IOWA HISTORY PROJECT
“Saturday Evening Post”
OLD STEAMBOAT BURIED NEAR FOOT OF MARKET STREET
Many readers have been interested in the story of Viking ships hat have been discovered and raised and are on exhibition in England and Germany, or of ancient Roman Galleys and other Greek and Roman vessels that have been recovered from their resting places at he bottom of lakes and bays. Burlington may contribute a similar find somewhere in the dim and distant future. Old-timers recall an early steamer named “the Jerry”, She had been used on the Missouri river in that era ere the people in the Valley had forgotten that the big Muddy is a navigable stream. Later ‘The Jerry’ was brought to Burlington, where she was kept busy and even navigated Hawkeye creek and sometime ascended far into the present business district of the city of Burlington.
One winter she was moored at Market and Main streets. Burlington. Her upper decks and the engines and machinery were being changed. Some trouble arose, the hull began filling with mud and sand. The means for raising and repairing vessels were rather primitive and the right kind of timber for building new hulls was very plentiful at that time, and was to be had for the taking. Accordingly no effort was made to raise the old hull, and if the old timers are correct she must now be lying in Market Street Burlington.
Perhaps long after the memory of “The Jerry” shall have perished somebody may be excavating at that spot, the old hull may be brought to light. And the savants of that period will gather and will hold long sessions and perhaps they will claim that it was a De Soto vessel that ascended the river, or that it formed a part of an early fleet of discovery of which the very name has been lost. Or if Ignasius Donnelly is not forgotten at that time, they may find that it was a part of the navy of Atlantis, that has lain there for in numbered centuries. It might be the proper thing for the Hawkeye Natives to look, up the records of “Jerry’ and preserve it for the benefit of future historians and antiquarians.
“Saturday Evening Post”
From an old magazine article by G. C. Broadhead
Quoting from an old account of the trip of Capt. Sarpy, of St. Louis, he says:
“They tied up at this island on the evening of the 15th of December, 1811. In looking around they found that a party of river pirates occupied part of the island and were expecting Sarpy with the intention of robbing him. As soon as Sarpy found that out he quietly dropped lower down the river. In the night the earthquake came and next morning when the accompanying haziness disappeared the island could no longer be seen. It had been utterly destroyed as well as its pirate inhabitants.”
On the river a number was drowned. Bradbury mentions seeing drifting canoes, the owners of which he afterward found had been lost. Hildreth describes the loss of several boats and their crews by caving banks. Lloyd records that a flatboat belonging to Richard Stump was swamped and six men drowned. Many other boats were destroyed by snags and the river covered with wrecks.
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