Steamboat Photos, page 8

steamboat photo

Attached of the J.C. Kerr is a bit scuffed and scruffy, but an interesting photo. The boat was built in 1884 and operated on the upper Ohio until 1892 when she moved to the Green River trade where this photo was most likely taken.

In 1894 she was rebuilt a bit and renamed Chaperon which she is better known by. In 1917 she ended up on the Yazoo and tributaries, renamed the Choctaw. Burned on the Tallahatchie in 1922.


Here is the second T.P. LEATHERS built in 1891 (the first one built in 1885 goes with the 1888 New Orleans wharf keepers log book).

The attached photo and caption can go into one of the new general photograph pages. It's an excellent picture and worth sharing (from La Crosse collection)


Sternwheel Packet

Way's Packet Directory Number 5287 Built in 1891 at Howard Ship Yard in Jeffersonville, Indiana 459 Tons The original price was $42,500 and the home port was New Orleans. This cotton carrier had red smokestacks, as did all of the NATCHEZ side-wheelers, a custom which continued until August, 1898 when her stacks were painted black. Captain T.P. Leathers died while this boat was in operation and command and management went to Captain Bowling Leathers and Captain W.A. Duke.

OWNERS: Captain T.P. Leathers; Captain Bowling Leathers and Captain W.A. Duke OFFICERS & CREW 1900:

Captain Bowling Leathers


T.C. Sachse Perkins Boardman William Penny

James Brady (steward)

James Duke and Mike Cusick (mates)

The T.P. LEATHERS was snagged in June, 1900 at Bougere's Landing about 40 miles above Natchez, Mississippi and lost.

The T.P. LEATHERS was named for Captain Tom P. Leathers who was born in New Orleans on May 24, 1816, died June 13, 1896.

Leathers owned:

The GENERAL QUITMAN in partnership with John W. Cannon, the NATCHEZ (1853-February 1854), the NATCHEZ (1860-March 1863), T.P. LEATHERS I (1885) and T.P. LEATHERS II (1891). In partnership with Captain Truman C. Holmes, Leathers owned: the PRINCESS, the C.C. JUNIOR, the R.W. McREA and the CAPITOL.

Leathers was master on:

The GENERAL QUITMAN (1868), the MAGENTA (1864), the sidewheel NATCHEZ and the sternwheel NATCHEZ.
In the winter of 1868 he was captain on the BELLE LEE.
A fight regarding the terms of the charter of the BELLE LEE ensued between Captain Leathers and Captain John W. Cannon and from that point on Leathers was regarded as an enemy by Captain Cannon. Leathers held stock in the packet MAGENTA at various times. He was captain of the NATCHEZ when she raced the ROB'T E. LEE in June-July of 1870.


Excellent photo of the W.H. GRAPEVINE from the La Crosse Collection.
Perfect camera angle, focus, contrast and grayscale values.
Wonderful reflection, all together the picture is a "beauty to be prized."

Sternwheel Packet

Iron Mountain Railroad; Captain Dos Davis (1903)

Ran on the Missouri and Ohio rivers

Way's Packet Directory Number 5636

Built in 1898 at Mound City, Illinois

Machinery and part of the upper works came from the J.A. WOODSON.

Named for Captain William H. Grapevine, superintendent of Missouri-Pacific's transfer boats.

She was designed to run on the White River in Arkansas to connect with their trains.

After a short time there, she went to the Missouri River and ran St. Louis-Rocheport.

In 1900 she ran excursions at Kansas City under charter to A.F. Baughman.

After being sold to Captain Davis in 1903, she ran Cincinnati-Ironton, Ohio.

During the 1903 flood, she saved the lives of 200 stranded river dwellers and property estimated at two million dollars.

She broke loose in ice at Cincinnati, struck the C. and O. Railroad bridge and sank on December 25, 1903 sank in December 1903.

Her machinery went to the Big Sandy boat ECLIPSE.


Sidewheel Railroad transfer ferry

Way's Packet Directory Number 4240
Built in 1879 at Mound City, Illinois
Used at Bismarck, Dakota in the beginning.
Later she went to Vicksburg, Mississippi and was operated there by the Vicksburg, Shreveport and Pacific Railroad.
She and the packet R.L. COBB were beached in a flood at Vicksburg and both rotted down on shore early in 1895.
The NORTHERN PACIFIC was replaced by the transfer ferry DELTA.

Scanned from a "retouched" photo (note air brushed clouds in the sky and definition lines drawn around the paddleboxes and stacks to increase their visibility).

The signage on the front of the pilot house says: "RAIL-ROAD TRANSFER" This was probably published to be used for educational purposes in classrooms, image area without margins measures 16 x 20 inches.

Plate #106 published by
The Old Photo Co.
18225 171st N.E.
Woodinville, WA 98072

Caption in lower margin:

"Train using ferry to cross the Missouri River at Bismarck, North Dakota during the summer. In the winter the train crossed the river on tracks laid on ice."

old steamboat

Columbia excursion steamer. Nice nostalgic flavor and old Mr. Toad's style of "motor car" with what look like carriage wheels. Very dreamy landscape and depth to it. The boat sank near Columbia on the Illinois River in 1918 with the loss of 175 lives. Sounds like the pilots may have been entertaining some sultry vixens instead of watching the river.

Robert Killion, Curator, Peoria Historical Society, Peoria, Illinois, adds:

On July 5, 1918 the Columbia was steaming back from Al Fresco Park in Peoria to Pekin and wrecked near Wesley City (now Creve Couer). 89 lives were lost. There were some accusations that the pilot was drunk.

Descendants of Captain Mehl still live in the area as do descendants of people on the boat that night. I believe the last survivor died a few years ago. The Peoria Historical Society has some pictures of the Columbia and other Peoria boats (the Swain boats in particular). Some pictures of other boats passing through as well. I just ran across some in some of my wife's family pictures as matter of fact. At any rate great collection.

Probably the definitive work on the Columbia and the wreck is here: Facebook

Yukon riverboat

Sure looks inviting, what a nice vacation vehicle . . .


From John Fryant to Dave Thomson, August 13, 2015:
Dave, Fascinating photo! The big wooden bulkheads out on the head of the boat aroused my curiosity but then I realized that they were "wooding up" the boat and those were removable bulkheads normally placed along each side of the boiler area to form the "firebox" where the fuel was stored. But the big surprise to me was the wooden arch structure on the port side extending from the main deck up through the boiler deck. She had hog frames! I've only ever seen these on larger deep-water craft on the Great Lakes and coastal waters. This is a first for me. Never thought I would see this type of construction of a shallow draft sternwheeler. Well, ya learn something every day. The pilothouse roof is interesting too. Looks sort of like a standing seam metal roof. And the little weather-vane tops on the stove pipes must have kept the smoke blowing downwind.
Thanks for sharing.
John Fryant

Excellent 7.20 x 8.50 original albumen photo of the ELLEN HARDY mounted on card stock Written on verso: "Holmes Kaysar's (Keyser's) Boat" at Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin River 1870

ELLEN HARDY (1867-1888)
Sternwheel Packet
Built 1867 at Faxon, Minnesota
M.H. Keyser and Company of La Crosse, Wisconsin 1869; of Prairie du Sac, 1881
First home port, St. Paul, Minnesota. In the Minnesota river trade 1867-68
Abandoned in 1888

Officers: Captain Captain A. Russell (master, 1868); Captain Hardy (master, 1869); Jacob H. Hinderman (master); A. Baldwin (master, November 1881)




A selection of the three best images from a group of 3 x 4 snapshots apparently taken by a passenger.


Sternwheel Packet

Way's Packet Directory Number 0432

Built at Madison, Indiana 1898

Mississippi River; Ohio River; Missouri River; Cumberland River; Illinois River

Much of the equipment came from the D. H. PIKE.

Owned by the Eagle Packet Company and ran principally St. Louis - Illinois River, although in latter years St. Louis-Cape Girardeau commerce.

Ran St. Louis - Fort Madison, in 1929.

She was sold to a contracting company for use as a quarter boat on the Missouri River.

This was her last use before she broke in two and sank in the Missouri River in 1934.


Steamboat THETIS Suwanee River at Branford, Florida

2 Photos of the Steamboat THETIS on the Suwanee River at Branford, Florida circa 1900

This pair arrived 22 November, 2019. Scanned, adjusted contrast and restored both images.

Included below CITY OF HAWKINSVILLE at Branford with the stacks of the THETIS behind it.

Steamboat CITY OF HAWKINSVILLE OF TAMPA at Branford, Florida.

From Florida Memory - State Library and Archives of Florida site
Image Number

Twin stacks of Thetis in background.
The City of Hawkinsville was 140 ft. long by 30 ft. wide steamship built in 1886 by the Hawkinsville (Georgia) Deepwater Boat Lines. In 1900, it was sold to the Gulf Transportation of Tampa. It was used primarily to haul timber on the Suwannee River. But it became obsolete with the rise of railroads, and in 1922 it was abandoned in the middle of the Suwannee River. The wreck site has since been designated as a Florida Underwater Archaeological Preserve.



My favorite steamboat photo of the UNCLE SAM from the collection of Hannibal, MO collector Steve Chou. This was taken along the Hannibal waterfront looking south. The lady in white (a bride?) walking ashore on the swinging stage really makes the picture. It's got a sort of Victorian Gothic/Edward Gorey feeling of mystery with a sort of foreboding sky above.

Way's Directory No. 5500 UNCLE SAM

Sternwheeler Sterling Island, Illinois, 1898, originally the excursion steamer JACOB RICHTMAN. Prior to 1904 bought by Clat Adams and his brother of Quincy, Ill.. Burned in Quincy Bay, 1904, having been renamed. Rebuilt and by 1910 was owned by the Missouri River Excursion Co., Capt. E. H. Mattheus, master. While backing away from the landing at Kansas City, Mo., on May 18,1910, she collided with a sand barge and sank after having been run ashore. There were 95 passengers on board but no life loss due largely to John J Pryor, one of the owners who, although he could not swim, stood by and saw all safely ashore.


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.