Tales of the Mississippi
by Ray Samuel, Leonard V. Huber and Warren C. Ogden
I spent a couple of days with Ray Samuel in New Orleans during October of 1989 and took the attached photo of him in his home in the Garden District. The painting of the cotton packet AMERICA ended up being bought a couple of years ago by Terrell Dempsey, a Hannibal attorney who wrote a book on Slavery in Hannibal during and after the time that Sam Clemens lived in town. I provided a number of illustrations for the book. Ray may have been the biggest collector of artifacts from Louisiana history with an emphasis on steamboats. I bought a few things from his history shop in the Garden District but couldn't afford some of the truly amazing things that he owned including a large mirror from a steamboat cabin with slots in it for advertising from steamboat men and merchants etc. to place their promotional cards and broadsides etc. The mirror was "full up" with original cards.
Ray passed away in 1990 and Fred Way used this photo in The Reflector in Ray's memory.
c. 1989 - Doc Hawley screaming the cally ope on the Natchez at New Orleans.
Photo of Captain J.R. Peterson taken with passenger Erba Heckel in front of the DQ pilot house Aug 26, 1938. I also have a letter from Capt. P. to Erba and her sister Elizabeth dated Sept 18, '38 thanking them for this photo and apparently some others that I don't have. I suppose it's possible that the woman in the picture is Elizabeth instead of Erba but I'm going with my first choice . . .
This photo was taken in the Belle of Louisville pilot house (9-14-72) but you probably figured that out . . . photo by Keith Norrington
L-R: Bert Fenn, Ruth Ferris, Doc Hawley, Alan Bates
Steamboats make 'em giddy . . . such big smiles. - Dave
Fred Way Jr. aboard the Washington, autographed.
Tom Greene from the Aug '45 YANK . . .
Mary Greene at the helm of the Gordon C. Greene from the '45 YANK.
Dave Thomson's colorized photograph of Captain David M. Cook on the third Corps of Engineers boat called the MISSISSIPPI.
Verne Streckfus 1989 pilot house of Natchez at New Orleans (above).
Photo of an unidentified pilot taken in St. Louis, perhaps in the 1880's, it's not dated and there's nothing on the Elite studio online. Note anchor design buttons on his coat. Had to pay a handsome price on eBay, thankfully (I guess) nobody outbid me. I scanned it large, retouched the worst blemishes from face and uniform and it by half. Jim Hale suggested that he could be an Anchor Line pilot but anchors on buttons for nautical uniforms have been common for centuries.
In Chapter 25 of Life on the Mississippi Mark Twain commented on how uniforms were a surprise to him when he revisited the Mississippi River and steamboating in 1882. In the pre-Civil War era the officers wore civilian dress: Uniforms on the Mississippi! It beats all the other changes put together, for surprise. Still, there is another surprise - that it was not made fifty years ago. It is so manifestly sensible, that it might have been thought of earlier, one would suppose. During fifty years, out there, the innocent passenger in need of help and information, has been mistaking the mate for the cook, and the captain for the barber - and being roughly entertained for it, too. But his troubles are ended now. And the greatly improved aspect of the boat's staff is another advantage achieved by the dress-reform period.
Captain Gabe Chengery (left), master of the Delta Queen, and Captain Norman Hillman in 1993. Capt. Hillman is the author of One Man and the Mighty Mississippi
Click here for photos of Jim Hale and John Hartford piloting riverboats. Also, photos by Dave Thomson of Jim Hale's model boats.
Eddie Bayard of New Orleans is a jazz musician and was leader of The Bourbon Street 5 when it played on the maiden voyage of the Mississippi Queen which began on July 20, 1976.
Eddie kindly bestowed this field drum, especially made for that first year of cruising that coincided with the Bicentennial year. It was carried by drummer Ronnie White when the group played on deck or marched on shore.
Eddie wrote "Most of my stuff washed out with Katrina, but the drum was safe upstairs."
The drum was specially customized with the text:
"THE QUEEN'S OWN" (band)
and the names:
CAP (Captain Ernest Wagner)
BETTY (Betty Blake, tireless promoter of the Delta Queen Co.)
EDDIE (Eddie Bayard, cornet)
BILL (Bill Coburn, trombone);
FUZZY ("Fuzzy" Ballard, clarinet)
VIC (Vic Tooker, banjo and calliope player).
RON (Ronnie White, drummer)
STAN (Stan McCauley, piano)
DAVE (Dave Jacobs, bass)
Attached photo of the drum here at home and a photo of The Bourbon Street 5, also provided by Eddie Bayard.
The Mississippi Queen was built by Jeffboat Inc. in Jefferson, Indiana, from 1973 to 1975 and launched on November 30, 1974. Until her christening on April 20, 1975, in Louisville, KY, she was referred to as "Hull 2999".
Jazz Band Bourbon Street.
Jim Swift (long time editor of the Old Boat Column for The Waterways Journal) and myself in the St. Louis office of the WJ in October, 1988. The steamboat ambiance is strong in the office with photos, paintings and at least one model as I recall. Jim was always a fun person to visit with in St. Louis and up at Keokuk during the Midwest Riverboat Buffs gatherings.
Included is a link to a posthumous collection of Jim's writings published by Jack Simpson who was the editor of the Waterways Journal when I visited there in '88.
Backing Hard Into River History
by James V. Swift
384 pages. 198 illustrations. Hard cover. Nonfiction. Little River Books. It covers the last 100 years of river development and the towing industry; the 112-year history of The Waterways Journal, known affectionately as the "riverman's bible" and the author's 60-year love affair with both.
Link to Chapter 13 of Jim's book: http://www.littleriverbooks.com/chap13.htm
Forgot the captain of the SPIRIT OF SACRAMENTO took this photo some eight years or more ago with the DELTA KING looming out front through the pilot house window.
John Fryant, the most accomplished steamboat model maker in the world (left) with the late Ralph DuPae (steamboat photo maestro for the Murphy Library) in Fryant's basement workshop. John was in the process of building a large scale sidewheeler here.
Below are John Fryant's memories on the photo of himself with Ralph DuPae.
Wonder who took that one?
My Wife, maybe. It was in the basement of our little house in Virginia during the time I was building the Rob't. E. Lee model for Mud Island in Memphis.
I would date it about 1979 or 80.
The late Michelle Kingsley was around at that time - maybe she took the shot.
Photos of Dan Martin on the left (Weatherbird and Postcards from Mound City Cartoonist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch) and Dave Thomson on the right, taken in September 1991 in the pilot house of the LONE STAR at LeClaire, IOWA. Included at center is the cover of Dan's Weatherbird book and a drawing he made in Dave's copy of the book.
"We had just completed a round trip from Le Claire to Galena, Illinois aboard the JULIA BELLE SWAIN and toured the old STAR together when we got back to LeClaire. Thankfully the LONE STAR is now under protective housing on the same site where she's shielded from the elements. I haven't had a chance to visit the STAR in her new accommodations but they look excellent from the few photos I have seen."
Links below to interesting stuff about Dan and his book:
http://www.ncs-glc.com/GLC/martin/martin.html Dan Martin and the St. Louis Cartoon Connection by Jim Allen
The Story of the First 100 Years of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Weatherbird: The Oldest Continuously Running Daily Cartoon in American Journalism by Dan Martin
A photo I took of Kevin Mullen, Master of the BELLE OF LOUISVILLE in the pilot house. Kevin gave me off duty tours twice during the early '90's but I'm not certain if this was an afternoon in Sept 1990 or a morning in 1993. The DELTA QUEEN tied up for the night at Louisville in during Sept of '93 and the crew had a big party at a place along the Louisville waterfront. I got up first thing the next morning and walked down to the BELLE. Glad the boat is being so lovingly taken care of. They added a new air conditioning system to the main cabin/ballroom which makes it pleasant for party goers during the humid seasons.
Kevin might recognize something in the picture that would remind him which year it was. Since this was before I was taking digital photos I had to scan a print and improved upon it as much as possible in Photoshop.