Watching for the ferry
If you have ancestors who had river men in their background
you are welcome to submit your information
The river is no wider from this side than the other.
Literary Notes 1932
The gin rickey was first introduced to a thirsty America by one “Colonel” James Rickey, a suave gambler of the old school who frequented the Mississippi steamboats in the florid days following the Civil War. Later he went to Washington, and old-timers still remember his bar, the floor of which was a mosaic of $20 gold pieces. “Colonel” Rickey was a tradition along the Mississippi when Henry Bellaman was a boy, and he has taken this picturesque character as the prototype for Garrison Gracey, gambler, in “The Richest Woman in Town,” a novel which the century company is publishing Feb. 16, Mr. Bellamann is now Dean of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.
Capt Gordon is Retired As Lock Master
John B. Gordon of Moline, Master of the Moline Locks and a friend of Mark twain,
was retired on pension today from government work after 48 years of activity on
the Mississippi River.
For Many years Capt. Gordon had had charge of river packets, and in that capacity he became acquainted with the famous author. He came to Moline in 1884, and had been master of the Moline Locks since their construction.
W.W. Reed of Rock Island has been named successor to Capt. Gordon.
Captain A. E. Duncan
Captain A. E. Duncan 83, pioneer river man, died in Jane
Lamb hospital about 9 o’clock Sunday night of pneumonia, after a brief
He was born in
New York state near Ogdensburg, Dec. 24, 1849, and came here as a young man to
engage in farming. Later he began
his career on the Mississippi river as a laborer and worked himself up first as
a pilot then as a captain in the logging industry.
Ambitious and enterprising, he went into the business with a partner and
later bought his own boats that plied the upper river from Lake Pepin to the
Tri-Cities many years, among them the “Silver Crescent” and the “Nettie
Durant” Several years ago Captain Duncan retired because of ill health.
His home was at 2102 Roosevelt Street.
Survivors are three daughters, Jeannette, Mrs. Charles Noble of Chicago; Edith, Mrs. Carl Fay of coco Fla.; Miss Ruth Duncan of Chicago; and two brothers, James of Moline, Ill. And William of Clovis Calif.
Funeral services will be held Wednesday, but the time and place were not announced today.
FRANK GLADHILL PILOT ON RIVER 40 YEARS, DIES
Frank Gladhill, 62 of 518, Main St, a registered river pilot on the Mississippi during the past 40 years, died at Mercy hospital at 6 o’clock this morning, following an extended illness.
Born on April 8, 1871, in Fulton Ill. He resided for many years in Albany Ill. He came to Davenport 14 years ago. He was associated with the Streckfus steamboat company until he became ill last November.
Mr. Gladhill was of Methodist faith. He was a member of the Albany Masonic lodge, A.F. & A. M. No. 566.
Surviving are two sisters, Mrs. May Jordan of Albany, Ill. And Mrs. Mabel Erwin of Pondcreek Okla; three brothers, Charles Gladhill of Portsmouth, N.M. William Gladhill of Charlotte, Iowa and Arthur Gladhill of Albany, Ill.
The body was taken to the Horrigan home for funerals, and will be removed Tuesday afternoon to the home of his sister, Mrs. Mary Jordan of Albany. Funeral services will be held Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. at the Albany Methodist church. Burial will be in the Albany Ill., cemetery.
River Pilot, Dies age 67
Milan Sand company ill 3 weeks- funeral Tuesday
Elmer McCraney, 67 president of the Milan Sand and Gravel company, resident of
Davenport during the past 23 years died at his home, 2018 Lillie ave. at 9 a.m.
Sunday, following an illness of three weeks’ duration.
Dec, 31 1866, in Dubuque he moved with his family when a small boy to Winona,
Minn. He was educated in schools
years ago he was married in Chicago to Miss Minnie Trombley, who preceded him in
death in 1922. The couple moved to
LeClaire, where they resided for seven years.
He became a partner and manager of the Van Sant Navigation company,
associated with the ex-governor Van Sant of Minnesota.
This fleet of 12 boats was the last to navigate the river.
McCraney later owned the McCraney Sand and Gravel company and coal mines at
Matherville and Coal Valley, Ill. In
1926 with other associates, he founded the Milan Sand and Gravel company of
are one daughter, Miss Harriet McCraney at home; and one sister, Mrs. Walter E.
Blair, New York City.
The body was taken to Hill and Fredricks Mortuary where funeral services will be held Tuesday at 9 a.m. Burial will e in Glendale cemetery at LeClaire.
P. M’Allister dies; was chef on river Boats
Had lived in LeClaire Since Marriage here in 1921.
Patrick J. McAllister 61 a resident of LeClaire for the
past 14 years died at his home there at 6 p.m. Tuesday after a years illness.
McAllister was born in Boston Mass. April
1, 1871. Doe several years he served
as chef on government boats on the Mississippi River.
He was married to Mrs. Ida Underholt on December 8, 1921, in Davenport
and he had lived in Le Claire since. He
was a member of the Full Gospel Church.
Surviving besides his wife are two step children, Ethel Underholt and Roy Underholt of LeClaire; two sisters Mrs. Margaret Gallon of Los Angeles and Mrs. Katherine O’Leary of Turner Falls, Mass, and two brothers, James and Bernard McAllister, also of Turner Falls.
The body was removed to the McGinnis funeral home and will be taken to the LeClaire Tabernacle
Thursday morning for funeral services at 2 p.m. Burial will be in Glendale cemetery, LeClaire.
Retired Boat Captain, 93, Pilots Ellen
Captain Joe Morehead “Tansy “ Hawthorne, 93, LeClaire, basked in the Limelight today.
The old river captain was the guest of the U. S. engineers station in the Clock Tower and was brought to Davenport by the U.S. Ellen, the engineers’ boat, this morning. He was an honored guest at the Clock Tower and at a dinner served aboard the Ellen at noon.
In the afternoon the Ellen was taken thru the locks and below the dam, and on the return trip to LeClaire Captain Hawthorne took the wheel, piloting the boat over once familiar rapids now submerged by the lake. Altho he retired from the river in 1920 after 73 years service, he is given his pilots license each year by the government.
Captain Hawthorne told the engineers that John D. Rockefeller, who celebrated his 96th birthday Monday, had only three years start on him and that he would live longer.
Moore Rites on Thursday
Old River Captain’s Rites to Be at Home; other
Clinton Ia. May 4- Funeral services for Captain William Moore former river man, will be conducted in the home Thursday at 2:30 o’clock by the Rev. S. V. Williams. Mr. Moore will be laid to rest in Oakland beside his wife, who died last week.
Captain Moore was born Dec. 16 1851, in Pennsylvania. He came to LeClaire as a boy and began his work on the river when he was about 13 years old. He was captain on various boats including a packet that ran from LeClaire to Dubuque many years; He had been retired 16 years. His marriage to Georgianna White of LeClaire was solemnized in Davenport in 1876, and they lived there until 1889, when he came here.
Captain Moore was a member of DeMolay consistory here, Kaaba temple, Davenport, and the LeClaire blue lodge of Masons, also the odd fellows lodge of Leclaire
JOHN WHISLER, VETERAN PILOT OF FERRY DIES
John T Whisler, 64, who was
pilot on the J. W. Quinlan ferry active in river work on the Mississippi since
he was 17 years old died Tuesday afternoon at the Moline City Hospital.
He resided at 525 Twelfth avenue, Rock Island.
Mr. Whisler had been ill of pneumonia since last Thursday.
Born March 11, 1867, in Como, Ill. He moved with his parents when a small
boy to Albany, Ill, where he received his education.
He moved to Rock Island 20 years ago.
Capt Whistler was married on Oct. 3, 1893 to Florence Wing in Prairie du
Chien Wis. He was a member of the
Albany Masonic lodge.
He served many years as
pilot and captain on river steamers in early days and was one of the old masters
and pilots for the Weyerhauser & Denkmann Lumber co. of Rock Island.
With the closing of the saw mills here he was in charge of the steamer
Denkmann which was used for several years as the pleasure craft of the
Weyerhauser and Denkmann families. In
later years he served as pilot on the Davenport-Rock Island ferry on the steamer
Minneapolis under the Rock Island engineers office.
Surviving are the widow; three daughters, Miss Helen Whisler of Rock
Island, Mrs. Paul Rothe of Oakland Calif., and Mrs. Kenneth Tilton of Moline; a
son, Arthur Whisler, of Rock Island; three sisters Mrs. Harry Burns and Mrs.
Isaac Burns, both of Albany and Mrs. Ora Barnes of Reynolds.
There also are one grandson and one granddaughter.
Capt. George W. King, River man, dies at 72
of Pilots’ Association for 10 years; first job on boat at 16.
Capt. George W. King, a river man since 1877 and for ten years secretary-treasurer of the Pilots’ Masters’ and Mates’ Association of Inland Rivers, died of paralysis Monday at his home, 5204 Kensington Avenue. He was 72 years old.
association met at its headquarters in the Merchants-Laclede Building and voted,
in resolutions citing his half-century of membership, his character and spirit,
to drape its charter in mourning for 30 days.
Outstanding among the anecdotes of Capt. King’s years on the river was the story of his building a bulkhead under seven feet of water in the Gen. Abbott, an Army Engineers’ towboat. On its maiden trip from St. Louis in 1896, the Abbott struck a snag and sank five miles below commerce, Mo.
A diver was
sent for to investigate the damage. Meantime Capt. King, without diving
apparatus, went down and discovered a gash three feet wide and many feet long in
the hull. With a helper to stand on
his shoulders and hold him down, the captain, an expert ship carpenter, repaired
the hole so that the water could be pumped out and the steamer raised.
When the diver arrived two days after the boat sank, there was nothing
for him to do.
King was born in Lima O., and had resided in St. Louis since he was 10 years
old. At 16 he got his first river
job as a deck sweeper on a packet boat. For
a time he was employed by the old Mississippi Valley Transportation Co. barge
line. He was pilot of the Dolphin
No.3. Of which Capt. John E. Lubben was master, towing railroad ties from
Southern forests to St. Louis.
In 1893 he entered the engineer service in this district as mate, pilot and captain. For some years he was chief mate of the Government snag boat Wright. He served also on the Gen. King retiring in 1923 to take his less physically demanding office in the river men’s organization, he was director of by the engineers in the flood of 1927 to pilot relief stations under command of Maj. C. Gotwals, among the bayous of Louisiana.
CAPTAIN BLAIR VETERAN RIVER PILOT IS DEAD
Than Half -Century Spent on Father of Waters
Dec. 24, 1939 Pg. 1
Walter Atcheson Blair, 83, veteran Mississippi river pilot who had lived to
see traffic on the mighty stream wax and wane and revive again, died at
12:35 a.m. today at his home, 2342 East Eleventh street Davenport, after a
six weeks illness.
Born Nov. 17, 1856 at Galena, Ill. One of the historic towns on the
Mississippi, he had lived his entire life on or within sight of the river
and had become known along its entire navigable length as an able captain,
business man, and boat owner. He
was the son of Andrew and Margaret Henry Blair.
The family moved to Princeton, Ia. in October 1869, and there young Walter began to absorb the spell of the Mississippi of which he afterward wrote at length.
After several years experience as a
school teacher in Princeton, he took his first job on a Mississippi river
boat, the Le Claire Belle as the season opened in March, 1878.
He went back to school teaching for a time, but the fascination of
the river had taken hold on him and he returned to steam boating.
He obtained his pilots license in 1882 and bought his first boat the
J.W. Mills in 1883. The
purchase was the beginning of a line of river craft which he owned and
operated or piloted during a long career.
At one time he entered a partnership with Captain Van Sant and they
operated seven boats in the rafting business and with four other boats
independently owned by Captain Van Sant did a thriving business.
