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Scharf, J. Thomas. History of Saint Louis City and County, From the Earliest Periods to the Present Day: Including Biographical Sketches of Representative Men. In Two Volumes, Illustrated. Volume II . Philadelphia: Louis H. Everts & Co., 1883. [format: book], [genre: biography; history; proceedings]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
After the bark canoe, in the progress of navigation on the Mississippi, came the Mackinaw boat, carrying from fifteen hundredweight to three tons, and then the keel-boat, or barge, capable of carrying from thirty to forty tons. The first appearance of the keel-boat on the Mississippi above the mouth of the Ohio of which there is any account was in 1751, when a fleet of boats, commanded by Bossu, a captain of French marines, ascended as far as Fort Chartres. This enterprise, also, was the first to ascertain by actual experience the perils of navigating the Mississippi. One of the boats, the "Saint Louis," struck a sand-bar above the mouth of the Ohio, and was unladen and detained two days. Three days later, says the traveler, "my boat ran against a tree, of which the Mississippi is full;...the shock burst the boat, and such a quantity of water got in that it sunk in less than an hour."  This was probably the first commercial boat "snagged" on the Mississippi. From three to four months were required to make a voyage from New
Orleans to the settlement in the vicinity of St. Louis. For years afterwards, and until the era of steam navigation, a journey on the river was a matter of no small moment, serious consideration, and prudent domestic fit and personal preparation. It had to be made on craft of a peculiarly constructed and constricted form, having but limited living arrangements, and of slow, uncertain progress, where, besides being deprived of the usual comforts of even an ordinarily-supplied home, the traveler was thrown into immediate association with a wild, reckless, rollicking set of voyageurs, whose manual labors alone aided or urged the craft, either with or against wind and current, by the use of oars, poles, and other contrivances. The shippers on these boats, after forwarding their goods and products thereon, were satisfied to have returns therefrom in five or six months after the shipment, and not very much surprised or disappointed when they heard that boat and cargo were w resting quietly on the bottom of the river, near the foot of some snag, or upset in a storm, or reposing a high and dry on a sand-bar, where they must remain till the next high water floated them off. True, such disasters and delays were not always attendant upon this mode of navigation, if they had been, the whole system would have fallen into disuse very soon and altogether, but they were of frequent occurrence, and were viewed as being, more or less, a natural result of the primitive powers and material they were compelled to bring into service.
Flat-boats (of about the same model we have now) and barges were the kind of craft mostly in use on the Ohio and Mississippi and their navigable tributaries at the beginning of the immigration and settlements along those rivers, in the early part of this century, and for several of the closing decades of the previous century, the former for transporting their few marketable products, and for the conveyance of families and stock to new settlements that could be reached, or mainly so, by water. As the country became more populous and developed, the interchange of products and manufactures became a desirable necessity, especially along and with the southern coasts and towns. For this purpose barges were introduced and made common carriers, up and down, and from point to point. Like flat-boats, they were broad and square at the ends, but were raked fore and aft, and instead of being entirely covered in, not more than half their hull was decked over, and on the part thus decked a cabin was placed for the use of the crew and such few passengers as might venture with them. The remainder was left open, or only oar-decked, where was stored the cargo, which was covered with some suitable material to protect it from the weather. The space under the cabin was devoted to stowage also. Being designed for continued and active service, they were stronger, better built, and more properly fitted out for navigation than flat-boats, and instead of being sold at the end of the trip for whatever they would bring, or otherwise disposed of (as the flat-boat was), were brought back to their home-ports by the crew, against winds and current, by a constant and arduous heaving on oars, poles, and cordelles, with an occasional use of the sail when the breeze was sufficiently strong and favorable. Many of these crafts were owned and run by individuals who made bargeing their avocation, and in person commanded and controlled their operations, but established lines of barges (not regular) owned by companies or firms were not uncommon from the principal towns of the upper rivers to New Orleans, the boats of which were placed in charge of competent men experienced in river navigation, who acted as patron (captain) and pilot, aided by a crew of their own selection. These boats carried from one hundred to tons, and some as much as four hundred, but not many, the latter being too unwieldy and unmanageable, and difficult to land except in high water. The trip down, say from Cincinnati or St. Louis to New Orleans, was made in about five weeks, unless they were favored with bright nights, when it would be made more quickly. The return occupied eighty or ninety days, and frequently much longer. The crew was eight to fifteen men on the downward and twenty to thirty-six on the upward trip. Fast time was frequently attempted, and often successfully performed according to the prevailing ideas. A quick trip was made in February, 1811, by the keel-boat "Susan Amelia," which descended from the Falls of the Ohio to Natchez in fourteen days and five hours. This trip was a famous one in its day, and the boat's time from and to different points was made the standard of swiftness for many years, as was that of the steamer "J. M. White" in a later day. But it was deemed a very risky and imprudent exhibition by the cautious men of the time. An old river chronicler in speaking of it said, "Nothing ought to induce such running but a case of life and death."
"Before the panting of the steam-engine was heard of on these (Western) waters," says Lloyd's Steamboat Directory, "the only river contrivance for conveyance of freight and passengers was a species of boat called a barge, or bargee, according to French nomenclature. The length of this boat was from seventy-five to one hundred feet; breadth of beam from fifteen to twenty feet; capacity from sixty to one hundred tons. The receptacle for the freight was a large covered coffer,
called the cargo-box, which occupied a considerable portion of the hulk. Near the stern was an apology for a cabin, a straitened apartment six or eight feet in length, in which the aristocracy of the boat, viz., the captain and patroon, or steersman, were generally quartered at night. The roof of the ‘cabin’ was slightly elevated above the level of the deck, and on this eminence the helmsman was stationed to direct the movements of the boat. The barge was commonly provided with two masts, though some carried but one. The chief reliance of the boatmen was on a square sail forward, which when the wind was in the right direction accelerated the progressive motion of the boat and relieved the hands, who at other times were obliged to propel the barge by such laborious methods as rowing, warping, and the cordelle."
Keel-boating proper was an institution of a later day. The keeled craft were not in general use on the rivers until 1808-9, though all the early river navigation is now referred to under the generic term of keel-boating. Naturally the bargemen became the keel-boatmen; the commercial interests, designs, and working of the two modes were, in fact, about the same, and, for all the purposes of the present sketch, essentially alike. But keel-boats were much of an advance over barges in celerity and diminution of time and labor. They were longer and narrower, had a keel-shaped, instead of a broad flat bottom, carried as much freight on a less amount of current expenses, furnished less resisting surface, and therefore were more easily handled in cross currents, bends, and other places requiring speedy movement, made quicker trips, and for several other good reasons became in a short time after their introduction the universal freight-carriers, holding their position as such for nearly twenty years, or until the running of steam-craft came with a sufficient frequency and tonnage to supply the demands of commerce, when of course they were abandoned for the superior advantages offered by steamboats. They were also generally quite artistically built, presenting a neat appearance on the water, in many respects resembling the canal-boats of this day. As a rule, however, the river-craft was unshapely and cumbrous. The lines of least resistance were not then understood, and different kinds of boats were used according to the needs of the locality and the nature of the freight, including canoes, pirogues, barges, keel- and flat-boats. "The Indian birch canoe was ordinarily thirty feet long, four feet wide in the broadest part, two and a half feet deep in the centre, and two feet deep at each end. The pirogue was larger than the canoe, but smaller than the other boats. The barge was wider, but not so long as the keel-boats, and was chiefly used between St. Louis and New Orleans. The barges sometimes had a capacity of forty tons. The boats designed for the Indian trade were of peculiar construction, from forty to sixty feet in length, with low sides and a bottom almost flat. Their narrowness and light draught fitted them for swift or shallow water. In ascending the river, the boatmen, in order to prevent a useless expenditure of strength, avoided the rapid current of the channel of the river and sought the slower water near the shore; and in order that they might approach close to the bank, the boats were constructed with a flat bottom and provided with short oars. The low side of the boat, by bringing the oarlock nearer to the water, lessened the resistance, and consequently lightened the labors of the rowers. The capacity of these boats varied from fifteen thousand to twenty-five thousand pounds, and the size of the crew was determined by the allowance of one boatman for every three thousand pounds of freight. The oarsmen were generally Creoles and French mulattoes.
The crookedness of the Mississippi between St. Louis and New Orleans necessitated long détours. In one place a circuit of fifty-four miles represented an actual gain of only five miles; at another point the neck of a bend thirty miles long was but a mile and a half across. In ascending these bends the boats always avoided the concave side of the stream, for the double purpose of escaping the force of the current and the peril of caving banks. Large masses of earth undermined by the action of the water sometimes fell suddenly into the river, and a boat overtaken by such an accident was in imminent danger of submersion. In order to shun this risk, as well as to avoid the main current of the stream, the boats kept close to the convex bank of the bends. The extreme crookedness of the river necessitated frequent crossings, and it has been stated that the number of times a boat was compelled to cross the Mississippi in the ascent from New Orleans to St. Louis was three hundred and ninety. These crossings, and the distance that a heavily freighted boat would be borne down stream in going from one side to the other, added nearly five hundred miles to the length of the voyage. In descending the river the boatmen reversed their course of action, and followed the concave side of the bends in order to avail themselves of the effective aid of the current. In violent storms or high winds, when it was not safe to move, the boats were fastened to trees on the opposite bank.
"A voyage from St. Louis to New Orleans and return occupied from four to six months; consequently
only two round trips could be made in a year. Even with the assistance of sails, a row-boat could not make the ascent in less than seventy or eighty days. A keel-boat could be brought by cordelle from Louisville to St. Louis in twenty-five days."  In addition to the use of sails and oars, "warping," "cordelling," and "poling" were employed as means of propulsion. "In ‘warping’ a long rope was fastened to some immovable object on the bank, and then the crew, standing in the bow and pulling hand over hand, drew the boat forward; the hands of the crew serving the purposes of a capstan. The progress was slow but steady. In ‘cordelling’ the crew walked along the bank and drew the boat after them by means of a rope. It was, in fact, identical with canal-boat navigation, except that the motive-power was men instead of mules or horses. ‘Poling’ consisted in pushing the boat up stream by the aid of long poles. The men successively took their places at the bow, and firmly resting their poles on the bed of the river, walked towards the stern pushing the boat forward. Whenever a man reached the stern, he pulled up his pole and ran rapidly back to resume his place in the line. Hence the spaces on each side of the boat where this constant circuit was going on were called the ‘running boards’" .
The boatmen were a class by themselves, a hardy, adventurous, muscular set of men, inured to constant peril and privation, and accustomed to severe and unremitting toil. For weeks, and even months at a time, they saw no faces but those of their companions among the crew or in some passing craft, and their days from dawn until dark were spent in constant work at the oars or poles, or tugging at the rope either in the boat or on the shore, as they were employed either in warping or cordelling. At night, after "tying up," their time was generally spent in gaming, carousing, story-telling, etc., the amusements of the evening being varied not infrequently with a fisticuff encounter.
The labor involved in their occupation was of the severest character, and the constant and arduous exercise produced in most of them an extraordinary physical development. So intense was the exertion usually required to propel and guide the boat that a rest was necessary every hour, and from fourteen to twenty miles a day was all the progress that could be made against the stream. The sense of physical power which naturally accompanied the steady exercise of the muscles inspired the average boatman not merely with insensibility to danger, but a bellicoseness of disposition which seems to have been characteristic of his class. The champion pugilist of a boat was entitled to wear a red feather in his cap, and this badge of pre-eminence was universally regarded as a challenge to all rivals. 
In summer the boatmen were usually stripped to the waist, and their bodies, exposed to the sun, were tanned to the swarthy hues of the Indian; in winter they were clothed in buckskin breeches and blankets, (capots), a grotesque combination of French and Indian styles which gave their attire a wild and peculiar aspect. Their food was of the simplest character. "After a hard day's toil," says Monette,  "at night they took their ‘fillee’ or ration of whiskey, swallowed their homely supper of meat half burned and bread half baked, and retiring to sleep they stretched themselves upon the deck without covering, under the open canopy of heaven, or probably enveloped in a blanket, until the steersman's horn called them to their morning ‘fillee’ and their toil.
"Hard and fatiguing was the life of a boatman, yet it was rare that any of them ever changed his vocation. There was a charm in the excesses, in the frolics, and in the fightings which they anticipated at the end of the voyage which cheered them on. Of weariness none would complain, but rising from his bed at the first dawn of day, and reanimated by his morning draught, he was prepared to hear and the wonted order, ‘Stand to your poles and set off!’ The boatmen were masters of the winding horn and the fiddle, and as the boat moved off from her moorings, some, to cheer their labors or to ‘scare off the devil and secure good luck,’ would wind the animating blast of the horn, which, mingling with the sweet music of the fiddle and reverberating along the sounding shores, greeted the solitary dwellers on the banks with news from New Orleans."
Levity and volatility were conspicuous traits of cuff the boatman's character, and while he was willing to perform excessive and long-continued labor, he would render such service only to a "patroon" whom he respected. In fine, the average keel-boatman was cool, reckless, courageous to the verge of rashness,
and pugnacious, but, notwithstanding certain grave shortcomings, an unmitigated hater of all the darker shades of sin and wrong-doing, such as stealing, robbing, and murdering for plunder, crimes that in his day were frequently and boldly perpetrated along the sparsely-settled banks and at lonely islands of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.
The departure of a boat was an important incident in the uneventful village life of St. Louis. On such occasions it was customary for their friends to assemble on the banks to bid adieu to the voyageurs. Sometimes half the population of the village was present to tender their wishes for a prosperous trip. For years it was believed that no keel-boat could ascend the Missouri. The rapidity of the current was supposed to be an insuperable obstacle to navigation by such craft. The doubt was settled by the enterprise of George Sarpy, who sent a keel-boat under Capt. Labrosse to try the difficult experiment ascending the Missouri. The success of the undertaking marked a signal advance in Western navigation, and supplied the merchants of St. Louis with new facilities for the transportation of their goods,"  while it also greatly extended the operations of the boatmen and increased their numbers.
Of the keel-boatmen, when classed by nativity, the Kentuckians bore the most unenviable reputation, on account of the fact that they were generally characterized by excessive recklessness and bellicoseness, and we are told so gloomy was the reputation of the Kentuckians that travelers were liable at every place (except the miserable wayside taverns) to have the door shut in their face on applying for refreshments or a night's lodgings. Nor would any plea or circumstance alter the decided refusal of the master or mistress, unless it might be the uncommonly genteel appearance and the equipage of the traveler.
For a similar reason, possibly, badly-built boats, with poor or injured plank in their bottoms, which had been sold to unsuspecting or inexperienced persons, were known as "Kentucky boats."
"In 1807," says a writer on "Early Navigators" in a St. Louis newspaper, "a Mr. Winchester's boat struck a rock in the Ohio, below Pittsburgh a short distance, and one of her bottom planks being badly stove in, she sunk immediately, having on board a valuable cargo of dry-goods. The proprietor, not bring with the boat at the time, conceived, when informed of the disaster, that it had been caused by carelessness of the person to whom he had intrusted the boat and cargo, and brought suit against him for damages; and indeed it was somewhat evident, from all that could be ascertained, that the patroon had no business in the neighborhood of the rock, and could and should have avoided it. The defendant's position was rather gloomy, but his resources proved equal to the emergency. The suit was before (Dr.) Justice Richardson, of Pittsburgh, who himself had had some sad experiences with Kentucky boats. The defendant knowing or being informed of this, hired two men, went down to the wreck, and with some difficulty procured several pieces of the plank that had given way. On the day of trial, after the plaintiff had, as every one present thought, fully established his charges and demands, the justice asked the defendant if he had any rebutting evidence to offer. ‘Yes, your Honor,’ he replied, ‘I have;’ and reaching down under his seat, he drew out the pieces of plank aforementioned and said, ‘I have no evidence to offer, your Honor, except these pieces, which I can prove to your Honor are part of the same plank, the breaking of which caused the boat to sink, which, I say, would not have occurred if the plank had been reasonably sound. Look at them! Your Honor will see that it was my misfortune to have been placed in charge of one of these dd Kentucky boats.’ Without in any way noticing the blasphemous expression, the justice examined the pieces, which proved to be thoroughly rotten and defective, unfit to be put anywhere, much less in the bottom of a boat. After hearing from the defendant's helpers that these, pieces were taken from the boat in question, at the identical place where she had broken, the court delivered its mind as follows: ‘This court had the misfortune once to place a valuable cargo on a Kentucky boat, not knowing it to be such, which sunk and went down in seventeen feet of water, this court verily believed, by coming in contact with the head of a yellow-bellied catfish, there being no snag, rock, or other obstruction near her at the time; and this court, being satisfied of the premises in this cause, doth order that the same be dismissed at plaintiff's costs, to have included therein the expenses of the defendant in going to and returning from the wreck, for the purpose of obtaining such damnable and irrefutable evidence as this bottom plank has furnished.’ And the bottom plank was deemed proof so conclusive, and the prejudice against Kentucky boats in the public mind was so extended and settled, that it was thought inadvisable to urge the suit any further."
Besides the ordinary dangers of the treacherous currents, "cave-ins," shoals and snags of the Mississippi, and occasional assaults from prowling savages, the early boatmen were often called upon to face the more
serious peril of an attack by river pirates. "Many a boatload of costly merchandise intended for the warehouses of St. Louis never reached its destination. The misdeeds of the robbers were not always limited to the seizure of goods. The proof of rapine was often extinguished by the murder of the witnesses. The caves of the pirates were rich with the spoils of a plundered commerce, and the depredations became more frequent in proportion to the impunity with which they were committed. At last the interruption of trade became so grave and the danger to life so imminent that the Governor-General of Louisiana was constrained to take more effective steps for the suppression of the bandits. An official order excluding single boats from the Mississippi granted the privilege of navigation only to flotillas that were strong enough to repel their assailants. The plan succeeded and the pirates were ultimately driven from their haunts. The arrival at St. Louis in 1788 of the flotilla of ten boats was a memorable occasion in the annals of the village. 
The arrival of this flotilla gave the name of "l'anée des dix bateaux" to the year 1788, which was the last year of Don Francisco Cruzat's second administration. In the year before, M. Beausoliel, a New Orleans merchant, had been captured by pirates near the island that still bears his name, and subsequently escaping, recaptured his boat and killed the pirates. He then returned to New Orleans and reported his experience to the Governor, who thereupon issued the order already referred to that all boats bound for St. Louis the following spring should sail together for mutual protection. This was carried out, and the flotilla "des dix bateaux" made the voyage, capturing at Cottonwood Creek the camp and supplies of the pirates, with a valuable assortment of miscellaneous plunder which had been taken from many boats on previous occasions.
"In an advertisement published in 1794 the patrons of a special line of boats were assured of their safety. The statements which were made to allay apprehensions showed that the fear of pirates was not then groundless. A large crew skillful in the use of arms, a plentiful supply of muskets and ammunition, an equipment on each boat of six one-pound cannon and a loop-holed rifle-proof cabin for the passengers were the means of defense provided, on which were based the hopes of security. So formidable an array of weapons was not well calculated to inspire timid natures with confidence in the safety of the voyage." 
The boatmen were very active and energetic in rooting out the nests of pirates, and not infrequently administered lynch-law in summary fashion. One of the most sanguinary incidents or this character was that which occurred in 1809.
Island 94 (called Stack Island, or Crows' Nest), one hundred and seventy miles above Natchez, was notorious for many years for being a den for the rendezvous of a gang of horse-thieves, counterfeiters, robbers, and murderers. It was a small island located in the middle of Nine-Mile Reach. From hence they would sally forth, stop passing boats, and murder the crew, or if this appeared impracticable, would buy their horses, flour, whiskey, etc., and pay for them. Their villanies became notorious, and several years' pursuit by the civil law officers failed to produce any results in the way of punishment or eradication. But they were at length made to disappear by an application of lynch-law from several keel-boat crews. The full history of this affair has never been fully unfolded, and perhaps never will be, but for terrible retribution and complete annihilation, outside of any authorized decrees, it never had its equal in any administration of lynch-law, the recitals of which cast so many shadows on the annals of the West and South. The autumn and winter immediately preceding the month of April, 1809, had been marked by numerous atrocities on the part of the bandits of the Crows' Nest. Several boats and their entire crews had disappeared at that point, and no traces could be found of them afterward. The country around and up and down the river had been victimized and robbed in almost every conceivable form by depredators whose movements could be satisfactorily traced as tending towards the Crows' Nest. In that month it occurred that seven keel-boats were concentrated at the head of Nine-Mile Reach, within speaking distance of each other, being detained by heavy contrary winds. The crews of these were well informed as to the villanies of those who harbored on the little island a few miles below them. Many of them had friends and old comrades who were known to have been on the missing boats. By what means it was brought about, at whose suggestion or influence was never made known, but one dark night, a few hours before daylight, eighty or ninety men from these wind-bound craft, well armed, descended silently in their small boats to the Crows' Nest and surprised its occupants, whom they secured after a short encounter, in which two of the boatmen were wounded and several of the robbers killed. Nineteen men, a boy of fifteen, and two women were thus captured. Shortly after sunrise the boy (on account of his extreme youth) and the two women were allowed to depart. What was the manner of punishment, meted out to the men, whether shot or hanged,
was never ascertained with any degree of certainty. None but the boatmen, the boy, and the two women, however, ever left the island alive, and by twelve o'clock noon the crews were back to their boats, and the wind having calmed the night previous they shoved out, and by sunset were far down the river and away from the scene of the indisputably just though unlawful retribution. Two years afterward came the terrible earthquake, which, with the floods of 1811-13, destroyed every vestige of the Crows' Nest, leaving nothing of it to be seen but a low sandbar, and with it passed away from public sight and mind all signs of its bandits, their crimes, and the awful doom that befell them.
Some years later a new type of river desperadoes appeared, who, if tradition and history do not greatly belie them, were not much more exemplary in their conduct than the pirates and buccaneers who preceded them. "Mike" Fink in particular, the model hero of the Mississippi boatmen, who has figured on the pages of popular romance, was a ruffian of surpassing strength and courage. His rifle was unerring, and his conscience was as easy and accommodating as a man in his line of business could wish. His earliest vocation was that of a boatman, but he had belonged to a company of government spies or scouts whose duty it was to watch the movements of the Indians on the frontier. At that time Pittsburgh was on the extreme verge of the white population, and the spies, who were constantly employed, generally extended their reconnoissances forty or fifty miles west of that place. Going out singly and living in Indian style, they assimilated themselves to the habits, tastes, and feelings of the Indians. In their border warfare the scalp of a Shawnee was esteemed about as valuable as the skin of a panther. "Mike" Fink, tiring of this after a while, returned to the water life, and engrafting several other occupations on that of the boatman, put all mankind, except his friends and employer, to whom he was honest and faithful, under contribution, and became nothing more nor less than a freebooter. "Mike," having murdered "Joe" Stevens, was killed by one of Joe's brothers. James Girty, another of the famous Mississippi boatmen, was represented as a "natural prodigy," not "constructed like ordinary men, for, instead of ribs, bountiful nature had provided him with a solid bony casing on both sides, without any interstices through which a knife; dirk, or bullet could penetrate." He possessed amazing muscular power, and courage in proportion, and his great boast was that he had "never, been whipped." 
The trade conducted by these boats was of considerable proportions. As early as 1802 the annual exports of the Mississippi valley amounted to $2,160,000, and the imports to $2,500,000. Up to 1804 the annual value of the fur trade of Upper Louisiana amounted to $203,750. The province then exported lead, salt, beef, and pork, and received Indian goods from Canada, domestics from Philadelphia and Baltimore, groceries from New Orleans, and hardware from the Ohio River.
Short notices in the newspapers of that day, announcing, "Wanted to freight, from this place to Louisville, about sixteen hundredweight, apply at the printing-office,"  or "thirteen boatmen are wanted to navigate a few boats to New Orleans, to start about the 15th of next month; the customary wages will be given,"  or that "the barge ‘Scott’ will start from St. Louis on the 1st of March, and will take freight for Louisville or Frankfort, in Kentucky, on reasonable terms, apply to John Steele,"  are too laconic to more than indicate the existence of a commerce, without affording any reliable data of its dimensions or the appliances by which it was carried on. 
At the period of the introduction of steam upon the Mississippi, 1817, the whole commerce from New Orleans to the upper country was transported in about twenty barges of an average of one hundred tons each, and making but one trip in a year. The number of keel-boats on the Ohio was estimated at one hundred and sixty, carrying thirty tons each. The whole tonnage was estimated at between six thousand and seven thousand.
The advent of steam, of course, superseded the use of the keel-boat, and the picturesque features of the earlier navigation passed away. In the presence of the mighty energy which has revolutionized the commerce of the world, the warp and cordelle, the pole and running-board forever disappeared from the bosom of the Mississippi.
"The commerce of St. Louis had humble beginnings. The facilities for transportation were limited to the rudest row-boats, but in course of time there has grown from the birch canoe a vast inland fleet, which in 1880 bore to the port of St. Louis about two million tons of merchandise." 
Steamboating. In "The First Steamboat Voyage on the Western Waters," John H. B. Latrobe says, "Whether steam could be employed on the Western rivers was a question that its success between New York and Albany was not regarded as having entirely solved, and after the idea had been suggested of building a boat at Pittsburgh, to ply between Natchez and New Orleans, it was considered necessary that investigations should be made as to the currents of the rivers to be navigated in regard to the new system." These investigations were undertaken by Nicholas J. Roosevelt, who repairing in May, 1809, to Pittsburgh, there constructed a flat-boat in which he proceeded to New Orleans for the purpose of studying and investigating the new conditions of navigation to which the steam system was about to be subjected. These investigations proved entirely satisfactory, not only to Mr. Roosevelt but also to Messrs. Fulton and Livingston, who were to furnish the capital, and Mr. Roosevelt in 1811 took up his residence in Pittsburgh, to superintend the construction of the boat and engine that were to open the Western waters to the new system of steam navigation.
The "New Orleans" was the first steamboat constructed on Western waters. She was one hundred and sixteen feet in length, with twenty feet beam, and her engine had a thirty-four-inch cylinder, with boiler and other parts in proportion. She was about four hundred tons burden, and cost in the neighborhood of thirty-eight thousand dollars. There were two cabins, one aft for ladies, and a larger one forward for gentlemen. The ladies' cabin, which was comfortably furnished, contained four berths. The "New Orleans" was launched in March, 1811; left Pittsburgh in October of the same year; passed Cincinnati October 27th, and reached Louisville the next day, in sixty-four hours' running time from Pittsburgh. The water was too low for her to cross the falls, and while at Louisville waiting for sufficient water she made several short excursions. She also made one trip to Cincinnati, arriving there in forty-five hours' running time from Louisville, Nov. 27, 1811. While here she made an excursion trip to Columbia, charging one dollar per head. Shortly afterward, the river rising, she left this place for New Orleans, December, 1811. Her voyage down the river was perilous in the extreme, as shortly after leaving Louisville the great earthquakes began. She ran between Natchez and New Orleans, her trips averaging about three weeks, July 13, 1814, she landed on her upward voyage two miles above Baton Rouge, on the opposite side, and spent the night taking in wood, the night being thought too dark to run with safety. At daylight the next morning she got up steam, and on starting the engine it was found she would not move ahead, but kept swinging around. The water had fallen during the night, and the captain found she was resting on a stump. An anchor was put out on her starboard quarter, and by the aid of her capstan she was soon hove off; but on clearing her it was discovered she had sprunk a leak and was sinking rapidly. She was immediately run into the bank and tied fast, but sunk so rapidly her passengers had barely time to get off with their baggage. 
The history of the early steamboats following the "New Orleans" will be found interesting, as showing how quickly the innovation made itself felt, and how speedily the new system obliterated the old.
The second boat was the "Comet," of twenty-five tons, owned by Samuel Smith, built at Pittsburgh by Daniel French; stern-wheel and vibrating cylinder, French's patent granted in 1809. The "Comet" made a voyage to Louisville in 1813, and to New Orleans in the spring of 1814; made two trips to Natchez, and was sold, the engine being put up on a plantation to drive a cotton-gin. Third boat, the "Vesuvius," three hundred and forty tons, built at Pittsburgh by Robert Fulton, and owned by a company belonging to New York and New Orleans; left Pittsburgh for New Orleans in the spring of 1814, commanded by Capt. Frank Ogden. She started from New Orleans, bound for Louisville, the 1st of June, 1814, and grounded on a bar seven hundred miles up the Mississippi, where she lay until the 3d of December, when the river rose and she floated off. She returned to New Orleans, where she ran aground the second time on the batture, where she lay until the 1st of March, when the river rose and floated her off. She was then employed some months between New Orleans and Natchez, under the command of Capt. Clemment, who was succeeded by Capt. John DeHart. Shortly after she took fire near New Orleans and burned to the water's edge, having a valuable cargo aboard. The fire was supposed to have been communicated from the boiler, which was in the hold. The bottom was raised and built upon at New Orleans, and she went into the Louisville trade, but was soon after sold to a company at Natchez. On examination subsequent to the sale she was pronounced unfit for use, was libeled by her commander, and sold at public auction. Fourth boat, the "Enterprise," forty-five tons, built at Brownsville, Pa., by Daniel French, under his patent, and owned by a company at that place, made two trips to Louisville in the summer of 1814, under the command of Capt. J. Gregg. On the 1st of December she took in a cargo of ordnance stores at Pittsburgh, and left for New Orleans, commanded by Capt. Henry M. Shreve; and arrived at New Orleans on the 14th of the same month. She was then dispatched up the river in search of two keel-boats laden with small-arms which had been delayed on the river. She got twelve miles above Natchez, where she met the keels, took their masters and cargoes on board, and returned to New Orleans, having been but six and a half days absent, in which time she ran six hundred and twenty-four miles. She was then for some time actively employed in transporting troops. She made one trip to the Gulf of Mexico as a cartel, and one trip to the rapids of the
Red River with troops, and nine voyages to Natchez. She left New Orleans for Pittsburgh on the 6th of May, and arrived at Shippingport on the 30th, twenty-five days out, being the first boat that ever arrived at that port from New Orleans. She then proceeded on to Pittsburgh, and the command was given to D. Worley, who lost her in Rock Harbor, at Shippingport. Fifth boat, the "AEtna," three hundred and forty tons, built at Pittsburgh, and owned by the same company as the "Vesuvius," left Pittsburgh for New Orleans in March, 1815, under the command of Capt. A. Gale, and arrived at that port in April following; was placed in the Natchez trade; was then placed under the command of Capt. Robinson De Hart, who made six trips on her to Louisville.
The sixth boat was the "Zebulon M. Pike,"  built by Mr. Prentiss at Henderson, Ky., on the Ohio River, in 1815. The "Pike" deserves special mention, as she was the first steamboat to ascend the Mississippi above the mouth of the Ohio, and the first to touch at St. Louis. Her first trip was made in the spring of 1815 to Louisville, Ky., two hundred and fifty miles in sixty-seven hours, making three and three-quarter miles per hour against the current. On her voyage to St. Louis she was commanded by Capt. Jacob Read. "The hull," says Professor Waterhouse, "was built on the model of a barge. The cabin was situated on the lower deck, inside of the, ‘running-boards.’
"The boat was driven by a low-pressure engine with a walking-beam. The wheels had no wheel-houses. The boat had but one smoke-stack. In the encounter with a rapid current the crew reinforced steam with the impulse of their own strength. They used the poles and running-boards just as in the push-boat navigation of barges. The boat ran only by day, and was six weeks in making this first trip from Louisville to St. Louis. It landed at the foot of Market Street Aug. 2, 1817. The inhabitants of the village gathered on the bank to welcome the novel visitor. Among them was a group of Indians. As the boat approached, the glare of its furnace fires and the volumes of murky smoke filled the Indians with dismay. They fled to the high ground in the rear of the village, and no assurances of safety could induce them to go one step nearer to the object of their fears. They ascribed supernatural powers to a boat that could ascend a rapid stream without the aid of sail or oar. Their superstitious imaginations beheld a monster breathing flame and threatening the extinction of the red man. In a symbolic sense, their fancy was prophetic: the progress of civilization, of which the steamboat may be taken as a type, is fast sweeping the Indian race into the grave of buried nations."
The first notice we have of the expected arrival the "Pike" at St. Louis is the following announcement in the Missouri Gazette of the 14th of July, 1817:
"A steamboat is expected here from Louisville to-morrow. There is no doubt but what we shall have a regular communication with Louisville, or at least the mouth of the Ohio, by a steam packet."
On the 2d of August the Gazette published this notice:
"The steamboat ‘Pike’ will be ready to take in freight to-morrow for Louisville or any of the towns on the Ohio. She will sail for Louisville on Monday morning, the 4th August, from ten to twelve o'clock. For freight or passage apply to the master on board.
"Jacob Read, Master."
The return trip of the "Pike" is also mentioned in the Gazette of September 2d as follows:
"The steamboat ‘Pike’ will arrive in a day or two from Louisville. This vessel will ply regularly between that place and will take in her return cargo shortly after her arrival. Persons who may have freight, or want passage for Louisville of the towns on the Ohio, will do well to make early application to the master on board. On her passage from this to Louisville she will make a stop at Herculaneum, where Mr. M. Austin will
act as agent; also at Ste. Genevieve and Cape Girardeau. At the former place Mr. Le Meilleur and at the latter Mr. Steinbeck will act as agents, with whom freight for the ‘Pike’ may be deposited and shipped.
"Persons wanting passage in this vessel will apply as above. She will perform her present voyage to and from Louisville in about four weeks, and will always afford an expeditious and safe passage for the transportation of freight or passengers.
"Jacob Read, Master."
Again on the 22d of November the Gazette announced that "the steamboat ‘Pike’ with passengers and freight arrived here yesterday from Louisville."
The "Pike" had a capacity of thirty-seven tons, old government tonnage. She made a trip to New Orleans, and several between Louisville and Pittsburgh, after which she was engaged in the Red River trade. She was snagged in March, 1818. 
The next vessel after the "Pike" to arrive at St. Louis was the "Constitution," Capt. R. T. Guyard, which arrived Oct. 2, 1817. The steamboat ceased in 1818 to be a novelty on the Mississippi, and became
a recognized agent of the commerce of the valley.
The arrivals and departures of vessels about this time were occasionally noticed by the Gazette as follows:
"On Saturday last the steamboat ‘Franklin,’ of about one hundred and forty tons burden, arrived here in thirty-two days from New Orleans with passengers and an assorted cargo. ‘Franklin’ is admirably calculated for a regular packet-boat to ply between St. Louis and New Orleans. Her stowage is capacious,
and her cabin commodious and elegant." Gazette, June 12, 1818.
"The steamboat ‘Franklin’ left this place yesterday with freight and passengers for New Orleans. The master expects to arrive there in eight days. Our common barges take from twenty-five to thirty days to perform the voyage." Gazette, June 19, 1818.
"List of Steamboats Trading to New Orleans. ‘Franklin,’ one hundred and thirty-one tons; ‘Eagle;’ ‘Pike’ (sunk); ‘James Monroe’ (sunk, now repairing)." Gazette, Sept. 5, 1818.
"The new steamboat ‘Johnson,’ built by Col. Johnson, of Kentucky, passed Shawneetown the first of this month bound to New Orleans. She is intended as a regular trader from Kentucky on the Mississippi and the Missouri as far up as the Yellowstone River." Gazette, Nov. 6, 1818.
The arrival about March 1, 1819, of "the large and elegant steamboat ‘Washington’" from New Orleans, which city she left on the 1st of February, was announced in the Gazette of March 3d. The steamboat "Harriet" arrived from the same port early in April. The "Sea-Horse," which arrived at New Orleans from New York, and the "Maid of Orleans," which reached the same port from Philadelphia early in 1819, were probably the first steamboats that ever performed a voyage of any length on the ocean.
The "Maid of Orleans" continued her voyage to St. Louis, where she arrived about the 1st of May. On the same day the steamboat "Independence," Capt. Nelson, arrived from Louisville. The Missouri Gazette of the 19th of May, 1819, has the following steamboat memoranda:
"The ‘Expedition,’ Capt. Craig, arrived here on Wednesday last, destined for the Yellowstone. The ‘Maid of Orleans,’ Capt. Turner, sailed for New Orleans, and the ‘Independence,’ Capt. Nelson, for Franklin, on the Missouri, on Sunday last. The ‘Exchange,’ Capt. Whips, arrived here on Monday, and will return to Louisville in a few days for a new set of boilers, she having burst her boiler in ascending the Mississippi.
"The ‘St. Louis,’ Capt. Hewes, the ‘James Monroe,’ and ‘Hamlet’ were advertised to sail from New Orleans to St. Louis about the middle of last month.
"In 1817, less than two years ago, the first steamboat arrived at St. Louis. We hailed it as the day of small things, but the glorious consummation of all our wishes is daily arriving. Already during the present season we have seen on our shores five steamboats and several more daily expected. Who would or could have dared to conjecture that in 1819 we would have witnessed the arrival of a steamboat from Philadelphia or New York? yet such is the fact. The Mississippi has become familiar to this great American invention, and another new arena is open. A steamboat, owned by individuals, has started from St. Louis for Franklin, two hundred miles up the Missouri, and two others are now here destined for the Yellowstone. The time is fast approaching when a journey to the Pacific will become as familiar, and indeed more so, than it was fifteen or twenty years ago to Kentucky or Ohio. ‘Illustrious nation,’ said a distinguished foreigner, speaking of the New York canal, ‘illustrious nation, whose conceptions are only equaled by her achievements.’"
The "Independence," Capt. Nelson, was the first Steamboat that entered the Missouri River. Sailing from St. Louis in May, 1819, she reached Franklin, on the Missouri, after a voyage of thirteen days,  of which four days were spent in the different landing. Her voyage extended up the Missouri to Old Chariton, from whence she returned to St. Louis.  The United States government the year previous had determined to explore the Missouri River up to the Yellowstone and for that purpose, as elsewhere stated, Major S. H. Long had built at Pittsburgh the "Western Engineer."
To Col. Henry Atkinson had been intrusted the command of this expedition, and starting from Plattsburgh, N. Y., in the latter part of 1818, he arrived in Pittsburgh in the spring of 1819. The "Western Engineer" was completed soon after, and arrived at St. Louis June 8, 1819. On the 21st the expedition started for the Missouri.  "It was accompanied
by three other United States steamers and nine keel-boats, bearing a detachment of government troops. The names of the steamboats and of their commanders were ‘Thomas Jefferson,’ Capt. Orfort; ‘R. M. Johnson,’ Capt. Colfax; and the ‘Expedition,’ Capt. Craig.
"The little fleet entered the Missouri with martial music, display of flags, and salute of cannon. In honor of the statesman who acquired the territory of Louisiana for the United States, the precedence was accorded to the ‘Thomas Jefferson,’ but some disarrangement of its machinery prevented this boat from taking the lead, and the ‘Expedition’ secured the distinction of being the first steamer of this flotilla to enter the Missouri. The ‘Thomas Jefferson’ was doomed to a still worse mishap, for not long after it ran on a snag and sank.
"The steam-escape of the ‘Western Engineer’ was shaped like a great serpent coiled on the bow of the boat in the attitude of springing, and the steam hissing from the fiery mouth of the python filled the Indians with terror. They thought that the wrath of the Great Spirit had sent this monster for their chastisement." 
The Gazette of the 2d of June contained the following "steamboat news:"
"Arrived at this place on the 1st instant the fast-sailing and elegant steamboat St. Louis, Capt. Hewes, in twenty-eight days from New Orleans; passengers, Col. Atkinson and Maj. McIntosh, of the United States army, and others. The captain has politely favored us with the following from his log-book: ‘On the 5th May left New Orleans. At 3 P. M. passed steamboat Volcano, bound down. 10th, at 6 A. M., passed steamboat James Ross; at 11 P. M. passed steamboat Rifleman, at anchor, with shaft broke. 15th, at 3 P. M., passed steamboat Madison, six days from the Falls of the Ohio. 20th, passed steamboat Governor Shelby, bound for New Orleans. 22d, run on a sand-bar and was detained till next day. 26th, at 7 P. M., at the grand turn below Island No. 60, passed nine keel-boats, with Sixth Regiment United States Infantry, commanded by Col. Atkinson, destined for the Missouri; at 11 P. M. took on board Col. Atkinson and Maj. McIntosh; at quarter past eleven run aground, and lost anchor and part of cable. 27th, the steamboat Harriet passed while at anchor. 28th, at 3 P. M., passed steamboat Jefferson, with United States troops, having broke her piston; at 4 P. M. the steamboat Harriet.’"
On the 9th the same paper announced that Capt. Hewes, of the "St. Louis," had gratified the citizens St. Louis with a sail to the mouth of the Missouri, and that "the company on board was large and genteel, and the entertainment very elegant."
The return of the "Maid of Orleans," Capt. Turner, on the 28th of July, and the departure of the "Yankee," Capt. Hairston, early in December for New Orleans, complete the record of steamboating for 1819.
About this time began the long and active career on the river of Capt. John C. Swon, one of the best-known names in the steamboat trade of St. Louis. Capt. Swon was born in Scott County, Ky., May 16, 1803. His father was an early pioneer from Maryland, and a large land-owner in Kentucky. He died in 1814 while locating lands in St. Francis County, Mo., and young Swon passed under the guardianship of Col. R. M. Johnson, who had then lately been Vice-President of the United States. In 1819 the boy sailed up the Missouri to Council Bluffs, and was so infatuated with the river that he resolved to follow it for a livelihood. The wild and romantic scenery of the Missouri, the high bluffs, dense forests, and broad prairies offered special attractions to the eye and fired his youthful imagination. In the following year he returned home and obtained permission from his guardian to engage in the river trade.
Consequently, in 1821, Capt. Swon obtained a position as clerk on the "Calhoun," under Capt. Silas Craig, and for two years was engaged in the St. Louis and Louisville trade, the boat occasionally making a trip to New Orleans, when Swon usually had charge of the vessel himself.
From 1823 to 1830, Capt. Swon was connected with several of the most famous boats of that period, among which may be mentioned the "Steubenville," "Governor Brown," and "America," under Capt. Crawford and Capt. Alexander Scott.
In 1825, Capt. Swon, having formed an extremely favorable idea of the place from his frequent visits, made St. Louis his permanent home. In 1830 he temporarily left St. Louis and went to Pittsburgh, Pa., where, in company with Capt. James Wood, of that city, he built the "Carrollton." He subsequently took charge of that vessel, and ran her in the St. Louis and New Orleans trade. In 1833 he built the "Missouri," and commanded her for one season; in the next year he built the "Majestic," in 1835 the "Selma," and in 1837 the "St. Louis," the largest steamer up to that time ever employed on the Mississippi.
In 1839 he sold the "St. Louis," and engaged in the wholesale grocery business in St. Louis with R. A. Barnes, the firm being Barnes & Swon, but in 1840 he retired from the partnership and resumed his old
calling. He then returned to Pittsburgh, and brought out the "Missouri" in 1841. In August of that year the boat was destroyed by fire while lying at the wharf at St. Louis. Undaunted, however, Capt. Swon went to Louisville, and purchased the "Alexander Scott" in 1842, and managed her until 1845, when he sold her, and purchased an interest in the "J. M. White," which vessel he commanded until 1847, when he sold her, and proceeded to comply with a resolution, formed on account of family reasons, to build just one more boat and then leave the river. He contracted for the "Aleck Scott," and launched her in March, 1848, for the Missouri trade. Both the "Alexander Scott" (previously mentioned) and the "Aleck Scott" were named in honor of one of young Swon's earliest captains, Alexander Scott, one of the best known river-men of that period. Capt. Swon commanded the "Aleck Scott" until July, 1854, when he sold her and retired from the river, thus ending a long, active, and useful career, devoted to the development of the river interests of Missouri.
In 1857 he purchased a beautiful place at Webster Station, on the Missouri Pacific, and lived there several years in rural quiet. In 1867-68 he disposed of it and visited Europe. Upon his return he settled in St. Louis, where he has continued to reside, enjoying in well-earned ease the fruits of a more than usually industrious manhood.
Capt. Swon has been twice married. His first wife, whom he married in 1830, was Anna Kennett, sister of L. M. Kennett, ex-mayor of St. Louis. Of this union two children were born, who are now dead. After three years of singularly happy married life Mrs. Swon died, and Capt. Swon married Miss Kennett, a cousin of his first wife. This lady died in the spring of 1882, leaving no living children.
Capt. Swon was chosen superintendent of the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad in the early stages of that enterprise, but did not accept the position. He is a director in the Hope Mining Company, his only business connection, although he has been solicited to assist numerous enterprises. He has taken a lively interest in the problems of transportation which St. Louis has had to grapple with, and cherishes an honest pride in his own labors in that direction, having done probably as much as any one man to develop the river and steamboat interests of the city and State. Well preserved and wonderfully fresh for a man over eighty years of age, he remains one of the few survivors of the adventurous class of steamboatmen who aided so largely in building up the river commerce of the Mississippi valley.
The first steamboat that ascended the upper Mississippi was the "Virginia," which arrived at Fort Snelling in May, 1823. The Missouri and upper Mississippi had now been opened to regular navigation, and the steamboat traffic of the great river and its tributaries developed rapidly. On the 27th of August, 1825, the Republican announced that there were two steamboats, the "Brown" and "Magnet," now lying here for the purpose of repairing, added, "We believe this is the first instance of steamboat's remaining here through the season of low water." The expansion of the steamboat business continued without interruption, and in its issue of April 19, 1827, the Republican commented upon it as follows:
"During the past week our wharf has exhibited a greater show of business than we recollect to have ever before seen, and the number of steam and other boats arriving and departing has been unprecedented. The immense trade which has opened between this place and Fevre River at the present employs, besides a number of keels, six steamboats, to wit: the ‘Indiana,’ ‘Shamrock,’ ‘Hamilton,’ ‘ Muskingum,’ ‘Mexico’ and ‘Mechanic.’ The ‘Indiana’ and ‘Shamrock’ on their return trips have been deeply freighted with lead, and several keel-boats likewise have arrived with the same article. Judging from the thousands of people who have gone this spring to make their fortunes at the lead-mines, we should suppose that the quantity of lead produced this year will be tenfold greater than heretofore."
