Archive for February, 2011

A Rare Photograph

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

A rare photograph of the str Amelia Poe.  A fun story.  Follow the link.

Missouri River Steamboats

Friday, February 25th, 2011

At a local library, I found a copy of “The Material Culture of Steamboat Passengers” by Annalies Corbin.  The book published in 2000 was an archaeological study of the artifacts from the steamers Bertrand and Arabia.  More work like this report should be conducted on other steamers lost on the Missouri.

In Appendix H, Ms Corbin listed the steamers on the Missouri River.  Steamers owned and operated from Georgetown, PA named on the list included:

            (1)  Amelia Poe
            (2)  Ida Stockdale
            (3)  Yorktown
            (4)  Mollie Ebert
            (5)  Nick Wall
            (6)  Georgetown

Several Georgetown steamboats were omitted from the list.  Most notably, the str Sallie was omitted, or confused with other boats with the same name.  The Sallie docked at the levee in Ft Benton in 1868, 1869, and 1870.  


Two other Georgetown owned steamers were also omitted.  Poe family records indicate that the Financier No 2 and Ella worked on the Kansas River in 1854 -55 with the  Georgetown.  The Poe brothers had three boats operating on the Missouri and Kansas Rivers before the outbreak of the Civil War.

My final contributions to Appendix H are three boats named by Capt Adam Poe who travelled to Missouri in 1837.  During his trip he steamed from St Louis to Glasgow on a boat named Izora.  His original fare was with Capt Kyser who had a boat named Shawnee, but the water was too low so he booked passage on the Izora.  After surveying his land, he returned to St Louis aboard the str Zora


If ever Appendix H is updated, these boats should be added.

An Old Book

Monday, February 21st, 2011

Recently I have been entertained by another old book, “River Steamboats and Steamboat Men” by Capt Ellis C Mace.  The book was published in 1944.  The author, Capt Ellis C Mace, was born in Burlington, OH in 1862.  Throughout the book, Capt Mace identified hundreds of the men who operated the steamboats.  He provided detailed stories of many of the pilots, clerks, engineers, and mates that he had known. 


In the narrow frame of reference and time for my research, Capt Mace named the engineers on what he described as the “palatial steamers” of the Pittsburgh and Cincinnati  Packet Line: Alfred Hoof, J Henry Best, Hy Tyler.  About Hy Tyler, Capt Mace wrote “His reputation as one of the first-class river engineers was heralded throughout the valley…  Mr Tyler lost his health in South America…”.   These brief biographies impart life into the steamboat men. 

 I believed that I had all the data available on these luxurious steamers based on the files of Capt Thomas S Calhoon housed at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh.  Finding this book has provided a second and independent source.

As you are no doubt aware, I take special pleasure reading histories by authors who lived during the time.  Maybe their styles do not rise to the level of literature, but their stories, filling each page, are eternal.

The Benjamin Mackall Laughlin Book

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

There it is.  There it absolutely and positively is.

                The Benjamin Mackall Laughlin Book


The BM Laughlin Book listing every steamboat built at Pittsburgh between 1811-1904 has been loaded for your review.  The Book has been loaded on six pages for ease of viewing.


                The Book Scanned p1-43
                The Book Scanned p45-85
                The Book Scanned p87-125
                The Book Scanned p127-163
                The Book Scanned p165-205
                The Book Scanned p207-294

Credits for the photography go to George Hellmann, a good friend.