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Capt. Jesse P. Hughes 1876-1973

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Old 05-12-2009, 02:00 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: On the "Beautiful Ohio" at New Albany, Indiana, opposite Louisville, Kentucky
Posts: 2,078
Default Capt. Jesse P. Hughes 1876-1973

Franz has duly noted that today marks the 36th anniversary of the passing at age 97 of Capt. Jesse P. Hughes, longtime pilot with Greene Line Steamers and who finished his 65 year career aboard the Str. DELTA QUEEN. Capt. Jesse was an amazing man, not only an excellent river pilot but also a skilled musician, photographer and artist, who painted not only steamboat pictures, but did the fancy shaded lettering on many boats as well as doing the huge signs atop the Greene Line wharfboat.

Capt. Jesse went on the river in 1891 as a potato peeler and second cook aboard the T.N. BARNSDALL, later becoming pantry man and cabin boy. In 1896 he signed on the H.K. BEDFORD, captained by Capt. Gordon C. Greene. Capt. Jesse's first issue of pilot's license was in 1897 and his first official watch was aboard the Str. ARGAND. Capt. Jesse stood countless watches aboard the GORDON C. GREENE and DELTA QUEEN until his retirement in 1962.

Capt. Jesse was a very kind man and it was a privilege to have known him, if only for a few short years. In the last several years of his life, his daughter "Miss Helen" Prater hosted birthday parties for him aboard the BELLE OF LOUISVLLE in the captain's room on the Texas, replete with cakes featuring a steamboat and the company of good river friends. Capt. Jesse was still very much "with it" and told me about some of his river adventures, including playing the calliope on the CRICKET when she journeyed up the Big Sandy River in the region where the Hatfields and McCoy's feuded! Capt. Jesse kept detailed daily logs for many decades and those are now in the collection of the Inland Rivers Library at Cincinnati.

A long and two shorts of the whistle in tribute to an extraordinary riverman!
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