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Research and Transcribed by

Sue Rekkas



The Saturday Evening Post of Burlington, Iowa, March 2, 1918, page 8. 

Steamboats and Steamboatmen of the Upper Mississippi by George B. Merrick







  Stern wheel rafter built at South Stillwater, Minn., 1878, by that eminent boat builder, Josiah Batchelder, for Durant, Wheeler & Co., of Stillwater; 112.9 feet long, 21.0 feet beam 3.5 feet hold 101.38 tons.  She had two boilers, each 21 inches long by 20 ft. with twenty inch 20 inch flues; cylinders 11 inches by 6 ft. stroke.  She was named for the daughter of one of firm.  Pauline Durant, I think, but some say Pauline Wheeler.  I called at Captain Ed. Durant’s residence at Stillwater last September, but he had already started for his winter home in Florida, so I missed getting some data relating to the Pauline that I hoped for.


  Durant, Wheeler & Co. used the Pauline in connection with their mills in Stillwater until the fall of 1880, when they sold her to Captains Al Hollingshead and D. C. Law, of Lyons, Iowa, who ran her, with some changes in the makeup of the firm, which will appear in the narrative of Captain Law given below.  In 1888 she was sold to Tracy & Peel (S. K. Tracy, now a leading lawyer of Burlington and the late Thos. Peel of Burlington (comprising the Laclede Packet Company, who put her into the packet trade between Burlington and Keithsburg, where she continued two seasons.  Captain Frank A. Whitney, of Centerville Iowa, writes of this period:

 “The Pauline was running the packet trade between Burlington and Keithsburg, Ill during the seasons of 1888 and 1889.  Captain Tom Peel was master, Gabe Newby clerk, and F. A. Whitney chief engineer. She was a dandy boat for the trade, which soon built up so large that a bigger boat had to take her place and this was filled by the steamer Matt. F. Allen.”


   In the spring of 1890 Tracy & Peel sold her to William Kratke, of Lansing, Iowa, who ran her in the rafting trade.  Captain Walter L. Hunter, of Pepin, was mate and second pilot on her in 1890, and I think later Captain I. H. Short was master and Ira Fuller chief engineer.  In 1891 and 1892 Joseph Fuller was chief engineer and Charles Fess assistant.  In 1894 she ran as a low water boat in the Gateway City Packet Lane between La Crosse and St. Paul in place of the regular boat, the Thistle, which drew too much water.  This line was a venture made by Captain A. H. Looney and others of La Crosse.  Mr. Orrin F. Smith, now of Winona, Minn., who represented the line as agent at St. Paul writes that the venture was started in April 1894 and was drawn in July of that year.


  In 1898 Captain Krathe sold the Pauline to William Sauntry & Co., of Stillwater, who rebuilt her and changed her name to Columbia.  They sold the Columbia to Van Sant and Blair, of Davenport, who in turn sold her in 1901 to Mr. Flagler, president of the Florida East Coast Railroad, who used her, with the steamer Phil Scheckel, in building the Overseas division of the East Coast Railroad to Key West, and the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.—a daring piece of engineering, but entirely successful.  Mr. Henry E. Knapp saw the two boats laid up at Key West in 1915, full of years and of honor.

  Captain J. M. Turner of Lansing, Iowa furnishes the following details of the ownership of the Pauline, compiled from memory.  His letter follows:

  LANSING, Iowa, Jan.9.—Captain Geo. B. Merrick, Madison, Wis. 


Dear Sir:--Received your letter a few days before I had a face on me that put life in bed for several days.  Am now up again, and am glad to answer your letter.

   The steamer Pauline was built at South Stillwater I cannot give you the year.  The boat was merged into the firm of Durant, Wheeler & Co., who sold her to Capt. A. F. Hollingshead, and then was merged into the firm of Turner, Hollingshead & Co.  Afterwards sold to J. M. Turner, then sold by J. M. Turner to Tracy & Peel, of Burlington, Iowa, then sold by them to Captain Wm. Kratke, and then sold by him to parties in Stillwater, Minn. (can’t give the name of parties). Who rebuilt her into the steamer Columbia.

