Archive for March, 2018

Packet Ownership

Monday, March 12th, 2018


For Georgetown the years between 1852-1858 were a time of speedy economic growth.  River business prospered.  The following table lists the partnership of owners over six years of one steamer, str Washington City, plying various inland rivers.  Few Poe family packets survived as long.     


The consistency of these findings taken from the Record Type 41 of the Certificates of Enrollment are unusual.  Other Poe family steamboats changed ownership annually and were often bought and sold outside the family within three years.  The following table lists the owners of the str Washington City from 1852-1857.   Although no data was found for 1855 during this research trip, it should be remembered that in Apr 1855 Capt Joseph MC Calhoon died of cholera in Alton, IL.   Despite dangerous high-water conditions Capt George Washington Ebert, a brother-in-law, clerk James Wilkins a brother-in-law, /pilot Jacob Poe a brother-in-law, and a skeleton crew of Georgetown relatives, steamed to St Louis to recover the body and return it for burial in Georgetown Cemetery.  Proof that the str Washington City was actively working in 1855.  The absence of data for 1855 is most unfortunately due to pages torn from the Enrollment and License book of records.



Cert of Enrollment for the str Washington City (The National Archives)

Str Washington City


1852 1853 1854 1855 1856 1857
Richard Calhoon
Samuel Cadman 2/16 2/16 2/16 2/16 2/16
George W Ebert 3/16 M 3/16 M 3/16 M 3/16 M 3/16 M
AB Gallatin
Samuel Moore 2/16 2/16 2/16 2/16 2/16
Steel McMillen
John S McMillin
Adam Poe
Andrew Poe
George Poe
Jacob Poe 3/16 3/16 3/16 3/16 3/16
Thomas W Poe
Samuel Smith 2/16 2/16 2/16 2/16 2/16
Thomas Smith 2/16 2/16 2/16 2/16 2/16
JT Stockdale
James Wilkins 2/16 2/16 2/16 2/16 2/16



In 1857,the town fielded a fleet of ten steamboats to work on all inland rivers as far as the lower Missouri River.  Several keelboats were also launched by Georgetown rivermen.  The following table lists the steamers 0f 1857 and the men who owned and commanded them. 



Georgetown Packets in 1857


Belfast Belmont Clifton Grand Turk John G Fremont Metropolis Neptune Silver Wave Wash City
R Calhoon 3/16 M
James Diehl 1/8 1/8
GW Ebert 3/16 M 1/8 1/8 3/16 M
AB Gallatin 1/8 M
Eliz McClure 1/8
Steel McMillen 3/32
JS McMillin 13/16 M
Adam Poe 1/2 M 3/8 M
Andrew Poe 1/8
George Poe 1/8 1/8 1/16
Jacob Poe 1/8 3/16 1/4 1/8 3/16 3/16
Thomas Poe 1/4 1/4 1/8 M 1/8 1/4
Samuel Smith 1/8
Thomas Smith 1/8 1/8
Alan Stockdale 1/8
JT Stockdale 3/8 M
Samuel Trimble 1/8
David Wilkins 3/32
James Wilkins 1/8




(1)  In an effort of complete disclosure, George Washington Ebert .  The Poes and Samuel Trimble were my third great uncles, Elizabeth (Poe) McClure my third great aunt.

(2)  The bold faces names in the table are the principle steamboat captains who built, piloted, and operated the boats on many rivers far from home – Georgetown.  The names in lighter type are investors who did not work on the rivers.

 (3)  John Smith McMillin and Steel McMillen were brothers although the Custom House clerk spelled their last name differently on several enrollment certs.

(4)  Samuel and Thomas Smith lived in the village opposite Georgetown on the Ohio River named Smiths Ferry.  They operated a ferry which had served the two settlements since circa 1794. 

(5)  Samuel Cadman, Samuel Moore, and David and James Wilkins resided in Pittsburgh and Allegheny City.

(6)  “M” in the fractional ownership cells indicates “Master” as listed on both the Enrollment and License forms.





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Tripped to DC

Friday, March 9th, 2018


Enrollment and License Book for the Port of Pittsburgh 1856 (The National Archives)

Thinking Sunshine Superman lyrics while in DC today.  Spent two days at The National Archives reviewing Enrollment and License data from the Port of Pittsburgh from 1852-1858.  Stayed at the Swann House B&B in Dupont Circle and enjoyed a wonderful dinner at a Greek restaurant named Kapnos.  Bright and sunny and “we’ll do it in style”.




Several stories to tell.  The disposition of the str Golden Gate has been revealed.    The master, Capt Joseph MC Calhoon, died from cholera in Alton, IL in 1855.  He tried to return to Georgetown.  The Masons kept his body till it could be retrieved by Georgetown relatives.  The four-page letter to his widow from the attorney is worth a read.  Never revealed was the fate of his steamboat.  Coming soon as time permits.

Discovered a few more facts about Capt John Smith McMillin. 

Information is sometimes hard to come by.  Record books are beautiful although some have been damaged and pages are missing.  The fact that most of these remarkable books exist after one-hundred-sixty years is remarkable.  


Flyleaf for Enrollment and License Book 1856


Damaged Page for Enrollment of unknown steamboat


More to come.  Three-hundred plus images to process.




Copyright © 2018  Francis W Nash  All Rights Reserved
No part of this website may be reproduced without permission in writing from the author.



Str Iron Queen

Monday, March 5th, 2018

Str Iron Queen (From the Collection of the UW La Crosse Murphy Library

According to an article in the Pittsburgh Daily Post dated 23 Mar 1895, Capt Thomas S Calhoon took command of the Pittsburgh and Cincinnati Packet Line str Iron Queen.  To honor the change of command, a leather chair was presented to Capt Calhoon by Capt James Henderson on behalf of the crew of the str Keystone State.

A paragraph in the article also describes the coal shipping industry which was having “a good, steady run of business” even though there was not a large amount of coal in the Monongahela harbor.











Copyright © 2018  Francis W Nash  All Rights Reserved
No part of this website may be reproduced without permission in writing from the author.

Old Time Boating

Friday, March 2nd, 2018

St Louis Dispath 10 Jul 1880.

Fun article from the St Louis Dispatch dated 10 Jul 1880.  The article looks back 28 years to identify the prominent steamboat captains of 1852.  One-hundred-sixty-six years ago.  Of the thirteen captains named in 1852, Capts John S McMillin and Adam Poe were residents of Georgetown, PA.  Both Georgetown captains were working on the Wabash River.










Copyright © 2018  Francis W Nash  All Rights Reserved
No part of this website may be reproduced without permission in writing from the author.