Steamboating colleagues:
The question/discussion from Bruce and Capt. Bill Re: "Unscheduled stops" on the Sacramento River prompted me to dig in the files/records here. 'California Transportation Company' folders, advertisements, schedules revealed how things were done then with the Strs. FORT SUTTER, CAPITAL CITY, DELTA KING & DELTA QUEEN. The 'run' from San Francisco to Sacramento was some 125 miles and, as Bill says, was "night boat service." The QUEENS departed 'Frisco 6:30 PM, arrived in Sacramento, 6:00 AM. Scheduled stops were Rio Vista, Isleton, Ryde, Walnut Grove, Grand Island Wharf, Vorden, Courtland, Clarksburg. Strs. PRIDE OF THE RIVER & ISLETON departed 3:00 PM arriv: 1:00 AM with one boat making a longer voyage from 12:00 noon in Sacramento to 'Frisco 8:00 AM. It was a busy time then with freight and passengers. The run to Stockton was another division of the C.T. Co.

"Unscheduled stop" were not the norm, but were done at times and termed 'brush landings.' I've not found the term 'mud clerk' in California steamboating as was known here on our Ohio/Mississippi/Tributaries in packet days. Again, just the terms 'boats,' 'steamers,' & 'ships' appears. Agricultural products were the life blood of the boats along with diversified cargo. The QUEENS were listed as carrying 400 tons of freight and '55 automobiles' although the initial design records from DENNY BROS. in Scotland shows an underline with a question mark [?] on the capacity for '55' autos on one boat alone. The huge Jackson Street pier in San Francisco serving the C.T. Co. even had a rail siding where trains could pull in to unload or load freight. This was no small operation.

In time the C.T. Co. had to call it quits in stopping for small shipments as low as $1.25 for asparagus, peaches etc. The farmers resented this and learned that the rapidly expanding California highway system, bridges and dependable auto/truck tires could be used to transport their smaller shipments of products faster--thus the term 'truck farming.' Called 'LCL' it meant "Less than cartload lots." Some stops were called "Potato landings." Old Jim Burns reflected on this in his warnings to Capt. Anderson and the C.T. Co in considering building the new, big, expensive QUEENS. In the valley the Chinese grew potatoes, Italians grew beans and the Japanese produced fine crops of onions. Some farmers worked on kind of communal or co-op system. More on 'brush landings' in time. The business aspect of steamboating is a rich and fascinating area ready for intense research and writing.

R. Dale Flick