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*RE: 'Dr./Freight bills/Shipping Records*

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    *RE: 'Dr./Freight bills/Shipping Records*

    Steamboating colleagues,
    Keith Norrington was right on target with his notation RE: 'Dr.' being "direct record" for steamboat freight bills etc. I dug out a large file of period freight bills/yard orders/supplies of steamboats from the 1830s to the 1870s. Three caught my eye making me gasp as they are from the famed Str. ECLIPSE of 1852. Capt. Fred Way provided a big blow on her in WAY'S PACKET DIRECTORY, Pg. 138, Entry No. 1688. Her builder was Dowerman's Shipyard, New Albany, Indiana. Three office receipts and docket book pages here mention passages for a family and "News print/papers," Nov. 13, 1859.

    Bank exchange notes--not checks--from New Albany also bills for engine parts in Sept. 1856 for $6,000 from Howard Yards, Jeffersonville, In. to Mr. Kinney in Mobile, Ala. with a dim signature of 'Howard.' Could be 1st Jim Howard. Edmunds Howard would have been possibly a teenager at the time.

    An additional detailed record from a docket dated Sept. 9, 1858 for the Str. R.P. TANEY [? hard to read] for cotton shipment at 'Selma' Tot: $379.20 for six bales from 512 to 570 pounds. Obviously cotton bale compression/weight not uniform or completely standard within reason. Things get complicated with many additional charges and services.
    1. Wagon to wharf: 18 cents per bale.
    2. Weighing: 10 cents per bale.
    3. Storage of bales: $1.50.
    4. 'Mending'/repais: .25 cents per bale.
    5. River Insurance: .36 cents per bale.
    6. Fire Insurance: 1/8th per bill total.
    7. Commission/Selling: 2 & 1/2 % of total.
    8. Credit/Cash payment at your pleasure Sept. 9, 1858.

    Interesting to note the considerable added expenses in the cotton business at the time. Bales marked or stamped individually as to source. The ink scripted docket page notes: "Insured against loss by Fire & River.' 'River' indicating a possible sinking, weather damage or loss overboard of any bales during shipment. Steamboat agents, 'Mud Clerks, pursers,' used a kind of heavy paper calculator wheel in spinning, matching up costs. No calculators or computers in those days also demanding a quick, experienced mind.

    R. Dale Flick
    Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati.