The Ill Fated Steamer, the Gazelle

contributed by Addie Dyal Rickey


    This beautiful little up river steamer arrived at our landing on Saturday last, about noon.  This was her first trip, and she made it handsomely, bringing a large number of passengers and a heavy freight.  Among the passengers were Bishop Simpson of the M. E. Church, just arrived from the states, on his way to attend the annual conference now in session in Benton Co., Mr Jones of the firm of Jones, Cook & Co., and Mr. Robb, of the firm of May and Robb of this place, from San Francisco – All speak in highest terms of the new boat.

    By invitation of her enterprising chief owner, Mr. Page, and gentlemanly Captain Hereford, we went on board to dine at five o’clock P.M.  Seated at the table of the elegant saloon of the Gazelle, with some fifty Ladies and Gentlemen.  All were politely entertained with a feast of good things, as well as, “of reason and the flow of soul.”  The hour passed most pleasantly.

    Yesterday morning the Gazelle left for Takena and Corvallis, having on board a pleasure party, attended by the Saxe Horn Band of Salem.  The agreeable weather we are now having will render the trip most delightful.

    The Gazelle is of beautiful model and of the right size and draught to be a successful boat on the upper river.  She sits like a duck on the water and moves like “a thing of life,”  She belongs to the river transportation line established by the Willamette Falls Transportation company, who have established their business on liberal terms, meriting public patronage.  Oregon Statesman, Mar. 28, 1854, 2:5.



    We willingly comply with a request to publish the proceedings of an impromptu meeting, held on board the new steamer Gazelle, on her first trip to Corvallis.  She had on board a pleasure party, consisting of “the beauty and chivalry” of Salem, Takenah, and Corvallis.  It has seldom been our fortune to enjoy an excursion so eminently pleasant and satisfactory to all concerned, as the one in question; and it would be somewhat difficult to find any body more peculiarly gifted with the qualities requisite to please and entertain guests, than the gentlemen named in the resolutions.

    The party was accompanied by the Saxe Horn Band of Salem, who contributed very materially to the enlivenment and entertainment of the company.

    Not the least interesting incident of the excursion was the marriage of Dr. E. C. Adair, of Polk County , to Miss Martha Kemp, of Takenah.  The ceremony was performed by Judge Terry, of Salem, who reflected much credit upon the whole bachelor fraternity, by the circumspect manner in which he saluted the fair bride, after having securely tied the mystic knot.

    The party was highly entertained with several Tyrolean Songs by Messers.Burnhold & Klein, of Salem.  Their parts were executed in a masterly manner, and were loudly applauded.

    After the adjournment of the meeting, whose proceedings we publish; a spirited Woman’s Rights meeting was convened, the proceedings of which were not furnished us in consequence, it is presumed, of our being an anti woman’s rights man.  The meeting passed off with a great éclat and the speeches were vehemently cheered.  We hope every member of the party may live to enjoy a thousand similar excursions.  Oregon Statesman, Mar. 28, 1854, 2:5

Wallamet River, above Salem,

March 21, 1854.

    At a meeting of the passengers on the Gazelle, convened in the cabin, on motion of Judge Terry, E. M. Barnum was called to the chair, and J. G. Wilson elected secretary.  The purpose of the meeting having been stated, a committee of three messers.  C. N. Terry, E. N. Cooke, and J. McCraken, were appointed to draft resolutions, indicative of the sentiments of the passengers, who reported the following, which were adopted by acclimation:

Resolved – That the guests on board the steamer Gazelle, upon her first trip from Linn City to Corvallis, March 20th, 1854, tender to the owners and officers of the boat, their most cordial thanks, for the highly complimentary and generous entertainment given so freely on this occasion.

Resolved – That the genuine urbanity of Mr. D. Page, the President of the Company, and the gentlemanly conduct of Captain R. Hereford, bestow the highest credit upon their successful efforts; and are a sure guarantee of the future usefulness of the Company’s enterprise, which has so auspiciously begun;

Resolved – That the general cheerfulness, and universal satisfaction exhibited on the part of the ladies, is a certain indication of the continued popularity of the Gazelle, and it is our wish that the Gazelle may long continue so to run;

Resolved – That the thanks of the passengers be tendered in the Leader of the “Capital Saxe Horn Band,” for their most excellent music afforded during the trip; also to the Officers of this meeting;

Resolved – That we all join in subscribing to the resolution, and to the pleasure afforded us, one and all – and that these proceedings be published in the papers of the territory.

    LADIES – Mrs. Durham, Barker, E. N. Cooke, J. Cooke, Ganung, Hendee, Watson Barnum, Strang, Kountz. Madison, Durbin, Adair, Griffin, and Moore.  MISSES Clark, Cardwell, Martha Cardwell, Leslie, Laman, Durbin, Pitney, Pitney, and Moore.

     GENTLEMEN – A. W. Ferguson, D. H. Hendee, J. C. Geer, Jun., J. N. McDonald, B. F. Dowell, S. Durbin, J. F. Madison, C. S. Woodworth, Sam. E. May, W. England, T. R. Newman, Dr. F. C. Adair, Dr. E. H. Griffin, J. Strang, S. J. Moader, A. M. Fellows, Benj. Beers, J. Westacott, Louis Fleisehnar, George La Roche, J. E. Clarke, W. S. Barker, C. N. Terry, Frederic Lewis, and Henry Klein.

    With three cheers for boat crew, etc., this meeting adjourned.

J. G. Wilson                                                                                                E. M. BARNUM

Secretary                                                                                                          Chairman.

Oregon Statesman, Mar. 28, 1854, 2:5



    The following authentic information is from the pen of C. P. Culver, Esq.

Oregon City, Saturday noon,

April 8, 1854…….

