Published by the Sons & Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen
America's Steam & Diesel Riverboat Magazine

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Mat Stage sends these striking photos of his steamer CHAUTAUQUA BELLE which plies the waters of Lake Chautauqua in the northwest corner of New York State. Mat puts in an appearance in our September issue in the column “Newer Faces of S&D.” We thank him for sharing these great images with us.

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Cynthia Davidson Bend’s feature story about Commodore William F. Davidson makes mention that at one point he owned or operated fifty different packets. With the assistance of Dutton Foster and information contained in Way’s Packet Directory, this listing was compiled. The Murphy Library at University of Wisconsin – La Crosse has photos of 32 of these vessels, while the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County’s collection contains images of 14 of them. Those 17 boats for which no known… Continue reading

This obituary for Capt. De Hart appeared in the March 20, 1854 New York Times. Capt. De Hart was the last captain of the NEW ORLEANS on her final trip when she sank near Baton Rouge in 1814. He also served as captain on the Fulton steamers VESUVIUS in 1814 and AETNA in 1815.

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From an 1826 publication at Pittsburgh, reports of commerce moving by steamer at the city’s wharves combined with the thriving boatbuilding industry in the area, paint this picture of unbounded optimism which is tinged with more than a hint of rivalry and fierce local pride.

“On this subject we cannot do more than recall to the recollection of our fellow citizens the unexampled bustle and activity exhibited on our wharves during the past spring, and the immense shipping business done… Continue reading

Our June issue features Leland Johnson’s recreation of the inaugural steam voyage of Nicholas Roosevelt’s NEW ORLEANS on the Western Rivers two hundred years ago. Another of our S&D historians in residence, Tom Schiffer, has also penned an excellent account of this epoch-making trip, which we are pleased to share with you on our website courtesy of the Boone County Library and, of course, through the kindness of Cap’n Walnut himself. Following that narrative, we also post a clipping from… Continue reading

Also reported in our Final Crossings column this issue was the death of Capt. Bill Bowell. In visiting with Capt. Bill several years ago, he stated in very plain and unambiguous terms that the JONATHAN PADELFORD was the boat nearest and dearest his heart, the first vessel built for his Padelford Packet Boat Company. Capt. Dennis Trone designed and supervised construction of the PADELFORD for Capt. Bowell at Dubuque Boat and Boiler Company in 1969-70. At the same time the… Continue reading

With great sadness we reported the passing of Helen Hughes Prater in the June issue of the REFLECTOR. And regrettably because of space limitations, we were unable to share with you several pictorial memories of Helen that were kindly submitted by Keith Norrington for sharing with you, our readers. We use this website to highlight a few memorable snapshots from Helen’s long and wonderful river career.

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A letter from Jonathan Tschiggfrie appearing in the March 2010 issue of the REFLECTOR documented a pair of innovations on the Sacramento River steamer CHIN-DU-WAN: the first use of the Cross cut-off and the first appearance of a steam calliope on California waters. Although this vessel lies a bit outside our customary range of reporting, she is of the same blood line as another well-known transplanted Sacramento River steamer of a succeeding generation. And so with a slight nod to… Continue reading