New Items - Ephemera, page 1


Lighthouse tender GOLDENROD starboard elevation

draughtsman's profile drawing of the U.S. Coast Guard Lighthouse Tender GOLDENROD.

Prints aavailable in various sizes from Fineart America
Number FNART-1740170-1

The GREENBRIER has more than enough photos to qualify for its own page, with the rest including the GOLDENROD on "Other Tenders" - would be nice to find more GOLDENROD Images, great looking steamboat.



Steamboats DEXTER & PEYTONA painted on China plates by Rudolph Theodor Lux

Steamboat DEXTER 1868 - 1874 painted on a China plate by New Orleans artist Rudolph Theodor Lux. This is a detail from the color photograph of the plate on the cover of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts catalogue for the exhibition CURRENTS OF CHANGE - "Art and Life Along the Mississippi River 1850-1861."

Lux's 1865 painted plate of the steamboat PEYTONA 1859-1861 is from the Historic New Orleans Collection.

Rudolph Lux was active in New Orleans from 1856 to 1858 and was considered to have been the premier porcelain painter and gilder working in New Orleans in the mid 19th century. He was born in Germany, and specialized in portraying prominent persons including Civil War figures on porcelain plates and cups.




3 Quarts Snap Lid Can

This was listed on eBay and I bid on it but it disappeared without a trace so the seller may have pulled it before close of auction. The were some flaws where lettering was torn that I was able to repair digitally.


Sheet Music Will S. Hays : St. Charles POLKA & St. Nicholas SCHOTTISCHE 1865

"Two for the price of One"

By Will S. Hays



No. 324 Fourth Street



Way's Packet Directory Number 4916

Sidewheel packet built at New Albany, Indiana in 1864
764 tons 285 x 40 x 6 5 Engines, 24 's-8 ft Seven boilers

Capt Jesse K Bell formed the Peoples Line and ran this boat and WILD WAGONER in the Louisville-Cincinnati trade in opposition to theU.S. Mail Line.

Collided with MAJOR ANDERSON on Dec 12th,1865, at Coopers Bar, piloted by Napoleon B. Jenkins.
On Aug 6th, 1866, was racing with GENERAL LYTLE at Bethlehem, Indiana when the latter exploded.
The Peoples Line quit, and ST. CHARLES was sold at public auction at Cincinnati November 1866 to Thomas Gaylord for $50,000, only bidder.

In mid-February 1867 Captain Hugh Campbell became master and she ran Louisville-New Orleans.
Entered Pittsburgh-Cincinnati trade, Captain Charles A Dravo, with Andy Robinson, Jr. in the office, March 1868 and ran until latter June when low water stopped her.

Resumed in latter September same master, with George L. Reppart, Henry Chapin, and J.M. Lovett in the office, piloted by Ben Hall and Joe Witten, and with Joe Dodson, steward.

Immediately after the UNITED STATES collided with the AMERICA she was chartered by the U.S. Mail Line Co , for the Louisville-Cincinnati trade and so continued until December 1869.

During this term of charter she attempted a race with the ROB'T E. LEE, upbound at Madison, April 4th, 1869, and was quickly vanquished.

Resumed Pittsburgh-Cincinnati trade December 1869, Captain Charles A. Dravo, with George L. Reppart, first clerk, and with James Rowley and C.C. Cable, pilots.

Sank at Duff's Bar after striking a rock, near Dixmont, Pennsylvania, at Neville Island, Feb 11th, 1871, downbound, pilot Ben Hall on watch.

She was raised within a week and went to the marine ways at Cincinnati.

Resumed and ran until latter April when, upbound, she broke hull timbers in Sisters Islands, the river low, and she couldn't get through Glass House Ripple at Brunot's Island, and the D. T LANE brought flats and took her freight to Pittsburgh Resumed in the fall and got frozen in at Safe Harbor, Pa., in late December Burned at Cincinnati March 7th, 1872, along with the MAJOR ANDERSON and others.

There is evidence she was shorter than the dimensions given m this account when originally built, and was lengthened at Madison, Indiana by the People's Line, circa1866.


