Archive for December, 2011

Lives Remembered

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

One-hundred-thirty years ago today, Thomas W Poe died (31 Dec 1881) while on a trip from St Louis to Pittsburgh aboard the str Fearless.  In 1880, Capt Thomas W Poe bought the str Fearless to transport grain between Kansas City and St Louis. 


The str Fearless was a large heavy-draft Mississippi River stern-wheel tow boat built in Pittsburg PA in 1865 according to Benjamin M Laughlin.  It was 160 x 30′ rated at 395 tons with two engines (20″x8′) and five boilers (26′ x 40″)- with a working steam pressure of 150lbs.   When it sank on August 26, 1882 in the Missouri River about 40 miles from its mouth near Lower Bonhomme Island, the boat was owned by the Kansas City Barge Line.  The captain of the boat at the time it sank is unknown.


Happy New year.



Copyright © 2011 Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved

The Internet Delivers Its Surprises

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

Many people have been quite generous with their historical information and memorabilia.  Most recently, Mr Russell Weisman, a Senior Historical Preservation Specialist for the state of Missouri, shared new information on Thomas W Poe and his towboat, the str Fearless.  Mr Weisman described Thomas W Poe’s efforts to get into the grain barge transportation business between Kansas City and St Louis in 1880. 


I wish Mr Weisman the best of luck in his attempt to locate the wreck of the str Fearless  which sank in the Missouri River about 40 miles from its mouth near Lower Bonhomme Island on 26 Aug 1882.  Thomas W Poe died eight months earlier on 31 Dec 1881 while on a trip to Pittsburgh with the str Fearless.


Based on this information, I will update my Thomas W Poe biography and research Kersey Coates and the Mississippi Valley Transportation Co and Kansas City Barge Line.




Copyright © 2011 Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved

Georgetown Cemetery Video

Friday, December 16th, 2011

I happened upon a Ghost Box video on YouTube entitled A Midnight Visit to the Georgetown Cemetery.  The video was uploaded on uploaded on 30 May 2010.  The link follows:





The narrator of the video told a story about a witch that I had never heard.  She also filmed Capt Thomas Poe’s marker.  Whether filming that stone was planned or accidental or guided by forces outside the usual, it added the salt and pepper required to balance the fantasy and history of the hallowed place.   


Capt Thomas Washington Poe was arguably the most ill-fated steamboat captain from Georgetown.  If there is a “night shade” hovering over any stone, it would be the spirit of Capt Thomas Poe.  Owned by Thomas W Poe and other partners from Georgetown, PA ,the str Georgetown was snagged on the Missouri on 12 Oct 1853, raised, and returned to service.  On 11 May 1855 the str Georgetown was fatally snagged at Bellefontaine Bluffs on the Missouri in route to a military post.  He was the principal owner of the str Clara Poe which was burned during the Civil War by rebel forces on 17 Apr 1865 at Eddyville on the Cumberland River; he also owned the str Amelia Poe which was a complete loss when snagged on the upper Missouri river on 24 May 1868 and salvaged by 1,500 riotous Indians; and he was the owner of the str  Nick Wall which met a tragic end on the Mississippi River near Napoleon, AK on 18 Dec 1870.  Here a grisly incident occurred that Mark Twain retold in “Life on the Mississippi”.  Though injured himself by the falling roof, Capt Thomas W Poe attemped to save his wife trapped in a stateroom.  He chopped a hole in the roof with an ax striking the unfortunate Martha Jane Poe in the head.  Martha Jane Poe, fatally wounded, was returned to Georgetown for burial. 


What could make a better Ghost Box story?



Copyright © 2011 Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved

Fracking in Georgetown

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

Family and friends have been opposing unregulated gas drilling.  Attached is a link to a  NYT article about an area near Georgetown, PA.  Note the paragraph that states that these small towns can not afford to defend themselves in court.  That could be Georgetown.  The gas companies are essentially seizing mineral rights not only in poor areas but also affluent communities in PA because the state and local communities have not had time to develop regulations.  And there are no local jobs, no tax revenues and fees, etc.  No doubt the town’s water supply will also be tainted to put an explanation mark on the unjust exploitation!!!


My concern ― the blasting associated with fracking may cause the old Georgetown Cemetery to slide off its hill - the fate of a similar hill in South Fayette, Washington Co, PA.  


I sent an email expressing my concerns to my state senator, Patricia H Vance (Rep), who currently supports the bill to implement statewide and managed restrictions.  Her drab response said my input was appreciated.


All this is personal, naturally of great interest to me – but to you?



Copyright © 2011 Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved