Posts Tagged ‘capt jackman t stockdale’

Vintage Book

Sunday, October 4th, 2015

Transportation in the Ohio Valley fly leaf.

My reading this week has been A History of Transportation in the Ohio Valley by Charles Henry Ambler published in 1931.  The first edition history was lent to me by Michael Libenson who is the great great grandson of Capt Thomas Stevenson Calhoon.   The many comments and corrections hand written in the margins of the book make this book special.  Those comments were written by Harriet Darrington (Calhoon) Ewing (b ? d 1950), the daughter of Capt Thomas S Calhoon and great grandAunt of Michael Libenson. Her writing is the closest thing we have to a voice into these steamboat captains lives.  Mrs WH Ewing dated her copy of the book Oct 26, 1931.


Transportation in the Ohio Valley p173.


Along with her notes, Harriet D Calhoon taped a response letter from CH Ambler to the front flyleaf.  The response, on West Virginia University letterhead, was dated 13 Aug 1930.  The content of the letter indicated that the exchange of information was too late to be included in the forthcoming book.  Whether a meeting or additional correspondence between them ever took place is unclear.  There is no record of such a meeting and no updated edition of the book.  





Transportation in the Ohio Valley p293.


Harriet D Calhoon is well known to those with long memories.  Often Capt Frederick Way used her comments in articles about Georgetown in the S&D Reflector.  See Vol 2 No 4 Dec 1965 p10,12.

My final comment/concern is how many books similar to this history written by captains or pilots have I missed?











Copyright © 2015  Francis W Nash  All Rights Reserved

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Source Documents

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

A friend, and Poe relative, introduced me to the personal diary of Isaac T Goodnow.  In her research of Rev Adam Poe who was a cofounder of Ohio Wesleyan University, she crosses into the Poe steamboat land. 


Isaac T Goodnow helped establish the community of Manhattan, KN in the 185o’s.  His diaries are an interesting read.  Kansas was the topic of the day.  Slavery was the main issue.  Isaac T Goodnow traveled from Boston to Kansas at least once a year.  Isaac T Goodnow knew Rev Adam Poe who arrived in KN via steamboat to attend a religious conference.


In Issac T Goodnow’s travels, he mentioned steamboats often.  However, he rarely named them.  Two daily journal entries are listed below where he named the packets built by Georgetown men:


            (1)  str Financier.  At the time of the journal entry, Goodnow would have steamed on str Financier II built for Capt Adam Poe in 1850.   Capt Adam ran the str Financier II for three years and then sold it.  In 1855, he was commanding the str Ella which was also working on the lower Missouri River. 


            (2)  str Admiral.    In 1857 Capt Jackman T STockdale was a partner in the ownership of the str Admiral, At that time it is unclear whether he was its captain or pilot. 


The Isaac T Goodnow diaries are a fantastic first hand account of the violence in Kansas in the troubled 1850′s.   For me, they also provide source information that confirms my statements that Georgetown steamboats were working at the sharp and dangerous edge of our frontier.





Diary of Isaac T. Goodnow


Transcribed by staff and volunteers of the Riley County Historical Museum from a typescript of the original diary held in the collection of the Kansas State Historical Society.



Thursday, 8/16/55         

            Br. Wm. E. left this morning in the steamer Financier for Kansas City.  Hope to see him back soon.  Very rainy.  Drove to Judge W-s 7 miles to dinner.  P.M. rode on to Mr Roberts’ an Illinois man.  Has 120 acres corn.



Thursday 11/12/57

            Bought 2 land warrants $281.60  Saw my old friend Hugh M. Thompson, formerly of Greenfield.  Did some considerable business, & at 3. P.M. started by Pacific R.R. for Jefferson City, arriving at 9. & taking the steamer Admiral for Leavenworth City.  Lay by till morning on account of the darkness.  Rested tolerably well.  Rainy, P.M. & Evening.



