This steamboat was one of the largest and nicest of those that traveled the White River during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Some of them traveled the Little Red River during the wetter months when the river level was high. The “Ozark” is shown unloading supplies on a port at Calico Rock. Note the nicely dressed businessmen checking their wares.

Photo courtesy Barth Grayson

Steamboat Calamities Affected Local Merchants

White County Weekly Record

November 2, 1867

The Steamer Commercial Sunk – On Wednesday night this steamer run on a bar at the head of Little Island, 47 miles above the mouth of White River, about daylight. The officers succeeded in transferring most of the freight on deck to a lighter, when she again started, but unfortunately hit a snag, opening a hole in her side. The hull soon filled and the boat creened to one side, but the water was fortunately not over her guards. The leak was soon stopped and the water pumped from her hull.

The Rowena came alongside and took off the damaged freight, with that on the lighter, and brought it and the passengers up White River. The Commercial left the scene for Memphis.

 We regret to learn that a number of our merchants in this section had goods aboard. Messrs. Jackson& Bradley, J.W. Bond, Strange & Guest, Parson Walker. We have not learned the amount of damage. Some of the parties are fully protected by insurance.

Steamer Rowena Misfortunes never come singly, and we regret to announce that this splendid and favorite steamer struck a snag on Monday, opposite Helena, and sunk in eight feet of water. The boat will be a total loss. The passengers and crew were all saved.

Messrs. Jackson & BradleyIn consequence of damage to a portion of their late purchases by the sinking of the Commercial, will be delayed some days in opening their new stock. We learn that they have effected a compromise with the underwriters, and will be enabled to sell them very cheap. They will remove to this side of the square in a few days. Be sure and call on them if you want bargains.

Fatal Accident We regret to notice that on Monday last, a little daughter, an only child aged 7 years, of Mr. Joseph Onspaugh, living four miles from this place, while playing in a cotton pen fell and broke her neck.

Died on the 26th in Clay township, White County, Mr. Joe Boggs, aged 25 years. Deceased was a pious young man and respected by all who knew him. He left a wife to mourn his untimely departure.