New Items - Photos, page 1


Sternwheeler J.H. CRAWFORD 1894 became the THISTLE in 1899

The sternwheeler J. H. CRAWFORD, of Oshkosh, Wisconsin on the Fox River was built in 1894 then renamed THISTLE in 1899 and began carrying cargo and running excursions. It was abandoned in Green Bay in 1918.

The initial 6 x 2 foot firebox boiler lasted until 1899 when the J. H. CRAWFORD was lengthened 14 feet, and renamed THISTLE and two new boilers were put in her lower deck. Those boilers were replaced in 1901 and overhauled in 1914. At least one of the 1914 boilers ended up heating an Oshkosh school until the mid-1960's.

On the Model Shipworld site a fellow with the initials "L. J. P.", who lived in a Milwaukee suburb, posted a message on August 24, 2018 that he was going to build a model of the THISTLE, and while doing research he discovered that the boat appeared to have been owned for many years by a family with Belgian ancestry. They were the Lefevre family whose name is prevalent in a Belgian settlement community northeast of Green Bay in Door County, although the Lefevre family that owned the THISTLE lived in Tustin. It's not clear if the Lefevres bought the J.H. CRAWFORD and renamed it THISTLE or if they had also owned the boat when it bore its original name. Nautical Research Guild.

A note from Lawrence J. Paplham, the LJP from

You listed a photo of the 1894 J. H. Crawford, the subsequent Thistle, was send to the beakers in August 1915 prior to undergoing repairs at Green Bay Wisconsin. It had been driven ashore and encased in ice in November 1913 at Calumet Harbor, Lake Winnebago. The UW Wisconsin Murphy Library has several photos of an unsuccessful attempt to have Thistle dragged off by tugs. Amazingly, the Wisconsin Drainage Company of Elkhorn (WI) was successful in removing Thistle off using capstans from the shore.

I recently (FINALLY!) started building the model of the Thistle. It will not be a fast build. I have been distracted by researching Fox River Valley (Wisconsin) and the Lower Wisconsin Waterway steamboats. Please note the LeFevre family could either be Walloon Belgian or of French as that area of Wisconsin was used extensively for the French fur trade. As part of my Waterway research I intend to publish a book on the Fox-Wisconsin Waterway and its steamboats.



Murray River Boat Skipper Captain Arch Conner at the pilot wheel. From an early Australian photograph.

A skipper could never rest on his laurels, be it flood, drought or normal conditions, the river changed constantly producing a myriad of new dangers on each trip.

Each skipper developed his own charts. Highly skilled and astute, working as much by instinct as learning, these men were the linchpins of the river trade.

Frank Tucker Collection
Published by John Olsen Albury


The Avalon (Belle of Louisville) at landing, La Crosse Collection.


scale model of a steamboat featured in Disney's TREASURE OF MATECUMBE (1976)

Publicity still of the scale model of a steamboat featured in Disney's TREASURE OF MATECUMBE (1976) for the bottom of Movies Page 6 where we have some frame captures from the movie including one daytime frame and one night time frame of this same model filmed on water for the sequences in which the boat appeared. Please add the attached grayscale photo of the model to the bottom Movies Page 6 in which the widest pilot house imaginable was included in the design, an imaginary depiction of how the boats of this period looked.

From Disney's 1976 movie, Treasure of Matecumbe. Here are three frames of the steamboat model and one frame of the cabin interior which the art department designed nicely with authentic arches, skylights and transoms. Joan Hackett (in white) as pretty and quirky heroine Lauriette Paxton. John Myhers as Captain Boomer (standing left in uniform) and Dick Van Patten seated right played a crooked card sharp who is beaten at his own game by Lauriette.

Treasure of Matecumbe
Walt Disney Productions, 1976
directed by Vincent McEveety
based on the the novel Voyage to Matecumbe (1961) by Robert Lewis Taylor
locations in the South: Danville, Kentucky and the Kentucky River


R.W. WILMOT tugboat with the Steamboat GEM at New Orleans

R.W. WILMOT tugboat "of PITTSBURGH, PA" was listed in Johnson's Steam Vessels of the Atlantic Coast, 1917 as having been launched in 1898 and owned by the Monongahela Con. Coal & Coke Co. 325 Carondolet, Street / New Orleans, Louisiana. The WILMOT ultimately joined the U.S. Navy as the POTOMAC and served until 1922.

Way's Packet Directory Number 2220
Sternwheel packet boat
Built at Jeffersonville, Indiana by Howard in 1898. 135x21 x 3. Three boilers.
Built for Capt. Ben C. Rea to handle cotton above Shreveport on Red River.
Sank just above Shreveport in February 1901 with 650 bales of cotton aboard.
She was in the Red River Line, CharlesP. Truslow, president, and Charles W. Drown, traffic manager.
Again sank, Jan. 30, 1908, a mile above Browns Landing, Red River. Sank at Elevator #3 in the New Orleans harbor, Nov. 23, 1910.

Sold to the Comeaux family for the NewOrleans - Bayou Sara trade and burned at Hahnville Landing, Louisiana, on Feb. 14, 1914 with loss of five of the crew. Both pilots lost their lives in this blaze, Eddie Comeaux and William E. Barre.


