River Men

Burlington, Iowa

by Georgeann McClure

Bailey Amos
1880 Census
Bailey Amos 54
Occupation: pilot ferry
Margret 35 Ohio
Hattie 1 Ia.

Burgess James
Walter Blair 
A Raft Pilots Log

Capt. Jules Calhoun.
Chapter 11
E. H. Thomas
Saturday Evening Post
Captain Thomas Peel another experienced river man is also a resident of Burlington as is Capt. Jules Calhoun.

Dorn Paul

Portrait and Biographical Album of Des Moines County, Iowa
Chicago: Acme Publishing, 1888.

     Paul Dorn, proprietor of the New McCutchen Home, Burlington, Iowa, is a native of Bavaria, Germany, born May 7, 1825. His father, John Dorn, emigrated to America in 1837, locating in Benton Township, Des Moines Co., Iowa. Paul remained with his father on the farm until twelve years of age, but not liking farm life, he came to Burlington, where he was employed in the hotels. In 1842 he tried his luck upon the river, running between St. Louis and New Orleans. Those were the days there was life upon the river, and Paul followed that business until 1848.
     In 1850 he was joined in wedlock with Elizabeth A. Best, a native of New Jersey. He soon after turned his attention to farming, but subsequently came to Burlington, where he has been engaged in the hotel business, except two years, 1860 and 1861, when he was with Capt. Hillhouse, on the river.


Fogle Augustus
1880 Census
Fogle August 28 
Occupation: Steamboat pilot
Alba 23 
William Kahlta 
Occupation: boat builder

1880 Census
Fogle Fred 28 
Occupation: Steamboat man
Wife: Christine28
Fred 8 Iowa

Walter Blair
A Raft Pilots Log

D.C.Fogel...............................................Fred Fogel
owned by Fogel Brothers of Burlington, Iowa.

Foote & Co.
Steamboat Agents
Water St.

French Thomas
Occupation: Captain

Death of Mr. Thomas French last
Evening at His Home

Some of the Main Features of His life
A Life of Usefulness and Activity
Spent Mainly in our City His Adopted Home

     At Half Past Seven o’clock last evening Mr. Thomas French died at his home on West Hill. For almost a month he has known to be his avowed last sick bed, and to his friends and acquaintances who have all been waiting and watching for the end, the intelligence of his death comes not as a thief in the night but as a message long expected. On Wednesday October 6, he came down to the city, as had been his want all summer, he attempted to mount a street car while still in motion, and in this net was seized by an attack of vertigo an illness to which he was subject and fell from the car. The evil effect of this seizure and the effect of this fall created a depression which caused him to take to his couch. He suffered but little pain but was weak ate nothing and devoted his
conversation that he had made up his mind to meet his end. Indeed he had 
been growing all summer he grew more and more feeble and had remarked to his more intimate friends and nearer neighbors that he would not live to see another spring. 
     His illness was merely a wasting away of the body, a process which was attended with no suffering of no kind. Its progress being marked from day to day gradual loss of his strength. The disease which actually produced his death was announced by the doctors as congestion of the lungs and Bright’s disease. Under them his constitution always sturdy and rugged gave way and he gave up the struggle. Toward the end he complained somewhat of (unreadable) in the region of the heart but as it approached this seemed to wear away and his last hours were peaceful and unvexed by suffering. His mind wandered at brief intervals but in general he was lucid from the day he took to his couch until the final insensibility came on. He was remarkably quick in all his senses of perception during his illness. His hearing which had been perfect for some time before his death grew unnaturally acute. With his listening for the last call and his eyesight remained keen and bright until the whole system gave way. He recognized his friends without difficulty until near his death. And took pleasure in greeting and talking to them. For sometime before his death he lay in a peaceful sleep and while he thus gently slumbered, passed away. 
     Thomas French was born at Brighton, now called Beaver Falls, Beaver County Pa., on Oct. 4, 1815 Here he remained attending the common schools which that section afforded and engaging in labor when not employed in study until he was sixteen years of age when he came west to Pittsburg. Here he followed mechanical pursuits and finally became a competent engineer. Following that calling for livelihood in the factories of that bustling city. In 1836 he left the city and for the following five years he handled the engines on an Ohio steamboat. Gaining a practical knowledge of river pursuits which afterwards came into good play for hire. Tiring of the narrow confines of the Ohio he left it in 1842 came thru the lovely valleys of the state which bears its name and cross the prairies of Indiana retaining and operating the transfer here until he finally sold the business. 
     He was not subsequently engaged in any business during his connection of the ferry he acquired considerable real property, which increased in value when the town grew and finally demanded all of the attention he cared to bestow upon any business. Among his holdings was his beautiful home on West Hill at the junction of Warren and Anular streets. In which he and his family lived in comfort and in which he died. 
     Mr. French was married on December 2nd 1849 to Miss Delia E. Griffey. Daughter of Mr. Wm Griffey an early and honored settler of Flint . Six children were born to them of which one died in early life and five survived. These are Mrs. O. T. Hillhouse and Mrs. and Laura French and twin sons. The last named son resides at the family home and is unmarried. The former is a well to do fuel merchant of Mc Ferson Kansas and has a family. His mourning wife whom his death leaves desolate sorely grieving is a sister of Mr. Johnson and the widow lady who resided for years. Up at the sight of the Ola Fellows landing. Mrs. Silas Hudson, Mrs. William W. M. Hillby and Mrs. O.Y. Cocks. Mr. French leaves of his own family two sisters who live in Beaver Pa. and one brother in Colorado.
     In 1800 Mr. French was elected mayor of Burlington serving by reelection in 1861 and 1862. in 18 he was elected to the same position and again in 1865 In 1863 he was elected to all the vacancies of J. S. McClure of the old fourth ward who resigned. From this it may appear that Mr. French was virtually Burlington’s war mayor and a worthy age he was. In his earlier life he was an ardent Whig when the Republican party was organized he joined its ranks and ever after remained loyal to it. He was a pronounced abolitionist and lost no opportunity to turn the side of public opinion against the abhorrent traffic in human flesh. During the civil war, as may be imagined, he took a strong stand for the upholding of the federal government. His loyalty and patriotism were of that clearly rained stuff that gave no uncertain indications as to their character. They did not consist merely of irreverent protests of fidelity but of courageous wholesale action as well He was particularly zealous and energetic in raising and equipping company’s to aid in suppressing the rebellion and of Iowa’s prous record as a loyal stat is due to no man more than to him in his regard. He was one of those stay-at-home who upheld the hand sin the field: who kept the world moving while they fought the battles in the front and whose indomitable will and courage would have stopped at nothing that would have helped the good because he posses notable company which he helped praise was the first Iowa battery, which he principally organized. 


