Str Sallie

Str Sallie Certificate of Enrollment (The National Archives)

The Sallie was a sternwheel wooden hull packet built in McKeesport, PA and completed in Pittsburgh in 1868.  Designed for Missouri River trade, the Sallie was rated at 399 tons.[1]  The packet owners were Thomas S Calhoon (2/3) and Jackman T Stockdale (1/3) of Georgetown, PA. [2]


The Sallie made the fastest trip ever accomplished to Ft Benton from St Louis.   On 15 Mar 1868, the Sallie left Pittsburgh for St Louis; departed St Louis on 9 Apr 1868; arrived at Ft Benton on 26 May 1868; returned to dock at St Louis on 10 Jun 1868.  That was 47 days out of St Louis to Ft Benton. [3]  Or 72 days from Pittsburgh.


The financials for the 1868 season are interesting.  First, the cost of the Sallie was $29,457.83.  On her first trip to Ft Benton, the total receipts were $33,508.92 of which $12,747.69 was profit.  In addition to his share as owner, Thomas S Calhoon also received a salary of $6,138.35 as master.  Using the 1870 value for the US dollar from the CPI conversion table, Thomas S Calhoon made approximately $135,000 in 2006 dollars.[4]

The Sallie docked at the levee at Ft Benton three years 1868, 1869, and 1870.  In a note in the Thomas S Calhoon Diary 1869, the “stmr Sallie was paid up in full to Capt JT Stockdale  (1/3 = 10177.67)” on 19 Nov 1869.   All in all the Sallie had a prosperous career.

Once, Capt Calhoon steamed up the Yellowstone River almost to Coulson (now Billings).  A notable feat.

Horace Bixby worked on the Sallie as one of her pilots.  Horace Bixby was one of the pilots who taught a cub pilot named Mark Twain.   Other officers included John QA Parr, clerk; Joseph Calhoon son of Joseph Calhoon and cousin of  Thomas S Calhoon, steward.  All in all, the Sallie had a historic span.


The Sallie was commanded by Thomas S Calhoon until 6 Jul 1870.  On 7 Nov 1870 the Sallie was sold for the St Louis and Arkansas River trade. [5]   In 1872, she was snagged on the Arkansas River and declared a total loss.




[1] .  Frederick Way, Jr.,Way’s Packet Directory, 1848-1994, (Ohio University Press, Athens 1994), p. 415.
[2]  Alexander C McIntosh, A Genealogy Report on the Calhoon Family, Beaver County Historical Society.
[3]  Ibid.
[4]  Ibid.
[5]  Ibid.

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