty foot grid square was then constructed from PVC pipe and subdivided into ten foot units to correspond to the mapping system. Placed along the baseline, the grid could be moved in intervals as needed. No vertical control was maintained although the river bottom is relatively flat. By probing at each corner of the ten foot sub-divisions with an eight foot metal rod, measurements of the sediment overlying the wreck were recorded (Figure 10). In addition, all material protruding from the bottom was identified and mapped using the grid. The final objective was to locate the edge of the port side by probing. Each probing line ran perpendicular to the baseline and was spaced five feet from the next line. Beginning on the baseline, divers probed to port every five feet until the side was encountered (Lee B. Manley, personal communication 1992; Manley 1992:155).

During the middle of July an exploratory excavation, fifteen feet below the river bottom, was made at the stern to examine the stern and rudder. Starting at the rudder stock, a hole was dredged down approximately seven feet to the deck level at the point where the stock passes through the deck. The hole was then enlarged toward the stern to expose the bulwark. At this point, the excavation continued downward eight feet below deck level, along the stern counter and rudder. Time constraints did not allow the excavation to continue to the bottom of the ship. Construction features on the stern and rudder were noted and measurements taken (Lee B. Manley, personal communication 1992; SJAEI 1991). On August 10 and 11 the access hole to the rear cargo hold was relocated and opened for inspection. At the conclusion of the 1989 investigation the excavation unit within the hull was not backfilled. This inspection was made to determine if any changes had occurred in the hold as a result. Initial probing inside the hold with a steel rod was followed by re-opening the previous excavation. This limited operation found and recovered a small amount of loose unassociated material from the bottom of the excavation. When finished, the unit was not backfilled but the plywood cover was replaced (Lee B. Manley, personal communication 1992; Manley 1992:155-156).


Mapping revealed few structural features and little wreckage protruding above the river bottom and most of this was found near the paddle wheel shaft. The shaft location identified the midships area that contained the steam power plant. The heavily encrusted shaft, approximately 10 inches in diameter, was shifted aft on the port side, possibly the result of salvage activity in the 1880s. The broken starboard end rose 2 feet above the bottom and sloped gently toward the port side where it was partially buried and covered by a log. Component parts were felt and the paddle wheels seemed to have been removed or broken off. Several metal pipes stuck vertically out of the mud in the vicinity of the shaft and varied in height from roughly 2 to 3 feet with diameters ranging from 2 to 3 inches. Unidentifiable wooden timbers and fragmentary lumber also protruded from the bottom or were felt in the sediment. At the stern, the 12 inch diameter wooden rudder stock rose 1 foot above the bottom and was the only identifiable piece of the ship in that area. A finished site map was not completed using the recovered data because of several inconsistencies (Keith V. Holland, personal communication 1992; Lee B. Manley, personal communication 1992; SJAEI 1991). Figure 11 is a site map generated with data gathered in 1992 and portrays the major features that protrude above the river bottom. The numerous pipes, rods and other material sticking out of the mud in the vicinity of the engine room have not been included.

The port outline of the vessel was clearly revealed by probing (Figure 10). Starting at the bow and moving aft 85 feet, the hull outline is relatively uniform. From 85 to 120 feet a large irregular concavity appears in the side of the vessel. The area is slightly aft of midships and was the original location of the paddle wheel and paddle wheel box that are now missing. Moving aft from 120 feet to the stern, the shape is fairly regular. The probing survey successfully revealed the extent of the vessel as outlined by the deck on the port side. All of the hull seems to be present with the exception of the missing paddle wheel. The amount of damage to the deck and hull could not be determined (Lee B. Manley, personal communication 1992; SJAEI 1991). Probing revealed the depth of sediment overlying the deck and the presence of obstacles in the overburden (Figure 10). The midships area, containing the engineering spaces, displayed the greatest depth variability. The obstacles that were encountered are probably part of the ship's machinery. Metal pipes and the paddle wheel shaft protrude from the mud in this area. Probing suggests that the foredeck is also covered with debris but the measurements are curiously regular when compared to the engineering spaces. Very few obstructions were encountered on the after deck, with depths ranging 5 to 7 feet. It seems that most of the superstructure in the stern has been removed (Lee B. Manley, personal communication 1992; SJAEI 1991).

