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19th century bayou shipwreck identified

A shipwreck located in Bayou Bartholomew has been identified at the sunken steamboat Big Horn.

According to published records, the Big Horn was a 312-ton sternwheeler built in New Albany, Ind. in 1865. Measuring 152 feet in length, the Big Horn sank in Bayou Bartholomew in 1873 after its lime cargo caught fire.

Enterprise writer Paul Rawson, who visited the sunken boat in 1980 and became the first to document it, listed the Big Horn as one of several sinkings recorded by Capt. Elisha Austin and published in the Monroe Bulletin in 1881. Austin had not recorded the locations of any of the sunken boats he named.

Rawson writes of the Big Horn, “Since this was such a large boat it would be especially interesting to find the remains, although the resultant acids [from the lime] may have destroyed most of the boat.”

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Story: Wes Helbling, Bastrop Enterprise | Photo: Wes Helbling

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