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Answer to Contest #43 - January 6, 2006

1. Where is the Island of Double Head Shot Keys located?
2. Where was the Marion headed when it had the shipwreck?
The Digital Detective
The Digital Detective
Where, Who.....?
A Case Study in Digital Detective Work
Coroner's Report, 11 May 1863
Marion Johnson McChesney - 1 months [sic] - born on the Island of
Double Head Shot Keys. No. 202 Annunciation Street. Verdict - accidentally
smothered in bed. The parents were passengers on the impatic steamship
Marion, the child was prematurely born on the above named Island and ended his
eventfull [sic] life as above. He was named by the passengers after the ship and
the captain.
The Database Detective
The Database Detective
1. In the Bahamas off the coast of Florida
2. New Orleans, where the baby died

Note: Some of the answer to this quiz can be found on
the Forensic Genealogy CD ROM that comes with our book.
The Ulmer Family
A Case Study in Database Detective Work
Newspaper Article on the Baby's Death

Tuesday Morning, May 12, 1863
Page 1, Column 7
The DNA Detective
The DNA Detective

SMOTHERED - An inquest was held yesterday on the body of a male child, one month
old, named Marion Johnson McChesney, found dead at 202 Annunciation street, and a
verdict of accidental death was rendered. The parents of the child, it appears, were
passengers on board of the steamer Marion at the time that she was wrecked on the
Double Headed Shot Keys and the infant was prematurely ushered into this breathing
world on that melancholy occasion. The young immortal received the joint name of the
ship and captain and was doing well apparently until Saturday night, when it was
accidentally smothered in bed.
Newspaper Articles on the Wreck of the Steamer Marion

The New-York Times, Tuesday, April 14, 1863, p 5:2
Total Loss of the Steamship Marion - Safety of Her Passengers and Crew.
The steamship Marion, which left New-York for Key West and New-Orleans on the
26th of March last, was totally wrecked on the Double Head Shot Keys on Thursday,
April 2, about 4 o'clock P.M. She had a valuable cargo and 40 passengers. Eleven of
the latter arrived at Cardenas in the brig B. Young on the 6th inst. They
subsequently left for Havana, for New-York. The rest of the passengers arrived in
Havana a few hours previous to the departure of the Roanoke for New-York. The
Marion will prove a total wreck. Assistance had been sent for to Nassau. The wreckers
were already at work, saving part of the cargo, though in a damaged condition.

The Marion was a side-wheel steamer, and used formerly to run between New-York
and Charleston, as one of Mitchell's line, up to the breaking out of this rebellion.
New Orleans Picayune - Saturday
Morning, April 18, 1863 - page 2:1

By the arrival of the steamship Creole, Capt. Couch, from New York, we learn by one
of her passengers, Mr. G. B. Waldron, who was a passenger on the ill-fated Marion,
the following particulars:

On the morning of the 2d inst., at about 5 o'clock, weather moderate, she struck a
sunken rock when about one mile from the Rocks, and six or eight miles from the light,
heading for the light. It is called Cay Sal Bank light or Double Headed Shot Key light, on
Salt Bank.

The engineer reported in a few minutes that the ship could not live longer than one and
a half or two hours. Capt. Johnson was then compelled to run her upon the rocks,
directly by the light; some of the passengers and crew landed from the bow of the ship,
the remainder were landed in surf boats and the boats of the ship to a way or gully cut
in the rocks to the edge of the water; at the time we had a heavy ground swell.

Provisions and baggage were landed during the night. The weather continued moderate,
and next morning she was given over to the wreckers, who commenced their work.
During that day ample provisions and water were landed. When we left the ship was
sunk to her main deck.

The weather continued very favorable and still. The next morning Mr. Hunter, clerk of
the house of Spofford, Tileston & Co., at New York, started in a small vessel from
Matamoros, bound to Nassau, N. P., with a view to charter a steamer to bring the
passengers to New Orleans.

The following day a vessel bound for Cardenas answered our signal of distress, and
Capt. Johnston (sic) chartered her to take to Cardenas such passengers as chose to go
in her. Eleven started in her, the balance remaining, expecting Mr. Hunter's return with
a steamer.

The following is a list of passengers of the wrecked steamer Marion, brought from
Havana by the Creole:

Mr. Geo. B. Waldron, Jas. Harsmeyer, New York; M. Simon, New Orleans; H.
Dalshamer, J. Leman, H. Strouse, J. W. Randolph, Baltimore; A. Magellato, J. Ernst,
Mrs. C. Quesnel?, Miss Padron, New Orleans.

