J. Emory Edgington Memoir
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University of Illinois at Springfield Norris L Brookens Library Archives/Special Collections J. Emory Edington Memoir ED44. Edgington, J. Emory (1870-1966) Memoir 27 pp. STEAMBOATS AND INLAND RIVERS Captain Edgington discusses his family's involvement with steamboats and the Ohio River. He recalls the 1913 flood, shipping on the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers, boating conditions and hazards, sawmills, coal towing, and cargo hauling. Interview by John Knoepfle, 1957 OPEN: released by John Knoepfle Archives/Special Collections LIB 144 University of Illinois at Springfield One University Plaza, MS BRK 140 Springfield IL 62703-5407 © 1957, University of Illinois Board of Trustees Preface ~!his manuscript is the product of a tape recorded i.nteJ:view corrlucted by John Knoepfle on July 16, 1957. Margaret Reeder transcribed the tape and Dr. Knoepfle edited and reviewed the transcript. ~!his and other i.nteJ:views in a series on steamboats and inland rivers were produced urder the auspices of the Public Librazy of Cincinnati and Hamilton COtmty, Ohio and Bangalron state university, Sprin;field, Illinois. In this mem:>ir J. ED:ny aigi.ngtal diSOJSses his family's irwolvement with steamboats and river boats, the 1913 flood., and boatin;J con:iitions. John Rnoepfle was bom in Cincinnati in 1923. He obtained his R:t.o. in literature fran saint Iouis university in 1967. Dr. Knoepfle is presently a professor of Fn;Jlish at Bangalron State university. He was named Illinois Author of the Year in october, 1986. John and his wife Peg have one daughter and three sons. Durirq 1953-1955 while workin;r as producer-directr of an educational television station, WCEI'-'IV, Cincinnati, Dr. ~fleproposed a project on steamboats ani inland rivers. 'lbese r~ve.r memoirs are a result of the research collected during 1954-1960. Readers of the oral histoJ:y mem:>ir should bear in mind that it is a transcript of the spoken word, and that the i.nteJ:vieNer, narrator and editor sought to preserve the infonnal, conversational style that is inherent in such historical sources. Bangalron state university and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton county, Ohio are not responsible for the factual accuracy of the mem:>ir, nor for views expressed therein; these are for the reader to judge. 'nle marruscript may be read, quoted and cited freely. It may not be reproduced in whole or in part by B:rri means, electronic or mechanical, witho.lt permission in writirg fran either the oral History Office, Bangalron state university, Sprirgfield, Illinois, 62794-9243 or the OJrator of Rare Books ani Special Collections of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton county, Ohio, 45202-2071. J. EmJry Edgirqton, July 16, 1957, I.anc:aster, arlo. John Knoepfle, Interviewer. A: Bat win.gs, that's right, a wheel on the outside with a long shaft across it from one side to the other ani a belt connected with the bullwheel. It was a big wheel, they called it a bullwheel. When he ~tthe boat the boiler on it was a thresh machine boiler with the engme up on top of the boiler. '!hat's when I first went steamboating. Q: '!hat Katie Prather is kind of a fanoJS legen::laJ:y boat? A: I supposed yoo have hea:td that legen:i about the what became of her. 'lhat Bill I<rqller was mate on the Louisville packet boats ani his father was too am afterwards he was mate for the Greene Lines. 'lhen there was a boy by the name of Jake Chaney, a th.iJ:d cousin of mine, they was dec1d.rg am my brother Arch ani hilnself ani Kropler ani Jake 'Were all deckhards ani cooks ani in between eveeyt:hirg you could do. Brother Arch would go to the pilot house ani steer ani so would I. '!hat's the first piloti.rq either one of us done; of o:::m-se we had no license, ani Father told us what to do. Recall one t.llre I was settirq up in the pilothouse below Manchester light and there was a sandbar up there; I was sitti.rq up on a high stool, steeri.rq you know, a little old pilot wheel, I didn't know the san:lliar was there ani I didn't ptll over in the channel ani hit that sandbar ani went over into the pilot wheel. It was hand power, of course, didn't hurt me any. Q: well I heard those batwin.gs could walk over a sandbar? A: You know the last one that ever I was on, I wasn't even working on them, I was 'WOrking for T. J. Hall am the river was down dead low. Matter of fact the gauaes -were a foot am nine inches below the zero gauqe. It was that lew. All the bar were way out, so captain Hall, he asked me if I didn•t want to, I was 'WOrld.rg for the Iroquois at that time, asked me if I didn't want to go up am look at the river when it was down so lew. I said okay. well I took the train am went up as far as Ashlard am then used the streetcar. UMerstood that a little boat called the Guyandotte, was the last one of the batwin.gs, too, ard she used to run up Guyan River ani at this time a man by the name of Mw:phy owned her at catlett:sl:An:g am he was a produce man. He han:iled calves, eggs, chickens, anyt:h.in;, way of stuff, produce.think even calves. She wasn't big 9IlOl¥Jh to han:ile any cattle outside of calves. (pause) J. Emry Edgington 2 I understood with an ~this little boat Guyanjotte 'Which was a batwing was down the river b6l.OW" Ashlani, belOW" Ironton rather comi.n;J up the river ani I went down to see Mr. Mlrphy ani he told me abcut where I could catch her if I would go down to Ironton ani she would he ~up and just go down ani hail her ard they would lani and qet me. captain Ed west was the pilot ani captain on her at that till'le ani a man by the name of John Wilson was the erqineer. However, I went down to and seen her caning in at the old cattplell place, C8rt'q;:lbell was at that time a mansion. I got off right there ani went down the river ard went down out on a bar halfway across the river, dty shod. And hailed her, she came in, she only drew nine inches. I got on, we went up the river. '!he river was so lOW' ani up above catlettsbw:g, this Davisdon Shallows was there. You had to go up over that, there wasn1t water enou;h for her to go straight and when we got up to the, there was all big rocks too, of course none of them were out dty but the boat would run up one on this side ani we1d take pike poles and shove her off of that ani she1d cane ahead and work slOW' going ahead and run up on another one on the other side. we would have to take ani shove off that one. Ibne that there, worked up through the shallows, went an up. Q: You Walked over the shallows, too. A: so, then I got off at Hun'tirgton. She went back down the river.Iwent on ani took the train, ani I=one of these Allegheny skiffs. I started down the river, and I had Ifri notebook and I made SOUl'lii.r:gs ani estimated heights ani bars, drew sketches, so forth ani so on. I went down as far as Pol:."tsnDlth and this little ~,she cane down the river and I hailed her and got on herdOwn as far as Maysville on her in that lOW' water. I was so familiar with the river belOW" Maysville that I didn't think I needed any, so I took the train ani went back to Cincinnati. And we had a rise shortly after that, too, so I had to go to work on the boat, I had to take the boat out. I was workinj by the year at that time for Hall. Q: You didn1t mention the names of your brothers. I 'WOl'Xbar if youcould tell us sanet:hirq about them. A: '!he one next to me was Brother Arch; he was a captain ani a pilot.He died just abcut three years ago. '!he next one was Brother Fred, he died about six years ago. Brother Dl::'e\tt was the fourth boy ani he1s been dead abcut eleven years, perhaps a little longer than that. Brother Roy was lost on the McBride here at Cincirmati when theystruck that bridge pier, the L ani N Bridge pier. I was the yourgest one. Brother Ernest who I spoke of awhile ago was nine years old when he died in that Gocd samaritan Hospital in cincinnati. He was onlynine years old at the time. He would have been a livewire steamboa:bnan if he had of lived. As a boy he was a livewire. Reallythat's what killed hlln fran the fact that he was on one of our boats at that time, Cl'larles B. Pearce I believe it was. He was scufflin;with his brother ara hS run alii hit the comer the table. Right here. caused an al:lsoess ani he died fran that. Had two sisters, one sister's rrM livin;J and the ather had died twenty-five years I guess. J. Enmy Edg:in:Jton Q: Did your brothers ever canbine in an operation? A: Oh, father ard nrt brothers ard myself. My father, the first steamboat he ever owned was a half interest in a boat, little boat a called John ~le, a local packet. He was half owner in her. Then hebought the fJ..rSt ~,the Han:iy #1, ani he owned that for, I was seven years old, ~amed her at that time. Then he sold out part of it to the Redden boys at Vancebl:rq. 