TS Calhoon’s Diary 1869

In 1869, Thomas S Calhoon was an owner and the captain of the str Sallie on its trip to Ft Benton in the Montana Territory.  Capt Calhoon was also a shareholder in the str Ida Stockdale which was also running to Ft Benton that season.  Two other packets from Georgetown, the Mollie Ebert and the Nick Wall, were in the mountain fleet bound for Ft Benton.  Of the four Georgetown boats, only the Sallie docked at the levee in Ft Benton.  The other packets ended their trips at Cow Island.


The following journal entries were taken from a photocopy of a translation of Thomas S Calhoon’s Diary 1869. [1]  Most of May 1869 is missing.  The original journal I have not seen, nor know where it is.  The Heinz History Center research library has a typed copy which I assume was transcribed from the original by Harriet (Calhoon) Ewing.  I have attempted to stay true to the copy. 


Steamers identified during the 1869 season:

Mollie Ebert
Nick Wall
E Labarge
Peter Balen
Huntsville l
St John
Andrew Ackley
Ida Stockdale
War Eagle
Evening Star

Diary 1869


Fri, 01 Jan       Loading Stmr Sallie for Louisville  Rained hard all day   River rising

Tue, 05 Jan      Left Pittsburgh this AM with a mighty small trip

Wed, 06 Jan    Arrived at Wheeling at 5 AM

Sun, 10 Jan      In Louisville   Went over the Falls at 4 PM to meet Stmr Dexter

Mon, 11 Jan    Left Louisville for Pittsburgh

Wed, 13 Jan    Left Cint for Pittsburgh at 4.15

Mon, 18 Jan    Arrived at Pittsbg this AM at 4


Mon, 01 Feb    Left Cint for Pittsbg at 4 PM

Fri, 12 Feb       Left Pittsburgh for Louisville at 9 PM

Sat, 13 Feb      Past Marietta at 4 PM


Sat, 13 Mar     Stmr Sallie left Pittsbg 12.30 PM this day for Omaha City


                        Amt freight on the Omaha trip     5632.20

                        Passage                                          1323.35



Mon, 15 Mar   Arrived at Cincinnati at 3 PM   Left at 6 PM

Tue, 16 Mar     Arrived at Louisville at 5 AM   Left at 11 AM

Wed, 17 Mar   Arrived at Evansville at 5 AM   Left at 6 ½ AM

Thu, 18 Mar    Arrived at Cairo at 1 AM   Left at 3 AM


Fri, 19 Mar      Arrived in St Louis at 6 PM

Sat, 20 Mar     In St Louis unloading

Sun, 21 Mar    Left St Louis for Omaha 11 ½ AM   Laid up at Dr Penns above St Charles at 10 PM   Got 11 cords wood at 2.50

Mon, 22 Mar   Left Dr Penns Wood Yard this Am 5 ½ oclock   Laid at anchor below Smith Point all night

Tue, 23 Mar     Left at 5 ½   Landed at Washington at 7 ½ AM

Wed, 24 Mar   Laid up at Claysville for the night

Mon, 29 Mar   Got aground below Leavenworth and had to be lighted   Left Leavenworth at 8 PM

Tue, 30 Mar     At Atchison   Left at 8 AM   St Jo at ? PM


Sat, 03 Apr      Arrived at Omaha at 2 oclock this morning   Left for St Louis at 11 ½ AM

Mon, 05 Apr   Left Kansas City this morning

Tue, 06 Apr     Landed in St Louis this evening at 7 ½ PM


Fri, 09 Apr      In St Louis

Fri, 16 Apr      In St Louis   The Mollie Ebert left this PM at say 4 AM


Sat, 24 Jan       Left St Louis this PM at 6 oclock for Fort Benton M T in company with the Nick Wall & Tacony   Past St Charles at 2 ½ next morning AM   Run all night

Sun, 25 Apr     Past Augusta this morning   24 hours out to Herman   Past Gasconade at supper   Run all night

Mon, 26 Apr   Past Providence at breakfast   Took supper below Glasgow

Tue, 27 Apr     Landed at Goodings at 3 ½ PM   70 hours out from St Louis 

Wed, 28 Apr   Landed at Kansas City at 7 ½ AM

Thu, 29 Apr     Past St Joseph at 7 AM   Run all night   Rough night

Fri, 30 Apr      Past Arago at 8 AM   Past Brownsville at 2 ½   Past Sonora at 4 ½ PM


Sat, 01 May     Stmr Nick Wall sunk this morning at one oclock opposite Wyoming


Fri, 11 Jun       Stmr Sallie arrived here this morning at 6 ½ oclock   47 days out last night from St Louis