Copyright © 2014 Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved


Another Used Book Review

Monday, December 16th, 2013

“The Conquest of the Missouri” by Joseph Mills Hanson I highly recommend.  Published in 1909 the book is a biography of the life of Capt Grant P Marsh concentrating on the days of his support of the US Army during the Indian Wars of the 1870s.  Capt Marsh was a direct participant in some important historic moments


For several reasons, this is a great book on steamboat history and the general history of the development of the upper Missouri River valley: 


                (1)  Joseph M Hanson lived during the period he was writing about, 

                (2)  Joseph M Hanson personally interviewed Grant P Marsh who furnished much of the material set forth in the book.

                (3)  Joseph M Hanson also interviewed many of the Army officers who served in the Indian Wars and other notable people and steamboat men, such as William F Cody (Wild Bill), Samuel L Clemens Mark Twain), and Horace Bixby Mark Twain’s pilot mentor).

                (4)  The illustrations and plates are fascinating, such as the group of officers (including Custer) and ladies of the 7th US Calvary at Fort Lincoln in about 1875, approximately one year before the battle of the Little Big Horn.

                (5)  The names of many steamboats (Luella, Ida Stockdale, Key West, Josephine, and the Far West) and their officers are woven into the narrative unlike most other historic accounts.

For other reasons, this used book is of great interest to me, but maybe not to you:

Flyleaf of The Conquest uf the Missouri ca 1910 (F Nash Collection)


                (1)  The original owner of this book received it as a gift on16 Mar 1910 according to the inscription on the flyleaf.  That person, or subsequent owners, loosely inserted many newspaper clippings and notes about specific events on many pages.  These insertions I find fascinating.  In one case, an obituary was inserted including a hand written correction of what should have been written in the book.  The back of a First Loan and Trust deposit slip Yankton, SD 192_ was used as paper for the hand written correction.

                (2)  Capt Grant Marsh worked for some of my guys from Georgetown, PA.  Unfortunately, Joseph M Hanson got many of the Georgetown details, as I understand them, wrong.  I am considering writing a correction sheet and inserting it in the book for the benefit of the next reader.   Of course, Capt Marsh was the master of the str Ida Stockdale during the 1867 season on the upper Missouri River and his salary was $1,200 month.  That he was a skillful navigator and a proven captain is not arguable.  However, Joseph M Hanson gives Capt Grant a little too much control of and credit for building the boat that, in my opinion, belongs to Georgetown men.  The str Ida Stockdale was owned by Capt Jackman Taylor Stockdale and Capt Thomas Stevenson Calhoon who as partners directed the purchase and building of other packets.  There is no discernable reason that they would relinquish this oversight task to a hired captain.  Both Stockdale and Calhoon were veteran captains and pilots working on the lower Missouri before the Civil War and all the military waterways during the war.   Both had been to Ft Benton.  Joseph M Hanson named the owner of the str Ida Stockdale as Capt RS Calhoun rather than TS Calhoon.  The Georgetown Calhoons were prideful of the spelling of their name.  Joseph M Hanson acknowledged that Capt Thomas S Calhoon “accompanied” Capt Marsh “though he made the voyage for pleasure only and had nothing to do with the management of the boat”.  Actually, as well as a principle owner Capt Thomas S Calhoon was the first clerk of the str Ida Stockdale for the venture on the upper Missouri.  For confirmation, Capt TS Calhoon’s journals can be found at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh.


I repeat that these apparent discrepancies are important to me, but maybe not to you.   Regardless, the book is a grade-A read.    




Copyright © 2013 Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved


CivWar150 1 May 1863

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

One hundred fifty years ago today, the str Horizon collided with the streamer str Moderator.  Both boats were running after dark on a moonless night without lights, making evasive moves, and badly riddled by rebel cannons.  Never had steamboats faced a more firey ordeal.  The str Moderator had been damaged to the degree that it was unmanageable.  The Horizon was not in trouble until the collision with the Moderator.  Both vessels sunk.  The str Horizon sunk on Island No 10 near Grand Gulf, MS. 


