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James Morgan 09-07-2006 06:40 PM

Steamboat "Fort Towson" ca 1840's
I am trying to get an idea what my gggrandfather's steamboat looked like. I have a description of the steamboat taken from Catahoula Parish Louisiana courthouse records of the purchase of the "Fort Towson" by my gggrandfather and grandmother (Samuel Glenn and Sarah Glenn) in 1845 in New Orleans. The description excerpted from the sale is:

".......ship or vessel called the Fort Towson of New Orleans, whereof J. W. Rhodes is at present master and as he hath sworn a citizen of the United States, and the said Ship or vessel was built at Louisville state of Kentucky, in the year Eighteen hundred and forty two, as per enrollment no 07- issued at this port on the 2nd day of August Eighteen hundred and forty three now surrendered, property changed in part, and said enrollment having certified that the said Ship or vessel has one Deck and no mast and that her length is one hundred and thirty five feet, her bredth twenty three feet five inches, her depth Four feet nine inches and that she measured One hundred and forty two and 13/95 tons, that she is a Sr Boat, has a cabin above deck and plain head and the said John W. Rhodes having agreed to the description and and measurement above specified and sufficient Security having given according to the said act, the said Sr Boat has been duly enrolled at the Port of New Orleans. given under our hands and seals at the Port of New Orleans this twelfth day of November in the year one thousand eight hundred and forty four."
Way's book gives the following description:"SW p wh b. Louisville, Ky., 1842. 142 tons. 135X23.5X4.8........In April 1845 sold to Sarah Swofford (Glenn), Catahoula Parish, La., and master was Capt. Samuel Glenn, Jr. Off the list in 1847."
I have seen the boat advertised in the New Orleans papers in the early 1840's with Samuel Glenn as master, usually advertised as taking passengers for fishing outings, etc.
Is there some way to get a sketch or picture of a boat similar to this description of that time period to use in the family history I am writing? That would really help the family get a visual picture of what this type boat looked like. If you cannot help, could you give me suggestions on who to contact for this type info?
I thank you in advance for any help you may be able to provide.
James Barry Morgan

Steve Huffman 09-08-2006 06:55 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Here are some images of a model built by John Fryant of the sidewheel packet LOWELL (1839). Your boat was probably very similar to this one. These photos are Copyright John Fryant.

Michael Marleau 09-08-2006 07:59 AM

Early Print 1840's
1 Attachment(s)

An early print of a vessel is attached that is similar to John Fryant's model.


Hank Bloomer 09-08-2006 08:01 AM

There is a painting of the steamer Ouchita on the Red River Project website that will give you another possibility. She is a little smaller & older than your boat, but the general apprearance would be similar. [url][/url].

Hank Bloomer 09-08-2006 08:56 AM

A couple more bits of information. Fort Towson was a US Army post in southern OK, protecting the Creek nation from incursions from Texas. There is a historical site there today, and a website that will give you pictures. It's a good possibility that the boat was named with the expectation of Upper Red River trade, since Ft. Towson was about as far up the river as boats could usually naviagate. This was a very hazardous trade and most of the boats involved were smaller, shallow draft, older boats that were not too valuable to gamble their loss against the possiblitiy of a good profit. N. Phillip Norman lists Ft. Towson as in the Red River trade in March '43. The boat is also listed in the Lytle-Holdcamper List and the Wooldridge List.

James Morgan 09-16-2006 06:22 AM

Thanks for the response and the pictures. I'll contact John for use of his photos.
Barry Morgan
(I really go by my middle name, which is Barry-no one knows me by James)

James Morgan 09-16-2006 06:23 AM

Thanks for your response. Every piece of info helps a great deal.

James Morgan 09-16-2006 06:28 AM

I have been really surprised that so many folks would take the time to respond to my request for help. Must be a very friendly group here. I'll check out all your suggestions. I had also assumed the boat would be named after the fort.

Lexie Palmore 09-30-2006 11:38 AM

You might also be interested in knowing that a steamboat of the Ft. Towsen vintage is being excavated on the Red River on the northern border of Texas. If you would like to know more, I can get some info about the location and who to contact. Seems like some of the boats of that day and age had a clutch rig on the shaft. This smaller size boat was no doubt involved in the Ft. Towsen trade.

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