In 1892, Captain Blair quit the rafting business and organized the
Carnival City Packet Co., associating himself with a number of prominent
Davenporters. The company owned
nine different boats plying between Davenport, Burlington, Keokuk and
Quincy. Their boats included
the “Helen Blair”, “Keokuk” and “Black Hawk” and they handled
125,000 passengers and 15,000 tons of freight annually.
Coming of the railroads put a crimp in the river business, but Capt.
Blair never lost faith in the ultimate recovery of the water traffic.
He believed, and lived to see his belief fulfilled, that the nine
foot channel development would bring back the boats.
Captain Blair was married to Elizabeth Bard at Le Claire Dec. 7,
1882, the same year that he moved to Davenport to make his home.
He was a member of Trinity Lodge No. 208 A.F.7A.M. but became a
member of lodge of Le Claire. He
was a member of the First Presbyterian church Davenport.
Surviving besides the widow are one daughter, Mrs. Hugh T Smith,
Philadelphia, Pa., two sons, George, W., Mishawaka, Ind., and Bard B Blair,
Tulsa Oklahoma., three sisters, Mrs. R. E. White, Monmouth, Ill., and Mrs.
Fred Wyman and Mrs. G. S. Johnson, both of Davenport; two brothers, W. H.
Blair, Davenport, and A. L. Blair, Highland Park, Ill., and three
grandchildren, Mrs. H. E. Brucklen, Elkhart, W.
Blair, Jr. Winfield, Kansas and Fredrick E. Blair, Mishawaka.
A son, Paul died Nov. 2, 1898.
The body was taken to George McGinnis funeral home. Services have been tentatively set for Tuesday afternoon the exact time and the place to be determined. Burial will be in Oakdale cemetery.
Feb 15, 1898
The funeral of Capt Bob Isherwood, whose death occurred at his home at 10 o’clock Sunday night. Was held there at 2 o’clock Monday afternoon, and largely attended. The boatyards were shut down and the town turned out. The flags were half masted in St. Louis and other places along the river, and there were general expressions of sorrow at the death of the river veteran.
Robert Sherwood born in Maryland in 1835 but till he was 19 years of age he lived at Brownsville Pa. At 19 he shipped on the Ohio river steamer, A. G. Mason as carpenter and came with her the whole round trip to St. Paul, and for two years ran with her between St. Louis and that city. Subsequently he worked as operator on the St. Louis levee. He went on the Canada of the Northern Line, as carpenter, Thence he rose to the place of mate, remaining on the different boats of the line for 13 years, and later became a captain, and commanding the Petrol, the Savannah and the Minnesota.
In 18 he went to work with the Diamond Jo Line, and he stayed in that company’s employ till his death. With the exception of the seasons of 18 and 18 when he was first at Sioux city, as master in command of the Sidney, but he also walked the deck of the Diamond Jo and the Tidal wave. He was one of the Diamond Jo’s most trusted men.
He was married at Le Claire about 1864, to Miss Jennie Henthora. She survives him with two children, Miss Geneva, principal at McGregor, Ia. And Charles, at home, learning the trade of the river, as his father did. A son and daughter are dead. The officials of the Diamond Jo Line attended the Funeral and showed their respect in every way, as well as their regret for Capt. Isherwoods death.
Researcher Sue Rekkas
Muscatine Journal March 7, 1895
Capt. John Phillips, whose name was notorious in the early days of our city, died at Lettsville on Thursday, 25th. He was about sixty years of age. Capt. Phillips came to Muscatine (then Bloomington) from Burlington in 1843 with an old steam ferry boat, and having a charter for the ferry he ran it a number of years in a manner unsatisfactory to the citizens, causing a great deal of trouble and strife. Phillips was charged with nearly every crime in the catalogue, but he was shrewd and wary and always succeeded in escaping conviction in the numerous suits brought against him. On the morning of May 23rd, 1849, a German named “Old Nick”, was found dead near the old ferry house w3hich still stand on the opposite side of the river and which was then the dwelling of Phillips. His death was attributed by Phillips to a mob from the city, who he said, attacked his house during the night, and killed “Old Nick” in mistake for himself; but, on the other hand,, the murder was charged on Phillips in order to get the unfortunate man out of the way as a witness against him. The mystery has never been cleared up. The same cloud of uncertainty hangs over other unlawful acts attributed to Phillips and his associates, such as burning of houses, bridges, & in order to avenge himself on those who opposed his claim to the ferry franchise. About 1850 Phillips removed to Rock Island, and our citizens saw and heard but little of him for ten years. He then returned to this city and pursued a comparatively peaceable and quiet life, devoting his time mainly to obtaining soldiers pensions and picking up business as an attorney. On the 31st of October, 1868, he came again prominently before the public as a party in an affray with Jap. Hampton on the ferry boat, in which he shot Hampton, who narrowly escaped death. For this Phillips stood trial but was acquitted.
As we commanded to say nothing but good of the dead, we will say that the deceased was Plausible and pleasing to all he desired to win. He had a good share of natural talent, and under other circumstances might have been a man of much useful influence.
CAPT. WARNER LEWIS CLARK
Whose Death Occurred at Buffalo
CAPT. W. L. CLARK DIED AT
BUFFALO, IA., THIS MORNING
END CAME AT 11:10 O’CLOCK
AFTER LONG PERIOD OF ILLNESS
The long life of Captain W. L. Clark of Buffalo, Ia. Which had spanned the period that separates the Scott county of today from the period when Black Hawk and his braves were more numerous here than the few hardy pioneers who had made this one of the very outposts of civilization, ended at his home in Buffalo this morning, when, he expired at 11:10 a. m.
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 rock Island in 1828, when Captain Clark was a boy of 6 years. They crossed the river to their long-time Iowa home at Buffalo in 1833, the deceased then being 12 years old. Ever since, he has been intimately connected with the state which was formed years after he came and which was truly virgin soil when the name of Clark was first connected with it.
His Davenport friends will regret that they are to see the captain no more. His visits here from Buffalo were periods of friendly reunion and reminiscences which grew increasingly pleasant as time ripened friendships and removed farther into the vista the times of which the captain talked so interestingly.
Four children, nine grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren survive him. The children are Mrs. Emma M. Harrison of Buffalo, Mrs. Charles F. Elmes of Chicago, Mrs. William L. Orrick of Omaha, and Charles C. Clark of St. Louis. They were with him at the last, having come back to the old home some weeks ago on receiving word of the father’s critical illness.
*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 ggrandaughter Mrs. Vernon Willes 806 W 3rd st in Muscatine, Iowa.
Capt. Dick Morehouse died on the 19th inst. at the residence of LeGrande Morehouse in Muscatine County, Iowa, 16 miles below Davenport, aged 62 years. He had been a steamboatman for 25 years in the St. Louis and New Orleans trade.
Wednesday, 22 April 1868
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.
Man Drowns While Steamer Leaves
While a roustabout, name unknown, was struggling in the waters of the Mississippi near the Rock Island landing point about 3 o’clock this morning, the steamer St. Paul, from which the man fell into the river, backed out into the current without making the least effort to save him, according to a rumor circulated over the tri-cities today.
The man according to the hearsay, was standing on the deck, near the stern of the boat, when the huge steamer started out. Evidently he was not prepared for the movement of the boat, as he lost his balance and stumbled over a coil of rope, being precipitated into the water. Reports are that absolutely no effort was made to save the man struggling in the water, but that the second officer contrary to this, shouted: back up; let him go.” the boat continued on its way down the river to Muscatine.
R. J. Fullerton, the local agent for the Streckfus lines, when interviewed this morning stated that a man had fallen from the boat, but very little was known of him.
Late this afternoon the name of the victim was ascertained to be Arthur Schultz. He is 19 years old and his home is given as La Cross Wis.
The Streckfus people state “the man became entangled in a coil of rope and in that was thrown overboard.”
James Pemberton who used to wield the hoe in ineffectual campaigns against the ragweed, purslane, and other pests of the editoral garden on Prospect Hill, is now the fireman on the steamer Helen Blair, and seems to be able to hold the steam at 140 pounds without difficulty. --River News, Burlington Saturday Evening Post, 11/25/1911
CAPTAINS FOR 1899
The river man has always been an
object of romantic interest to the people who live along the banks of the
Mississippi so says the editor of the Davenport Republican. It was so in
the old days when Mark Twain with his imagination fired by the thought of
becoming a wheelman ran away from his home at Hannibal and passed the
various gradations till he was a master pilot, the highest eminence to
which a human being could aspire. At that time Father of Waters was
crowded with crafts of all descriptions from flat boats to palatial
packets. Rafts extended in an almost unbroken line from St. Anthony's
falls to the Louisiana delta. The river was the only avenue of
commerce and no one dreamed that supremacy would be snatched from it and
given to the new fangled railroads. The successful river man was an
aristocrat. His opinion on the question of the day was listened to with
eager interest by all shore dwellers and accepted without question.
--- Unknown Newspaper and Date
From The Burlington Saturday Evening Post March 1912
Chapter 28 of
I regret to announce the death of Capt Frank Wild, which occurred March 3rd at his home in Albany, Ills., at the age of 73 years. All old time river men will remember the genial Frank Wild and regret to hear of his death. I have not seen him for 30 years, yet I knew him well, and remember him as an active, genteel young man, away back in the 60’s. he went on the boats at an early age and last year completed his 50th year as a steamboat pilot. He was a good pilot, loved the business, and stayed with it to the end. My remembrance is that the family at one time lived at St. Francisville, Mo. And from there moved to Quincy, Ills., where Frank was born. He leaves a wife and daughter to mourn his loss, and the sympathy of all of Frank’s old time friends and associates will be extended to them in their bereavement.
The Davenport Democrat
July 15, 1902
Dog loves Ferry
SPOTTED PUP WHO IS NEVER SO HAPPY AS ON WATER
WOULD RIDE T. J. ROBINSON FERRY ALL DAY IF HE WERE PERMITTED TO DO SO
There is a little white and yellow terrier who is just now occupying most of the attention of the men on the T. J. Robinson ferry boat. The pup in question is not very ferocious nor is he very bright. He is just an ordinary dog with all his feet and ears and eyes and an ordinary dog’s bark at strange dogs and inborn enmity for felines.
But he is different from other dogs in that he has a perfect mania for riding on the ferry boat. The whistle of the incoming boat is sweeter music to his ears than a call to dinner or roast beef with dog biscuit on the side. He would rather sit by the edge of the boat and listen to the chug of the paddle than chase a dozen cats up smooth barked trees. He is happy only when he is crossing the river.
But the mate as the boys have named the-pup is not-always a welcome visitor on the boat. Captain Robinson says he does not object to the pup encroaching on his hospitality occasionally, but that he knows a good thing when he sees it. And that he also knows when he has too much of a good thing and the Mate has had a habit of getting in other peoples way. He was not exactly welcome and occasionally takes an unexpected bath in the hope that a douse in the cold water may wash away his fad for ferrying. But it has no appreciable effect. His mania is dyed-deeper than his skin and it is the Mate that is going to ride on every conceivable occasion. One day the boys thought they would try to cure him for good or drown him in the effort. So they waited until they were well to the middle of the river and then pitched him overboard. The little fellow gazed after the fast receding boat in a sort of bedazzled way and then swam for the Davenport shore. When the boat returned to the Davenport pier the first passenger to board the boat was a very wet and bedraggled little yellow and white terrier. He did not stop for explanations of apologetics but made a bee line for the boiler room and it was a full hour before he reappeared for inspection. Then he was as fresh and clean and dry as though he were prima donnas pet instead of a levee roustabout.
From that time on the Mate was treated with more respect. He commanded respect and when it is thought best to give him a ducking the ducking comes immediately after the boat leaves shore, so there will not be too long a swim ahead.
The mate is generally recognized as a movable fixture with the boat. That is, he misses an occasional trip, but when he does it is because he is out on a foraging expedition for dinner or because he is on the sunny side of the pier drying from a recent unexpected bath. He aims to be there on schedule time right along and so far is doing admirable well, considering the fact that he is only a dog.
--from book "Rivermen Muscatine, Iowa" compiled by Georgeann Mcclure
--from book "Rivermen Muscatine, Iowa" compiled by Georgeann Mcclure
Capt. Leroy Dodge
The river is rising at this point
Ben Campbell---This fine steamer, one of the Rock Island Packets, came down on her trip last night, looking like a new boat. She has been completely remodeled and much improved since last year. Capt. Dodge-- the veteran steam boatman of these waters and “a gentleman and a scholar” withal--is still in command. The former gallant crew is also aboard. Mr. Miller at the desk with his usually bland and gentlemanly manner, while Charley Asmossen “tends to the shore.” Mr. West, the steward of last year, mixes up the ‘chicken fixings” and other good things in the pantry. Success to the “Ben” say we!
In this connection, we take pleasure in noting the fact that Mr. Edwin Porter, who has been acting for some time past as book-keeper at the Ogilvie House, has been appointed ticket agent of the packet company in Muscatine. The company is particularly fortunate in selecting Mr. P. for this responsible office. M. Block, as heretofore, acts as ticket agent for the company.
The Packets--Capt. Le Roy Dodge has resigned command of the “Ben Campbell”, and is succeeded by Capt. Geo. A. Myers, formerly of the St. Louis and New Orleans trade, who, we understand, has purchased an interest in the company. While we in common with the public regret parting with Capt. Dodge in the capacity in which he has so long been known, we are pleased to learn that he is to continue President of the company and to take general supervision of its affairs. For more than twenty years he has been engaged as a river man on these waters, enduring the hardships incident in such a life with a fortitude and patience largely met with, and which have secured to him the esteem and respect of all with whom he has become acquainted. His successor, Capt. Myers, comes suiting us highly recommended, and we doubt not will continue to make “The Ben” a general favorite with the public. Mr. A. L. Miller continues to serve in the clerks office.
--from book "Rivermen Muscatine, Iowa" compiled by Georgeann Mcclure
The Steamer W. J. Young Sinks
Last Night Near Buffalo.
CARGO AND PASSENGER’S UNHARMED.
The W. J. Young Goes Down
Passengers at the wharf last evening who awaited the arrival of the splendid little steamer W. J. Young were disappointed and were either obliged to forego their contemplated passage south or take the cars. Her scheduled time of arrival at this port is 8:30 p.m. on her downward trip, and it is infrequently that she fails to show up unless detained on delayed on account of some, unaccountable accident. While the officers at this station were marveling on account of the boats non-arrival they were astonished at receiving a telephone message which stated that the stately craft, while on her way to Burlington under command of Capt. Walter A. Blair, had struck a submerged snag and gone to the bottom of the river, opposite Buffalo, about 8:30 o’clock. She sank in three and one-half feet of water. The damage to her cargo reported to be light. Nobody was hurt but all were badly frightened. The hole in her hull measures about twelve inches square, which is to be wondered at considering the fact that she has lately come from the ways of the Rock Island boat yard, where her hull was given a coat of iron plates which were intended to fit her for contact with the ice flow of the coming cold weather.
As soon as the extent of the damage was learned the Hattie Darling, a small steamer which was spending the night at the Rock Island shore, was telephoned, and went to the scene of the accident with the intention of assisting in pumping out the disabled steamer. The Carrier, another steamer of almost the Young’s size, which is owned by Captain Blair and runs for some time in the Davenport-Burlington trade, was telegraphed for. She is at Keokuk and will take the cargo of the Young to southern destinations. An unfortunate circumstance connected with the accident is the fact that the Young carried the largest freight manifest she has carried for the past eight weeks. Her passengers numbered about twenty, were taken ashore in boats and provided with rail transportation to their destinations from Buffalo.
It is expected that the sunken steamer will have been raised some time today when the extent of the damage will be more fully ascertained.
Latest reports from the scene of sinking say that the Young was raised at noon to-day and started for the dry docks at Rock Island, where she will be repaired. The cargo escaped damage entirely. The accident was caused by the boat striking a stone rather than a snag, as stated above.
--from book "Rivermen Muscatine, Iowa" compiled by Georgeann Mcclure
A Disgraceful Affair.
Davenport sent one of its wild ex-
--from book "Rivermen Muscatine, Iowa" compiled by Georgeann Mcclure
The Dubuque Sunk.
The Beautiful Passenger Steamer Goes to
The Contractors Will Have to Sustain a Damage of $1,000
THE DUBUQUE IS UNLUCKY
She strikes bridge at Winona and goes to the bottomThe palatial steamer Dubuque, belonging to the Diamond Jo Line, bound south and due in Muscatine at 10 o’clock this morning, did not arrive and all because she collided with the bridge at Winona Monday evening and settled in five feet of water. In passing through the C & N.W. draw bridge during a heavy wind and thunder storm, she got beyond the pilot’s control and struck the support of the bridge with a terrible crash, which shocked and aroused the passengers. The boat was soon bustling with frightened men and hysterical women. It was seen at once the boat was sinking rapidly. Pumps were put to work but had no effect. Every effort was then made to guide the boat to shallow water, which was accomplished after a hard struggle. The water where the boat was drifting helpless for awhile was twenty-five feet deep.
It was found the hull had a hole stove in it twenty feet long and two feet wide. All the wood -work on the port side was completely wrecked. She had aboard about fifty passengers, mostly for St. Louis. All escaped without injury. The boat will be temporarily repaired and taken to the ways at Dubuque.
As the Dubuque’s hull is six feet, the accident is not regarded as of a serious nature. And freight on the lower deck will scarcely be dampened. From present indications, the big packet will be out in a few days and will hardly miss more than a round trip to St. Louis.
The Dubuque was originally known as the Pittsburgh. She was a sister ship of the present Diamond Joe steamer Sidney and was built for the Ohio river trade. Some fifteen years ago the twin packets were bought by the Diamond Jo Line and installed on the Upper Mississippi. Both were stern wheel boats and larger than any on the river, and they quickly supplanted the steamers the Diamond Jo company then had and were the queens of the fleet until the merging of the Jo Line and St. Louis and St. Paul Packet company. The Dubuque, then the Pittsburgh, was caught in the terrific St. Louis cyclone of two years ago last May and all her upper works were, blown away. The winter before she had been provided with a new hull, and after the cyclone she was towed to Dubuque and rebuilt, so that when she came out a little over a year ago she was essentially a new boat. She is apparently hoo-dooed for only a few weeks ago she busted a flue out of St. Louis, one of her rousters dying from the scalding received. Her dimensions were 260 feet long by 40 feet beam, and she was worth $50,000. The Dubuque was in command of Capt. James Boland .
The Davenport Leader says the Young had a well-filled cabin Sunday evening on her short trip to Muscatine, many Davenporters taking advantage of the same and coming for the trip. It says: “It was delightful upon the river, too. There was a good breeze from the southwest, and as the boat went on it became stiffer and cooler. The heat of the day vanished. It was delightfully cool. Captain Blair seemed to know just how to make everybody feel comfortable, and they were comfortable. There was music aboard in quantities. The boat reached Muscatine at about 6:30 o’clock and started on the return trip at 7. Supper was served upon the boat and nearly everybody availed themselves of the opportunity. It was a good supper, too. The return home was more delightful still. Sixty miles on the bosom of the Mississippi, surrounded with music, song and friends. Eight hours of delightful breezes which waft away the heat of the day, cools the blood and gives repose.”
Last evenings storm struck the W. J. Young just after, she passed through the Keithsburg bridge, upward bound. She kept on her course as though there was no storm. The wind blew down the river and the waves were high, but there was no rolling or rocking of the boat. She is a staunch craft with Machinery and Capt. Blair says he feels safe on her in a storm as he would in any dwelling.
The Quincy passed up this morning with 100 passengers on board.
The St. Paul will be up Sunday to take the place of the Dubuque.
The captain of the Quincy reports that the storm did no damage to the boat, although it blew a very strong gale down the river.
The river forecast for to-day indicates no change above Davenport and below Dubuque.
The stage of the river stands at 3 feet 9 inches, a fall of three inches during the last 24 hours.
Dubuque Telegraph: This afternoon word was received that the boat had been raised and was on her way to Dubuque with all her passengers aboard. She will be put on the Eagle Point ways for repairs.
--from book "Rivermen Muscatine, Iowa" compiled by Georgeann Mcclure
Burlington Saturday Evening Post
The stern wheel Steamer Lansing was owned by Rambo & Son of Le Claire. She made daily trips to Davenport, leaving Le Claire in the morning and returning in the evening. I was in Le Claire and there met Robert Smith, a pilot, with whom I had a slight acquaintance. I am not sure, but I think he was the son-in-law of the elder Rambo. I was going down the river and he told me that he was to take the Sterling to Davenport on the following day for the Rambo’s, and invited me to ride with him. I accepted the invitation and told him I would be on hand next morning at 7:30. I was stopping at a hotel near the river and just opposite the steamboat landing. I was up next morning in ample time, but the hotel-keeper was late with breakfast. Myself and two other men missed the boat. We crossed the river to take the train, and there learned that the Lansing had exploded one of her boilers while lying at the town of Hampton. The Lansing left Le Claire that morning with 10 or 12 passengers. When Smith landed her at Hampton the wind was hard on the shore. When ready to leave there the wind held her to the bank, and she would not back out. A spar was set at the stern of the boat to sparn out and the passengers were all back there assisting in the work. Smith was at the wheel in the pilot house and the clerk in his office. The Lansing had two boilers, and while the sparring was going on the shore, the boiler exploded, going high in the air. Smith and the clerk, whose name, I think, was Vandyke , were killed. Van Dyke’s body was blown across the river, where it drifted across the river to the shore. Pilot Smith was blown in the opposite direction-out into the town. The shore at Hampton was flat, and the wind had driven the side of the boat upon it, and it was said that the explosion was caused, not by steam pressure, but from a lack of water in the shore boiler. The hull of the boat laying on an incline, forced all the water out of one boiler and into the other.
of Masters for the Year
his riverboat career in Quad cities
rousted on the Rob Roy, I rousted on the Lee,
Capt F. A. Whitney 1923 Burlington Saturday Evening Post
In order to avoid confusion Reynolds
adopted a trade mark to be used in marking and shipping his bales of furs, a
very simple one consisting of the letters JO enclosed by four short straight
lines , joined in the shape of a diamond, and one which anyone could make and
anyone would could read--“Diamond JO,” Later, when he began buying wheat, he
had all his sacks marked--“STOLEN FROM DIAMON JO.”
As he never sold any sacks, he and his agents and employees could and
did claim all sacks bearing his trade mark.
From “Diamond Jo was For Many
Years The Most Picturesque Figure On The Mississippi,”
written by Walter Blair .
THE PATHETIC STORY OF HIS
DEATH, BY A WITNESS
THE PATHETIC STORY OF HIS
DEATH, BY A WITNESS
His Coffin Built Within his Hearing as he Lay Dying-His
Checkered Life-How he got His Nickname-His Pet Mine Brought a Fortune.
No name, says the Philadelphia Times, is more familiar to the miner west,
and few more so to the capitalist than that of Diamond Jo Reynolds.
All sorts of stories have been circulated about his life, how he got his
name, and when and where he died. Some
are true, others fiction. We were
all gathered about the board of a miner’s table, at Cripple Creek, Colo., when
the following narratives were told by Dr. Sydney R. Bartlett, the mine expert,
who had been a roommate at Harvard with Blake Reynolds, the only son of the
The doctor was also an expert in the employ of Reynolds and played an
important and gruesome part of the time of the old mans death.
