Posts Tagged ‘capt george w ebert’

Packet Ownership

Monday, March 12th, 2018


For Georgetown the years between 1852-1858 were a time of speedy economic growth.  River business prospered.  The following table lists the partnership of owners over six years of one steamer, str Washington City, plying various inland rivers.  Few Poe family packets survived as long.     


The consistency of these findings taken from the Record Type 41 of the Certificates of Enrollment are unusual.  Other Poe family steamboats changed ownership annually and were often bought and sold outside the family within three years.  The following table lists the owners of the str Washington City from 1852-1857.   Although no data was found for 1855 during this research trip, it should be remembered that in Apr 1855 Capt Joseph MC Calhoon died of cholera in Alton, IL.   Despite dangerous high-water conditions Capt George Washington Ebert, a brother-in-law, clerk James Wilkins a brother-in-law, /pilot Jacob Poe a brother-in-law, and a skeleton crew of Georgetown relatives, steamed to St Louis to recover the body and return it for burial in Georgetown Cemetery.  Proof that the str Washington City was actively working in 1855.  The absence of data for 1855 is most unfortunately due to pages torn from the Enrollment and License book of records.



Cert of Enrollment for the str Washington City (The National Archives)

Str Washington City


1852 1853 1854 1855 1856 1857
Richard Calhoon
Samuel Cadman 2/16 2/16 2/16 2/16 2/16
George W Ebert 3/16 M 3/16 M 3/16 M 3/16 M 3/16 M
AB Gallatin
Samuel Moore 2/16 2/16 2/16 2/16 2/16
Steel McMillen
John S McMillin
Adam Poe
Andrew Poe
George Poe
Jacob Poe 3/16 3/16 3/16 3/16 3/16
Thomas W Poe
Samuel Smith 2/16 2/16 2/16 2/16 2/16
Thomas Smith 2/16 2/16 2/16 2/16 2/16
JT Stockdale
James Wilkins 2/16 2/16 2/16 2/16 2/16



In 1857,the town fielded a fleet of ten steamboats to work on all inland rivers as far as the lower Missouri River.  Several keelboats were also launched by Georgetown rivermen.  The following table lists the steamers 0f 1857 and the men who owned and commanded them. 



Georgetown Packets in 1857


Belfast Belmont Clifton Grand Turk John G Fremont Metropolis Neptune Silver Wave Wash City
R Calhoon 3/16 M
James Diehl 1/8 1/8
GW Ebert 3/16 M 1/8 1/8 3/16 M
AB Gallatin 1/8 M
Eliz McClure 1/8
Steel McMillen 3/32
JS McMillin 13/16 M
Adam Poe 1/2 M 3/8 M
Andrew Poe 1/8
George Poe 1/8 1/8 1/16
Jacob Poe 1/8 3/16 1/4 1/8 3/16 3/16
Thomas Poe 1/4 1/4 1/8 M 1/8 1/4
Samuel Smith 1/8
Thomas Smith 1/8 1/8
Alan Stockdale 1/8
JT Stockdale 3/8 M
Samuel Trimble 1/8
David Wilkins 3/32
James Wilkins 1/8




(1)  In an effort of complete disclosure, George Washington Ebert .  The Poes and Samuel Trimble were my third great uncles, Elizabeth (Poe) McClure my third great aunt.

(2)  The bold faces names in the table are the principle steamboat captains who built, piloted, and operated the boats on many rivers far from home – Georgetown.  The names in lighter type are investors who did not work on the rivers.

 (3)  John Smith McMillin and Steel McMillen were brothers although the Custom House clerk spelled their last name differently on several enrollment certs.

(4)  Samuel and Thomas Smith lived in the village opposite Georgetown on the Ohio River named Smiths Ferry.  They operated a ferry which had served the two settlements since circa 1794. 

(5)  Samuel Cadman, Samuel Moore, and David and James Wilkins resided in Pittsburgh and Allegheny City.

(6)  “M” in the fractional ownership cells indicates “Master” as listed on both the Enrollment and License forms.





Copyright@2018 FrancisWNash
All Rights Reserved

No part of this website may be reproduced without permission in writing from the author.



str Buckeye State

Sunday, December 31st, 2017


Meigs County Times Article about the Buckeye State.

