Boats of the Pioneer Days
Feb 22, 1931
“With excellent connections at both ends of her run and the steady patronage of the lime kilns of Le Claire, Port Byron, Princeton, and Cordova, the Diamond Jo handled a good business and nearly always towed one, and often two, barges to carry it. In 1878 the Josephine came out new to take her place in the trade. She was slightly smaller, but very nice and real fast, She could hold her own with any of the big sidewheelers. Capt. Conger was in charge with Frank Thompkins, mate, Hight and Dick Stevens, pilots, J. L. Carver and James Davenport, engineers, O. P. H. Gooley and his son, clerks, and Henry Alford steward.”
June 15, 1840 - Jan 28, 1903
Jan 28, 1903
The death of Henry
Alford an old resident of
He was born in Darthmouth
Oct. 19, 1876 – July 30, 1924
The Daily Times
July, 31, 1924
Was Prominent Elk and Spanish American War Veteran
Frank H. Alford,
O. Elks, and a veteran of the Spanish American war, died of hemorrhage, last night at
10 o’clock at St Luke’s hospital, where he had been rushed form the Elk’s club on
As was his wont and about 9:30 o’clock he complained of feeling ill. J. C. Minnett, Ed
Niemand and Julian Brandit who were at the club at the time, accompanied him around
The block for a walk and when they reached the
Hemorrhage. The three men rushed him back to the club and Dr. C. E. Block was called
He was taken immediately to St. Luke’s hospital in the ambulance, where he died 30
The hemorrhage was
thought to be the result of a fever Mr. Alford contracted in
Mr. Alford was born
on Oct. 19, 1876 in
During the war he was employed at eh arsenal and his last position was inspector for the state highway commission.
The decedent was an active member of the Elks and was extremely popular because of his unusually pleasant personality. He belonged to the Edwards Congregational church.
Surviving are his
mother Mrs. Mary Alford of
816 East 13
The Ben Campbell burned at
Hiram Bersie—died 1859; part owner with McMaster and Washburn of War Eagle mills in Galena (1849); captained the Golden Era during the 1854 Grand Excursion; $300 raised by the passengers on the Golden Era to present Bersie with an inscribed silver pitcher.
The Gazette March 13, 1849
The well known, light boat BON-ACCORD, H. Bersie, Master, will run during the season as a regular
Biographical History and
Portrait Gallery of
1895: American Biographical Publishing Co
Captain Warner Lewis Clark
The subject of this
sketch can rightfully be termed the father of
The subject of this
sketch remained at
He began fighting the battles of life by cutting cord-wood at fifty cents a cord and breaking prairie sod at two dollars an acre, raised and sold winter wheat at from twenty to twenty-two cents a bushel, and in this way accumulated some money..
In 1848 Captain Clark, in company with W. H. Baker, erected
a double saw-mill on rock river above the falls, and soon after stocked a
lumber yard in Davenport under the firm name of Clark and Hamilton. In 1850 he sold out his interest in the
lumber yard and purchased a quarter interest in the steamer “Uncle Toby” and
two barges, taking possession and running the boat until 1853. He and Captain Le Roy Dodge then purchased a
half interest in a line of packets plying between Keokuk,
In the summer of
1865 they laid out an addition to the city of
In 1857 Captain Cark removed from
CAPT. W. L. CLARK DIED AT
END CAME AT 11:10 O’CLOCK
AFTER LONG PERIOD OF ILLNESS
The long life of Captain W. L. Clark of
Captain Clark, whose interesting career was reviewed in Wednesdays Democrat will long be remembered here as one who towered among the county’s oldest settlers, by reason of his experience, his memories, and the long life that was so unique in so many ways.
