Steamboat Photos, page 6


A favorite from La Crosse of the sidewheel packets MILWAUKEE and KEY CITY circa 1862 The delicacy of the gingerbread on the MILWAUKEE's boiler deck is beautiful.

Sidewheel Packet
Way's Packet Directory Number 3936
Built in 1857 at Cincinnati, Ohio

Owned by the Minnesota Packet Company
Ran the Prairie du Chien-St. Paul line 1857-1859
the Dunleith-St. Paul line 1860-1861
the Dunleith trade in 1861, off the lists in 1870

Sidewheel Packet
Way's Packet Directory Number 3278
Built in Cincinnati, Ohio, 1857
First home port was Dubuque, Iowa
inspected at Galena, 5th district report, 1867
a twin to the ITASCA, their parts were interchangeable.
Owned by the Galena and Minnesota Packet Company (a.k.a. the Minnesota Packet Company, 1857
Northwestern Union Packet Company, 1864

She ran Galena-Dunleith-St. Paul and according to one source, was the first boat through Lake Pepin.

In a collision with the sternwheel packet BEN COURSIN at the mouth of the Black River, near La Crosse, Wisconsin, August 24, 1857, the COURSIN sank with the loss of seven lives.

The KEY CITY arrived at Madison, Indiana for dismantling on December 6, 1869.

Flying Eagle and Barge Steve Chou Collection HALF exp

Best photo ever taken of the Flying Eagle from the collection of Steve Chou who is the most successful collector of Hannibal, Missouri memorabilia.

Flying Eagle (Packet, 1888-1903)
BUILT: 1888 at Rock Island, Illinois, the Kahlke yard .
Formerly the rafter IRENE D.
Sank on June 3, 1903
Owned by Tom Adams
Officers and crew: Tom Adams (master in 1903); Frank Slater (pilot in 1903); Thomas Boland (Captain); Charles Campbell (mate in 1903)

She was operated as an excursion boat out of Quincy, Illinois with room for extra passengers in a barge named LITTLE CATE which was lashed to her port side.

The photo is from the collection of Steve Chou who has amassed the biggest private collection of Hannibal, Missouri photographs and memorabilia.

The following is from THE STORY OF HANNIBAL by Hurley and Roberta Hagood (1976):

The Flying Eagle—Hannibal's Steamboat Disaster:

The Park Methodist Church sponsored a steamboat excursion for its members and other interested persons. A Sunday School class, consisting of Sadie Conlon, Aileen Davidson, Marguerite Rightmire, Laura. Mae McClure, Rose Eichenberger,

Katie Eichenberger, Mable Orr, Adele Tucker, Theresa Zimmerman, Sylvia Collins, Lena Ober, Fanny Ober, Miriam Boulware, Lonnie B. Curts, Frances Kabler, Miss Olive Orr and Mrs. J. A. Swinney, made the arrangements and 176 tickets were sold.

The Flying Eagle, often used for such excursions, was chartered for June 3, 1903.

The Flying Eagle had a double decked barge secured to its side for expanding space, making additional room for the passengers.

The barge, enclosed at the lower level, had most of the passengers on it. Friends and spectators were at the ferry landing as the boat cast off. The river had been at flood level of 22 feet during the seasonal run-off and was still high. It was a rainy day.

The Wabash Bridge, in 1903, pivoted at a span farther out in the river than now. The current ran on the east side of the opening span. As the Flying Eagle approached the bridge, the waters tugged at it and caught it, turning it partially crosswise to the current. The captain and the pilot both strained at the pilot's wheel to turn the boat and were unsuccessful. With a crash, the stern slammed into the pier. The barge, loaded with frightened passengers, swung slowly to the opposite side of the pier, and the two hung there temporarily. The bridge operator closed the draw span against the Flying Eagle so that passengers could crawl onto it.

The cook, James Harvey, at the stern, was either stunned or killed in the first crash. His galley was demolished, his body never found.

