Archive for the ‘History of Georgetown PA’ Category

Another Vintage Book

Friday, October 16th, 2015

For me, indescribable is the word that describes deeply held feelings for the Civil War. There is an unconditional affection for the sacrifice and pain of the soldiers on both sides.  Those feelings are still intense after one-hundred-fifty years.

I found another used book: A Pennsylvania Quaker in Andersonville (The Diary of Charles Smedley) published by the Fulton Counnty Aid Society in 1865.  The diary is mainly concerned wiith the Andersonville prison.  My interest was peaked because I have a great-great uncle who died there.  However, my ancestor’s name was not listed in the book with the prisoners who died in Andersonviille, GA.  Curious.  So I Googled the 101 PA Vol Inf and found the folllowing correction to my long held beliefs.


TRIMBLE, Emmet C. – Private, Co. G. Born 4 April 1842 in PA, the son of James and Mary Magdeline Trimble. Enrolled from Hookstown, Beaver Co., PA. Mustered in 2 Dec 61. Captured 20 April 64 at Plymouth, NC. Held captive at Andersonville, GA & Florence, SC. Arrived at the Florence Stockade 5 Oct 64. Paroled 10 Dec 64 at Charleston, SC. Died 18 March 65 of Erysipelas at U.S. General Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA. Buried in Georgetown Cemetery, Georgetown, Beaver Co., PA. GAR # 1103.


Emmet C Trimble was a prisoner in Andersonville for six months.  He was transferred to Florence, SC and later paroled.  Over the years the story of Emmet C Trimble’s captivity obviously grew.  According to the US Registers of Deaths of Volunteers 1861-1865, the cause of his death was chronic diarhea not a skin infection.  A second mystery to unravel.


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Vintage Book

Sunday, October 4th, 2015

Transportation in the Ohio Valley fly leaf.

My reading this week has been A History of Transportation in the Ohio Valley by Charles Henry Ambler published in 1931.  The first edition history was lent to me by Michael Libenson who is the great great grandson of Capt Thomas Stevenson Calhoon.   The many comments and corrections hand written in the margins of the book make this book special.  Those comments were written by Harriet Darrington (Calhoon) Ewing (b ? d 1950), the daughter of Capt Thomas S Calhoon and great grandAunt of Michael Libenson. Her writing is the closest thing we have to a voice into these steamboat captains lives.  Mrs WH Ewing dated her copy of the book Oct 26, 1931.


Transportation in the Ohio Valley p173.


Along with her notes, Harriet D Calhoon taped a response letter from CH Ambler to the front flyleaf.  The response, on West Virginia University letterhead, was dated 13 Aug 1930.  The content of the letter indicated that the exchange of information was too late to be included in the forthcoming book.  Whether a meeting or additional correspondence between them ever took place is unclear.  There is no record of such a meeting and no updated edition of the book.  





Transportation in the Ohio Valley p293.


Harriet D Calhoon is well known to those with long memories.  Often Capt Frederick Way used her comments in articles about Georgetown in the S&D Reflector.  See Vol 2 No 4 Dec 1965 p10,12.

My final comment/concern is how many books similar to this history written by captains or pilots have I missed?











Copyright © 2015  Francis W Nash  All Rights Reserved

No part of this website may be reproduced without permission in writing from the author.




Fantastic Week

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

As my wife says, I never tire of telling Georgetown steamboat stories which is Oldspeak for boring people to death. That as background, my presentation to the Beaver Area Heritage Foundation was the highlight of my summer.   There I met many interesting people with a bent for local history.


On Mon before the BAHF presentation, I received an email from the great-great-grandson of Thomas S Calhoon = Mr Mike Libenson.  Mr Libenson was planning to visit Georgetown with his daughter on Sat and notified me via GeorgetownSteamboats.  From Boston, they carried gifts of gold: a book published in 1932 on Ohio Rriver Transportation and photos of Poe men that I had been unable to identify.  In addition to those items, Mr Libenson also has a complete genealogy of the Calhoon, Poe, and Parr families prepared by Dr John Ewing, Capt Thomas S Calhoon’s grandson.  I plan spending much time with that volume.


