The River Ice, 1879

On Tuesday morning at 7:10, the ice on the Ohio river at this point gave way and began to move. Now and then it would gorge for a short time, as if winter sought to hold the supreme mastery of all nature and was struggling with the heaving waters which defied her shackles, to maintain her icy sway.  At length, however, the very large pieces into which the ice was first broken were themselves crushed into fine fragments by grinding against the shore and grating upon one another, and the mad flow became continuous; at what time the entire surface was covered and had much the appearance of a vast expanse of much agitates running foam.

 Fortunately for boats tied up in its mouth, the ice on the Kentucky river did not break up first.  Had it done so, that in the Ohio would have caused a gorge which very probably would have done great damage to the boats even to the sinking of them, as was the Bannock City's fate two years ago.  On Wednesday evening, about 8 o'clock, the swollen current of the Kentucky rent its thickly frozen surface and began to mingle it with that of the Ohio.  The most damaging ice was that below the lock.  Passing out in very large pieces their momentum was irresistible and they ground against everything with almost cruising force.  The steamboats sustained no serious damage.  The ice above the lock continues to come down in small pieces but as early as yesterday morning people were crossing in skiffs.  The river is now free of ice.

 When the boats blew their whistles Wednesday night to announce the breaking up, a large number of persons gathered upon the scene, notwithstanding the rain and darkness, presumably for the purpose of seeing one or more boats crushed or sunk, but they were disappointed, as no serious damage was done.

 The shore ice yet remains in the Ohio and although there is much less running ice in the river than at first, there is yet enough to hinder navigation and it will perhaps not be resumed before Monday or Tuesday.

 [Some weeks later they ran this follow-up:] 

The boats are now running regularly and the business brisk on the levy.....The Shirley will go up Sunday and the Maggie Harper down Monday.....The Vigo is doing a rattling [?] business.  Her manifest Sunday was 200 barrels flour, 300 bags corn, 1070 hoop poles, 19 hogsheads tobacco, 71 bags rye, 405 bales hay, 19 hogs, 4 barrels and 8 boxes sundries.  On Friday evening the boat was forced by the strong current over the dam at Lockport  The passengers and crew were badly frightened, but no damage was done......The rivers were falling yesterday.....There were no boats on Wednesday on account of the ice in the Ohio.


from the Carrollton Democrat, January 18, 1879 for the first story, February 1, 1879 for the follow-up.