Since the publication of our extra of last week, the following facts connected with the loss and destruction of the Steamer John Walker by the bursting of her boilers, have come to our knowledge. — It appears from all the circumstances, that this unfortunate accident was the result of carelessness & neglect in not having sufficient water in the boilers. The Boat left the wharf, at 3 o’clock in the morning, for the purpose of towing the brig Roque, then laying at anchor (ancbor sp?) below the town; this had been the practice with all our steam boats after taking in freight, either before or after their departure for Fayetteville. Capt. Dickson of the Walker run down alongside the brig; after laying there five minutes, he ascertained his impending danger from the roaring of the steam through the safety valve, the water then being below the lower gauge cock; he called to the captain to make haste and weigh his anchor, that his boilers were in danger, and he could stand it no longer; scarcely had the words escaped his lips, when at the first move of the starting bar to put the engine in operation, the explosien (sp?) took place, the body of Capt. Dickson was seen going over the top-sail-yard of the brig, and fell in the river, & was not found until Wednesday night, 16 miles below town, and was interred yesterday with military honors; he was a young man of promise and worth; his untimely and melancholy fate is mourned and lamented by a numerous circle of friends and acquaintances. The Engineer Isaac Smith was thrown against the main top-sail-yard, fell on the quarter deck, covered with the fragments of the boat, and though much mutilated, it is supposed will recover. The pilot Purdie Jacobs and fireman Damon were in the hole, and both killed, their bodies have been recovered. Prince Nichols the second pilot, standing at the helm was knocked down by a piece of one of the beams, severely wounded, but is recovering. The boat is the most perfect wreck we have ever witnessed, one of the boiler heads went through the starboard bow cutting its way through a part of each beam in its course; the starboard side, a breast the boilers, for three feet down is blown completely off, carrying all the beams and deck with it; the starboard quarter is carried away; the quarter deck lifted up and landed on the timber heads; the most unaccountable damage, is a hole blown through the bottom between the fore-hatch and forecastle, the boat and engine are entirely ruined and abandoned as a total loss. Some of the goods have been taken out, very much damaged, many of the packages have not been recovered, we understand there is some insurance on the goods which will of course be paid; no insurance on the boat. Loss including the uninsured goods, estimated from $15 to $18,000, which we regret to say, will fall upon our enterprising fellow citizen Doyle O’Hanlon.
[ The North Carolina Journal – Vol. VI No 17 – Fayetteville , NC Thursday, June 23, 1836 ]