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The River: The Gordon C. Greene

Transportation in Wheeling Icon

▼ Newspaper Article

-from The Wheeling Intelligencer, Sept. 15, 1960. © Ogden Newspapers; reproduced with permission.

The River: Gordon C. Greene

- by Ralph Conley

There are some strange stories in connection with the Ohio River, and this one is strange indeed. In 1938, William Suter was a mate on the river and his wife told him that when she died, she wanted to be cremated and requested that her ashes be put into a small box to be cast off a steamer in the Ohio River on a dark night when the river was high. So, she died shortly after her request was made and sure enough, her husband had her body cremated. The ashes were taken by the husband aboard his boat and carefully placed in a locker. Suter went to work for the Greene Line on the Gordon C. Greene, but the old river failed to rise much. It just stayed normal, but the ashes remained ready in the locker. Then it was announced that the Gordon C. Greene would make her annual cruise to the New Orleans Mardi Gras. The boat left Cincinnati and it began raining. It rained the next day, and the next, and soon rumors of "high water" were heard. The weather grew cold, and the wind raised. The story goes that it was 2 a.m. when Mate Suter went to his locker, removed the box of ashes, went out on the forecastle and dropped the box into the Ohio. This fulfilled the wish of his wife who had said she wanted them dropped on a dark night when the river was high. Both of these qualifications were met. Just what Suter said when he tossed the box into the river was not made known and the location of the Gordon C. Greene at that hour was not recorded in the original story of the incident. But her request was granted the way she wanted it.

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