The family came to
Four children, nine grandchildren and ten
great-grandchildren survive him. The
children are Mrs. Emma M. Harrison of
Leroy Dodge 1811-1871
Jan. 21, 1871
Serious Accident--- we are sorry to hear that Capt. Leroy Dodge, well known in this vicinity, and residing some eight miles down the river, while driving his reaper in the hay field this morning, was thrown to the ground, and his foot badly cut by the sickle, severing his tendons between the main portion of the foot and the ankle, nearly cutting the foot in two. The captain being alone in the field, managed to staunch the flow of blood until these who were at work near by saw his condition, and came to his aid. A team was at once dispatched to this city for a surgeon, and we hope to be able to report favorable symptoms of the Captains complete recovery very soon. Researcher Sue Rekkas
June 22, 1871
The Situation--News from Captain Dodge, who met with the severe accident, on yesterday, mentioned last evening, give but little hope of the foot healing without amputation being necessary. This morning we learned the chances were about even, but later advice from parties arrived from there this noon, state that it is feared the foot will have to be amputated. Dr. Maxwell, of this city, and a surgeon from Sabula, sewed up the wound yesterday, somewhat of an experimental operation, which it is much hoped will be successful in the Captains recovery. Researcher Sue Rekkas
June 27, 1871
DEATH OF CAPTAIN DODGE
For several days past our readers have been aware of the fact that our highly esteemed fellow-citizen, Captain Leroy Dodge, was lying in a very critical condition in consequence of a frightfully severe accident occasioned by being thrown from his mowing machine on Wednesday last. Since the accident, which nearly severed one of his feet from the ankle, attendant surgeons have exerted every effort to save the foot, until last evening it became fully apparent that the last hope of saving the patients life, slender though it might be, was in amputation. Accordingly the operation was performed under a light influence of ether. From the subsequent protraction the patient had no power to rally. He retained complete control of his senses nearly to the hour of his departure, which occurred at three o’clock this morning, and so far as waning strength would permit, talking with his family and
attendant friends, and giving directions concerning the funeral and burial.
Captain Leroy Dodge
was a native of
Capt. Dodge was ranked among the best known and most highly esteemed residents of this part of the state. He was ever known and recognized as a thoroughly upright, scrupulously honest, high-toned gentlemen. To know him well was to hold him in the highest esteem. He was a man of education thoroughly conversant with Western life genial, benevolent, an obliging neighbor, a kind and indulgent husband and father; moral and upright in all his dealings with mankind. Living the life of a good man, his last hours were full of peace and resignation. He died as he lived, at peace with all men in full confidence of the life eternal. He leaves behind a wife and four children, two daughters, the eldest the wife of E. E. Cook, Esq., of this city; the youngest, a young lady of 19, and two sons, about 16 and 9 respectively, at home. With the bereaved ones is the deepest sympathy of a wide circle of friends. The funeral will take place at Trinity church, in this city, on Thursday, at 2 o’clock p.m., under the auspices of the pioneer settlers, and the remains buried at Oakdale. Researcher Sue Rekkas
*D. B. Morehouse—1807-1869; set a record with a time of 6 days
and 15 hours on the steamboat Iowa in 1840 for the round trip between Galena
and St. Louis, a record which stood until 1845; captained the Galena during the
1854 Grand Excursion; passengers passed a resolution to obtain an appropriate
gift of thanks for the captain and pilot; retired in Galena.
Capt. Dick Morehouse died on the
19th inst. at the residence of Le Grande Morehouse in
Wednesday, 22 April 1913
Capt. Dick Morehouse, one of the pioneer steamboatmen on the upper Mississippi, died on the 20th at his farm in Buffalo Township, Scott county, Iowa, aged 66 years.
Glendale Cemetery Le Claire Iowa transcribed by Paul Pruden
Moorehouse, Dickerson B., 1844-1913
Morehouse Le Grand
*Le Grand Morehouse—died
around 1890; owned and captained the Lady Franklin during the 1854 Grand
Excursion; in her reporting Catherine Sedgwick praised Morehouse
for his courtesy; The Minneapolis Institute of the Arts has in its collection
an engraved silver pitcher dedicated to Morehouse
from the passengers. Another cup is owned by his grandaughter
Mrs. Vernon Willes 806 W 3rd St. in
Morehouse Memorial Stone
The Morehouse memorial stone can
be found in
Their Biography can be found in History of Davenport and Scott County Iowa by Harry Downer Vol.
From History of
John Presley was born in Jefferson Co., N.Y., Jan. 5, 1824. He became self-supporting at 13 years of age, and worked as a farm laborer until his marriage to Phylrnia Bersie, Oct. 18, 1847. She was born in Jefferson Co., N.Y., and was a daughter of Henry Bersie, a native of
Transcribed by Debbie Gerisher
Presley, John, 1809-1897
Presley, Philena, 1826-1906
Presley, Ella, 1864-1910
Buffalo Twp., Scott Co, IA 1860 Federal Census (File 1 of 2) This Census was transcribed by Cathy Joynt Labath and proofread by Debbie Clough Gerischer for the Genweb project
John Presley 46 M . Boatman
3141Presley Phylena 34 F . . . .
3141Shuck Hosanna 18 F . Servant . .
