The Memphis Commercial Appeal’s Mid South Memories section of the September 6 2011 edition reported that 100 years ago on this day the following: Rebuilding of the Lee Line steamer Eleonore badly damaged by fire this week while moored at the Memphis wharf, will begin at once. The fire, which caused damage of about $5000, was discovered by the watchman who immediately sounded the distress call on the whistle. The call was answered by the steamer General Pierson and the Memphis Fire Department.
Way’s Packet Directory
ELEONORE: Boat 1752 Way’s Packet Directory page 144. Stern Wheel, Packet, wood hull, built Beardstown Ill 1902, 126.8 x 23 x 3.8. Owned in her later years by the Lee Line. Burned at Memphis September 1911 and rebuilt. Turned turtle (in a tornado – see New York Times article below) 20 miles above Memphis drowning several passengers and her purser while she was in the Memphis – Ashport trade. This happened in June 1916 resulting in lawsuits which found the Lee Line not liable since the court ruled the capsizing an “Act of God.”
New York Times June 6, 1916
Four persons are known to have been drowned and twenty five or thirty others, mostly negro deck hands, are missing and are believed to have gone down when the Lee Line steamer Eleonore capsized last night in the Mississippi River twenty miles north of Memphis. An officier of the boat walked to Memphis today with the news.
The Eleonore tied up last night in a remote spot to escape the tornado that swept the Central Mississippi Valley. A heavy gust of wind drove the craft into the bank and it overturned. Many of those aboard were in the cabins and between decks at the time. A relief vessel left tonight for the place of the accident. The Eleonore was a small vessel.