Again, on the 12th of July, the same paper remarked that it must be gratifying to every citizen of St. Louis to witness the steady advancement of the town, "the number of steamboats that have arrived and departed during the spring" being cited as "the best evidence of the increase of business." During 1832 there were eighty arrivals of steamboats at St. Louis, whose aggregate tonnage amounted to 9520 tons. In 1834 the number of steamboats on the Mississippi and its tributaries was 230, their tonnage aggregating 39,000 tons. There were also 1,426,000 feet of plank, joists and scantling, 1,628,000 shingles, 15,000 rails, 1700 cedar logs, 8946 cords of wood, and 95,250 bushels of coal landed from the boats, together with 12,195 barrels and sixty half-barrels of flour, 463 barrels and twenty half-barrels of pork, and 233 barrels and fifty half-barrels of beef.
In 1836 the "Champion," Capt. Mix, performed the trip from Vicksburg to Pittsburgh, and thence to St. Louis, in seven days' running time; and between St. Louis and Louisville in fifty hours, "passing the ‘Paul Jones’ and several other boats with ease." She was beaten, however, in June of that year by the "Paul Jones." In announcing this fact the Republican stated that the captain of the "Champion" (which was an Eastern-built boat) "acknowledges
his inability to go ahead of our Western boats," and that he would shortly start with his boat for the Atlantic cities via New Orleans.
During the same month seventy-six different steamboats arrived at St. Louis, the aggregate tonnage of which was 10,774, the number of entries being 146, and the wharfage $930. The same activity continued in 1837, and the Republican notes the presence of thirty-three steamboats receiving and discharging cargo on one day in April, 1837.
The steamboat "North St. Louis" was launched on the 29th of March, 1837, from the yard of Messrs. Thomas & Green. This boat was said to have been a "splendid specimen of the enterprise, the genius, and the art of our Western citizens," and was regarded as "the finest boat which has ever floated upon the Mississippi." 
On the 10th of October, 1838, the subject of establishing a steamship line from St. Louis to Eastern cities was considered at a meeting of merchants at the Merchants' Exchange. John Smith was appointed chairman, and A. G. Farwell secretary.
The object of the meeting having been stated by the chair, it was on motion ordered that a committee of five persons be appointed to prepare resolutions for the action of the meeting. The chair appointed Messrs. D. L. Holbrook, N. E. Janney, A. B. Chambers, A. G. Farwell, and R. M. Strother as this committee.
After a short absence the committee returned and reported the following:
"Resolved, That the establishment of a line of steamships from some Eastern port or ports to this city is a subject of deep interest to the citizens of St. Louis, and that in the opinion of this meeting it is expedient.
"Resolved, That a committee of persons be appointed to correspond with such individuals in the Eastern cities, and with such other persons as they may deem proper upon the subject, and that they be requested to put themselves in possession of as many facts connected with the proposed enterprise as possible that they report at as early an adjourned meeting as practicable.
"Resolved, That a committee of persons be appointed to facts and statistics relating to the import and export trade of St. Louis, and the necessity of opening a direct trade with the Eastern ports, its profits and utility, and report at an adjourned meeting."
The question being upon the adoption of the first resolution, Messrs. N. Ranney, A. B. Chambers, R. M. Strother, N. E. Janney, John F. Hunt, and the chairman severally addressed the meeting, after which the resolutions were unanimously adopted.
On motion it was ordered that the blank in the second resolution be filled with "five," and that in third resolution be filled with "fifteen," whereupon the chair appointed Messrs. A. G. Farwell, A. B. Chambers, Hezekiah King, J. B. Camden, and E. Bredell the committee under the second resolution, and Messrs. Adam B. Chambers, N. E. Janney, D. L. Holbrook, Reuben M. Strother, William Glasgow, H. Von Phul, E. H. Beebe, John F. Hunt, N. Ranney, Edward Walsh, G. K. McGunnegle, J. O. Agnew, B. Clapp, E. Tracy, and O. Rhodes the committee under the third resolution.
On motion of Capt. N. Ranney, John Smith was added to the first committee as chairman.
The steamboat and lumber register for 1838 shows the number of steamers which entered the port of St. Louis during the year to have been 154, and the aggregate tonnage 22,752; the number of entries, 1014; and the wharfage collected, $7279.84.
The steamboat "Ottawa" was the first boat built on the Illinois. She was constructed in part at Ottawa, added to at Peru, and finished at St. Louis. She was of the very lightest draught, seventeen inches light, and had a powerful engine, the design being to take two keels in tow in low water, the steamer herself being light; so that whenever there were seventeen inches of water on the bars, she would be able to reach St. Louis with one hundred tons of freight weekly. Her length was one hundred feet, breadth twenty, and the cabin was laid off entirely in staterooms. The owners resided in Ottawa.
In 1840 the number of steamboats on the Mississippi and its tributaries was two hundred and eighty-five, with an aggregate tonnage of forty-nine thousand eight hundred tons.
The steamboat "Missouri," then the longest boat on Western waters, visited St. Louis about the 1st of April, 1841. Her length was two hundred and thirty-three feet, the width of her hull was thirty feet, and her entire breadth, guards included, fifty-nine feet. The depth of her hold was eight and a half feet, and this was the quantity of water she drew when fully loaded. Her light draught was five feet four inches. The diameter of her wheels was thirty-two feet, and the length of buckets twelve feet. Her cylinders were twenty-six inches in diameter, with a twelve-foot stroke. She had two engines and seven forty-two-inch boilers. She was steered by chains, and was well furnished with hose and other apparatus for the extinguishment of fires.
The "Missouri" carried six hundred tons, and was built, at Pittsburgh for and under the direction of Capt. J. C. Swon, of St. Louis, at a cost of forty-five thousand dollars.
She was intended as a regular trader between St. Louis and New Orleans, but, as heretofore stated, was burned at St. Louis in August, 1841.
In 1842 two boat-yards for the construction of steamboats and other river-craft were in existence in St. Louis, and during this year the number of steamboats on the Mississippi and its tributaries was four hundred and fifty, with an aggregate tonnage of about ninety thousand tons. 
In 1843 the number was six hundred and seventy-two, with an aggregate tonnage of one hundred and thirty-four thousand four hundred, and in addition to the steamers there were about four thousand flats and keels. For the year 1844 the enrolled and licensed tonnage of Western rivers amounted to one hundred and forty-four thousand one hundred and fifty tons. Messrs. Harvey, Premeau & Co., under the style of the St. Louis Fur Company, chartered the steamer "Clermont, No. 2," D. G. Taylor commander, in June, 1846, and the boat sailed for the head-waters of the Missouri on the 7th to trade with Sioux and Blackfeet Indians. The improvements in the construction of steamboats had been such that the time consumed in the voyage from New Orleans to St. Louis, which in early days had occupied weeks, had in 1844 been reduced to a few days. On the 9th of May, 1844, the Republican made the following announcement:
"What has heretofore been merely the speculation of enthusiasts has been realized. New Orleans has been brought within less than four days' travel of St. Louis, in immediate neighborhood propinquity. The steamboat ‘J. M. White’ has been the first to accomplish this extraordinary trip.
"The ‘J. M. White’ left this port on Monday, April 29th, at three o'clock P. M., with six hundred tons of freight, and arrived at New Orleans on Friday evening, the 3d inst., being three days and sixteen hours on her downward trip. She departed for St. Louis on Saturday, May 4, 1844, at forty minutes after five o'clock P. M., and arrived on the 8th, having made the trip up in three days and twenty-three hours, and having been but nine days on the voyage out and home, including all detention.
"The following are the runs up from wharf to wharf, the best time ever made by any steamboat on the Western waters.
"From New Orleans to Natchez, 300 miles, 20 h. 40 m.
From New Orleans to Vicksburg, 410 miles, 29 h. 55 m.
From New Orleans to Montgomery's, 625 miles, 1 day 13 h. 8 m.
From New Orleans to Memphis, 775 miles, 2 days 12 h. 8m.
From New Orleans to Cairo, 1000 miles, 3 days 6 h. 44 m.
From New Orleans to St. Louis, 1200 miles, 3 days 23 h. 9 m."
One of the leading steamboat men of St. Louis about this time was Capt. W. W. Greene. William Wallace Greene was born in Marietta, Ohio, in 1798. His father, Charles Greene, was of the Rhode Island family of Greenes which furnished the country one of its most successful Revolutionary generals. He was a merchant in Marietta from 1796 to 1812, and also engaged in the building of ships on a large scale for those days, constructing three ships, two or three brigs, and several schooners, which he owned in connection with R. J. Meigs, Col. Lord, and Benjamin Ives Gilman, prominent men of that period. Charles Greene's wife was Elizabeth Wallace, of Philadelphia. From these parents William Wallace Greene inherited sterling qualities of heart and mind and elevated religious principles. Reverses in the large shipping interests of his father threw him early in life upon his own resources, and with no capital save energy, a good character, sound common sense, and a fair education, he left home for busier and more promising fields. He first went to Dayton, Ohio, where for seven years he was employed in the general merchandise establishment of his cousins, Steele & Pierce. He then removed to Louisville, Ky., and New Albany, Ind., continuing in the mercantile business until 1820, when he engaged as clerk on the steamboat "Ohio," running in the New Orleans trade, and for two years was employed on the river. In 1822 he again embarked in mercantile pursuits at Hamilton, Ohio.
In the following year he removed to Cincinnati and commenced business as a commission and forwarding merchant. Soon after, in connection with his brother Robert, he built the low-pressure steamer "De Witt Clinton," the fastest boat of her day on the Western waters. When finished he took command of her, but soon resigned her to his uncle, Maj. Robert Wallace, of Louisville, Ky. The Greene brothers then built the low-pressure steamers "Native" and "Fairy," and followed in quick succession with others, until they owned a large flotilla of very fine and fast boats, some engaged in the Cincinnati and Louisville trade, others in the Cincinnati trade, and still others in the Arkansas, Missouri, and Illinois Rivers. Capt. W. W. Greene commanded several of these vessels, and was as well and favorably known as any officer who navigated the great rivers of the West. In 1832-33 he commanded the high-pressure steamer "Superior," employed in the Cincinnati and New Orleans trade.
In 1834, Capt. Greene, in connection with his brother-in law, Capt. Joseph Conn, built the "Cygnet," with vibrating cylinders; and while running this boat they removed to St. Louis and made that city their residence and base of operations. Greene was captain, and Conn was clerk; and so officered, the "Cygnet" for several years did a prosperous business on the Mississippi, Arkansas, and Illinois Rivers.
In 1837, Capts. Greene and Conn sold the "Cygnet,"
and, in connection with James R. Sprigg, engaged in the auction and commission business under the firm-name of Conn, Sprigg & Greene (a partnership easily recalled by many of the older citizens and one of the leading houses of that period). The firm was also at times interested as part owner in the steamers "Caspian," "Vandalia," "Oregon," and "Osage," all employed in the St. Louis and New Orleans trade.
Capt. Greene enjoyed in a marked degree the confidence of the community. In 1842 (Bernard Pratte being mayor) he was appointed harbor-master; in 1845, local agent of the Post-Office Department; and in 1849 surveyor and collector of the port of St. Louis, which office he resigned in 1853 to accept the presidency of the Globe Mutual Insurance Company, to which he was annually elected for many years. All who knew him will remember with what unfailing urbanity and fidelity he discharged these important public trusts.
In 1827, Capt. Greene was married to Sarah A. Conn, daughter of an old and well-known citizen of Cincinnati. He died April 16, 1873, leaving two daughters.
Capt. Greene was an honored, consistent, and useful member of the Presbyterian Church. For many years he was a ruling elder, and brought to the duties of that office the zeal and fidelity which he always exhibited in his secular employments. In all the relations of life, in fact, Capt. Greene was a man of the strictest rectitude, untiring energy, and ready generosity. His death was that of the resigned and hopeful Christian, weary, however, under the accumulated burdens of years.
The following résumé of steamboating at St. Louis is from the Republican of Jan. 5, 1847:
"During the year 1845 there were 213 steamboats engaged in the trade of St. Louis, with an aggregate tonnage of 42,922 tons, and 2050 steamboat arrivals, with an aggregate tonnage of 358,045 tons, to which may be added 346 keel- and flat-boats. During the year 1846 there were 251 steamboats, having an aggregate tonnage of 53,867 tons, engaged in the St. Louis commerce. These boats made 2411 trips to our port, making an aggregate tonnage of 407,824 tons. In the same year there were 881 keel- and flat-boat arrivals.
"To exhibit the time of their arrival, and their tonnage, and to show at what period the heaviest portion of our commerce is carried on, no subjoin a statement of the arrivals for each month:
"The trade in St. Louis in 1848 employed, as we have stated, 251 boats, of an aggregate tonnage of 53,867 tons. If we estimate the cost of these boats at $50 per ton, which is below the true average, we have an investment in the shipping of this city of $2,693,350; and if we allow an average of 25 persons, including all those employed directly upon the boat, to each vessel, we have a total of 6275 persons engaged in their navigation. Add to these the owners, workmen, builders, agents, shippers, and all those connected or interested in this commerce, from the time the timber is taken from the forest or the ore from the mine, and the list will be swelled to many thousands."
The number of enrolled and licensed steamboats on Western rivers in 1845 was 789, with an aggregate tonnage of 159,713 tons.
The steamers running on the upper Mississippi from 1823 to 1844 were used mainly to transport supplies for the Indian traders and the troops stationed at Fort Snelling. Previous to the arrival of the "Virginia" at Fort Snelling in May, 1823, keel-boats were used for this trade, and sixty days from St. Louis to Fort Snelling was considered a good trip.
The report of the Secretary of the Treasury for 1846 makes the following exhibit of enrolled and licensed tonnage of the West: New Orleans, 180,504.81; St. Louis, 22,425.92; Pittsburgh, 17,162.94; Cincinnati, 15,312.86; Louisville, 8172.26; Nashville, 2809.23; Wheeling, 2666.76; total, 249,054.77 tons. Applying to this volume of tonnage the average of 210 tons to a steamboat, there were 1190 employed on Western rivers, which at $65 per ton cost $16,188,561. Supposing these boats to run 220 days in a year at a cost of $125 per day, their annual expense amounted to $32,725,000, and they employed 41,650 persons. The cost of the river transportation in 1846 was estimated at $41,154,194. 
The rapid increase of the steamboating interest of St. Louis is thus set forth in the Republican of the 27th of January, 1848:
"In no department of business has the rapid growth of St. Louis as a commercial port been made so undeniably manifest as in her shipping by means of steamboats. The first steamboat arrival at St. Louis was in 1817. At that time the whole commerce of New Orleans was carried on by about twenty barges of one hundred tons each, and one hundred and sixty keel- and flat-boats of about thirty tons each, making a total tonnage of from six thousand to seven thousand tons. In 1834 the whole number of steamboats on the Mississippi and its tributaries was two hundred and thirty, with a total tonnage of thirty-nine thousand tons. In 1840 the number was two hundred and eighty-five, with a tonnage of forty-nine thousand eight hundred. In 1842 the number was four hundred and fifty, with a tonnage of about ninety thousand tons. In 1843 the number rose to six hundred and seventy-two, with a tonnage of one hundred and thirty-four thousand four hundred. In 1846, by reference to the report of the Secretary of the Treasury of the
licensed and enrolled steamboat tonnage, the number is stated at eleven hundred and ninety, with a tonnage of two hundred and forty-nine thousand and fifty-four tons.
