Archive for December, 2009

Ohio River Dangers

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009
Towboat Sunk The Review 12 Dec 2009 (Courtesy of Frances Finley)

Towboat Sunk The Review 12 Dec 2009 (Courtesy of Frances Finley)

The Ohio River has never been entirely tamed by the numerous flood control dams erected in the 1960’s.  On Fri, 11 Dec 2009, the Ohio took a modern towboat to its bottom at Georgetown, PA.  Two men on the sinking tug were rescued by another boat that fortunately happened to be working in the area.   No injuries were reported.


According to local Georgetown reports, high winds created seven foot waves that swamped the towboat. 


Severe weather often approaches Georgetown down the Little Beaver Creek gorge which empties into the Ohio River opposite Georgetown.  The Little Beaver Creek is a protected wild and scenic area listed in the National Scenic River Registry.  It is an exceptionally clean water system that supports a number of endangered amphibians. The Sandy and Beaver Canal, which was designed in 1828 to connect the Ohio River to Lake Erie and completed in 1848, followed the creek up the gorge.   Winds flow through the gorge intensifying their strength.   That power unleashed on Georgetown has been the source of many fierce storms causing power outages and much damage.


The dangers of the Ohio during the Golden Age of Steamboating long before the first dams had been built I can only imagine.

More Why Steamboats?

Monday, December 28th, 2009

I enjoy the challenge of writing where I have to learn – to struggle to find patterns and themes.  When I pick a subject, such as civilian transports during the Civil War, I have a strong sense of where it’s going.  When I do the research and analysis that end point will differ because I know more.   Only when I begin writing will the force of the argument become known.

Nancy Poe Ebert Journal

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

The journal written by Nancy Poe Ebert covers 57 days of the trip of the str Mollie Ebert from St Louis to Ft Benton in the Montana Territory in 1869.  Full of buckle and swash to spare, it was a pure adventure.  The duration of a round trip that year was about 100 days.  She wrote daily suggesting that other segments of the journal have been lost.   

Nancy Ann (Poe) Ebert ca 1890 (Anna L and John F Nash Collection)

Nancy Ann (Poe) Ebert ca 1890 (Anna L and John F Nash Collection)

So here is a writer, my great great grandmother, who wrote in her journal every day, who lost half of her output.  How could this have happened?  Considering everything since, recessions and booms, births and deaths, great loves and great losses, the loss of my double great grandmother’s writing is a minor thing.  But for me it is a major thing.   I keep thinking about it.      

The two segments of the journal transcribed to date are NPE Journal Segment 1 and NPE Journal Segment 2.

Georgetown Methodist Church.

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

A page entitled Georgetown Methodist Church provides a brief history of Methodism in Georgetown.

A Brother’s Second Letter

Friday, December 4th, 2009

Like the first letter to his sister, Parthenia Parr Calhoon, William Albert Calhoon was writing from his hospital room in Cairo, IL.  The second letter, addressed to his brother Joseph MC Calhoon was also dated 5 July 1889.  Suffering from “consumption” William Albert Calhoon had been hospitalized in Cairo, IL after spending five months under medical care in St Louis. 


Ltr from Wm Albert Calhoon to Joseph MC Calhoon  5 July 1889 (Anna L and John F Nash Collection)

Ltr from Wm Albert Calhoon to Joseph MC Calhoon 5 July 1889 (Anna L and John F Nash Collection)

According to the letter, William Albert had not heard from his brother Tom.  He had received a letter from his brother George.  In that letter from George, he learned that his sister Parthenia had been to Cincinnati on the Stockdale.  The Stockdale was the steamer officially named the Katie Stockdale which was the signature boat of the Pittsburgh and Cincinnati Packet Line, owned by Jackman T Stockdale and Thomas S Calhoon, and commanded by Thomas S Calhoon.


Another person from home named Dora was also in Cincinnati.  Her trip was on the steamer Batchelor.   I do not know Dora.  According to the 1870 census, Isadora Winch who was the same age as Parthenia Parr Calhoon, lived with the Charles Calhoon family.  Maybe she was Dora.  The Batchelor was the steamer CW Batchelor which was piloted at that time by George WE PoeGeorge WE Poe, son of Jacob Poe, lived in The Poe House.  The connection between Parthenia Parr Calhoon and  George WE Poe was The Poe House.  Parthenia Parr Calhoon also lived in The Poe House with the Jacob Poe family. 


In this letter all five children of Joseph MC and Parthernia Parr Calhoon are mentioned:

    (1)  Thomas Franklin
    (2)  George Washington
    (3)  William Albert
    (4)  Joseph MC
    (5)  Parthenia Parr

These children had been orphaned after their father died in Alton, IL in 1855 and their mother died a few years afterward.  George W Ebert was the court assigned guardian of the five children.  Twins, Parthenia and Joseph MC, lived in The Poe House; the three older boys, George, Tom, and William Albert, lived in the Eberts home according to the 1870 Census..    


William Albert Calhoon did recover in Cairo, IL so that he could travel to Georgetown, PA where he died on 25 Oct 1889.