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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

1870 :: Sinking of the Steamshp Varuna

On this date in our extended family history . . . the 20th day of October . . . in the year 1870 . . . Allen Lewis is one of several individuals who perish in the sinking of the steamship Varuna . . . this Allen Lewis* is the husband of a 3rd cousin five times removed to the Keeper of this family history blog . . . 

Galveston Daily News
November 14, 1874

Foundering of the Varuna

On Saturday night, October 15, 1870, the steamship Varuna, Captain Spencer, left New York for Galveston with thirty-six cabin passengers. Up to the morning of the 20th the vessel had fine weather and a smooth passage. A gale then began to blow, and increased in violence until night, when it became a hurricane. All went well, however, until 8 o'clock, when the wind suddenly veered to the southwest, and the steamer became unmanageable, being careened to the port side, when the water rushed aboard, staving in the bulwarks and cabin door. Attempts were made to get the steamer off before the wind, and all the steam possible was turned on, and the efforts to secure the cabin door alike proved fruitless. By this time the sea had staved in the engine house, and the water was rushing down into the fire and engine rooms at the rate of many tons a minute. The steamer beginning to sink, a number of the crew took to the small boat and succeeded in making the Florida coast. The captain, other officers, and every passenger, were drowned. Some forty five persons perished by this disaster, and among them were many of Galveston's oldest and most valued citizens. When the news of the steamer's destruction was received, the entire city was draped in mourning.

Among those passengers were Frank Hitchcock and his wife . . . this Mr. Hitchcock was a friend of James Madison Hall, and is mentioned frequently in Hall's 1860-1866 Journal . . . 

*his home in Galveston

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thank you for this. I believe you have helped solve what happened to my great great grandfather A T Hamilton. His memorial in Maine says "Lost at Sea". His will was recently posted on, and that's where I Learned of the Varuna. What a tragic story.
Dave Chambers

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