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St. Louis to New Orleans by steamboat, 1860

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  • Robert Gudmestad
    replied
    The fastest times between New Orleans and Cincinnati were 5 days and 18 hours in 1843 (the Duke of Orleans) and 5 days and 12 hours in 1881 (the Reuben Springer). Other boats were obviously slower and the variables that were previously mentioned would also affect the travel. But boats that were racing normally stopped to load and unload freight and take on wood, so the times give a decent approximation.

    Robert Gudmestad

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  • R. Dale Flick
    replied
    *Those 1840s steamboats*
    Hi, Pete & Steamboating colleagues:
    Pete, interesting reading your family history leaving Wurms in 1841 [I've visited the great cathedral there] for New Orleans. No doubt you'd love to know the name of the steamboat your great-great grandfather traveled on. Many times the name of the boat or boats never recorded or long lost in old letters, penned in Bibles etc. The voyages by steamboat for many could be far from ideal with months of grueling travel behind them coming from various ports in Europe. The boats were a means to an end with many passengers indifferent to them once ashore--similar to our present day rail travel, flying, bus trips. Many traveling 'lower deck' had it very rough with many of the men working off their passage with the usual crew handling freight, fuel. Those in better cabins again and again wrote mentioning how glad they were to be ashore where they had clean linen, decent bed and have a bath. To many it was an ordeal to be endured from start to finish.

    Libraries, museums, archives still receive requests to "find my ancestor's name in the records for so-and-so boat" thinking all those early manifests and logs have survived.

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

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  • Pete Sisak
    replied
    One of my great-great grandfathers had left Wurms Germany for New Orleans 1841, then onto Cincinnati. He later left Cincinnati for Racine, WI in 1843.
    My grandfather had always felt he came up from New Olreans to Cincinnati via steamboat, which one was an even greater mystery!

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  • R. Dale Flick
    replied
    *Fred Way's 'time cards*
    Steamboating colleagues:
    A shy lurker just called my attention to the time cards for 'fast' steamboat runs over the years found in Capt. Fred Way's 'SHE TAKES THE HORNS: Steamboat Racing On The Western Rivers,' Young & Klein, Cincinnati, 1953. This I consulted yesterday but thanks for the prompt answer. Those 'fast runs' given in days, hours, minutes from port to port with some landings mentioned. What they gained in a fast run they often lost in dropping landings, added fuel expense, wear and tear on boilers, engines. Again, 'fast trips' were at times unusual and out of the regular running service for passengers, cargo, mail etc. In the early years a boat could often pay it's building costs with a profit in a year or slightly more with the traditional 'blue ribbon' tied around the account books for the captain, owners, investors. Well, what do I know?

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

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  • R. Dale Flick
    started a topic St. Louis to New Orleans by steamboat, 1860

    St. Louis to New Orleans by steamboat, 1860

    Steamboating colleagues:
    Returned from northern Michigan last week and settled here in Cincinnati. Yesterday I received an interesting inquiry from a research specialist with Steamship Historical Society of America RE: "Question on steamboat travel down the Mississippi to New Orleans in 1860...number of landings, how many days?" I dug in here finding some figures for steamboats to New Orleans from Cincinnati and Pittsburgh listing 'some' stops, days enroute down and back--roughly.

    I replied that days and landings varied with the boat, type of cargo, weather, navigation conditions, Mississippi River currents upbound etc. noting other landings made for fuel, cord wood, some 'nut coal'--even mechanical/boiler repairs along the way.

    Those of you with more familarity with the Mississippi may have have information not known to me. Could any Steamboat.orger step to the microphone with what you may know and have found? I'll keep digging here.

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