"In 1839 there were one thousand four hundred and seventy-six steamboat arrivals at this port, with a total tonnage of two hundred and thirteen thousand one hundred and ninety-three tons. In 1840 there were seventeen hundred and twenty-one arrivals; tonnage, two hundred and forty-four thousand one hundred and eighty-six. In 1844 there were two thousand one hundred and five arrivals; tonnage, four hundred and sixty-seven thousand eight hundred and twenty-four. In eight years, from 1839 to the end of 1847, the number of steamboat arrivals and the aggregate tonnage have more than doubled. The arrivals in 1847 exceed those of 1839 by four hundred and eighty-nine, and the tonnage by three hundred and seventy-one thousand four hundred and forty-six tons." 
In 1851 three steamboats went up the Minnesota River, and in 1852 one boat ran regularly up that river during the season. In 1853 the business required an average of one boat per day. In 1854 the trade had largely increased, and in 1855 the arrivals of steamers from the Minnesota numbered 119.
In 1852 the novel application of the steamboat to the purposes of a circus was made by Capt. Jack, well known to thousands of the "old-timers" in the Mississippi valley from his long connection with the show business. In that year he was engaged in building at Cincinnati the great "Floating Palace" for Spalding & Rogers' circus, among the oldest and most successful managers in that line in the United States. Capt. Jack purchased an interest in the floating palace, and began his career as a showman at Pittsburgh. The boat carried an amphitheatre, in which the equestrian performances took place, which was capable of seating one thousand persons. From Pittsburgh they descended the Ohio and Mississippi to New Orleans, giving exhibitions at all places along the banks. From New Orleans they steamed across the gulf to Mobile, and from Mobile the palace ascended the Alabama River to the head of navigation at Wetunka, and, returning, went up the Black Warrior to Columbia. Returning to Mobile and New Orleans, they started on the spring campaign up the Mississippi, and, arriving at St. Louis, exhibited at the foot of Poplar Street to an audience of twenty-five hundred people for three days. The crowd was so immense that they charged one dollar "permission," instead of admission tickets, to those who were unable to get in, for the privilege of looking in at the windows. G. R. Spalding was the manager of the concern, and Mr. Van Norton the general agent. The palace continued to exhibit successfully along the Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio Rivers until 1860, when the boat was beached in New Orleans. Capt. Jack then engaged on the "Banjo" with a French Zouave troupe, which exhibited on all the principal tributaries of the lower Mississippi, up the Red River, the Cache, La Fourche, and Atchafalaya, and on the Mississippi at Fort Adams. On the 19th of July, 1862, they entered the boundaries of the Southern Confederacy, and at New Iberia and Franklin, La., gave shows for the benefit of the soldiers of the Confederate States. In 1862, Spalding & Rogers organized their outfit for South America. Mr. Spalding offered Capt. Jack an interest in the venture, advising him at the same time that it was hazardous. "You," said Mr. Spalding, "are now well fixed, and may lose all, but if we lose all we can stand it." Capt. Jack went into business for himself, and lost largely in Confederate currency, but came out finally very successful. He was from Ohio, and arrived in St. Louis in 1849 with but one dollar in his pocket. Spalding & Rogers returned from their South American venture in 1866, having made money. They returned with all their company except one lady, who died on the trip. Capt. Jack owed his success in life to his former employé, G. R. Spalding, who died in New Orleans in February, 1880. Mrs. Spalding died six months afterwards leaving Charles Spalding, of St. Louis, who was their only living son, as their heir.
During the season of 1856 trade upon the Mississippi was very prosperous, and the arrivals at St. Paul exhibited an increase over any previous year, notwithstanding the season of navigation was much shorter than that of the year before. 
In the year 1870  the most remarkable event which
had as yet occurred illustrating the degree of excellence attained in the art of boat-building, was the celebrated trial of speed between the steamers "Robert E. Lee" and "Natchez," in a race from New Orleans to St. Louis. Perhaps no event in the whole history of steamboating on the Mississippi attracted so much attention. For many days the press in the West was filled with references to it, and many newspapers in the far East esteemed it of sufficient importance to notice the progress of the two leviathans, not only by publishing long telegrams, but also editorially. The boats arrived at St. Louis on the 4th of July, having made an unparalleled run of more than twelve hundred miles. It is believed that not less than two hundred thousand persons witnessed the arrival of the "R. E. Lee," which was the first to reach the goal. 
Steamboat Casualties. Neither the exact number of steamboats lost nor a reasonably accurate approximation of the number of deaths resulting from steamboat accidents on Western waters will ever be ascertained, for until within a few years past but little effort was made to preserve the records and statistics of such disasters. The most reliable record of explosions
up to 1871 was made up by Capt. S. L. Fisher and Capt. James McCord, both well-known citizens of St. Louis and practical steamboat men.  This record begins in the year 1816, and is as follows:
The curious revelation is made by these figures that there have been more explosions of steam-boilers on Western steamboats, in proportion to the number of boats engaged in business on the rivers, since Congress enacted laws for the regulation and guidance of engineers on steam-vessels; and the list of casualties also shows that explosions were attended by more fatal results after that legislation than previously when engineers had to trust entirely to their skill and judgment in the management of the engine and regulating the pressure in the boilers. By contrasting the number of casualties for a period of eighteen years preceding the passage of the law of 1852 by Congress with the number of casualties for a period of eighteen years subsequent to the adoption of the law, the difference can be more readily perceived. During the first-named period twenty-seven boats exploded their boilers, and one thousand and two persons were killed. During a period of eighteen years subsequent to the passage of the law fifty-four boats met with disaster by explosion, and three thousand one hundred persons were killed.
From Jan. 1 to Nov. 19, 1841, the following boats engaged in the St. Louis trade were lost:
In De Bow's Review a list of disasters to steamboats is given which, though made from "very defective returns," has not overdrawn the picture of death, ruin, and suffering which explosions, collisions, and carelessness have inflicted on the people of this country who traveled on Western waters. This list in the Review for 1849 extended back many years. It is as follows:
1. Under pressure within the boiler, the pressure being gradually increased. In this class are the cases marked "excessive pressure."
2. Presence of unduly heated metal within the boiler. In this class are included
3. Defective construction of the boiler and its appendages. Improper or defective material:
Improper or defective material:
4. Carelessness or ignorance of those intrusted with the management of the boiler.
In this class:
The fate of boats employed in the Mississippi trade is traced in the Western Boatman for 1848, as follows:
The seventeen boats which had their boilers burst were the "Washington," "Union," "Atlas," "Caledonia," "Porpoise," "Cotton Plant," "Tallyho," "Tricolor," "Car of Commerce," "Alabama," "Hornet," "Kanawha," "Helen McGregor," "Huntress," "Gen. Robinson," "Arkansas," and "Teche."
Average age of boats worn out or abandoned, five years nearly.
Average age of boats sunk, burnt, or otherwise lost, four years nearly.
Boats of which we have no dates of loss are calculated by the accounts obtained.
The following is a compilation of the number of boats lost up to 1850:
The list of boats destroyed by fire comprises 166. The original cost of these 166 steamers was $1,010,854.
The following are some of the more noteworthy disasters to St. Louis vessels:
In March, 1823, the "Tennessee," Capt. Campbell, was lost and thirty persons drowned. In December of the same year the "Cincinnati," on her way from St. Louis to New Orleans, ran on a snag below Ste. Genevieve and sank. No lives were lost.
In the latter part of April, 1832, the "Talisman," lying in port at St. Louis, was burned to the water's edge. On the 24th of October, 1834, the "Missouri Belle" collided with the "Boone's Lick" and sank almost immediately, thirty persons being drowned.
The "Shepherdess," from Cincinnati for St. Louis, struck a snag on the 4th of January, 1844, in Cahokia Bend, within three miles of Market Street wharf, St. Louis, and sank. The disaster occurred about eleven o'clock at night, and as most of the passengers had retired to their cabins and the boat sank rapidly, the loss of life was very great.
On the 10th of March, 1848, the steamers "Avalanche," "Hibernian," "John J. Hardin," and "Laclede," with two barges, were burned at the Levee near the foot of Washington Street, St. Louis; and on the 9th of May the steamers "Mail," "Missouri Mail," "Lightfoot," and "Mary" were burned at their wharf in St. Louis.
The following boats were burned at St. Louis during the year 1849, excepting at the time of the great fire in May:
"Buena Vista," took fire at Kaskaskia landing; cargo greatly damaged by water; boat saved from burning by the exertions of her officers and crew.
"Governor Briggs," struck a wreck and sunk in backing out from the wharf at St. Louis July 12th; afterwards raised and repaired.
"Magnet," collapsed connection pipe and flue at St. Louis August 8th; afterwards repaired.
"San Francisco," exploded a boiler at St. Louis May 30th, killing and scalding several persons; afterwards burned at the same place on July 29th.
Twenty-three vessels were burned at the wharf in St. Louis at the time of the great fire on May 17, 1849, as follows:
"American Eagle," Cossen, master, Keokuk and Upper Mississippi packet, valued at $14,000, total loss; insured for $3500 in Pittsburgh; no cargo.
"Alice," Kennett, master, Missouri River packet, valued at $18,000, total loss; insured for $12,000, $9000 in city offices, balance East; cargo valued at $1000.
"Alexander Hamilton," Hooper, master, Missouri River packet, valued at $15,000, total loss; insured for $10,500 in Eastern offices; no cargo.
"Acadia," John Russell, master, Illinois River packet, valued at $4000, total loss; fully insured in Eastern offices; cargo fifty barrels molasses and sundry small lots of merchandise, valued at $1000.
"Boreas, No. 3," Bernard, master, Missouri River packet, valued at $14,500, total loss; insured for $11,500 in city offices; no cargo.
"Belle Isle," Smith, master, New Orleans trade, valued at $10,000, total loss; insured for $8000 in the Columbus agency at New Orleans and another office; no cargo.
"Eliza Stewart," H. McKee, master, Missouri River trade, valued at $9000, total loss; insured for nearly the full value, $4500 in the Nashville agency, balance in the city; no cargo.
"Eudora," Ealer, master, New Orleans and St. Louis trade, valued at $16,000, total loss; insured for $10,500, all in city offices; no cargo.
"Edward Bates," Randolph, master, Keokuk packet, valued at $22,500, total loss; insured for $15,000, all in city offices; no cargo.
"Frolic" (tow-boat), Ringling, master, valued at $1500, total loss; no insurance; no cargo.
"General Brook" (tow-boat), Ringling, master, valued at $1500, total loss; no insurance; no cargo.
"Kit Carson," Goddin, master, Missouri river packet, valued at $16,000, total loss; insured for $8000, if not more, in city offices; cargo valued at $3000.
"Mameluke," Smithers, master, New Orleans and St. Louis trade, valued at $30,000, total loss; insured for $20,000, $8000 in Louisville, $5000 in Columbus agency, $7000 in St. Louis; no cargo.
"Mandan," Beers, master, Missouri river trader, valued at $14,000, total loss; insured for $10,500, all in city offices; no cargo.
"Montauk," Legrand Morchouse, master, Upper Mississippi trader, valued at $16,000, total loss; insured for $10,000, $5000 here, balance in agencies; cargo valued at $8000.
"Martha," D. Finch, master, Missouri river trader, valued at $10,000, total loss; fully insured; cargo valued at $30,000 also insured.
"Prairie State," Baldwin, master, Illinois river packet, valued at $26,000, total loss; insured in Eastern offices for $18,000; cargo valued at $3000.
"Red Wing," Barger, master, Upper Mississippi trade, valued at $6000, total loss; no insurance; cargo valued at $3000.
"St. Peters," Ward, master, Upper Mississippi trade, valued at $12,000, total loss; insured for $9000 in the Nashville and Louisville agencies; no cargo.
"Sarah," Young, master, New Orleans and St. Louis trade, valued at $35,000, total loss; insured for $20,000 at Cincinnati; cargo valued at $30,000.
"Taglioni," Marshall, master, Pittsburgh and St. Louis trade, valued at $20,000, total loss; insured for nearly the full value in Pittsburgh; cargo fifty tons of iron, five hundred kegs of nails, and sundry lots of merchandise, valued at from $12,000 to $15,000.
"Timour," Miller, master, Missouri river trade, valued at $25,000, total loss; insured for $18,000, $4000 in the city offices, the balance East; cargo valued at $6000.
"White Cloud," Adams, master, New Orleans and St. Louis trade, valued at $3000, total loss; fully insured; no cargo.
The steamboat "Andrew Jackson" was destroyed by fire while lying at Illinoistown on Aug. 7, 1850. She was an old boat and insured for six thousand dollars. Five other boats narrowly escaped being consumed. The steamboat "Governor Briggs" was damaged by collision with the "Allegheny Mail," near St. Louis, on January 13th. The "Mustang" was burned to the water's edge at St. Louis on May 8th. She was rebuilt, but afterwards lost by snagging in the Missouri, near Brunswick, early in October. The "Ohio" blew out a mud-valve at St. Louis on September 26th, scalding two persons.
The bursting of the larboard boiler of the ferryboat "St. Louis," on the 23d of February, 1851, caused one of those terrible disasters which have so often shocked the public in this country. "Timbers, large masses of machinery, brick-work, and ashes were hurled aloft in every direction with many human beings." There were from twenty-five to thirty persons on the boat at the time of the explosion. Of that number there were but three or four survivors. There were thirteen bodies identified. The coroner's list of dead mentions "John Walter James, an unknown boy, Sebastian Smith, a boy called Bill, living in Illinoistown near Pap's house, Dr. Truett, Merriwether Smith, Robert Hardin, Alexander McKean, William W. Benson, Isaac Cooper, Alfred Wells, Ernest August Smidt."
The steamer "Sultana" was destroyed by fire, with a loss of seventy-five thousand dollars on boat and cargo, on the 12th of June, 1851, while lying at the foot of Mullanphy Street, St. Louis.
By the explosion of the boilers of the steamer "Glencoe," upon her arrival at St. Louis from New Orleans, on April 4, 1852, another great destruction of life and property was brought about. During the fire the steamer "Cataract" was greatly injured, together with wood- and wharf-boats. On the 18th of January, 1853, the steamers "New England," "Brunette," and "New Lucy" were burned at the wharf in St. Louis. The steamer "Bluff City" was burned, and the "Dr. Franklin, No. 2," and "Highland Mary" were greatly damaged by the fire from the first, on the 27th of July, 1853, while lying at the St. Louis Levee. The "Montauk," "Robert Campbell," and "Lunette" were burned on the 13th of October, 1853. On Feb. 16, 1854, the Alton packet, "Kate Kearney, No. 1," exploded her starboard boiler just as she was starting from St. Louis. Twenty-five persons were severely scalded. The Rev. S. G. Gassaway, rector of St. George's Church, St. Louis, was killed, and Maj. Buell was severely injured. The steamers "Twin City," "Prairie City," and "Parthenia" were burned at the wharf in St. Louis on the 7th of December, 1855. A loss of nearly one hundred thousand dollars was caused by the burning of the steamers "St. Clair," "Paul Anderson," "James Stockwell," "Southerner," and "Saranac," and the damaging of the "Monongahela," "Pennsylvania," and "Mattie Wayne."
