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  • Register:11/11/2008 8:17 AM

Date Posted:02/13/2009 11:23 AMCopy HTML

My thanks go out to Jerry Canavit
for the following updated
information on times of
races between steamboats.

NEW ORLEANS TO NATCHEZ: The ROBT.E. LEE did make this run in 17-11 during her race with the NATCHEZ in 1870.  Later that Fall (1870), the NATCHEZ made that run in 16-51-30 (the horns for that run were actually transferred from the LEE to the NATCHEZ), however, the LEE bettered that time a few weeks later by covering the distance in 16-36-47 and reclaiming the horns.
LOUISVILLE TO CINCINNATI: Your chart should include the current record holder.  In 1894,the CITY OF LOUISVILLE made this run in 9-42.  In 1896 she bettered this by two minutes.
CINCINNATI TO PITTSBURGH: Rollinpin had this all wrong.  In 1848, the TELEGRAPH NO.2 made the distance in 1-20-47.  In 1849, the MESSENGER NO.2 tried to better this mark but failed (1-21-14). IN 1850, the BUCKEYE STATE made the run in 1-19. The record still stands.  Every time on the Commodore's List is incorrect.
ST. LOUIS TO ST. PAUL:  In 1867, the HAWKEYE STATE made the record run in 2-21-49 (not 2-20). Her sister boat, the SUCKER STATE had set the record a few months earlier in 2-23-48.  In 1881, the GEM CITY reportedly made the run in 2-21-30 but the time was questioned because many thought the time deductions for stops had been excessive. (The GEM CITY'S engines went into the Diamond Jo "QUINCY", that later became the JS DELUXE). An interesting aside to the HAWKEYE STATE'S record run - when she left St. Louis she was challenged by the PHIL SHERIDAN who raced her all the way to Dubuque,Iowa
(439 miles).  The SHERIDAN made Dubuque in 40-45. The HAWKEYE STATE (on her way to setting the St. Louis to St. Paul record) made Dubuque in 42-35.  If the SHERIDAN had been going to St. Paul, she would own the record (and it probably would have been faster than 2-21-49).
NEW ORLEANS TO BATON ROUGE:  This one is not on your list, but it is noteworthy in this respect.  While racing with the NATCHEZ in 1870, the ROBT. E. LEE turned this distance in 8-11.  In 1878, on a normal business run and using no special fuels, the J.M. WHITE III made the run in 7-40. The WHITE was certainly the fastest of all the Mississippi River packets but she holds no records because her owner refused to break any of the LEE'S records out of a mutual friendship - but that's another story.
The U. S. Mail Steamer "Providence", The Famous Steamer "Robert E. Lee", Steamer "War Eagle", The U. S. Mail Steamer "City of Cairo", Steamer "J. M. White", The "Kate Adams", Racer "Natchez", The "Jacob Strader", The U. S. Mail Steamer "Memphis", The "City of Alton", The "James Lee" and The Packet "Altona".
In June, 1859, the St. Louis and Keokuk Packet, City of Louisiana, made the run from St. Louis to Keokuk (214 miles) in 16 hours and 20 minutes, the best time on record.
In 1868, the steamer Hawkeye State, of the Northern Line Packet Company, made the run from St. Louis to St. Paul (800 miles) in 2 days and 20 hours.  Never been beaten.
In 1853, the steamer Polar Star made the run from St. Louis to St. Joseph, on the Missouri River, in 64 hours.  In July, 1856, the steamer Jas. H. Lucas, Andy Wineland, Master, made the same run in 60 hours and 57 minutes.  The distance between the ports is 600 miles, and when the difficulties of navigating  the turbulent Missouri are taken into consideration, the performance of the Lucas deserves especial mention.
The above information was taken from the Streckfus Steamers
magazine-dated 1935-1936


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