Steamboat Waybills, Page 15


Waybill EMPIRE PARISH 1859 - 1864

EMPIRE PARISH was a sidewheeler built at new Albany, Indiana, in 1859.
Dimensions: 170 x 32 x 6 feet. In 1859, the EMPIRE PARISH, commanded by Captain R. Baldwin, ran as a packet with connections to the Lower Coast (the parishes along the Mississippi between New Orleans and Baton Rouge) and the Quarantine Station below the Crescent City. The EMPIRE PARISH operated as a packet running between Donaldsonville and New Orleans, from April to December 1862.

Captain Vincent commanded the steamboat from April 1860 through mid-April 1861. He was succeeded by Captain Grant around April 20, 1861. Grant was replaced by Captain Bayhi around April 11 1862. Captain Elfert assumed command of the vessel around November 19,1862. The New Orleans and Plaquemine Steamboat Association operated the vessel in 1861. William J. Reid of New Orleans acquired the EMPIRE PARISH in 1862. The vessel was destroyed when fire consumed nine steamers along a wharf on May 28, 1864.


Sources credited:

New Orleans Bee, April 19, 1860—December 4, 1862

Way's Packet Directory Number 1853


Waybill steamer B.L. HODGE

This Ledger from the Sidewheel steamboat B.L. HODGE No. 2 documented purchases made from the Louisville, Kentucky

Across the top of page 1 is handwritten 'Exhibit A' so was this quite a long document (consisting of two very long pages attached to each other in a 'scroll') which were apparently key evidence in a courtroom case. Entries for 1866 are from September to December. Entries for 1867 run from January to March. First page totaled $1,331.40 Second page designated at 'Exhibit B' totaled is $1,637.38

Written in a unique roll-style format, the ledger consists of 6 pages that were fused together into two very long sheets, the longest measuring over 30 inches, demonstrating the whole of the cargo that was carried in the Steamer from September 1866, immediately after is building, to March 1868. There are two red and black billheads featuring an illustration of a steamboat at the top with the Sherley, Woolfolk & Co, Ship Chandlers title, as well as the written name of the B L Hodge No 2, and two titles handwritten, Exhibit No. 1, and Exhibit No. 2.

Contents range from chandlery items such as marine parts, ropes, scrubs, soaps, nails, sponges, hemp cords, boards, candles, brooms, military buckets, yarn, twine, to cargo such as brandy, madeira wine, pecans, coffee, sugar, yams, rice, peaches, syrups, vinegar, and more, to costs for marine drayage, docking and more; entries are in the hundreds.

B.L. HODGE No. 2
Sidewheel steamboat
Way's Packet Directory Number 0420

Built in Louisville, Kentucky, 1867. 210 x 38 x 7. 699 tons.
New Orleans-Shreveport in 1868, Capt. P.C. Montgomery, master, with Fred G. Cellos, clerk. In 1869 same trade, Capt. W.T. Boardman, master, with Jos. Aiken, clerk.
Ran New Orleans-Donaldsonville fall 1869, also spring 1870, Capt. Jos. Dalferes, master, with H.M. Landry, clerk. January-May 1871, New Orleans-Grand Encore, Capt. John Hein, master, with William Culbertson, clerk. May-December 1871, New Orleans-Red River, Capt. John Hein, master, with B.B. Hotchkiss, clerk.
December 1871 thru spring 1873, same master, John C.
Mitchell, clerk. Later John C. Libano, clerk. Sold at U.S. marshal sale at New Orleans latter June 1873 to William Fagan. Capt. W.R. Greathouse bought her that fall. Was taken to the Barmore yard, Jeffersonville, for a new hull in 1876. When completed she emerged as the SOUTHERN BELLE.


Waybill 19 February 1875 from the BELLE YAZOO

Waybill dated 19 February 1875 for single cotton bale shipped aboard the BELLE YAZOO.

Sidewheel steamboat
Way Packet Directory Number 0542

Owned by the Parisot Line and ran Vicksburg-Yazoo River. First mention we notice is in mid April 1871 when she lost her stacks eight miles above Yazoo City during a storm and was otherwise damaged. On January 7, 1876 downbound from Yazoo River to New Orleans she was snagged and sank about 12 miles above Bayou Sara with no loss of life.


Waybill from LAKE CITY

Way's Packet Directory Number 3350
Built at Yazoo City, Mississippi in 1885 - 44 tons
Yazoo & Tallahatchie Transportation Co.


Waybill from the BLANKS CORNWELL 1892

Waybill dated 28 April 1892 on the
Sternwheel packet

Way's Packet Directory Number 0641

Built at Jeffersonville Indian by Howard in 1887
140 x 29 x 4.6 Engines 10's - 4 foot stroke

Built for Captain Jack Blanks to run on the Ouachita River but was bought new by S.H. Parisot of Vicksburg for the Yazoo and Tallahatchie service. She was snagged and lost on the Tallahatchie under full headway on January 24, 1896.

steamboat waybill

Sidewheel Packet

Way's Packet Directory Number 0349
Built in the Autumn of 1870 at Cincinnati, Ohio
Built for the Memphis and Arkansas River trade, Captain Woodburn.
She had two bridal chambers opposite one another named "Tennessee" and "Arkansas" with beds a trifle high, equipped with short ladders for the bride to climb up.
Built in the autumn of 1870, she got first inspection November 3, 1870 and was sold to the Evansville and Cairo Line, entering that trade December 20, 1870, with Captain G. J. Grammer, master and Nick S. Pennington in the office. She left Evansville at 4:00 P.M., three days a week. She was laid up at Evansville August 1880.
Her machinery was taken out, rebored, and placed on the new H. T. Dexter

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

One of my favorite waybills. The photograph of the boat leaves much to be desired and will have to suffice until a better copy of it turns up.

steamboat waybill

"Ch Dog" under freight? Could it have been a "China" (porcelain) "Dog" that they charged a quarter to transport?

Sternwheel Packet
Way's Packet Directory Number 4310
Built in 1881 at Harmar, Ohio at Knox Yard

In January, 1895 she was moored at the Juliana Street Bridge in Parkesburg.
She became speared on a piling when the river fell rapidly due to the breaking of an ice gorge at the head of Blennerhassett Island. She rolled over on her side and while being pumped out, she rolled over a second time.
Later, she exploded a boiler while racing another boat at the mouth of Hughes River. The cabin forward of the pilothouse was blown away.
On January 26, 1902 at 7:00am she sank at Creston, West Virginia.
Her hull seams were cut by ice. She was raised and returned to Parkersburg under her own steam and while awaiting her turn at the docks she sank and turned over. She was then dismantled.

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


1903 Waybill from the BEN HUR (1887 - 1916)

Waybill from the BEN HUR dated November 23rd. 1903. The photo is from the La Crosse collection.


Way's Packet Directory Number 0568
Sternwheel packet

Built in Harmar, Ohio, at the Knox Boat Yard in 1887.
165 x 30.5 x 4.8. Engines, 16's- 5 1/2 ft. Three boilers, 42" by 24 ft.
Her machinery came from the towboat ED HOBBS.
The BEN HUR came out in the Pittsburgh-Parkersburg trade with Capt. Fred Kimpel, Jr., master and Ed Dunn, clerk.
During her first year she carried John Robinson's famous circus on tour with pilots Monroe (Doggy) Cross and Bert Cramer.
By 1904 her master was Capt. Ed Sims. Capt. Harry Donnelly had her briefly. In June 1904 sold to the Mississippi River Amusement Co., St. Paul, Minnesota and went there to run excursions. Capt. Tom Morrissey bought her for trades out of Vicksburg, and she soon was transferred to Prince & Wild. In 1912 was running New Orleans-Bayou Teche twice weekly, Capt. Wallace M. Ditch, master, with W A. Roberts and Warren Kouns, pilots, managed by Capt. L. M . Gray. While owned by Capt. George Prince she sank and was lost at Duckport, Louisiana in March 1916. Her three-chime whistle came from the GEORGE STRECKER (1880-1887) made by a mechanically-minded farmer who lived above Waverly, West Virginia. After the BEN HUR went to St. Paul in 1904, her whistle went to the BESSIE SMITH, then to the LIBERTY and finally to the towboat MILDRED. Today the whistle is in the collection of the Missouri Historical Society.


Memphis and Ohio River Packet Co. 1879 waybill

"The one that got away." I didn't see this listing but "leelinesteamers" did in 2013. Have extended the margins and saturated the image in the attached file. Can't fine the name of a specific Memphis & Ohio River packet listed on the waybill.

Lee Line Steamers | Riverboat History

Memphis and Ohio River Packet Co. 1879 bill of lading Posted on October 29, 2013 by leelinesteamers


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.