The steamer "Australia" was burned on the 1st of April, 1859, and the steamers "New Monongahela" and "Edinburgh" at Bloody Island on the 15th of May of the same year. A loss of two hundred thousand dollars and the destruction of five steamers were caused by the burning of the "H. D. Bacon, the "L. L. McGill," the "Estella," the "A. McDowell," and the "W. H. Russell," on the 27th of October, 1862.  The steamers "Imperial," valued at sixty thousand dollars, "Hiawatha," valued at sixty thousand dollars, "Jesse K. Bell," valued at twenty thousand dollars, and the "Post-Boy," valued at thirty-five thousand dollars, were burned on the 13th of September, 1863. The "Chancellor," "Forest Queen," and the "Catahoula" were burned on the 4th of October, 1863. The steamer "Maria," having on board a portion of the Third Iowa and Fourth Missouri Cavalry, was blown up at Carondelet in December, 1864. 100 The "Jennie
Lewis," and the ferry-boat "Illinois, No. 2," were sunk in the ice at St. Louis, Nov. 19, 1864.
The Carondelet and Marine Railway Docks, together with the steamer "Jeanie Deans," were totally destroyed by fire on the 12th of May, 1866. The steamers "Ida Handy" (valued at seventy-five thousand dollars), "Bostona," and "James Raymond" were burned on the 2d of June, 1866. The steamer "Magnolia," valued at one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, was burned on the 13th of June. By the fire of the 7th of April, 1866, the steamers "Fanny Ogden" with cargo, the "Frank Bates" and cargo, the "Nevada" and cargo, the "Alex. Majors" with cargo, and the "Effie Deans" with cargo, all together involving a loss of over five hundred thousand dollars, were destroyed. On the 26th of February, 1866, a disastrous fire occurred, destroying the steamers "Leviathan," "Luna," "Peytona," and "Dictator," with a loss estimated at three-quarters of a million of dollars.
On December 19th the steamer "Gray Eagle" was sunk at St. Louis. The ice-gorge of 1865-66 occasioned a loss of nearly a million of dollars to the owners of steamboats. The following was the estimate of the total loss of steamboat-owners and under writers from the formation of the ice-gorge at St. Louis in 1865 to its breaking on the 16th of December of that year, together with the names of the vessels sunk:
In the above table no amount whatever is set down for damage done the boats that escaped being sunk. The computations made on this subject by steamboatmen and steamboat-builders aggregated one hundred and forty thousand dollars, while some went as high as one hundred and sixty thousand and one hundred and seventy thousand dollars.
The following is a list of steamboat disasters at or near St. Louis from 1867 to 1881, inclusive:
1867. Jan. 20, "Mexico," burned at St. Louis; total loss.
Jan. 26, "R. C. Wood," sunk opposite Carondelet.
Jan. 26, "E. H. Fairchild," sunk opposite Carondelet.
Feb. 6, "Tom Stevens," sunk near St. Louis.
Feb. 13, "White Cloud," sunk at St. Louis; total loss.
June 13, "Governor Sharkey," sunk at St. Louis; total loss.
Sept. 10, "G. W. Graham," burned at St. Louis; total loss.
Sept. 10, "Yellowstone," burned at St. Louis; total loss.
Sept. 27, "Illinois," exploded at St. Louis; repaired.
1868. Feb. 4, "Anna White," sunk by ice in St. Louis harbor; total loss. Value $12,000; partly insured.
Feb. 4, "Clara Dolsen," New Orleans packet, burned in St. Louis; total loss. Insured for $25,000.
Feb. 22, "Kate Putnam," sunk near St. Louis; raised and repaired. Insured for $20,000.
Feb. 29, "Paragon," sunk in Mississippi River near Girardeau; total loss. Insured for $35,000.
March 2, "M. S. Mepham," burned at St. Louis Levee. Value $35,000; insured for $40,000. Total loss.
March 2, "Fannie Scott," burned at St. Louis Levee. Damage $5000.
March 2, "Kate Kinney," partially burned at St. Louis Levee. Damage $5000; insured.
April 18, "George D. Palmer" (stern-wheeler), partially burned at St. Louis Levee. Damage $5000; insured at Cincinnati.
Dec. 18, "George McPorter," sunk in St. Louis harbor; total loss.
1869. March 29, "Carrie V. Kountz," "Gerard B. Allen," "Ben Johnson," "Henry Adkins," "Jennie Lewis," "Fannie Scott" burned at St. Louis; loss nearly $500,000.
Oct. 28, steamer "Stonewall" burned, and a large number of lives lost.
1870. Jan. 19, steamer "Lady Gay," one day out from St. Louis, struck a snag near Grand Tower and was sunk. She was built in 1865, and was valued at $50,000. She was one of the boils of the St. Louis and New Orleans Packet Company, and belonged to Capt. I. H. Jones, Theodore Laveille, and others. She was insured for $24,000 on boat and $30,800 on cargo and stock.
Jan. 28, collision between the tow-boat "Fisher" and ferryboat "East St. Louis," opposite Olive Street; damage slight.
1871. Jan. 13, tow-boat "Tiber" thrown out of the river at the foot of Biddle Street, St. Louis, by floating ice, and totally destroyed.
The canal propeller "Sligo" beached and destroyed by the floating ice at the foot of Cherry Street, St. Louis.
Jan. 28, the steamer "W. R. Arthur," bound from New Orleans to St. Louis, exploded her boilers on the Mississippi River when about twenty miles above Memphis. The boat was totally destroyed. By this accident about sixty lives were lost.
Feb. 28, the St. Louis and Keokuk packet "Rob Roy" met with a serious accident when leaving St. Louis. The starboard head of the steam-drum blew out with great force. Two staterooms and the mess-room were demolished. West Robinson, a deck-hand, was killed.
March 8, great storm at St. Louis. The St. Louis and New Orleans packet "Mollie Able," a line side-wheel steamer, lying at the East St. Louis wharf, was caught by the tornado and almost totally destroyed. Several other boats were injured.
1876. Feb. 12, the steamer "Rescue" caught fire at the wharf in St. Louis and burned to the water's edge; afterwards rebuilt.
Feb. 16, steamer "John M. Chambers" partly burned at wharf; rebuilt.
April 8, steamer "Rob Roy" struck St. Louis bridge; slightly damaged. On the 25th, the propeller "Whale" struck the bridge, and was damaged to the extent of about $2000.
Dec. 13, the ice-gorge at St. Louis gave way, carrying with it, destroying and partially destroying, the following boats and barges:
There was no insurance on any of the above steamers.
Steamer "Fannie Keener" was also sunk; was valued at $5000, fully insured.
Steamer "South Shore," valued at $2500.
Steamer "Southern Belle," valued at $1500, and four barges, valued at $4500.
1877. Sept. 19, while the steamer "Grand Republic" was lying in port at St. Louis she caught fire and burned to the water's edge. She cost $300,000, and was insured for $50,200. Six weeks previous to this disaster her owners spent $25,000 in repairing her. The iron-hulled steamer "Carondelet," which was lying alongside of the "Grand Republic," met the same fate. She was valued at $20,000 and insured for $17,500. The sparks from a passing steamer were the supposed cause of the fire.
1878. March 8, steamer "Colossal" burned to the water's edge while lying at the bank at St. Louis; loss $12,000.
March 9, the tug-boat "Baton Rouge" damaged by fire at St. Louis.
June 8, steamer "Exchange" burned to the water's edge at St. Louis; loss $9000.
1879. June 11, the tug "Charles F. Nagle" struck a snag opposite South St. Louis and sank. She was raised.
1880. March 27, steamer "Daisy" sunk at South St. Louis; valued at $3000.
Sept. 26, steamer "Fannie Tatum" sunk below St. Louis; valued at $15,000; cargo, $35,000. She was raised.
1881. March 13, steamer "James Howard" destroyed by fire at St. Louis wharf, together with a cargo of sugar, etc., valued at $65,000; boat valued at $75,000.
April 9, steamer "Victory" collided with St. Louis bridge and sunk; afterwards raised.
April 11, the tug "Daisy" exploded her boilers and sunk. Two lives lost.
Steamboat-Building. The building and repairing of steamboats at St. Louis is an industry which originated at a comparatively early period. In December, 1830, mention was made of the fact that the Legislature had passed an act to incorporate the St. Louis Marine Railway Company, which was organized in March, 1831, with Peter Lindell, president; John Mullanphy, D. D. Page, Thomas Biddle, and J. Clemens, Jr., directors; John O'Fallon, treasurer; and James Clemens, Jr., secretary. In 1833 there was in existence at the upper end of the city a marine railway under the superintendence of Thomas J. Payne, which it had been announced in July would be ready for work in the same year. 101
In 1841 public sentiment began to be directed towards the importance of securing the construction at St. Louis of the steamboats that carried on her commerce, and the newspapers of that year repeatedly called attention to efforts being made in that direction. 102
In 1842 two boat-yards for the construction of vessels were in existence, and in January, 1843, the marine railway of Messrs. Murray & Sons, below Thomas' mill, erected for the purpose of drawing out and repairing boats, was ready for work. The structure consisted of eight ways reaching into the bed of the river below low-water mark. There was a cradle upon each two ways which let down into the river, and upon which the boat was placed, and from these, two chains led to a beam which was propelled by a wheel and screws, and each screw was turned by a horse, thus combining the power of the lever and the screw.
The Reporter of Jan. 29, 1846, contained the following statement of steamboats built at St. Louis, of boats built elsewhere for St. Louis, and of boats purchased and brought into the St. Louis trade in 1845, furnished by L. A. Hedges, surveyor of that port:
This statement is interesting, as showing the increase of boat-building in St. Louis, as well as enabling us to compare the cost between boats built in St. Louis and those built elsewhere at this time. 103
The Marine Railway and Floating Dock Company in 1850 had at Carondelet a dock three hundred and fifty feet in length and ninety-four feet in breadth with seven feet depth of hold. The hold was divided into four water-tight compartments from bow to stern, which were sub-divided by bulkhead thwartships, cutting the whole into twenty-six air- and water-tight chambers. The Mound City Marine Ways Company was established in 1858 by Capt. William L. Hambleton, and its affairs were subsequently conducted under the name of Hambleton Brothers. The business proved very successful, a hundred new boats having been built by the firm and more than a thousand repaired.
The building of iron hulls for steamboats of late years become an important industry at St. Louis Though several iron-plated war-vessels were constructed
at St. Louis during the civil war, it was not until about the year 1874 that the building of iron hulls took definite and positive form as a leading industry. To Theodore Allen, more than to any other individual, is due the credit of establishing this great business. In 1874, Mr. Allen issued a prospectus pointing out the advantages of iron hulls over wooden, and proposed the erection of the "St. Louis Iron Works," which were afterwards inaugurated under the name of the "Western Iron Boat Building Company," composed of Messrs. Chouteau, Harrison, Vallée, well-known iron manufacturers. Of this company Mr. Allen became superintendent. The yards of the company at Carondelet extend for two thousand one hundred feet along the river-front, and back to the railroad, employing about two hundred men. A pamphlet published by Charles P. Chouteau in 1878 gives a map and very complete statistics of the products of the West, covering the statistics of tonnage and business on Western waters, the towing and barge business, the defects of wooden and the advantages of iron hulls.
St. Louis and St. Paul Packet Company. This corporation had its origin in the Keokuk Northern Line Packet Company, which was formed by the consolidation of the St. Louis and Keokuk Packet Company and the Northern Line Packet Company. The St. Louis and Keokuk Line was formed Jan. 1, 1842, the principal members of the company being Capt. John S. McCune and J. E. Yeatman. In October, 1842, the keel of the first boat, the "Di Vernon," was laid at St. Louis, and the vessel was completed at a cost of sixteen thousand dollars and started on her first trip to Keokuk before the close of navigation. On the opening of the spring trade in 1843 she commenced running regularly, and with two other (transient) steamers formed a daily line, which continued throughout the season. During the following winter the company built the "Laclede," one of the best steamboats of her day, and at the same time purchased the "Boreas." With these vessels the daily line was resumed in the spring of 1844, the company in the mean time having secured the contract for carrying the mails. During this season an opposition line with three steamers the "Swallow," "Anthony Wayne," and "Edwin Bates" was organized, and in the following spring both lines commenced running and continued until about midsummer, when the new line succumbed, and the "Bates," a fast and handsome boat, was purchased by the old company. In the spring of 1846 the "Lucy Bertram," and in the fall of 1847 the "Kate Kearney," both new and handsome vessels, were added to the line. Another "Di Vernon" was built at St. Louis in 1850 at a cost of forty-nine thousand dollars, a sum which was thought at the time to be very large for the construction of a steamboat. In the spring of the same year another opposition line, with the steamers "Monongahela," "New England," and "Mary Stephens," was established. The two lines were kept up during nearly the entire spring and summer. One boat of each line left port daily, side by side, at the top of its speed, burning the most expensive fuel, paying the highest wages, and carrying freight and passengers at a price so low that the entire receipts of both would not defray one boat's wood bill. The contest was long and severe, and lasted until late in the summer. When the two lines had sunk about fifty thousand dollars, the opposition boats were withdrawn and sold at auction, and the "New England" was purchased by the old company.
The "Jeanie Deans" was built in the summer of 1852, 104 and the "New Lucy" in the fall of the same year. The "New Lucy" was burned at her wharf at St. Louis about six weeks after being finished. During the summer of 1853 the "Westerner" was built, and subsequently another "Kate Kearney." There were also added to the line from time to time the "Sam Gaty," "Keokuk," and "Quincy," built at St. Louis, and the "Ben Campbell," "Prairie State," "J. McKee," "Glaucus," "Regulator," "Jenny Lind," "Conewago," "York State," "Winchester," "Thomas Swann," and others obtained by purchase.
In 1857 the company established the Quincy line making one freight and passenger line between St. Louis and Quincy, and one mail and passenger line between St. Louis and Keokuk. They were arranged as follows:
Quincy Packets. "Keokuk," Bradley, master; "Sam Gaty," Richardson, master; "Quincy," Ford, master.
Keokuk Mail Packets. "Jeanie Deans," Malin, master; "Di Vernon," Sheble, master; "Thos. Swann," Johnson, master.
About 1871 the line was consolidated with the Northern Line Packet Company. In the winter of 1857-58 a number of the captains of steamboats plying between St. Louis and St. Paul determined to form a new line and make regular trips, leaving on stated days in the week. On the opening of navigation in the following spring this line consisted of the steamers "Canada," Capt. James Ward; "W. L. Ewing," Capt. W. Green; "Denmark," Capt. R. C. Gray; "Metropolitan," Capt. Thomas B. Rhodes; "Minnesota Belle," Capt. Thomas B. Hill; and "Pembina," Capt. Thomas H. Griffith. Messrs. Warden & Shaler were appointed agents, and the line was known as the Northern Line. In 1859 the "Chippewa," Capt. W. H. Crapeta; "Dew Drop," Capt. N. W. Parker; "Lucie May," Capt. J. B. Rhodes; "Aunt Letty," Capt. C. G. Morrison; "Northerner," Capt. P. A. Alford, and the "Laclede" were added.
