Richard G. Haiduven
ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL ASSESSMENT OF THE TROY SPRING WRECK.
(Under the direction of Professor Lawrence E. Babits) Department of History, Program in Maritime Studies, May 2003.
This thesis documents and assesses the remains of a flat-bottomed shipwreck, the Troy Spring wreck (8LF5), sunk adjacent to the Suwannee River at Troy Spring, in Lafayette County, Florida. Local tradition holds that the wreck is the 99-ton river trading steamer Madison, originally a U.S. Mail packet built in New Albany, Indiana, in 1855. After three to four years of packet and passenger service, the vessel apparently disappeared from merchant listings due to its demise on the Ohio River in 1858 or 1859. However, a steamboat Madison, possibly the same vessel, reappeared during the Civil War as a Confederate gunboat participating in naval action near Cedar Keys, and was eventually scuttled by Confederates to avoid capture in 1863. The primary goal of this thesis to to pit the historical record-including the vessel's documentation, local records, and Civil War correspondence-against the archaeological record, including hull remains and associated material culture, to determine the validity of the vessel's identification as the documented Florida Madison. Results indicate the Troy Spring wreck is too small to be the steamboat Madison built in 1855 at New Albany, Indiana. It might be another vessel given the Madison name prior to its sinking, or the Colonel Cottrell, another sidewheeler known to be in the vicinity at the same time.