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Philomene Daniels of Vergennes, Vermont

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Old 06-09-2006, 06:59 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 142
Default Philomene Daniels of Vergennes, Vermont

I found this piece while researching for the HUDSON - FULTON - CHAMPLAIN QUADRICENTENNIAL.

I became acquainted with the LCMM thru a visit on the Louis McClure, a replica of a canal schooner when she was in Kingston, NY. I am interested in her construction details and how they might be similar to those of Fulton's North River steamboat.

As posted by the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum:

Did you know that Philomene Daniels of Vergennes, Vermont was the first licensed female steamboat pilot in the United States and possibly the world? Born in 1843, Philomene Ostiguy dit Domingue moved to Vergennes and married Louis Daniels in 1862. Together they operated the Daniels Boat Line on the Otter Creek, ultimately owning no fewer than four propeller driven steamboats including Water Lily, Little Nellie, Victor, and Alexander. With the success of their early vessels, Louis encouraged Philomene to obtain her pilots license. The Burlington Free Press and Times of May 5, 1887 reported that she was “undoubtedly the first woman to receive a pilot’s license in this country, if not in the world." The Daniels Boat Line was a constant sight on the Otter Creek towing canal boats, and on Lake Champlain taking passengers on day trips.

Captain Phil was not your average steamboat pilot with her long skirts, gold jewelry, and fancy hats. Despite her appearances she was more than capable of taking care of herself. “Once, when a young man’s behavior began to annoy her and the other passengers, she simply pushed him overboard. When he came back on board, dripping wet in his good clothes, he and the other passengers had a lot more respect for their captain.” (From “The Captain Wore Petticoats” by Jane Vincent, Historic Roots April 2000.)

Learn more about Captain Phil and the Daniels boats in the Nautical Archaeology Center at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.
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Last edited by Pete Baker; 06-09-2006 at 07:12 AM.
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