A news clip from the Meigs County Times dated 7 Jul 1857 reads like an obituary.  The str Buckeye State “is being torn apart in Cincinnati.  Her machinery is to be put into a new boat.”  The article indicates that the str Buckeye State made 156 trips between Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.  [1]


One memorable trip on 1 May 1850 was a special “speed trial”.  Departing Cincinnati, the str Buckeye State arrived in Pittsburgh 43 hours later.  No steamboat to this day has equaled that time.  [2]  To celebrate the fast run, a carved wooden fullsize buck was positioned on the top of the pilot house.


The crew for this famous run included Standish Peppard of Georgetown, PA. [3]  After the fast run, Capt Peppard partnered with George W Ebert on many ventures including several trips to Ft Benton in the Montana Territory in the late 1860’s.  Standish Peppard died in 1874 and is buried alongside his wife, Elizabeth Poe, in the Georgetown Cemetery.


Marker for Standish Peppard and Elizabeth Poe (Fran Nash Collection)













[1]  Steamboats, Meigs County Times, 7 Jul 1857, p2, col 15.

[2]  Capt Frederick Way, Jr, Way’s Packet Directory,1848-1994, Son and Daughters of Ppioneer Rivermen, 1983, p63.

[3]  Ibid, p83.


Copyright © 2017  Francis W Nash  All Rights Reserved
No part of this website may be reproduced without permission in writing from the author.

Local History at the Hookstown Fair

Friday, August 1st, 2014

Mr Myron Elliot recently visited me in Carlisle, PA.  He was “walking Gettysburg” yet took some time to visit me.  He wanted to use some of the Georgetown local history on this site at the community tent at the Hookstown Fair.   The 2014 fair will run from 19-23 Aug.


The rich early history of the south side of the Ohio River is based largely on eye witness accounts described in letters, journals, and a few books.  The stories are fantastic.  Most of the original documents have been lost forever or are maintained in private collections.  Either way original sources are scattered and hard to come by.


If you are in the area, make time to visit the Hoookkstown Fair and its Historic Village.






Copyright © 2014 Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved

George Washington Ebert

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

George Washington Ebert was my great great grandfather.  He was born 13 Aug 1810 and died in Georgetown, PA on 24 Apr 1879.  Those were the years of great experiences and many great men.  During his lifetime,  GW Ebert established quite a record as a wide-ranging steamboat captain and owner.  According to the Certificates of Enrollment for vessels more than 20 tons registered at the Port of Pittsburgh, GW Ebert was the principle owner of fifteen (15) packets and was a partner in eight (8) other boats owned by Georgetown men.  My definition of “principle owner” is the person first named on the Certificate of Enrollment record for registration of the vessel.  And I have not yet concluded my review of the Certificates of Enrollment for the Port of Pittsburgh.  No doubt some data is missing due to water damage of early volumes and even worse because of lost or misplaced volumes.  Even with incomplete data, the fragments pieced together paint an impressive picture.   


Ebert Steamers

Date:  24 Mar 2013


Packet Name Build Date Way’s Directory Original Primary Owner (Signed Cert of Enrollment)
Belfast    1843 George W Ebert
Bridgewater 1843 George W Ebert
New England 1844 George W Ebert
Hudson 1846 George W Ebert
Hibernia* 1847 George W Ebert
Glaucus   1849 George W Ebert
Washington City  1852 George W Ebert
Yorktown   1853 George W Ebert
Clifton    1855 George W Ebert
Belmont  1856 George W Ebert
Melnotte  1856 George W Ebert
Argyle 1859 George W Ebert
Kenton     1860 George W Ebert
Yorktown * 1864 George W Ebert
Mollie Ebert 1869 George W Ebert
Fairmont 1837 Jacob Poe
Financier 1845 Adam Poe
Pioneer 1846 Adam Poe
Euphrates 1847 Joseph MC Calhoon
Tuscarora 1848 Jacob Poe
Golden Gate 1852 Joseph MC Calhoon
Caledonia * 1854 Richard Calhoon
Grand Turk 1854 AB Galatin

Note:  The asterisk indicates the second boat with that name.



