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The Steamboating Poes

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Old 04-20-2010, 01:39 AM
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Carlisle, PA
Posts: 65
Default The Steamboating Poes

H’lo. Recently, I’ve become a member of so I want to introduce myself as a descendent of the steamboating Poes from Georgetown, PA. Although the S&D Reflector discussion was a tempting place to start, I submitted a new string because as I searched the site I failed to find references to Poes or Georgetown in the current discussions.

I’ve come to you searching for info and photos of 50 steamboats and their captains who carried troops and supplies on the western rivers during the Civil War and worked the Missouri River trade from 1866-1870. The captains and packets, well known to Capt Frederick Way Jr, steamed from Georgetown, PA, a tiny borough on the Ohio River within site of West Virginia and Ohio. The Civil War transports are also listed in the "Dictionary of Transports and Combatant Vessels Steam and Sail Employed by the Union Army 1861-1868" compiled by Charles Dana Gibson and E Kay Gibson. Without these captains/pilots and steamers, the Union armies in the western theater could not have taken the field, nor could they have been sustained. Without these captains/pilots and steamers, expansion of the western territories would have required another 50 years.

Their stories are fascinating. For example -- The str Kenton was owned by Capt George W Ebert who quite possibly was also one of its pilots. On Jan 12, 1863, the Kenton was moored near the mouth on the White River according to a personal letter by Lt Cushman K Davis of the 28th Wisconsin Regiment. Lt Davis was the aide-de-camp to Gen Willis Arnold Gorman. Approximately 18,000 troops had been transported to the White River from Helena or Napoleon by a fleet of 30 steamers. The Kenton steamed five difficult miles up the swollen White River on Jan 13. According to Lt Davis, the old General spent most of his time in swearing at the pilot. On Jan 15 the 28th Wisconsin was visited by a terrific snowstorm. After finding no fight on the White River, the 28th Wisconsin was ordered to Vicksburg for the purpose of another attack.

The Amelia Poe snagged on the upper Missouri on 24 May 1868 attracting 1,500 swarming Indians in a riotous salvage operation.

The Nick Wall ended on Sunday night 18 Dec 1870 in a tragedy written about by Samuel Clemens in “Life on the Mississippi”.

Other civilian captains from Georgetown were: Jacob Poe, Adam Poe, Thomas W Poe, Thomas S Calhoon, and Jackman T Stockdale. My packets of interest are: Amelia Poe, Clara Poe, Georgetown, Mary E Poe, Nick Wall, Belfast, Big Foot, Argyle, Belmont, Jacob Poe, Kenton, Mollie Ebert, Yorktown, Sallie, John C Fremont or Horizon, Ida Stockdale, Katie Stockdale, Queen City, Virginia ...

I recently inherited a journal of a steamboat trip up the Missouri in 1869 and some other family steamboat memorabilia. Much of my information has been posted on a website, although I continue to process boxes of old photos and letters.

Georgetown Steamboats

Have a look. I think you will find it entertaining.

I look forward to hearing from you.
Fran Nash
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