Steamer Olive Collection, 1903, 1952

Manuscript Collection #1050

  • Descriptive Summary
    Title: Steamer Olive Collection
    Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
    Language: English
    Extent: 0.0011 Cubic feet, 5 items ,
  • Description

    The collection is comprised of three photographs and two newspaper articles related to the wreck of the steamboat Olive during a storm on 16 February 1903. The first photograph shows the crew of the steamer Hertford, which was previously known as the Olive, aboard the boat. The second photograph shows an unknown wrecked steamer, which may be the Olive. The third photograph shows the Olive after its sinking while still in the Chowan River with only the uppermost section of the vessel above the water. The two newspaper articles are retrospectives written in 1952 recalling the sinking of the Olive.

  • Biographical / Historical Note

    The Olive was a river steamboat for the Albemarle Steam Navigation Company. The boat was a 987 ton, 120 foot long steamer built in Philadelphia in 1869. It ran a regular route between Franklin, Virginia, and Edenton, North Carolina, by way of the Blackwater and Chowan rivers serving multiple towns along the way transporting passengers and cargo. On 16 February 1903, the steamboat left Franklin on its regular route to Edenton. That evening, a strong wind forced the boat to turn around near Holly’s Wharf and make for shelter. Before they reached safety, however, a storm (often credited as a cyclone or tornado) overtook the boat and water rushed in. Several crew members and passengers were able to board the one remaining lifeboat, while Captain George H. Withy remained aboard the Olive with the stewardess and four passengers. The people who remained on the Olive were rescued the following morning by the Norfolk and Southern steamer Marie Roberts, and the survivors on the lifeboat were saved by the tug Gazette of the Roper Lumber Company. Seventeen lives were lost in the wreck.

    A few days later, the Olive was raised and tugged to Franklin Wharf (now known as Barrett’s Landing). The boat was rebuilt from the waterline up and returned to service under a new name, the Hertford. The newly rebuilt boat continued in service for the Albemarle Steam Navigation Company until 1914 when it was replaced by a newer vessel. Hertford was sent to Newport News for scrapping.

  • Administrative Information
    Accessions Information

    April 21, 2006, 4 items, 0.0001 cubic feet; Collection (1903, 1952) of two photographic prints and a newspaper clipping relating to the steamer Olive, its crew, and its destruction in a cyclone on 16 February 1903, near Holley's Warf, on the Chowan River, in Bertie County, North Carolina; also a photograph of an unidentified sunken steamer. Donor: Clara Murphy Bond Bell

    June 10, 2010, 1 items, 0.001 cubic feet; Albemarle Boat Sinking Recalled (16 February 1952) a retrospective newspaper article concerning the destruction of the steamer Olive by a tornado, on 16 February 1903, on the Chowan River near Holley's Warf, in Bertie County, North Carolina. Newspaper Clipping. See preliminary inventory. Recd. 11/4/2009. Notes: The donor's grandfather, J. T. Murphy, was the assistant engineer on the Olive when it sank. The disaster killed 17 people. Donor: Clara Murphy Bond Bell.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Clara Murphy Bond Bell

    Access Restrictions

    No restrictions

    Copyright Notice

    Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

    Preferred Citation

    Steamer Olive Collection (#1050), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Allison N. Miller, 7 April 2016

    Encoded by Lindsay Flood, April 1, 2008

Preliminary Inventory

Below is material taken from a preliminary inventory and represents content from the collection that is unprocessed.

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Sensitive Materials Statement

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection, without the consent of those individuals, may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which East Carolina University assumes no responsibility.

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