     Capt. Thomas French, a very prominent citizen of Burlington, Iowa, now deceased, was born in Old Brighton, in Beaver County, Pa., Oct. 4, 1815 of Quaker parentage, and when he was a year old his parents removed to Beaver, the county seat. His early education was received in the public schools of the latter city, and there he remained until nearly sixteen years of age, when he went to Pittsburgh to learn mechanical engineering. After becoming proficient in that branch he engaged as engineer on one of the Ohio River steamers, running from Pittsburgh to Louisville, Ky., and continued in that employment on the Ohio and other rivers of the Southwest until 1841, when he came to Burlington, Iowa. Traveling by wagon across the States of Indiana and Illinois to St. Louis, Capt. French there took a stage for this city. In the spring of 1842, he operated the Burlington ferry for Messrs. Gales & Seaton, of Washington, D. C., proprietors of the National Intelligencer, 
, continuing in that employ for twelve years, and also acting as general agent for those gentlemen, attending to all their extensive business in this locality. During the year 1854, in company with Gen. Fitz Henry Warren and others, Mr. French went to Washington, D. C., where he negotiated for and purchased about 700 acres of land, including the ferry property on the Illinois side of the river. He then superintended the construction of four steamboats, three of which were to be used for the ferry and one for the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, and which were built at different points, viz: Cincinnati, St. Louis and Brownsville, Pa. In the fall of 1856, Capt. French sold his interest in the ferry to Gen. Warren, and was not again interested in this business until 1863. 
     During the year 1859, the Captain was elected a member of the City Council, in which capacity he served seven years. For five years, or during the entire war, he was Mayor of Burlington, and while holding that office did effective service for the Government. He took an energetic and prominent part in enlisting companies for service during the Rebellion, particularly in enlisting and organizing the First Iowa Battery, in which he met with the most violent opposition on the part of the opponents of the war, but with the able assistance of Gen. Warren, then in Washington, D. C., together with Dallman Gilbert and John Lahee of Burlington, he succeeded, and by the aid of the Secretary of War got the Government of the State to accept the battery on the 23d day of July, 1861, two days after the disasterous battle of Bull Run. In 1861 and 1862, Capt. French was re-elected Mayor, and again in 1864 and 1865. He also acted as Postmaster for some months. He was a thorough business man and an efficient city officer, and his terms of office were marked by a wise, orderly and economical administration, not a mob or single loss of life from violence marring the whole period. At the beginning of the war, the citizens of Burlington organized a society for the relief of the soldiers' families and widows, which organization was continued during the entire war. It was managed by a committee of three: G. C. Lauman, Mosly Ewing and Mr. French, who was President. This was an active institution, accomplishing much good. At the close of the war there was $95 in the treasury, which they appropriated toward a supper to the 25th Iowa Regiment on its return home from the field. The reception was given with much enthusiasm at Market Hall, and was a most enjoyable affair. Besides carrying on the ferry, Capt. French was engaged in other business relations. He dealt in real estate, buying and selling city and other valuable property, and at one time he owned a farm of about 100 acres adjoining the city limits. In 1867, he again purchased an interest in the ferry, which he continued to operate until 1874, and then sold. Two years previous, he purchased about three acres of land on Angular street, near Warren, upon which is a large and elegant residence, which is one of the most beautiful places in the city, with a fine lawn, beautiful shade-trees and other attractions. In his political views, throughout his life, Capt. French was a stanch Republican, believing in humanity, justice and liberty for all classes, races and colors. He cared little whether his views were popular or not if he considered himself to be in the right, and in the days of slavery was not afraid to be called a black abolitionist, and he declared that the act of Abraham Lincoln in signing the Emancipation Proclamation was the greatest and most just act of any man on this planet. 
     On the 2d of December, 1849, Capt. French was united in marriage with Miss Delia E. Griffey, a daughter of William and Mary (Spitzer) Griffey, who were early settlers of Burlington, having settled here in 1837. She was one of a family of twelve children: Leannah, Henry Lee, Leavara, William Lee, Mary Jane, Serena, Delia E., Ellen, Laura, Martha, Charles and Caroline. Mr. French's father, Joseph, was born Nov. 3, 1771, in Mt. Holly, N. J., and died April 2, 1847, and his mother, Martha Newton, was born April 10, 1786, and died June 17, 1858. They also reared a large family of children: Newton, James, Charles, Joseph, Thomas, Samuel, Maria, Leander and Caroline. Six children have graced the union of Mr. and Mrs. French: Clarence who died at the early age of two and a half years; Cleon, born in Burlington, 27th of April, 1852, wedded Maggie M. Mason of Chicago, resides in Maysville, Colo., and they have two children, a son and daughter; Kate, born March 25, 1855, in Burlington, became the wife of O. T. Hillhouse, a resident of Creighton, and one son was born to them, Oscar, now deceased; Ida, born Oct. 14, 1860; Lee N., born June 26, 1864; and Laura L., born July 14, 1868, are all natives of this city, where they yet reside. Capt. Thomas French departed this life Nov. 2, 1886. He was a man who loved his home and its relations intensely, and was a true and loyal friend. His integrity of character and firmness of purpose were unsurpassed, and he justly ranks high as a citizen and pioneer. His generous nature endeared him to the community in which for so long he was a prominent personage. 

