Hello to all,

I'm new to the board and new to steamboats as well. I've been researching my family history for the last few years and recently learned that my gggreat grandfather (who I knew was a 'riverboat man') was also described on his obituary as a pilot on the Monongahela River.

Charles McClain Veatch was born in 1829 at Morgantown, (W)Va and his family moved to the area around California, PA shortly afterwards. He moved to Brownsville, PA around 1850 and married and had three children. His listed home was the Bridgeport/Brownsville PA area for the next 30 or so years, although his own family members later said they "barely knew him" because he spent all his time on the river. He died at McKeesport, PA in 1895 and the obituary entry from the Brownsville newspaper at the time stated that "He was a pilot and is well known in river circles. For several years he has been watchman at the packet line wharfboat at Pittsburgh."

I have searched through the Way Packet directory and found no mention of him there. Outside of census records I haven't been able to find much else about his life on the river. I suspect he spent much of his time on the Mon' and around Pittsburgh, but it certainly seems possible that he might have traveled elsewhere if just for brief periods of time. I would be very interested in finding any other details about Charles' life on the river if anyone else here has any resources that might shed some light. I'm really curious to find what boats he might have been a pilot on and what else he may have done in his nearly 50 years on the rivers around the Pittsburgh area.


Jeff Veatch