Way's Packet Directory Number 4962

Sidewheel packet built at New Albany, Indiana in 1864.
669 tons 223 3x33 8 x 3 7 Engines, 22's-7 ft Seven boilers.
Launched June 6, 1864, at the J. B. Ford yard in front of the American Foundry.

Owned by Cincinnati New Orleans Packet Co , with David Gibson a majority owner.
Made trips above Cincinnati early 1866, Capt Enos Moore.
Enrolled at New Orleans April 1866 owned by David Gibson (8/12) and her master Capt Sosthene Heno, and her clerk John Corne Libano.

Ran New Orleans-Bayou Sara. In January 1867 owned entire by David Gibson, with Capt J. C. Dowty, master.

Ran New Orleans-Red River.

Sank in full view of Natchitoches, Louisiana, Dec 23rd, 1868, and sat there on the bottom, straight and even all that winter. A flood in May 1869 took off the cabin, texas, and pilothouse. Captain John C. Dowty chartered the STONEWALL to take her place and lost his life when that boat burned on Oct 27th, 1869.


Lithograph by McClean of steamboat CITY OF CAIRO
from the sheet music cover for
Composed for the Piano by Chas. J. Young
Published by R.J. Compton
52 4th Street, St. Louis, MO

The CITY OF CAIRO was owned by the Memphis & St. Louis Packet Co., launched in 1864, ran between St. Louis, Memphis and New Orleans where she was lost in a fire on 7th of July, 1873.
Captain Robert K. Riley was in command of the CAIRO beginning in 1864.A U.S. Marshal seized the CAIRO at the request of creditors who demanded reimbursement for their investment in the boat and it was sold at a Marshal's sale for $2,100 on 23rd of June, 1873.


On the top of a book case in my River Room, New Orleans Jazz poster and 2 books. My brother and I attended a performance given by jazz musicians in Preservation Hall in New Orelans in October, 1989:

Framed BUNK JOHNSON & His New Orleans Band poster for San Jacinto Club & Dance Hall, New Orleans Farewell Show Saturday 21 July, 1945

2 books: PRESERVATION HALL by William Carter And NEW ORLEANS JAZZ A Family Album by Al Rose and Edmond Souchon

from Wikipedia:
Willie Gary "Bunk" Johnson (December 27, 1879 - July 7, 1949) was a prominent jazz trumpeter in New Orleans. Johnson gave the year of his birth as 1879, although there is speculation that he may have been younger by as much as a decade.
Johnson received lessons from Adam Olivier and began playing professionally in Olivier's orchestra. Johnson probably played a few adolescent jobs with Buddy Bolden, but was not a regular member of Bolden's Band (contrary to Johnson's claim). Johnson was regarded as one of the top trumpeters in New Orleans in the years 1905-1915, in between repeatedly leaving the city to tour with minstrel shows and circus bands.
After he failed to appear for a New Orleans Mardi Gras parade job in 1915, he learned that krewe members intended to do him bodily harm. So he left town, touring with shows and then by the early 1920s settling in New Iberia, Louisiana.
In 1931 he lost his trumpet and front teeth when a fight broke out at a dance in Rayne, Louisiana, putting an end to his playing. He thereafter worked in manual labor, occasionally giving music lessons.
In 1938 and 1939 the writers of an early book of jazz history, Jazzmen, interviewed several prominent musicians of the time, including Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, and Clarence Williams, who spoke highly of Johnson in the old days in New Orleans. The writers tracked down Johnson's address, and traded several letters with him, where he recalled (and possibly embellished) his early career. Johnson stated that he could play again if he only had new teeth and a new trumpet. A collection was taken up by writers and musicians, and he was fitted with a set of dentures by Bechet's dentist brother, Leonard, and given a new trumpet. He made his first recordings in 1942, for Jazz Man Records.
These first recordings propelled Johnson (along with clarinetist George Lewis) into public attention, attracting a cult following. Johnson and his band played in New Orleans, San Francisco, Boston, and New York City and made many more recordings. Johnson's work in the 1940s shows why he was well regarded by his fellow musicians—on his best days playing with great imagination, subtlety, and beauty—as well as suggesting why he had not achieved fame earlier, for he was unpredictable, temperamental, with a passive-aggressive streak and a fondness for drinking alcohol to the point of impairment.
Johnson suffered from a stroke in late 1948 and died in New Iberia the following year. Jazz fans and historians still debate Johnson's legacy, and the extent to which his colorful reminiscences of his early career were accurate, misremembered, exaggerated, or untrue. Although in recent years, new evidence has appeared in jazz historian Vic Hobson's 2014 Creating Jazz Counterpoint. New Orleans, Barbershop Harmony, and the Blues, in which is stated that Buddy Bolden's band member Willy Cornish - who is seen on the only surviving picture of the Bolden Band - affirmed Bunk Johnson as a member of the early jazz group. This puts Johnson's own statements and recordings, in which he actively recreated the Bolden tunes, in a plausible and positive light, making them of great historical and musicological importance to the study of jazz and New Orleans Jazz in particular.
The majority of his recordings remain in print on CD reissues, and his playing is an important influence on many contemporary traditional jazz musicians. Johnson plays a small, but significant, role in Alan Schroeder's picture book Satchmo's Blues. In that book, Johnson serves as a source of musical inspiration to the young Louis Armstrong.

Twain-related Ephemera



Clemens with Fall Colors on the Mississippi & a Steamboat custom made by Dave for a post card


Pierre Brissaud. Illustration of Mark Twain at the Lotos Club.


Pierre Brissaud.
Illustration of Mark Twain at the Lotos Club.

From an advertisement in Country Life, February 1937.:
Pierre Brissaud was a French Art Deco illustrator, painter and engraver. His illustrations of the well-to-do appeared in French and American magazines and books.

This scene of Mark Twain at the Lotos Club was used in an ad for Old Taylor Kentucky Whiskey.



Streckfus in my nautical cap

Attached the Streckfus Steamers pin that my favorite eBay dealer listed among his other steamboat ephemera for my benefit.

I attached the to one of my favorite nautical caps where it looks right at home. I sent you a file previously of the pin by itself over a different sort of background but this version over black is even more striking.

Streckfus steamers and the family that ran them with photos and advertising will make a great page. You can bring in brochure covers and items from other pages that promoted cruises and there's also a photo that I took of young Verne Streckfus in the pilot house of the modern NATCHEZ at New Orleans that should be included.

A page devoted to Cotton Packets is something we need. These steamboats are easy to spot among out photos and engravings because they are stacked high with cotton bales. Cooley's AMERICA was a cotton packet and we have some images of the boat with a heavy cargo of bales and there's a painting of it that Ray Samuel of New Orleans had in his magnificent home in the Garden District where I photographed him.


Steamboat War Eagle baggage tag

La Crosse County Historical Society discovers, collects, preserves, and shares the history of La Crosse County, Wisconsin.

Steamboat War Eagle baggage tag
This article was originally published in the La Crosse Tribune on April 22, 2017.
By Robert Mullen
Catalog Number: 1947.001.07

Somewhere, somebody has a claim to some very old luggage sitting at the bottom of the Black River at La Crosse. All they need to prove their ownership is to produce a baggage slip from the steamer War Eagle, dated May 14, 1870, for item No. 10.

That date was the evening that the Steamboat War Eagle burned and sank at the riverbank just north of today's Riverside Park. Along with the boat, the fiery disaster destroyed the docks, the Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad depot, several freight warehouses and grain elevators, and a passenger train nearby. At least five people died.

In addition, most of the personal effects of the approximately 40 passengers were left behind during the frenzied escape from the burning boat. The staterooms on steamboats were small, so most belongings had been checked and stored in baggage compartments. Oscar Topliff, the vessel's assistant baggage manager, saved some luggage under his care that night, but not that of at least one unlucky passenger.

This brass tag was strapped to that property. Stamped WAR EAGLE 10, the 1-3/4 inch high tag had a slot for a leather strap that Topliff had attached to the baggage, a common practice on steamboats and railroads of the day.

Sixty-one years later, in 1931, the Black River dropped to a record low stage, and many local residents were able to wade into the water and pick souvenirs from the charred remains of the War Eagle. This tag was one of them.

Who knows what treasures from 1870 it represents? Perhaps it was an immigrant trunk full of clothing, books and some precious mementos, or perhaps a craftsman's toolbox. Or a traveling salesman's patent medicines. Whatever it was, it's still waiting to be picked up, in damaged condition, at the bottom of the Black River at La Crosse.

The La Crosse County Historical Society has hundreds of additional items salvaged from the War Eagle on exhibit at the Riverside Museum in Riverside Park. The museum is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays.


Box cover watercolor "The Romantic River" for a 750 piece jigsaw puzzle by Warren Built-Rite Warren Paper Products Co. of Lafayette, Indiana.


Relax you are on the Mississippi River Now

Listed on ETSY by Kelissa Shea:

Sign -Pine 18 x 9.25 x .75 - Relax you are on the Mississippi River Now
Wood Wall Art Hanging Decor
Wood, Stain, Paint, Polycrylic, Pine
Height: 9.25 Inches; Width: 18 Inches; Depth: .75 Inches


Pilots' Association MO (MISSOURI) lapel pin

Pilots' Association MO (MISSOURI) lapel pin
.60 inches in diameter
I found this item in an antique store on the Paducah, Kentucky waterfront while on my way back to the DELTA QUEEN for lunch in September, 1993.

Sam Clemens wrote about the Pilots' Association in Chapter 15 of LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI Excerpts from the Chapter are below The complete text of the Chapter is available at this link:

Having set forth in detail the nature of the science of piloting, and likewise described the rank which the pilot held among the fraternity of steamboatmen, this seems a fitting place to say a few words about an organization which the pilots once formed for the protection of their guild. It was curious and noteworthy in this, that it was perhaps the compactest, the completest, and the strongest commercial organization ever formed among men.

For a long time wages had been two hundred and fifty dollars a month; but curiously enough, as steamboats multiplied and business increased, the wages began to fall little by little. It was easy to discover the reason of this. Too many pilots were being 'made.' It was nice to have a 'cub,' a steersman, to do all the hard work for a couple of years, gratis, while his master sat on a high bench and smoked; all pilots and captains had sons or nephews who wanted to be pilots. By and by it came to pass that nearly every pilot on the river had a steersman. When a steersman had made an amount of progress that was satisfactory to any two pilots in the trade, they could get a pilot's license for him by signing an application directed to the United States Inspector. Nothing further was needed; usually no questions were asked, no proofs of capacity required.

Very well, this growing swarm of new pilots presently began to undermine the wages, in order to get berths. Too late—apparently—the knights of the tiller perceived their mistake. Plainly, something had to be done, and quickly; but what was to be the needful thing. A close organization. Nothing else would answer. To compass this seemed an impossibility; so it was talked, and talked, and then dropped. It was too likely to ruin whoever ventured to move in the matter. But at last about a dozen of the boldest—and some of them the best—pilots on the river launched themselves into the enterprise and took all the chances. They got a special charter from the legislature, with large powers, under the name of the Pilots' Benevolent Association; elected their officers, completed their organization, contributed capital, put 'association' wages up to two hundred and fifty dollars at once—and then retired to their homes, for they were promptly discharged from employment. But there were two or three unnoticed trifles in their by-laws which had the seeds of propagation in them. For instance, all idle members of the association, in good standing, were entitled to a pension of twenty-five dollars per month. This began to bring in one straggler after another from the ranks of the new-fledged pilots, in the dull (summer) season. Better have twenty-five dollars than starve; the initiation fee was only twelve dollars, and no dues required from the unemployed.