While visiting the Georgetown Cemetery with the Libensons, we spoke to Mr Tom Lombard who is the president of the Georgetown Cemetery Maintenance Association (donations greatly apppreciated).  Mr Lombard provided the history of the Calhoon cemetery lot, and others, plus a map of the cemetery with every stone marked and accommpanied by a listing by name, where legible, of the people interred.  The map and listing are a fantastic find that I will compare/merge with work already in progress. 




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No part of this website may be reproduced without permission in writing from the author.



BAHF Program

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015


BAHF Postcard

BAHF Postcard

 Tue eve, I told a Georgetown story at the Beaver Area Heritage Foundation 2015 Speakers Series.  To me it was fascinating to see so many people interested in local history.  The people there had an incredible wealth of steamboat knowledge and river history.  Truly an inspiring evening for me.


The McDermotts, Judy and Jim, and the Deelos, Judy annd Mike, could not have been more accommodating.


I wish I knew more, and was a better presenter of, GeorgetownSteamboat stories.




Copyright © 2015 Francis W Nash All Rights Reserved

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Steamboat Photos

Friday, August 14th, 2015

A wonderful series of steamboat photos has been posted on the East Liverpool Historiical Society website.  The images are attributed to Jim Paulaskas of Chester, WV.


The photos were taken in Georgetown, PA by members of the Capt Andrew Parr family circa 1899.




Copyright © 2015 Francis W Nash All Rights Reserved

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Map: Beaver Co in 1817

Sunday, June 14th, 2015

While researching steamboat history within the PA Archives, I found a map of Beaver Co dated July 25, 1817 titled A Correct Map of Beaver County by Hugh McCollough, DS


To me the interesting finds on the map are the labels attached to road and trails.  There are two lines identified as “to George Town” and two eminating lines from Georgetown  “to Pittsburgh” (Pittsburgh Grade Road) and “to Washington” (Catfish Camp Trail).  


There is no Midland nor Aliquippa on the map. Beaver is on the map. But no roads are labeled “to Beaver”.  The map maker evidently viewed George Town as  an important cross roads or cross trails and entry into the Northwest territory. 


Check it out.  Beaver Co Map 1817.

The link to the original Melish-Whiteside County Map at the PA Archives.


Hugh McCollough, a vet of the War of 1812, died in 1841 and was buried in the Georgetown Cemetery. 



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Francis W Nash
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Point of Beginning for Wisconsin

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

The Point of Beginning was associated with the Rittenhouse and Elliot survey of 1785 marking the western boundary of PA and the south east corner of the Northwest Territory.  Across the river from Georgetown, the survey point marked the starting point for the surveys of all public land west including Alaska, excluding the thirteen original colonies, Texas, and Hawaii.   The phrase, the Point of Beginning, was clearly more significant than the name given the geographic survey marker.  It referred to the spiritual and emotional heart of the American Dream – the springboard to the West.



The Historical Marker for the Point of Beginning for WI


The Wisconsin public land surveys began in 1832 and were completed in 1867.  Late in 1831, when Wisconsin was still in Michigan Territory, Lucius Lyon, U.S. Commissioner on the survey of the northern boundary of the State of Illinois, set a post to mark the intersection of that boundary and the 4th Principal Meridian.  Every section corner monument in the state, the boundaries of each county, city, village, township, farm and lot; the position of roads, lakes and streams, all were surveyed and mapped from this Point of Beginning (POB).

As the historical marker explains, this is where Wisconsin begins, both geographically and historically. [i]   

Of course, the POB for WI was mapped from the original POB marking the beginning of the Northwest Territory and the Commonwealth of PA which was across the Ohio River from Georgetown.


In the History of Wood County, Wisconsin, there are several interesting names in the Original Land Entries for Wood County, Wisconsin in 1856.  No land was taken in this Township 25, Range 3 until 1856. [2]  The first entries recorded included:


              Township 25 Range 3 (Marshfield and Cameron)  1856 

Name Recorded Sections Steamer in 1856
Jacob Poe 1,2,3,and 11 Belmont, Yorktown 1
Adam Poe 3 and 4 Ella, Financier 2
Thomas Poe 11 and 12 Georgetown
George W Ebert 12 Belmont, Washington City


Before the Civil War, the Georgetown Poes had accumulated considerable wealth in the river transportation business.  With their boats, they were delivering settlers and supplies to the lower Missouri River towns.  All the river ports on the Missouri River became wealthy outfitting emigrants following the Mormon, the Oregon, and the Santa Fe Trails.  In the years leading to 1856, the boats operated by Georgetown men are also listed in the table.  All of the named steamers were succesful.  Only the str Georgetown was fataly snagged on the lower Missouri. 


Profits from their steamboats were apparently invested in land.  In 1856, Jacob Poe, Adam Poe, Thomas Poe and George W Ebert acquired or “marked” land in Wood County, WI.  Whether their names are woven in the history of the county is unclear.  Remembered or forgotten, they laid the foundation for the history of the county. 


What became of their investments is unknown.  Why they would chose to acquire land in themiddle of an unsettled frontier territory without access to a major river is also open to speculation.  Sections 11 and 12 are adjacent to Sections 1 and 2 indicating that these four steamboat captains “marked” 6 square miles of land to settle together.  (According to the system of metes and bounds one Range was 6 miles; one Section was approximately 1 square mile; one township was comprised of 36 sections.)  Whether I stand to benefit from my ancestor’s investment  is still to be settled.   








[2] George O Jones, History of Wood County, Wisconson, HC Cooper Jr and Cooper, 1923, p70.





Copyright © 2015 Francis W Nash
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CivWar150 str Clara Poe

Friday, April 17th, 2015

The str Clara Poe went up in flames ― burned by rebels on 17 Apr 1865 at Eddyville on the Cumberland River while transporting supplies and barges of hay to Nashville. [i]     The battle for compensation was waged by Capt Jacob Poe for twenty-five years through six presidencies, in vain. 




[i]  Frederick Way, Jr.,Way’s Packet Directory, 1848-1994, (Ohio University Press, Athens 1994), p. 99. 

The owners of the str Clara Poe formally requested indemnity from the US Army Quartermaster.  Correspondence between the principal owners and the US government is available at the National Archives in the military “Vessel File” Record Group 92 Entry 1403 Box 81.



Copyright © 2015 Francis W Nash
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No part of this website may be reproduced without permission in writing from the author.

The Calhoon Rivermen

Friday, April 10th, 2015

No doubt Capt Thomas Washington Poe was the most ill-fated steamboat captain from Georgetown.  Singularly, he lost five boats; four to snags and one to arson during the Civil War.  In those five events many lives were lost including his second wife and a young nephew.


The Calhoon family also suffered loss in the waters of the Ohio and Missippi.  Their loss was more diverse, and also deeper.  All six sons of William Calhoon (a ranger on the western frontiers) and Elizabeth Hutchinson were steamboat men.


Capt John Calhoon (b1809), was claimed by the river on 7 May 1846.  He was a charter member of the Ohio River Pilots’ Society as recorded on 12 Aug 1836.  According to George WE Poe on that dark May night near Marietta, John Calhoon misstepped on the unguarded main deck of Jacob Poe’s boat and fell into the Ohio River.  His body was recovered, returned to Georgetown, and buried in the Mill Creek Cemetery.  After his death, his wife, Nancy Stevenson, with her family of young children (the oldest twelve; the youngest unborn (Elmira wasa born 3 Dec 1846)), moved to Hookstown with her parents.  In the years between 1845-1847, the Hookstown vicinity suffered from a malady called “Hookstown Fever”.  Nancy Stevenson’s father died of this disease on 7 Jul 1847, her brother Andrew died on 1 Sep 1847, Nancy died on 2 Sep 1847, and her brother Jonathon died on 2 Noc 1847.  Seven orphaned children were left with their grandmother and her only remaining son Sampson in an unknown and unsafe condition.  The children lived with other relatives but considered the Stevenson farm home. Thomas Stevenson Calhoon was taken into the home of his Uncle Richard Calhoon who was also a steamboat captain.  For twenty years Thomas S Calhoon lived, and worked, with his uncle until his marriage in 1867.



Str Golden Gate Llicense dated 1854 (Frances and John Finley Collection)

Joseph MC Calhoon was also a steamboat captain.  He built the str Caroline then sold it before taking possession.  Likewise with the str Parthenia Parr.  He also built the str Golden State which he commanded till his death.  While aboard the str Golden Gate he became ill near Alton, IL. He intended to return home to Georgetown.  He travelled no farther than St Louis where he put up in the Franklin House where he died 21 Apr 1855.  A Masonic funeral service was held on 22 Apr, 1855 and his body was placed in a metal vault in the St Louis Cemetery. At the time, the Ohio River was closed to traffic due to high water.  When the riverway reopened Capt George W Ebert with a skelton crew of Georgetown men drove the str Washington City to St Louis to collect the body.  Capt George W Ebert was his brother-in-law; the clerk, James Wilkins was another brother-in-law; the primary owner of the boat was another brother-in-law, Jacob Poe.  No doubt the mates and crew were also Georgetown men.  The str Washington City returned his body to Georgetown and it was intered in the Calhoon family lot in Mill Creek Presbyterian Cemetery. Capt Joseph MC twin children, a son and daughter, were born after his death.  Joseph MC’s wife died a few years later and his children were placed in the care of the Ebert families in Georgetown.    


The early steamboat days were full of hardships and life shortening dangers.  Floods, ice jams, fog, steamer wrecks, snags, sand bars, boiler explosions, and fire were dangers that confronted the officers of a every packet.  Mississippi diarrhea, cholera, jaundice, injury, consumption, and drowning were the constant companions of all of the crew and passengers.  Like many other steamboat families, the Calhoons sacrificed, suffered, and learned to live with their losses. 



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Georgetown People Repeat

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

I have mentioned the close connections of Georgetown people from the Poe angle – Special People of Georgetown.  I am always amazed and somewhat amused.  This maze of names focusing on the Calhoon connections is also interesting.  Follow closely.


Capt Joseph MC Calhoon was the brother of Capts John, James Hutchinson, Richard, George Goshorn and Thomas Dawson; Joseph MC’s sister Mary Jane married Capt Jackman T StockdaleCapt Thomas S Calhoon was the son of John Calhoon and a nephew of Capt Jackman T Stockdale.  Joseph MC Calhoon married Parthenia Parr.  James Wilkins, the clerk of the str Washington City, married Myrtilla Parr, sister of Parthenia Parr.  Capt George W Ebert  half brother of Parthenia Parr, married Nancy Ann Poe, the sister of Capt Jacob Poe.  Capt Jacob Poe married Mary Ann Ebert, half sister of Parthenia Parr.  Capt George Goshorn Calhoon married Sarah Poe, the sister of Capt Jacob Poe and Nancy Ann (Poe) Ebert.  Elizabeth Calhoon, niece of Joseph MC Calhoon and daughter of Capt James Hutchison Calhoon, married Capt Andrew Hague Parr, brother of Parthenia Parr.  


Calhoon, Ebert, Parr, Poe, Stockdale, and Wilkins were hopelessly entangled with the river and each other.  With more effort Dawsons, Laughlins, Mackalls, and Potts can also be included in the puzzle.  Nearly everybody in the town was related by blood or marriage.




Copyright © 2015 Francis W Nash
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No part of this website may be reproduced without permission in writing from the author.