Steamboats 1811-29


NEW ORLEANS Built: 1811, Pittsburgh, Ohio. Type: Sidewheel, wooden hull. Size: 116 ft long, 20 ft beam, 371 tons Engine: Cylinder 34 inch diameter Cost: $38,000 The beginning of steamboating on the Western rivers dates to 1811 when Nicholas Roosevelt, great granduncle of Theodore Roosevelt, piloted a Fulton built steamboat, the NEW ORLEANS from Pittsburgh to New Orleans. … Read more

Steamboats 1875-79


ED RICHARDSON Built: 1878, by Howard & Company, Jeffersonville, Indiana. Type: Sidewheel, wooden hull packet. Size: 309′ x 70′ (including guards), beam 49′, depth of hold 12′, average draft 4′ 10”. Tonnage 2,048. Engines: Two high pressure lever (from steamer Katie), built by John Davies, Louisville. Boilers: Nine, iron, built by Jos. Mitchell, Louisville. Diameter 42″, length 32′, … Read more

Steamboats 1830-39


YELLOW STONE Built: 1830-31, Louisville, Kentucky (order placed November 24, 1830). Type: Sidewheel, wooden hull packet. Size: 130′ x 19′ x 5′ 5″, 144 tons. Engine: Single cylinder. Boilers: Three boilers. Paddlewheels: 18′ diameter. Cost: $8,950 ($4,000 contracted for the boat, $4,950 for the steam engine). The little YELLOW STONE earned a notable place in American history. She … Read more

Steamboats 1854-56


WAR EAGLE Built: 1854, Fulton, Cincinnati, Ohio. Type: Sidewheel, wooden hull packet. Size: 225′ x 27′, 296 tons. Boilers: Three boilers. Built by the Minnesota Packet Company, the WAR EAGLE operated mostly between Galena & St.Paul, and Dunleith & St.Paul. During a trip on the Tennessee River for the Union in 1862, she was attacked while wooding up … Read more

Civil War Ironclads


When the Civil War broke out, neither side were prepared for naval battles on the western rivers. The inevitable result was an urgent and innovative period of warship experimentation. Before the war, James Buchanan Eads (1820-1887), an inventive self-taught engineer living in St. Louis and familiar with the Mississippi River, proposed that the U.S. government … Read more

The Life and Times of Mark Twain


In the early 1890s the financial situation was becoming serious. The Paige compositor, Webster & Company, and the cost of maintaining the Nook Farm lifestyle at the Hartford House, brought Sam to the brink of personal bankruptcy. To reduce their living costs, Sam closed down the Hartford House in June of 1891 and … Read more

Mark Twain Friends


Rev. Joseph Twichell ~ 1888 Quote: ~ Reverend Joseph Hopkins Twichell (November 30, 1838 – December 20, 1918), writer and pastor, was Mark Twain’s closest friend for over forty years, and appears in A Tramp Abroad as “Harris”. They met at a church social after the Civil War when Hopkins was pastor of Asylum … Read more

Start of the Civil War


The war between the States began on April 12, 1861, at Charleston, South Carolina. Within weeks, civilian river traffic on the Mississippi River had been suspended. The steamboat UNCLE SAM was the last steamboat to make the run up to St. Louis before the Union blockade took full effect. It was fired upon, stopped, … Read more



Log Raft on the Mississippi In the 1800s large rafts of logs and sawn lumber were floated down the Mississippi River from the pine forests in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The earliest lumbering was probably on the Wisconsin River, where Pierre Grignon had a sawmill operating in 1822. Log rafts and sawn lumber rafts … Read more

Mississippi River System


  Quote:~ The Mississippi River and its basin has shaped the history of North America, influencing Indian life, exploration, military campaigns, pioneering and settlement, politics, folk and high culture, civil rights, and economic development. Home to diverse and distinctive species of flora and fauna, it was first civilized between 500 AD and 1500 AD by agrarian, … Read more