I have compiled a list of steamers owned and operated by Georgetown men between the years 1837 and 1894. My count is currently eighty-five (85) vessels – eighty-three (83) steamers and two towboats. To a high degree of confidence, the list for the Poe captains and pilots is complete. I feel less confident with the Calhoons, especially their early boats built before 1848. And my data on the steamboating Parrs is far less complete than the Calhoons because I have little Parr family history and source data. My Parr information has been discovered indirectly through the Poes and Calhoons. As I learn more, I will be updating the list.
The year 1848 is significant. Capt Way’s Packet Directory, the steamer bible, is dated 1848-1994. Packets built before 1848 are not included in the directory meaning data for the early boats is hard to find. My list of Georgetown steamers included twelve (12) unlisted packets. My information on steamers built before 1848 was gleaned from Capt Ways articles in the S&D Reflector and from family histories of the Poes. Adam Poe’s autobiography written in 1888-1889 and Thomas S Calhoon’s logs from secondary sources have been prime sources.
The steamer list is presented in two styles:
(1) Simple list.
(2) MS Excel 2003 spreadsheet.
Simple list. The first and simplest presentation added the steamer names and build dates to the page entitled Steamer Biographies. I have listed two build dates. The first date was provided mostly by Capt Way. The second date was found in a book celebrating the Allegheny County centennial — “Allegheny County’s Hundred Years”, by George H Thurston, published by AA Anderson and Son, Book and Job Printers, Pittsburgh, 1888. Chapter IX was devoted to “Boat Building in Allegheny County”. Two dates have been listed because dates differ between these two sources. Most of the inconsistencies are probably the result of the build process which was often performed in two separate boatyards. One yard would build the hull while the installation of the engines, boilers, and other hardware was finished in a Pittsburgh iron foundry.
Excel Spreadsheet. The second format, an MS Excel 2003 spreadsheet named Georgetown Steamer File, supports local search and sort operations. This format affords insight into the data. For example, each steamer is represented by a number of rows equal to its number of years in service. Sorting by column “Date” followed by column “Owner” will show that Jacob Poe owned three steamers in 1858. Of course he could only be the master or pilot of one. A skillful analyst can construct a history of a captain or pilot by assembling the parts of his records. The spreadsheet format has cells for owners, captain, pilots, clerks, build site, participation in Civil War battles, tonage, sternwheel or side wheel type, primary trade route, anecdotes, Way’s Directory number, Gibson’s Dictionary check, and other data. I will update the spreadsheet cells as I find more complete data.