Mrs. Nannie Tidd, Only Living Boat Survivor

She’s Only Living Survivor of Boat Wreck Here 75 Years Ago


Mrs. Nannie Tidd Eagerly Follows Plans for the Flag Celebration


“The only living survivor of one of Shreveport’s most tragic accidents, the wreck in June, 1865, of a river boat carrying the families of Confederate soldiers who surrendered here, Mrs. Nannie Tidd of Hutchinson, Kansas, cousin of R.V. Wynne, 515 ½ Travis street, is eagerly following plans for the Confederate celebration here next month. 

Mrs. Tidd, now 75 years old, was a baby of four months when the S.S. Kentucky struck a rock in the Red river and sank, carrying her father, a Confederate captain, and about 500 other passengers to their deaths. 

Always interested in Confederate history which played such an important part in her early life, Mrs. Tidd, whose address is 104 W. 21st street in Hutchinson, hopes that she will be able to come to Shreveport to take part in the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the last lowering of the Confederate flag on land, at Shreveport May 26, 1865. 

Born at Army Camp 

Mrs. Tidd’s father, Capt. Anthony Walton, was with Colonel Stone’s regiment of “Price’s army”, made up largely of Missourians. The captain’s family came to Texas in 1864 to stay with him there. 

The regiments decided to camp during that winter on a piece of property near Plano, Texas, owned by Captain Walton. This property, chosen because it provided plenty of fresh water, is now known as Big Spring farm. 

It was at this encampment that Mrs. Tidd was born a few months before the last lowering of the Confederate flag at Shreveport. When the Confederate army began surrendering, the army in Texas decided to return to their Missouri homes and headed for Shreveport where a boat, the S.S. Kentucky, was to carry them home. 

Boat Struck Rock Ledge 
About 200 of these regiments, Mrs Tidd says, surrendered in Shreveport. Traveling by horseback, it took the party two days to come from Plano to Shreveport. 
At sunset on June 9 the company boarded the ship which was to take them to St. Louis, Mrs. Tidd says retelling the story which her mother told her many times. In the group where Mrs. Tidd’s five older brother and sisters. 
At 9 p.m. the boat struck a rock promontory along the shore near Shreveport. A false fire alarm was sounded, and the women and children, joined by soldiers, rushed to the end of the vessel nearest the shore. This rapidly sank the ship.  
Mrs. Tidd’s oldest sister, Clemet (Clementine) Walton, grabbed the tiny baby, who weighed only five pounds and held her over their heads as they struggled in the water. Mrs. Walton called out what Mrs. Tidd describes as the “Masonic distress call” and soon a lifeboat picked up the mother and her children. 
Kept Watch on Shore 
For two days the mother stayed on the banks, hoping her husband’s body would be found. She kept the children on top of a trunk at the riverside while rescuers hunted for the bodies. 
Mrs. Walton never saw her husband’s body and finally took her children back to her Missouri home to rear them there.  
“A man wrote my mother 25 years later and said he knew my father well. He said that he stayed and helped bury the dead, and that my father and 18 others were buried on a high dry place. Maybe some day I’ll come down and see a monument to your unknown dead,” Mrs. Tidd wrote her cousin, Mr. Wynne. 
Burying Place Lost 
There is still no information as to the location of these graves. If any old residents of Shreveport know anything of them, The Shreveport Times would be glad to receive any information and investigate this mass burial of Confederate soldiers who were victims of the wreck. 
Mrs. Tidd has traveled extensively and has been all over Europe. She had an audience with Pope Pius XI shortly before he died. 
Recently Mrs. Tidd went back to Plano, Texas, to visit the scene of the army’s encampment and her birth. 
Source: Files of Neil Block, Commander, William T. Anderson Camp #1743 SCV, Huntsville, Mo; transcribed by Lisa Perry and corrected by Glenda Sharbono, LSU Shreveport Noel Memorial Library Archives and Special Collections. Source of original newspaper article is The Shreveport Times, pg. 8, dated April 28, 1940; the article includes a photo of Mrs. Tidd.