Bits and Pieces
About Riverboat Captains


- Hugh Campbell - John W. Cannon - *Henry Castrop - *Robert Cook - *Captain Robert A. Cunningham -
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Transcribed by W. T. Block from Galveston Daily News of Dec. 1, 1901 (See)

“Hempstead, Texas, Feb. 28-This is my 35th anniversary as a member of the Galveston News family and a regular correspondent, 1861-1896. That is indeed a long time, and the interval is interesting to look back at the part and ponder over the many changes observed on all sides. How few of the familiar faces met then are now to be seen. How often The News recorded their deaths, and the words engraved on the marble stones in the cemeteries remind the living that they no longer exist. Thirty-five years! Almost a lifetime, and what wonderful changes and improvements now bless the human race. Passengers from Galveston to Houston and return were then carried on the fine steamers, plying daily between the 2 ports. A fine stateroom for $2.50, with excellent meals consisting of plenty of fish and oysters, was the price of the fare. Good old Captains John Sterrett, C. Blakeman, Bill Sangster, Dave Connor, Pat Christian, Bill Dwyer, and Capt. Herschberger, and others now escaping the memory of the writer, paced the decks of their fine boats; and many travelers preferred the trip by boat rather than going on the Galveston, Houston and Henderson Railroad, the fare being about the same. The trip by railroad took about 4 hours. Now the time has been shortened to one hour and 40 minutes by the schedule. President J. M. Brown and his master mechanic, George B. Nichols, were fine looking business men, and putting their shoulders to the wheel, soon made the railroad route the most popular and crowded the steamboat passenger traffic to the wall. The freight business was quite flourishing, however, and the steamers captured the largest portion of the freight traffic between the 2 cities during those many years. That was over 20 years ago although the event seems like yesterday to old Texans. Passengers leaving Galveston in the evening reached Houston early the next morning on the boats.

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* Source: Way's Packet Directory, 1848 - 1994

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