Colorado mines and ores were discussed, and then the conversation turned
on Arizona, when the “Congress” mine was spoken of, and with it its former
owner Diamond JO. “He was the
sharpest man on a bargain and withal the most generous man I’ve ever
“known”, said the doctor. “He
had lame-hip disease, which was brought on when he was a boy.
It illustrated the stuff he was made of.
He had a jack knife, and in drinking at an air hole in the ice it fell
through. Reynolds went to his home,
got an ax and chopped a hole in the ice large enough to admit his body. And dove
in, rescued his knife and caught a cold, resulting in a disease which lamed him
for life. He told me,”
continued the doctor, “that
he started at 18 years of age with $25 with which he bought a $45 heifer,
leaving him $20 in debt, and from
that time up to his dying day he had never been out of debt, despite the fact he
“The true story of his getting the name of Diamond Jo was in this wise:
Jo Davidson owned a number of steamboats plying on the upper Mississippi,
while Jo Reynolds owned boats’ running south on the river to New Orleans.
Both lines were known as the “Jo Steamers,” and all bales and goods
were marked via Jo line. The
confounding of the two resulted in Reynolds drawing a diamond around the Jo on
all goods shipped, and thereafter he was Diamond Jo, and in no way did the
appellation come from the fact that he had a fondness for wearing the precious
“As a plunger the old man has had few equals.
One of his greatest was the Del Pasco mine, in Arizona, but its turning
out badly only strengthened his determination to secure a world beater, and
it was about this time he set his heart on the “Congress” mine, which even
today is one of Arizona’s greatest producers.
He paid $39,000 for the property and it was 65 miles from Prescott and
any railroad. It was here the old
man died. I went out to make an
examination of the property for Reynolds, and handled assays and the requisition
department of the place, and they were lively days out there.
The story of Reynold’s
death has not been reported correctly, so
I’ll tell you the facts.
“ It was in February, 1890, and the rains were on.
Outside of the mill we had a little shanty, a bunk house, and there we
all slept. Never shall I forget that
February night. Jo had been
complaining for several days, though he was up and about the mine and mill each
day. One afternoon he was taken down
suddenly, and I undressed him and put him to bed in one of my own night gowns.
Toward evening he grew worse, and the storm outside was fearful.
About 6 o’clock I knew he was dying.
His desperate efforts to breathe were frightful.
His head was on my shoulder. Then
it was the thought struck me to get his body to Prescott, for we had no ice, and
it was a mighty bad road, covering 65 miles, and a start must be made at
midnight, if the one train daily out of Prescott was to be caught.
About 9 o’clock I ordered the mill carpenter to come to the bunk house,
and whispered for him to knock some boards together for a coffin, and in a few
minutes, above the blowing outside, I could hear the nails being driven home in
poor old Jo’s coffin, and he not dead yet.
It was pretty tough, I assure you, and that night made things seem worse.
About midnight he died, and by 1 o’clock in the morning we had the body
in the crude coffin, on one of the wagons, and its relay of six mules and its
Mexican drivers, and the start for Prescott was made.
It took the outfit just 24 hours to make the trip, and was we caught the
one train out of Prescott. It was a
sad ending of a great man and a
“And what became of the mine?” asked one of the men at the table.
“It was sold that July,” said the doctor, “for $1,500,000.”
CAN BE FOUND IN
“Rivermen Davenport, Iowa” compiled by Georgeann
Along the river
River water is again quite muddy. It is expected that the packet Gem City wilL pass down to-day.
The only packet passing this port yesterday was the Mary Morton, which left for down river points in the Keokuk and St. Louis trade at 7 o’clock in the morning.
DIAMOND JO OFFICERS
The following is a complete list of the officers of the steamers of the Diamond Jo line for the season:
Mary Morton- Master, L. H. Cubberly; first clerk, Ed. Phillips; second clerk, Ed. F. Fay; pilots, H. E. Beadle and Jule Calhoun; second engineer, Dan Dawley; mate, Jesse Irwin steward, Wm. Hickman.
Pittsburgh-Master, John Killeen; first clerk, M. P. Fulton; second clerk, Geo. M. Miles; pilots, S. J. Dolson and L. P. Williams; first engineer, Henry Rice; mate, John Boland; Steward, Thos. Reardon.
Sidney- Master, F. E. Buchheit; first clerk, Ceph Gregg, second clerk, C. A. Norris; pilots, Mills Ruby and Sheldon Ruby; first engineer, Charles Monahan; second engineer, Thomas Burnett; mate, Frank McCleary; steward, H. G. Hill.
Gem City- Master, G. W. Jenks; first clerk, John F. Fay; second clerk, L. J. Hudson; pilots, Dug Roberts and Charlie Martin; first engineer, A. F. Beemene; second engineer, William Kay; mate, R. Costello; steward, William Blank.
MANY OF THE
Diamond Jo men came from Scott County
crew of “Diamond Jo” boat
included Capt. Ben Congar, with Andrew Coleman, Davenport
and H. S. Ruby of Buffalo as pilots, John Carlisle and George Dodge, clerks
Moses Mullen, Davenport, mate and Los Record and Henry Alford of Davenport,
Rock Island………Geo. Lamont
Dubuque………… Fred A. Bill
Muscatine……….. W. G. Block
Gen Freight……… E. M. Dickey
Jo’s agent Capt. Fred A. Bill
Fred A. Bill
Capt. Fred Adelbert Bill, was born August 12, 1850 he was the son of
Epaphras, (E. C.) Bill and Betsy O.
Epaphras built steamboats in Hartsgrove, Ohio around the time that the
Ohio and Erie canal opened.
Fred Bill began his career as a riverman in 1868 on his fathers tug boat
the “Buckeye“. By 1872 He
was the clerk of the “Dakota” and well on his steamboat career.
1860 he became a clerk with the Diamond Jo Line where he continued his
riverboat career until his retirement in 1916.
For a time he was the Steamboat agent for the Diamond Jo Line in several
cities including Davenport, Iowa.
He died in Feb. 9, 1936 in St. Paul Minnesota, Ramsey County.
AUTHOR: Bill, Fred A. (Fred
Davenport Democrat and Leader June 1, 1936
RIVER CAPTAIN FINDS BODY OF W. J. DUNKER
Lone Star Skipper Sights corpse of Missing credit ManagerLess than three days after he leaped to his death in the Mississippi river, the body of W. J. Dunker, 53, 717 west Eighth street, credit manager of the Crescent Electric supply Co. as found floating in the river across from Credit Island. The body was found by Charles White captain of the Lone Star of the builders Sand & Gravel Co. fleet.
White reported finding of the body to the headquarters of the lock and dam crew in the clock tower. An inquest will be held at 7 tonight in the Hodgson and Hoban mortuary to which the body was taken and from which it will be transferred this afternoon to the Runge mortuary.
Dunker who had been head of the Crescents credit department for three years, left a note with his coat and hat on the ground near the sea wall east of the roller dam Friday afternoon. In the note he indicated fear of losing his mind because of financial worries. His widow and four children survive.
Jim Bludso from Davenport Iowa this is his famous poem:
Davenport Republican August 11, 1901:
Miss Nina Moore,
Who Went to Klondike With Matrimonial Intentions to find the
Former Davenporter Married to an Actress, Asks Big Damages
Moore, the young California girl who journey thousands of miles to the Klondike
to wed Capt. Will Bledsoe of this city, only to find him married to an
actress, has filed suit in the court at Dawson asking for $25,000 damages
according to reports has a good chance of winning her suit.
It is said that Capt. Bledsoe, though a young man has been given the
command of the steamer Susie, and by speculating in claims and in following the
river has made quite a fortune. He
is expected to return to
It is hoped by Capt. Bledsoe’s that when he gets where he can tell his side of the story it will sound very different. The Seattle Times of Aug. 8 tells of Miss Moore’s return as follows:
returning passengers from the North on the steamship Humbolt today was Miss Nina
Moore, who went to
Miss Moore made the trip from
called Captain Bledsoe up the
Moore was indignant and made up her mind to immediately return to her
spent the day at a local hotel, and this evening will take the train for home.
Capt. Andrew Coleman Born August 11,
1828 - Died April 20, 1895
April 20, 1895
He Suddenly expires in the Pilot House of the Artimus Lamb While Guiding the Boat Over the Rapids-A Pioneer Pilot and Citizen
Coleman, one of the veteran pilots on the upper
The sudden death of Andrew Coleman will be a shock to his numerous friends in this city and vicinity where he had lived nearly all his life. He was the son of Capt. Coleman, who settled in Rockingham in the 30’s when that town was a more thriving village than was the town of Davenport, Capt. Coleman had been engaged in steam boating on the Ohio and operated the old Caleb Cope on the Mississippi after his arrival here.
two brothers, Andrew Coleman entered the river business at an early age and
after having been engaged on different boats in the
He is survived
by his wife and eight children, five of whom are grown.
Three sons William, James and George, reside in this city and another,
John, is a resident of O’Brien county. Three
brothers also survive him-J.H. S. who resides near Gilbert, James and Egbert,
who is engaged in the mining business in
DEAD CAPTAIN LOVE HOUSEKEEPER
housekeeper for the late Captain Whitney. Veteran riverman, admits possession of
$300 worth of jewelry formerly in the possession of the dead man and which have
disappeared since his death, to friends, it is alleged, but denies knowledge of
them in court.
to the story told by authority which cannot be questioned , Mrs. Tenney told a
friend following the discovery of the loss of the diamonds, that she had them.
The housekeeper is reported to have said that the old man presented them
to her before he died at a time when they were expecting to be married.
Mrs. Tenney says that Captain Whitney wished her to marry him for some time before his end and that the jewels were a gift to his affianced bride. It is declared that the housekeeper has the jewels, which consist, of a diamond scarf pin and earrings in her possession now.
In court, however where she has been arraigned by the Whitney heirs on a charge of grand larceny, Mrs. Tenney strenuously denies any knowledge of the present whereabouts of the valuable trinkets. The hearing was started yesterday morning in Justice Mauckers court and is still in progress.
Further developments are expected at any time, although there is much questioning among friends of the family as to the validity of the claim of the housekeeper to the precious stones. It is known that the veteran pilot was quite fond of his housekeeper, but it is not generally known that matrimony was considered.
Yesterday afternoon the Steamer W. J. Young Jr. made her
second trip to
If Capt. Blair will promise a treat of this kind every week these trips will be wonderfully popular. They are popular as they are.
THE OLD BOATS
Additional Information from Men Who Knew
Sinking of Stmr. Le Claire
Editor Post; In 1879 Capt. A. J. Whitney and Capt. Vincent
Peel brought the little raftng steamboat Le Claire to use as a tender for a
dredging fleet for government work on the upper
Yours Truly F. A. Whitney.
WELL KNOWN CHARACTERS:
WHEN LON BRYSON
STRODE THE HURRICANE DECK
E. H. Thomas
old timers well remember the commanding figure of Capt. Bryson as he
stood upon the roof telling the pilot to come ahead on the star board wheel, and
hold the steamer up to the shore. He
is one of the few surviving captains and is now postmaster at
The Daily Times
CAPT W. P. HALL IS LAID TO REST
The body of
Captain W. P. Hall, who died at his home in
The news of
Captain Hall’s death came as a shock to his many friends in
was one of the most interesting and picturesque characters in this section.
After his retirement from an active life on the river he devoted himself
to the work of the
Captain Hall is survived by two brothers Byron Hall and C. M. Hall of Davenport, and by two sisters, Mrs. Sarah Le Claire of Davenport and Mrs. Annette Wallace of Missouri, and by three children, two sons and a daughter.
services were held early this morning at