Geiger Arthur
1880 Census
Geiger Arthur 35 
Occupation: Pilot
Wife Jennie 25
Joseph 11
Alma 5
Overton 3

Saturday Evening Post Burlington, Iowa
E. H. Thomas
Chapter 4
“During the four years there were other steamers making occasional trips up the Iowa. The Harris brothers with their Anna Girdon and Gussie Girdon: Vince and Tom Pell with the “Tryus”, The Geiger brothers with the “Last Chance” Deck Dickson with the “Red Bird” and Horatio and Al Hinkle with their T. P. Benton.”

Hall Archibald
1880 Census
Hall Archibald 33
Wife; Agnes 20
Agnes 1M
Thomas Hurley 15 

Harris James

E. H. Thomas
Burlington Saturday Evening Post
“Captain James Harris, who could build a steamboat and work at the wheel or in the engine room, is still a resident of Burlington.”

Chapter 4
During the four years there were other steamers making occasional trips up the Iowa. The Harris brothers with their Anna Girdon and Gussie Girdon

Chapter 13
“Capt. James Harris of Burlington, can point out the exact spot where lies the buried treasure. Pig lead, ready for the market needs no smelting. Harris is probably the only surviving member of the party that sailed up to Eagle Island on the lead expedition 50 or 60 years ago.”

Hillhouse William
1880 Census
Hillhouse William 59
Occupation: steamboat captain
Wife: Martha 45 Virginia
Julia 21 Iowa

Ways Packet Directory
KATE CASSEL Type: Sternwheel, wooden hull packet. Size: hull, 141' X 29' X 5.'. 167 tons. Power: 14's-4 ft., 2 boilers. Launched; 1845, California, Pa. Destroyed: 1864, dismantled 
1863-1864 Capt Hillhouse
* see Paul Dorn

Hood Charles
1880 Census
Hood Charles 30
Occupation: engineer

Howard George
Boat cook on the “Everett’

Burlington Hawkeye
April 21, 1889


Howards Body recovered-- the funerals of victims.

The diver failed to come from St. Louis yesterday morning, but the men who were taken to the scene of the Everett disaster by Captain Thomas Peel on the Park bluff worked energetically with such means as they could command. About half past ten the body of Geo. Howard, the missing cook, was discovered. He was lying on the lower deck at the bulkhead which separates the engine deck and deck room. He had undoubtedly been caught there and drowned before he could get out. The body was raised and brought to this city on the Park bluff and was cared for my Mr. f. L. Unterkircher, who had also prepared the bodies of the other unfortunates for burial. The face was badly discolored, but Mr. Unterkircher succeeded in restoring it to its natural hue, as had been done with the others, so that by last evening the features scarcely any trace of the long immersion. Howard would have been thirty-seven years of age in a few days. He was born in Columbus Ohio, and was married to the lady who survives him sixteen years ago. His mother, Mrs. Gertrude Howard, lives at No. 1530 Osborn street and his daughter is fourteen years of age. His father, it will be remembered, disappeared fro home in August three years ago, and in the succeeding October his remains were found among the willows above the city.


The funeral of Miss Ruby Van Etten, the nurse girl, was held at the home of her sister, Mrs. Pomeroy, corner of Fourth and Angular streets, at 10;30 a. M. yesterday, and the remains were taken to Wever for burial beside her parents.
The funeral of George Howard will be held from St. John’s church at 9 a. m. tomorrow, and the remains will be interred beside the body of his father in aspen grove cemetery.
The funeral of captain Vincent M. Peel, his daughter, Mrs. Harry bell and her little girl will be held at 2 p. m. today from the First Baptist church. The little one will repose in its mother’s arms and it will be a deeply affecting funeral. 
* see “The Wreck”

Kinnear William
1880 Census
Kinnear William 44
Occupation: steamboat agent
Wife: Sarah 42
Mary 20
May Love servant

Portrait and Biographical Album of Des Moines County, Iowa
Chicago: Acme Publishing, 1888.

