Most Wanted Steamboats
Please send any info., photos, etc., to

Lucy Troxler

SST Jolliffe

Becky Thatcher (need photos)


Wanted: Photos of steamboats and steamboat relics to be displayed in this area.

Bulletin Board Questions:

I'm searching for a photograph or drawing of the steamboat NINA SIMMES. Simmes is sometimes spelled SIMS, SEMMES or Simms. Any suggestion as to where I can find one? Thanks, BPM from Louisian. Burton Mayeux

Carl Brewer has signed your guestbook.

Searching for Passenger List of the Steamboat "Princess" that blew up and burned south of Baton Rouge, Feb. 1859. I want to connect a Mr. Brewer who was killed on this boat with a lost Grandfather (Clark Brewer) who went from Cherokee Co., Texas into Louisiana to gamble about this time and never was heard from again. This will solve a 140 year family mystery and help complete my geneology file. (email)

Libby Schmitt has signed your guestbook.

My great-grandmother was Cecelia Greene.... She mentioned being related to the Delta Queen Greenes.

A recent TV documentary spoke of possible hauntings of the DQ by Mary Greene in room 109. Curiously, 109 has been a reoccurring number in my brother's and my life. Any source I can check on para-normal happenings aboard the ship?

Hi Libby,
There are a lot of paranormal things in the Greene family. Just ask the Delta Queen Captain, Gabe Chengery. He can tell all the ghost stories regarding the Greene family, Mary Green, especially. She was a good soul, so "hauntings" is maybe too strong of a word. Maybe use "visits." \There was also an episode on "Unsolved Mysteries" about a woman who believes she was in the Greene family in a past life. I think your family put the "e" on there, just to keep track of each others' unusual stories.

re. 109. It's also been a recurring number in my life. I currently live in apartment 109. For me, 108 and 109 are lucky numbers.

Thanks for signing my guestbook. -nori

Rini has signed your guestbook.

This site is a pretty good site, but I was looking for information on Mary Green, the ghost of the Delta Queen. Please, I need some information on Mary Green.

Hi Rini,
There are a few good ghost stories about Mary Greene. She forbid alcohol on her boats, and after she died they installed a bar. Then a boat named "Mary Greene" ran into the Greene line boat, destroying the bar.

Also, another person just signed my guestbook & said that she would visit room 109. Mary Greene was a good soul, so i think "visit" is better than "haunt."

Also, there was an episode of Unsolved Mysteries about a woman who believed she was in the Greene family in a past life, but that she killed herself in the river when she found out she was pregnant out of wedlock. Delta Queen Steamboat Captain Gabe Chengery probably tells these stories better than me.

I hope this helps. Some of the Green family have signed my guestbook, so you might consider writing to them directly.

John Wolf has signed your guestbook.

is this the same boat that suffered an explosion and almost sank in Pittsburgh in the late 1940's ?

Hi John,
The Delta Queen was in California in the 1940s. She served in WWII carrying military personnel to ships in San Fancisco Bay. After the war she moved to the Mississippi River.

Dear Sirs,
I am trying to find any information about the Norfolk and Washington Steamboat Co. They had three steamboats. The Northland, The Southland and the District of Columbia. We would very much like to find any pictures and history concerning these boats, as my father and his father worked on them years ago.
I thank you for any help that you can give me.
Pat Howard
P.O. Box 2130
Leesburg, Va 20177

I am conducting some research to find the names and stories of gamblers/gambling on the 19th century riverboats. I would appreciate any information on sources for this material. Thank you. JIM RAZZINO


Recently I found a mounted poster for the Swallow & Markle New Grand floating Palace. Seating capacity 1200. It seems to be a floating casino of some type. I was wondering if you had any information pertaining to this poster. The poster is made of a waxy type paper and it is mounted on a single piece of wood and it appears to be glued on. Any information on the date or location of this would be appreciated.
Sincerely, Tom Watson

Captain Jon Hopkins

My great grandfather was supposed to have been a captain on the Robert E. Lee between Louisville and New Orleans. He was born in Louisville Ky. in 1832. His name was James Paul Sr. I'm looking for information about him. Estocks

I am just beginning research for a production of the musical "Showboat" for which I am the Set Designer. The production will be going out on a national tour of the U.S in Sept. 1999. I am looking for pictures of old show boats if there was such a thing and additional research about what that kind of boat looked like. Any other pictures of a similar kind of boat would be welcome. I enjoyed your website and look forward to your assistance. Thanks J. K

I am creative director for Fleming Publishing. We design the direct mail fund raising materials for the American Lung Association. The Lung Association is interested in producing a sheet of name stickers to be incorporated into their mailing. I am therefore looking for both historical and contemporary steamboat photographs to purchase. If you have, or can lead me to someone who does have such photos please contact me by e-mail or by phone at (309)263-4180 ext14 Stan Wojda

The best bet for finding illustrations of old steamboats is in Early Advertising Art Books. They can be found at any of the major book stores (Barnes & Noble, Book Stop, etc.) and are usually found with the Commercial Art books (under the category of Transportation). Some of the books have literally pages of them - most of them old steel engravings that reproduce very well - and they're royalty free. I am using one of them on my Steamboat Writing & Research letterhead. Jerry Canavit

Hi I live at Deer Park Louisiana and I seek Information on the steamboat which rests in Deer Park. It is the Maimmie S. Barret. I would like all information available on it. If you can help me I would be greatful. Thank you for your time and consideration. Daniel Britt

I am currently researching a steamboat wreck, The City of Hawkinsville of Tampa. It was built in Abbeville Georgia in 1896 for the Hawkinsville Deepwater Boat Lines. Later, June 1900, it was sold to Gulf Transportation Company in Tampa. It sank at the dock near Old Town in the Suwannee River some time during 1923. The ship's remains are partially covered in mud and there are only a few details about the ships original appearance. It was 141 ft long, w/ 2 decks, a single smoke stack, a square stern and a molded bow. There are several pictures of the steamer in the Florida state archives but most are from a distance and I admit I know little about steamboats in particular. Would you know of any source that may have more details on the ship's construction or a general book that would help me identify the model or type of the boat. We would like to build a scale model of the ship for educational purposes and would appreciate any extra details that would make the model as close to reality as possible. I would be glad to share more details from my research for your data base, also since the ship is a state underwater archaeological preserve there is a website at that may be of interest to you. I appreciate any assistance you can provide. Sincerely, Donna J. Nash Curatorial Assistant Florida Museum of Natural History

Donna, I am reading a book called STEAMBOATS AND FERRIES ON THE WHITE RIVER, by Duane Huddleston, Sammie Rose and Pat Wood. It contains many pictures of steamboats that were built from 1831 to 1917. These pictures, known as the "Huddleston Collection", are housed at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, in Ottenheimer Library Archives and Special Collections, 2801 S. University, Little Rock, AR 72204-1099. The contact person is Linda Pine, Head/UALR Archives & Special Collections. E-mail She may be able to supply you with a "look-alike" picture of your boat, or one of the boat itself. The phone number is 501-569-8820. Linda was very nice to answer my query, hope that she can help you. Tom Baker

I am looking for information for the Howard Steamboat Museum in Southern Indiana. I would like to visit there but don't know what city it is located in. Thank you. Doc

I am new to modeling and am wondering where I might find designs for river (paddle) boats (preferably online or a book or actual pictures of boats). I want to build it from scratch as I work with wood alot. Can you help me. Thank you!

On our link page you will find a section for boat model kits. Check page. Also buy a copy of "Live Steam" magazine at your local news stand or hobby shop. That will help you find the materials and parts you need if you want to build from scratch. -steamboats

Dear Captain. I'm writing a work of fiction set in the summer of 1865. I nee to know the cost of ticket (Cheap seats) from New Orleams to Memphis. Also (Toughter question) the approximate freight cost of 34 fifty gallon oak barrels of whisket shipped downriver from Memphis to N.O. Would if be over $500 Federal or less? Any help would be much appreciated. Thank you, Brooks Carver

Did river steamboats of the 19th century keep passenger lists as did their ocean going counterparts? I'm particularly interested in steamboats on the White River in Arkansas, 1867 to 1870. I'm doing family history and would like to learn about post Civil War westward migration via river travel. Can you advise where to look for this info? Thanks. Tom Baker 274 Southfork Branson, MO 65616


Editor's Note: For Charlene and anyone interested in working on a steamboat: Our link page has a list of operating steamboats. I would suggest contacting the companies, offering your resume and cover letter, and go from there. If you live in New Orleans, check out the Delta Queen Steamboat Company. They hire deck hands, waiters, maids and office workers. The Delta King in Sacramento, California, would have similar openings. -nori steamboat links

I build radio-controlled operating models of riverboats (paddle- wheel) Ralph

Editor's Note: Ralph's photos are now on exhibit at link to radio controlled riverboats.

I am doing a steamboat project & I need Blue prints of one. Can I get some from you? Tyler

Editor's Note: check our link page for companies that build steamboats and offer model boats: steamboat links Does anyone else have access to blueprints? Please contact

HI: I would like more information on the learning center. I have several orignal photograph of steamboats on the Mississippi taken between 1860 and 1890. I am in the processes of making new negative so I do not have to handle the glass plates. I would like to know where i may find more information on each boat. Philip Buras

Editor's note: Fred Way's Packet Directory lists 6,000 boats, 1848-1994. That book might have the information you're looking for. The book is available through this website, or order it from any bookstore. See: Steampower Bookstore

We will gladly post any steamboat photos, along with your inquiries, in the hopes that someone will recognize them and send information.

It's important to get steamboat history onto the internet, so we encourage anyone with a collection of steamboat photos to consider having them posted at this site.

Jerry Canavit answers the question of who invented the steamboat:

Hi! Sorry I haven't written in a while. Have been out of pocket for a couple of weeks on business and not near a computer. I just checked your bulletin board and came across the posting on Samuel Morey as being the inventor of the steamboat and wanted to send you a comment.

A good number of people were involved with early experiments with steam-powered vessels: Samuel Morey among them. Many of these people have their supporters and like to tout them as the true inventors of the steamboat - many regional prejudices withstanding.

Most people in the U.S. learned that Robert Fulton invented the steamboat. I know I certainly did. It was right there in my seventh grade history book. The date was August 7, 1807. I remember it as well as I remember my birthday. I could imagine how it must have been - paddlewheels noisily creaking and splashing, that crude steam engine rocking and shaking the deck, black sooty smoke belching from the chimney with sparks falling all around - people on board chattering with excitement as the vessel slowly moved up the Hudson River against the current and without sail. Fulton's steamboat went from New York City to Albany and into the history books - a 150-mile trip taking 32 hours at an average speed of about 5 miles-per-hour.

She was called the CLERMONT. At least that's what my history book said. Come to think of it - that's not the first thing that history book had wrong. It's not too hard to imagine how that mistake was made and was perpetuated. Bad historical information being repeated with inquiry is, unfortunately, not uncommon. The fact is that Fulton's steamboat was not called the CLERMONT. The correct information is clearly there for the finding. In his writings, Fulton always referred to his vessel as "the Steamboat." After the first historic journey in 1807, Fulton advertised his boat to the public as THE NORTH RIVER STEAMBOAT. On September 4, 1807, the vessel made her first voyage with commercial paying passengers as the NORTH RIVER.

After a brief running season, Fulton's NORTH RIVER STEAMBOAT was completely rebuilt in the spring of 1808. Design flaws were remedied and she was launched again, for all practical purposes, a new, stronger and larger boat. By the summer of 1808 the boat was such a success that it could not accommodate all of the people who wanted passage on her. By March of 1809, the NORTH RIVER had made a clear profit of $16,000 - pretty good money in those days.

But what about John Fitch? Didn't he have a steamboat before Fulton? Wasn't he really the steamboat? A little digging will tell you that Fitch had a successful trial steamboat on the Deleware River in August of 1787 when, on its initial trip, his PERSEVERANCE made three miles-per-hour against the current. In 1790 he had an even more successful vessel. He called this boat the THORNTON. An ad in the Federal Gazette of June 14, 1790 reads: :the steamboat is ready to take on passengers and is ready to take on passengers and is intended to set off from Arch Street Ferry in Philadelphia every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for Burlington, Bristol, Bordentown and Trenton, to return on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Price for passengers 2/6 to Burlington and Bristol, 3/9 to Bordentown, and 5s to Trenton." Further reading will reveal that Mr. Fitch's vessel made regularly scheduled trips all that summer, covering between 2,000-3,000 miles. Breakdowns were rare and his vessel consistently traveled between 6-8 miles-per-hour. She had only one problem. She lost money and ran for only one season. The efforts of Mr. Fitch pretty much ended there.

How about all of those other steamboats? On December 3, 1787, James Rumsey's steam-powered water-jet craft ran successfully for about two hours on the Potomac River averaging about 3 miles-per-hour. Before that, in 1776, Frenchman Marquis de Jouffroy d'Abbans ran a steamboat on the Saone River at Lyons (France) - moving under its own power for 15 minutes before its bottom gave way. In 1789, Englishman William Symington's small steam-powered sidewheel vessel ran briefly on the Forth and Clyde Canal at between 5-7 miles-per-hour. In 1792, American Elijah Ormsbee's duck-foot steam paddler ram briefly out of Windsor's Cove at Narragansett Bay, making 3 miles-per-hour. American Samuel Morey (ref. your bulletin board) built and ran a stern-wheel powered vessel, running Hartford to New York at about 5 miles-per-hour in 1793. Back in England, William Symington ran his steam-powered sidewheel tug, the CHARLOTTE DUNDAS, on the Forth and Clyde while towing 2 barges, each of 70 tons. In March of 1803, his vessel ran 19 1/2 miles in a 6-hour period without incident. If you learn from the history textbooks in England, you'll find the invention of the steamboat credited to Mr. Symington. A year later, American Robert L. Stevens ran a steam-powered, screw-propelled vessel from New York to Hoboken.

So, if all of these vessels ran successfully before Fulton's boat, why is Fulton credited with inventing the steamboat? The truth is that none of the individual details that made up his invention were his own - they were all borrowed from others. Why then should his vessel be considered the first truly successful model of the invention?

There were many before Fulton who actually built a steamboat that worked: Jouffroy in 1776 - Rumsey in 1787 - Fitch in 1787 and 1790 - Symington in 1789 and 1803 - Ormsbee in 1792 - Morey in 1793 and Stevens in 1804. While these vessels actually worked, they were all 'experiments." Even Fitch's remarkably effective, after covering several thousand miles on a regular schedule, failed after less than a year of operation - a commercial failure. After Fitch's achievement, steamboat development stood virtually still for over 15 years.

The English claim that William Symington was the true inventor of the steamboat. After abandoning successful experiments in 1789, he received financial support from Thomas Lord Dundas of Kerse to build a steam-powered tug for use on his canal. In march of 1803, the sidewheel CHARLOTTE DUNDAS was hitched to 2 barges and proceeded to make a 6 hour trip up the Forth and Clyde Canal. Had not the governors of the Forth and Clyde Canal forbade further use of the vessel (they were afraid the paddlewheels would wash away the bank), and had not Symington's funding for advancing the project gone away with the death of his benefactor, perhaps the CHARLOTTE DUNDAS would have successfully introduced steam navigation to England and the world. It probably could have. It didn't. Mr. Symington's efforts pretty much ended there.

So why is Fulton credited with the invention of the steamboat and Fitch, Symington and a host of others are not? Here is the case, as I see it, for the credit going to Fulton. Fulton carefully studied the work of most all of those who preceded him and combined all of their successes and made a steamboat that not only worked, but was commercially successful. Not a single part of his NORTH RIVER STEAMBOAT was his own invention - although he patented improvements on much of the machinery. His was, without question, the first "useful" steamboat. His vessel was the product of accumulated knowledge, not an isolated phenomenon as was those that preceded his. He took the best from each of the others, combining and improving on all of the pieces until the result of this synergism was success. The time was right. Acceptance was at hand. The boat worked. People could ride on it and did - and it paid its own way - no longer an experiment or demonstration. After the NORTH RIVER STEAMBOAT began running, steamboats began to proliferate - success breeding success - the ultimate testiment. Those who came before Fulton, however brilliant and worthy, were only martyrs in the cause, because the times were not yet ready. Because of these reasons, I believe Fulton deserves credit for being the inventor of the first successful steamboat. Was he the first to make a boat move under the power of steam? No. Was he the most creative and the most useful man connected with the invention? Maybe. Yet, it was not until after his first successful trip in 1807 that we saw the fruit of his genius - his ability to improve upon his designs and continue at will to build effective steamboats. The principles of his success were so clear and well stated that others were able to follow his lead and repeat his efforts. Steamboats then proliferated everywhere. It has ceased being a philisophical experiment and had become a practical and reliable methods of transportation.

Fulton was the right man at the right place at the right time in history. He was active and at the top of his game when the fruition of his efforts became possible. For these reasons I believe my history book was correct. Robert Fulton was the inventor of the steamboat. Even if the darned book had the name of the boat wrong.

Sorry this went a little long. Sometimes I find it hard to stop once I get going. Anyway, you might want to share some of this with your Samuel Morey proponent - as Morey was really just another "experimentor" and was not the inventor of the steamboat.

I'll give you a call once things get back to normal here and we can discuss other things.

Jerry Canavit

I am a graduate student in archaeology at the University of Florida, and I have been asked by a group to act as archaeological consultant for a steamboat project. They plan to do an underwater excavation of a steamboat that burned and sank around 1850. One of the things that makes the project viable is the boat reportedly was carrying a valuable shipment of gold dust and coins owned by a number of merchants aboard. Though many of the passengers would have carried their valuables in suitcases, trunks and valises, a question that has arisen is this: If some of the valuable cargo had a great deal of weight (i.e., too heavy to carry in a trunk or keep in your cabin) and it was not carried in the ship's safe, where in the boat would it be stored and carried? Was there locked, strong boxes below deck, or even in the hold of the steamboat at this time? Or was there some sort of other storage system for valuable cargo that was heavy? Any help you can provide us will be appreciated greatly! Sincerely, Mark Allender