Sinking of the H. K Bedford

Parkersburg Dispatch-News
February 29, 1912

H. K. Bedford Is Destroyed

Went To Pieces A Short Distance Below Waverly On Tuesday Night

Members Of The Crew And Passengers Had Narrow Escape From Death

Loss Will Amount To Many Thousands With Practically No Insurance

By this morning it is expected that the hulk of the H. K. Bedford will be all that is left of a boat that has been plying the Ohio river for a great many years. Late Tuesday night while the boat was making its way from this city to Wheeling it met with a fatal disaster at a point a short distance below Waverly, on the Ohio side of the river that will probably forever put it out of business, as it was sunk in the river in such a manner that by the time the ice from the Allegheney river has passed down there will be little or nothing left of the boat above the water.

The Bedford left Parkersburg at two o'clock Tuesday afternoon for the purpose of making the trip as far as Wheeling where it was expected she would be returned to the city and start out in her regular trade the first of next week for Pittsburg. She had on board at the time a total of about 100 tons of freight, including a vast amount of groceries and miscellaneous freight as well as seven head of cattle and four head of horses. When she arrived at a point a short distance below Waverly the boat suddenly crumpled and started to sink. She went rapidly to the bottom and those on board including the crew and about a dozen passengers were hurried out of their places and some of them were compelled to jump into the cold waters of the river in order to save their lives.

Capt. Henry Kraft of Belpre, who is a large owner in the boat as well as the other employes with the exception of the pilot and others who were on duty at night, were in their berths at the time of the accident, as were a number of the passengers. They were compelled to hustle out and some of the passengers, especially one woman, were carried out in their night clothes.

The boat was owned by what has been known as the Parkerburg and Pittsburg Packet Co., which was composed of Capt. Kemple, of Moundsville, the Gerwig estate, and Capt. Edward Dunn, of Parkerburg, Capt. Henry Kraft and Capt. Edward Kraft, of Belpre, and so far as learned last evening there was but a small amount of insurance on either the craft or its cargo.

The Bedford was built at Jeffersonville, Ind., in 1885 and some time afterwards was acquired by Capt. Gordon Green, who ran her for a number of years. She was finally sold to the present owners, and it is estimated that the loss on the boat alone will approximate $10,000. She was 149 feet long, 27.7 feet wide and 4.1 feet deep.