'Ihey owned a fann there justabove Rane right where dam 32 is now arxi he and the Reddens d.idn't getalc::n; very good so they traded him that fann for his half interest in the Ha.rx1Y #1. I was nine years old at that time, between eight and nin&. My father amed that first Handy l\ben I was seven years old. 'Ihe reason I remember that, we lived at Vancebirq, see, he run the Hardy fran Vancebirq to Maysville, a ram:itrip a day. She was leavingatfive o'clock in the 11¥liTlirq am getting back aram:i eight or nine,ten o'clock at night. we lived there ani of course we always stayedat heme every night. I was ~in the back yard of the hoose ani I run a doggoned rake t.hralgh nrt, between nrt big toe ani the next toe,it cane clear through. I was only seven years old that's why I remember that particular time. Next boat he bought after that was theKatie Prather. '!hat's when I went to work. Q: You mentioned the last time we talked about a Sarrly Gyper. A: '!hat's a batwin;J. He rel::Alilt the Katie Prather after he owned her a couple of years. Put a bc::M on her aiii a regular marine bore, put on ani bought an ergine, think the size of that ergine was nine byfourteen inches. It xun the wheels the same way on that bullwheel,but they p.xt that on the deck. Fastened that to the deck ard then they xun that to the pllley fran that en;ine there. '!bat made her a faster boat; she wasn•t ver;y fast even at that, I think the best she could do was six miles an hour the best she could do. Q: Well did he get that fran captain Prather? A: Yes, Prather first had the cabin and lnll.l as a 5an:iy boat type.He used it to peddle timlare an:1 he would tow up river am then float clc:Mn river an:1 sell this tinware. He conceived the idea of puttingthis thras.h.in'J machine DCtor on there am the wheel on there an:i loadirq it da.rm with timlare and goin;J up that way. My father made one trip with him up the river an:i back da.rm. In one instance there,at that tine the coal mines up the Kanawha River, they was a slack coal, they would dunp aver the river bank, there wasn't aey sales forit, and he told me abart up at Raynrni City they d.idn•t have to buy any coal up there, because all they had to do was xun the head of theboat into cne of those coal dumps and run the coal on the deck ani then take ani Wheel it back next to the boiler Where they'd use it. Another t:hi.rq he said at that time, he said he got up, there was onlythe two of them on the boat, me, Prather ani my father, ani got up onecold morning up the Kanawha River there ard where they'd had tied upafter they had got the coal on at Raymon:l City, put a head line an:1 a stem line out. Said he got up the next mmin:] to build a fire in the CXlOk stove an::l get their breakfast, he went in the wood box to getsane kin:nin:J to start the fire an:1 he picked up a dam snake. If I J 0 F.m.ny Edgin;Jt,on remember right he called it a oopperllead snake. He said he tumed loose of it mighty quick. '!here were so many i.rrteresti.rq thin;Js in life. I was spea1d.rg of boats. My father built the Silver Wave. He sold it to captain Joe webb. Turned arourxi am bought the M. P. Wells. 'Ihese boats were single deck boats. No packet boats. '!hey operated them between Portsioouth am Cincinnati. In short, for instance, trades between POrtslrcuth to Manchester an::i then from Vancebul:q to Maysville. 'lhen from Augusta to Maysville. Two round trips a day. And finally they \1lel'lt to, that business got so low, we decided we would go in the Cincinnati to PortsnDuth trade which we did. so we then p.rt the cabin upstairs, made a doubledec:k boat out of theM. P. Wells arxi also out of the Silver Wave. However, I'm ahead of Irr:l story tESre. webb, he took the Bellevue arxi went to, he bought the Bellevue an::i he went to 'tc7Niig fran Mosoc:M to cincinnati with stone ani canying stone ani brick fran Maysville to Cincinnati too. He decided he wanted to trade back in packet boat again, so he am Pa traded the Silver wave for the Bellevue. Finally my father, he bought the Silver wave aga!ri, he owned her three times. SO she finally~l.l'lS];)Ort, burned down to the main deck. He rebuilt her,then, a single deck boat ani called her the wm. n.tffey. 'Ihen he kepther quite a little while. He had the Dlf~am theM. P. Wells both at that time. I had gale west, was west t three years ani when I came back why he had done all that so far as rebuilding the boat. So I went in charge of the Dlffey arxi I operated her. He operated the Wells. 'Ihe old packet boat business got bad and so he couldn't do ~'so he went to tcMing out of Cincinnati, the local hal:bor work in the daytilne, arxl at nighttime we would go up the river and take up baJ:ges as high up as Buena vista. Q: coal barges? A: No, be freestone barges, they used to t:c7tt freestone from Buena Vista to cincinnati. '!here were two mills there, Millers an::i Haydens.Dley had barges, flats rather, -we'd call them rrM. Dley were river barges. 'Ihey would load that stone an::i tCM it to Cincinnati. Q: Where did they pit that in there? A: You mean ••• Q: 'lhe barges when they brcught them into Cincirmati. A: JUst below l1there the power plant is rr:M, just above Mill street,between Baymillar an::l Mill street there, you see. wait a minute,Baymillar ls below Mill, aeyway it was just above where the powerplants sets rDI a1 the lower em of it. I think the Ohio River ~hastheir elevator 1'lCW an part of it. 'Ihey made sidewalks out of tat that time. 'lhere are sane of them in cincinnati, yet, I think. 1hey da1•t operate those mills any Dm"e. we used to carrythat free stone on the packet boats too. In small lots, you know; if sc:.mebody just wanted just a few for a walk in a small town, used. to cany that as freight on a packet boat. Q: were they already made up? A: 'l11ey sawed. it. '!hey mined. the fl:eest.cne 1.:ll? in the hills there back of Buena Vista, run it down, they had a mill there and they sawed it. let1s see there was amdins and Miller and stewarts, they had one above, no, belc:w Rockville, just belc:w Buena Vista, the stewarts did and they had one up at, I can't recall the :name of that mill n:::M, that was about three miles above Buena vista. But they didn't ship by bal:qes, they shipped by railroad, and hauled too. '!hey were small concerns, those two, the stewarts and that one up at I can't think of the :name of that la:nd.irg. Q: well that lli.1St have been aroun:i the tum of the centur:y when ya1 were doirq that? A: '!hat was fran 1895-1890, 1894, up until arour.d, pretty close to 1900. As a matter of fact it was longer than that because I was mar:ried when I was nineteen years old and we done this tadng with the Bellevue and theM. P. wells after I was married. I was married in 1889 • Around the 1890IS up until around 19001 just about that time. However, we, I'm ahead of rt.r.f story, rt.r.f father also bought the first ~~was the Kentucky River packet boat. '!hey bl.ilt a new one. SO:d the old one and he lx:A.lght it and he rebuilt it ani called it the Olarles B. Pearce. He run her fran Portsmouth to Cincinnati at the same 'ti.'i'ril! we run the M. P. Wells. She was double deck at that time, we run her fran PottSiiiiith to Cincinnati. But father had traded ~Dffn1at that time to Jim Dlffey at Marietta, Ohio. He was a iam Dlffey at Higginsport. so he sold her then, Dlffeydid to his brother at I.ou.isville which was the Dlffey 5ani caapany down there. 'lhey're still in existence, the sa:rv:i ca:cpany is still in business. '!be last one that I knew is not livirq nr:M; he has been dead a ocuple of three years, I think. But they kept runi'lirq those boats until they wore out, those Dlffeys. However, we got into a fight with the White COllar Line. In the freight business. '!be c & o Rail.rcad tcqether, ani we broke the White COllar Line, the c & o Railroad and ourselves broke the White Q)llar Line up and they broke us up too. Q: '!here was a rate war goirq at then? A: Yes a rate war. You would carry passengers for ten cents fran one point to another. Freight for five cents a hurdred. pourxis. Sometimes 'WOUldn't get anytlrl.rq for it, in order to keep the White Q)llar Line fran qettirq it. llhey did the same t:hing' for us, too. Q: 'lhe Bay Line was also figh:tirg White COllar? A: Yes, they had the urania. and the Lizzie Ba.:y:, the Mimie Bay and. ~M. stanley and had that I..ooise iiif1ID:::ieEU., she was the one in oo11!Sicn en the upper arlO River ard di'OWried so many people. Q: No, I didn't knew' about that. A: Drowned about one hurxb::ed and sixty-five people. '!be pilot, he was dl:unk, and they had a lot of drunk l«<D8Jt up in the pilot house. 'lbe way I heard it, of course I was too yaJ1'q to knew' very much ab:Jut J. Enmy Fdqin:Jton it at that time. '!he way I heard it was the pilot, he was trying to pilot the boat ani the wanan was on one side ani the other ......amen on the other ani he met the, can't remember the other boat nr:M. He met her ani the women blew the Whistle; sane of the women blew the whistle, they was drunk, too. An::i there was a mix up ani they got together ani they sank one of them ani maybe both, I don't remember nr:M. At aey rate the Hibemia had the excursion on her. She belonged to the Bays at that tme. Drowned about one hundred sixty-five people out on that excursion. Well that's all hearsay fran me, but I think that is just about right. Q: Well I guess thi.n;;s got pretty touchy oo the river with everybodynmnin:J into c.x:atpetition? A: Yes the White COllar Line had an operation fran Cincinnati to Madison, Cincinnati to I.ouisville, Cincinnati to PaDeroy. John Bn:rett, he bought two packet boats. He nm them in opposition to the White COllar Line. I think he nm them, one fran Madison to Cincinnati and one fran Cincinnati to Iouisville. Seems to me like he nm one of them above Cincinnati, up the river, but I am not positiveabout that nr:M. Been quite awhile ago. But thinking about Katie Prather, I wanted to tell you awhile ago, I started to tell you, about Bill COffer, a story that he made up, this is all make believe. My son and. captain carney's son was on the :affi M. Stanley, I believe it was, caning fran Cincinnati up home. capta camey•s son was on there to make the trip, they were both about seven years old, six or seven, maybe not quite that old. However, the son was alwaysinterested in knowi.rg the Katie Prather. He would ask more questionsabout the Katie Prather than you co.ll.d shake a stick at. However, Dewey he got nr:f son on one side of hiln, up on the boiler deck, after he left Cincinnati, am captain ~'sboy, Joe, I believe it was, on the other side ani the son asked Bill, they got talking an:i Bill told that his st:eamboa:til'q was on the Katie Prather, Which it was, an:l the son then wanted to krXJW what hecaoe of the Katie Prather. So Bill COffer, he told this stoiy, wife, she was sitti.iq baCk a little piecebehini, she heal:d it all. He told the boys he said, "I was on the Katie Prather up by Brosh creek up to Vancel:m'g," ani sane man up at wagner's Riffle whlch was about five miles up Brush creek, ani Father did have the Katie P.ra:t:her up wagner•s Riffle once on high water. Took her up to get saoe com or saoethin;J like that. Bill he made this story all up as he went alorq, ani he said sane man had thousan:ls of turkeys up there ani he wanted to ship them out and he come to captain Geo~, that was nr:1 father's name. said, "captain Geot:ge., take the Katie Prather up there ani load them turkeys on the Katie Prather alii take thE!lii to market. " An::i he said captain George took her up t.hSi'e ard tied her up to the bank, put rut the plank, didn•t have aey stages then, put out a stage plank, you know. Here came the turkeys down, drivirq the turkeys down to the boat ani filled her updownstairs and he didn•t have roan down there and he took them up on the roof, OCI11l'BBt1CE!d taking' them up on the roof. When he got them up t:here he was afraid they wcul.d fly away so he took staples an:1 a hammer an:l dJ:ove a staple down t:hrough, between their toes and fastened so they couldn•t fly away. said them boys qot them all on but one great big old qol:i)ler and. he was a great big gd:lbler, J. Emory Edqin;Jton 7 too-this was Bill's st.ory--arn he said they nailed his foot down, and one of the boys, he said he didn't know' whether it was Dave Kirg or one of the others, drove the staple a little bit too far in, he said he hit the hanuner a little too hard and if went down and hurt the old gobbler. He said the old gobbler made a gobble noise, raised his wings ani flew, and he said all them turkeys raised their wings and flew ani he said up in the air went the :Katie Prather and that was the last of the Katie Prather. (laughter) I was on the Delta Queen last year. I was gol.llCJ on a trip to Pit~. I was one of the pilots.Not Pittsburgh, but to Parkersbl.ll:g, we didn't get quite up that. We turned arouni at M.Jstapha Island. An:i McCann, the clerk on the Delta Queen, he announced different th.irgs over the loud speakers from down there broadcasting. • • Ern of side one, Tape one A: ••• ani telling them aba1t when they cane to Brush Creek there ani says the legend is the little b:tat called the Katie Prather ani he went on to tell the stozy but he had it all mi.xe:1 up a certairi sense,addi.n.l thin;Js to it wasn't the story but he tried to smooth it out youknow'. But along the same lines. Q: Shot a gtm. an:i got them over the ripples. A: HeM was that? Q: Shot off the guns, so the turkeys took off, and got them over the ripples? A: No, Bill didn't tell it that way in those days, they've added that to it, you knc::M. '1hey have added a whole lot to that story since. You heard it that way did you? (chuckles) No she was below the riffles, she was just llJ? to the riffles. '!hat's the way Bill told it. said the turkeys all raised their win;Js up when that fellOW" drove the staple too hard em. the gtti>ler's toes and he made a gobble noise and they all raised their win;Js an:l went up in the air and that was the last of the Katie Prather, never seen her anyrrore. (laughter) 'Ihe old waterways JCilriial published that there thirg too once. Q: I heard that. You mentioned that those early boats went up the Guyaniot creek. Do you know how far up? A: ~!hat was the Guyan:iot River. Q: 'Ihe Guyan:iot River? A: No, I never was up the Guyan River myself. It's very narrow, and she cm.ly drew nine inches; of course, she could go a lang way up there but it's narrow. I don•t knc:M, I never heard. hOW" far up she went, but she went as far as she could, I guess. Of <Xm"Se, after they built the railroads up the Guyan, why, that was the smre thin;J on the Big Sandy River, she Dlilt up there, why that broke that up. J. ERcry Edgington Q: Did you ever get up the Big sardy? A: No never above the locks. I have been up just below the locks. Q: 'lhat was a nasty • • • A: Well, it was very shallow, that was shallow, b.rt that was an awful busy stream. 'lhey had those batwi.rgs, of course, and it would get awful low. '!hey had the boat out. I had the, Father and,I had the J. C. Hopkins chartered one season arxl another season foll0Wl.l19' that I chartered them myself, Irrf brother Fred and I chartered it. captain Jim Sanford, he went in with us too, about three of us had a charter we run up fran ari.l.o to Cincinnati in low water. She only drew fourteen inches. '!he river got so low then that we could just barely get her over the New Richrnord bar and we had two flats and we towed them ahead of her. We put our freight on that arxl held them with the boat. Didn't carry any passenJerS becausp it was too slow. Just carried freight. We had the~Hatcher chartered one time in a lOIAT water season, too. we run her the Vanoebul:q-Maysville trade. Q: All those were Biq Ban1y boats? A: Big san::ty, they were sidewheel boats. I believe we started to charter the Fairfield b.rt didn•t. She was accurately named Yost. By the way the J. c. Hopkins, she had two engines on her, we had to carry a stri.lce.r aJii an engineer. She was a sidewheel boat alright, l::Jut she didn•t have that shaft across the hull. Had an engine on each side. She only drew fourteen inches, too. Q: Well they all hauled mlasses out of there? A: Yes, sorghum, IDOlasses arxl chickens, eggs, calves and all that sort of stuff. carried whiskey on the boat as freight and I expect they did carry a lot of it for their C7lll1 personal use. '!hey would coree down here at Catlett:sburg and lay overnight and most of them would qet dnmk. At that time Catlettsburg was a lively town. Q: I heal:d as liUCh. A: Yes, all :fralt streets was a levee there and was about two squares lcn;J. 'lhat was all saloons alcn;J there arxl mostly restaurants and one hotel. Q: West Vi.J:ginia was dry wasn1t it, a dry state? A: It was at one time, but it wasn't at that time. It was dry for a lcn;J while. Q: COUld yw talk sane about the logs that carre out of there? A: Yes, crane and COle, they had three sawmills here at Cincinnati ani they got their timber, they floated that out of there in rafts, you knew. An:1 Irontal had three mills above where the bridge is now, sawmills and they got their t:iJDber out of GUyan ani out of Big sardy. J. El.'oory Edgington 9 'Ihey held rafts dcMn at the mills ard then they held on both shores belC1tl catlettsburg on the Ohio side, principally clear down to where dam #29 is nc::w. sanetimes below that. '!hey had the J. o. Cole ard the crown Hill "t:c7tlirq those logs dc:Mn. Q: I urxierstard sanetimes the boan would break up in the Big SarXly? A: Yes, ani they'd cane rut ard the people alan; the river that had a skiff would go out ard catch those logs. '!hen crane ard Cole would cane alon;r, had their crat cane alon;r, they had their bran:i on them,and the Ironton people had their brand on them too. 'Ihese men 'WOUld come alon;r ani gather these logs up and pay the people I think twenty five cents a log for ca~them. 'Ihey -were rough an:1 tumble people too. '!hey would try ard beat the people rut of as ll'D.1cll money as they could COlU1tin:J the logs; they'd claim they wasn't their logs and say, "Oh well, we will take it alon;r, if you don't want to hold it or bother with it," saaethin;J like that. Q: I hear that as many as ninety thousard logs would get through some of those boan busts up there? A: Oh I expect there was that many aeywa.y. I don't think I ever heaJ::d that but there is no doubt. They'd have those rafts up the sandy River and up Guyan River ani then would cx:me that flocxi. Q: I have heaJ::d a lot of oam•ents on the l~in3' and apparently the Cole crane people were pretty rough to deal w~th. A: '!hey themselves were not, but the men they sent up there, they were people rut of sandy River ard log pecple. Of course they'd be half drunk ard all that sort of thin;J. I tell you they killed a man up there at Logan's Gap just above Logan's Gap, Hemy Griffiths. He had sane logs ard he got into an 8l:gUillet'lt an:1 they got into a fight ard they killed him, that one time. '!he was the only time anybody was killed that I heaJ::d of. I knew Hemy an:l knew when he was killed. Of <Xm"Se Henry drank ard they were drink:in.} too. Who was at fault I don't know'. sane kirrl of 8l:gUillet'lt over the logs. Q: Norval Horton told me that, I guess it tmlSt have been after the mills were gme, the ~dredged cut logs fran the banks there bel01r1 Eastern Avenue took them up above the dam at ConeyIsland ard dzq:pec1 them in a hole up there. D::l you know' anything about that? A: I never heard that, but crane ard cole before they went out of business, instead of brin:Jirg logs down by the river, 71¥ urxierst.an:lin:J at the time was the timber was so far back fran the Bandy River, that they loaded them on cars fran the c & o Railroad. Brrught them down ard built a derrick just below Brent ani above the Cincinnati waterworks there. Put a crane on the top of the hill. I mean on topof the river bank and switch in there and unload those logs with this crane, p.xt thsm in the river ard then they had one boat, I think the J. o. Cole at that time. I don't remember rot Mlether they had sold the crown Hill or not. However they were usi.r.g the J. o. cole am the other bOat ana dro.l;::1;>ed the logs fran there dotm to the mills as they needed them, wanted them sawed up. Of course they didn't tow' them doWn in as biq a rafts as they CXJUJ.d. I was pilot on the Princess in the coney Island trade one season and the J. o. COle came dC1Ilri the river with a big raft full of logs and I was CX'.'I.IlU.l'g' up through there, there was low water too, there was just barely water enough to get the Princess up aver the Crawfish Bar. '!be Island -she was, they'dtie hEii' up, she couldn't get up over there. Br the Princess up I would have to c.cma ahead on her two licks dead slow ar:v.:i she'd hit bottan and stop, then I wculd stop her and that suction would catch up with us, and I wculd oaoa ahead on her again to get up aver crawfish Bar. To get her up. Didn't have any trouble get.t.i.r.g her dotm because the water wculd back up behind her and float her over goi.r.g d.otm. However, I was sta.rt.ir:q to say the J. 0. COle was oan.in;J down above crawfish Bar. Up 'Where, wheJ::e the liiit Club is there 1'lOftl at the foot of sara Avenue and I was stand:ir¥;J up by the Gas works. well, I come ahead on the, had water enough to do it, cane ahead the Princess, half head :1.nstaad of slow bell like I had been cx:mi.ng up aver. To get up before she got any in there, she couldn't, current in the river, didn't have any lcx:k and dams then. She couldn't stop, of course, and I didn't want her to catch me in there with the Pri.ncl!ilss. Because there wasn't erDJgh roan for both us because of the logs and the Princess. Well, I cane ahead with a half head and I seen I wasn't quite goirg to :make it that way so I cane ahead on a full head. '!hen she carried a aNell behind her and the launches and everythirq at that boat club there at the foot of Clair·Avenue. People were down there, the CMnerS of them, they cane cut and they called me every name they could think of. (chuckles) But I couldn•t do anything else. So it didn't do any particular damage, only p.zt some of them out on the bank. It was an emergency, I CXJUJ.dn't help it. so it made me sore ani when I came back down I came down and I opened her up full head again. wasn•t a one of them shc::.lwed up at all. Not a one of them. '!hey didn't call me anyJl'D%.'e son of a bit:dles. (d:mckles) Q: I'll be darned. Well, I guess they, the J. O. COle was ba.cld.n;J down her tow? Didn't they do that? A: Yes, she was bac1d.n:J it down, that's the way they guided them; they didn't tow' them any other way, bXt backed down. 'lhat was pretty diffia.Jlt pllot.inq, too. '!hey had to lm.c:lw their l:usiness, had to knc::M the river, 1ltJere It set up a trench, ya.1 k.nc:Jw, and get the raft in shape so it 111DUJ.dn't hit the ba:nks and sticks. so lots of times this wc:W.d stick all night. But they da1e pr:etty good piloti.r.g. In fact, they did good piloti.r.g, good piloti.r.g. Q; You went up after awbile into coal t.owirlg? A: Yes, I packet boated up until 1910. I went to work, the first tow boating I done, that is, I mean outside of what we done with our own boats prior to that. I worked. for T. J. Hall ani I was pilot at that time on arllo packets, the Chilo to Cincinnati packet trade. Dan Morgan who was Hall's brother-in-law was huntirg a pilot to help captain Kirk CUlver take the lkAlglas Hall up the Kanawha River ani brirq out a tow of coal an the rise up there. 'Ihey wanted to get her up there loose arrl brirq the coal out, the coal was already loaded. He couldn't fin:i, I had been up tcMn arrl I was cominq down over the levee and met Dan CCil1i.rg up the hill and he s"t:owed me ani wanted to know if I knew of any pilots he could get to go up an:1 help captainCUlver up with the Pouglas Hall. I couldn't think of anybody, in fact there wasn't anybody that I knew of. we talked a little bit ani he says to me, "You couldn't possible go, could you?'' I said, "I'm a pilot an the Chilo, no, I oouldn•t go." He started up the hill ani I started down atii I just haJ;Pei'led to think that I had a steersman an the Cllil.o7 Jim Barry, a very good pilot but he didn't have anylicense. I thought :peDlaps Brother Drew, who was captain of the Chilo 'WOUld lay me off ani let me go an the ~las Hall to help out an:t!et Jim Barry do the steer:Ug an the au o. So I called Dan back ani I says, "Dan, wait a minute, maybe I could go if Drew can let me go. He can use Jim Barry." So we both went down ani I talked to Brother Drew alxut it arrl he says, "It 'WOUld help Dan out," he says,"if you will qive me your waqes an there, why, I 'WOUld do it." He wanted Irrj waqes and his own too. I said, "Okay." I said to Dan, "I'll go ani make this trip up." And I says, ''Now I don't know about towirg coal, I never tawed any coal down the river. I towed bal:ges all right but never coal." well he says, "Kirk CUlver will help youout, whatever you can do. 'lhe main thirx.J is to get her up there ani get the coal out.11 So the boat came up ani we started out. Went up · alright arrl when we got to Ashlam, why here is captain Hall and Dan MoJ:qan both up there arrl got an the Dc!!llas Hall. '!hey was there, an:1 we had to stop ani get ooal ani fuel. So I could see captain Kirk Ollver ani Dan MoJ:gan ani Tan Hall with their heads stuck togetherright out in front of the pilothouse down there, t.alkil'lg. After awhile I hear all three of them oaoe up to the pilot house ard got after me to quit pilatilg an the Chilo ard workir:g an there with Kirk CUlver. Of c::omse I was gett:Ug two dOllars a day on the Chilo ani the ~las Hall was pa.yirq five dollars a day. I hesitated though, I said, I dOri1t :know anything about t.c:wi.rg coal, 11 and Kirk says, "captain, if you care an here, I •11 leam you how to tow' coal. I •11 help you out everytime you need IDeo II He says1 11I don1t think you111 need me very often, but if you do, okay. I'll get up anytilna ani help you out ani if I think that you need me without you asJdn;J me I'11 stay up in the pilothouse with you anyway." He says, "Now there is only one 1:hin:J I will ask you." He says, "You know Irr:l faililg which was gett:Ug drunk once in awhile." He says, "If I do, I only ask youto sinply to stick with me. rxm•t rw1 away fran me." I said okay.So fran then on I went to t.owin;J coal. Q: You never 't:c.Meld for the Pit.t:sl::m:gh canbine? A: No, I never workad for them. I 'WOJ:ked for Islan:l creek Coal carpmy twice, about nine years the first time ani about four yearsthe last tilDe. Between that, I was in an accident; the first time, I worked for them I went with the M::Bride, I towed with M::Bride for about a year ard he broke up. I did make a few trips while I was world.n;J for him, when the boat was laid up, why I made a few trips for the Ohio River canpany on the E. D. Kenna. As soon as M::Bride broke up, why Mr. Morgan came after me to go p1lot on the Kenna at J. Eloory Edgirr:Jton 12 Ingersoll, the Ohio River o:mpmy. SO I was with them about five years that time. '1hen I went back to Islani creek ani I was there for six or seven years, sanet.hin;;r like that. I don•t recall exactly. so they chan;ed their superi.ntenients ani another man who is there l'lOW', he had favorites up the Kanawha River ani he managed to let ne go to put him on. '!hen I -went with the Ohio River carpany again ard I stayed with them until I retired fran the oc::npmy. My wife was sick for about fourteen years an:i she'd have first one stroke after another an:i finally her min:l went bad fran that. When I quit, Why she 'WOUld know me sanetimes ard SCIDBtimes she wouldn•t when I was hc:ane. so I decided I would quit an:i go hc:ane and stay with her as long as she lived which I did. so I never went back to art:/ regular work outside of the Avalon, and even before she passed away, I was on the Avalon. '!he firSttliie they oouldn1t get anybody else an:i I went an:1 the next year I was with them an:1 in fact this last year would have been the sixth year that I have been on the Avalon. '!hat's a vacation for me. I've been 'I'AIOrJd.rg for the stan:lard Oil CCiupany of Baton Rouge, Esso Louisiana. '!hat was on the boat Esso Louisiana, that's Esso Stan:lard oil at Baton Rouge. From Louisville to, thOSe pilots an:1 captains, they didn't have acy license above Louisville. 'Ihey didn't knc:M the river up there. well they would get two pilots ani Louisville up the Kanawha, :knew the river up there an:1 p.rt on there to learn them the river. Clayton Davis ard captain Fd YOlll'q ard myself an1 captain Troy Yourg, too, we 'WOUld be on the boat, the two of us 'WOUld be on there alx:ut anywhere fran eleven days to fifteen days from Louisville up to Boaner on the Kanawha River arxi back to I.ouisville. so I had about eleven months of that. '!hat is, about fifteen days out of the nonth up there ani they would leam the river, so they could get yourlicense. Of course that's over with now that they've all their license. All but one ani, of course, he leazned the river with them l'lOW'. But he was on them nv:st of the time, he knew it alright the last time when I was on there, but he hadn't got his license. I talked to one of them at Louisville this summer on the Avalon, off the Avalon, when the louisiana passed. He told me all the~news. Boy they ware~of men. 'those trips were really vacations for me. WOUld only be fifteen days cut of the m:mth an:i scmatimes I wouldn't catch them every month, they had a ~leof other fellows to make trips on there. 'Ihey made four or five tr1ps. '!here was about four that I wasn't on. But I enjoyed that. lot's of gocxi eats and all that southem stuffo 'lhose southem oooks1 yo\l knowo Q: 'Ihey are oooks. we have about hit the end of this tape, captain. A: well, I don't know anyt:hirq else much that I can tell you that youwant to la1cw, unless there is sanet.hin;;r you want to ask. Q: '!hank you for mak:in:] this tape. J. Enrny Edgington Q: At the ern of the other tape you had begUn to talk about tcMing coal arxi I WOl'rlered if you, well, just in the begi.rmirg talk about the prd:>lem of towin;J coal arxi fog on the river? Erd of side Two, Tape one A: Okay. well, I've had quite a great deal of experience running in fog. BUt I never have taken any long chances. on towirg coals, I have run upstream with empty tows in fog arxi taken chances. But downstream, I have never taken any chances on towing coal downstream, because you have got too much tamage there ahead of you arxi if you see anyt.h.in;J you are gettirg into unexpected, you haven't got time to take care of it. SO the best thirg to do is to tie up to the bank and wait W'ltil the fog lifts or the at.mos};i'lere clears up so you can go safely. '!bat's always been my experience. Now they have radar, arxi the government won't stand behirxi the pilots. Take his license away fran him if he stays out in the fog an:l gets in trouble. Tryirg to run fog 'When he shalld be tied up arxi could have tied up. 'Ihe ccmpanies won't stan:1 behirxi him ani if the insurance people gets too hat they pay you off. Q: were there any parts of the river where fog was Itm"e difficult than others? A: Evecy few miles or several miles where big creeks ard rivers come into the Ohio River, you are m:>re likely to fi.n:i fog than you are a place where those river ard so forth don't errpty into the Ohio. For sane reason the foq generally raises in these small streams arxi blows out into the Ohio. An:i very often the difference of the ten"perature of the water out of the small stream into the Ohio River will cause a fog. 'Ihen the weather c:orxtitions will cause fog. We have what they call rain fog, that's one of the meanest fc:gs there is because once in awhile you think you can go, ard I have ard started out, ani others have started. out, ani went a little while and we 'WOUld run into a batch of fog that you di.dn't :know what was ~to you. You just had to guess at it arxi get into shore and tie up again. 'lbat's for downstream w:mt. Upstream work you don't have :much trouble about larxiirq, like you went into a bunch of fog you just stopped and run dead slow ani tried to find the bank and do fil'Xi the bank eventually. Q: Hal:d.er to stc:p going down? A: For instance you got twenty thousand ton of weight ahead besides the metal in your barges. I'm speaJdn:J about the coal. You take these Pittsbn:gh boats that are tad.ng steel ani such stuff as that out of the Pittsbn:gh district south, they have got the mnnber of batges, they usually tow about twenty barges, but they don't load their bal:ges as deep. Four and a half to five ard a half feet usually is abalt the depth of their barges. For a coal bal:ge, it's loaded dawn to eleven foot side ani it's loaded dcwn to eight and a half to nine feet. 'lbat's anywhere fran nine hurdred ani fifty to a thousand ani ten or fifteen tons of coal in one of those barges. so When you've got twenty of those bal:ges, which, take the Qnar arxi the orco which used to be the C'.ai!p?ell ani the John w. ~whichwas t.Fie I:brranoe or rather the I:brrance was the~W.l!lhbard, arxi boats like that ani the Isl~ts,~with'6le Island creek J. Enmy Edgil'gton while I was with them, we didn't tow m:xre than twenty thousan:i ton, we 'tc:lwed around fourteen thousan:i, twelve to fourteen thousan:i ton. With the stan P. SUit and the catharine Davis. catharine Davis didn•t tow as niiCila'S~SUit. But the diio River boats, thOSe tl'lree boats I mentioned there, their usual tow", open river was twenty barges. Ani quite often, pool stage, they'd tow" twenty, also. '!here were sane pilots that would take chara!s more so than others. But in rrrt opinion, it's always been very foolish and I think I've always made just about as good as a time with a tow" when I was on the watch piloting as rrrt partner did or sane of the other ccatpariy boats did. At least I haven•t had arrt smash ups, so in the lorq run I've made better time. (chuckles) I don't think that I have f!Ner have sunk in all mytowboat experience. I've only had one bal:qe, no two barges to sink on me. one of them hit a log, and the other one, in getting it out of the lan:ting when we went to make the tow" up, an:i I l«>rked on watch when we done it. Knocked a hole in the rake of the barge and it was slow leak and we started down the river with the Qnar and after nightin the high stage of water, and the water had fil'I.iCrin that bulkhead of the barge, to put it down far enough and runnirr;J at that speed the water came over the end of it; it was after dark and I oouldn•t see it. First thing I knew that there barge, Why I heard the lines break on the far end of it. I iliDIIE!diately stq:p:d her, and I just happened to have the search light an lookin;J down the dam #15 hear trap here, to locate that and I threw the li<Jht down on the end of the barge and I seen it, the upper ern of it goi.rq down. immediatelr stopped So I the boat and 'W'E!l'1t to back her away fran the barge, so when t came back it wouldn't hit the side of the boat and tear the side of her out. 'lhen it just did missed the side of the boat. 'Ihe errl of it was up out of the water, she 'Wel'lt out on down, that was the first one I sank. '!he secorrl one, I nm over a log on a bar; I didn't know the log was there. '!bat could have been avoided if everyt:hirg had of been right but evm:ything wasn•t right at the time. I had requested a cllan3e in the 11ookinJ the barge up on the head of the tow". Different fran the way it was, ani the captain of the boat, Issac Faar, captainof the boat, he said, ''Wait till we got below Dam #33." While he was out there at the tel~, I was goirq to make that c:b.an;re then. Makin:;r the c.han;Je, the watchman hollered back and says this barge over here Is goirq to sink on us I believe an:i I threw rrrt light dawn on it and it was just alm:ISt, and I i'D'Q'OE!diately backed her over on the bar. But it filled up alright before I got away from it. 'Ihe sides of it didn•t go out of sight but that log had raked that barge on the bottom fran one ern to the other. Must have had a knot on it arxl it didn•t do anythj.Iq, only just sprun;;r the rivets in the bottom, just enoughthat they all canbined made that siphon couldn't hold it. Matter of fact we had a siphon in it before that, pumping it out. water had just aconmllated in it. Q: '1hsse were steel baxges? A: steel baxges, yes, they were both steel barges. Q: You started out I guess with the old -wooden barges? A: Yes, ard the first steel barges that I ever had anythi.rq to do about tcwin;J was two the Islard creek Q:la1 canpany had. '!hey were duplicates of sane steel barges that the J & L [the Jones and Iaughlin] people at Pitts1::urgh had made. I think Island creek and J & L people wm:e the first people who had steel barges, coal barges.Wooden ~wm:e the principal barges at that time but a matter of fact the first time I was with Island creek they only had those two steel barges, the balance of them were all 't«Xld.. 'lhe next lot of steel barges was ten they OJ:dered and that made twelve, then they made ten again, then five again, then ten again. Now they haven't got aey 'I'.«XXien ones at all. '!hose two that they originally had they are gone a long while ago ani a whole lot of the others that they had made are gone. Q: 'those wooden barges were leaky t:hirq too, weren't they? A: Yes, they were leaky but you kn<:M it's a funny thirg that they didn't loose as many of them as they loose I'lOW' with steel barges. Q: Is that so? I didn't kn<:M that? A: Proportionately. PJ:op:u.tianatel.y they didn't loose as many of the wocxien barges as they do with the steel ones rDil. 'lhe reason I'lOW' is they figure that the steels were too safe, m:>re safe than they really are. A steel barge won't sink if there isn't a cause for it an:l neither l!tlCUl.d a wooden barge. A wooden barge was sanet:hi.rq you had to watch all the time. 'lhe steel barge you o:tdinarily don't watch that there unless sane cxniition canes up to call you ll\i.M to watching it. 'Ihat's the way I figured the t:hirq. Q: COalin:.J out of the Kanawha I guess it was, that operation cast off wooden barges along the way d.idn't they, to the smaller tc:Mns? A: '!hey had smaller barges sane, to take to small towns, they had what they called flats. Flats l!tlCUl.d hold about thirty-five to fortyfive hurdred blshel., not tan, blshel.s ard they would drop them off at little towns aram:i two thousan:i pc:pl].ation or less than that. For a co.mtey lan:iin; that had a ooa1 elevator. At that time if you take a to.m like Maysville, which is about twelve thousard, and Portsnx:Juth, they l!tlCUl.d, a st.amard wooden barge at that time was a hurrlred thirtyfive foot long and twenty-six foot wide ard had eight foot sides on them. Well they wa.tl.d load them cbm to seven feet, six and a half to seven feet, and that wa.tl.d only leave them about a foot to foot and a half, the top of the barge above the water. Ani when they lost very many barges of that sort, in that way, they could be caught out in the river with a wind stom, which makes swells so much that before youcould get into the laniin:J to protect them, these swells 'WOUld BWalCP them, :nm aver the sides of them. '!hat didn't always occur but lots of times it would. Of course if you :nm into conditions of that sort you would immediately stop your boat shovin] and go to backing up.When you backed up you got the current goirq away fran the tow so swells wculdn't sink it near as fast as it would the other way unless it came aver the side but you had to get into shore, you would have to have a fl.anld.rq way on the inside, especially if you got close to J. Enmy Fdgin]ton 16 shore those big swells cane up an::'l they'd fUnnel between the shore an::i the barges sanetimes am go over the slde that way. Had to be careful about that. So many tricks an::'l turns in that sort of 1:h.:inJ, it's all a b.lsiness in itself. Be like runt'lin;J a t1:Uck or an autanobile on the road. You've got t:hi.rJ;Js you've to guard against. And it takes experierDa to leam it, too. It's interesting lr.IOrk, of course my first steamboatin;J was the packet boat b.lsiness an::'l I liked that. I was an the Princess in the coney Islan::'l trade. I liked that, too. '!hat's lots of people there, you krlc:M. Q: Will you talk about that a little bit, haulirg all those people up to coney Islam? A: '!he Princess was a nice boat7 so was the Islan::'l Queen, although I never, I rode on the first Islan::'l ~· I never rode an the secorxi one. 'lha.t work an the PrinCeSS, Iet'loyed that as much as a:ey because she was a good staunch bOat; she wasn't as big as the Island Queen· Of course, she wasn't allc:Med to can:y as many people. I forget n.cM what her cx:rrplement was, rut I think arourd twenty-five hurrlred or sanethirg like that. She was one daniy boat to harxU.e, pilot. You know my life on the river, I loved the lr.IOrk, I would rather pilot a steamboat than to eat. Even in sane difficult oorx:titions, as lOI'XJ as I didn•t get into too nuch of a jam or didn•t do a:ey damage. Ellt that Princess, I could handle her. '!he Princess landin;J at coney Islam, there was just simply kr¥:Mirg what you were goi.n;J to do ani h.CM to do it ard doirg it there. '!hen you would 1an::i at the wharf boat at Cincinnati. I've larxied that Princess at that coney Islani wharf boat and tum.ed arourd ani larxied alii had the head of the boat within ten feet of the wharf boat. By the tiine I got her squared aroun:i to land I'd have her so I just stc::IQ;:ed the inside wheel ani cx:me ahead, tum it to the outside Wheel am straighten it up, ani it was easy, it wasn't much mre than mashi.rq an egg when she hit. '!hat's a little bit lorg and drawn out stoey. She wouldn't lard hard at all. Q: 'Ihe ice finally got her? A: Yes, mmk her just bele7.ii the Kentucky River, just below the big Kentucky River beleN Carroll1:cl'l. She was a damy boat too, an:1 the coney Islard CCIIpany had the sternwheeJ. boat called the Islam Maid, a sternwheeJ. boat, she was a good harxller. I didn't nm the coney Islam trade rut she was out cn tranp excursioo trips like the Avalcn does I'lCIW. I was pilot on her a couple of seasons up the river, up as far as Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh once ani a CXIUple of times after that. And up the KanaWha River two or three times ani handled her just as about as well as I was tellin:] you I could harxtle the Princess, because she was a good steerirg boat ani a good backi:rg boat. She answer her :t\¥iders ani in m:st and all con:titions. You take a boat like that it is a pleasure to hamle them. Q: Kind of cantankerous then? A: well, they were kirxi of leggy, kin:i of slugqish about answering the xudders ard answerirg the wheels, the big wheel, the water wheel. 'Ihey carried too nu:h headway, ani you take a boat that harxU.es real J. ED:n:y Edqinftal good, why, she was able to kill her headway pretty quick. well you can't do any of that instantly, but then if you know your boat, why, you know what to do. That's the one thing I always try to leam when get on a boat is to know what she'll do, un:ier certain conditions. Q: we should talk about same of your ducks ard geese. A: I have had a lot of fun in huntin;J geese off the tows. It's pzetty difficult to get up on a bun::h of wild geese on a tow". I would be ccani.n:J downstream, why it wasn•t so much trouble because they don't go, the water un:ler the head of the ta.r1 da1•t make so much noise. Upstream there's just noise enough so that they hear you c::c:ming' before you get to a duck: he1s taJdn;J lonJer chances he will get un:ier willow ard hide, a goose won1t hardly ever do that. He stays cut in the open. Of oourse now it•s against the law to shoot ducks or geese,either one off a t..aw. For Instance you take a m::rt:or boat out for some huntin;J ducks ard geese, you've got to ta.rl a skiff ani yawl alorg with them, so they go to shoot those ducks they've got to get in there and then slip up on the ducks in the yawl ard shoot fran that. 1my vessel with power you are breaking the law. Q: You caught them at night. A: Well after night why that's saoething else, nine times out of ten you are breakirg the law When you shoot out of a boat. At night off the tow. Q: Well I guess it wasn't always deliberate was it, you would turn on your search light and lo there would be saoe? A: You turn your search light on am see the geese, if sanebody on the boat a deckharrl or watchman or mate without watchirq for geese wants to shoot geese, why I '11 tell you though m::>st rivm:men or boatmen are sports enough not to want to kill them after night. Of course you take anyt:hirg like that to those swans am for instance the geese I spoke of sane little while back. we threw the search light on not l'nmtin:J for ~eese or blue swan, but your light ha};pen to come on am you could aw1tch your light out, but I don't think very manypeople do it. Lots of tilDes I would hold light on a flock of geese or ducks ard just to see them fly. so I 1::hrcM the light arourd just to keep them Jdni of worried a little bit, not any intentions of killingthem or anythin;J. It's like a fellCM get:tirq out am playing baseball or J:rurrt,irg a rabbit or saoething like that there ani takin;J his dog out ard leavin;J his gun at hane, dcn't want to kill him just wants to hear the dogs run. '!he people that are still rum:i.rg the stuff that I liked best durirg Irr:f early st:aamboatirq was lCM water; I always liked to run a difficult place. I had a feelirg of aOCCJ1t:llisl'rlrg saoething particular!¥ if I got tl'u:a1qh it safely enough to not be getting stuck or anyt:hinJ like that. After I first went to tc:Mboatirq, tow"ing coal, with those wooden barges we had to load barges liCJht, up to oh about four and a half feet, for instance When they was buildin;J these locks ard dams. You would have a nar:rc:1t1 or an out of the way channel to take that stuff down to get around the coffer dam. For instance, me place, Quick's Run up here when they was builc::til'q #34, or not #34 but #32 you had to cross the river in a channel over a rock reef in above that coffer dam, then drop in undemeath of it with your taw of coal and get around the coffer dam ani then cane back in urxierneath of it again and go on down the channel, on below. '!hat was washed. out some to a certain extent, but if you knew the stage of water you had, if you had four feet you 'WOUld load your barqes to about three foot eight or nine, ani four ani a half feet, you 'WOUld give yourself about a four inch clearance. BaDatimes your taw would be wide enough and long enough not to :make that turn quite quick enough. I have got many a thrill about bri.ngi.ng tows down araund dam #32 coffer dam, several times. I knc:lw' that's a rock reef there 1oecause I have seen it wt two or three times. 'Iha.t's the one runn.irg fran the channel over to the arlo side. 'Iha.t' s like anythi.nq else, if you like that line of work rega.J:dless of what it is, lf yoli•xe interested in and. like it, ani like to a.ccc:aplish the thirr:J, that• s where you get the pleasure out of it. For saaetimes the pleasure anamts to as 1lll.lCh as the wages you get for it. (chuckles) Q: we wre t:a1kirg about usi.ng a bani capstan befoxe, can you explain that? A: Yes that's a barrel. (pause) Quite awhile after the McBride sank, Itl:f brother was oo, I lost him on that, and I ca.ildn't tmderstand why, that he allO!.+IE!d that to happen, because he had been with me, I had learned him, particularly al:xlut that M ani WBridge, or L ani N Bridt.;Ja, and about the current setting on that pier. Well a little 'While after that, pl.'Obably three or four 'Weeks or a couple of m:.mths, I came dawn with the sam P. SUit and. I had four barqes abr:east and. cme lerqt:h ani one of tni AShra.iii Oil lxlats with propellers, they was a::tnin;J up stream, well he whistled for the same side that the Peace did for the McBride. see instead of the Peace ca:nirq ~outside ard blowi.ng cme whiStle, the Peace blowed two WhiStles for him to take the port ani him take a port. well that put him goin:J up around. the point this way ani in order to steer that, if he was steerirxJ straight through that bridge, he1d be this way. In order to bri.ng himself around in the river's current he had to steer this way, well that t1:'Jrew his stem, his p:opeller wheel, current in his prqle.ller in a ci.rele wt like this, you see. 'Iha.t threw the water out against the pier I didn•t realize until I seen that what caused the McBride hit that bridge pier. well, I was the thi.ng I da1e, when Iii WhiStled. 'What I wauld be two whistles, I st:qlped. the Sam P. SUit ani started to bacld:nq and I Whistled. him down and made himt.ak.e--uta other side. Made him t:a.ke the cme whistle side. I backed up, killed. the taw, until he got up through there. When he cane up through there I aeen the wash fran his wbeel., fran his p:opellers, cane right cut, just rise and cane out and went down the other side of that pier. Shewed the piece of wheel wash t:h.1::t.1tled the head of his taw cut tc:Mard that pier ani the wrd that I got fl:an the two people that were saved, off of there, two deCkhands, they both told me, they said that he blew, that Roy blew the whistle and backed up. Actuallf backed up l.mtil he thalght the Peace was alxwe and you thalght J.t was J. Enmy Edqirgton 19 safe to go down. AM when he went down he struck the side lash. '!he boys didn1t say that was what caused it. But they said he stopped ani backed her, to throw' her heaviest tcw which was two or three lengths, I think. Erxi of Side one, Tape 'lWo A: To t.hJ::'ow that away fran that pier. '!hen he stopped her ani went to back her the other way. well, when he done that there the head of his tow had already past there. He caught the wheel wash right alongside just about the time that the head of his steamboat was just al:x:Jut m the pier. well Mr. r..org, the erqineer of the arlo River catpany told me, says, 11captain11--see, she had the fuel flat right along side of her, a1 the port side, ani that was the fuel flat. Mr. IDng told me, he says, "captain," he says, "the fuel flat showed where it druq on that pier forty feet before the McBride turned aroun::l. '!he mate 'Who wasn't on the boat told me that she was down, he had stopped off for sane.thirq, arrl another man was mate. so she immediately went down there arxi see, the McBride, she turned over on her side this way arrl it showed her wire lJ..neS on the side that was out of water, showed it hargi.rg up on the hook where they always carried them. '!hey didn't have anythin:J, only rope, Manila Lines on the face, the face line, one on each side. '!hat's all they had on, didn't have those wire lines on there. If they had the wire lines on there chances arrl she wouldn't have broke on that side arrl went arouni sideways. She went, she went arouni sideways1 I don't krlow if you krlow or not that current there, with a thirty foot stage of water in the river. '!hat current was so swift that it cane up m the guard of her ani she just went down this way, sunk sideways. '1he fuel flat arrl the boat right against the pier, that didn't go dawn. I seen about half the len;t:h of the boat the roof was out dJ:y the next Jl¥:)rnirg. '!hat day when I went down there that was dJ:y. If bJ:other Roy had of gone out the pilothouse win::iow arrl went back on that roof he never would have been in water at all. AM here is another t:hil'g, just this SUl'll'ller I was told at Portsnolth, arlo, by my cousin that an inspector at Cincirma.ti a Green inspector at Cincinnati told hiln personally. He says, "I don•t believe ani never will believe that ~Fdqington was in the pilot house on that boat when she hit that p1.er.11 He says, "I think the striker pilot was up there," ani this man, the inspector at cincinnati was a pilot ani a captain ani a mate ani a deck harxi, washer ani eve:ryt:h.in;J else on the boat. He had been practically all his life on the boat am he based his opinion upon the fact that Roy didn•t have all his clothes on. He had his shoes on, he had a nightshirt on. Didn't have art:! tralsers. It looked like he had just got out of bed, to hiln, that's what he told this OCAJSin of mine. so I don't krlow. As I started to say awhile ago, this mate wasn't on there but he was a regular mate, he told me them face wires wasn't on that boat at all, they cught to have been, they should, too. But it's all over with and can•t be helped. Q: Maybe it was kind of mercy? .._,...··~· ·--~·. ···::: •' J. Em;:n:y Edqirgton A: '!hat1s just one thi.rq that I hadn't shcJI..1ed Roy, nrt brother, about letti.rq a boat take that side of him. He did krlc:M 8bout the set on that pier am that thirty foot stage of water in cincirmati harbor is one of the worst stages there is. To run those bridges. Q; 'lhe current is swift down there? A: Well it's very swift and it's treacherous. You take a bigger stage of water, the water that was on the shore fUrther up this wayand there isn't so much side set on it. In the first place the darn bridge is not built square across the river, it is built this way.Instead of bei.rg cross ways, it's this way. 'lhe Bellaire Bridge,Ohio, is the same way. 