Also, the widows of deceased members in good standing could draw twenty- five dollars per month, and a certain sum for each of their children. Also, the said deceased would be buried at the association's expense. These things resurrected all the superannuated and forgotten pilots in the Mississippi Valley. They came from farms, they came from interior villages, they came from everywhere. They came on crutches, on drays, in ambulances,—any way, so they got there. They paid in their twelve dollars, and straightway began to draw out twenty-five dollars a month, and calculate their burial bills.

By and by, all the useless, helpless pilots, and a dozen first-class ones, were in the association, and nine-tenths of the best pilots out of it and laughing at it. It was the laughing-stock of the whole river. Everybody joked about the by-law requiring members to pay ten per cent. of their wages, every month, into the treasury for the support of the association, whereas all the members were outcast and tabooed, and no one would employ them. Everybody was derisively grateful to the association for taking all the worthless pilots out of the way and leaving the whole field to the excellent and the deserving; and everybody was not only jocularly grateful for that, but for a result which naturally followed, namely, the gradual advance of wages as the busy season approached. Wages had gone up from the low figure of one hundred dollars a month to one hundred and twenty-five, and in some cases to one hundred and fifty; and it was great fun to enlarge upon the fact that this charming thing had been accomplished by a body of men not one of whom received a particle of benefit from it. Some of the jokers used to call at the association rooms and have a good time chaffing the members and offering them the charity of taking them as steersmen for a trip, so that they could see what the forgotten river looked like. However, the association was content; or at least it gave no sign to the contrary. Now and then it captured a pilot who was 'out of luck,' and added him to its list; and these later additions were very valuable, for they were good pilots; the incompetent ones had all been absorbed before. As business freshened, wages climbed gradually up to two hundred and fifty dollars—the association figure—and became firmly fixed there; and still without benefiting a member of that body, for no member was hired. The hilarity at the association's expense burst all bounds, now. There was no end to the fun which that poor martyr had to put up with.

However, it is a long lane that has no turning. Winter approached, business doubled and trebled, and an avalanche of Missouri, Illinois and Upper Mississippi River boats came pouring down to take a chance in the New Orleans trade. All of a sudden pilots were in great demand, and were correspondingly scarce. The time for revenge was come. It was a bitter pill to have to accept association pilots at last, yet captains and owners agreed that there was no other way. But none of these outcasts offered! So there was a still bitterer pill to be swallowed: they must be sought out and asked for their services. Captain & #151;— was the first man who found it necessary to take the dose, and he had been the loudest derider of the organization. He hunted up one of the best of the association pilots and said—

'Well, you boys have rather got the best of us for a little while, so I'll give in with as good a grace as I can. I've come to hire you; get your trunk aboard right away. I want to leave at twelve o'clock.'

'I don't know about that. Who is your other pilot?'

'I've got I. S-------. Why?'

'I can't go with him. He don't belong to the association.'


'It's so.'

'Do you mean to tell me that you won't turn a wheel with one of the very best and oldest pilots on the river because he don't belong to your association?'

'Yes, I do.'


The captain stormed, but to no purpose. In the end he had to discharge S-----, pay him about a thousand dollars, and take an association pilot in his place. The laugh was beginning to turn the other way now. Every day, thenceforward, a new victim fell; every day some outraged captain discharged a non-association pet, with tears and profanity, and installed a hated association man in his berth. In a very little while, idle non-associationists began to be pretty plenty, brisk as business was, and much as their services were desired. The laugh was shifting to the other side of their mouths most palpably. These victims, together with the captains and owners, presently ceased to laugh altogether, and began to rage about the revenge they would take when the passing business 'spurt' was over.

