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

Lucy Troxler

SST Jolliffe

Becky Thatcher (need photos)


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

Bulletin Board Questions:

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

Carl Brewer has signed your guestbook.

Searching for Passenger List of the Steamboat "Princess" that blew upand burned south of Baton Rouge, Feb. 1859. I want to connect a Mr.Brewer who was killed on this boat with a lost Grandfather (ClarkBrewer) who went from Cherokee Co., Texas into Louisiana to gambleabout this time and never was heard from again. This will solve a 140year 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 onMary Green, the ghost of the Delta Queen. Please, I need someinformation 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 whobelieved she was in the Greene family in a past life, but that shekilled 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 WWIIcarrying 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 WashingtonSteamboat Co. They had three steamboats. The Northland, The Southland andthe District of Columbia. We would very much like to find any pictures andhistory concerning these boats, as my father and his father worked on themyears 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 ofgamblers/gambling on the 19th century riverboats. I wouldappreciate any information on sources for this material. Thankyou. JIM RAZZINO


Recently I found a mounted poster for the Swallow & Markle NewGrandfloating Palace. Seating capacity 1200. It seems to be afloating casino ofsometype. I was wondering if you had any information pertaining tothis poster.The poster is made of a waxy type paper and it is mounted on asingle piece ofwood and it appears to be glued on. Any information on the dateor locationof this would be appreciated.
Sincerely,Tom Watson

Captain Jon Hopkins

My great grandfather was supposed to have been a captain on theRobert E. Lee between Louisville and New Orleans. He was born inLouisville Ky. in 1832. His name was James Paul Sr. I'm lookingfor 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 willbe going out on a national tour of the U.S in Sept. 1999. I amlooking for pictures of old show boats if there was such a thingand additional research about what that kind of boat lookedlike. Any other pictures of a similar kind of boat would bewelcome.I enjoyed your website and look forward to your assistance.ThanksJ. K

I am creative director for Fleming Publishing. We design the direct mailfund raising materials for the American Lung Association. The LungAssociation is interested in producing a sheet of name stickers to beincorporated into their mailing. I am therefore looking for bothhistorical and contemporary steamboat photographs to purchase. If youhave, or can lead me to someone who does have such photos please contactme by e-mail or by phone at (309)263-4180 ext14Stan Wojda

The best bet for finding illustrations of old steamboats is in EarlyAdvertising Art Books. They can be found at any of the major book stores(Barnes & Noble, Book Stop, etc.) and are usually found with the CommercialArt books (under the category of Transportation). Some of the books haveliterally pages of them - most of them old steel engravings that reproducevery well - and they're royalty free. I am using one of them on my SteamboatWriting & 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 andconsideration. Daniel Britt

I am currently researching a steamboat wreck, The City ofHawkinsville ofTampa. It was built in Abbeville Georgia in 1896 for theHawkinsvilleDeepwater Boat Lines. Later, June 1900, it was sold to GulfTransportationCompany in Tampa. It sank at the dock near Old Town in theSuwannee Riversome time during 1923. The ship's remains are partially coveredin mud andthere are only a few details about the ships original appearance.It was141 ft long, w/ 2 decks, a single smoke stack, a square stern anda moldedbow. There are several pictures of the steamer in the Floridastatearchives but most are from a distance and I admit I know littleaboutsteamboats in particular. Would you know of any source that mayhave moredetails on the ship's construction or a general book that wouldhelp meidentify the model or type of the boat. We would like to build ascalemodel of the ship for educational purposes and would appreciateany extradetails that would make the model as close to reality as possible.I wouldbe glad to share more details from my research for your data base,alsosince the ship is a state underwater archaeological preserve thereis awebsite at maybe of interest to you. I appreciate any assistance you canprovide.Sincerely,Donna J. NashCuratorial AssistantFlorida 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 LibraryArchives 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 yourboat, or one of the boat itself. The phone number is 501-569-8820. Linda was very nice to answer my query, hope thatshe can help you. Tom Baker

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

I am new to modeling and am wondering where I might find designsfor river (paddle) boats (preferably online or a book or actualpictures of boats). Iwant to build it from scratch as I work with wood alot. Can youhelp me. Thank you!

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

Dear Captain. I'm writing a work of fiction set in the summer of1865.I nee to know the cost of ticket (Cheap seats) from New Orleams toMemphis. Also (Toughter question) the approximate freight cost of34fifty gallon oak barrels of whisket shipped downriver from MemphistoN.O. Would if be over $500 Federal or less? Any help would bemuchappreciated.Thank you, Brooks Carver

Did river steamboats of the 19th century keep passenger lists as did their ocean going counterparts? I'm particularlyinterested in steamboats on the White River in Arkansas, 1867 to 1870. I'm doing family history and would like to learnabout post Civil War westward migration via river travel. Can you advise where to look forthis info? Thanks. Tom Baker274 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 suggestcontacting the companies, offering your resume and cover letter,and go from there. If you live in New Orleans, check out the DeltaQueen Steamboat Company. They hire deck hands, waiters, maids andoffice workers. The Delta King in Sacramento, California, wouldhave similar openings.-noristeamboat links

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

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

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

Editor's Note: check our link page for companies that build steamboats and offermodel boats:steamboat linksDoes anyone else have access to blueprints? Please

HI:I would like more information on the learning center. I haveseveral orignal photograph of steamboats on the Mississippi takenbetween 1860 and 1890. I am in the processes of making newnegative so I do not have to handle the glass plates. I would liketo 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 bookmight have the information you're looking for. The book isavailable through this website, or order it from any bookstore.See: Steampower Bookstore

We will gladly post any steamboat photos, along with yourinquiries, in the hopes that someone will recognize them and sendinformation.

It's important to get steamboat history onto the internet, so weencourage anyone with a collection of steamboat photos to considerhaving 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 acouple of weeks on business and not near a computer. I just checked yourbulletin board and came across the posting on Samuel Morey as being theinventor of the steamboat and wanted to send you a comment.

A good number of people were involved with early experiments withsteam-powered vessels: Samuel Morey among them. Many of these people havetheir 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. Iknow 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 mybirthday. I could imagine how it must have been - paddlewheels noisilycreaking 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 theHudson River against the current and without sail. Fulton's steamboat wentfrom New York City to Albany and into the history books - a 150-mile triptaking 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, notuncommon. 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 firsthistoric journey in 1807, Fulton advertised his boat to the public as THENORTH RIVER STEAMBOAT. On September 4, 1807, the vessel made her firstvoyage with commercial paying passengers as the NORTH RIVER.

After a brief running season, Fulton's NORTH RIVER STEAMBOAT was completelyrebuilt in the spring of 1808. Design flaws were remedied and she waslaunched 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 notaccommodate 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 inthose days.

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

How about all of those other steamboats? On December 3, 1787, James Rumsey'ssteam-powered water-jet craft ran successfully for about two hours on thePotomac River averaging about 3 miles-per-hour. Before that, in 1776,Frenchman Marquis de Jouffroy d'Abbans ran a steamboat on the Saone River atLyons (France) - moving under its own power for 15 minutes before its bottomgave way. In 1789, Englishman William Symington's small steam-poweredsidewheel vessel ran briefly on the Forth and Clyde Canal at between 5-7miles-per-hour. In 1792, American Elijah Ormsbee's duck-foot steam paddlerram briefly out of Windsor's Cove at Narragansett Bay, making 3miles-per-hour. American Samuel Morey (ref. your bulletin board) built andran a stern-wheel powered vessel, running Hartford to New York at about 5miles-per-hour in 1793. Back in England, William Symington ran hissteam-powered sidewheel tug, the CHARLOTTE DUNDAS, on the Forth and Clydewhile towing 2 barges, each of 70 tons. In March of 1803, his vessel ran 191/2 miles in a 6-hour period without incident. If you learn from the historytextbooks in England, you'll find the invention of the steamboat credited toMr. 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 isFulton credited with inventing the steamboat? The truth is that none of theindividual details that made up his invention were his own - they were allborrowed from others. Why then should his vessel be considered the firsttruly 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 in1789 and 1803 - Ormsbee in 1792 - Morey in 1793 and Stevens in 1804. Whilethese vessels actually worked, they were all 'experiments." Even Fitch'sremarkably effective, after covering several thousand miles on a regularschedule, failed after less than a year of operation - a commercial failure.After Fitch's achievement, steamboat development stood virtually still forover 15 years.

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

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, forthe credit going to Fulton. Fulton carefully studied the work of most all ofthose who preceded him and combined all of their successes and made asteamboat that not only worked, but was commercially successful. Not asingle part of his NORTH RIVER STEAMBOAT was his own invention - although hepatented improvements on much of the machinery. His was, without question,the first "useful" steamboat. His vessel was the product of accumulatedknowledge, not an isolated phenomenon as was those that preceded his. Hetook the best from each of the others, combining and improving on all of thepieces 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. Afterthe NORTH RIVER STEAMBOAT began running, steamboats began to proliferate -success breeding success - the ultimate testiment. Those who came beforeFulton, however brilliant and worthy, were only martyrs in the cause, becausethe times were not yet ready. Because of these reasons, I believe Fultondeserves 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 hethe 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 wesaw the fruit of his genius - his ability to improve upon his designs andcontinue at will to build effective steamboats. The principles of hissuccess were so clear and well stated that others were able to follow hislead and repeat his efforts. Steamboats then proliferated everywhere. Ithas ceased being a philisophical experiment and had become a practical andreliable methods of transportation.

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

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

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

Jerry Canavit

I am a graduate student in archaeology at the University ofFlorida, and I have been asked by a group to act as archaeologicalconsultant for a steamboat project. They plan to do an underwaterexcavation of a steamboat that burned and sank around 1850. Oneof the things that makes the project viable is the boat reportedlywas carrying a valuable shipment of gold dust and coins owned by anumber of merchants aboard. Though many of the passengers wouldhave carried their valuables in suitcases, trunks and valises, aquestion that has arisen is this: If some of the valuable cargohad a great deal of weight (i.e., too heavy to carry in a trunk orkeep in your cabin) and it was not carried in the ship's safe,where in the boat would it be stored and carried? Was therelocked, strong boxes below deck, or even in the hold of thesteamboat at this time? Or was there some sort of other storagesystem for valuable cargo that was heavy? Any help you canprovide us will be appreciated greatly!Sincerely,Mark Allender