Old Pitt-Cin Packet Line

The “first” Pittsburgh and Cincinnati Packet Line was established in 1842 by William Thaw, Thomas Shields Clarke and others.  At that time, William Thaw also had interests in western PA canal transportation.  In later years, he was associated with the Pennsylvania and Reading Railroads (PRRs) western lines.  The “first” Pittsburgh and Cincinnati Packet Line faded from existence before the Civil War. [1] In 1877-78 the “second” Pittsburgh and Cincinnati Packet Line was organized by, Thomas Stevenson Calhoon and Jackman Taylor Stockdale of Georgetown, PA.  The two packet lines were not associated in any way other than sharing the same name.  


Thomas W Poe Home ca 1890 then owned by R Laughlin (Frances and John Finley Collection)

Thomas W Poe Home ca 1890 then owned by R Laughlin (Frances and John Finley Collection)

The “first” Pittsburgh and Cincinnati Packet Line has no direct connection to Georgetown steamboats other than the following detail data was provided from Benjamin M Laughlin’s hand written book.  [2]That book was presented to his brother Robert Dawson Laughlin on 20 Sep 1904.  Robert D Laughlin,  a steamboat steward, lived in Georgetown in the home overlooking the Ohio River built by Thomas W Poe.  Robert D Laughlin purchased the property in 1879.


The Georgetown connection to the first Pittsburgh and Cincinnati Packet Line were the steamers Hibernia,  Hibernia No2, and the Buckeye StateCapt George W Ebert had a finnacial in terest in the Hibernia and Hibernia No2 and Standish Peppard was the first clerk of the Buckeye State when it made its record run between Cincinnati and Pittsburgh in 1850.


This list compiled by Benjamin M Laughlin is unique.  I have seen one advertisement in the PLCHC collection listing the steamers for one year, but none describing the entire life of the packet line.   I have contacted the National Archives and am awaiting a reply from an archivist. 




A Record of the

Old Pittsburgh and Cincinnati Packets

from the Foundation of the line about 1843

until the Desolution of the same in the years 1855/56


Day Steamer Years
Sunday Express 1843
  Alliquippa 1844-45
  Isaaac Newton 1847-50
  Buckeye State 1850-end
Monday Monnongahela 1843
  Keystone State 1850-end
Tuesday Allegheny 1843
  Hibernia 1844-45
  Hibernia #2 1846
  Allegheny #2 1852-end
Wednesday Lehigh 1843
  New England 1844
  New England #2 1847
  Cincinnati 1850
  Crystal Palace 1853
Thursday National Run 1844
  Wisconsin 1846
  Brilliant 1848
  Philadelphia 1854-end
Friday Clipper 1844
  Clipper #2 1846
  Pittsburgh 1851-end
Saturday Majestic 1843
  Messenger 1844
  Messenger #2 1847
  Pennsylvania 1854-end



1.  Express dismantled  Engines went into str Wing & Wong.
2.  Aliquippa sold to St Louis Ice Co   Towed ice.
3.  Buckeye State dismantled  Engines went into str Red Rover.
4.  Pennsylvania blew up 13 Jul 1858 on Mississippi River.  (Mark Twain’s brother, Henry, was fatally scalded when the boilers exploded.)







[1]  Thomas Cushing, A Genealogical and Boigraphical History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Clearfield, Chicago 1889, pg 214.
[2]  Benjamin M Laughlin, Brief History and Records given of Steamboats, Hand Written, 1904.

Copyright © 2010 Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved