Archive for the ‘Missouri River Commerce’ Category

The National Archives

Saturday, January 23rd, 2016

 

Last week I made my 9thtrip to The National Archives.  Usually a trip to DC is an overnight stay in a hotel or B&B.  A morning drive from Carlisle, PA allows one “pull” of references at approx. 1:30 PM if I arrive before 11:00 AM and meet the request time.  For reasons I do not understand, my requests take more time than most.  An archives reference specialist must “spot” my requests before the volumes are located and obtained.  Inadvertently I lose much valuable research time. 

Str Fearless Cert of Enrollment (The National Archives)

Although I made some progress last week, my pull request on Mon at 3:00 PM did not arrive at the reference room till almost noon on Tue.  This steamboat interest, obsession according to my wife, is expensive as well as time consuming. 

The jewel of this trip was the proof that the owner of the str Fearless was Capt Thomas S Poe just months before his death. 

 

My Monday request of four volumes of Certificates of Enrollment resulted in three on Tue.  By the time I realized I was missing a volume, my “archives vacation” time expired.  It was too late to submit another pull before I had to drive home.

 

Four more “full” days before I complete the review of the Certificate of Enrollments for the port of Pittsburgh.  By another measure, two overnight trips to DC.

 

I also need two or three days to review the Vessels File, Record Group 92, to complete the review of the service of the Georgetown civilians during the Civil war.

 

 

 

Copyright © 2016 Francis W Nash    All Rights Reserved

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

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

 

 

New Bio of Thomas W Poe

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

The Capt Thomas Washington Poe biography was updated yet it still is incomplete.  Information from the Certificates of Enrollment for his later steamboats will not be added until I have made time to review the appropriate volumes at The National Archives. 

 

Copyright © 2014 Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved

Source Documents

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

A friend, and Poe relative, introduced me to the personal diary of Isaac T Goodnow.  In her research of Rev Adam Poe who was a cofounder of Ohio Wesleyan University, she crosses into the Poe steamboat land. 

 

Isaac T Goodnow helped establish the community of Manhattan, KN in the 185o’s.  His diaries are an interesting read.  Kansas was the topic of the day.  Slavery was the main issue.  Isaac T Goodnow traveled from Boston to Kansas at least once a year.  Isaac T Goodnow knew Rev Adam Poe who arrived in KN via steamboat to attend a religious conference.

 

In Issac T Goodnow’s travels, he mentioned steamboats often.  However, he rarely named them.  Two daily journal entries are listed below where he named the packets built by Georgetown men:

 

            (1)  str Financier.  At the time of the journal entry, Goodnow would have steamed on str Financier II built for Capt Adam Poe in 1850.   Capt Adam ran the str Financier II for three years and then sold it.  In 1855, he was commanding the str Ella which was also working on the lower Missouri River. 

 

            (2)  str Admiral.    In 1857 Capt Jackman T STockdale was a partner in the ownership of the str Admiral, At that time it is unclear whether he was its captain or pilot. 

 

The Isaac T Goodnow diaries are a fantastic first hand account of the violence in Kansas in the troubled 1850′s.   For me, they also provide source information that confirms my statements that Georgetown steamboats were working at the sharp and dangerous edge of our frontier.

 

 

 

 

Diary of Isaac T. Goodnow

 

Transcribed by staff and volunteers of the Riley County Historical Museum from a typescript of the original diary held in the collection of the Kansas State Historical Society.

 

 

Thursday, 8/16/55         

            Br. Wm. E. left this morning in the steamer Financier for Kansas City.  Hope to see him back soon.  Very rainy.  Drove to Judge W-s 7 miles to dinner.  P.M. rode on to Mr Roberts’ an Illinois man.  Has 120 acres corn.

 

 

Thursday 11/12/57

            Bought 2 land warrants $281.60  Saw my old friend Hugh M. Thompson, formerly of Greenfield.  Did some considerable business, & at 3. P.M. started by Pacific R.R. for Jefferson City, arriving at 9. & taking the steamer Admiral for Leavenworth City.  Lay by till morning on account of the darkness.  Rested tolerably well.  Rainy, P.M. & Evening.

 

 

Copyright © 2014 Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved

 

Another Used Book Review

Monday, December 16th, 2013

“The Conquest of the Missouri” by Joseph Mills Hanson I highly recommend.  Published in 1909 the book is a biography of the life of Capt Grant P Marsh concentrating on the days of his support of the US Army during the Indian Wars of the 1870s.  Capt Marsh was a direct participant in some important historic moments

 

For several reasons, this is a great book on steamboat history and the general history of the development of the upper Missouri River valley: 

 

                (1)  Joseph M Hanson lived during the period he was writing about, 

                (2)  Joseph M Hanson personally interviewed Grant P Marsh who furnished much of the material set forth in the book.

                (3)  Joseph M Hanson also interviewed many of the Army officers who served in the Indian Wars and other notable people and steamboat men, such as William F Cody (Wild Bill), Samuel L Clemens Mark Twain), and Horace Bixby Mark Twain’s pilot mentor).

                (4)  The illustrations and plates are fascinating, such as the group of officers (including Custer) and ladies of the 7th US Calvary at Fort Lincoln in about 1875, approximately one year before the battle of the Little Big Horn.

                (5)  The names of many steamboats (Luella, Ida Stockdale, Key West, Josephine, and the Far West) and their officers are woven into the narrative unlike most other historic accounts.

For other reasons, this used book is of great interest to me, but maybe not to you:

Flyleaf of The Conquest uf the Missouri ca 1910 (F Nash Collection)

               

                (1)  The original owner of this book received it as a gift on16 Mar 1910 according to the inscription on the flyleaf.  That person, or subsequent owners, loosely inserted many newspaper clippings and notes about specific events on many pages.  These insertions I find fascinating.  In one case, an obituary was inserted including a hand written correction of what should have been written in the book.  The back of a First Loan and Trust deposit slip Yankton, SD 192_ was used as paper for the hand written correction.

                (2)  Capt Grant Marsh worked for some of my guys from Georgetown, PA.  Unfortunately, Joseph M Hanson got many of the Georgetown details, as I understand them, wrong.  I am considering writing a correction sheet and inserting it in the book for the benefit of the next reader.   Of course, Capt Marsh was the master of the str Ida Stockdale during the 1867 season on the upper Missouri River and his salary was $1,200 month.  That he was a skillful navigator and a proven captain is not arguable.  However, Joseph M Hanson gives Capt Grant a little too much control of and credit for building the boat that, in my opinion, belongs to Georgetown men.  The str Ida Stockdale was owned by Capt Jackman Taylor Stockdale and Capt Thomas Stevenson Calhoon who as partners directed the purchase and building of other packets.  There is no discernable reason that they would relinquish this oversight task to a hired captain.  Both Stockdale and Calhoon were veteran captains and pilots working on the lower Missouri before the Civil War and all the military waterways during the war.   Both had been to Ft Benton.  Joseph M Hanson named the owner of the str Ida Stockdale as Capt RS Calhoun rather than TS Calhoon.  The Georgetown Calhoons were prideful of the spelling of their name.  Joseph M Hanson acknowledged that Capt Thomas S Calhoon “accompanied” Capt Marsh “though he made the voyage for pleasure only and had nothing to do with the management of the boat”.  Actually, as well as a principle owner Capt Thomas S Calhoon was the first clerk of the str Ida Stockdale for the venture on the upper Missouri.  For confirmation, Capt TS Calhoon’s journals can be found at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh.

 

I repeat that these apparent discrepancies are important to me, but maybe not to you.   Regardless, the book is a grade-A read.    

 

 

 

Copyright © 2013 Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved

 

Another Old Book

Sunday, November 3rd, 2013

I found a fascinating historical quarterly on eBay.  The Annals of Iowa (Third Series Vol IV No 5) dated April 1900.  My copy came via a private collector through the New Jersey Historical Society.  The book itself is quite interesting.  The binding is not sewn, yet the book is composed of quarto pages which is unusual.  It has not been read completely because most of the pages had not been cut.  Cutting the pages in order to read the book was a delicate process, and probably value destructive.   

 

The article in the quarterly that caught my eye was the History of Steamboating on the Des Moines River, From 1837 to 1862 by Tacitus Hussey.  It is a collection of arrival and departure logs from two ports and personal diaries.  Combined the logs and diaries confirm that several of my Georgetown guys were working on the Des Moines River as early as 1851. 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2013 Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved

Publications

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

Mr Matthew S Schulte, Executive director of the Steamship Historical Society of America (SSHSA), has graciously granted permission to scan and post the pages of two articles published in PowerShips, the voice  of the SSHSA. 

 

The first article, “No Place For a Lady“, was the description of the Missouri River journey written by Nancy Ann (Poe) Ebert in 1869.

 

The second article, “The History of a Civil War Transport, the Clara Poe ” was the story of the str Clara Poe during the Civil War and the unsuccessful request for indemnity which spanned six presidencies.

 

 

Copyright © 2013 Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved

Thomas Washington Poe

Friday, March 29th, 2013

If there is a “night shade” hovering over any stone in the Georgetown Cemetery, it would be the spirit of Capt Thomas Washington Poe for good reason.   Capt Thomas Poe was arguably the most far-famed and ill-fated steamboat captain from Georgetown, PA.  Thomas Washington Poe was born in 1819 in New Lisbon, Columbiana Co, OH.  He died on 31 Dec 1881 aboard the str Fearless on his way to Pittsburgh. 

 

Capt Thomas W Poe with wives, Phebe and Martha Jane (F Nash Collection)

Misfortune paid its respects to Capt Thomas Poe many times and often far from home.  On 11 May 1855  the str Georgetown was fatally snagged at Bellefontaine Bluffs on the Missouri in route to a military post.  The  str Georgetown was owned by Thomas W Poe and other partners from Georgetown, PA.  He was the principal owner of the str Clara Poe which went up in flames during the Civil War - burned 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

Thomas Poe Illustration in Life on the Mississippi

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”.  The boat struck a snag and sunk rapidly.  Though injured himself by the falling roof, Capt Thomas W Poe attempted 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. 

 

Although Thomas W died on 31 Dec 1881 aboard the str Fearless on his way to Pittsburgh,  his spirit lived on ― in the courts.  The steamer sank eight months later on 26 Aug 1882 on the Missouri.    The legal case regarding the property loss was finally decided by the Supreme Court of Missouri in Oct 1887― not in favor of the Poe heirs.  This verdict feels perfectly consistent with the trend of Thomas Washington Poe’s lfe.

 

 

 

Copyright © 2013 Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved

George Washington Ebert

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

George Washington Ebert was my great great grandfather.  He was born 13 Aug 1810 and died in Georgetown, PA on 24 Apr 1879.  Those were the years of great experiences and many great men.  During his lifetime,  GW Ebert established quite a record as a wide-ranging steamboat captain and owner.  According to the Certificates of Enrollment for vessels more than 20 tons registered at the Port of Pittsburgh, GW Ebert was the principle owner of fifteen (15) packets and was a partner in eight (8) other boats owned by Georgetown men.  My definition of “principle owner” is the person first named on the Certificate of Enrollment record for registration of the vessel.  And I have not yet concluded my review of the Certificates of Enrollment for the Port of Pittsburgh.  No doubt some data is missing due to water damage of early volumes and even worse because of lost or misplaced volumes.  Even with incomplete data, the fragments pieced together paint an impressive picture.   

 

Ebert Steamers

Date:  24 Mar 2013

 

Packet Name Build Date Way’s Directory Original Primary Owner (Signed Cert of Enrollment)
     
Belfast    1843 George W Ebert
Bridgewater 1843 George W Ebert
New England 1844 George W Ebert
Hudson 1846 George W Ebert
Hibernia* 1847 George W Ebert
Glaucus   1849 George W Ebert
Washington City  1852 George W Ebert
Yorktown   1853 George W Ebert
Clifton    1855 George W Ebert
Belmont  1856 George W Ebert
Melnotte  1856 George W Ebert
Argyle 1859 George W Ebert
Kenton     1860 George W Ebert
Yorktown * 1864 George W Ebert
Mollie Ebert 1869 George W Ebert
     
Fairmont 1837 Jacob Poe
Financier 1845 Adam Poe
Pioneer 1846 Adam Poe
Euphrates 1847 Joseph MC Calhoon
Tuscarora 1848 Jacob Poe
Golden Gate 1852 Joseph MC Calhoon
Caledonia * 1854 Richard Calhoon
Grand Turk 1854 AB Galatin
     

Note:  The asterisk indicates the second boat with that name.

 

 

Copyright © 2013 Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved

 

Lower Missouri River Commerce

Friday, December 28th, 2012

It is important to acknowledge that the Georgetown steamboat owners and their crews were in the river freight and passenger business at the sharp and dangerous, and always moving, frontier edge of our nation.  Without them and men like them, the development of the interior of our nation would have been delayed many years.

I have added a page to tell their story: Lower Missouri River

 

 

Copyright © 2012 Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved