Posts Tagged ‘richard calhoon’

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.





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Georgetown Keel Boats

Monday, August 6th, 2012

I have updated the page Georgetown Keel Boats including Certificate of Enrollment info from my trip to the National Archives on 2 Aug 2012.  An impressive number of the boats build between 1846-1850 were built in Georgetown, PA along Nash Run.  Registration was required for all vessels with a capacity rating of more than twenty tons.  The capacity of these vessels ranged from 20 50/95 to 43 65/95 tons.






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

Civil War Transports

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

A page, Civil War Transports, has been added to tell the story of the civilian steamboat men from Georgetown who served their country during the Civil War. None achieved much renown during their lifetimes.




Copyright © 2012 Francis W Nash
All Rights Reserved

The Destruction of the str Horizon

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Based on the readings from the National Archives, I loaded a page describing the collision of the str Horizon on the Mississippi River.  The page link is called A Case for Indemnity.

The losses of the Horizon and Clara Poe  differ in several ways.  The Horizon was definitely under contract to the US Army Quartermaster.  Yet the military Vessel File at the National Archives has more original source papers regarding the burning of the  Clara Poe


One interesting aside from Horizon were letters from an engineer named Kemper.  In a letter dated 4 May 1874, Kemper’s attorney requested pay for service on the str Horizon while running the batteries at Vicksburg.  As you no doubt have guessed, the response from the US Army Quartermaster was negative — stating “our records do not show that Kemper rendered the services”.  Eleven years after the event the US Army Quartermaster refused to pay the engineer Kemper’s day wages even though Kemper had an affidavit from an officer on the boat stating that Kemper served at Vicksburg.  No records – no pay – period!  You gotta admire these US Army logistics agents.

Boats in the Civil War

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

The following list of steamers owned by the Georgetown captains summarizes their Civil War activity.  According to the Gibsons’ dictionary six boats were listed at Shiloh.  Two others were chartered during the correct period and were listed at Vicksburg in 1863 so I assume they were also at Pittsburg Landing.    The Neptune crashed into the Clarksville Bridge on 19 Mar 1862 so she may not have been transporting to troops and supplies to Shiloh battlefield.  I may be incorrect.   The Melnotte was not chartered until 1 Apr 1863 so I have no evidence that she participated in the movement of troops in support of Shiloh.  Gibson’s Dictionary does indicate that the Melnotte transported troops and artillery to counter Morgan’s Raiders who had crossed the Ohio River in Jul 1863.  

                          Listed in
Steamer    Gibsons   Way   Shiloh       Owner/Capt      

Argyle              Y               Y          Y             Jacob Poe
Clara Poe          Y               Y          Y             Thomas W Poe
Ella                   Y              Y        Chart          Adam Poe
Horizon             Y              Y         Y             JT Stockdale
Jacob Poe         Y              Y          Y              Jacob Poe          
Kenton              Y              Y         Chart          George W Ebert
Leonora            Y              Y         Chart           Richard Calhoon
Melnotte          Y              Y         N               Richard Calhoon 
Neptune            Y              Y           ?              Adam Poe      
Yorktown         Y             Y           Y               Jacob Poe        

The Yorktown is a mystery.  According to Way’s Directory, she was not put into service till 1863.  Gibson’s Dictionary has the Yorktown in Pittsburg Landing in 1862.  I do not know who is correct.  Maybe another source will confirm its participation?!?


The Georgetown captains and their crews were civilians.  Whether impressed or chartered by the Quartermaster, the subject of military transport by civilian crews generated legal problems in the area of discipline, pay, handling of prisoners, eligibility for pensions, etc.  There was discernible friction between the military and civilian regulatory agencies.   From my reading, a civilian streamer, especially if impressed, was not a good business proposition.


Part history, part puzzle?

History in Homes

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

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.

Richard Calhoon

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

The most accomplished unknown Georgetown steamboat pilot is Capt Richard Calhoon.  His career as an active captain and pilot spanned more than 50 years.  He owned and built approximately 15 boats.  He served as a captain or pilot of civilian transports during the Civil War, including the str Horizon when it collided with the Moderator near Vicksburg.  At least one of his boats ended with a boiler explosion, several ended in fire, and some were dismantled.  A storied career by any measure.


I am not related to the Calhoon rivermen.  Most of my info comes indirectly from the Poes and, of course, the boat details are courtesy of Capt Frederick Way’s Packet Directory.


If any Calhoons are reading this post, please send corrections/additions/comments.  I have no photos of the Calhoon captains or their vessels.


As a newspaper delivery boy in Georgetown, I knew some of the Calhoons.  They were proud of the distinctive spelling of their name, although some Calhoons changed the spelling from “oo” to “ou” at the turn of the century.