Steamboat Waybills, page 1


This picturesque waybill indicates that the MARY AMENT was running under Captain J.C. POWER in 1868. About 10 percent of the left side of this waybill had been shaved off, possibly when it was cut from an album and the printing was faded. Some intensive care in "Photoshop" restored the missing portion and the text and imagery to readable condition.

MARY AMENT Waybill from April 16, 1868

Way's Packet Directory Number 3786
Sidewheel packet boat
Built New Albany, Indiana 1866.
259 tons.
Built for David Gibson, Cincinnati, and ran between Cincinnati, Ohio & Chilo, Ohio during the spring of 1867, this waybill dates from the following year. She was sold to Evansville and ran between Evansville, Indiana & Cannelton, Indiana under Capt. John A. Adams, with Dick Morgan, clerk, 1874. Prior to that Adams' brother Robert had been master before he retired in Lewisport, Kentucky. Mat Williams served as clerk, he was later master of the DEAN ADAMS. The MARY AMENT was dismantled in 1878.


A couple of rarities . . . an 1851 waybill for the Steamer WYOMING and the only known photo of her, a daguerreotype and detail from same taken of her during her years on the river between 1846 to 1853. The WYOMING can be seen peaking from below the riverbank on the Mississippi at St. Louis with what had been built in 1797 by Antoine Roy as a wind powered grist mill in the right foreground. The waybill was obtained from an eBay dealer in Italy and just arrived here on 16 July 2016.

WYOMING (1846-1853)

Sidewheel Packet
Way's Packet Directory Number 5874

Built in 1846 at Jacksonville, Pennsylvania
First home port, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Navigated the upper Mississippi.

William J. Kountz was master in 1847
Dick Crapster was clerk in 1852

Burned at Pekin, Illinois on December 16, 1853

"Old Spanish Fort," later Roy's Mill, Riverfront at foot of Biddle Street, Steamer WYOMING at river bank.

From The Easterly Daguerreotype Collection

Identifier: N17055

The "Old Spanish Fort," later Roy's Mill, Riverfront at foot of Biddle Street, Steamer WYOMING at river bank.

Two boys stand in front of "the Old Spanish Fort," later Roy's Mill, on the Riverfront at the foot of Biddle Street. The Steamer WYOMING is on the river bank.

At the time that this was taken, the structure was reported to be the only surviving remnant of the Spanish fortifications around St. Louis. Although it was built during the Spanish period, the tower that came to be known as the Old Spanish Fort was actually built in 1797 by Antoine Roy as a wind powered gristmill. It operated as a mill until 1810, and acted as the first northern boundary of the city of St. Louis. It was demolished in 1856 to make way for riverfront development.

Public domain
Circa 1846 to 1853


VALLEY BELLE (Towboat/Packet, 1883-1943)
Way's Packet Directory - 5534 Way's Steam Towboat Directory T2507

Built 1883 at Harmar, Ohio at the Knox Yard
Her machinery was by J.H. McConnell.
She was built for the Marietta-Beverly trade on the Muskingum River.
On her first trip she floated over the top of Devols Dam but did not sink as many had thought.
In 1884 she entered the Ravenswood-Middleport trade and made occasional Marietta-Zanesville trips between 1895 and 1898.
In 1897 she was running Marietta-Middleport and then in 1900, Marietta-Gallipolis.
By 1903 she was back in the Marietta-Middleport trade. That trade came to an end about 1911.

The Valley Belle next went to the upper Kanawha River and ran Charleston-Montgomery teamed up with the Helen Lane.
Due to the high price of coal and the scarcity of labor, she was sold in 1917 and did job towing.

Billy Bryant bought her in 1919 and used her to tow his showboat until he got the New Lotus.

She then was sold to Ben Raike who took off the original engines and put on the machinery from the Liberty.
She did job towing from then on until she sank at Kanauga, Ohio in 1943 and was dismantled.
Altogether she ran 60 years almost continuously (34 years as a packet and 26 as a towboat) and without a change of name.
In that regard, she has no peer.

Photo Courtesy of Murphy Library at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse Steamboat Collection Photographs.

steamboat waybill

steamboat waybill

Steamboat photo courtesy of Murphy Library at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse Steamboat Collection Photographs JEWEL's own "portrait" is printed on this 1911 bill instead of a generic steamboat vignette from the print shop.

JEWEL Sternwheel Packet/Towboat
Built Brownsville, Pennsylvania, 1892 as the Lyde H.
Way's Packet Directory Number 3013 and Way's Towboat Directory Number T1368

Around 1896 the Clarington and Wheeling Packet Company bought the LYDE H. (which had been built at Brownsville, Pennsylvania in 1892) and renamed her JEWEL at the urging of Captain Earn Clark, who had piloted the boat of the same name on the lower Ohio. Next owner, Captain Oscar Webster, ran her in Muskingum River, Lowell-Zanesville, 1897-1898, then briefly Gallipolis-Charleston. In April 1899 she was sold to Captain J. Mack Gamble and others for the Wheeling-Clarington run. John Hyer and Sam Williamson bought her for Newport-Wheeling; later J. Mack Gamble had her in this trade, with Captain Mike Davis, master. In 1903 she again was in Muskingum River trade, Lowell-Zanesville, Captain Oscar Webster. In 1906 J. Mack Gamble rebuilt her completely at Clarington, and she was sold to Captain W. H. Smith and others in local upper Ohio packet trade.

While laid up for ice at Marietta, Ohio at the mouth of the Muskingum, she sank on February 8, 1908, Captain John W. Beaver, master. She was able to be salvaged after the February 18th flood waters fell. She was the first to lock through Lock No. 13, Ohio River, September, 1909. She ran on the Monongahela River to replace the COLUMBIA in fall of 1909. In 1914 John Hubbard, Pittsburgh, ran her Pittsburgh-East Liverpool, evening runs for theater goers. In 1915 she was sold to R. W. Emerson and Roy Hitner to tow the showboat Cotton Blossom, Captain Otto Hitner. While so engaged, she was cut down by ice at the Mt. Vernon, Indiana water works, 7:00 p.m., January 5, 1918.

Photo Courtesy of Murphy Library at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse
Steamboat Collection Photographs

steamboat waybill

Way's Packet Directory Number 0777
Sternwheeler built at Jeffersonville, Indiana by Howard in 1876.
161 x 31.8 x 4.8.
Much equipment from the BERMUDA (1864-1876) was used in building.
Named for an old Cincinnati merchant who was Chief of Staff under Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Former river skipper Capt. Tom Ryman ran her on the Cumberland River. Sold 1882 to Capt. Jack Harrison, Belpre, Ohio, who, with A.W. Voegtly, clerk, ran her in the Pittsburgh-Portsmouth trade, culminating in hitting the K&M bridge, Point Pleasant, W Va., and sinking her.

Capt. Sol York took her to the Illinois River 1884 and sold her in 1885 to Capt. Peter Burke of Mobile. The C.W. ANDERSON burned while laid up opposite Mobile, Ala., Aug. 6, 1892.

steamboat waybill

Way's Packet Director Number 2194

Sidewheeler of 243 tons built at Wheeling, Virginia in 1851.
Operated on the Upper Mississippi.
Capt. Monroeville Green. In St. Paul trade 1855.
Lost in ice at St. Louis, Feb. 26, 1856.

The SPARHAWK was one of 5 big sidewheelers who transported invited VIP guests including President Millard Fillmore and his daughter, up the Mississippi River from Rock Island, Illinois on the "Grand Excursion" commemorating the opening of the Rock Island Railroad in June 1854.

A Boston Daily Journal (June 20, 1854) correspondent who had arrived at St. Paul earlier, observed the approach of the fleet of steamers:
". . . there they were, away down the river, five floating palaces, bringing hither a freight representing more of wealth and true dignity than any like squadron ever launched. . . . These splendid packets, now coming to town, were arranged and managed with great tact and skill, considering the rapidity of the current at this point, and after performing various revolutions, came up to the landing five abreast. The drums beat, the bells rung, the cannon roared, the whistle screamed."

For more on the SPARHAWK's role in the Grand Excursion see Grand Excursions on the Upper Mississippi River by Ed Hill, 2004

steamboat waybill

This is the ninth boat to bear the name Natchez and is the one AFTER the boat that lost the race with the R.E. Lee in 1870.

steamboat waybill

GUS FOWLER 1880-1899 Sternwheel Packet
Way's Packet Directory Number 2474

Built 1880 at Jeffersonville, Indiana by Howard Ship Yards
Home port or owner's residence circa 1880, Cairo, Illinois.
Original price, $12,200
Owned by Fowler; Yazoo City Transportation Company (1898); H.L. Jones

Replaced the James Fiske, Jr. in the Paducah-Cairo trade.
She was replaced by the Dick Fowler after 17 years.
Her whistle came from the Idlewild; it went to the Dick Fowler.
In summer 1897, ran Memphis-Friar's Point and returned to Paducah in September.
H.L. Jones took her to the Missouri River.

Snagged and lost at Mokane, Missouri, August 22, 1899

Photo Courtesy of Murphy Library at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse Steamboat Collection Photographs.

Louisville Courier-Journal June 23rd, 1880

It certainly affords us pride and pleasure to announce that the Howards, of Jeffersonville, have just completed, for the Paducah and Cairo trade, one of the handsomest and most complete stern wheel boats of her size ever built. She has been named in honor of a man whom to know was to honor, love and respect, and no man during his lifetime enjoyed a better reputation among men and had more warm friends than Capt. Gus Fowler.

In building this new and pretty candidate for public favor the owners could not have found a better name, nor could they have built a prettier boat to put it upon, and we feel safe in saying that the people and patrons of the Paducah and Cairo trade—those who clung so closely and so friendly to her popular predecessor, the JIM FISK—will certainly greet with renewed patronage and smiles of welcome the new GUS, FOWLER. They may lament the loss of the one, but they will certainly gladly welcome the coming of the other. The new GUS. FOWLER made a trip yesterday and trip yesterday and performed to the entire satisfaction of builders and owners.