“Capt. Kinnear, our subject, was reared and educated in Dubuque County, but when sixteen years old began work for himself, working on a farm, and accumulating enough to buy some calves, which he placed upon his father's farm, afterward selling them for $600, which seemed to him an immense sum of money. He was afterward interested in a mail route between Garnavillo and Dubuque, but this did not pay, so he invested his money in a steamboat, losing it all. Still he remained upon the river, working his way up until he became Captain of some of the best boats between St. Paul and St. Louis. In 1856, Capt. Kinnear was made Superintendent of the White Collar Line, and afterward of the Keokuk & Northern Line, with headquarters at St. Louis. He came to Burlington in 1879, becoming a dealer in coal, wood, etc., while at the same time he is interested in the steamboat business. Capt. Kinnear is one of the Directors of the Board of Trade, is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and also of the Knights of Pythias.” 

Burlington Saturday Evening Post 1912

Chapter 28
E. H. Thomas
Burlington Saturday Evening Post

“One of the veterans of the upper Mississippi river, who is still with us, is Captain Kinnear, the steamboat agent at Burlington, Iowa. He is now, like some of the rest of us, on the shady side of this life, and those gray hairs represent many years of active and efficient service on the boats. A new generation of men have come upon the stage of life, since Captain Kinnear first walked upon the decks of a steamboat. During his long career on the river he held many responsible, and prominent positions with the steamboat companies and always made good. And he is making good now in the ticket office at Burlington.”


History of Des Moines County, Iowa / by Augustine M. Antrobus. Chicago:
The S. J. Clarke publishing company, 1915. 2v. LaCrosse, WI : Brookhaven
Press, 2000. [Reprint]


Captain William W. Kinnear, Burlington manager for the Blair or White Collar 
and Streckfus steamboat lines, has the distinction of having been at one 
time the youngest captain on the Mississippi river. He was born in 
Franklin, Pennsylvania, July 2, 1836, a son of David and Nancy (De Woodie) 
Kinnear. The father came to Iowa in the early '40s and took up government 
land seventeen miles west of Dubuque, and in 1845 he brought his family to 
this state. From Galena, Illinois, the trip was made by wagons westward to 
the farm. David Kinnear performed the arduous task of breaking the sod and 
developing a new farm but later sold that property and removed to Geneva 
Lake, Minnesota, where he continued to make his home until his death, as did 
his wife. The remains of both were there interred.

Captain Kinnear acquired a public-school education and worked out one summer 
for a farmer by the name of Glue, who paid him with calves. This was his 
initial step in the cattle business and with oxen he broke prairie for 
settlers. He is acquainted with almost every phase of pioneer life and the 
attendant labors which have led to the development of this section of the 
country. He obtained the United States contract for carrying the mail from 
Dubuque to Garnaville and acted in that capacity for a year, when he sold 
his contract. He next went to work for James McGregor, who founded and 
owned the town of McGregor. He was sent by his employer to Black River 
Falls on an important mission to buy land from Mr. McLaughlin which Mr. 
McGregor wanted, but which the owner would not sell to him. Mr. Kinnear, 
however, was successful in making the purchase. On the return trip he met a 
man on the stage who wanted to sell a ferry boat and Captain Kinnear 
purchased it for seventeen hundred and fifty dollars. At that time the boat 
was grounded in the river, but Capt. Kinnear succeeded in freeing it and ran 
the boat from Dubuque up the river, carrying loads of wood and later loads 
of hogs. He then established a woodyard at Dubuque and later sold the boat 
to a company in Prairie du Chien. About that time he learned the carpenter's 
trade, which he afterward followed for several years. Subsequently he 
worked in a boat yard during the period of the Civil war and afterward 
became assistant superintendent of the White Collar Line. He became captain 
of the Chippewa Falls at the age of twenty-eight years and was the youngest 
captain on the river. At different times he has been captain of various 
well known boats, including the Harry Johnson, Andy Johnson, Lady Lee, Addie 
Johnson and many others, representing various boat lines, sailing from 
Keokuk, St. Louis and other river towns. He became assistant superintendent 
at St. Louis of the White Collar Line in 1875 and in 1879 resigned and came 
to Burlington to take the general agency for the line in this city. He also 
had charge of coalyards and he engaged in the coal, wood and lime business 
on his own account for some years. In 1893 he again entered into active 
connection with the Blair Line, or the White Collar Line, as business 
manager at this point. There is no one in Burlington more familiar with 
navigation interests on the Mississippi or who has longer been connected 
therewith. Captain Kinnear knows every phase of river transportation and can 
relate many interesting incidents concerning the days when the Mississippi 
was not only the highroad for freight traffic but also for passenger travel.

In 1858 Captain Kinnear was united in marriage to Miss Sarah A. McLaury, of 
McGregor, Iowa, who died in 1911, leaving a daughter, Mary A., who is now 
acting as housekeeper for her father. Captain Kinnear belongs to the 
Masonic fraternity and attends the Congregational church. He exercises his 
right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the republican 
party and has ever been interested in its success, believing that its 
principles contain the best elements of good government. Few men of his 
years remain so active a factor in the world's work as does Captain Kinnear, 
who has now passed the seventy-eighth milestone on life's journey. 
Practically his entire life has been passed in the Mississippi valley and 
there are few phases of its development or chapters in its history with 
which he is not familiar.

Submitted by Dick Barton

The History of Des Moines County, Iowa ... Chicago, Western historical
company, 1879. La Crosse, WI : Brookhaven Press, 2000.

KINNEAR, W, W., Capt.,
agent for the Keokuk & Northern Line Packet Co.; he was born July 2, 1836, 
in Franklin, Venango Co., Penn.; moved to Dubuque, Iowa, 1845, with his 
parents, and, in 1862, commenced steam-boating as carpenter on a steamer, 
and, in 1864, was promoted and placed in command of a steamer; in 1865, was 
promoted again as Assistant Superintendent of the La Crosse, Minnesota & St. 
Paul Packet Co., and remained there for six years; in the winter of 1872, 
was elected Superintendent of the People's Towboat Line, running from St. 
Louis to Dubuque; held that position till the consolidation of the Towboat 
and Northwestern Union Packet Company with the St. Louis, Keokuk & Northern 
Packet Line Co., and made what is now called the Keokuk & Northern Packet 
Line Co.; and Capt. Kinnear was placed in command of one of the company's 
boats, and afterward was Assistant Superintendent till the spring of 1878, 
when he was appointed agent for the company at Burlington, which position he 
still holds. He married July 5, 1858, Sarah A. McLaury, of McGregor, Iowa; 
they have one child - Mary A.

Leipert John
1880 Census
Leipert John 45 
Occupation: engineer
Ellen 43
Charter 20
Albert 14
Magey 11
Ida 9

Morgan Zachariah
1880 Census
Morgan Zachariah 58
Occupation: steamboat engineer
Wife: Eliza 51
Julia 23
Ellen 2
William 19
John 16
Lizzie 14

Nelman Charles
1880 Census
Nelman Charles 22
Lizzie 33

Ogden John
Steamboat agent

Parker Harrison
1880 Census
Parker Harrison 49
Occupation: boating
John 22

Peel Thomas 

Chapter 51
E. H. Thomas
Saturday Evening Post

Capt. Thomas Peel

Who has been mentioned frequently in
Capt. Thomas’s memoirs, comes of a fam-
Ily of river men, and has been prom-
Inent for nearly 50 years in the 
Navigation of the upper Mississippi. Be-
Fore the Civil War the Peels, father and
Sons, were conducting a steamboat wood
Yard at the Green Bay landing, opposite
Dallas city. Green Bay district at that
Time was covered with a thick growth of 
Heavy timber was cut and marketed by the
Peels. Capt. Thomas Peel has comman-
ded many vessels and has seen active ser-
Vice not only on the upper Mississippi but
Also on the Missouri, the Illinois, the
Iowa and the Des Moines rivers. He is still
In the prime of life, and is now serving
As truant officer for the Burlington Inde-
Pendant school district. Among the steam-
Boats which have been under the com-
Mand of Capt. Peel were the Maggie
Rearcy, Park Bluff, Kit Carson, Eloise
And many others.

E. H. Thomas
Burlington Saturday Evening Post

Captain Thomas Peel another experienced river man is also a resident of Burlington. 

Davenport Democrat
Davenport, Scott County, Iowa
Feb 7, 1899

Capt. Thos PEEL of Burlington, a well known pilot and brother of Capt.
Vincent PEEL who went down with the wreck of the Everett last April, has
taken command of the ferry boat at that place and quit channel steam boating.

Walter Blair
A Raft Pilots Log
Pg. 182

“The 'Pauline' was converted into a short trade packet and operated out of
Burlington to Nauvoo and Keithsburg by Captain Thomas Peel in 1891 and 1892.
S.K. Tracey and his brother, George S., prominent lawyers in Burling-
ton, were largely interested in this enterprise. Finding the 'Pauline' too
small, They bought the 'Matt F, Allen,' a much larger boat, and sold the
'Pauline' to parties in Hastings who later dismantled her and used her nice
machinery on a new boat.”

Peel Vincent

Isaac Staples............................................Vincent Peel owned by Vincent Peel and the Burlington Lumber Company.

Chapter 4
E. H. Thomas
Burlington Saturday Evening Post

During the four years there were other steamers making occasional trips up the Iowa. The Harris brothers with their Anna Girdon and Gussie Girdon: Vince and Tom Pell with the “Tryus

Chapter 7
E.H. Thomas
Saturday Evening Post

All will remember the sinking of the steamer Everett, above Burlington. It was owned by Vincent and Thomas Peel of Burlington. Captain Vince Peel and his sister, who was clerk of the boat, were lost. This disaster brought grief and sadness to many Burlington homes, who those people were so well and favorite known, and no one not related, regretted the death of Captain Peel more than myself, for in the years gone by he has been one of my valued friends. Captain Peel had spent his entire life on the boat but this was a peculiar accident, one that gave him no warning. There came a driving rain and Capt. Peel and his sister went into the cabin. Then came a sudden squall, the boat went over, the cabin was at once filled with water and there was no escape.
Pemberton James

River news
Saturday Evening Post

“James Pemberton who used to wield the hoe in ineffectual campaigns against the ragweed, purslane, and other pests of the editorial garden on Prospect Hill, is now the fireman on the steamer Helen Blair, and seems to be able to hold the steam at 140 pounds without difficulty.” 

