Str Buckeye State

Buckeye State Postcard (F Nash Collection)

Buckeye State Postcard (F Nash Collection)

The Buckeye State was a sidewheel wooden hull packet built in Shousetown, PA, and finished in Pittsburgh, in 1850.[1]  In Way’s Directory, the dimensions of the hull, engines, boilers, paddlewheel, and buckets are provided in great detail.  The Buckeye State, a large packet, operated in the Pittsburgh and Cincinnati Packet Line.  Capt Samuel Reno was the captain on her maiden voyage departing Pittsburgh on 17 Feb 1850. [2]

The original owners were listed on the Certificate of Enrollment in the Custonhouse recrords at Pittsburgh.


Str Buckeye State


Owners and Partners Share Vol: 6633
David Holmes Enroll No : 21
Thomas S Clarke Cert Date: 16 Fec 1850
Wm Bingham Cert Type:: Admeasurement
Robert Hays Build Locn: Shousetown, PA
Samuel Reno Build Date: 1850



The competition on the Pittsburgh and Cincinnati route was heated.  Capt William J Kountz, as an independent owner, operated the steamer Cincinnati on the route.    The fierce competition wore on Capt Reno, who died in Cincinnati on 28 Mar 1850.  Command fell to Capt Samuel Dean and Capt Reno’s body was returned to Pittsburgh on the Buckeye State.[3]


On 1 May 1850, Capt Dean arranged a “speed trial” for the new boat.  Departing Cincinnati at 05:11 AM, the Buckeye State arrived in Pittsburgh 43 hours later.[4]  468 miles in 43 hours.  No boat had ever done so well, and no steamboat ever since that date has equaled the feat. The run was the way-side talk of the 185′s.  To commemorate the event, a large wooden buck was mounted on the pilot house.  Speed records were important.   As long as the boat could retain the horns, it would command higher rates for freight and passengers.  The officers, the captain, the pilots, the clerks, engineers, and stewards would also command higher salaries even if they moved to other assignments.  The crew on this fast run included:


Officer Name Name
Master Capt Samuel Dean  
First Clerk Standish Peppard  
Mud Clerk John D Williams  
Pilots William Clark Tom Witten
Chief Engineer Thomas Kennedy  
Second Engineer CB Matthews  
Mate Thomas Davis  




Standish Peppard, the head clerk of the Buckeye State when it made its fast run to Pittsburgh, lived in Georgetown, PA.   His wife was Elizabeth Poe.  He often served as first clerk on his brother-in-law’s packets,  Capt George W Ebert.  George W Ebert married Nancy Ann Poe, the sister of Elizabeth Poe.


One year later, PT Barnum chartered the Messenger No 2 and arranged a race with the Buckeye State.  The Buckeye State won handily.[5]


Capt MW Beltzhoover was the Buckeye State commander the last few years.  In 1857, the Buckeye State was dismantled. [6]








[1]  Frederick Way, Jr.,Way’s Packet Directory, 1848-1994, (Ohio University Press, Athens 1994), p. 63.
[2]  Ibid.
[3]  Ibid.
[4]  Ibid.
[5]  Ibid.
[6]  Ibid.

Copyright © Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved