Dave's River Room


The pilot wheel from this boat is in the steamboat room.




Jim Hale took this photo when the Peerless pilot wheel was hanging as a chandelier at Weidmann's Restaurant in Meridian, Mississippi. Weidmann's also owned the large mural, then later Dave acquired it from a Meridian antique dealer.

river room

The Peerless pilot wheel now hangs in Dave Thomson's townhouse in Los Angeles County. Here is a close up of the wheel since restoration with old holes drilled for light fixtures gone and lustrous sheen to old wood brought back to life.

The pilot wheel is from the little sternwheeler Blue Wing which operated out of Keokuk, Iowa early in the 20th century. The sternwheeler City of Monroe is a 5 foot generic model based on Captain Cooley's boat the America. It was built by James Hale of Sylvan Springs, Alabama in 1975. The whistle, steam gauge and engine room telegraph are original. Not visible is a pilot house telegraph and speaking tubes for pilot house and engine room.

Half of the library consists of books on the history of the Western Rivers including steamboats, river cities and river towns as well as fiction inspired by river history. The other half of the book collection is made up of all of Mark Twain's books including many illustrated foreign language editions of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn and local history books about Hannibal, Missouri.

river room

Dave Thomson owns a wheel that came from the pilot house of the Peerless. Originally built by Captain Norman Staples in 1900, they christened the ship the "James T. Staples." On January 11th,1912 at Powe's Landing, Alabama the boiler exploded killing 26 persons and injuring 21 others. The wreck floated down and sank below Bladon, Alabama. Mr. James Little, president of the Peoples Bank, bought the wrecked boat. He raised it, rebuilt it, and put it back into business as the Peerless in 1915. In 1924 Little sold the Peerless to Captain O. F. Burke, who renamed it the Helen Burke for his sister. The boat was abandoned in 12 Mile Marsh above Mobile and "rotted down" as Fred Way says, during the years 1929 - 1930.

river room

Here Darlin, Cody, and a cubist Dave gather for some steamboat wheel appreciation. (Dave T. is also an artist who does surrealist art.)


river room     river room

Whistle 3 chime with Abby kitten NEW for NORI

Whistle 3 chime With Model 75 percent

3 chime whistle made by Chesapeake Bronze Works in Rock Hall, Maryland.

First photo is Abby as a kitten posing with the 3 chimer and some framed Mark Twain stuff. Second photo is the 3 chimer with Jim Hale's CITY OF MONROE model.


Vigilant Abby on fireplace mantle

River Room July 2019

Latest photo of Abby on the fireplace mantle with Blaser's NOCTURNE on wall above plus ship's clock and various Tom 'n Huck nick nacks and mini-steamboat banks near her.

Addison Western World, Wheel, Steamer Model 55 percent

Here is a framed original silk screen of a Robert Addison seragraph (1924-1988) of a haunted derelict steamboat he named the WESTERN WORLD.

Photo taken downstairs in the "River Room" with the WESTERN WORLD leaning up against the display case that holds Jim Hale's model of the cotton packet CITY OF MONROE and behind that on the wall is the 5 foot pilot wheel from the towboat BLUE WING that was built at Keokuk, Iowa in 1929.

From auction description:

"1973 seragraph print, by illustrator and painter ROBERT ADDISON, from Merrill Chase Galleries, with all accompanying paperwork. A signed, unnumbered trial proof, from the artists' collection, with image area of 20 x 26" in a custom frame measuring 29 1/2 x 35 inches."



steamboat room poem


My oldest cat Goldie when she was an "adolescent with an attitude" on top of the display case containing Jim Hale's 5 foot model of the generic cotton packet CITY OF MONROE


Both Goldie and Abby liked the vintage TOM SAWYER root beer crate as a sleeping hideaway when it was on the top shelf in the office closet.


Goldie and the Rob't E. Lee.


River Room Animals

Yours truly with Toby the devoted Shepherd/Husky mix, Bart (short for BartholoMEW) the well behaved deaf white cat, Ginger the sweet Golden lab mix and Punky the ex-wife's devoted dog.


Cookie dawg, Hannibal pillow, Belgian Huck photo, Mark Twain 1906

The illustrations in the Foreign editions of Tom and Huck are often worthy of art galleries, real Fine Art.

Attached photo taken about 6 years ago of Cookie on the sleigh bed with big pillow made from a sham of Hannibal and Clemens that a talented lady at feature animation made for me back in the 1990's. The framed poster was from Belgium for the 1960 MGM version of Huckleberry Finn. The title was translated into both French and Belgian.

The framed photo of Mark Twain was an original taken in 1906 one of the prints that was sold to raise funds for disaster relief to assist survivors of the San Francisco earthquake. Clemens had worked in 'Frisco during the 1860's and had many friends there. I have one other photo taken by the same photographer (Bradley) in '06 in a matching frame taken from a different angle that was one in a series of pictures sold for the same disaster relief effort.


Steamboat room Christmas card photography by Dave Thomson. He explains:

While I was married I'd pose our gang of critters for the Christmas card ever year. The population grew during that 10 years. This was the last one taken at our Sepulveda home. Also attached photo with the names attached for identification. It was nerve wracking trying to keep these characters from running away in the process, especially Babe, the cat at the bottom. The pilot wheel is off the 1929 sternwheel towboat Blue Wing up at Keokuk. The 1905 banjo is the one I use for decor since I never mastered the instrument. The steamboat prints are by illustrator Dean Cornwell.


Photo of the mantle downstairs here at home years ago when Tommy Thompson's original framed and matted watercolor of the VIRGINIA called "Majestic Passage" was at center with two early 1900 vintage banjoes were displayed on either side. The silhouetted bust on the left is of Mark Twain. It's so dark that his features were not recognizable although the camera's flash illuminated everything else pretty well. Still have the banjoes but haven't had them on display in a long time.


This is Michael Blaser's UNDER THE BRIDGE painting which I received from Iowa today and put it back in the frame that was made for it. Michael adjusted the hog chain posts on the Queen City and Tacoma to correspond with a reference model that Fryant built of the QC and photos of the Tacoma. This is above the hearth of my fireplace with ship's clock and some old wood type spelling STEAMBOAT and TOM SAWYER. Little like vintage bronze sculpture bronze on the right is the spitting image of Tom Sawyer.




Attached photos of a quilt I commissioned seamstress Joyce Riggs of Quincy, Illinois to make for me about 10 years ago. The Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn and steamboat fabrics I bought over a span of years on eBay then bought additional blue and gold fabrics in Quincy which designed to appear to be water-stained. The detail of the steamboat in a sepia pen and ink drawing over beige was a nice graphic. An accent fabric was printed with sentences from the text of Tom Sawyer which included words like rafts, whitewash, treasures and the Mississippi. The quilt measures 50 x 60 1/2 inches. Displayed over sleigh bed with Duvet cover and Goldie cat.


Goldie cat and yours truly under stained glass in transom over pocket door to kitchen, Sam Clemens items: 1907 framed cover of a Philadelphia Press Sunday supplement, a composite of Sam at 70 working in bed and Huck Finn by Iverd, MISSISSIPPI QUEEN brass bell, pilot house telegraph and engine room speaking tube in northwest corner of River Room. Tom Benton's frontispiece for Sam's LIFE on the MISSISSIPPI revealed by the open shirt has been processed in as a bonus.

AddisonGreat_RepublicWithGOLDIErevised7SeptEXP Abandoned steamboat GREAT REPUBLIC serigraph signed by the artist Robert Addison with color that he added by hand.
Image area 13 1/4 x 23 1/2 inches.
Goldie kindly posed with the heavily framed art.
For more artwork by Robert Addison, click here (to be moved to paintings by artist)


Another corner of the River Room with Clemens-Mania stuff etc.


Cookie dawg Abby Tuxedo cat

Female pets sharing the sleigh bed. Abby the tuxedo cat on top of the big Mark Twain/Hannibal pillow that I had made from a sham. Cookie the English Shepherd is drowsing next to Abby and on the wall next to the shuttered window is the framed album cover from the set of 78rpm recordings of Jerome Kern's 1942 orchestral composition MARK TWAIN: Portrait For Orchestra in 4 movements:

Hannibal Days
The Glorious Pilot House
Civil War March
Westward Wanderings
Mark Twain in Eruption


Pilot House speaking tube

Hinged lid on PILOT HOUSE speaking tube on the south wall next to Jim Hale's model of the CITY OF MONROE.


Here are the two big framed posters 1935 STEAMBOAT ROUND THE BEND and the 1895 CINCINNATI color lithograph. They're in the corner on the stair landing between the first and second floors where I can enjoy them during each hike up and down the stairs.

The way they're situated together reminds me of the memorable hymn BRIGHTEN THE CORNER WHERE YOU ARE. "Someone far from harbor you may guide across the bar" has a nautical connotation and "Here for all your talent you may surely find a need" is appropriate to the life and career of Will Rogers.

Cap'n Capitol Tower

Ira D. Ogdon (1872-1964) was a public school teacher who had plans for an evangelistic career. She abandoned that dream to care for her ailing father. Ogdon wrote "Brighten the Corner Where You Are" in 1912 and it was published in 1913 with music by Charles H. Gabriel. First heard in motion pictures played by a Salvation Army Band in Jimmy Cagney's 1931 classic Warner Bros. gangster film PUBLIC ENEMY.


Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do,
Do not wait to shed your light afar;
To the many duties ever near you now be true,
Brighten the corner where you are.

Brighten the corner where you are!
Brighten the corner where you are!
Someone far from harbor you may guide across the bar;
Brighten the corner where you are!

Just above are clouded skies that you may help to clear,
Don't let selfishness your way debar;
Though into one heart alone may fall your song of cheer,
Brighten the corner where you are.

Brighten the corner where you are!
Brighten the corner where you are!
Someone far from harbor you may guide across the bar;
Brighten the corner where you are!

Here for all your talent you may surely find a need,
Here reflect the bright and Morning Star;
Even from your humble hand the Bread of Life may feed,
Brighten the corner where you are.

Brighten the corner where you are!
Brighten the corner where you are!
Someone far from harbor you may guide across the bar;
Brighten the corner where you are!


Brighten the Corner Where You Are with lyrics and also the flip side "depraved indifference"

"JSO Lambert" features Ella Fitzgerald's vocal but doesn't give her credit which is reprehensible but at least the lyrics are displayed for the hard of hearing. Have a feeling Lambert may have some message that he is proselytizing possibly like another solo evangelist seeking followers to subsidize him, who knows? That's what The Donald has been doing forever and a day, thus Trump University and now the school of being "dis-compassionate" and turning away from those truly in need in order to prioritize selfish appetites.

The faces of politicos sitting in Congress with blank, apathetic faces are chilling, they're the sorts of expressions worn by Germans while watching their Jewish neighbors being rounded up and sent to death camps. I don't get it, it just "doesn't compute," but folks have turned out to be even worse than we previously believed. I'm having a hard time believing that I will ever see then termination of Trump and his company of weasels. Reminded me again of the frequently employed Law and Order: Criminal Intent indictment "depraved indifference" for which there is a legal precedent:

To constitute depraved indifference, the defendant's conduct must be so wanton, so deficient in a moral sense of concern, so lacking in regard for the life or lives of others, and so blameworthy as to warrant the same criminal liability as that which the law imposes upon a person who intentionally causes a crime. Depraved indifference focuses on the risk created by the defendant's conduct, not the injuries actually resulting.

Brighten the Corner Where You Are

JSO Lambert
Published on Jul 27, 2018

Ella Fitzgerald improved the 10th line of the lyrics (which I have also changed, it's underlined it below) please change that line as I have done in our transcript to correspond with hers.

Just above are clouded skies that you may help to clear, Don't let selfishness your way debar;


Brighten The Corner Where You Are

Ella Fitzgerald
Published on Apr 20, 2017
Provided to YouTube by Universal Music Group


With the exception of images credited to public institutions,
everything on this page is from a private collection.
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