Capt. Abraham Smith
1831 – 1890
Born in Proctorville, Ohio
Capt. Smith battled the winds and guided the Star through the storm all Saturday night to get to back near the Louisiana mainland in Caillou Bay on Sunday (the day the storm hit). “Sunday morning, crew on The Star, a steamboat ferry, debated whether to turn back inland after losing its bearing in the storm, “but Captain Abraham Smith, concerned about the fate of those left on the island, insisted on returning amid the hurricane – a decision that saved many lives.”
Guests formed a human chain arm-to-arm from the hotel to The Star to reach shelter on the steamboat. Captain Smith moved all passengers into the cargo hull beneath the cabin Monday morning and The Star wedged into the earth in the place of Muggah’s Hotel. The Star’s top decks were ripped off, but the hull stayed afloat and saved 160 people.
Pirates swarmed the island to search through the carnage looting for valuables and when they attempted to get on board the wreck from The Star, Capt. Smith prevented it.
Capt. Smith was a hero twice in his life. After becoming a captain again, in 1876, he saved all 40 passengers aboard the Minnie Avery when the boat hit a snag and sank in the Atchafalaya bay.
He was reported to be 6 feet 6 inches tall. The average height, according to Time was 5 feet 10 inches for an American male in the 1800s.