OLD TIME STEAMBOAT
--The Washington, Capt. Shreve's Boat -- A Flag Presented by the Ladies of Wheeling -- A Terrible Accident on Board. -- Her Famous Fast Trip -- Log Book.
The Washington, Capt. Shreve's boat
"To the Editor of the Intelligencer. Sir:-- For some years I have been gathering information in reference to the first steamboats that navigated the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, and from time to time have given the results to the newspapers, that they might publish them for information of the present and use of future generations.
"This collection in reference to the steamboat Washington has never been published by me, and I send them to your paper because the subject is of a local character, interesting to your citizens.
"The Washington was a remarkable boat in her day, and was the sixth boat that was built to run on the Western waters. She had a high pressure engine and four single-flue boilers. From all the information obtained it appears that Capt. Shreve designed the engine and boilers. He is supposed to be the inventor of the cut-off cam, and was also the inventor of the apparatus for removing snags from the channel of the river. In 1834 he built the snag boat that removed the celebrated raft on the Red River, hence the name Shreveport, called for him.
"The steamboat Washington was built at Wheeling, W. Va., in 1816, Captain Henry M. Shreve; owners, Niles Gillespie, Robert Clark, of Brownsville, Pa., Noah Zane and George White, of Wheeling, W. Va., and Henry M. Shreve. First enrollment at port of New Orleans, 1816; seocnd enrollment, January 12, 1821. She was altered in dimensions and tonnage at Louisville, Ky., in 1820 -- length 136 feet 8 inches, breadth 21 feet 9 inches, depth 6 feet 8 inches; tons 211 51 95. She then changed owners, William Fowler, David Fowler of New Orleans, James Gray of Louisville, H. W. Conway, of Arkansas, William Taylor, of Baltimore, Md., and Capt. Henry M. Shreve being the new proprietors.
"The Louisiana Gazette of July 5, 1816, says: "On Monday last the steamboat Washington sailed from Wheeling for New Orleans under command of Captain H. M. Shreve. She got under way at 5 o'clock and in forty-five minutes made nine miles, since which time she has not been heard from. The steamboat Washington was built at Wheeling by George White; her keel was laid on the tenth of September last. In August all her timbers were growing in the woods. Her main cabin is sixty feet; she has three hand-some private rooms besides a bar-room. Her steam power is applied upon an entirely new principal and is exceedingly simple. She has no fly wheel, and her engine possesses a power of 100 horses, weighing only 9,000 pounds. It is the invention of H. M. Shreve.
A PRESENT FROM THE WHEELING LADIES.
"The ladies of Wheeling presented to Captain Shreve a handsome flag, On which was embroidered the figure of Fame, holding in her right hand a trumpet, in her left a scroll on the side of which was this motto: 'Our friends shall not withhold what we have wrested from our enemies' [A good motto for West Virginia at the present date], on the other 'Don't give up the ship.' This motto alludes to Livingston's vexatious claim to the exclusive right of navigation on the Mississippi River within the State of Louisiana. The forfeiture of other vessels in the penalty for attempting to navigate incurred under the law of the Louisiana Territory conferring this extraordinary privilege. The company has a very good legal opinion from P. Doddridge, Esq., against the validity of Livingston's claim. "The citizens of Wheeling wished Capt. Shreve to call her the Andrew Jackson, but he preferrred the name of Washington."
"The Louisiana Gazette of July 3, 1816, says: "A letter dated Wheeling, the 11th ult., gives an account of the steamboat Washington's boiler bursting. She left Wheeling on the third with twenty-one passengers on board. On that or the next day, at or near the town of Marietta, Ohio, the boiler burst, and seventeen out of the twenty-one were either killed or wounded, the Captain only slightly. It is strange the boat is not injured, except the loss of the boiler. We shall probably soon hear more of this truly melancholy accident."
"From the old Wharfage Book, New Orleans, the fact is learned that the Washington arrived for the first time at the port of New Orleans, October 7, 1816; she is registered only twice during 1816.
THE CELEBRATED QUICK TRIP OF THE WASHINGTON.
"The Louisiana Gazette, of Tuesday, May 6, 1817 says: "The steamboat Washington, commanded by the indefatigable Captain H. M. Shreve, arrived at the levee last Saturday night, only seven days from the Falls of the Ohio, but six of which she was under way. The Washington made the trip up in twenty-four days, so that in going and coming we was thirty-one days in running 3,000 miles. We have been favored with a Louisville paper of the 26th ult., received by the Washington." Extract from a Louisville paper, April 26, 1817: "The citizens gave Captain Shreve a grand dinner on Wednesday at the Union Hall, in honor of the quick trip he made with the steamboat Washington, from New Orleans to this port, in the unprecedented time of twenty-four days. The address of the citizens was as follows:
"'Captain H. M. Shreve. Sir:-- The undersigned, in behalf
of their fellow citizens of Louisville, avail themselves of this
occasion to express their sincere gratification at your speedy return
to this place, and beg you to accept their congratulations at the
very expeditious voyage you have performed from Louisville to New
Orleans and back. While they view with the liveliest interest the
revolution that the application of steam to the navigation of our
riveers is effecting in the commercial relations of this country,
they fully appreciate your exertions for the success of an undertaking
once heard by many to be of doubtful issue, but whose practicability
they deem by you in particular to be established in certainty, and
felicitate themselves in being the organ through which is made known
the esteem in which your undertakings are held by their fellow citizens.
"Louisville, April 21, 1817.
"The Louisiana Gazette of Tuesday, May 6, 1817, given an extract
from the log book of the steamboat Washington:
"Note-- The Washington continued to be advertised and registered
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