Steamboat Logs and Financial Records
Invoice for repairs to the Steamboat ELLEN MAY 25th of March 1875
The handwriting is difficult to decipher but some of words that are more or less legible are as follows; Steamer Ellen May & owners c/o Nicholas Glasser screw bolts, strap, rudder (s)pindle & chains Algier(s), La (Louisiana) per Ohlsen & Lawson filed March 25/75
ALABAMA RIVER LINE STEAMERS
1908 Pass for Alabama River Line Steamers
MOBILE & ALL WAY LANDINGS TO SELMA & MONTGOMERY
JIM HALE APPROVED:
"A NICE PASS FOR THE ALABAMA RIVER STEAMBOATS. I AM PRETTY SURE THE BOAT ON THE PASS IS THE NETTIE QUILL BECAUSE OF THE COTTON BALE HUNG BETWEEN THE STACKS. THE HARD CASH HAD ONE TOO. BUT I DON'T THINK THIS IS THE CASH. THANKS FOR SENDING ME A COPY. I WILL ADD IT TO MY ALABAMA COLLECTION."
Log book from the Towboat JOHN J. ROWE
From a dealer in Charleston, West Virginia I was fortunate to obtain the original bound 1948 log book for the towboat JOHN J. ROWE.
The 49 log pages were printed forms filled in with ink by hand and measure 11.05 X 21.85 inches.
I scanned one page in 2 passes that I cobbled together as an example and added the best photo La Crosse had of the ROWE
Stenciled in very faded letters in color on the 11.65 x 22.80 olive drab canvas board cover that has brown leather "bumper" triangles in the far right corners. The barely legible name and address was:
name: TONY HOLBROOK (in yellow)
address: 804 CENTER STREET (in white)
city: CATLETTSBURG (in red orange)
state: KY (in yellow) [Kentucky]
A Google search for Holbrook came up with a riverman from that community who was probably the same person. Stevens & Grass Funeral Home in Malden, West Virginia published the following obituary for James Tony Holbrook 1945 - 2013 from whose collection this log book very likely originated from.
James Tony Holbrook, 67 of Campbells Creek passed away Thursday June 13, 2013 at home of natural causes. Tony was born in Catlettsburg, KY on August 8, 1945 to the late James & Grettie Holbrook. He was a River Boat Captain and currently held a position as purchasing agent at Port Amherst Industries. A memorial service will be held Tuesday June 18, 2013 at 1:00 PM at Stevens & Grass Funeral Home, Malden. Family and friends may gather one hour prior to the memorial service on Tuesday.
log page begins with Trip 1 June 15, 1948 from Miami Fort, Ohio on the Ohio River log ends with Trip 49 October 8, 1948 to Huntington, West Virginia on the Ohio River
Attached scan of page for Trip #27
from Miami Fort to Hamilton, W. VA.
dated Sept 3rd to Sept 5th, 1948
MASTER: Geo Hamilton
PILOTS: Walter Fitzpatrick and William C. Spears
Photo from the LaCrosse collection
JOHN J. ROWE
Sternwheel towboat 1947-1955
Way's Steam Towboat Directory Number T1415
Originally the towboat CHARLES T. CAMPBELL built at Neville Island, PA in 1936,
171 5 x 34.6 x 7 2. Condensing engines 16's,32's-8 ft. stroke. Babcock & Wilcox boilers, installed 1948, coal burner, automatic stokers. The original owner was Campbell Transportation Co., then the Mississippi Valley Barge Line Co. (MVBL) who sold her, in fall of 1947, to The Ohio River Co., Cincinnati, OH.
In June, 1955 she was renamed ORCO.
Editor's note: we have several pages of towboat photos, please refer to Museum index - click here.
The steamboat VICTORIA made a trip from Fort Gibson to Smithland, Kentucky in May of 1839.
I recently purchased from John Miller in Iowa a rare passenger register from the steamboat VICTORIA that made a trip from Fort Gibson to Smithland, Kentucky in May of 1839. I edited the following short paragraph from John's auction description.
"There are three pages measuring 15 x 10 inches. Some names of male passengers written in pencil can be seen faintly in the register. There is no history available thus far regarding the VICTORIA and how long it operated, although generally for the time frame, these packet boats had a very short life span."
The following consists of observations regarding two pages and research of place names:
PASSAGE REGISTER, STEAMER VICTORIA.
STATE ROOMS. NAMES. EMBARKATION. DESTINATION. REMARKS
"No Berth considered engaged until the Passage money is paid and in no case a Berth or State Room to be changed, without consulting the Captain or Clerk"
The LADIES' CABIN consisted of only 8 berths - 4 lower and 4 upper No penciled names are written next to them so apparently there were no female passengers aboard.
The GENTLEMEN's CABIN consisted of 14 berths 2 berths (1 upper, 1 lower) in each to accommodate 28 male passengers
Of the six (or seven) gentlemen whose names are written in pencil the following are tolerably legible:
9 lower berth E. Campbell Louisville Home
10 lower berth Thos. S. Blanford (?) Louisville Yellow Banks
Yellow Banks, Kentucky, was the name of the rustic community founded by pioneer William Smeathers or Smothers around 1790 on the banks of the Ohio River. The name was derived from the yellowish banks along the river. In 1817, Yellow Banks became the established town of Owensborough, in honor of Col. Abraham Owen (also the namesake of Owen County in Kentucky).