Sat, 12 Jun      Left Fort Benton for Grand Island this morning

Sun, 13 Jun     Met the Mollie Ebert at Cow Island   Arkansas at Grand Island   Left this PM   Laid all night a Wook ldg

Mon, 14 Jun    Past the Mollie Ebert & Arkansas this AM at Cow Island   Got part over Dauphins and laid up for the night

Tue, 15 Jun      Got over the rapids and left at 7 ½ AM   Past the Colossal just above

Wed, 16 Jun    Run all night   Past the Coal Banks at 7 AM   Raining

Thu, 17 Jun     Arrived in Benton at one oclock this AM


Fri, 18 Jun       In Fort Benton   Raining this AM

Sat, 19 Jun      In Benton   Stmr Peter Balen arrived   River rising   Raining

Sun, 20 Jun     Left Ft Benton at 4 PM   Stmr Colossal arrived   In port Peter Balen & Huntsville

Mon, 21 Jun    Left Camp Cook this morning   No wood until Grand Island   Plenty then to Musselshell   Took 28 cords @ 4.50  20 cords 5.00 below Musselshell   Left Mollie Ebert at Musselshell

Tue, 22 Jun      Left Powers Wood Yard at 2 this morning   Met the St Johns & Ackley laid up below   Very cold this morning   Met Stmr Columbia at Lost Island  Ida Stockdale above Ft Peck  Tempest below Dry Fork

Wed, 23 Jun    Met the Flirt at at Little Porcupine   Saw Ida Stockdale frt pile above Spread Eagle Camp

Thu, 24 Jun     Laid all night at the wood yd   Met the Tacony above Little Muddy  

Sallie 4 days 201/4 hours out to Yellowstone   Met the Faragut & E Labarge below Yellowstone

Fri, 25 Jun       Fine day  Robt Chaney a passenger Died the PM and was buried at a wood yard above Fort Berthold

Sat, 26 Jun      Past Ft Stevenson this AM   Past the Sully at 9 AM at Knife River   Submarine below   Past Ft Rice at 6 PM

Sun, 27 Jun     Lay all night at the wood yard with the Utah   Met the Nick Wall at the Mouth of the Moreau this forenoon

Mon, 28 Jun    Lay all night at the Scheyenne Agency with the Stmr Utah   Met the Stmr War Eagle below Fort Thompson this evening

Tue, 29 Jun      Laid up in the woods all night   Past the Evening Star this AM above Neabriah   Met the Ida at Bonhams Island

Wed, 30 Jun    Lay all night above Bow River   Got 47 cords wood @ 2.50   Past the Colorado below Vermillion   Landed at Sioux City at 12 M   Left at 3 Pm


Thu, 01 Jul      Laid up in the woods all night  Past Omaha at 12M

Fri, 02 Jul        Lay all night at the Sonora Shute

Sat, 03 Jul       Lay all night at Leavenworth  Past the Minnie at Mo City

Sun, 04 Jul      Rainy day   We run all night


Tue, 13 Jul       Laid the Sallie up this day at the arsenal   Stmr Mollie Ebert arrived at 10 AM   I left for home at 6:30 PM

Wed, 14 Jul     On the train   Arived in Pittsburg at 6.50 PM

Thu, 15 Jul      In Pittsburgh   Arrived at home on this PM


Fri, 16 Jul        through Aug 17   At home in Georgetown

            27 Jul   At the Picnic

            30 Jul   Spent the day in Pittsbg

            Sunday at Sunday School

            16 Aug   Spent the day in Pittsburgh


Wed, 18 Aug  Going to Pittsburgh

Thu, 19 Aug    In Pittsburgh getting the Stmr Baranquilla ready


Fri, 20 Aug      In Pittsburgh   The river fell 2 inches last night   2 ft in the channel 

Sat, 21 Aug and Sun, 22 Aug              In Pittsburgh

Mon, 23 Aug   Left Pittsburgh for N. O. on Stmr Baranquilla

Tue, 24 Aug    Got away from Glasshouse at 10 AM  Past Georgetown at 5 PM  Laid up above Wheeling