3141Bersie Hiram 45 M . Steamboat Captain . .
* See Ruby scrapbook celticcousins.com
Steamboats and Steamboatmen of
Descriptive, personal and Historical
By George B. Merrick
Author of “Old Times on the
packet, built at Metropolis, Illinois, 1880; 199.5 feet long 25.22 feet beam,
4.3 feet hold; 392.23 tons. Owned by
some time by Schwartz Brothers, of
Home of Jerome Ruby, 1896
Captain E. Jerome
Jerome Ruby was born in
Jerome and Elizabeth Woerner,
had a son Edward Burns Ruby, June 1st, 1856. In the 1860 census
Edward is living with John and Charlotte Burns, in
(Katy) Heckle were married in
Jerome married Pauline Page in 1858. They had two son’s who did not survive childhood,
Pauline and Jerome remained married until
his death on Feb. 8th, 1896 of heart trouble when he was at the home
of his brother Homer in
was buried in
obituary states that “He had familiarly known the entire length of the upper
of the boats Jerome piloted include the “
February 23. 1899
The Death of O.M. Ruby of
Capt. Ruby leaves a wife and two children. His daughter arriving from her Indiana home before his death, while the son, employed by the government work near La Cross, arrived soon after.
July 5, 1912
VETERAN PILOT ON
Captain Perry M. Ruby died at the Graham hospital Thursday, shortly after 10:00 P.M. following a mastoid operation which occurred Tuesday night of this week. Captain Ruby had an attack of influenza seven weeks ago and had a slight stroke of paralysis two weeks ago. His death was caused by a mastoid abscess and meningitis.
Perry Mills Ruby
was born at
Lulu Bell Priestly, who survives her husband.
ancestors were all river men and he himself had been on the
attended the Presbyterian church and was a member of the Keokuk Aerie of Eagles
and of the Modern Woodmen of America.
Besides his wife he is survived by one son, Oscar Mills Ruby, of
services will be held from the residence
Capt. Loren “Shorty”
Services for Capt. Loren “Captain Shorty” Williams, 72 of Hickory Hills Blue Grass, veteran riverboat captain and founder of Williams Marine enterprises Inc., in Davenport, will be 1 P. M. Thursday at Runge chapel burial will be in Davenport Memorial Park, where Roosevelt Lodge 626 AF & AM, will conduct Masonic services.
Visitation is 4 to 8 p. m. today.
Memorials may be made to Federation of the blind.
He died Monday at
Capt. Shorty Williams long romance with rivers spanned the gap between the ghost-quiet steamboats and the jaybird audacity of the noisy, powerful diesel.
More than half a
century of river suns and fogs had etched their trademarks on the face familiar
to generations of men who shared his love of the
The ever-present pipe, clamped tightly in his teeth, was as much a part of him as the soft voice that joshed on the radio with other rivermen passing through the quad cities.
His fleet of towboats that serviced the great toed moving up and down river were his children, almost as much as his own off spring who, as son as they were old enough, joined him in Williams Marine Enterprise.
If a horse with a
tail full of cockleburrs hadn’t slapped him in the
face when he was a youngster, Capt. Shorty might have
remained a farmer. But when that
happened, he unhitched the team and ran full tilt to the river and took a job
Soon, he was
operating an Army Corps of Engineers’ motorboat, and then a channel inspection
boat, making daily runs between
But the sound of paddlewheels lured him to a decking apprenticeship on some of the Federal Barge Line’s grand old steamboats, he became a riverboat captain in 1937.
In 1961, Williams
established an excursion boat business in
His pride was the “Grandpa Shorty,” launched in 1976.
A few years ago, he summed up the mystique that lured him from the land: “No two trips are ever alike and a riverman never gets tired of the beauty he has seen a thousand times.”
He retired in 1979.
Capt. Williams was employed by the U.S. Army Corp of Enginers from 1927 to 1937.
married Norma Fahrenkrug in 1934 in
Capt. Williams was a
member of the Propeller club of the
Survivors include sons, Capt. Donn, Davenport, and Capt. Larry and Capt. Mark, both of Hickory Hills, Blue Grass; nine grandchildren; five great grandchildren; and sisters, Mrs. Walter (Dolly) Stoller, Burlington, Iowa Mrs. Melvin (Belva) Harksen and Lillian Erie both of Davenport; Mrs. John (Beulah) Mutschler Yucapia, Calif; and Mrs. Arnold (Velma) Anderson and Mrs. Robert (June) Elston, both of Seattle.