We learn by the passengers that the worthy captain was uniformly vigilant, and was
constant in attendance to the comfort of his passengers, who deeply sympathize with
him in his misfortune, which is likely to occur with the most skillful navigators in the
treacherous currents of the Gulf.
The steamship Creole, George W. Couch, commander, from New York, April 7th 4
P.M., and Havana, April 14th, 4 P.M., arrived last evening, with mails, merchandise and
the following passengers:

From New York - B. S. Blood, Hugh Mc.Closkey, H. G. Gould, two masters Getchell,
B. F. Flanders, Miss Falnders and servant, Mrs. Mentieth, Geo Blume, H. D. Hull,
Chas. Johnson, F. C. Lacroix, A. G. Agnew, B. L. Merriam, S. G. Kreeger, H. B.
Chamberlain, Mamallus? Lara, J. Wright and lady, J. W. Stearer, W. W. G. Oliver, R.
G. Usher, S. S. Doty, Mrs. Arars, Michael Hahn, Leon Chesse, J. R. Anderson, B.
Russell, R. H. Morris, J. Zacharle, J. T. Coe, and seven in the steerage.

From Havana - A. Davis and family, E. T. Lauillelaure and family, J. Garcia y Hora, N.
Dalchien, J. W. Randolph, S. Tirrer, S. B. ?oliera, J. Nixon, Louis Lalain, Thos. H.
Shield, W. Appleton, G. B. Waldron, H. Stroun, J. Vinta, G. Gar_____, C. Spinola, A.
M. Augelarte, Mrs. Contin, two children and servant, Mrs. C. Queand, H. Wilder, J.
Appletot, J. Havemeyer, M. Simen, J. Amaty Rouse, A. Risa Y Palles, E. Smith, J.
Ernst, Miss Padrom, H. Shaw, A. Dalode and lady and three in the steerage.
Double Head Shot Keys and Marion Rock
Double Headed Shot Cays (or Keys) is a series of islands that
are part of the Bahamas, known as the Cay Sal Bank, which
is situated about 60nm [nautical miles] SE of the Florida
Keys, between Andros Island Bahamas, and Cuba. The
Double Headed Shot Cays (Keys) consists of 23 Islands, 13
of which are “major.” For photos and more information about
the group of islands to which the Double Head Shot Cays
belong, see and

Double Head Shot Cays appear as a group of islets on the
northwest of the main Cay Sal
Bank Island group. They appear in the upper left area of the
nautical map at
com/CAYSALCHART.htm. Note that on the north shore of
the island, there is a spot called Marion Rock.

For a beautiful satellite image of this area of the Caribbean,
click here:
Satellite Photo.
History of The Steamer Marion
Lytle-Holdcamper List--Merchant Steam Vessels
of the United States 1790-1868
pages 137 & 279
The Marion was a 900 ton ship built in New York, N.Y. in 1851. Its first home port
was New York, N.Y. It was wrecked on 4/2/63 at Double Shot Keys, Bahamas, no
lives lost. It is listed as a "p", indicating it was a sidewheeler.

Lytle, William M. - Merchant steam vessels of the United States 1790-1868 : "The
Lytle-Holdcamper list," initially compiled from official merchant marine documents of
the United States and other sources/ by William M. Lytle and Forrest R. Holdcamper ;
rev. and edited by C. Bradford Mitchell, with the assistance of Kenneth R. Hall.
[Publication No 6 The steamship Historical Society of America, Mystic, Connecticut
1952. Book manufactured by Mcgregor & Werner, Washington D.C. No 561 of 1000
At Least Three Steamers Named Marion
Several readers wrote in answers to indicate there were several steamers named
Marion. The most interesting was the Steamer Marion that was temporarily seized by
the Confederacy in 1861. It was apparently released several days later and used to
evacuate to New York the wives and children of Union soldiers at Fort Sumter. It must
have been seized again, as the sources we were able to find indicated that it was used
by the Confederacy later in the Civil War.
The "Other" Steamer Marion
Seized by the Confederacy in 1861
Sank April 6, 1861, Three Days After Our Quiz Marion
Illustration Courtesy Son of the South Civil War Site
MARION was built at Charleston, S.C., in 1850, and passed to Confederate control in
1861. She helped lay the obstructions around Charleston, S.C., and was used by the
Confederate army as a transport and cargo ship in that area.