Sidewheel Packet
At a landing in October 1925
Way's Packet Directory Number 1033
Hull built by Midland Barge Company, Midland, Pennsylvania and completed at Cincinnati, 1924
1924: John W. Hubbard, Pittsburgh
1932: Streckfus Steamers, Incorporated, St. Louis
She had a double cabin, parlor rooms, baths, separate dining room, steam heat and all the trimmings. She was designed by marine architect Tom Dunbar as a single-cabin packet for the Cincinnati-Louisville trade.
Before completion, the stateroom capacity was vastly enlarged by the building of a second passenger cabin. The original cost of this boat was $417,000 of which she made back about $200,000 in the first eight years of operation.
The boat was owned by John W. Hubbard, Pittsburgh and operated by the Louisville and Cincinnati Packet Company.
She made Cincinnati-New Orleans Mardi Gras trips without a break from 1924-1930 and cleared $40,000 on her first Mardi Gras trip.
She was in Pittsburgh on several occasions, and brought the 31st annual convention of the Ohio Valley Improvement Association there in October, 1925.
She appeared for the 1929 celebration of the completion of the Ohio River locks and dams.
Her principal business was regular summer operation in the Louisville-Cincinnati packet trade.
On May 24, 1928 while between Carrollton and Madison, she collided with the mv. BELFONT and engineer Homer Johnston was killed.
Hard times came with the Louisville and Cincinnati Packet Company having financial troubles. The Cincinnati was sold to Streckfus Steamers, Incorporated, St. Louis. They tore her down to the hull and built a superstructure for an excursion boat named PRESIDENT.


Steamer PADUCAH 1916 - 1928

Sternwheel Packet
The Paducah on the ways, third boat from the left (her stage is down).
Other boats are not identified. La Crosse collection

Way's Packet Directory Number 4377;
Built in 1916 at Jeffersonville, Indiana by Howard Ship Yard Owned by St. Louis and Tennessee River Packet Company; Bladgett Construction Company (1928)
Original price, $15,000. Home port or owner's residence circa 1916, St. Louis, Missouri. She ran Paducah-Florence. In October 1922 she struck a rock and sank 17 miles above Paducah. After being sold in 1928 to the Bladgett Construction Company, she was used as a quarterboat at Hickman, Kentucky. The company had begun to dismantle her cabin when she buckled. They towed her across the river and burned her behind Island 6 on the Mississippi River.


The Avalon (Belle of Louisville) at landing, La Crosse Collection.


Steamboat seeing New Orleans

This is a 25% reduction made from a large tiff file of the J.S. that is available for downloading from the Library of Congress digital collection which includes a large collection of Detroit Publishing negatives.

Seeing New Orleans from the Steamer J.S.
Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher
Created/Published: [circa 1910]

'G 6859' on negative.
Detroit Publishing Co. no. 039644.
Gift; State Historical Society of Colorado; 1949.

Subject: J.S. (Sternwheeler)
Dry plate negative.
Bookmark /det1994017122/PP/


Canadian steamboat WHITE HORSE in Yukon Territory

From original print of the WHITE HORSE in Yukon Territory apparently taken during the 2nd World War in the 1940's. Lettering on the live preserver indicates that home port for the WHITE HORSE was Victoria, British Columbia

On the back of the 8 x 10 print is rubber stamped:

From Wikipedia:
Felts Field, Spokane Washington's historic airfield, is on the south bank of the Spokane River east of Spokane. Aviation activities began in 1913. In 1920 the field, then called the Parkwater airstrip, was designated a municipal flying field at the instigation of the Spokane Chamber of Commerce. In 1926, the United States Department of Commerce recognized Parkwater as an airport, one of the first in the West.

In September 1927, in conjunction with Spokane's National Air Races that Felts Field hosted the airport was renamed Felts Field for James Buell Felts (1898-1927), a Washington Air National Guard aviator killed in a crash that May. Parkwater Aviation Field, later Felts Field, was the location for flight instruction, charter service, airplane repair, aerial photography, headquarters of the 116th Observation Squadron of the Washington Air National Guard, and eventually the first airmail and commercial flights in and out of Spokane.




Ballou's Pictorial Drawing Room Companion, 1856 "Steamer SULTANA Wooding Up on the Mississippi River"

Detail of the steamboat SULTANA from a double page engraving entitled "Steamer Wooding Up on the Mississippi River" in Ballou's Pictorial Drawing Room Companion, 1856

Way's Packet Directory Number 5215

Sidewheeler built in Paducah, Kentucky in 1852 565 tons
Ran Louisville - New Orleans under Captain Baird.
During a gale at Mills Point on the Mississippi River
She lost her smokestacks o January 23, 1853.
Burned at Hickman, Kentucky on March 25, 1857

Fred Way lists 5 boats named SULTANA, this one Being the 4th boat by that name in his Packet Directory.

The 5th SULTANA was built in 1863 and exploded on April 27th, 1865 en route from Memphis to New Orleans with the loss of 1,547 lives, of which 1,100 were Union soldiers returning North from Southern battlefields at the end of the Civil War.


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.