- Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 August 2010 05:00
- Published on Wednesday, 04 August 2010 05:00
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It is with great pleasure that Ed Veazey and I were able to interview Beatrice Jenkins England, a descendant of the Wawaset sinking.
The newly overhauled Wawaset (wah-WAH-set) paddlewheel vanished from the Potomac River in 1873. Very little has remained to remind succeeding generations of one of the Potomac River’s most tragic river boat disasters where almost 80 people died within 100 yards of the sandy beaches of King George County. Today there is not even a
known picture in existence of this ship. There is a chair in existence that a survivor held on to and made it to shore. This chair with lots of others things found along the shore will be on display August 8 at the King George Wawaset Memorial and picnic. The King George Historical Society, inspired by a newly published book ‘Disaster on the Potomac – The Last Run of the Steamboat Wawaset,’ has tasked itself to do what the organization’s mission is to do, which is to “collect, preserve and disseminate information and material of every nature relating to the history, antiquities, and literature of King George County”.
A task force of Society members and county residents was formed to research and explore the actual area where the ship went down. The hard working committee consists of Ed Veazey, Ken Newman, Bobbe King, Stan Palivoda, Koontz Campbell, Jean M. Graham, Lloyd Adams, Lonnie Fredricks, Gary Furr, Penny Sisson, Dickie Sisson, Pam Garcia, Robin Tenney, Dale Craig, Larry Carr, Elizabeth Clark and Ruth Herrink, just to mention a few.
Some of the highlights of this effort have resulted in locating the paddlewheel remains which is just off shore in 19 feet of water. This was accomplished with help of the U.S Navy divers. A large Granite Bevel Marker has been constructed and has been delivered to the site and on Aug 8th will be set in place by the King George Boy Scouts.
The event starts at 1:00 p.m. Alvin Oickle, author of the above mentioned book, will be at the event, along with copies of the book which can be purchased and he will sign.
Anthony Campbell and Bob Stone and with Virginia Gospel Singers will be on hand as will many volunteer organizations with displays. See more information on page 16.