Copyright © 2013 Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved


CivWar150 – 12 Jan 1863

Saturday, January 12th, 2013

On Jan 12, 1863, the str Kenton was moored near the mouth on the White River according to a personal letter by Lt Cushman K Davis of the 28th Wisconsin Regiment.  Lt Davis was the aide-de-camp to Gen Willis Arnold Gorman.  Approximately 18,000 troops had been transported to the White River from Helena or Napoleon, AR by a fleet of 30 steamers.  The str Kenton steamed five difficult miles up the swollen White River on Jan 13.  According to Lt Davis, the old General spent most of his time in swearing at the pilot who may have been Capt George W Ebert. [1]


Imagine the sight.  Amid the noises of the night, thirty packets steaming down the Mississppi.  The average packet was 185 ft x 33 feet not including its wheel.  Its stacks were 50-75 feet high.  With the usual 100 yards between boats that would calculate to nearly four miles of steamboats, bow to wheel, belching black smoke and raining sparks from their stacks.


[1]  Lt Cushman K Davis Ltr, The Waukeska Freeman Newspaper, Feb 3, 1863.



Copyright © 2013 Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved


Lower Missouri River Commerce

Friday, December 28th, 2012

It is important to acknowledge that the Georgetown steamboat owners and their crews were in the river freight and passenger business at the sharp and dangerous, and always moving, frontier edge of our nation.  Without them and men like them, the development of the interior of our nation would have been delayed many years.

I have added a page to tell their story: Lower Missouri River



Copyright © 2012 Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved

The First Steamboat War.

Friday, December 21st, 2012

In May 1846, the US Army was completely unprepared for the logistics problems presented by the Mexican War.  Difficult though the procurement of supplies was, the distribution of those supplies presented far more complex problems.  Supply lines were longer than ever experienced in US military history.   For the Army of the West, nearly 900 miles of Indian Territory separated the Ft Leavenworth depot from Santa Fe and 1,050 miles separated Santa Fe from San Diego. For the Army of the East, San Antonio was 600 miles from Chihuahua and 160 miles from Port Lavacca on the Gulf of Mexico.


Beginning in Nov 1846, the US army Quartermaster successfully used steamboats for transporting troops and supplies to Ft Leavenworth on the Missouri River and New Orleans.  Some of the inland river steamboats also “sailed” the 600 miles from New Orleans over open seas so that they could operate on the Rio Grande during the war.  (Sailing vessels also moved troops and supplies from New York and other Atlantic ports to the Gulf.  At that time, the steam powered toy called a railroad appeared destined for nothing more than carrying goods to a steamboat port provided no benefit to the Army.)    


According to the entry in Capt Way’s Directory, the str New England was the flagship of a fleet of steamboats departing Pittsburgh with soldiers bound for the Mexican War.  In Mar 1847, the str New England was purchased by Capt George W Ebert who operated the sidewheeler between Pittsburgh and Wheeling till 1849. [1]  I do not know whether Capt Ebert  participated in the Mexican War effort (combat operations lasted a year and a half to the fall of 1847).

The following table lists the owners of the str New England  according to the Certifiacte of Enrollment record dated 3 Mar 1847.

Str New England

Owners and Partners Share Vol: 6629
Geo W Ebert   Enroll No : 26
Jacob Poe   Cert Date: 3 Mar 1847
Andrew Poe   Cert Type:: Enrollment 180
Thomas Poe   Build Locn: Pittsburgh, PA
Wm J Kountz   Build Date: 1844
David Wilkins   Master GW Ebert



Check the owners of  the str New England in 1847.  All these names spelled history.   Geo W Ebert was my great great grandfather;  Jacob, Andrew and Thomas Poe were brothers and my great great granduncles.  During the Civil War, William J Kountz was the admiral in charge of river transportation.  He declared that Gen US Grant was  a “glorious drunk” who should be court marshaled.  Grant arrested William J Kountz  for insubordination. 



[1]  Frederick Way, Jr.,Way’s Packet Directory, 1848-1994, (Ohio University Press, Athens 1994), p 343.


Two Strs Yorktown

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

I intend to refocus my attention on the core purpose of this website.  It exists to make public the journal of Nancy Ann (Poe) Ebert.  Her personal journal of the trip with her husband, Capt George W Ebert, on the upper Missouri River in 1869 was a bit of American History that I believe should be shared with river scholars.  I also want to share the stories of the steamboat men from Georgetown, PA.  The most remarkable and unique source information that I have been able to share has been the hand written book by Capt Benjamin Mackall Laughlin.  That book identified 42 steamboats built between 1832-1838 in the Pittsburgh region that were not listed by Lytle and Holdcamper. 


To begin my renewed concentration on steamboats, a page named Str Yorktown b1853 has been loaded.  It was the second boat named Yorktown owned and operated by the Poe family.  To differentiate the two vessels, I added the build date specified on the initial Certificate of Enrollment in the title of the page.  Capt Way’s Packet Directory number was considered, as another distinguishing feature, but I preferred the build date because the Poes ran boats with duplicate names before 1848, the year Way’s Packet Directory began its list.   


Copyright © 2012 Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved

National Archives Trip 4

Friday, August 3rd, 2012


It has been far too long since my last post.  Trust me –  it is not due to lack information. 


Today ( Thu 2 Aug 2012), I spent the afternoon and early evening at the National Archives in DC.  I am always amazed with the info I collect.  Today I reviewed the Certificates of Enrollment records (Record Group 41) from 16 Mar 1846 through 24 Dec 1849 (Volumes 6629-6632).  Some details about three steamboats in which my Georgetown guys were either principal owners or partners came into my knowledge.  And fourteen (14) keel boats built by  Georgetown rivermen.  


Only thirty-two volumes to go to complete my research on certificates of enrollment.  Sixteen books have been reviewed even though I have that uneasy feeling the I have missed important data, and so should redo them.  By the way, since I last viewed the Vessel File (Record Group 92), I have discovered, I have doubled the number of known steamboats from Georgetown.  One more day, or two, for the vessel file ?!?


One example of a terrific new find is the str New England.  Until today, I had never seen any info in my inherited boxes to relate the str New England to Georgetown steamboat men.  And, as you well know, I do stretch the thinest threads without shame. 


According to Capt Way, the original principle owner and master of the str New England was Capt Samuel B Page.   Capt Way also described the vessel as a sidewheeler, yet the Cert of Enrollment declared her wheel position at the stern.  The str New England was a flagship departing Pittsburgh with soldiers bound for the Mexican War.   

In Mar 1847, the str New England was purchased by Capt George W Ebert who operated the sidewheeler between Pittsburgh and Wheeling till 1849. 


Str New England

Owners and Partners Share Vol: 6629
Geo W Ebert   Enroll No : 26
Jacob Poe   Cert Date: 3 Mar 1847
Andrew Poe   Cert Type:: Enrollment 180
Thomas Poe   Build Locn: Pittsburgh, PA
Wm J Kountz   Build Date: 1844
David Wilkins   Master GW Ebert

Check out the owners of  the str New England in 1847.  Geo W Ebert was my great great grandfather;  Jacob, Andrew and Thomas Poe were brothers and my great great granduncles.  During the Civil War, William J Kountz declared that Gen US Grant was  a “glorious drunk” who should be court marshalled.  Grant arrested William J Kountz who was in charge of procuring river transportation for the war effort in the western theater.  I do not know the relationship of David Wilkins to my Georgetown steamboat men.


No doubt that these Georgetown men were touched by history.



Copyright © 2012 Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved

National Archives 31 May Trip 3

Monday, June 4th, 2012

If you have never visited the National Archives, do not use your cell phone.  Trust me!   The hours on Thursday extend till 7:00 PM. which is perfect for me.  I have time to review four Certificate of Enrollment books each visit.  On my drive south last Thu, I missed the serious morning rush hour traffic in DC; reviewed four volumes of Enrollment data, and missed the evening rush hour.  Dinner at Jaleo’s completes my day. 


Last Thu (31 May 2012), I requested the first five volumes of the Certificate of Enrollment from the port of Pittsburgh (Volumes 6624-6628) covering the years 5 Jan 1831 through 16 Mar 1846.  Volume 6624 (26 Oct 1839 to 30 Jun 1841) could not be located.  Whether the volume had been misplaced, lent, or was truly missing was unclear to me.  I will ask for the volume on my next visit to determine whether it is permanently unavailable.  Other volumes of those early years are missing pages and damaged to the degree that groups of pages are unreadable.


The good news is that I discovered three new steamboats that Georgetown men had an interest in.  I did not see entries for keel boats or other types of vessels in this group of books. 


On my next visit I will examine the volumes for the period 16 Mar 1846 to 24 Dec 1949.  Anyway, I will review all the port of Pittsburgh volumes over time, 4 volumes per visit, till all 45 are reviewed. 



Copyright 2012 © Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved