Each month, the Courier-Post takes a look at items and their back stories not often seen by the public from the archives of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum

On June 3, 1903, the steamboat Flying Eagle was chartered for an excursion sponsored by the Park Methodist Church as a fundraiser. The tickets sold well and a double decker barge was fastened to the side of the steamboat to hold the crowd.

The excursion pulled out into the river which was still swollen with spring runoff.

As it neared the Wabash railroad bridge, the current turned the steamboat out of control and it hit a pier of the bridge, punching a hole in the steamboat’s hull. As it started sinking, the barge was cut free.

Despite rescue efforts from several boats and skiffs, three young passengers, Lonnie Curts, Harry Eichenberger and Martha Coppedge and the boat’s cook lost their lives that fatal day. The Mark Twain Museum has an unused ticket for that excursion, a reminder of a Hannibal fatal cruise.