Steamboat Illustrations, Page 25

City of Cincinnati Collection

Steamboat Color Litho Oval Color Cooled Down

I suspected that the big boat in the color lithograph No. 536 published by Donaldson Litho. in Cincinnati circa 1890's was based appropriately enough on the City of Cincinnati and attached is visual evidence from the Murphy Library collection. What a Jim Dandy match.

Captain Erasmus T. Plumbworthy
City of Cincinnati (Packet, 1899-1918)
Built in 1899 at Jeffersonville, Indiana by Howard Ship Yards
Lost in ice at Cincinnati, Ohio in January 1918
Owned by Louisville and Cincinnati Packet Company; Commodore Laidley (White Collar Line)
Officers and crew were Captain Jack Lindenburn (master); William C. Lepper, Sr. (purser); Baylor Spratt (chief engineer); Charles W. Brasher (pilot, circa January 1910)
Operated on the Ohio River, Licking River

Fred Way's Packet Directory:
Number 1066; Home port or owner's residence 1899, Cincinnati, Ohio. Original price $40,000. Engines from Anchor Line's City of Hickman. Teamed up with City of Louisville in the Louisville-Cincinnati trade. This was a well-proportioned sidewheeler. She came out carrying the whistle from the last Telegraph but it sounded so much like the Tell City, it was exchanged and after 1907 she had the old Bonanza whistle which had last been on the double-cabin Cincinnati. On January 20, 1910 while ascending the Ohio River, the City of Cincinnati's wheel hit the corner of a coal barge; the coal barge sank
Identifier: Neg. 8002
U of Wisconsin - La Crosse Historic Steamboat Photographs wisc.edu


Photo of the City of Cincinnati.


The same steamboat in a poster.

Other Illustrations


This is a Photoshop composite I made with a photo of the NATCHEZ whose name I changed to HANNIBAL (after the boyhood home of Sam Clemens in Missouri) and the cityscape of New Orleans behind the boat I transformed into a verdant riverbank from a photo that I took of the eastern shoreline of 17 acre Bixby Slough (now referred to as Bixby Marshland and on the map called Machado Lake) at Ken Malloy Harbor Regional Park in the city of Carson, at the northeast corner of Vermont Avenue and Anaheim Street east of Los Angeles Harbor. The "Slough" was my substitute for the Mississippi River when I was attending high school in nearby Palos Verdes on the Pacific Ocean.



A favorite from the earliest days of my collecting at about age 12 was this 1941 educational book for "children of all ages" that I discovered at the Public Library then tracked down a copy for myself at a 2nd hand book store.

C.H. (Cornelius Hugh) Dewitt apparently worked in a combination of pastels and colored pencils and as you can see he also hand lettered the title and credits which made the whole cover (front here 9 3/4 X 11 1/4 inches) a total work of art.

DeWitt continued the art work on the back cover which I should scan and join up with the front to make a panorama.

The Story of the Mississippi
Illustrated by C. H. Dewitt
by Marshall McClintock
Harper & Brothers 1941


Original excursion boat "broadside" . . . letter press print for a "Moonlight Excursion" sponsored by the Retail Clerks Ass'n of Hannibal, MO to go up river to Quincy, Illinois and back. A lock and dam opened below Quincy in 1938 which would have made these voyages more time consuming after that date.

Way's Directory No. 5500 UNCLE SAM
Sternwheeler Sterling Island, Illinois, 1898, originally the excursion steamer JACOB RICHTMAN.
Prior to 1904 bought by Clat Adams and his brother of Quincy, Ill.. Burned in Quincy Bay, 1904, having been renamed.
Rebuilt and by 1910 was owned by the Missouri River Excursion Co., Capt. E. H. Mattheus, master.
While backing away from the landing at Kansas City, Mo., on May 18, 1910, she collided with a sand barge and sank after having been run ashore.
There were 95 passengers on board but no life loss due largely to John J Pryor, one of the owners who, although he could not swim, stood by and saw all safely ashore.


Attached in from eBay, a Thomas Hart Benton painting/illustration on page 75 of FORTUNE magazine June 1930. Individual issues of the magazine are expensive so it was fortunate that this page was offered at a reasonable price.