Many soldiers,  including Swedish members of Stolbrand’s Battery, were lost when the str Horizon sank. [1]  In an eyewitness report one day later Gen Isaac H Elliot wrote, “I was down to the str Horizon and succeeded in getting out three gun carriages, but the stench arising from the 60 dead horses and men made my officers and men sick.” [2]


According to The Lytle-Holdcamper List ― Lives lost “Unknown”.[3]


According to the Gibsons, the US  government paid $18,500 for the loss of the packet.[4]    It is true that the owners applied for compensation, but two applications for indemnity were rejected by the US Army Quartermaster.  I have no knowledge of any compensation received.  At the time of the collision, the owners of the str Horizon were John N McCurdy, Thomas S Calhoon, Richard Calhoon, and William White (Jackman T Stockdale had sold his share in late 1862).[5]   





[1]  Frederick Way, Jr.,Way’s Packet Directory, 1848-1994, (Ohio University Press, Athens 1994), p. 217.

[2]  Gen Issac H Elliot,. Thirty-Third Regiment Illinois Veteran Volunteer Infantry In the Civil War.

[3]  William M Lytle and Forrest R Holdcamper, Merchant Steam Vessels of the United States 1790-1868, (The Steamship Historical Society of America, Inc, 1975), p272.

[4]  Charles Dana Gibson and E Kay Gibson, Dictionary of Transports and Combatant Vessels Steam and Sail Employed by the Uniion Army 1861 – 1868, (Ensign Press, Cambridge, MA 1995), p 152.

[5]  John H Ewing, Biography of Thomas S Calhoon, Heinz History Center, The Ewing Papers Box 5, p 17.



Copyright © 2013 Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved

CivWar150 6 Apr 1862

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Still owned by Capt Jackman T Stockdale, the str Horizon was pressed into Civil War duty serving at the Battle of Pittsburg Landing on the Tennessee River on Apr 6-7, 1862. Also in 1862 with a number of other Pittsburgh based boats, the Horizon was called to the Cumberland River to relieve sick and wounded soldiers. [1]



[1] Frederick Way, Jr.,Way’s Packet Directory, 1848-1994, (Ohio University Press, Athens 1994), p. 217.

Copyright © 2012 Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved



Cherry Blossoms and Steamboats

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

I spent a couple of fun days in DC.  BTW, the cherry blossoms are over.  Sherron spent her time visiting museums and art galleries, and of course shopping in Georgetown.  Together we did make time to observe the art display, “Suprasentorial”, on the Hirshorn Museum.  And I do mean on the museum.  The work was projected on the exterior walls of the museum – the entire surface – accompanied by many versions of the song “I only have eyes for you”.  It shows dusk to midnight till the May 13.  Quite impressive with Jupiter, Venus, and the moon aligned just above the museum from the sculpture garden. 


While Sherron was touring, I was playing at the National Archives.  I wanted to seriously review the Certificates of Enrollment from the Navigation Customhouse of Pittsburgh, PA (National Archive Records Administration Record Group 41).  There are forty-nine (49) volumes covering the period between 5 Jan 1831 and 28 Jun 1901.  I reviewed four volumes in two days.  Do the math.  It will takes a serious commitment of time to review all the records.  Who is next the William M Lytle or Forrest R Holdcamper or Frederick Way, Jr character willing to dedicate a lifetime to compile this data from all the Customhouses into a modern data base application?  Till that person is discovered I intend to put the Pittsburgh Customhouse data related to my Georgetown guys online so it will be available in at least two places. 


At the National Archives, I learned some amazing stuff.  For example, Georgetown river men continued to build keel boats through 1854.  Jacob Poe built a keel boat named Big Foot in 1850.  As you probably know, his brother Adam built the str Big Foot in 1875.  The dimensions of the keel boat Big Foot were biblical.  On the Certificate of Enrollment the length was 114 ft, breadth 17 feet 3 inches, and depth 1 foot 7 inches.  Most of the Georgetown keel boats were rated between 25 and 50 tons.  I intend to add keel boat data to my Xcel spreadsheet of steamboats and tugs. 


