Str Big Foot
At daybreak from New Orleans, the Gulf pilot took charge. The trip went wrong from that point. The Big Foot steamed down the pass toward the Chandeleur Islands some eighty miles away. An approaching storm changed calculations. About seven miles short of the islands the anchor was heaved in Mississippi Sound. With its anchor dragging, the Big Foot wallowed for sixty hours. But the Big Foot lived to complete her voyage. Sustaining serious damage, the cost of repair was considerable. Capt Adam Poe calculated he “was $10,000 less in pocket” when the adventure was over. “Went home in very low spirits.” he concluded in his account. [ii]
One year later on Saturday night Dec 9, 1876 as reported in the Memphis Daily Appeal, the Big Foot sank ten miles above Eufaula, AL. She sank to her boiler deck and her cargo of cotton floated off. The Big Foot was a total loss. At this time, the owners were Capt Adam Poe and the Central Railroad of Georgia. A photo survived according to Capt Frederick Way showing a large Indian atop the pilot house sticking out of the water. This Indian represented the Wyandot Indian chief killed in the 1781 battle with the Poe brothers on the Ohio River near New Cumberland, WV and opposite the mouth of the Yellow Creek. [iii]
Adam W Poe had a long career on the river. After piloting troop and supply transports during the Civil War he quit the river business for a time. He built a house on a large farm just east of Georgetown where he described the gentle art of farming as an uphill endeavor. In the 1870’s he returned to work on the river. The Big Foot was one of his final river adventures.
[i] Capt Frederick Way, Jr., The Steamboating Poe Family, (S&D Reflector (Dec 1965)).
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