About Riverboats
on the
Illinois River


This is a transcription of a photograph of a newspaper page.
I have used the spellings of the writer, so apparant misspellings were hers.

Bertha F. Rogers of Streator Seeks
Information on Early Steamboats

Her Ancestors Had Early Boats On
The Illinois River

110-1/2 Washington, Streator, Illinois
July 22, 1963

Dear Sir:
Thank you for sending me the address of. Mrs. Blake (Florence) 0. Grieves of Lacon and for sending my letter on to her. I enclose reply to my letter - for your I shall get copies of the Lacon Home Journal when the articles mentioned appear.
I had no idea when I wrote youthat you would publish my letterin your July 24 Issue, or I wouldhave written you a better letter. I am going to write you one now, although it may be too substitute it for the first letter. Ihope not.
For several years I have been trying to get information on my grandfather's and great-grandfather's steamboats, especially the names.
I hope that some reader of the Henry News-Republican can enlighten me. To date, I know the names of only 2 - the "Comet" and the "Garden City".
The Comet WAS the first steam-boat at Brownsville, Pa. That was in 1813. Henry Shreve, the inventor, operated the diminutive, 25-ton boat, but my great grand-father furnished the money to build it. He owned the "Kimber Glass Works" at Brownsville on the Monongahela River.
Many early flat-boats, keel-boats and steamboats were built there.
My great-grandfather, Abraham Kimber (born 1791 in Brownsville), went into the steamboat business soon alter 1813. He was a steamboat captain; he owned and operated early steamboats for many years and retired from the rivers in 1840.
I know his boats were among the very early ones to come up the Illinois river to Hennepin and I have often wondered if he was owner or part owner, of the "Caroline" of April 1831, or the "Traveler" of Sept, 1831, or the "Sovenir" which brought troops of the Black Hawk War to Hennepin in Dec, 1832, or the "Frontier," which came to Hennepin In 1836.
The ''Frontier" was a 63-ton boat which made the record time from

St. Louis to Galena, a 400 mile trip in 1836.
Abraham Kimber's two sons,Isaac, (my grandfather), and Joseph. and his two sons-in-law, Eli R. Mills and Herman Price, were also In the steamboat business for many years.
Isaac Kimber was the engineer on many of the boats which came up the Illinois.
His brother, Joseph, was also a steamboat engineer, but in later years spent much of his lime on the Missouri River.
Herman Price usually acted as captain on boats owned by Price and Eli Mills, while Mills was the clerk. But when Price was off the boat , Mills acted as captain.
I have a great deal of information about the seven steamboats owned by Price and Mills between l835 and 1854, such as date when built, dimensions, tonnage, etc.
The names of these boats were:
1. The "Delaware," built in 1835
2. The "Mayflower," built in 1840 at Brownsville, Pa,
3. The "Lehigh" built in 1841 at Pittsburgh.
4. The "Anglo Saxon," built in 1846, at Brownsville, Pa.
5. The "Connecticut, " built In 1848 at Shousetown on the Ohio River, fourteen miles north of Pittsburgh.
6. The "
Hibernia No. 2" built In 1847 at Shousetown.
7. The "Garden City" built in 1853; at "Shousetown, Pa. (Shousetown, Pa. was re-named Glenwillard about 1915).
At least four of these boats. No.
2, 4, 6 and 7, came to Hennepin.
John Swaney began his years of
service on steamboats as second
on the Anglo Saxon. Isaac
Kimber was often working as engineer on the same boats as John Swaney.
Eli R. Mills, after selling his interest in the Garden City to Isaac Kimber early in November, 1854, came off the river, a very sick man, and died the next August (1855) at his home near Magnolia. Ill.
This boat burned on the Mississippi on Jan. 14, 1855, about 35 miles below Napoleon, Ark. Soon afterward. Isaac Kimber and his brother-in-law, Hermon Price, had a very fine boat built in St Louis which they named the "Garden City," It was a fast boat and one of the "Five Day Line," which was a group of packets making the round trip from St. Louis to La-Salle in live days instead of the

hitherto customary time of one week.
The first Garden City was also a fast boat for those days. The "Pittsburgh Gazette" news paper, under-date of June 8, 1853, said: "The Garden City, Herman Price, master, went from St. Louis to La Salle, 302 miles, in 21 hours and 55 minutes; quickest of record. She is a Pittsburgh built boat."
While the .second Garden City was making trips on the Illinois river, my grandfather, Isaac Kimber, was also part owner of two other good steamboats, the names of which I wish I could discover. I know that Hermon Price was part owner of other big boats not listed above, one of which was the "Allegheny, but I do not know if Isaac Kimber was part owner of that boat or not.
My great-grandfather, Abraham. Kimber, retired from the rivers in 1840 and purchased a home and many acres of timber, land, six miles southeast of Hennepin and three miles, south of Florid.
The timberland was home and the river two the west. He died in 1852 and he and his wife, were buried In the Quaker graveyard near the first little brick Meeting House,
Isaac Kimber and Hermon Price continued in the steamboat business for at least 30 years until the spring of 1861, when the rivers were closed to commercial traffic because, of the Civil War.
After leaving his steamboats, Hermon Price resided on his farm near Magnolia, Ill., for thirty years before he died in 1891, and Isaac resided on his farm six miles southeast of Hennepin for 24 years before he died.
The huge, old bank-barn built there by Isaac Kimber more than a hundred years ago, Is still standing. I recently took some pictures of it.
I have old photographs of Isaac Kimber. Hermon Price, Eli R. Mills and "Hibernia" steamboat. I also have a picture of the S. S. Mayflower and wish I could find a picture of the Garden City.
Abraham Kimber and wife and Eli Mills and wife (who was Elizabeth Kimber) are burled in the old section of the Society of Friends (Quaker) graveyard near the grave of Benjamin Lundy. The cemetery is near and west of the John Swaney school, between Magnolia and McNabb.

Yours sincerely,
Bertha F. Rogers

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