Phelan M
Occupation: steamboat agent

Root William Capt.
E. H. Thomas
Chapter 4
Capt. Jones hired a crew and brought the steamer around to the Iowa and Cedar rivers, where she received a great ovation at the different towns. At Burlington she hired Capt. Wm. Root as pilot. Root was a resident of Burlington, and had been on the boats. I think he at one time owned the Eureka. 

Stafford Charles
1880 Census
Stafford Charles 44
Occupation: steamboat pilot
Wife: Caroline 40
Edwin 17
Alice 15
Martha 13
George 10
Robert 3
Anna sister 41

White William
1880 Census
William White 55
Occupation: pilot
Wife: Julia 45
James 21
Frank 18
Beatrice 16

W A. Blair
“A Raft Pilots Log”

I was born November 17, 1856, Galena, Illinois. Galena at that time
was noted for its rich and productive lead and zinc mines, for its many fine
steamboats, prominent and successful steamboat men, and big river commerce.
Captain Smith Harris, and his brothers, Scribe, Keeler, Meeker and Jack,
Captain Orrin Smith, Charles L. Stephenson, G.W. Girdon, Adam and Stephen
Younkers, Paul Kerz, N.F. Webb, and E.H. Beebe; Pilots William
White, Thomas Drenning, Will Kelly, John Arnold, George Tromley, Stephen B.
Hanks, Hiram Beedle, William Fisher, John King, W.R. Tibbals; and Engineers
Henry Whitmore ,William Myers, James Hunt, George Griffith, and Sam Maxwell,
were some of those actively engaged. I still remember them in those happy
boyhood days when I found so much enjoyment playing around the old Galena levee, and watching them loading the handsome big steamboats with pigs of lead, sacks of grain, or barrels of pork, for which Galena was noted.

Wood B. F. 
Occupation: steamboat agent

Boats for Burlington Iowa

Walter Blairs 
A Raft Pilots Log

Kit Carson.............................................. A.R.Young
owned by A.R.Young and the Burlington Lumber Company.

Isaac Staples............................................Vincent Peel
owned by Vincent Peel and the Burlington Lumber Company.

Pg 182
The 'Pauline' was converted into a short trade packet and operated out of
Burlington to Nauvoo and Keithsburg by Captain Thomas Peel in 1891 and 1892.
S.K. Tracey and his brother, George S., prominent lawyers in Burling-
ton, were largely interested in this enterprise. Finding the 'Pauline' too
small, They bought the 'Matt F, Allen,' a much larger boat, and sold the
'Pauline' to parties in Hastings who later dismantled her and used her nice
machinery on a new boat.

Burlington, Iowa
The Harmar Manufacturing Company mill.
The Burlington Lumber Company had a big mill that had a long, steady and
prosperous career.

Gilbert-Hedge and Company at Burlington
Rand Lumber Company at Burlington and Keokuk.

Steamboat Stories from Burlington, Iowa

Burlington, Iowa
Saturday Evening Post


     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. 


Burlington, Iowa
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. 

The Hawkeye
April, 1889

The Whole City Excited Over the Everett Disaster
Sad scenes at the Wreck and in this City-The bodies all Recovered but that of Geo Howard-Further Details of the Affair.

A Day of Excitement

The city was all excitement yesterday. The HAWK-EYE’S account of the terrible disaster which befell the steamer Everett on Thursday evening was carried to thousands of readers by the early morning, and it was not long before an excited crowd began to gather, about this office, that of Coroner Unterkircher, and along the levee. The news seemed too terrible to be true, but as the reports came one after another, the HAWKEYE’S account was verified in every detail.


The persons who escaped the ravages of the storm spent a dreadful night. The small cut herewith is a faithful representation of the sort of country they were compelled to campaign a low sandy shore, clad with willows intermingled with occasional large trees, and offering absolutely no protection to the wretched beings who cowered shivering over a small fire, which burned dismally and was with difficulty kept alive. They were drenched to the skin, and their sufferings were severe. It was a sorry spectacle that greeted the Lotus when Captain Alexander pulled in to shore in answer to the signal of a waving lantern. Mrs. Howard, who was widowed by the terrible affair. Was probably most in need of care, but she bore up with great fortitude and seemed as brave as any. Harry Bell, who lost all his household treasures in the same awful moment, was almost equally in need of succor and assistance, while all the others were needing it badly enough. The comfortable cabin of he Lotus soon furnished the rescued party the kindly shelter they needed and they were quickly on the way to the city which they had left a few hours before in the face of the storm. In the meantime the crew of the John Taylor were aroused and at 5 a. m. she left the levee for the sunken Everett, reaching it in about one hour. The bodies of Mrs. Bell and her little girl were found during the of darkness and brought down on the Lotus. The Taylor remained at the wreck about an hour, during which time the body of the unfortunate nurse girl, Ruby Van Etten was found. The Taylor returned to Burlington at 7;30 a. m. bringing the body of Miss Van Etten with it, and at eight o’clock left on its regular run to Oquawka. Mr. derby very thoughtfully carried along a large basket of provisions and a good sized pot of coffee for Mr. Lyon and his men, who were still at work on the wreck.


Shortly after the Taylor stayed back the first time, about seven o’clock, the body of Captain Vincent Peel was discovered. His feet were caught among a mass of wood work and timbers and he was hanging head downward in the cabin. The Taylor made the trip to Burlington and stopped at the wreck again at nine o’clock on her way to Oquawka and still he had not been released. Thickness after thickness of timbers had to be sawed through before this could be accomplished and it was ten o’clock before the task was done. The face was somewhat discolored, probably from a bruise sustained when the boat careened, and a small wound had been indicted upon it with the hook by means of which it was discovered, but no marks of other injury can be seen. The body was placed in a skiff and as the Taylor came down on her way back to Burlington, about half past eleven, she received it and brought it to the city.


The search for the body of George Howard, the cook, was continued. The force of men assailed the cabin with saws and axes, and by noon had quite completely demolished all of it that had remained above water. The poles with hooks attached were piled vigorously, and numerously articles were brought up from the eddying depths, but no trace of the unfortunate man could be found. Articles of furniture, bedding, clothing, and a hundred miscellaneous things were brought to the surface and the interior of the faded cabin was thoroughly explored., but the body could not be found. Doubts are expressed that it remains in the wreck. There are varying accounts as to Howard’s whereabouts when the gale struck and it is suggested that he was thrown into the water with the others, but unlike them failed to obtain a hold on the wreck and was drowned and floated away. Josh Jobin, an expert diver, will be here on the Long Linn train from St. Louis and to-day will thoroughly explore the boat as she lies and endeavor to learn the position of Howard’s body.


The steamer Everett was built at Stillwater by Charles Meade in April 1887, and was owned jointly by Mr. H. S. Rand and Capt. Vincent Peel, who perished on her. She was valued at $6,000 and her loss will be total or nearly so. The hull is perfectly sound and solid and has suffered nothing from the accident. Her wheel and probably all, or nearly all, of her machinery are sound and in good condition. Her boilers are still inside but have broken away and slid down to the bottom or starboard side. Her upper works are a total wreck. Pilot house and cabin are gone and the lower deck housing is all wrenched and racked and splintered into ruin. Capt. Thos Peel says the salvage will be counterbalanced by the expense of saving it. Superintendent Lyon, of the Burlington Lumber company, feels hopeful that the cost will not be so great. The cutting away of the sand on the upstream side was gradually allowing the cabin to settle lower and lower until a heavy barge was brought up below and solidly lashed fast, the lines being strained taut by being twisted with levers. This has stopped the settling. Although the cutting is probably still in progress. An effort will be made as soon as possible to free the hull of the upper works and roll it back into place. A fair idea of the scene as it now is may be gained y reference to the sketch made yesterday afternoon. The only portions now visible above the water are those shown in it. The larboard guards and the side of the hull, the engine room and the outer gallery of the cabin deck, relieved of its railing and all other upper works. The barge is literally covered with articles gathered from the wreck. The wheel lies behind the spectator in the view, and Michael Sater’s house on the Iowa side lies directly ahead of him. The boat lies almost squarely across the channel about 200 yards from the Illinois shore, and her bow heads a little south of west. The safe was thrown bodily out of the office when the lurch came and has not yet been located. It contains about 4200 in cash besides papers.


There was no attempt yesterday to disguise the fact that Andrew and Samuel Jacobs did a noble and a daring act in going out as they did to save the shipwrecked crew. Andy Jacobs lives fully a mile away on the bank of Henderson creek, which empties into the Mississippi two or three furlongs below the place where the Everett lies. Sam Jacobs, his brother, lives with their father, not far distant but a little nearer the wreck then he. They are all fishermen roughened and tanned and burned by exposure and self denying toil, but they are warm hearted, generous men all the same. The father heard the cries for help, but could render no assistance, having no skiff, and carried the word to the two boys at Andy’s house. Together the brothers set forth, having a billowy river and a hard rain with occasional ugly gusts of wind and fitful lightning. They carried the survivors ashore as quickly as they could and did all that their rude means would allow to render them measurably comfortable. They will never be forgotten while one of he rescued party live.


It seems singular that so dreadful a catastrophe could befall a steamer and yet that there could be no further evidence of the storm that wrought the havoc. Dead snags and trees with half denuded roots line the banks all along the river in the vicinity of the wreck, but not a single one seems to have given away before the blast. The smiling and sparkling river gave no token yesterday of the tragedy that had stirred its boson the night before and the dismantled wreck alone told the story. Captain Alexander of the Lotus, however, deemed the situation too dangerous on Thursday evening to leave his moorings above this place and Capt. Thomas Peel, brother of the dead commander observed a similar caution where he was. He was lying at the mouth of the Skunk with the steamer Park bluff and a tow of wood barges destined for Ft. Madison. He deemed it imprudent to venture out until the heavens had grown less threatening and so staid where he was. He remarked at the time that he considered his position safer than that of the Everett, which he guessed was somewhere above Burlington. Yesterday morning he went to Fort Madison and as he came back through the draw of the bridge a telegram was handed him. It was from Mr. Rand and informed him that the Everett had sunk and that his brother was missing. He came at once to Burlington and soon after went on up to the wreck, towing up the barge which lashed fast to the dismantled stern. 