Wed, 25 Aug  Coaled at Belmont Coal Works this AM   Took 400 @ 6

Thu, 26 Aug    Laid all night at Parkersburg  Took 700 Bush of coal at 6


Fri, 27 Aug      Run all night   Took 600 Bushels of coal at Sheridan @ 8¢

Sat, 28 Aug     Arrived at Cincinnati at 6 ½ this AM   Left at 8 PM

Sun, 29 Aug    Got to Madison this AM   Got to Louisville at 6 ½ PM

Mon, 30 Aug   Left foot of the canal at 3 this AM

Tue, 31 Aug    French Island   Got aground


Wed, 01 Sep   Still aground at French Island  Got off this PM

Thu, 02 Sep     Landed at Paducah this evening


Fri, 03 Sep       Lay all night taking on frt at Paducah   Left Cairo for New Orleans at 4 ½ PM

Sat, 04 Sep      Run all day  Landed at Memphis at 9 PM

Sun, 05 Sep     Run all last night & today   Past Napolean tis PM at 3 1/2

Mon, 06 Sep    Run all day   Past Vicksburg at 1 PM   Wooded at Rodney at 8 PM   Took 6 cords at 2.75

Tue, 07 Sep     Left Red River at 12 M

Wed, 08 Sep   Arrived in New Orleans at 4 this AM

Thu, 09 Sep     through Sat 11 Sep   In New Orleans


Sun, 12 Sep     Left New Orleans on the Stmr Olive Branch for St Louis at 2 oclock this AM

Mon, 13 Sep    Left Natchez at 5 this morning   Wooded opposite Rodney   Past Vicksburg at 5 PM

Tue, 14 Sep     Landed at Greenville this AM   At Eunice this PM   Good ash wood above at $3.50   Past White river tonight

Wed, 15 Sep   Took coal at the foot of 62 and 63 at 11 AM   Past Helena at 1 PM

Thu, 16 Sep  Left Memphis at one this morning   Randolph at 8 ½ AM   Wooded at Fulton @ 9.45   Met the Ida Stockdale at Hales Point at 2 PM       


Fri, 17 Sep       Landed at Cairo this morning at 7 ½   Left Cairo on Ills Cent at 2.40

Sat, 18 Sep      Arrived in Chicago at 7 ½ thtis AM   Left for Pittsburgh at 8 AM

Sun, 19 Sep     In Allegheny City

Mon, 20 Sep    Arrived home this PM

Tue, 21 Sep     Left to meet the Stmr Sallie at Wheeling

Wed, 22 Sep   In Wheeling all day   Weather hot   4 ½ ft water



Fri, 08 Oct       Left Pittsburgh for Louisville

Sat, 09 Oct      Aground in Glasshouse

Sun, 10 Oct     Aground in Glasshouse

Mon, 11 Oct    Still aground

Tue, 12 Oct     Get off last night   Aground in the Sisters

Wed, 13 Oct   Get off the Sisters this PM & went on


Sat, 16 Oct      Portsmouth this AM

Sun, 17 Oct     In Cint

Mon, 18 Oct    In Louisville

Tue, 19 Oct     In Louisville   Snowed hard today

Wed, 20 Oct   Left Louisville at 7 PM

Thu, 21 Oct     On our way to Cint

Fri, 22Oct        In Cint   Left for Pittsbg at 5 PM

Sat, 23 Oct      Past Maysville at 5 AM   Coaled at Hang Rock at 7 PM

Sun, 24 Oct     Landed at Gallipolis at 5 AM   At Buffington at 6 PM   Here all night

Mon, 25 Oct    Left Buffington at 5 AM   Landed at Parkersburg at 12 M   Left at 7 PM   Got aground at Menelta three hours

Tue, 26 Oct     Past Grand View at 7 AM   Wheeling at 8 PM

Wed, 27 Oct   Georgetown at 6 AM   Pittsburgh 3 PM

Thu, 28 Oct     In Pittsburgh


Fri, 29 Oct       Left Pittsburgh for Cint at 12 M   Laid at Rochester all night

Sat, 30 Oct      Landed at Wheeling at 2 PM   Left at 8 PM

Sun, 31 Oct     Marietta at 6 AM   Pomeroy 7 PM


Mon, 01 Nov   Portsmouth at 9 AM

Tue, 02 Nov    Left Cint for Louisville at 12 M

Wed, 03 Nov  Landed at Louisville at 7 AM   Left for Cint at 9 PM

Fri, 05 Nov      Landed at Cincinnati this Am at 2 oclock   Left Cint for Pgh at 9 PM

Sat, 06 Nov     Past Ripley at 8 AM   Past Portsmouth at 9 PM

Sun, 07 Nov    Past Guyann at 10 AM






[1]  The Ewing Family Papers, Thomas S Calhoon’s Diary 1869, Box 5, Heinz history Center, Pittsburgh, PA.

Copyright © Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved