Lions learn of boat wreck

Lions learn of boat wreck
The Nov. 17 meeting of the Vermillion Lion's Club was called to order at 6 p.m. by Vice President Allen Johnson. Catherine French, former Zone Chair of Yankton and her husband, Freeman, were guests of the local club. Two patches honoring membership growth and retention were displayed; they had been awarded by the National Office for new and retained membership growth in the years from 2003 to 2005. These will be attached to the club banner by Lion Barbara Campbell.

New brochures describing the work of the Lions were distributed as well as local directories of membership and committee responsibilities. The Christmas party will be held on Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. at the Winery. Christmas boxes will be filled for distribution during December.

Lion Catherine French invited the membership to the Zone meeting which was held in Yankton on Monday, Nov. 21. Lion Catherine then presented the Proud Lion award to Jacquie Lonning and Maxine Johnson who had both completed requirements to earn this award during their first year of membership in the Lion's organization.

Lion Allen Johnson introduced Professor Larry Bradley, USD Sociology professor, who spoke about the North Alabama, a cargo boat which has recently surfaced for the third time since its sinking in 1870. He discovered the carcass of the boat while kayaking on the Missouri River � since then it has been studied by himself, students, and National Park crews.

Other years when the river allowed the wreckage of the North Alabama to be visible were 1906 and 1934; in 1998 it was viewed by use of a remote sensory device. At least seven wrecks are recorded between Sioux City, IA and Yankton. Some of the wreckages have been observed near Burbank and Ponca, NE. There are many stories to be told as to cargo and how or why the wreck might have occurred. There was always great speculation as to what the cargo was and the fate of the crews.

Photographs shown by Dr. Bradley enabled his listeners to observe the differences in the size and appearance of these various river vessels. He stressed that all of the boats were different and were usually built to specifications. Many were built in Pennsylvania and came to this area because of the need to transport supplies and men to the new frontier.

The wreckages left exhibit fine workmanship and Dr. Bradley indicated that the remnants of these old river boats will be in the care of local people who will be relied upon to protect and ensure their safety. Eventually, the ongoing work of all of those who have studied the wreckages will result in a publication which will chronicle the discovery and condition of these old hunks that came to be here via river traffic on the Ohio, Mississippi, and Missouri Rivers.

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