In one small stone floored room at Unterkircher’s morgue the four victims of the disaster Captain Peel and his daughter, Mrs. Bell lay side by side and in the hollow of her Mother’s arm lies the sweet little life that went out with theirs. The faces are white and waxen although the little one almost seems to smile with expressions of calm repose mark features of its mother and her. Near these bodies lies that of Ruby Etten. The poor girl whose name wasn’t known to our informants yesterday morning. She was an orphan girl, father and mother, together, her sister, being buried near Wever. She has a brother, Edward Van Etten Macon County, Illinois, a sister, Mrs. Pomeroy living on the corner of fourth and Angular street this city. The funeral service was held from the residence of this 10:30 a. m to-day and the internment be made at Wever, beside the other members of the family, this afternoon. 
The funeral arrangement cannot be announced for the others. Mrs. Peel the widow is in California. Where she has been visiting her own son Vincent Watsonville, and her daughter now married of San Jose. Besides the members of his immediate family Capt. Peel leaves three brothers. Capt. Thomas Peel of the Park Bluff, Samuel Peel farmer, living near Wever, and -- Peel of Washington territory: a sister Mrs. Chas. Davis, of Wever, an aged and widowed mother, lives with her. Several of these relatives, at least, will be present at the funeral which will be announced in tomorrows Hawk-Eye. Captain Peel was born October 29, 1830 and always declared that when his fiftieth birthday came he would retire from the river. In a little more than six months longer his time would have been up. He was a member of Burlington Collegium V. A. S. and of Stephens Lodge No. 34 A. O. I W. and from these two organizations his family will receive $2,000 each. His interest in the Everett will probably realize then nothing.
The throng about the morgue was so great yesterday that the sidewalk was blocked and the police had to be summoned to clear it. No congregation of the multitude will be permitted there today, and positively no one will be allowed to enter the room.
The operations at the wreck today will probably attract a large number of sight-seers, scores having gone up in skiffs to see it yesterday and the suspense will continue in a measure until this search is successful. 

Burlington, Iowa

     Capt E. M. Dickey, of the Diamond Jo Line, has been in St. Louis for several days upon some important business, the nature of which he kept quiet, and it is now automatically announced that he has just completed a sale of the well known and popular upper river steamer Mary Morton. The purchaser is Capt. Rob’t Taylor, of St. Louis, and he will put the Mary into St. Louis and Commerce trade. She is now in the harbor at Quincy, and will be delivered in St. Louis on Friday of this week. The terms of the sale is private.
     The Mary Morton is regarded as the best steamboat in the Diamond Jo fleet, and her sale does not auger well for the intentions of the company as to its future policy on the upper river.
     Complete list of the rafters and their

     Captains for the season.

Dolphin, Charles Skemp
W. J. Young Jr. Walter Blair
Abner Gile, B. Jenks
Little Turner, E. H. Hollingshead
Quickstep, Tony Gallagher
Kit Carson, Peter O’Rourke
Prescott R. S. Owen
Sam Altee, A. Woodward
Kate Keen, L. Arnold
Robert Dodde, Geo. Tromley Jr.
Helen Schulenburg F. D. McCaffey
Patience, James McCaffrey Jr.
F. Weyerhauser, Geo. Reed
J. K. Graves, John O’connor
F. C. A. Denkmann, O. E. McGinley
E. Ratledge, Wm. Whistler
Moline J. K. Wassen
Dan Thayer Al Short
Saturn, John Winans
Jo Long N. B.. Lucas
Irene D D. A. Dorrance
West Rambo J. G. Suiter
Silver Crescent Capt. Bickeley
Lone Star C. Schricker
Verne Swain John Streckfus
Pilot Orrin Smith
Eclipse, E. J. Lancaster
Volunteer no appointment
Ten Broeck, W. S. Mitchell
Netta Durant Geo. Rutherford
Chancey Lamb Al Day
Lady Grace John Moore
Reindeer, John Withrow
Gardie Eastman C. Carpenter
Lumber Boy George Senthouse
R. J. Wheeler Wm. Davis
Zalua Davis Peter Hire
Glenmont Peter Larivere
Van Sant No appointment
Musser unknown
Gardner Tom Dolson
Thistle M. M. Looury
Pauline, William Kratka
Mountain Belle A. Lambert
Lineman Wm. Dobler
Inverness Tom O Rourke
Louisville Chris Adolph
Belle Mac Charles White
Helen Mar M. McCarthy
Juniata Henry Slocum
Lion H. C. Wilcox
Hershey C. Buisson
Lafe Lamb J. E. Kaiser
Ravenna C. Davison
Menominee D. D. Dickson
Clyde, John Hoy
Cyclone Tom Hoy
Henrietta Geo. Brosser 

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