Paddle-Wheel Steamboat Database

We’ve collected information from several steamboat directories and joint them in this searchable database of paddle-wheel steamboats from the Western Rivers (Mississippi River system) as well as from the Columbia River and rivers in California.


Click on the boat’s name in the search results, and – if available – on the “more information” link to get the full record for this steamboat from the database.

Sources for the paddle-wheel steamboat database

  • Way’s Packet Directory, 1948-1994, Frederick Way, jr.
  • Lloyd’s Steamboat Directory from 1856
  • Columbia River: Stern-Wheelers up Columbia, Randall V. Mills, 1947
  • California: Paddlewheel Days in California, Jerry MacMullen, 1944

Some a for using the database

When researching for the name of a steamboat, also try searching for similar names and possible misspellings. “William” might as well be “Wm.”, for example. Try “St.” instead of “Saint”.

But be careful: “Saint (name)” might be a different boat than “St. (name)”.

Try “W.S.” and “W. S.” – this space might make a difference.

You may also want to search for parts of a boat’s name, especially when you’re not sure about the spelling in case the name of a steamboat on an old photograph is not clearly readable.

Newspapers in old times not always referred to a steamboat by its registered name but by the name the boat popularly was known as. Or they added something like “New” to distinguish boats with the same name from the same period of time.