For decades, excursion boats were very popular venues for dancing, music, gambling, and dining. Well into the 1940s, riverboats stopped at cities along the Ohio River including near by Wellsburg and Steubenville. The collision of the John Lomas, from Martins Ferry and the Scioto, returning to East Liverpool, occurred near Mingo Island just south of Mingo Junction and across from Mahan Village, now Follansbee. Of the reported deaths, the majority were from East Liverpool and Wellsville.
Author McNully, who lived near Cross Creek, witnessed the Scioto go down instantly in 15 feet of water. Only the pilot-house was visible. The John Lomas was slightly damaged but able to render assistance. The overloaded Scioto carried nearly 500 unfortunate passengers although it was licensed to carry only 60. Among the passengers of the Scioto were members of the Wellsville Cornet band. Terrified for their lives, hundreds tried to survive by jumping into the water. A number of swimmers reached the West Virginia side near Cox’s farm at the mouth of Cross Creek.
- For a detailed account with photos, go to “A PALL OF EGYPTAIN GLOOM: THE SINKING OF THE “SCIOTO”
- Wheeling Intelligencer, July 5, 1882, p. 1.