MARION sank accidentally on the night of 6 April 1863 in the Ashley River after
drifting from her moorings off Charleston.
Harper's Weekly, January 19, 1861
WE publish herewith pictures of the United States steam-sloop Brooklyn, and of the
steamship Star of the West, and of the steamship
Marion, which three vessels figured
so prominently in the movements of last week; and on page 37 we give a large plan of
Charleston harbor, showing the forts, etc., together with a view of Fort Johnson. These
pictures w ill enable our readers to realize what is going on in this most memorable
contest of the present age.

On Wednesday morning, January 9, 1861, the first shots were fired At daybreak on that
morning at the steamship Star of the West, with 250 United States troops on board...

Courtesy Son of the South Civil War Site
Prelude to Conflict - The New York Herald, January 13, 1861
The report which was circulated in this city on Friday last that Captain Whiting, of the
steamer Marion, had left his vessel at Norfolk, and his non-arrival at this port, led to
considerable apprehension as to his safety among his friends.

In consequence of this, a party of gentlemen from the office of Messrs. Spofford,
Tileston & Co., corner of Morris street and Broadway, left this city for Jersey City at
twelve o’ on Friday night, and having arrived there chartered an engine and passenger
car to convey them to New Brunswick. This action was taken in consequence of
intelligence having been received to the effect that ....
Harper's Weekly, January 13, 1861
WE publish herewith a picture of the good-by waved to Fort Sumter by the wives and
children of the soldiers quartered in that work, as they steamed past in the Marion, on
3d inst., on their way to New York. The scene is thus described in a note from one of
the passengers on board the Marion :

" On Sunday, the 3d inst., as the steamer Marion was proceeding down Charleston
harbor, bound for New York, and having on board among the passengers the wives—
about twenty in number-and children belonging to the soldiers stationed in Fort Sumter,
a somewhat exciting scene occurred. On nearing the fort the whole garrison was seen,
mounted on the top of the ramparts, and when the ship was passing fired a gun and
gave three heart-thrilling cheers as a parting farewell to the dear loved ones on board,
whom they may possibly never meet again this side the grave.

" The response was weeping and ' wavering adieux'.....

Courtesy Son of the South Civil War Site
The Sloop U.S.S. Marion
Used by the Union as a Blockade Runner during the Civil War
Illustration Courtesy Son of the South Civil War Site.
The Steamer-Sloop Marion
William L. Clements Library
The University of Michigan
Schoff Civil War Collections
Journals 1.3

U.S. Sloop Marion
Capt. William Ball; Capt. G. W. Doty
Logbook, 1861 June 29-1862 January 24
108 pp.

Background note:

The U.S.S. Marion sailed from Portsmouth, N.H., on
July 14, 1861, bound for blockade duty in southern
waters, and possibly under letters of marque as a
privateer. By mid-August, it had reached the Florida
coast, and in September, pulled in to Key West. From
there the Marion cruised the Carribean toward Fort
Pickens, eventually anchoring at Chandeleur Island and
Ship Island, La., and from mid-October to early 1862,
Dog Island off the Florida panhandle. During these
The Brooklyn
A Typical Sloop-of-War
Illustration Courtesy Son of the South
Civil War Site
months, it encountered at least two suspected blockade runners, but had few incidents
of note to report.

Scope and contents:

The daily log of the U.S.S. Marion, probably kept by clerk Edward A. Pendester, offers
wind speed and direction, weather conditions, barometer readings, and temperature,
and includes comments on a wide range of naval concerns: recruitment of crew,
inspections, desertions, sightings of and communications with other ships, military
drills, and divine services.

While the log entries are generally perfunctory and comparatively uniformative beyond
position, direction, and weather, a few incidents of note have been recorded. Of
particular interest are an account of sighting a suspected blockade runner loaded with
cotton (September 1, 1861), an encounter with a skiff containing four fugitive slaves, a
second sighting of a blockade runner (November 6), an account of confining sailors for
drunkenness and fighting (November 23), and a court martial for theft (January 10,
Congratulations to our Winners!

Stan Read                Bobbie Sims
Joel Amos Gordon       Edee Scott         
Neil Ferguson                Dale Niesen
Rick Mackinney             Grace Hertz
Brad Potts                Eva Royal
Marilyn Hamill-Stewart   

Partial Credit Goes To:

Ellis Nienhaus                Sinika Gary

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Quiz #43 Results