In the winter of 1859-60 the owners of the different vessels decided to form a joint-stock company, and organized under the name of the Northern Line Packet Company. The incorporators and directors were D. Hawkins, Thomas Gordon, and J. W. Parker, of Galena, Ill.; John B. Rhodes, of Savannah, Ill.; R. C. Gray, of Pittsburgh, Pa.; and James Ward and Thomas H. Griffith, of St. Louis, Mo. Capt. James Ward was elected president, and Thomas H. Griffith secretary and treasurer. The vessels owned by the company were the "Sucker State," "Hawk-Eye State," "Canada," "Pembina," "Metropolitan," "Northerner," "W. L. Ewing," "Denmark," "Henry Clay," "Minnesota Belle," and "Fred. Lorenz."
In 1864, Capt. William F. Davidson, who had been managing a line of steamboats on the upper Mississippi, established a service between Dubuque and St. Paul, and subsequently, having purchased the property of the Galena Packet Company, established the Northwestern Union Packet Company. In 1868 the Northern Line Packet Company admitted the boats of the Northwestern Company into their line, and in the following year the vessels were running under the steamers of the two companies plying between St. Louis and northern points were: Northern Line, "Lake Superior," "Red Wing," "Dubuque," "Minnesota," "Davenport," "Muscatine," "Pembina," "Savannah," "Sucker State," and "Minnesota;" Northwestern Lines "Northwestern," "S. S. Merrill," "Belle of La Cross," "Alexander Mitchell," "Victory," "City of Quincy," "Molly McPike," and "Phil Sheridan." Up to 1871 the Northern Line had lost but three boats, the "Denmark," sunk at Atlas Island by striking a log; the "Northerner," burned at the St. Louis Levee; and the "Burlington," sunk at Wabasha. The officers' in 1870 were Thomas B. Rhodes, president; Thomas H. Griffith, secretary; Thomas J. Buford, superintendent; and I. M. Mason, general freight agent. The total number of tons of freight deposited by the steamers of the company during the year at St. Louis was seven hundred and sixty-four thousand three hundred and seven.
The Keokuk Packet and the Northern Line Packet Companies were competitors for the same trade, and the rivalry between them became so close and energetic that each suffered heavily, and it was finally decided to form a new company which should embrace them both. Accordingly a new corporation was organized, with the name of the Keokuk Northern Line Packet Company, the capital stock of which was seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars, and the property of the competing lines was purchased. The first president was Capt. John S. McCune, who managed its affairs with marked ability until his death. He was succeeded by Darius Hawkins, who was the nominal head of the company during a period of legal difficulties until 1875, when Capt, William F. Davidson was elected president. In 1879-80 the company owned the following steamboats:
The officers in 1879 were William F. Davidson, president; Francis Johnston, secretary; John Baker, agent; James A. Lyon, general passenger agent.
The St. Louis and St. Paul Packet Company, the successor of the Keokuk Northern, was organized in June, 1881, with a capital stock of one hundred thousand dollars, the incorporators being W. F. Davidson, R. M. Hutchinson, and F. L. Johnston. The company transacts a general passenger and freight business between St. Paul and St. Louis, and owns the following
boats: "Gem City," "War Eagle," "Alexander Mitchell," "Minneapolis," "Northwestern," "Belle of La Crosse," and "Centennial." The officers in 1882 were W. F. Davidson, president; R. M. Hutchinson, superintendent; and F. S. Johnston, secretary. The general offices are located at Dubuque, Iowa.
William F. Davidson, successively president of the Keokuk Northern and St. Louis and St. Paul companies, is one of the leading steamboat proprietors of the West. He was born in Lawrence County, Ohio, on the 4th of February, 1825. His father being a boatman, Capt. Davidson was educated from his earliest boyhood in the navigation of Western waters. When only twenty years of age he was captain of the steamer "Gondola" on the Ohio River, and in 1856 established a line of three steamers on the upper Mississippi. He also engaged in the same business in 1857-58 on the Minnesota River, and subsequently established a line between La Crosse and St. Paul, and in 1864 a line from Dubuque to St. Paul. He then purchased the Galena Packet Company's property and franchises and organized the Northwestern Union Packet Company, which was afterwards consolidated with the Northern Line, which in turn was absorbed by the Keokuk Northern. After the death of Capt. J. S. McCune, president of the latter corporation, Capt. Davidson was elected his successor, and is now president of the St. Louis and St. Paul Packet Company. Capt. Davidson has thus had a varied but uniformly successful career as a steamboat manager, and his company, under his energetic but wise and prudent administration, is now in a flourishing condition. Capt. Davidson was married in 1859 to Miss Sarah A. Johnson, daughter of Judge Johnson Lawrence County, Ohio.
The St. Louis and St. Paul Passenger Freight Line was incorporated in December, 1880, under the laws of Wisconsin, with the following board of directors: P. L. Davidson, S. F. Clinton, and Lafayette Holmes. The company transacts a general passenger and freight transportation business on the Mississippi River, between St. Louis and St. Paul, and owns the wing steamboats: "Grand Pacific," "Arkansas," "Flying Eagle," "Alexander Kendall," "White Eagle," and "Alfred Todd." The officers for 1882 were P. L. Davidson, president; S. F. Clinton, vice-president; and Lafayette Holmes, secretary. The general offices are located in La Crosse, Wis.
The Diamond Jo Line was established in 1867 by Joseph Reynolds. It started in a small way, with only one boat, which was employed by Mr. Reynolds in the produce trade on the upper Mississippi, with headquarters at Dubuque, Iowa. The business increased with every succeeding year until, in 1882, there were five elegant steamers running on the line between St. Louis and St. Paul. The boats are the "Mary Morton," "Libbie Conger," "Diamond Jo," "Josephine," and "Josie," all of which are equipped with the latest and most improved machinery and lifesaving apparatus. The officers in 1882 were Joseph Reynolds, general manager, and E. M. Dickey, general freight agent. The general office is at Dubuque, Iowa.
The St. Louis and Vicksburg Packet Company was organized and chartered in 1859, as the Memphis and St. Louis Packet Company, by John A. Scudder, Daniel Able, Wm. J. Lewis, Wm. C. Postal, and R. L. McGee. The Memphis Line commenced with the steamers "Ben Lewis," "J. H. Dickey," and "Platte Valley," which were followed in turn by the "John D. Perry," "Rowena," "C. E. Hillman," "Colorado," "St. Joseph," "Mary E. Forsyth," "Southerner," "Courier," "Robb," "Adam Jacobs," "City of Alton," "Luminary," "Julia," "G. W. Graham," "Belle of Memphis, No. 1," "Belle of St. Louis," "City of Cairo," "City of Vicksburg," "Grand Tower," "Belle of Memphis, No. 2," and the "City of Chester."
During the first eleven years but one serious accident occurred, the explosion of the "Ben Lewis," at Cairo. The "Belle of Memphis, No. 1," was lost in the ice at St. Louis, and the "G. W. Graham" was burned at the Levee, but in neither instance were any lives lost. The first president of the company was Capt. Daniel Able, whose life had been identified with river interests from boyhood, and who managed the line with marked ability. He was succeeded by W. G. Lewis, who in turn was followed by John J. Roe, under whose administration the business of the company was greatly increased and extended. A regular line of packets between St. Louis and Vicksburg was established, and the construction of a number of new steamboats was contracted for. On the death of Mr. Roe, Capt. Henry W. Smith, who had long been identified with the company as general superintendent, was elected president. 105
Capt. Smith died in March, 1870, and was succeeded in the presidency of the company by John A. Scudder.
In 1879 the steamboats belonging to the company were the
The officers in 1879 were John A. Scudder, president; Theodore Zeigler, secretary; John P. Keiser, superintendent; and William B. Russell, agent. In that year a reorganization of the company was effected, and its name was changed to the St. Louis and Vicksburg Packet Company, and the line is now known as the St. Louis and Vicksburg Anchor Line.
The company owns the following steamers, which ply between St. Louis and Memphis and Vicksburg: "City of Providence," "Gold Dust," "City of Greenville," "Belle of Memphis," "City of Cairo," "City of Vicksburg," "Arkansas City," "James B. Maude," "City of Helena," "Ste. Genevieve," "E. C. Elliott," and "Colorado." The general office is located on the company's wharf-boat at the foot of Locust Street, and the officers in 1882 were John A. Scudder, president and general manager; Directors, John A. Scudder, G. B. Allen, J. P. Keiser, and T. C. Zeigler. The capital stock is five hundred thousand dollars.
The New Orleans Anchor Line was organized in June, 1878, and incorporated during the same month with a capital stock of three hundred thousand dollars, the incorporators being John A. Scudder, James P. Keiser, G. B. Allen, William J. Lewis, and T. C. Zeigler. John A. Scudder was elected president, and has retained that position ever since. The company transacts a general passenger and freight transportation business on the Mississippi River between St. Louis and New Orleans, the steamers employed being the "City of New Orleans," "City of Alton," "City of Baton Rouge," "John A. Scudder," "W. P. Holliday," and "Commonwealth." This company does its own insurance, and during its existence has lost five boats by fire.
John A, Scudder, president of the St. Louis and Vicksburg Anchor Line and New Orleans Anchor Line, has long been identified with steamboat interests on the Mississippi. He was born at Maysville, Mason Co., Ky., on the 12th of June, 1830. His father, Dr. Charles Scudder, was a native of New Jersey, and his mother, Mary H. Scudder, was a native of Virginia. Capt. Scudder removed to St. Louis at an early age, and soon became actively identified with steamboat interests on the Mississippi River. Before he was thirty years old he had already become quite prominent in the business, and assisted as one of the incorporators, in the organization of the Memphis and St. Louis Packet Company, of which, as already stated, he became the president in 1870. Capt. Scudder at once addressed himself to the task of consolidating and harmonizing the steamboat interests on the lower Mississippi, and succeeded in greatly expanding the operations of the wealthy and powerful corporation of which he had become the head. Associated with him were Gerard B. Allen, John J. Roe, Edgar and Henry Ames, and other wealthy citizens of St. Louis, who ably seconded his shrewd and energetic administration of the company's affairs. To Capt. Scudder's tact and good management it was mainly due that the corporation passed unscathed through the turmoils and dangers of the civil war, for although he had not then been chosen its chief executive officer, his wise and prudent counsels were always heeded, and served to guide the company safely over many a shoal and rock.
In 1869 the Memphis Packet Company purchased the line running to Vicksburg, and extended its service to that point, running three boats a week to both Vicksburg and Memphis. In 1874, at his suggestion, the company adopted the trade-mark or emblem of an anchor, and from this the appellation "Anchor Line" was adopted. Capt. Scudder was the first to introduce on the Western rivers the restaurant plan now so much favored, and every improvement calculated to promote the convenience and comfort of patrons he has always been the first to adopt. In 1877 he was elected president of the St. Louis Merchants' Exchange and in 1878 he organized the New Orleans Anchor Line, with semi-weekly trips. In 1879 the charter of the Memphis and St. Louis Packet Company expired, and, as heretofore stated, the company was reorganized under the title of the St. Louis and Vicksburg Anchor Line. As the chief executive of both these companies, Capt. Scudder continues to lead a life of unceasing activity. His thorough familiarity with the whole subject of river navigation renders him an accepted authority among steamboat men, there is probably no other individual engaged in the business of Western transportation who has been more uniformly successful, or who has contributed more largely to the development of the trade of the
Mississippi and its tributaries. Although he has succeeded in amassing a large fortune, Capt. Scudder regular and punctual in the discharge of his official duties now as he was at the outset of his career. Nothing that concerns the interests of his companies escape his vigilant eyes, and no detail is too insignificant to demand his attention. His policy is charged by a happy combination of liberality, boldness, and prudence, and the corporations under his charge are models of enterprising and, at the same conservative and judicious management. He possesses in a rare degree not only the capacity to but the ability to execute, and, as we have indicated, is always in the van, not merely in adopting, but in devising improvements in methods of transportation. Personally he is as modest and unassuming he is public-spirited and generous in his dealings with his fellow-men. For many years he has thoroughly identified with the interests of the city which early in life he made his home, and to-day he is one of the most highly honored and influential citizens of St. Louis. He was married in June, 1852, to Miss Mary A. White, and a few years since Mrs. Scudder was made the recipient from unknown donors of a handsome portrait of her husband executed by Major Conant. The portrait was presented "as a testimonial in recognition of his services and enterprise in building up the commerce of the city and the Mississippi valley" by leading citizens of St. Louis, names were withheld, who "admired him as a man of spirit, thrift, sagacity, and large views," and who "appreciated the work he had accomplished in perfecting and extending river transportation facilities."
The St. Louis and Mississippi Valley Transportation Company was originally the Mississippi Valley Transportation Company. The latter corporation was organized in the early part of 1866, and the first president was Capt. Barton Able. The first tow of barges left St. Louis for New Orleans on the 1st of April, 1866. In the following year, Capt. George H. Rea was elected president. Capt. Rea was born in Massachusetts April 26, 1816. He served an apprenticeship at the trade of tanning, and subsequently removed to Waynesboro', Tenn., where he built up a remunerative trade in hides and leather. Shortly before the breaking out of the civil war he removed to St. Louis, where he established a hide and leather store. He soon became prominent among the business men of St. Louis, and assisted in the establishment of the Second National Bank. In he was elected a member of the State Legislature from the Thirty-fourth Senatorial District of Missouri, and as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and in other capacities proved an active and useful member. Capt. Rea became largely interested in Western transportation enterprises. He was at one time a director of the Missouri Pacific Railroad Company, and built the branch of that road from Pleasant Hill to Lawrence, Kan. He was a stockholder in various railway and water transportation companies, and in 1867, as stated, was elected president of the Mississippi Valley Transportation Company, whose affairs he managed with great energy and success. During Capt. Rea's administration the other officers of the company were Henry C. Haarstick, vice-president and superintendent; A. R. Moore, secretary; William F. Haines, general freight agent; John A. Stevenson, agent at New Orleans; R. L. Williams, agent at New York.
The following steamboats were owned by the company in 1879:
In 1880 the St. Louis and New Orleans Transportation Company was chartered, but on the 10th of September, 1881, it was consolidated with the Mississippi Valley corporation under the name of the St. Louis and Mississippi Valley Transportation Company, which was incorporated with a capital stock of two million dollars, the incorporators being George H. Rea, Henry C. Haarstick, George D. Capen, Austin R. Moore, R. S. Hays, H. M. Hoxie, Henry Lowrey, A. A. Talmage, and John C. Gault. The company owns twelve steam tow-boats and one hundred barges, which are bonded for all export and import business. Its trade is largely in wheat, corn, and oats, and in the transportation of these cereals it probably transacts a larger business than any similar corporation in the world. The officers in 1882 were Henry C. Haarstick, president; H. Lowrey, vice-president; H. P. Wyman, secretary; and A. R. Moore, treasurer; Directors, George H. Rea, Henry C. Haarstick, George D. Capen, Austin R. Moore, R. S. Hays, H. M. Hoxie, Henry Lowrey, A. A. Talmage, and John C. Gault. The office is located on the company's wharf-boat at the foot of Elm Street.