10 upper berth V. Darrel? Cloverport
The town of Cloverport is on the banks of the Ohio River in Breckinridge County, Kentucky
The destinations of the previous voyage of the VICTORIA had been crossed out: "from Louisville to Port Gibson 27 April, 1839"
The destinations of the following voyage were: "from Fort Gibson to Smithland, Kentucky May 1839"
Smithland in Livingston County, Kentucky is located at the confluence of the Ohio and Cumberland Rivers.
Fort Gibson, Oklahoma was originally established as a military garrison named "Cantonment Gibson" in April 1824
The Neosho River follows the northwest border of the Fort Gibson and joins the Arkansas River, which flows just west of the town boundary and then forms the southern boundary of the town.
As one of the oldest non-Indian settlements in Oklahoma, Fort Gibson was the first to have a steamboat landing.
QUEEN CITY 1931 Purser's report
Purser Clyde Packard's Trip Statement Number 3 for operating expenses on the Steamer QUEEN CITY from Pittsburgh to Cincinnati during the 11th to the 17th of July in 1931. This document is folded and opens to a spread sheet (attached separately in reduced format) with further details of the expenses.
Packet boat 1897-1940
Way's Packet Directory Number 4615
Built in 1897 by Cincinnati Marine Railway Company at Cincinnati, Ohio.
Launched on June 5, 1897; ran her trials through June 10th and departed for Pittsburgh June 19th.
Captain Anthony Meldahl was pilot and never missed a trip for ten years (1907).
QUEEN CITY's fastest time from Cincinnati to New Richmond, Ohio (22.5 miles) was 1 hour 50 minutes in December 1897.
1897: Pittsburgh & Cincinnati Packet Line
1912: John W. Hubbard, Ohio & Mississippi Navigation Company
1918: Louisville & Cincinnati Packet Company
1929: Ohio River Transportation Company
Several of her owners sent her on Mardi Gras trips to New Orleans. Her first trip in 1903 was such a success that trips were made in 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1913, and 1914. On her 1914 trip downbound, she sank on the Falls at Louisville on Feb. 17th. She continued on Mardi Gras trips in 1921, 1922, 1923, 1925 and 1930.
After her ill-fated Mardi Gras trip in 1914, she was laid up in the Kanawha River at Pt. Pleasant, West Virginia until early summer 1916 when she returned to Louisville and ran excursions.
She again went back to the Kanawha River until spring of 1918 when Louisville & Cincinnati Packet Company acquired her. In May, 1920 she was towed to Mound City, Illinois where she received a new hull. She was finally laid up at Pittsburgh in September 1933 and became a wharf boat on the Monongahela River at Pittsburgh. As a wharf boat, river-men and boat fans visited her to purchase or borrow souvenirs. She was moved to the foot of Liberty Street because of wharf improvements and she sank there in January, 1940 her wreckage was burned on February 17, 1940
QUEEN CITY head on photo with stacks, boiler deck & signs over staircase
Classic head on photo of the QUEEN CITY showcasing her stacks, boiler deck & signs above the staircase on the main deck.
The derbies worn by the passengers indicate that this was probably taken during the early 1900's prior to the 1920's.
Adams Express Company 8th June 1865 ATLANTIC Sidewheel packet
Receipt from the ADAMS EXPRESS Co.
for a sealed Parcel "said to contain 800 dollars" entrusted to the steamboat ATLANTIC which transported it from J.O. Simons to A.B. Chamberlain in St. Louis, Missouri.
Dated June 8th, 1895 and signed by C.H. Mesler for the Adams Express Co.
In 1839, Alvin Adams, a produce merchant ruined by the Panic of 1837, began carrying letters, small packages and valuables for patrons between Boston and Worcester, Massachusetts. He had at first a partner named Burke, who soon withdrew, and as Adams & Company, Adams rapidly extended his territory to New York City, Philadelphia and other eastern cities. By 1847, he had penetrated deeply into the South, and by 1850 he was shipping by rail and stagecoach to St. Louis.
Adams Express was used by abolitionist groups in the 1840s to deliver anti-slavery newspapers from northern publishers to southern states; in 1849, a Richmond, Virginia slave named Henry "Box" Brown shipped himself north to Philadelphia and freedom via Adams Express. In 1855, the company was reorganized as the Adams Express Company.
By the time the Civil War started in 1861, Adams had operations throughout the American South, operating as Southern Express, led by Henry B. Plant. The company served as paymaster for both the Union and Confederate sides.
Receipt from the Adams Express Company 8th June 1865
Way's Packet Directory 0383
275' X 39' X 6.8'
26's-10 ft., 5 boilers
Built in 1859 at Jeffersonville, Indiana
First owner was J. B. Ford, New Albany, Indiana.
Captain in 1859 was Anson McGill
Ran between Louisville-New Orleans
Was a U.S. troop carrier during the Civil War
In the Spring of 1864 was sold to Capt. Dan Able and Co. St. Louis, who enlarged her width to 45 feet and was given new engines, 32's-8 ft.
She then ran between St. Louis - New Orleans
For a time was with the Atlantic and Mississippi Steamship Company.
Dismantled in 1867 at St. Louis and her cabin and machinery went to the DEXTER.
Her Hull served as a wharfboat, at New Albany, Indiana.
With the exception of images credited to public institutions,
everything on this page is from a private collection.
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All captions provided by Dave Thomson, Steamboats.com primary contributor and historian.