    Mr. GROVER; one of the most heart rending calamities that has, perhaps, ever occurred on the coast of the Pacific, happened at Canemah, this morning, at about 7 o’clock, A. M.  The new steamer Gazelle. Belonging to the “Willamette Falls Canal, Milling, and Transportation Company, while lying alongside the wharf boat, at Canemah, receiving freight, and but a few minutes before her intended departure for Corvallis, was blown almost completely into atoms, by the explosion of her boilers.  Not a vestige of them remains on board the hull, save the head of one of them.  As far as is known, twenty lives have been lost, and about thirty persons injured, some of them severely, others but slightly.  Among the killed is Mr. David Page, the Superintendent of the Company, and recently from San Francisco.  Gloom and despondency rest over our community.  I have only time to send you a list of the killed and wounded, as at present ascertained: --


    1.  Mr. David Page, Linn City;

    2.  David Woodhull, Michigan;

    3.  Joseph Hunt, Oregon City, Surveyor;

    4.  Rev. Jas. P. Miller, Takenah;

    5.  John Clemmens, Oregon City;

    6.  David Fuller, Portland;

    7.  Cyrus Wadsworth, near Oregon City;

    8.  Samuel F. Burch, Polk county, formerly of Missouri;

    9.  James White, Salem;

   10. J. M. Fudge, Canemah, Pilot of the Wallamet;

   11. W. S. Morgan, Rickreal, Polk county;

   12. Daniel Lowe, passenger his residence unknown;

   13. Antonio, a Spaniard, Dalles, on his way to the mines;

   14. ------ Blanchet, St. Pauls, O. T.;

            Of those attached to the boat, there were killed; --

   15. John Daly, cabin boy;

   16. John K. Miller, deck-hand, of Elizabeth, Wisconsin;

   17. John Bloomer, deck-hand, residence unknown;

   18. ------ Hatch, deck-hand;

   19. Michael McGee, fireman;


    1.  ------ Hill, Takenah;

    2.  Charles Knaust, Portland;

    3.  David McLane; Portland;


    1.  W. L. White, Canemah, knocked down by splinters while standing on the bank;

    2.  Lavina Pell, Champoeg, slightly scalded and cut in the forehead;

    3.  Mrs. J. P. Miller, wife of Rev. Mr. Miller, of Takenah, who was killed,

             two ribs broken;

    4.  H. Royce, Linn city, slightly injured;

    5.  Mr. Murphy, Deputy Surveyor, severely injured;

    6.  Mr. Shortess, Astoria, slightly bruised;

    7.  Charles T. Gardiner, Oregon City, injured badly, arm is broken and slightly scalded;

    8.  Miss White, Salem, daughter of James White, killed;

    9.  J. Herald, Indiana, slightly scalded;

   10. B. F. Newby, Oregon City, injured badly;

   11. Robert F. Rains;

   12. Robert Pentland, scalded slightly;

   13. D. J. Davis, Salem, slightly cut on the head;

   14. Crawford Dobbins, Portland, leg broken, amputated;

   15. John Trowel, Oregon City, bruised and scalded;

   16. Henry Wilson, scalded slightly;

   17. Mr. Hubbard, Cincinnatti, O. T., badly scalded;

                        Of those employed on the boat, three were injured:

   18. Capt. R. Hereford, slightly scalded;

   19. Pascal Plant, 2nd Engineer, severely scalded and bruised while at his post;

   20 James Partlow, Pilot, bruised slightly;

   21. John Boyd, Mate, both arms broken and severely scalded;

   22. James Stanfield, Steward, slightly hurt;

   23. Preston Black, Assistant Steward, slightly scalded;

   24. An Indian, leg broke;

   25. John Craul, a boy, severely scalded;

   26. Joseph Latshaw, slightly injured;


    1.  The little daughter of Rev. Mr. Miller, of Takenah;

    2.  Z. Crowell, Clerk of Gazelle;

    3.  Mr. Joseph Tonie, Chief Engineer;

    4/  Wm. Latham, passenger;

    5. Mrs. Plant, wife of 2nd Engineer, and child;

    The foregoing is a correct list, so far as is known, up to the present hour. – Sunday.

Oregon Statesman, April 18, 1854, 2:3.




The First Side-Wheeler Ever Propelled on the Upper Willamette

    A friend of the Statesman furnishes it with more steamboat references of the Willamette river, as follows:

    On the 18th of January, 1854, the ill-fated Gazelle was launched by the Willamette Falls Canal, Milling and Transportation Company and after making a few trips she exploded her boiler on the morning of 8th of April, while lying at the landing at Canemah, scattering death and destruction on all.  The steamer was a complete wreck so that her hull sank where she was tied.  By this terrible accident twenty –five persons were instantly killed and twenty or thirty were wounded, several of whom afterward died.  Every town along the river was represented at this harvest of death and the disaster cast a gloom over the then entire territory.  The following list of killed and wounded is as near correct as possible to give at this late day:  Killed—David Page, Linn county superintendent of the company; David Woodhull, Michigan; Joseph Hunt, Oregon City; Rev. Jas. P. Miller, Takena (now Albany); John Clemens, Oregon City; David Fuller, Portland; Cyrus Wadsworth, near Oregon City; Samuel F. Burch, Polk county; Jas. White, Salem; J. M. Fudge, Canemah, pilot of the steamer Willamette; W. S. Morgan, Rickreal; W. S. Morgan, Rickreal, Polk county; Daniel Love, (res. Unknown); Mr. Blanchet, St. Paul, Marion County; John Daley, cabin boy; John Bloomer and Hatch, deckhands; Mike McGee, fireman, injured; W. L. White, Canemah; Lavina Paul, Champoeg.  Mrs J. P Miller, Albany; H. Royce, Linn City.   Oregon Statesman, Jan. 7,

1894, 24:2.

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