About Riverboat Captains
Whose Sir Names Begin With
- Hugh Campbell
- John W. Cannon - *Henry
Castrop - *Robert Cook
- Horatio Nelson Crooks - *Captain
Robert A. Cunningham -
Clicking names with "*" opens new window.
Hugh CampbellObituary Pittsburgh Daily Gazette Sept. 11 1871 From the Campbell family records of William B Moore, Capt. Hugh's g-g-g-nephew We are very much grieved to be called upon to announce the death of a life-long friend, which occured on Saturday last at eleven o'clock at the home of his sister in C[?????], Crawford county. He had been suffering for some time from paralysis, a stroke of which first prostrating him more than a year ago, and since then he has been more or less invalid and a sufferer. Captain Campbell was born in County Down, Ireland, near Newto[?????], about the year 181[?5?], and came to Pittsburgh when twenty years of age, where his home has been ever since, only interrupted by his absence whilst steamboating on the western rivers. In 18[??] the iron Steamer Valley Forge and Mr. Campbell was engaged as first mate, having had some previous experience as mate on the Iri[?s?] and as a sailor. After this he commanded at different times , and supervised the construction of the following steamers of which he was a part owner. The Robert Morris, Hindoo, Jean [????], Wm. Baird, Sir Wm. Wallace, Mary Cook, W. R. Arthur and Mary Davage. He commanded for their owners, also, the large and elegant packets, Pittsburgh, Wild Wagoner and st. Charles. In whatever position placed, he always gave perfect satisfaction and proved himself a through and compent steamboatman. His acquaintance was large, not only in this community, but throughout the valleys of the Ohio and the Mississipi and wherever knowen he was universally respected for his kind heart and genial and frank disposition. Captain Hugh Campbell was in its strictest sense a self-made man, was early thrownout upon the rough world to battle for himself, and thus denied the privilages which many enjoy. His heart always beat warmly for his fellow man, and his companionable and winning disposition made for hin many ardently attatched friends amoung a very extended acquaintance, and his loss to them will be sadly mourned. We know no one else in this community whose loss would be more generally regretted, as none could entwine themselves more lovingly through a gentle and agreeable disposition. Farewell old friend, we shall never look upon your smilling face again, but throughout life we shall never cease to cherish the recollection of your great heart and your many virtues. Other friends may fall off by the way-side , new ones may take their places, but we shall never, no, never forget genial, humorous, kind, honest Hugh Campbell, so long as a memory shal retain its seat. Good friend, kind soul, farewell.
John W. Cannon
From Capt. G.L. Nourse of the New York Marine Journal. Capt. Nourse was Harbor Master and Supervising Inspector of Steam Vessels at New Orleans, 1870 - 1885. * ". . . Captain Cannon was a mild-mannered, extremely polite person, approachable at all times and never happier than when exploiting the good qualities of the (ROB'T E.) LEE, which was his idol. He held at the time (1870) no prejudices against his fellow citizens. . . ."
* Source: Way's Packet Directory, 1848 - 1994
Below thumbnail of Capt. Cannon is borrowed from
National Rivers Hall of Fame
John W. Cannon was owner and captain of the Rob't E. Lee which beat the Natchez from New Orleans to
St. Louis in 1870 in the most famous steamboat race of all time. Cannon was born in Kentucky and learned
piloting on the Ouachita River. He narrowly escaped death when his first steamboat, the Louisiana, blew up
spectacularly killing 86 people at New Orleans in 1849. He was ambitious but a quiet man, and determined
to out-class all competition with his fleet of elegant steamboats on the lower Mississippi.
Following the Civil War, Cannon built a packet for the lower river cotton trade, shrewdly naming her
the Rob't E. Lee. Irate Yankees forced the removal of the boat from Indiana to Kentucky when they spied
the lettering being applied. Other Cannon boats included the John W. Cannon and the J. M. White (Ill).
Back to Hall of Fame
Submitted by site contributor Camille Ammerman, 5/1/07
Pamphlet of the Belleville, W. Va. Bicentennial Committee,
Nadine Bennett Hofman, Chairman, "Belleville Bicentennial 1785-1985"
Article credited to Dr. Robert Crooks.
pp. 36-37 (photograph of Horatio Nelson Crooks).
"Horatio Nelson Crooks. Born in Belfast, Maine, Sept. 16, 1801, son of Dr. William and Jeanette Nesmith Crooks.
He was named for Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson.
"His family moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1811 and here was employed in the rope works making rope
for ships which were fighting the War of 1812. He was employed on the early keel boats and made several trips
from Pittsburgh to New Orleans.
"He became interested in steamboats and by 1828 worked with his brother, Benjamin Crooks, on the
'William D. Duncan', which traveled the Allegheny River. In the early 1830s he and his brother became
partners with their brother-in-law, James Cargill, in the 'Argus'. In 1838, he bought the 'Roanoke'.
"After the death of his wife, the former Martha Nesmith Pratt, in 1842, he and his infant son moved to
Belleville. He then married Eliza Anderson, daughter of Peter Anderson. He purchased a farm at Belleville
to which he added over the next twenty years considerable acreage which eventually made him one of the
largest landowners of this area.
"In 1843, with partners, Thomas K. Litch and Ezra Porter, he built the side wheel steamboat 'Clipper'.
This became the first steamboat to use the single compound engine which had been invented by Litch.
"Another steamboat, the 'Clipper No. 2', was built in 1846 with side wheel compound engines - the first
of her kind to be used in steamboats. The compound engines built by Litch became known as Clipper engines
because of their use on Captain Crooks' boat.
"Following the 'Clipper', came the 'Challenge', a large boat with two independent stern wheels. This boat sank
at St. Louis in 1860. His last steamboat, the 'Kenton', was built in 1860.
"Capt. Crooks retired from the river in the early 1860s because of poor eyesight. He became active in the
affairs of Belleville, then a prosperous village in southern Wood county. Here he was instrumental in building
the first schoolhouse and the first church. He was active in politics and was elected to represent
Wood and Pleasant Counties in the first legislature of the new state of West Virginia. He was a Republican
and a strong Unionist in an area torn by the strife of Civil War. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
"He died on May 16, 1873, at his home on the river bank near the head of Belleville Island. He was buried at Belleville."
(Photograph of Sons of Dr. E. W. Crooks - Robert, Nelson & Edwin).
Added By Dave -
Son-in-law was Capt. Charles P. Leavitt of GENERAL DAWES.
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