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July 25, 2010
Reed family

Congressional Cemetery in Washington, DC

On August 9, 1873, the steamboat Wawaset was heading from Washington, DC down the Potomac River to Colonial Beach, VA, with many stops along the way in Maryland and Virginia.  The crew discovered a fire in the engine room as the boat neared Chatterton’s Landing in Virginia.  They weren’t able to extinguish the fire, so they decided to steer as close to the bank as possible, and run the ship aground.  They weren’t quite quick enough, and sadly, people waiting at the landing watched it happen.  There were 137 people on board and 82 of them died in this fire.

The five stones seen above are the Reed family (mother and children) who died on the Wawaset.  Mr. Reed was not on the boat that day, but was buried elsewhere at Congressional Cemetery when he died later.

I had absolutely no clue of any of this when I took the picture.  I just thought it was really interesting, the way the stones are shaped together.  My aunt who works as an archivist at Congressional told me who the family was.

Apparently the wreckage of the Wawaset was just located in June 2010.   Wow!

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