Steamboat Photos, Page 8


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

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)


Albumen photo with detail and real photo postcard from my collection of the ECLIPSE.

Sternwheel Rafter/Packet

Way's Packet Directory Number 1695

Built at LeClaire, Iowa in 1882, the ECLIPSE towed rafts until the mills shut down in 1904. Then Captain John Lancaster, LeClaire, who held interest in the boat and had commanded her as a rafter, bought Captain John Streckfus's warehouses at Davenport, Iowa and Clinton, Illinois and entered the Eclipse in the trade. This venture was not a success because a street car line had been opened. This was the last effort to run a packet between those cities. She later ran in the Dubuque, Iowa-Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin trade. In 1913 she was laid up and sank in Cat Tail Slough, south of Albany, Illinois. Captain Ralph Emerson Gaches then bought her to tow his showboat. He was making a trip with her from Pittsburgh to Sistersville, West Virginia with an Atlantic Refining Company gasoline barge the night of December 8, 1917. She struck the dike at the foot of Neville Island, Ohio River, burned and sank. During her days she towed showboats, Goldenrod, Cotton Blossom and Emerson's Floating Palace. She was enrolled at the Port of Burlington, April 29, 1884; Port of Dubuque, May 8, 1888; Rock Island, Illinois, 1894, 1900 and 1902.

Then Captain John Lancaster, LeClaire, who held interest in the boat and had commanded her as a rafter, bought Captain John Streckfus's warehouses at Davenport, Iowa and Clinton, Illinois and entered the ECLIPSE in the trade. This venture was not a success because a street car line had been opened. This was the last effort to run a packet between those cities. She later ran in the Dubuque, Iowa-Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin trade. In 1913 she was laid up and sank in Cat Tail Slough, south of Albany, Illinois. Captain Ralph Emerson Gaches then bought her to tow his showboat. He was making a trip with her from Pittsburgh to Sistersville, West Virginia with an Atlantic Refining Company gasoline barge the night of December 8, 1917. On December 8, 1917 she struck the dike at the foot of Neville Island, Ohio River, burned and sank.


an old advertising card for the ECLIPSE


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


This photo of an interesting character leaning on the counter of a clerk's office in the cabin of a steamboat.

The boat is not identified but the picture came from a group of Upper Mississippi River snapshots and could have been taken aboard the QUINCY or a similar boat that ran between St. Louis, MO and Keokuk, Iowa.

Nice detail and a range of tonal values in this photo that conveys a genuine flavor of the old packets.



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


Detail inside an oval vignette from the upper right quadrant of a 1906 Detroit Publishing photograph taken at New Orleans with a nice stern angle of Captain Cooley's AMERICA.

KootenayLakeNasookin 1913

The Nasookin returns to Gray

By Greg Nesteroff
The Nelson Star
October 06, 2011

Malcolm Metcalfe's earliest childhood memory is of being in the pilothouse of the SS Nasookin during the grand old ship's final days.

Once the largest sternwheeler on Kootenay Lake, it was by then a car ferry plying between Gray Creek and Fraser's Landing three times a day. Metcalfe's namesake grandfather, Malcolm MacKinnon, was its captain. Metcalfe recalls sitting on a shelf behind the ship's wheel.

"I remember my grandfather trying to get me to put my hand on this cord that came down from the ceiling and had a big tassel," he says. "I wouldn't touch it. So he pulled it, and of course it was the whistle. I screamed bloody murder."

That whistle blast is forever emblazoned in his memory - the only thing he can remember from that far back, much less with crystal clarity.

"My mother tells me I was two years old at the time. I told her that story, not the other way around. That's by far the earliest memory I have as a kid."

Metcalfe has a photo of himself with his grandfather, taken on that voyage, looking out the ship's front window.

He also has another memorable souvenir: the Nasookin's original wooden wheel. His grandfather received it when the ship was refitted as a ferry in 1933.

The modifications included removing an entire cabin deck, lowering the wheelhouse, and substituting a smaller steering wheel to fit the new dimensions.

The old wheel, which is 8.5 feet (2.6 metres) in diameter and weighs something like 150 lbs. (68 kilograms), sat in an attic at Capt. MacKinnon's Procter farmhouse.

He gave it to his daughter and son-in-law in the early '60s, who cleaned and varnished it, and in turn gave it to Metcalfe a little over 20 years ago. In all, it's been in the family's hands for nearly 80 years.

"We had houses in West Vancouver with high ceilings so the wheel stood proudly in our house," Metcalfe says.

However, when they moved to their current place, its much lower ceiling couldn't accommodate the wheel. Metcalfe and wife Linda had to decide what to do with it. They could give it to one of their children, but neither had met Capt. MacKinnon, who died nearly 30 years before they were born, nor had they spent much time in the Kootenays.

"So we thought that wasn't really appropriate. If I gave it to any of the rest of our family, same problem. Most of my cousins have moved all over."

Metcalfe started looking for a long-term home for the wheel where it would be well cared for and people could see it. Over several months "we sniffed around and found two or three options, but none really made sense."

Then by chance, they met one of their son's friends, who grew up in Gray Creek - the Nasookin's former terminus.

"Next thing I know I got a phone call from her mother, who was an active part of the Gray Creek Historical Society. Then Tom Lymbery called me. He knew my grandfather and sent pictures that showed him in Gray Creek with the boat."

Metcalfe explained his requirements for the wheel, and the society agreed to abide by them.

"I was absolutely thrilled to give it to them," he says.

The handover took place last month, and the wheel will be unveiled tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. in its new home at the Gray Creek store, where it will hang from the ceiling.

Lymbery's father Arthur founded the store in 1913 - the same year the Nasookin launched, with MacKinnon at the helm.

The store also took phone messages for the boat. According to Tom Lymbery, MacKinnon would wait a few minutes if someone phoned to say they would be late for the last sailing - unless the call came from Kuskanook, where there was a beer parlour.

The Lymberys have other pieces of the Nasookin, including the freight door and a small cabin door.The wheel was made of "very good quality wood," Metcalfe says. "I believe it's solid oak. It's very hard and very strong. I assume it was all hand-cut and put together piece by piece. It's a remarkable piece of work."Metcalfe, 67, was close to his grandfather, for shortly after he was born, his father went overseas with the air force.

Metcalfe lived with his grandfather and mother on the farm at Procter for about a year and a half, and he "was the only man in my life," until his father returned from war.

"He and I were always special friends until he died when I was seven, which was pretty traumatic for me," Metcalfe says.

Metcalfe grew up in Trail and worked for West Kootenay Power before moving to the Lower Mainland.

Capt. MacKinnon skippered the Nasookin until it was taken out of service in 1947. Part of its superstructure is now incorporated into a North Shore home.


In the 6th photos of the Chart Room you can see on the right a framed giclee of Blaser's NOCTURNE hanging on the wall.

Michael hasn't been able to locate these pix with his internet provider so I cobbled together the best of the 15 or so pictures together for him, the others were superfluous to me.

I looked at a video of the boat moving on YouTube and it looked like the paddlewheel is not really pushing the boat along, but just turning with the current so there must be a couple of big propellers under the stern of the boat doing all the actual work.


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.*