The St. Louis and New Orleans Packet Company was organized in May, 1869, and was the successor of the Atlantic and Mississippi Steamship Company. The first president was Capt. John N. Bofinger, the first secretary Walker R. Carter, and
the first general superintendent John W. Carroll. In 1870 the executive officers remained the same, and the directors were John N. Bofinger, D. R. Powell, Walker R. Carter, John W. Carroll, and Theodore Laveille. At that time the steamers belonging to the company, which were then among the largest and finest in Western waters, were the "Olive Branch," "Pauline Carroll," "Richmond," "Dexter," "Mollie Able," "Thompson Dean," "Commonwealth," "W. R. Arthur," "Bismarck," "Great Republic," and "Continental." In 1871 the following steamers were added: "City of Alton," "Belle Lee," "Natchez," "Belfast," "Carrie V. Kountz," "Rubicon," "Capital City," "Henry Ames," "C. B. Church," "Glencoe," "Andy Johnson," "John Kyle," "Mollie Ebert," "Lady Lee," "Oceanus," "Shannon," "Virginia," "Susie Silver," "Tom Jasper," "James Howard," "City of Quincy," "S. S. Merrill." The total amount of freight carried in 1871 was one hundred and seventy-three thousand nine hundred tons.
Capt. John N. Bofinger, first president of the St. Louis and New Orleans Packet Company, was born in Lancaster County, Pa., Oct. 30,1825, and in 1835 removed with his parents to Cincinnati, where his father established the first German paper west of Pittsburgh, the Cincinnati Volksblatt, which became a flourishing journal and existed many years. The boy was educated at the public schools of Cincinnati, and in 1846 obtained a position as clerk on the mail line steamers plying between Cincinnati and Louisville. In April, 1848, he arrived in St. Louis as clerk of the steamer "Atlantic," on which he remained as clerk and captain for six years. In 1854, in connection with John J. Roe and Rhodes, Pegram & Co., he purchased the steamer "L. M. Kennett," and in 1857 built the steamer "William M. Morrison," which, when the war broke out, was the last boat to leave St. Louis for New Orleans. The "Morrison" was detained by the Confederate authorities at Memphis, May 28, 1861, and was burned at New Orleans by the Confederates on the arrival of Farragut's fleet.
For thirteen years preceding the war, Capt. Bofinger commanded steamers running between St. Louis and New Orleans, and enjoyed the reputation of being an unusually successful captain. During that period he made one hundred and ninety-two trips between the two cities, and never met with an accident that occasioned the loss of a life.
The war provided a new theatre for the display of Capt. Bofinger's abilities as an organizer and commander. He became interested in nearly all the contacts let by the United States government for the transportation of troops and supplies on the Missisippi and its tributaries during 1861, '62, '63, '64, '65, '66, and '67, and during that time owned thirty steamers. He was no doubt the largest vessel-owner in the world. An instance of the magnitude of his operations and the extent of the trust reposed in his capacity to conduct them successfully is afforded by the fact that he was chosen by Gen. L. B. Parsons, A.Q.M.G., in 1862 to proceed to Memphis and Helena for the purpose of embarking the troops and animals of Gen. Sherman's army destined for Vicksburg. The number of steamers engaged in this service was ninety-five, three boats were laden with munitions of war, four with commissary and quartermaster's stores, and the remainder with the army of nearly thirty-five thousand men and their animals, etc. This vast fleet was escorted by eleven gunboats under the command of Admiral Porter.
After the war Capt. Bofinger with others formed the Atlantic and Mississippi Steamship Company, with a capital of over two million dollars, and owning j twenty-five of the largest steamboats then on the river, and was elected superintendent of the company. In 1867 he severed his connection with this company and established the Vicksburg Mail Line, and after two years of successful operations, sold his interest to the Memphis and St. Louis Packet Company, now the Vicksburg Anchor Line.
In 1869 the Atlantic and Mississippi Steamship Company sold its steamers, and Capt. Bofinger and others formed the St. Louis and New Orleans Packet Company, of which he was elected president, serving in that capacity until 1873, when he retired from the company.
In 1869-70, Capt. Bofinger held a contract with the government to transport troops and supplies between St. Louis and Fort Benton, over three thousand miles; between St. Louis and New Orleans twelve hundred miles; and between St. Louis and Fort Gibson, on the Arkansas River, fifteen hundred miles; an aggregate of five thousand seven hundred miles. This was the longest river transportation contract ever held by any one person.
During the past few years Capt. Bofinger has engaged somewhat extensively in steamboat-building one vessel of iron, the "Gouldsboro'," being a transfer steamer at New Orleans; and he is now constructing a large steamer for the Memphis and City Railroad. In connection with his brother he has established the Telephone Company in Louisiana and Mississippi, which they own and operate.
Capt. Bofinger's wife was Miss Mary E. Shewell, of St. Louis.
Capt. Bofinger is regarded as authority on all matters connected with river transportation, especially on the Mississippi and its tributaries, and congressional committees and other bodies desiring information have availed themselves freely of his knowledge, attained through nearly forty years of varied and arduous experience. He may be classed with the foremost of the second generation of Mississippi steamboat captains, and is a worthy successor of such men as the gallant Shreve and others who were pioneers in this calling. While Capt. Bofinger has contributed his full share towards making river transportation an important factor in the commerce of the country, his work is not yet ended, and those who know his indomitable energy do not hesitate to predict that he will again be heard from in connection with works of great magnitude and of equally conspicuous public utility.
The Merchants' Southern Line Packet Company was established in 1870, and its steamers plied between St. Louis and New Orleans, connecting at Columbus with the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, at Memphis with the Mississippi and Tennessee Railroad and Memphis and Charleston Railroad, at New Orleans with the Morgan Line steamships for Mobile. Galveston, and Indianola, also at the same port with steamships for Havana, at the mouth of Red River with Red and Ouachita River packets, and at Hickman, Ky., with the Northwestern Railroad for Nashville and points in Middle and East Tennessee and Northern Georgia.
The officers of the company in 1870 were J. F. Baker, president; B. R. Pegram, vice-president; Thomas Morrison, secretary; Charles Scudder, superintendent; David H. Silver, general agent, and the principal steamers were the "James Howard," B. R. Pegram, captain; "Henry C. Yeager," I. C. Van Hook, captain; "Susie Silver," Samuel S. Entriken, captain; "T. L. McGill," Thomas W. Shields, captain; "Carrie V. Kountz;" "Henry Ames," J. West Jacobs, captain; "John Kyle," John B. Weaver, captain; "Mollie Moore," George D. Moore, captain.
The Kansas City Packet Company (Star Line) is the successor of the Missouri Packet Company, which originated with the Star Line Packet and Miami Packet Companies. The Star Line was absorbed by the Miami, which then became known as the Miami "Star Line" Packet Company. In 1869 this corporation had five steamers plying between St. Louis and Kansas City. The officers at that time were Capt. E. W. Gould, president; Capt. W. W. Ater, secretary; and Capt. M. Hillard, general freight agent, and the steamers were the "Mountaineer," M. H. Crapster, captain; "W. J. Lewis," R. J. Whitledge, captain; "W. B. Dance," N. F. Constance, captain; "Clara," John Abrams, captain; "Post-Boy," S. Ball, captain. The "E. La Barge," "M. McDonald," "Nile," and "Viola Belle" were also run under direction of the company. Early in 1871 the stockholders of the Star and Miami Lines formed a new line, and organized under the name of the Missouri River Packet Company, with W. J. Lewis as president; Joseph Kinney, vice-president; E. W. Gould, superintendent; William W. Ater, secretary; and M. Hillard, general freight agent. During 1871 the company built three new boats, the "Capitol City," "Fannie Lewis," and "Joseph Kinney." Besides the regular trips to Kansas City, the steamers of the company during 1871 made twenty-one trips to Memphis and Helena.
The Kansas City Packet Company was organized July 15, 1878, with a capital stock of fifty thousand dollars, the incorporators being W. J. Lewis, C. S. Rogers, E. W. Gould, N. Springer, and R. J. Whitledge. The company transacts a general passenger and freight business on the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers between St. Louis and Fort Benton, and owns the steamers "Joe Kinney," "Fannie Lewis," "Mattie Bell," and "D. R. Powell," together with four barges. The officers of the company in 1882 were E. W. Gould, president; C. S. Rogers, vice-president; and R. J. Whitledge, secretary; Directors, C. S. Rogers, W. J. Lewis, E. W. Gould, N. Springer, and R. J. Whitledge. The office is located on the wharf-boat at the foot of Olive Street.
E. W. Gould, president of the Kansas City Packet Company, was born in Massachusetts on the 15th of December, 1811. He served an apprenticeship at the trade of carriage-making, and in 1835 went West and worked for two years at his trade in St. Louis. He then purchased an interest in the steamer "Friendship," which was engaged in the Illinois River trade, and subsequently became clerk of a steamer on the upper Mississippi. In 1837 he was made captain of the steamer "Knickerbocker," which was lost at the mouth of the Ohio two years later. Subsequently Capt. Gould became engaged in the Missouri River trade, and was successively president of the Miami Star Line and superintendent of the Missouri River Packet Company. Upon the organization of the Kansas City Packet Company he became its president. Capt. Gould is an experienced and able steamboat manager, and the affairs of the corporation over which he presides are conducted with conspicuous skill and success. In 1846 he was married to Miss Chipley, daughter of Dr. William B. Chipley, at Warsaw, Ill.
The "K" Line of Packets, designed to ply between St. Louis and Miami and intermediate points on the Missouri River, began business early in 1870 with the "St. Luke," Judd Cartwright, captain. The line was managed by Capt. Joseph Kinney, assisted by J. S. Nanson as superintendent, and H. F. Driller, general agent. Subsequently the "Alice" was added, and a flourishing business was transacted by the two steamers.
The St. Louis and Omaha Packet Company was organized in 1867, the first president being Joseph S. Nanson, and the first secretary Joseph McEntire, both of whom were experienced steamboat-men. During the second year of the company's existence Capt. John B. Weaver 106 was elected president, and served in that capacity for two years.
The steamers of the line were the "T. L. McGill," T. W. Shields, captain; "Silver Bow," T. W. Rea, captain; "Mary McDonald," J. Greenough, captain; "Cornelia," L. T. Belt, captain; "Columbian," William Barnes, captain; "Glasgow," W. P. Lamothe, captain; "Kate Kinney," J. P. McKinney, captain; "H. S. Turner," J. A. Yore, captain.
The Coulson Line of Steamers, plying between St. Louis and Fort Benton, was organized in 1878. The officers in 1882 were S. P. Coulson, president; W. S. Evans, vice-president; and D. W. Marratta, secretary and general superintendent. The company owns and controls the following steamers: "Rosebud," "Big Horn," "Josephine," and "Dacotah." Jenkins & Sass are the agents at St. Louis.
The Naples Packet Company was organized in 1848, and was chartered Aug. 12, 1872, with the following incorporators: C. S. Rogers, E. W. Gould, J. W. Mortimer, and Samuel Rider. The capital stock is sixty-four thousand dollars, and the company transacts a passenger and freight transportation business between St. Louis and Peoria, Ill. It owns the handsome steamer "Calhoun," which makes all way landings on the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers between the terminal points. C. S. Rogers was elected president first in 1872, and has retained the position ever since. John W. Mortimer is the secretary, and the directors are C. S. Rogers, E. W. Gould, John W. Mortimer, and Samuel Rider. The office is located on the wharf-boat, foot of Olive Street.
The St. Louis and Peoria Packet Company was organized on the 3d of February, 1868, its officers that time being J. S. McCune, president; A. C. Dunlevy, secretary; and F. A. Sheble, general superintendent. In 1870 the vessels belonging to the company were the "Beardstown," Samuel E. Gray, captain; "City of Pekin," Thomas Hunter, captain; "Illinois," S. E. Gray, captain; "Schuyler," H. G. Rice, captain; "Columbia," Joseph Throckmorton, 107 captain.
In 1871 the vessels employed by the company were the "Illinois," "City of Pekin," "Huntsville" and barges, "P. W. Strader" and barges, and "Beardstown."
The St. Louis, Cincinnati, Huntington and Pittsburgh Packet Company, whose headquarters
are at Pittsburgh, Pa., established an agency in St. Louis in 1881. It owns and controls the following boats, which run between Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and St. Louis: the "Buckeye State," "Pittsburgh," "Carrie," and "John L. Rhodes." The company transacts a general transportation business, carrying both passengers and freight. The officers are J. M. Williamson, superintendent, Cincinnati; and Capt. W. S. Evans, superintendent, Pittsburgh. Jenkins are the agents at St. Louis.
The Gartside Coal and Towing Company was organized in 1856, and chartered in May, 1873, with a capital stock of fifty thousand dollars. The incorporators were James, Charles E., and Joseph Gartside. The company owns two steam-tugs and ten barges, and transacts a general coal and transportation business. The officers in 1882 were Charles E. Gartside, president, and James Gartside, secretary and treasurer. The office is located on the New Orleans Anchor Line wharf-boat, foot of Pine Street.
The Carter Line (Red River Packet Company) was established in 1869 by Capt. W. R. Carter and Capt. Joseph Conn, who employed the "R. J. Lockwood," "Silver Bow," "H. M. Shreve," "Oceanus," "M. E. Forsyth," "Lady Lee," "Belle Rowland," and "Mary E. Poe." The annual receipts of the company amounted to about six hundred and fifty thousand dollars. The ports visited by the line were landings on the Missouri River, St. Louis, Jefferson, Shreveport and New Orleans.
The Merchants' St. Louis and Arkansas River Packet Company began business in the spring of 1870. The territory embraced within the range of the company's operations extended from the mouth of the Arkansas River to Fort Smith, and comprised all that section south of the river and between it and the Ouachita, and north of it to the extreme western and northwestern sections of the State, also from the mouth of White River to the upper part of it and the country bordering on Black and Currant Rivers, reaching almost to the northern line of the State. The company was incorporated in 1870 with a capital stock of one hundred thousand dollars, and the following officers were elected:
President, James A. Jackson; Vice-President, D. P. Rowland; Treasurer, George D. Appleton; Secretary and Superintendent, James D. Sylvester; Director, James A. Jackson, D. P. Rowland, Matthew Moody, W. S. Stover, C. L. Thompson, Louis Fusz, George D. Appleton, C. N. McDowell, and George Wolff.
A low-water boat was at once contracted for the upper Arkansas River, three steamers purchased, and the line put in working order. The steamers employed by the company in 1871 were the "Sallie," "Columbia," "Muncie," "Sioux City," and "Little Rock." At Little Rock the vessels from St. Louis connected with the light-draught steamer "Little Rock," which ran to Fort Smith, thus forming a continuous line of communication with the extreme western border of the State.
Ouachita River Packets. Prior to 1870 St. Louis had not enjoyed an extensive trade with the region of country bordering on the Ouachita River. Hitherto her merchants and shippers had permitted New Orleans and other Southern cities to monopolize the business of the Ouachita ports, but in that year it was determined to send several steamers, loaded at St. Louis, to that river. The experiment was made, and the results were such as to establish the entire practicability of building up a regular and lucrative trade. The steamers of the line were the "C. H. Durfee," Frank Dozier, captain; "Mary McDonald," John Greenough, captain; "Ida Stockdale," J. W. Jacobs, captain; "Hesper," J. Ferguson, captain; "C. V. Kountz," J. C. Vanhook, captain; "Tempest," D. H. Silver, captain. The "Tempest" was destroyed on her first trip up the river. H. F. Driller was the general freight agent of the line. Mr. Driller afterwards secured two boats for the White River trade, the "Osage," Capt. William A. Cade, and the "Natrona," Capt. George Graham.
Scharf, J. Thomas. History of Saint Louis City and County, From the Earliest Periods to the Present Day: Including Biographical Sketches of Representative Men. In Two Volumes, Illustrated. Volume II . Philadelphia: Louis H. Everts & Co., 1883. [format: book], [genre: biography; history; proceedings]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=scharf2.html