In addition to the newly learned keel boat information, I discovered new  Georgetown names associated with the river business.  The Certs of Enrollment list the original owners which I intend to add to my steamer biographies.  That process too will take some time.

In sum, two days of vacation has introduced an assortment of new information and generated the energy to develop the new topics. 






Copyright © 2012 Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved

Georgetown Steamboat Men and Their Licenses

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Carl Hugh Jones, the river historian and researcher, compiled the data presented in the following table.  He charges a small fee to search his files and books for information on steamboat captains and crew.  For my request, he researched all the steamboat licensed men from Georgetown, PA.  His results produced thirty names rather than the twenty known to me.  If you have a similar requirement, Mr Jones can be reached at the following email addr:  Carl Hugh Jones


I will add this table to one of the static pages in the near future.



Georgetown Steamboat Men and Their Licenses

Compiled by Carl Hugh Jones  August 13, 2010 


Name Birth Death License InformationIssue/Type//Date/Region
Calhoon, John 1809 1846 Died before licenses issued.
Calhoon, James Hutchinson 1813 1849 Died before licenses issued.
Calhoon,Milton 1817 1889 Died before licenses issued.
Calhoon, George Groshorn 1820 1850  
Calhoon, Richard 1821 1895 1st /  / about 1855/ 13th / 1st class pilot / 1868
Calhoon, Thomas Dawson 1822 1860 Listed as Capt by F Way.
Calhoon, Joseph MC 1823 1855 Listed as Capt by F Way
Calhoon, Thomas Stevenson 1834 1910 1st / 1st class masters / 1871 St Louis25th / of pilots / 1897 Pittsburgh   
Calhoon, William A     1st /  1st class pilots / 1871 Pittsburgh
Calhoon, William A     1st./ pilots / abt 1890 /   6th / Pilots /  19 Mar 1897.
Ebert, George Washington 1814 1879 1st /pilot / about 1855 /13th / 1st class pilot / 1868 / Pittsburgh14th  renewal / 1st class pilots / 1869 /1st / 1st class Masters / 1871 St Louis
Kinsey, Henry 1812   1st /  pilots / about 1862 Pittsburgh
Kinsey, Jonathan 1820   Listed as owner by F Way.
Kinsey, Thomas 1826   12th /   1st class pilots /   1868 Pittsburgh
Parr, Andrew Haque 1831 1907 1st /   pilots /   about 1860 /9th renewal / 1st class pilots / 1869 /11th / 1st class pilots / 1870 /12th / 1st class pilots / 1871 /23rd /    masters / 1897 /28th /   pilots / 1897 /
Parr, Jacob     3rd / combined Masters and pilots / 1874 /
Parr, Jesse 1836 1881  
Parr, John Quincy Adams 1867 1932 Clerk on 5 steamers according to F Way.
Parr, Nathan     /.pilots license / 1862 / Pittsburgh
Parr, Quincy A     1st./ pilots license / 7 April 1915 / Pittsburgh
Parr, William J 1826 1897 1st./ Pilots license / abt  1853/13th / 1st class pilot / 1868 / Pittsburgh16th / 1st class pilots / 1871 /3rd / combine masters pilots /1876 / Pittsburgh23rd / Master /1897 / Pittsburgh

33rd / Pilots / 1897./  Pittsburgh

Peppard, Standish 1813 1874 Clerk on 6 steamers according to F Way.
Poe, Andrew H 1809 1887 8th / 1st class pilots / 1868 / Pittsburgh
Poe, Adam W 1816 1896 1st / pilots / abt 185414th renewal / 1st class pilot / 1869.
Poe, Jacob 1813 1891 1st / pilot./ abt 185414th / 1st class pilots / 1868 / Pittsburgh17th / 1st class pilots / 1870 /Pittsburgh5th / combined Masters pilots / 1876 / Pittsburgh
Poe, Thomas Washingtonalso Thomas, Jr 1819 1881 1st / pilot./ abt 1853 /15th renewal / 1st class pilot / 1869 /1st /.1st Class Masters license / 1871 /St Louis1st / masters license /  1874
Poe, George W 1830   1st / pilots license / abt 1853 /14th / 1st class pilots / 1868 /15th / / 1869 /   17th / pilots / 1870 /19th / pilots/ 1871 /