   I am sorry that I cannot give you dates of the above transactions.

   We must certainly give you credit for your zeal in relation to steamboat operations on the upper Mississippi River.  Future generations may be interested to know that steamboats, before the days of the railroads, settled up states bordering on the Mississippi and its navigable tributaries.  But will they be interested in its details?  Respectfully Yours,


    In response to my request Capt. D. C. Law, of Lyons, Iowa has kindly furnished the following sketch of the Pauline as he knew her, with incidental references to other boats owned by himself and partners, Captain. Al Hollingshead and Captain Jerry Turner.


   There were many river men in the military service of their country during the Civil War and Captain Law was one of them:  I extracted the story of his participation, which is appended to this sketch of the Pauline:  The captain is represented in this holy war against the Hun eleven nephews or grand nephews and would go himself if the authorities would accept him.  Following is his story:



Tells of the Pauline and some other boats owned by Captain Al Hollingshead, Captain Jerry Turner, and himself.

 An interesting Review.


  LYONS, Iowa, December 15.—Mr. Geo. B. Merrick, Dear Sir, Yours of 11th inst. In regard to steamer Pauline received, I will tell you all I can remember about her, and some other boats that we have owned.


  A. F. Hollingshead and myself bought the Pauline in the fall of 1880 from Durant & Wheeler, of Stillwater, R. J. Wheeler built her in the spring of 1878.  In the spring of 1881 we got a contract for running the Chippewa Lumber and Boom Company’s lumber from Reads Landing.  We also had a contract with the Daniel Shaw Lumber Company and the Badger State Lumber Company.  Hollingshead and myself went into partnership with J. M. Turner.  He owned the steamer Nellie and we owned the Pauline.  We pooled the boats—Turner did the work on the upper end and we did it below.  Most of the lumber went to Hannibal, Mo.


  We ran that way for a couple of seasons.  Then we got the contract of the Empire Lumber Company, of Eau Claire.  They owned the side wheel Clyde, with iron hull.  We took her with the contract, took her to Dubuque and made a stern wheeler out of her.  I think that was in the fall of 1883.  Then Turner sold the Nellie and we built the Lily Turner, at Dubuque, about the same time, ran her in the rafting trade one season and then put her in the packet trade between Lansing and Lacrosse one season.  I think that was in 1885.  While so engaged she was run into by the C. W. Cowles, of McGregor, just below Johnsonport, above McGregor on the 4th of July evening and sunk.  One man was scalded to death by the bursting of a steam pipe.


  The next winter Hollingshead drew out of the company, taking the Lily Turner, Captain Turner and myself keeping the Clyde and Pauline.  The next fall I sold out to Turner and he sold the Clyde to the Standard Lumber Company, of Dubuque retaining the Pauline with the Empire contract and ran that one or two years and then sold the Pauline to William Kratke, who later sold her to Stillwater parties, and she was made over into an excursion ( unknown)  Daniel Shaw Lumber for one or two seasons, and then sold her to the Illinois State Fish Commission, who rebuilt her and changed her name and she is in that business yet.


  I started steamboating as a roustabout in 1863 on the little old side wheeler Viola.  She belonged to Durant & Hanford of Stillwater.  Capt. James Hugunin, of Albany, was captain and pilot.  I was a while on the Julia Hadley, of the same company, until the spring of 1872. C. Lamb & Sons, of Clinton Iowa, built the Chancy Lamb, and I went on her as a deck hand that year, with Captain Lyme Short, his brother Lome second pilot.  In the winter of 1872 C. Lamb & Sons built the Artetnus Lamb and started her in the spring of 1873 with Yyme Short as captain, A. F. Hollingshead second pilot.  On the Chancy Lamb was Lome Short, captain and I went as watchman with him.  In the fall of 1875 the Chancy laid up early.  Hollingshead had meanwhile bought an half interest in the steamer Abner Gile, of Lacrosse.  She ran logs to Louisiana Mo., for Abner Gile, who owned the mill at that place.  Captain Hollingshead had a late trip.  He wired me that he wanted me to go with him.  I had received my pilot’s license to Clinton.  Old Uncle Stephen Hanks, who died this fall at the age of 96 or 97, signed my application.  He was piloting on the river four years before I was born—in 1842.  I stayed with Hollingshead, and the next spring went with him as second pilot and clerk.  We had a few trips of Wisconsin River lumber to St. Louis.  I stayed with him on the Abner Gile until we bought the Pauline.


  The first boat I ever saw with a raft was the little Minnie Will, Captain Cy. Bradley—a little side wheeler.  It was some time between 1865, 1868, as I came to Clinton in August 1865 when I got out of the army, and it was between that and 1868.  She brought logs from Stillwater to W. J. Young & Company of Clinton.


  I have a picture of all the raft pilots.  It was taken at Clinton at one of our conventions.  They were all there but two or three.  There must have been a hundred of them.  I was Secretary and Treasurer of the Upper Mississippi River Pilots’ Association while it lasted.


  I was one season on the Robert Dodds, one season on the Musser, owned by Sam Van Sant.  I never changed boats often.

  I have pictures of Pauline in the lower dock at Keokuk, taken while we were locking lumber through.  If I can find one of them I will send it to the Custodian of the Wisconsin Museum.


  I steamboated thirty-four years.  This will do for this time.  If there is any information on this that will be of interest to you I am glad to have given it.  I may add that there are no old river men living at Lyons except myself and Captain Albert H. Duncan.  Yours Truly,

                                                                                   D. C. Law


* * * ~ ~ ~ * * *


  Captain Albert Hollingshead lived at Lyons, Iowa.  With his brother, H. H. Hollingshead and D. C. Law owned the steamer Abner Gile in the early ‘70’s, and made a good deal of money with her and later with the Pauline and Gardie Eastman.  In 1888 he built the Reindeer and ran her in the rafting trade for ten years.  When the saw mills at Lyons and Fulton shut down for good he sold out his interests in the boats and continued piloting up to the close of 1910.  He died at his home in Clinton some years ago. (1911)


  Captain John W. Darrah has the following list of captains of the Pauline.  I have changed several of his dates which my records clearly indicate are in error:  the others, both dates and names, I leave as he submits them.  They are Ira A. Fuller, 1879:  Albert F. Hollingshead, 1887:  Thomas Peel, 1888, 1889:  John M. Gilliam, 1892:  William Lingo, 1892:  I Henry Short, 1897:  William A. Kracke 1897:  John Monroe, 1899.


* * * ~ ~ ~ * * *




  In compliance with your request I add the following regarding my own military service and that of my family:

  I enlisted in the Civil War on August 12, 1862, with two brothers.  I was fifteen years of age; the others were 17 and 19 respectively.  We were in Company E, 148th Pennsylvania, Vols.  We went through to Appomattox.  I was sixteen years old at the battle of Gettysburg.  Went through it all without a scratch.  My next brother was hit four times, was gun struck once, and is living yet.  The oldest brother had been detailed as Brigade Bugler, and never missed a meal, a roll call or a skirmish until the 7th of April, 1865, two days before the surrender of Lee.  He sat on his horse and blew the call for the Brigade to charge, and the battery we were charging whirled one of their guns and fired the last shot at the Brigade staff who were sitting on their horses, and my brother was the only one hit.  It took his whole head off.  One of my company sat alongside of him with the Brigade Flag.  He told me that my brother sat on his horse dead, until he got off and took his body down.  He would have fallen off, of course, as soon as the nerves relaxed.  He blew the last call for the last charge we ever made.


  We were discharged near Alexandria, Va., June 1st, 1865 at Camp Curtain, Harrisburg, Pa.  I went home, helped my father do the harvesting, came to Iowa in August 1865, and have steamboated and been in the mountains ever since.


  My brother who was killed had an boy, and he has boy that is Lieutenant in the 126th Pennsylvania Field Artillery, in the Rainbow Division “somewhere in France.”  My other brother has one son in service, and another of his sons has three boys in service.  One is Paymaster in the Navy.  Another nephew, has a son in the 123rd United States.  He was at Long Island, N.Y.  Another nephew has one son in the Engineer (unknown) every one of them stood a good examination.  They came from a hardy stock---Dutch, Scotch and Irish.  I was raised in the woods, and never saw a railroad until I went into the army in 1862.  

                                                                      Yours Truly,

                                                                             D. C. Law



* * * ~ ~ ~ * * *


The Davenport Democrat and Leader, Friday, May 26, 1911, page 16.





Captain Albert Franklin Hollingshead Is Found Dead by Wife.



  Captain Albert Franklin Hollingshead, well known Mississippi River steamboat captain and pilot, aged 64 years, dropped dead in the rear of his home, 546 Eleventh Avenue, Clinton, shortly after 4:30 o’clock Thursday morning, death being due to heart trouble, and was found at 5 o’clock by his wife who had missed him and had started out to find him.


  Mr. Hollingshead had been suffering from heart trouble for the past several years, and had often been told by medical advisors of his critical condition, his heart being in such condition that it was often necessary for him to get up in the night and go out for fresh air because of hard breathing spells.


  Some time after 4:30 o’clock Thursday morning Mr. Hollingshead got up and went out of doors.  Mrs. Hollingshead missed him a few minutes before 5 o’clock and wondering where he had gone, got up and started a search for him, finding him in the back yard, lying face downward, with a large gash in his left cheek where his head had struck a small fence when he fell, the fence surrounding a garden in the rear of the house.  His body was still warm and thinking that he had only fainted every effort was made to revive him.  Dr. H. A. White was called, but life had left the body, and recovery was impossible.


* * * ~ ~ ~ * * *

Pilot on W. W.


  Mr. Hollingshead was born near Toronto, Canada, January 30, 1847, and when a young man of about 17 years he came to Illinois and settled near Thomson, shortly after arriving here, taking up work on the Mississippi River.  When 23 years of age he came to Lyons, where he received his first position as captain.  He has since that time been employed as captain or pilot of many river boats, the Columbia and the W. W. being the largest boats that he has had charge of late.  Mr. Hollingshead, because of his poor health, had been able to work but little within the past two years.


  He was married in Clinton, where he moved shortly after coming to Lyons, to Miss Mary Wright, the marriage taking place at the home of the bride, June 23, 1880.  Since that time he has always been a resident of Clinton, and had many friends who will greatly mourn his demise.


  The deceased man leaves to mourn his death, his widow and four children, one son, Albert, three daughters, Florence and Beulah of Clinton, and Mrs. John Titz of Chicago.


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Davenport Democrat and Leader, Thursday Evening, June 5, 1930, page 4.




G. A. R. Leader Succumbs; Pennsylvania Native



Special to the Democrat 

  Clinton, Ia., June 5.—Daniel C. Law, aged veteran of the Civil War, died at midnight last night after a long illness.


  Mr. Law was active in G. A. R. circles until a year or two ago.  He served the county many years as poor master, and previous to that time was captain on a steamboat on the Mississippi River.


  He was born in Pennsylvania, January 6, 1846, and came to Iowa when he was discharged from the war in August, 1864.  He served with the 148th Pennsylvania infantry.


  Mr. Law is survived by his widow and two sons, Charles of this city, and William, Steamboat Springs, Colo.




Collected and Transcribed by

Sue Rekkas

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