Soon all the laughers that were left were the owners and crews of boats that had two non-association pilots. But their triumph was not very long-lived. For this reason: It was a rigid rule of the association that its members should never, under any circumstances whatever, give information about the channel to any 'outsider.' By this time about half the boats had none but association pilots, and the other half had none but outsiders. At the first glance one would suppose that when it came to forbidding information about the river these two parties could play equally at that game; but this was not so. At every good-sized town from one end of the river to the other, there was a 'wharf-boat' to land at, instead of a wharf or a pier. Freight was stored in it for transportation; waiting passengers slept in its cabins. Upon each of these wharf-boats the association's officers placed a strong box fastened with a peculiar lock which was used in no other service but one—the United States mail service. It was the letter-bag lock, a sacred governmental thing. By dint of much beseeching the government had been persuaded to allow the association to use this lock. Every association man carried a key which would open these boxes. That key, or rather a peculiar way of holding it in the hand when its owner was asked for river information by a stranger—for the success of the St. Louis and New Orleans association had now bred tolerably thriving branches in a dozen neighboring steamboat trades—was the association man's sign and diploma of membership; and if the stranger did not respond by producing a similar key and holding it in a certain manner duly prescribed, his question was politely ignored. From the association's secretary each member received a package of more or less gorgeous blanks, printed like a billhead, on handsome paper, properly ruled in columns.


These blanks were filled up, day by day, as the voyage progressed, and deposited in the several wharf-boat boxes. For instance, as soon as the first crossing, out from St. Louis, was completed, the items would be entered upon the blank, under the appropriate headings, thus—

'St. Louis. Nine and a half (feet). Stern on court-house, head on dead cottonwood above wood-yard, until you raise the first reef, then pull up square.' Then under head of Remarks: 'Go just outside the wrecks; this is important. New snag just where you straighten down; go above it.'

The pilot who deposited that blank in the Cairo box (after adding to it the details of every crossing all the way down from St. Louis) took out and read half a dozen fresh reports (from upward-bound steamers) concerning the river between Cairo and Memphis, posted himself thoroughly, returned them to the box, and went back aboard his boat again so armed against accident that he could not possibly get his boat into trouble without bringing the most ingenious carelessness to his aid.


. . . a pilot; must devote himself wholly to his profession and talk of nothing else; for it would be small gain to be perfect one day and imperfect the next. He has no time or words to waste if he would keep 'posted.'


By and by the association published the fact that upon a certain date the wages would be raised to five hundred dollars per month. All the branch associations had grown strong, now, and the Red River one had advanced wages to seven hundred dollars a month. Reluctantly the ten outsiders yielded, in view of these things, and made application. There was another new by-law, by this time, which required them to pay dues not only on all the wages they had received since the association was born, but also on what they would have received if they had continued at work up to the time of their application, instead of going off to pout in idleness. It turned out to be a difficult matter to elect them, but it was accomplished at last. The most virulent sinner of this batch had stayed out and allowed 'dues' to accumulate against him so long that he had to send in six hundred and twenty-five dollars with his application.


The association had a good bank account now, and was very strong. There was no longer an outsider. A by-law was added forbidding the reception of any more cubs or apprentices for five years; after which time a limited number would be taken, not by individuals, but by the association, upon these terms: the applicant must not be less than eighteen years old, and of respectable family and good character; he must pass an examination as to education, pay a thousand dollars in advance for the privilege of becoming an apprentice, and must remain under the commands of the association until a great part of the membership (more than half, I think) should be willing to sign his application for a pilot's license.


The widow and orphan list grew, but so did the association's financial resources. The association attended its own funerals in state, and paid for them. When occasion demanded, it sent members down the river upon searches for the bodies of brethren lost by steamboat accidents; a search of this kind sometimes cost a thousand dollars.

The association procured a charter and went into the insurance business, also. It not only insured the lives of its members, but took risks on steamboats.

The organization seemed indestructible. It was the tightest monopoly in the world. By the United States law, no man could become a pilot unless two duly licensed pilots signed his application; and now there was nobody outside of the association competent to sign. Consequently the making of pilots was at an end. Every year some would die and others become incapacitated by age and infirmity; there would be no new ones to take their places. In time, the association could put wages up to any figure it chose; and as long as it should be wise enough not to carry the thing too far and provoke the national government into amending the licensing system, steamboat owners would have to submit, since there would be no help for it.


With the exception of images credited to public institutions,
everything on this page is from a private collection.
Please contact for permission for commercial use.*

All captions provided by Dave Thomson, primary contributor and historian.