Str Mollie Ebert

Str Mollie Ebert Certificate of Enrollment (The National Archives)

Mollie Ebert Trimble and John A Trimble ca 1910 (Anna L and John F Nash Collection)
Mollie Ebert Trimble and John A Trimble ca 1910 (Anna L and John F Nash Collection)

The Mollie Ebert was a sternwheel wooden hull packet built in Pittsburgh in 1869.  Built under the watchful eye of Jacob Poe, the packet became famous instantly for her size and freight capacity.  Although Way’s Directory indicates that the packet was a modest sized boat, in an interview of Theodore C Poe in the Sunday Pittsburgh Press dated 8 Nov 1925 the size was described differently.  The packet was 180x38x5 with a calculated capacity of 313 tons.  But according to Theodore C Poe the Mollie Ebert was capable of transporting 600 tons of cargo. [1]

 

Launched by Jacob Poe, the steamer Mollie Ebert was named for his niece Mollie Ebert Trimble.  This steamer was his masterpiece.  It cost $35,000.  It was luxurious – bound to be noticed.  Its boilers and cylinders were exceptionally powerful.  By design, it was perfect for the profitable “mountain trade”.

 

Mollie Ebert Trimble and her Aunt Elizabeth Poe Mathews helped christen the steamer with a high-profile launch.  As the hull slid into the Monongahela River, Mollie Ebert Trimble smashed a bottle of wine on the prow and said, “I christen thee Mollie Ebert.”  Then with Capt George W Ebert in command, they went on her maiden voyage to New Orleans.   Theodore C Poe, son of Jacob Poe, was only eight years when the Mollie Ebert was built, but he also was a passenger on her maiden voyage to New Orleans. [2]  It is unrecorded whether Jacob Poe or any other family members accompanied the Eberts.  I assume Standish Peppard was first clerk.

 

The Mollie Ebert was described in “The Romance of the Rivers”.  [3]

 

 

Str Mollie Ebert (Photo courtesy of Murphy Library, University of Wisconsin - La Crosse)

Str Mollie Ebert (Photo courtesy of Murphy Library, University of Wisconsin – La Crosse)

Later that spring on 16 Apr 1869, the Mollie Ebert left St Louis bound for Ft Benton according to the log of the steamer Sallie commanded by Capt Thomas S Calhoon[4]  Capt George W Ebert was in command with Standish Peppard in the office and Nancy Poe Ebert writing in her cabin.  According to the Nancy Poe Ebert journal, the Mollie Ebert did not dock in Ft Benton.  Her freight was unloaded at Cow Island which is approximately 130 miles down river.  On Jun 16, 1869, the freight was carried around a chute and loaded on two other steamboats for the final leg to Ft Benton.  Failure to reach Ft Benton was an intense disappointment.  On the downriver trip the Mollie Ebert arrived in St Louis on 13 Jul 1869.  The Missouri River run totaled 78 days.  The Eberts did not return to Ft Benton.

 

Later in 1869, the Mollie Ebert made another Pittsburgh to New Orleans run so the year was not a complete bust.

 

The Mollie Ebert was the last packet owned and operated by Capt George W Ebert.  Sometime before 1874 she was sold.  Capt Frank Y Batchelor was master in 1874 with Charles Reigner and JW Batchelors clerks.

 

Str Mollie Ebert Boarding Pass (F Nash Collection)

Str Mollie Ebert Boarding Pass (F Nash Collection)

On the evening of 25 May 1875 at the Pittsburgh Wharf, the Mollie Ebert burned.   The blaze also consumed the sidewheeler Juniata and several barges.[5]

 

References.

 


[1] Steamboating and the Georgetown People, (Sunday Pittsburgh Press, 8 Nov 1925).
[2] Ibid.
[3]  Alexander C McIntosh, Genealogical Report from the Beaver o Historical Society, date unknown.
[4] Steamboating and the Georgetown People, (Sunday Pittsburgh Press, 8 Nov 1925).
[5]  Frederick Way, Jr., Way’s Packet Directory, 1848-1994, (Ohio University Press, Athens 1994), p 328.

Copyright © Francis W Nash
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