Passengers kicked out windows and climbed to the top of the pier against which the barge was precariously caught. The shoulder of the pier was a foot and a half above the top deck of the barge and women, children, and men frantically scrambled to safety.

A group of Wabash painters working on the bridge assisted the passengers.

The Flying Eagle was pinned on the west side of the pier and the barge on the east side. Water was pouring into a large hole in the boat's hull and she began to sink. As water covered the first deck, then the second, people rushed to the top deck. In the meantime, the Hannibal Ferry had cut loose from its mooring and was rushing to the rescue. Someone with presence of mind, realizing the sinking boat would pull the barge to the bottom, chopped the ropes to free the barge. It started floating downstream with 40 passengers aboard. The ferry, circling behind the barge gradually nudged it ashore near Cave Hollow, and the passengers disembarked. The barge had lost a plank in the collision, just above the waterline. The ferry boat pilot cautioned those aboard to stand on the side opposite from the missing plank to keep the barge balanced and afloat until it could be beached.

When the Flying Eagle sank those still aboard were in the water. The swift current carried them downstream and they were rescued by small boats.

Phineas Bradshaw, a Negro musician, who lived in Soap Hollow pulled many ashore with his rowboat.

Lonnie B. Curts, a teenage girl, was left in the water when the boat sank, and Harry Eichenberger, who had reached the safety of the pier, jumped into the water in an effort to save her—both were drowned.

Martha Coppedge, another teenage girl, failed to reach the pier and was drowned.


Nice clean real photo postcard port side view of FRED SWAIN which was built in 1900 at Stillwater, Minnesota

Owned and operated by the La Salle and Peoria Packet Company on the Illinois River

Officers & Crew: Captain Percy Swain (master early 1900s); Joseph Casrider (engineer, 1909); Captain Verne Swain (1909)

Way's Packet Directory 2146:

She departed Peoria on a regular trip in August 1909, caught fire 20 minutes later, was safely landed and 25 passengers and crew came ashore safely. Captain Verne Swain was in command at the time.

recent acquisitions

The 1943 fire that consumed the CAPTAIN WEBER (which looked so splendid in the Stephen Foster "biopic" SWANEE RIVER) was captured dramatically in this news bureau photograph.

I scanned the teletype read-out off the back and put it below the picture.


Steamboat WARREN New Orleans Cotton on the levee 1880 -97

Cotton on the levee, New Orleans No. 08117
Steamboat WARREN

William Henry Jackson 1843-1942, photographer
Detroit Publishing Co., published between 1880 and 1897
from 5 x 7 inch glass negative
Library of Congress collection


Sternwheeler WARREN New Orleans levee 1880 -1897

1st: "Cotton on the levee, New Orleans"
Detroit Publishing Co. No. 08117
Steamboat WARREN

William Henry Jackson photographer
published between 1880 and 1897
from 5 x 7 inch glass negative
Library of Congress collection

2nd: "On the levee, New Orleans"
Detroit Publishing Co. No. 08123

William Henry Jackson photographer
published between 1880 and 1897
from 5 x 7 inch glass negative
Library of Congress collection

Sternwheel Packet
Way's Packet Directory Number 5697

Built in 1882 at Cincinnati, Ohio
New Orleans and Washington Packet Company
Cotton carrier with a capacity of 2,800 bales; running New Orleans, Atchafalaya River, and Washington trade circa 1885-1889

Captain Max Kenison (master, 1885, 1889); J. C. Bergeron (clerk, 1885); Eugene Quatrevous (clerk, 1889)


An excellent quality vintage snapshot that scanned up very nicely and with contrast adjustment resolved as a sharp image. A.V. Fetter of Quincy, Illinois is mentioned several times in the following history of the GARDIE EASTMAN.

Sternwheel Rafter

Way's Steam Towboat Directory Number T0876

Built at Stillwater, Minnesota in 1882 by contractors A.V. Fetter and Crosby, for Gardiner, Batchelder and Wells of Lyons, Iowa:

She was used by Fetter and Crosby, contractors, for river improvement work.
Captain Fetter rebuilt her at the Kahlke yard and after his death in July, 1920, the boat was sold to the McWilliams Dredging Company.

They sent her to Shreveport, Louisiana on the Red River and she arrived there on April 21, 1922 with Captain L.C. Migaud as pilot.

She was rebuilt at Madison, Indiana in 1926 and renamed McWILLIAMS.

Officers and crew in 1882:
Captain Joseph Buisson
John Haskel (pilot)
Harry Wilkinson (clerk)
J.P. Smith (1st engineer)
Joe Fuller (2nd engineer)

Captain John Moore (master)
Captain Joseph Hawthorne (pilot);

Chris Gardiner (pilot)

Captain Charles Carpenter

Captain Al Fetter (master)

Captain Frank Wilson (master)
Charles Brandon (2nd engineer)

Captain E. Johnson (master)

Captain L.C. Migaud (pilot)

Captain Lopaz Lannus (master)

unknown dates:
Captain "Chess" Wilcox (master)
Clair C. Fuller (chief engineer)

Navigated on the Ohio, Mississippi and Red rivers



The BLACK PRINCE on the Skagit River in Washington State

The following story and others about the BLACK PRINCE can be found at this link:

BLACK PRINCE sternwheeler by Ray Jordan

Though half a century has passed, nostalgic twinges grip the writer at times as he seems to hear the melodious whistle, faint and far away, of the old sternwheeler BLACK PRINCE as she boils up the Skagit River in Washington state with cool-headed Captain Forrest Elwell at the wheel.

Highlights of the career of the historic steamer were contained in a letter sent by Captain Elwell to the Skagit Valley Herald in 1964.

Captain F.M. Elwell, aged 84 in 1964, resided in Everett, Washington. Elwell's last tour of duty before retiring was with the Black Ball Line as Captain of one of the large ferries on Puget Sound.

Ray Jordan wrote the following which included excerpts from Captain Elwell's letter in quotation marks. This was published October 7th, 1964 in the Skagit Valley Herald:

"In the summer of 1900, Captain Charles Wright sold the City of Bothell and then the Snohomish and Skagit River Navigation Company was formed by Captain Charles Wright, Captain Charles Elwell, and Captain Vic Pinkerton. It was then decided to build a boat for towing on the Snohomish and Skagit rivers. Captain Charles Elwell made the hull model and Bob Houston was given the job of building the BLACK PRINCE."

Dimensions of the steamboat were: hull, 93 feet; over-all length, 112 feet; beam, 19 feet; depth of hold, 5 feet; tonnage measurement was 159 gross tons, according to the captain. When the hull and the superstructure were completed, she was towed to Seattle by the tug NELLIE PEARSON, where a pair of 10 X 48 steam engines and a 100 horsepower brickyard boiler, 150 working pressure, were installed.

"After completion, the Prince came back to Everett under her own power and then went to the Skagit to tow logs and pilling," Elwell wrote.

The first crew on the Prince in 1901, was Captain Elwell; Captain (Engr.) Wright; engineer Mike Hertzberg; Captain Pinkerton; Forrest Elwell, deck hand, and Wes Harbert, fireman.

"In the late summer of 1901, she made a trip between Novelty and Tolt. In 1902, the Prince took a two from Haskell Slough (near Monroe) to the mouth of the Snohomish River.

"On July 7, 1903, loaded 50 tons of machinery at Mount Vernon designated for the old Talc Mine about 12 miles above Marblemount. ( A former employee of the talc mine remembered the date as 1906. The distance was estimated in river miles. Mileage by automobile is about 6 miles. This trip took three days to get up the river and unload," the Captain continued.

To negotiate Stick's Riffle (named for the old Indian, Johnny Stick, who lived there) below Bacon Creek, the crew found it necessary to pay out 1200 feet of line and employ the boat's winch to pull the heavily laden PRINCE over this shallow, swift piece of water.

"Before this trip was made, Captains Wright and Elwell decided to decrease the diameter of the paddle wheel by about one foot. This was done to give a little more power on the wheel. "They also set up the safety valve another 10 pounds, carrying a boiler pressure of 160 pounds. After this trip, the wheel a safety valve were returned to their original settings."

This trip by the BLACK PRINCE may have been the farthest upstream penetration of a steamer sine the gold rush of 1880. One sternwheeler, the CHEHALIS, is reported to have reached the Portage, a mile or more above the old talc mine, during the gold excitement. One old-timer, who has lived on the river since 1877, is inclined to believe this. He says that a river-wise boat captain conceivably could have made it over the riffles above the talc mine during real high water. He added, however, that most of the gold rush steamers got no farther than Durand Riffle, a mile or so below Marblemount.

"In 1906, the Company operated a logging camp across the Skagit from Birdsview The logs were towed to the mouth of the Skagit and later to Utsaladdy by the PRINCE."

"The writer well remembers towing from Birdsview, and especially through the Dalles (above Birdsview) which is like the letter 'Z'. If you were lucky, okay, but if the raft broke up, you were in a mess, as logs would be all around and under the PRINCE, which would almost spin like a top.

"I also remember a trap (fish trap) pile that went through the bow, and as luck would have it, the pile tore a hole in the forward tank, or else the boat would have sunk. The PRINCE ran on the Skagit for some time before this hole was fixed."

"The first time (after the damage was done) that she took a tow to Utsaladdy, they put the PRINCE right on the beach and when the tide went out the hole was repaired."

In 1910, the Company sold the PRINCE and the T.C. REED to Elwell, Pinkerton, Ira Hall and Tom Meagher, who organized as the Washington Tugboat Company. Forrest Elwell was master of the PRINCE from 1907-1922.

Before the year of 1910 was out they sold out to the Puget Sound and Baker River Railroad (the logging line that hauled Dempsey and Lyman Timber Company, and later, Scott Paper Company logs down the river).

How the BLACK PRINCE got her name: Captain Wright had a dream that he had a boat that was all black and called the BLACK PRINCE, so that is where her name came from, Elwell recalled.

An excerpt from a paper read to members of the Everett Yacht Club reveals the fate of the colorful BLACK PRINCE:

"In 1922, Captain Harry Ramwell of the American Tugboat Company purchased the BLACK PRINCE. She was sold to the Everett Port Commission in the year of 1935 for one dollar. The Port Commission then turned her over to the Everett yacht Club."

"Time marches on and we found that the BLACK PRINCE was too small, too old, and too expensive to repair. She was dismantled in the late fall of 1956 to make room for a larger clubhouse." "As a memorial to the sternwheeler days, the paddlewheel of the BLACK PRINCE sits on the lawn of the Port Commission Office on the Everett waterfront."


Two of my favorite steamboat photos of the CITY OF SAVANNAH which had sharp, clear, uncluttered lines and was maintained immaculately. From the LaCrosse collection.


Sternwheel Packet

Way's Packet Directory Number 1135;

Built at Jeffersonville, Indiana, Howard Ship Yards, 1889; homeport or owner's residence St. Louis Missouri; original price $13,000.
The St. Louis & Tennessee River Packet Company chartered her to the Lee Line to run out of Memphis in September 1895.
She was acquired by Captains A. E. and L. P. Cummins to run Memphis-Vicksburg.
She sank at Shiloh Landing, 60 miles above Vicksburg on September 18, 1897, and was raised.
She burned at the Memphis, Tennessee wharf March 9, 1898. The WARREN was chartered to replace her, and then the CUMMINS got the Ouachita for the trade


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.