Str Barranquilla

The Barranquilla was a trim sternwheel wooden hull packet built in Pittsburgh, PA in 1869 under the supervision of Capt Jackman Taylor Stockdale of Georgetown, PA.  She was contracted for work on the Magdalena River in Columbia, South America.  Her first master was Capt Thomas S Calhoon; Jacob Poe and Andrew H Parr served as pilots.  No doubt other Georgetown’ers including  Poes helped deliver the steamer to Columbia.[1] 

The route from Pittsburgh to the Magdalena River was long and dangerous. 

Capt Jacob Poe and Capt Andrew J Parr piloted to New Orleans or Baton Rouge.  From there a “Bar Pilot” was hired to steer the steamboat from New Orleans or Baton Rouge through the ever-changing channel to the mouth of the Mississippi.  (Today every seafaring tanker and ship, inbound and outbound, is required to use three different certified and well paid bar pilots to navigate the river from its mouth to Pilottown to the upstream anchorage and finally to the wharves.) 

Sternwheel packets were not designed for ocean adventures.  One playful slap from the ocean and a river steamboat would provide kindling on the beach for years.  

From New Orleans the Barranquilla sailed along the coast to Key West.  From there she island hopped via Jamaica to reach her destination; badly battered but operative.   According to Thomas S Calhoon’s journal entries found on the page of the TS Calhoon’s Diary 1869, the Baranquilla left Pittsburgh for New Orleans on 23 Aug 1869.  The boat arrived in New Orleans at 04:00 AM on 08 Sep 1869.

Earlier in the year of 1869, many of these same rivermen had worked on the four Georgetown packets steaming to Ft Benton in the Montana Territory.  Capt George W Ebert and Nancy Poe Ebert were aboard the Mollie EbertNancy’s brother, Thomas W Poe was captain of the Nick Wall.  Both Jacob Poe and George W Poe were on the Missouri although I can not place them on a specific boat.  In addition to the Poe steamers, two other Georgetown packets were on the Missouri in 1869.  Capt Thomas S Calhoon commanded the Sallie.[2]  Capt Jackman T Stockdale owned the Ida Stockdale.  


The accomplishments of these few men were astonishing and dauntless.  The distance traveled was incredible.  Their stories I can only imagine.



[1] Frederick Way, Jr.,Way’s Packet Directory, 1848-1994, (Ohio University Press, Athens 1994), p. 38.
[2] Frederick Way, Jr.,Way’s Packet Directory, 1848-1994, (Ohio University Press, Athens 1994), p. 415.

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