Posts Tagged ‘charles e poe’
I have decrypted a letter dated 1 Oct 1880 written by William Albert Calhoon on the Keokuk Northern Line letterhead .
La Crosse Oct 1st 1880
I arrived here
on the Red Wing last
Tuesday to go on the Charlie
Cheever with Tom we will
leave here this evening for St
Paul and will be back about
Oct 5th or 6th Joe left here for
St Louis last Sunday evening
on the Str Annie had one of
Joes girls up on the Red Wing
From Dubuque to McGregor I
had a splendid time oh how
I wished you had been along
She is going up to Minneapolis
with us next trip, will close these
few lines will write from St Paul
with much love from all Wm A Calhoon
“Dear Sister” is Parthenia Parr Calhoon (b 16 May 1855 in Georgetown, PA d 10 Jan 1946). She had a twin brother named Joseph MC Calhoon – yes that was his middle name. Joseph never married so I do not know who “one of Joe’s girls” would be mentioned in this letter. The “ Tom” in the letter was an older brother Thomas Franklin Calhoon. Their father Joseph MC Calhoon (b 1823 d 21 Apr 1855) was a steamboat owner and captain who died of cholera while near St Louis. The story of his death and the return of his body to Georgetown, PA is told in the Georgetown tale – The Body.
In 1866 Parthenia Parr Calhoon, the wife of Joseph MC Calhoon, died. Five young children were orphaned. Capt George Washington Ebert , half brother of Parthenia Parr, was appointed guardian of the five Calhoon children. The Calhoon twins, Parthenia and Joseph, were reared in “The Poe House” by Mrs Jacob Poe (Mary Ann (Ebert) Poe, the sister of George W Ebert and half sister of Parthenia Parr). From the 1870 Census Report, I assume the three older boys lived with Capt George W Ebert.
Parthenia Parr Calhoon (b 1855) spent her entire life with her aunt and the Poe family in “The Poe House”. After Jacob Poe and his wife died, Parthenia continued to live in “The Poe House” with Charles Edgar Poe and his daughter Lillian May. George WE Poe and his wife also lived in “The Poe House” at that time. After Charley Poe died, Parthenia lived with her niece Lillian May and Lillian’s uncle, George WE Poe.
It is quite confusing, but important when you think of the names associated with Aunt Parthenia. Calhoon, Parr, Ebert, Poe - major names in Ohio River steamboat history.
The author of the letter, “Wm A”, was an older brother of Aunt Parthenia (William Albert Calhoon (b 13 Jan 1852 d 25 Oct 1889 unmarried)) . He died of “consumption” after spending some time in a hospital in Cairo, IL in Jul 1889. I have two letters dated 5 Jul 1889 written by William Albert to sister Parthenia Parr Calhoon and brother Thomas Franklin Calhoon. These two letters were written on Cherokee Packet Company letterhead four months before his death.
In the Keokuk letter to Parthenia Parr Calhoon, William Albert mentioned several steamers. The construction of the steamer Red Wing was supervised by Jacob Poe according to Capt Way’s Packet Directory. The str Charlie Cheever (officially named Charles Cheever ) was a sternwheeler built in Brownsville, PA where many Poe boats were constructed, but I do not know its owner nor master. The Annie was a sternwheeler built in 1877 for the Keokuk Line. I have found no historical data on her owner or master.
I do not know why William Albert Calhoon was traveling on the upper Mississippi at that time. Whether the Poes and/or Calhoons had any interest in the Keokuk Packet Line or the Keokuk Northern Packet Line is unknown at this time. More research and some luck is required to break through this mystery.
I have been experiencing a problem with large pages. For an unknown reason I could not add photos or links to one large page. To solve my problem, I split the page entitled ”It Used to be a River Town” into a history of Georgetown and a history of the steamboat captains homes. The data about the homes has been placed in another page named “History in Homes.” I have added more photos and as times permits, I will include copies of some of the deeds for the properties.
There is one fun event description added. The story about the preparations for the 35th wedding anniversary of Mollie Ebert and John A Trimble is notable. The redecoration of their parlors by a “force of artists” from Pittsburgh, their elegant supper at 10:00 PM, gifts exchanged… The details of the story were taken from a newspaper clipping from an unidentified local paper. I will try to determine the name of the newspaper.
In the fall of 2006, I inherited a journal recounting a lively steamboat trip on the upper Missouri River in 1869. The author, Nancy Ann (Poe) Ebert, was my great great grandmother. The trip was one continuous adventure. It is a bit of American History that I shall attempt to bring to life.
Only two journals, daily written, chronicle that 1869 Missouri River season. The styles could not differ more, yet their comparison provides meaningful insights. In his journal Nelson G Edwards, first clerk of the steamer Henry M Shreve, was objective. Nancy Poe Ebert was observant and emotional. My great great grandmother wrote about loneliness, fear, flowers, disappointment, beauty, and Indians. Indians boarded their steamer for three days causing much anguish. Tracking the two journals, the sidewheeler Henry M Shreve was 8-14 days ahead of the sternwheeler Mollie Ebert at common positions per date along the Missouri.
My transcription of the journal is a rendering with spelling errors and missing punctuation uncorrected. Its length is 59 pages covering 57 grueling days.
Investigations of the inherited journal and boxes of old photographs and letters led to other stories about the men and women of Georgetown, PA. During the Golden Age of Steamboats which some describe as the period from 1850-1870, Georgetown produced some far famed steamboat captains. Each captain and each steamer has its tale. At a time when railroad transportation meant traveling mostly in upright chairs on unheated soot filled cars that rocked and pitched their way along state imposed “standard” gauge track, steamboats were admired for their luxury, their comfort, their ornamentation — in a word – their style. Steamboats also out performed the rival railroads during that period. More troops and supplies were transported by packets than railroad cars during the Civil War. These Georgetown captains and pilots with their civilian crews were contracted and impressed into service by the Army Quartermaster which led to many tales. The Georgetown captains owned and operated approximately fifty packets during this Golden Age.
Local histories are also numerous, such as the grisly death of a steamboat captain far from home in April 1850, a Paul Revere like ride to warn the area of the danger of attack from Morgan’s Raiders in July 1863, a baseball game with Honus Wagner and his All Stars in August 1924, etc. I am a retailer, not an inventor, of these tales. Vexingly, their stories have been virtually ignored by generations of historians.
Their story was not a story of my choosing, but what could make a better story!