1946 painting by Missouri artist Thomas Hart Benton entitled MISSISSIPPI TOWBOAT of the D.R. WELLER. This was featured on the cover of a corporate magazine called THE LAMP Feb 1946 published by Standard Oil Co. Colors a pretty intense, more in the "fine art"painter's palette than the illustrator's.

D.R. WELLER Sternwheel Towboat 1926-1950

Hull built at Ambridge, Pennsylvania in 1925 by American Bridge Company; completed at Coal Valley Marine Ways, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1926; came out as the City of Pittsburgh

Owned by Standard Oil Company; Marine Salvage and Equipment Company; George W. Whiteman

Fred Way and Woody Rutter's Steam Towboat Directorys - T0547;

Originally the City of Pittsburgh, she was sold to Standard Oil Company of Louisiana when practically new and renamed D. R. Weller. Captain Elmer C. Good probably was her first master, while J. F. Clark and Vincent Dugas were pilots and Hugh L. Edwards chief engineer. Captain Sewell Smith was master in June, 1926 when she hit a bank stern-first in a fog and disabled her rudders. She drifted from Brown's Field to Kemp's Bend with a loaded tow before the Federal Barge Line towboat Vicksburg came to her rescue. Captain George S. Knabb, originally from Cincinnati, became master later and in 1939 got a 20-year service pin from Standard Oil. In later years Captain Joseph DeCareaux was master, with Felix Guichet, chief engineer and Lawrence Babin, second engineer. The boat was sold in 1949 to Marine Salvage and Equipment Company and then to George W. Whiteman of Gretna, Louisiana and dismantled in 1950.


This is a picture I took from one of the other murals in the same room depicting a steamboat landing.

The couple on the right is rather spooky . . . the gentleman looks like he might be wearing a mask and if the couple is not beginning to embrace they may be contemplating strangling each other.

The lady's bonnet disguises her even more effectively than the nylon hose mask her beloved or her beloathed is wearing. It's also an open question as to whether the gent is arriving or leaving.

To see other details from this mural, go to the Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn page - click here.


Arizona Highways ran this illustration on the cover of their November 1984 issue, for a story about paddle wheelers on the Colorado River.


Front and back cover of a menu circa the 1960'a from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Penn-Sheraton Hotel's Riverboat Room and Sidewheeler Bar. The artist based the waterfront commercial buildings on 1848 panoramic daguerreotypes taken of Cincinnati, Ohio riverfront.

Steamboat/Maritime references inside the menu include "Riverboat Casserole Specialties" and "Dine while STEAMIN' ROUND THE BEND." Bargain prices from the 20th Century: N.Y. SIRLOIN, Mushroom Cap $5.95 is the most expensive entre; RIVERBOAT ICE CREAM PIE 50 cents.


Photo taken in 1949 by Paul Piaget for the HABS (Historic American Buildings Survey) of the gravestone of Captain William Hauk in Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis. Found a clue about Hauk online . . . that he died in Vicksburg, Mississippi and was transported (probably by steamboat) to St. Louis for burial. So far haven't discovered Hauk's date of birth and death.


The following comes from a caption under the same photo in MISSISSIPPI PANORAMA, a 1949 catalogue made for a spectacular exhibition at the City Art Museum of St. Louis comprising art work, artifacts and models depicting the Mississippi River and its steamboats. This catalogue is a real treasure and a must for the library of any enthusiast of Mississippi River commerce, plenty of neat illustrations.

Captain Claiborne Greene Wolff's Monument, Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis photographed by Paul Piaget in 1947

Capt. Wolff, called George by his friends, was born in Louisville in 1829 and died October 18, 1881.

"He sleeps amid the peaceful shades of Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis, and his ashes repose beneath a monument erected by his many friends. Carved thereon, in enduring marble, is the representation of a Mississippi River steamboat, fitting symbol of his chosen and idolized vocation."


With the exception of images credited to certain institutions,
most of the images on this page are from a private collection.
Please request permission before reproducing our images in any publication.*