3rd / combined masters and pilots / 1874 /


Poe, George WE 1844 1943 1st / 2nd class pilots / 1867 /1st renewal / 2nd Class pilot / 1868 /3rd renewal / 1st class pilots / 1869 /4th  / 1st class pilots / 1870 /5th 1 class pilots 1871,  
10th  / 1st class pilots / 1874./

20th / Masters / 1897
30th / Pilots / 1897 /

22nd / Masters / 1907 /

32nd / Pilots / 1907 /


Stockdale, Jackman Taylor 1828 1887  
Stockdale, Jackman Taylor, Jr     2nd./ special pilots / 25 June 1897 /
1st / combined  masters Pilots / Nov 19, 1897./ good for 5 years.     
Stockdale, Thomas     15th / combined Master and Pilot / 1897 /

More Golden Highway 1866

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

Thomas S Calhoon, as first clerk of the str Amelia Poe, sighted 16 steamboats on his trip up river and 30 boats down river. From St Louis, the trip to Ft Benton was 72 ½ days; down 57 days with three days to discharge freight and passengers.

Thomas S Calhoon left Georgetown, Pa on 12 Mar 1866 and returned to his home on 19 Aug 1866. That was 160 days on the river = almosst half the year.  He took approximately three weeks in Georgetown before he shipped out on 5 Oct 1866.

I have added his journal entries for the down river trip to the page TS Calhoon’s Book 1866.

The Pittsburgh and Cincinnati Packet Line

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

My first biography of a packet line has been loaded.  The Pittsburgh and Cincinnati Packet Line, organized by Thomas S Calhoon and Jackman T Stockdale, was arguably the most famous and luxurious line on the Ohio River – ever!

Pittsburgh Cincinnati Packet Line Postcard (F Nash Collection)

Pittsburgh Cincinnati Packet Line Postcard (F Nash Collection)

Fort Benton

Monday, September 28th, 2009


“Fort Benton on the Upper Missouri is a small town with a big history.”  That is the beginning of the introduction of a delightful book by Ken Robison on the history of Ft Benton.  The book, Fort Benton, includes photographs and postcards from Mr Robison’s collection.  One image, special to me, was a steamboat passenger boarding pass for the Montana and Idaho Transportation Line.  The St Louis based line was owned by John G Copelin and his father-in-law John J Roe.  According to Mr Robison, the line dominated the Missouri River commerce from 1864-68. 

Montanna and Idaho Transportation Line Boarding Pass (The Ken Robison Collection)

Montanna and Idaho Transportation Line Boarding Pass (The Ken Robison Collection)

Look carefully at the names of the pool of boats used by the line.  Thomas W Poe was the captain of the Amelia Poe and George W Ebert was the captain of the Yorktown.  In 1867, one other Georgetown packet docked at Ft Benton:  the Ida Stockdale in the first of five seasons.  Captains Thomas S Calhoon and Jackman T Stockdale were partners and Capt Grant Marsh was the master in 1867.


The Amelia Poe  docked at the Ft Benton levee on 9 Jun with 183 tons of freight and 50 passengers.  Eighty-five days from St Louis.  The Yorktown arived at Ft Benton on 14 Jun  (84 days from St Louis) with 210 tons of freight and 15 passengers.  The Nymph No 2 arrived on 20 Jul (118 days from St Louis); the GA Thompson 30 Jun; the Deer Lodge 5 Jun.  The arrival of the Bertha is not recorded in “Fort Benton The World’s Innermost Port” by Joel Overholser.