Steamboat Waybills: Greene Line


Steamer CHILO Waybill 1914


Way Packet Directory Number 1017
Waybill from 6th November 1914
Built at Point Pleasant West Virginia in 1905
135 x 24.7 x 4.6
Engines 10's - 4 feet One boiler 42 inches by 26 feet
Built in part from the M.P. WELLS.
Owned by the Green Line, Cincinnati and long ran between Cincinnati and Chilo, Ohio.
Later extended their territory to include longer runs.

On the night November 18th 1921 she was delivering freight at Lock 35 near New Richmond, Ohio and caught on a guidewall pin, tore a hold in the hull and sank.


"Collect Freight Bill" undated, rubber stamped GORDON C. GREENE for the GREENE LINES

This was probably prepared in advance and rubber stamped in green ink with the boat it was generated on just in case an occasion arose that required a Collect transaction bill.



Sternwheel Packet

Way's Packet Directory Number 0253:

Built in 1919 from the wreck of the LOUCINDA

Owned by the Louisville and Cincinnati Packet Company; Captain Oliver F. Bradford (March 1927)

The ANDES was cheaply built, without skylight in the cabin and other amenities.

Ran Cincinnati-Madison until the big Cincinnati fire in November 1922.

Greene Line Steamers ran her under charter in upriver trades for some time; sold in March 1927 to Captain Oliver F. Bradford in New Orleans.

Sank and was lost while approaching Plaquemine Lock, July 1, 1931.


The Betsy Ann Raced The Chris Greene

JULY 27, 2018

Nine decades ago, on July 24, 1928, the old river tradition of steamboat racing was revived at Cincinnati, Ohio.

Tens of thousands of cheering spectators lined the banks of the Ohio as the sternwheelers Betsy Ann and Chris Greene raced upstream some 26 miles to New Richmond. The Chris pushed into an early lead and crossed the finish line by two boat lengths to claim the gilded antlers, symbol of riverboat supremacy. Capt. Chris Greene was in command of his namesake, while Capt. Charles Ellsworth was master of the Betsy Ann; the owner, Capt. Fred Way, was also on board.

The race made front page headlines in newspapers across the nation.

Betsy Ann

Built at Dubuque, Iowa, in 1899 by the Iowa Iron Works, the steamboat was constructed on an iron hull that measured 165 feet in length by 33 feet in width. Originally, one boiler provided steam to cross-compound condensing engines built by the Clinton Novelty Iron Works.

The riverboat was owned by Rufus F. Learned of Natchez, Miss., and named for his wife. The Betsy ran principally in the Natchez - Bayou Sara trade and carried the U.S. Mail. The whistle came from the packet Stella Wilds, built in 1886.

The boat was sold in 1921 to D. Grover Gill of Gallipolis, Ohio, who, along with other investors, ran it in various upper Ohio River trades. In 1925, Frederick Way Sr. and Jr. bought stock and operated the vessel in the Pittsburgh - Cincinnati trade into 1929. In the autumn of 1931, the boat was chartered to tow cotton at Memphis.

The Betsy was sold to John Hay in early 1932 and converted into a towboat.

Dismantled at the St. Louis wharf in 1940, the hull eventually became a boat club on the Meramec River until it sank in 1953; remains can be seen today. The boat's pilotwheel is now exhibited in a Cape Girardeau, Mo., museum. The roof bell reposes on the grounds of Stanton Hall, at Natchez. This writer gives the bell three taps in memory of Capt. Way when visiting the historic river city.

Chris Greene

Second steamboat to carry the name, this vessel was built at Charleston, W.Va., in 1925. The steel hull (189 feet in length by 42 feet in width) was constructed by the Ward Plant and the superstructure by the Gardner Docks at Point Pleasant. The engines were recycled from the steamer Tacoma.

Built for Greene Line Steamers under the supervision of Capt. Jesse P. Hughes, the packet originally operated in the Cincinnati - Pomeroy - Charleston trade. After 1934, the riverboat ran in the Cincinnati - Louisville trade. The passenger rooms were removed in 1936 to provide space to carry automobiles.

The boat was notorious for breaking paddlewheel shafts (seven in all) and ran through itself more than a dozen times. Retired in 1947, the Chris ultimately was sold to George Harrison of Dayton, Ky., to become a boat harbor.

Largely destroyed by fire in 1968, the hull was later towed to Melbourne, Ky., and beached, where it remains today.


"Steamer Tom Greene Wins Race Upon Ohio River. Thousands Line Banks As The Betsy Ann Goes To Defeat By Small Margin"

The Baltimore Sun. July 17, 1929

Commander Tom R. Greene, pilot of the winner, received from Commander Frederick Way, 28, of the Betsy Ann, a set of historic antlers as a symbol of victory.




"Steamer Tom Greene Wins Race Upon Ohio River. Thousands Line Banks As The Betsy Ann Goes To Defeat By Small Margin"

The Baltimore Sun. July 17, 1929

Commander Tom R. Greene, pilot of the winner, received from Commander Frederick Way, 28, of the Betsy Ann, a set of historic antlers as a symbol of victory.


Text scanned from an envelope postmarked 7 May 1894
Photo from the La Crosse steamboat collection

M.P. WELLS sternwheel packet

Way's Packet Directory Number 3664

Built at Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania, 1888 for Captain William E. Roe and M. Richter and named for a citizen of Marietta, Ohio. Originally a single deck boat, she soon was sold to the Brown family of Hartford, West Virginia, who ran her Gallipolis-New Haven. Captain George Edgington bought her in 1889 and ran her Vanceburg-Augusta. The Greene Line acquired her in 1904, rebuilt her and renamed her CHILO.


ZANETTA (1898-1903)

Sidewheel Packet

Way's Packet Directory Number 5904

Built in 1898 by the Marietta Manufacturing Company at Harmar, Ohio for the Zanesville-McConnelsville trade.

Dana Scott designed the boat and was one of the stockholders in the Muskingum and Ohio River Transportation Company.

The boilers and engines were built by Griffith and Wedge Company.

Owned by Muskingum and Ohio River Transportation Company; Captain Gordon C. Greene (1903)

Officers: Captain William Richardson (master); Dana Scott (captain)

She was known as "the speed queen of the Muskingum" and was in competition with the Valley Gem into 1903 when the Zanetta was withdrawn and sold to Captain Greene.

She was dismantled in 1903 at Harmar and her engines were used in building the Greenland.

The hull was sold to Kanawha River and became the J.Q. Dickinson

Note: This 1900 Waybill for the ZANETTA had a gnarly version of the photo which I replaced with a better duplicate in the La Crosse collection.


1922 Waybill from the LEROY with a photo of the boat

LEROY Sternwheel Packet

Way's Packet Directory Number 3427

Built in 1896 at Levanna, Ohio
Ran the Ohio, Monongahela and Kanawha rivers

Named for the son of Captain Oscar Webster.
Ran Wheeling-Parkersburg and sometimes on the Muskingum to Beverly. Next ran in the Wheeling-Clarington trade for about a year, then ran Morgantown-Fairmont on the Monongahela River and connecting with the I.C. Woodward and Columbia to Pittsburgh. In the fall of 1907, she was in the Pittsburgh-Fairmont trade. She ran excursions from Pittsburgh to Neville Island in 1908 until purchased by the Greene Line to replace the NEVA in the Winfield-Gallipolis trade.

Later she ran Gallipolis-Charleston teamed up with the EVERGREEN.
In 1910, while docked at Point Pleasant, her hull was rebuilt.

In 1920, she ran Pittsburgh-Morgantown, then Wheeling-New Matamoras.

After being sold in 1921, she ran Wheeling-New Martinsville.

After being sold again in November 1921 to Donnally and Gill, she was taken to Point Pleasant to have work done on her hull.

Gill claimed that he didn't order a new hull and refused to pay W.F. Smith who ran the dock.

Mr. Smith eventually sold the Leroy to a sand and gravel firm at Parkersburg, West Virginia for use as a landing float circa 1925.


Captain Oscar J. Webster; Captain Thad Thomas; Captain Henry Roe; Greene Line (1908) Captain Jesse P. Hughes (1919)
William F. Hammell and George F. Bauersmith (1920)
Brady C. Litman (1921)
Harry C. Donnally and Grover Gill (1921)

Officers and Crew:


Captain Jack Ward
Thomas Jackson, clerk
Virgil E. Bennett, clerk


Captain William F. Syphers, master
Captain Eb Cline, master
Captain Frank Justice


Waybill 1918


Sternwheel Packet

Way's Packet Directory Number 2571

Was built at Point Pleasant, West Virginia, 1913 - named for W.E. McDade's daughter Helen Elizabeth.

Ran on the and Kanawha rivers; the last short run packet on the Ohio River

In January 1918 she was carried off by ice from Point Pleasant to below Madison, Indiana, 293 miles; laid up at the time, nobody aboard.

Returned under her own steam. In June 1918 a boiler deck cabin was added.

Sold to Captain Ben Raike who dismantled her and rebuilt her into a towboat named CLAIRMONT in 1934

Owned by:

Captain Gordon C. Greene, George P. Gardner, and W. E. McDade, in equal shares (1913)

Captain Jim Wilson (1918)

Captains James and Sam Williamson (June 1918-1930)

Captain Dan Patchell; Ben Raike (1934)

Officers and crew:

W. E. McDade (master, circa 1913-1918)

W. R. Barringer (clerk)

Captain Clayton Adams (master, 1931)


Waybill from the St. LAWRENCE with photo of the boat and her whistle which Fred Way describes at the conclusion of the caption below

St. LAWRENCE (1879-1895)
Sidewheel Packet
Way's Packet Directory Number 4945

Built in 1879; hull built at Murraysville, West Virginia and completed at Wheeling, West Virginia.

Original cost of the St. LAWRENCE was $48,000 and she came out in the Wheeling-Cincinnati trade and later extended to Pittsburgh.

She always ran on the Ohio River

Fall of 1884, she was sold to the White Collar Line of Cincinnati and she entered the Cincinnati-Mayville trade.

In spring 1886, she was caught in a heavy wind at Augusta, Kentucky.

While attempting to turn around, was grounded on the upper side of Bracken Creek on the high shore and became stuck due to high flood waters.

When the water fell, she was left stranded up high until another flood released her.

Wind was also the contributing factor in her demise.

On September 20, 1895, she was at the foot of Niagara Street, Cincinnati. Heavy wind tripped her spars and she blew inshore on top of old boat wreckage and sank.

Fred Way gives a fine account of the history of the unique whistle (photo included above) at the conclusion of his listing on the St. LAWRENCE in his Packet Directory 1848-1984:

Her whistle was outstanding; A-flat and C, treble clef, and D-flat and low A-flat, bass clef. The three lower notes were first heard, and after a time high C came in with stunning effect.

The instrument was made at Wheeling for EXPRESS NO. 2, then transferred to ST LAWRENCE which used it all her days and then it went on the sternwheel COURIER for all her days and thence to the TACOMA and was destroyed when she burned in 1922.

A whistle buff of Portsmouth, Oh., Luther C. Chapman, meanwhile had made successful duplicates used on GREENLAND and CHRIS GREENE (1st), another for TOM GREENE, and at least two others.

A widely circulated story is that Chapman, by trade a locomotive engineer with the N&W Railroad, once attached one of these whistles to his engine at Portsmouth, coupled to a drag of empty coal hoppers, and was well into West Virginia tootling it before a superintendent's order caught up with him to desist."

Both photos courtesy of the La Crosse collection.


Waybill from the BONANZA (the second boat by that name) filled out on November 10th, 1887 Photo from the LaCrosse collection

BONANAZA Sidewheel packet 1885-1909

Way's Packet Directory Number 0665
Built in 1885 at Cincinnati, Ohio

Launched at Mack's Yard, January 17, 1885.
She received new engines and boilers, but used cranks, pitmans, etc. from the first BONANZA.
Ran her trial trip on April 28, 1885.

On the forward cabin bulkhead was a painting of Portsmouth, Ohio done by artist Scott Hummel. She carried the whistle formerly on the old BONANZA which had started on the ST. JAMES. The White Collar Line ran her Cincinnati-Portsmouth, and later through to Pomeroy.

On one occasion she came up to East Liverpool, Ohio with a special excursion, this was in April 1889. Also made Cincinnati-Memphis trips, bringing up baled cotton, cottonseed meal and stock. White Collar Line sold rights to upriver trade out of Cincinnati to the Greene Line in 1904 after which Bonanza was used below as a spare, and on Memphis trips. Dismantled at the Cincinnati wharf in May 1909 After dismantling, her whistle was on the CITY OF CINCINNATI, the KENTUCKY and last on the CINCINNATI.


Waybill from August 15, 1926

CHRIS GREENE 1925-1950

Sternwheel packet

Way's Packet Directory Number 1027

Built in 1925 at Charleston, West Virginia at the Ward plant (hull) and completed at Gardner Docks, Point Pleasant, West Virginia. All construction was supervised by Captain Jesse P. Hughes. Owned by the Greene Line

Captain Chris Greene & Captain Volney E. White

Her engines were from the TACOMA.

Most of her career she used the whistle from the HOMER SMITH

Ran Cincinnati-Pomeroy-Charleston until 1934.
Then ran Cincinnati-Louisville.

Her staterooms were removed in the fall of 1936 to allow her to carry automobiles.

She had bad luck with shafts, in all broke seven of them, and ran through herself about a dozen times.

She was withdrawn from service in February 1947.

Sold to George Harrison of the Dayton Boat Harbor, Dayton, Kentucky October 22, 1950 and converted into a yacht harbor club boat

The photo from the LaCrosse collection was taken in 1941 on the Ohio River at Terminal Facilities Riverside, Greene Line Terminal at Louisville, Kentucky, left bank, mile 377.3.


Waybill dated May 19, 1925

GREENWOOD 1898-1925
Sternwheel Packet

Way's Packet Directory Number 2450

Built at Parkersburg, West Virginia, completed at Ironton, Ohio, 1898
Owned by Gordon C. Greene (3/4 interest) and Carrie G. Greenwood (1/4 interest)
In 1925 she was chartered to replace the Betsy Ann.

On November 17, 1925 the CHRIS GREENE backed into her and her hull was ripped open, she then turned over and landed below the suspension bridge in Cincinnati.

Captain Jesse P. Hughes (pilot, 1898; master, 1904)
Captain Henry Kraft (master, 1912)


Sternwheel Packet

Way's Packet Directory Number 5415

Built in 1923 at Point Pleasant, West Virginia by Marietta Manufacturing Company Officers Captain Gordon C. Greene 1923-27; Captain Tom R. Greene, 1927; Jesse P. Hughes & Fred Way Jr. pilots, 1939

Named for Captain Tom R. Greene, the son of Captain Gordon C. Greene.
Built for the Cincinnati-Huntington trade. After Captain Tom Greene became master, she ran Cincinnati-Pomeroy-Charleston with the Chris Greene as partner.
In 1929 and 1930 she won two celebrated races with the BETSY ANNE at Cincinnati. She docked at Madison, Indiana in November 1930.
In May 1931 she entered the Cincinnati-Louisville trade and continued there until the trade was discontinued by the Greene Line in February 1947.
In October 1936, her passenger cabin was removed to make room for carrying new automobiles.
She had extensive hull work done at the Dravo Marine Ways at Neville Island, Pennsylvania in March 1939.
She made the trip from Cincinnati to the Dravo Marine Ways in 51 hours. In November 1950 she was sold to the Commercial Barge Line who had planned to convert her into a triple-deck auto-carrier but never did. She was then sold to the Walker Boat Yard in Paducah, Kentucky who used her as a landing boat.

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

steamboat waybill

H. K. Bedford (Packet)
Way's Packet Directory Number 2491

Built 1885 at Jeffersonville, Indiana by Howard Ship Yards
Home port or owner's residence circa 1885, Wheeling, West Virginia.
Original price, $5,600. Built for the upper Cumberland River.
In the fall of 1886, she ran low water trades out of Wheeling, West Virginia.
In 1890, after purchase by Captain Gordon C. Greene, she entered the Pittsburgh-Wheeling trade, the beginning of Greene Line Steamers, Incorporated.

She later ran Pittsburgh-Charleston.
A texas was added to her in 1897 but was removed in 1898.
In 1897 she was under charter to the Louisville and Cincinnati Packet Company with Captain Mary B. Greene as master--the first time a woman had been in charge of an L and C packet.
After being sold in 1898, she ran Pittsburgh-Parkersburg.
On February 3, 1910 she collided with the towboat Little Fred at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania while backing out of the Monongahela River. Damage to her was $150.

On June 12, 1910 she collided with the Sunshine while both were ascending the Ohio River above Freedom, Pennsylvania at the foot of Wallary Bar.

The only damage was a portion of the H.K. Bedford's guard torn off, value $60.
In early 1912, she was laid up by ice at Marietta; on February 27 she started for Pittsburgh when she was cut down by ice.
The wreck was removed during low water in 1914

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


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.