Packet Lines Biographies
During the first twenty years of steamboat service on the western rivers, the number of regularly scheduled packets was small. In long distance trades, every packet was advertised, planned, and operated as a single business venture. The boats were advertised often weeks in advance as departing on the first rise in the river or in a specified week of the month or when sufficient cargo had been obtained.
By the mid 1840’s there were few local and medium distance trades without at least one steamboat offering packet service during the busy season.
Packet line service was more difficult to establish and so was slower to develop than packet service. Line service was only practical between the larger river cities and long distances often prevented the line steamers from keeping to their schedules. The pioneer packet line on the Ohio was in the Cincinnati and Louisville trade known as the Cincinnati and Louisville United States Mail Line.  Heavy river traffic enabled three weekly departures from each terminus by 1826. Within five years daily departures were offered.
The first establishment of line service on a comprehensive scale centered in Pittsburgh several years later. In 1835 the Pittsburgh and Louisville Line had twelve boats in operation between the two cities. The next year the Good Intent Packet Line entered the same trade with the same number of packets. These boats “were fitted up in the most beautiful and comfortable style, and were provided with all the materials of a well-regulated hotel,” and their departures were “punctual to the hour indicated on their cards”. 
In 1836 a third line was organized, the Ohio Pilot’s Line, for the Pittsburgh and Louisville trade. A fourth and fifth line were running between Pittsburgh and St Louis. Two lines with two and three steamers respectively served the local trades between Pittsburgh and Brownsville and Pittsburgh and Wellsville, OH. These lines listed nearly half the total number of steamboats working in Pittsburgh. 
Then the Panic of 1837 struck and hard times followed. The Good intent Line and the Ohio Pilot’s Line were sold at auction, settled, and closed. During the next five years, no major lines were established. Only the Cincinnati and Louisville US Mail Line survived. 
In 1842, the most important line on the Ohio River was organized — The Pittsburgh and Cincinnati Line. The Pittsburgh and Cincinnati Line was involved in the Wheeling Bridge Case. Wheeling had a terminal for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and tried to establish the Union Line to run between Wheeling and Louisville in conjunction with the railroad. The Wheeling packet line was discontinued after one short season.  The Pittsburgh and Cincinnati Packet Line also failed at this time chiefly because of the completion of a railroad between Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. 
From the time of these failures, packet line achievements up to the time of the Civil War were unimpressive. Single packets continued to run in all trades, but regular service lines failed to take hold. Even lines with reduced boats and departures failed to survive. The Panic of 1857 and Depression of 1858 added to the steamboat woes. During the Civil War commercial traffic was halted on the Mississippi and severely limited on the Ohio. Not until after the war were packet lines once again successfully and effectively organized.
By 1871 St Louis was the hub of river transportation. Most steamboats were registered and controlled by packet line companies. Although other river ports also had packet lines, such as the Pittsburgh and Cincinnati Packet Line headquartered in Pittsburgh, I am focusing on St Louis for two reasons:
(1) It had the most packet lines.
(2) Some steamers operated from Georgetown were members of the packet line pools.
The following list of packet lines is not exhaustive. 
Kansas City Packet Company (Star Line) was established in 1869 and its six steamers worked the rivers between St Louis and Kansas City.
St. Louis and New Orleans Packet Company was formed in 1869 by Capt Bofinger. He acquired the government contract for troop and supplies transport between St Louis and Ft Benton; St Louis and New Orleans, and St Louis to Ft Gibson on the Arkansas River. It was the longest river transportation contract held by one company. At any in time point, Capt Bofinger had about 25 steamers in operation including the Belfast, Glencoe, and Mollie Ebert..
The “K” Line of Packets, designed to ply between St. Louis and Miami and intermediate points on the Missouri River, began business early in 1870. The line operated thee steamers.
Merchants’ Southern Line Packet Company was established in 1870 and plied the rivers between St Louis and New Orleans with a fleet of eight steamers.
The Coulson Line of Steamers was organized in 1878 and operated and plied the rivers between St Louis and Ft Benton.
The St Louis and Omaha Packet Commpany wass organized in 1867 and operated eight steamers.
The Merchants’ St. Louis and Arkansas River
Packet Company was incorporated in the spring of
1870. Its operations extended up the Arkansa and White rivers. The str Sallie was employed in 1871.
Ouachita River Packets operated from St Louis in 1870. The str Ida Stockdale commanded by Capt JW Jacobs was a member of its fleet. .
Other St Louis based packet lines were:
St. Louis and Arkansas River Packet Company
Memphis and St. Louis Packet Company
Mississippi Valley Transportation Company
Carter Line Packet Company
Northwestern Transportation Company
Northern Line Packet Company
Conrad Line (Tennessee Kiver)
North western Union Packet Company
Keokuk Packet Compuny
Peoria Packet Compuny
Missouri River Packet Company
 Louis C Hunter and Beatrice Jones Hunter, Steamboats on the Western Rivers: An Economic and Technological History, Harvrad University Press, Cambridge MA, 1949, pg 326.
 Louis C Hunter and Beatrice Jones Hunter, Steamboats on the Western Rivers: An Economic and Technological History, Harvrad University Press, Cambridge MA, 1949, pg 327.
 Louis C Hunter and Beatrice Jones Hunter, Steamboats on the Western Rivers: An Economic and Technological History, Harvrad University Press, Cambridge MA, 1949, pg 328.
 Louis C Hunter and Beatrice Jones Hunter, Steamboats on the Western Rivers: An Economic and Technological History, Harvrad University Press, Cambridge MA, 1949, pg 329.
 Louis C Hunter and Beatrice Jones Hunter, Steamboats on the Western Rivers: An Economic and Technological History, Harvrad University Press, Cambridge MA, 1949, pg 330..
 Louis C Hunter and Beatrice Jones Hunter, Steamboats on the Western Rivers: An Economic and Technological History, Harvrad University Press, Cambridge MA, 1949, pg 330
 J Thomas Scharf, History of St Louis and County, From the Earliest Periods to the Present Day Including Biographical Sketches or Representative Men, JB Lippincott Co, Philadelphia, 1883, p 1119-1124.
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