The stern excavation began at the wooden rudder stock that rises 7 feet above the deck and is broken off at the top. At the deck level, a 1 inch gap separated the stock and deck planking. The deck extended 3 feet aft of the rudder to the rounded stern bulwark. This bulwark, covered with 1/4 inch thick horizontal tongue and groove planking on both sides, measured 35 inches high with a rail on top. Decorative trim was attached to the base on the outboard side. A section of the bulwark was recovered for conservation. Beyond the bulwark, at the deck level, a 3 inch thick shelf extended aft 18 inches (Lee B. Manley, personal communication 1992; SJAEI 1991).

The rudder stock extended out of the bottom of the ship at a point 2 or 3 feet below the deck with the blade aligned along the axis of the vessel. The rudder stock remained 12 inches in diameter but the blade thinned to 7 inches and was approximately 5 feet wide on top. A 7 inch diameter octagonal shaped post rose 36 inches from the rear edge of the rudder and reached to within 3 inches of the stern counter. A metal collar was fastened to the post 8 inches below the top and secured two double block assemblies extending to the port and starboard sides. These were part of the steering mechanism or rudder stops. The port assembly was examined and presumed to be identical to the one on the starboard side but heavy encrustation made it difficult to distinguish features. A metal strap, possibly a turnbuckle, attached the first block to the collar. The iron cheeked blocks were attached to each other by a turnbuckle or swivel and the 8 inch diameter sheaves were spaced on 24 inch centers. The first block was oriented in a vertical plane while the second block rested in a horizontal plane. No draft marks were felt on the stern or rudder and zero visibility precluded finding any by visual observation. The investigation did not find evidence of gudgeon straps (Lee B. Manley, personal communication 1992; SJAEI 1991).

The stern counter had four through-hull ports placed in pairs on each side of the vessel starting approximately 12 inches from the rudder. All of the ports were open and one remaining cover was found on the port side and recovered. It measured 19 inches wide and 14 5/8 inches high with two large brass hinges on top and a brass ring handle near the bottom. The second slightly larger port was roughly 6 inches outboard of the first and measured approximately 23 inches high and 17 inches across. The openings would have provided convenient access to the rudder and may have been used for loading long linear cargo such as lumber or iron rails. Brass sheathing covered the hull beginning 4 feet 3 inches below the deck and extended across the rudder. This line could approximate the normal waterline of the vessel (Lee B. Manley, personal communication 1992; SJAEI 1991).

The 1991 cargo hold excavation began by dredging the overlying sediment off the plywood cover. Gaps around the edge of the cover allowed divers to feel globules of mud suspended in noticeably cooler water. The plywood was not removed until the following day to allow conditions in the hole to settle down. A 4 foot square section of the cover was removed from the starboard side of the hole the next morning. The suspended globules had settled out leaving an open space approximately 18 to 24 inches high between the bottom of the deck beams and the top of the mud filling the hold. By reaching up under the intact portions of the deck, the space narrowed to 12 inches. Several buoyant tent poles were noticed floating in the open area. Much cooler water filled the hold and a sample was taken prior to removing the cover. Except for a very small amount of silt, the sample appeared colorless and when compared to a sample of river water, it did not have the characteristic brown tannin color. These observations support the findings of the 1989 excavation and suggest a ground water intrusion (Lee B. Manley, personal communication 1992; Manley 1992:155-156; SJAEI 1991).

The consistency of the mud within the former excavation area was less dense than the stiff gelatinous sediment covering the deck. Probing the mud with an 8 foot metal rod around the sides of the hole, revealed a vertical space ranging from 5 feet to 6 feet 3 inches deep, devoid of artifacts. Several obstacles were encountered below that depth along the sides of the hole including wood and possibly ceramic. These materials seem to be protruding from the sides of the former excavation and do not suggest that the cargo has shifted into the open space (Lee B. Manley, personal communication 1992).

After probing, the mud was again dredged out of the hole to further examine the interior. This investigation was confined to a vertical shaft approximately four feet in diameter at the deepest point of the 1989 excavation. The original walls of the excavation were easily defined by the firm thick sediment. Many loose artifacts lay on the bottom and were collected as Recovery 52. These either came from containers excavated in 1989 or fell from the sides of the hole. When finished with the investigation, the access hole was covered with plywood without backfilling the interior excavation (Lee B. Manley, personal communication 1992).