She leaves on her first trip for Evansville, Paducah and Cairo today to take the place of the James Fisk, which boat ran in the trade successfully for nine years. The officers of the Fisk will have charge of the Fowler, which is a guarantee that the new boat will be in safe hands, and in charge of gentlemen proverbial for their politeness and attentions to their patrons.

The hull and cabin were built by Howard Howard & Co., Jeffersonville; the boilers, sheet-iron work &c. by Zeir & Co., New Albany; carpets, curtains & etc. French & Co., Evansville: silver and china ware, Hollingsworth & Bro., Evansville; bedding &c, Scheapker & Co., Evansville; cabin furniture, Armstrong & Co. Evansville; mirrors, &c, Escott & Co., Louisville.

The hull is 164 feet long, twenty-nine feet beam, and five feet depth of hold. It is a model of graceful proportions, built with an eye to speed, strength and durability, and reflects credit upon Ed. Howard's ideas of what a pretty and strong hull ought to be. The cabin is a full length one, beautiful IN design, large rooms, elegantly furnished and supplied with all the conveniences that the ingenuity of her designers and builders could think of. She has a splendid texas, pretty pilot-house and graceful chimneys. Her carpets and outfit are elegant. She is certainly one of the most perfect boats of her class we ever saw, and we will here remark that if the GUS. FOWLER doesn't. Our word for it, the GUS. FOWLER will "astonish the natives" with her speed, and, in conclusion, we can only say we trust that the new boat will have a long and prosperous career, and that she will make a "bar'l o' money" for her owners, prove popular with the people and a pet with the public. To the gallant GUS. and her clever crew we say ta-ta!

steamboat waybill

BESSIE SMITH (Sternwheel Packet, 1897-1911)
Way's Packet Directory 0603

Hull built at Smithsonia, Alabama, and completed at Florence, Alabama 1897
Originally had a scow bow.
Captain Fred Hornbrook and Captain Harry Donnally got her for the Upper Ohio and sold her to Captain Fred Kimpel and Captain Sam Williamson.
She was rebuilt with a model bow at Parkersburg, West Virginia in December 1901.
She ran Wheeling-Parkersburg, Henry Kraft, master.
Captain Martin F. Noll bought her May 31, 1910 and ran her Pittsburgh-Morgantown, West Virginia.
She was returned to Parkersburg in winter 1910 and burned there on March 20, 1911.

Captain Harry B. Hulings bought the wreck, towed it to Mount Pleasant in early 1914 and used the machinery, etc., to build the towboat Uncle Sam
Burned at Parkersburg, West Virginia March 20, 1911

Photo Courtesy of Murphy Library at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse Steamboat Collection Photographs

steamboat waybill

Way's Packet Directory Number 1999
Sidewheeler built at Jeffersonville, Indiana. by Howard, 1854. 245 x 35 x 7 feet.
Named for Fanny Smith Bullitt of Louisville and largely owned by Benedict Bros. of Louisville.
Ran Louisville-New Orleans. In 1860 J.A. Lemcke took one-third interest and became head clerk.
Capt. Greer, joint owner and master, died of cholera about this time.
Capt. Henry W Smith came aboard as master and part owner.
She was laid up at Portland, Ky., in the spring of 1861 when the Civil War closed traffic on the river.
Came out again as a U.S. transport and took two trips to Keokuk in fall of 1862 with sick and wounded.
Was at Fort Donelson and took wounded from there to Paducah, Evansville, and Louisville.
Was sold to St. Louis, and snagged and lost at Napoleon, Arkansas on March 15,1864.
A towhead formed at the wreck, long called Fanny Bullitt Towhead.
One of her early masters was Capt. L.B. Dunham.


C.C. BOWYER 1909 - 1919

Unused Waybill intended for use between 1910 and 1919 which covered the last 10 years of the C.C. BOWYER after she was built in 1909. Included is a photo restored from a picture in the La Crosse collection.

Sternwheel Packet

Way's Packet Directory Number 0752

Built at the Gardner Docks in Point Pleasant, West Virginia in 1909 using the hull, engines and boilers of the NEVA. She was named for a popular Point Pleasant banker; owned by George P. Gardner and ran Gallipolis-Huntington, Captain Sil Gardner, master and W. L. Guthrie, clerk. She was sold and left Gallipolis April 14, 1919 for Dycusburg, Kentucky on the Cumberland River; owned by Captain F. O. Devers of Dycusburg.

She was snagged at Rampey's Landing, Kentucky December 1919; raised, rebuilt and renamed GRACE DEVERS.


Waybill Steamboat Agents Greenwood Transfer Company, Mississippi October 1st & 3rd 1908

Steamboat Agents Freight Bill from May 1st 1905
Greenwood Mississippi Transfer Company Freight Bill


Steamboat Agents Freight Bill from May 1st 1905
Greenwood Mississippi Transfer Company Freight Bill


Waybill - City of Vicksburg, February 21, 1891


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.