'Ihe B an:i o at Bellaire, Ohio's rightthat way. Had DDre sinkiri;Js ani DDre coal ani steamboats and lives lost em that Bellaire Bridge up there. It's only a three hun:lred and twenty-five foot span. Q: It arqles? A: Yes, it argles, that left har¥1 pier there, when you cane down with a tc::M you have got to keep the head of your ta.r.r on that right halxl pier until you're very near dawn to it ard then you have got to straighten her around to keep fran hittirg the sides. Here not verylong ago there was I believe an American Barge Line boat came down and sunk two bal:ges. one stayed on the pier and the other one sunk down below aver at the creek about five hurrlred yards below the mouth of the creek. Q: Funny they didn't make all the bridges suspension bridges. A: '!hat bridge was Ma Greene's, Greta Greene's, she owns, her estate,of cx::m:se she's dead, her estate owns them the Bellaire Bridge, owns the Parkersbw:g" Bridge, owns the Point Pleasant Railroad Bridge, owns the Kanawha Bridge. Her estate owns them. 'Ihey pay so much for a ton of CXII!!ll., so much for passen:JerS, for every, now that's just what I've heard, for every ton and every passerqer goes over that bridge in one way_or the other, so muoh per. They tried to sell her, buy the bridges I mean; she wouldn't sell to them, an:i I don't whether her son is liv~ yet or not but he wouldn't sell either. But whoever has the estate now, I don't krlc:M about that, whether they will ever sell or not. 'Ihese doggone bridges are so doggone dan:]erous that ~oughtto make them make wider piers or c.han:Je the doggone bridges lined upwith the an-rent. But it wasn't so lo.r¥J ago when the government as a matter of fact when those bridges were J::W.lt, pilots wouldn't take them, they wou1d tie up before dark at night an:i wait until daylightto run at bridqe. '!hat is with a ta.r.r I mean. They wouldn't run them after night. They didn't have any electric lights either then. You see, they wasn•t as particular about narrt111 spans then as they are now. I suppose at that tilDe there was protest made but the goverrmentdidn•t take as active part in it then as they do now an:i pema~ the pilots liked to sleep all night arrjWay and rather work in daylight.don't know' what unier those sort of coniitions are when they didn't have electric lights, I would like to go out an:i see. (ch.uckl.es) '· •·~~ !~' ., I ~""\"' , .. -~··.' "• Q: I i.maqine dawn here at Cincinnati trying to nm those piers nt:M with all the pleasure boating creeping up, it must be a double hazard? A: You just take this, for instarxJe, the pleasure boats, it's their b.lsiness to stay out of the way. For a darmstream tow because as I said cMlile ago you can1t stop those tc:Ms ordinarily. I never tried to take acy tc:Ms down thrcugh the brieges larger than I thought we could handle properly. I've taken as high as twelve barges down on a tow at times thrcugh the bridges. BUt I kneW the set of the current on these bridge piers and there is a difference in the set at different stages of water. I never took acy chances, I nm the size that I would nm in extreme water; I nm the same size when the c:::oniitions were not so extreme. I knew them see, an::i I think most pilots do. Of course you take the steamboat business, like eve.tythi.ng else, take right on the highway here, Wrrj, a dangerous point cx::mes up, take right fran this road out to there, take out on this fann some place t:hin;Js can cane up there that is dangerous. It• s not perfect in anyt:hirg but if you learn a trade an::i know what it is regardless of what it is, Whether it is steamboating or anyt:hirg else, why the mre you know it about the :nw:n"e adept you are and less liable to something haR;len and yet quite often something l'Jaipens. Q: Did you ever pilot coal in the lower river below the falls? A: No, I never did. I was have gone down as far as New Albany. Taken batges of ooal down there at New Albany. I don't know" anything about the river down below louisville. I have been too busy, I •ve often wished that I did knaw the river down there. I've been too busy from I.auisville to Pittsburgh and the head waters of the Kanawha River. I've always been wor~ and until I quit, semi-retired, don't say I'm semi-retired. I have always been too busy up here to learn it down there. Q: I suppose you went up on the Men or the Allegheny? A: Never been above the Smithfield street Bridge in J.Cr;f life on Mon River and I've been up to sixteen miles an the Allegheny River. But I didn't pilot up there. '!he fellow that took her up there, he didn't have any license and he went by map. 'lhat was his responsibility not mine. (chuckles) I told hiJn I didn't know it and I wouldn't do it. Q: Before we close off I wonder if you could describe sane of your activity on the government boats that you were on for awhile? A: Yes, they l:uil.t the~' the Miami at Cincinnati, all at the same time, about 1912. innatiEliijrneer District selected me as one of the pilots an::l captains, ani they wasn't finished yet, so I was down at I..awrenoebw:q 'When they sent me word and I went up and went to work on the boat. '!hey didn't have them all finished and all fitted out an::l they asked m to go ahead and get them ready to go out. Which I did. sane t.hin3s didn't exactly suit me at the tiJne when I got up there so I got that straightened out, though. So I went out in 1912 al~ in June, maybe. Don't remember, June or JUly. I was on abcut seven years. we dredqed the channel out in the river at J. EDmy Edqi.rgton 22 different places ani worked aroun:i the locks ani dams, dredging. Of course what I done with the towboat, I was just on the towboat all the time, -we t.c:Med the scows am dredges arourn. cane winter tilne we would be in winter quarter, -we wtW.d pick up a whole outfit for winter. As a general 1:h.irq, the Miami ani the Ohio ani the GU;yan:1otani the Oswego were always together. 'lhese four outfits were usuallyin on spot. Ever once in a.whll.e it wasn't that way tut generally it was that way. well, they had one inspector who was, Hany Peters was an inspector. So I was there pz:etty close to seven years. Before I went to work for the government I thought when I got a government job on the boat I wtW.d be fixed for life. (chuckles) After I got there for awhile I thought I wculd be fixed for life if saneth:ing went wrong. Q: You must have got on the GU;yan:1ot just in time for the 1913 flcxxl? A: I was at Marietta. We wre in there ani laid up for the winter, for repairs; they had me in charge of both steamboats; laid there with the captain of the other boat. Didn't keep anybody but the engineers ani cooks ani firemen ard watchmen on both boats. I had charge of repairs on both steamboats. 'Ihe dredge master of the Ohio, he had charge of the two dredges. We jointly had charge of tFii"Whole fleet. 'Ihe fuel flats, the scows ard all that there. we was all tied up at the m:JUth of the MJskingum River. I had the main steam lines of the Miami tore down for repairs ani that flood cane. Not having a:cy steam on her ani couldn't get any steam on her because her steam pipes were doWn. We did have steam on the ~'Ihe river kept raisi.rqani raising am raising am cc::mdrij up. kept c::x::anin;J down the river ani get down abalt the mouth of the MJskingum River and start floating back up the river a piece. '!here was so much water caning out of the MJskingum River, you know. Matter of fact the river gotsix feet above 1884 flood stage at Marietta in the 1913 flood. Two bridges went out above us. I had twenty-seven lines out on the fleet on to the shore, artllll'D trees, ani that was all there was to fasten it to, the trees. '!hen there was sane deadman in there, a deadman is a log set down in the dirt, you know, with a chain caning out about eight to ten foot lorq. Dig a hole down about three foot. '!hen youfastened that chain, well that's what they called a deadman. 'lba.t's for a check line. so, it was alright until Iowell Bridge which was a wooden crib bridge across the MJskingum River, part of It way up there up by Iowell, whenever Iowell was, I never was up the MJskingum River only abalt five miles. It washed out ani it came down ani there was a little bit of the first bridge up the MJskingum River, from the Ohio River across over to the other side. '!here was a little of that left on this side, the other side had gone out ard the brid:Je above it that had all gone out. Steel, ani it oollapsed in the river, of course. '!be old bridge was woodard it came down the river floating right in the heighth of it. It came down that side where we was layi.rq. Rightahead of us ard it hit the part of that steel bridge that was left, took that out of there, came on down ard that dam I.owell Bridgeoollided on to the head of our fleet. When it did the en:i of it swurgaroun:l this way ard lodged there onto that fleet. 'lhe first thing I knew the lines oamnenoed breakin:], trees oamnenoed falli.rq that we had tied up to at the bank, there on the fcu:mers side ard cut in the river J. EnDl:y Edgington we went, the whole business. Boats, barges, steel flats and dredge boats right out into the Cbio River. well I had steam on the ~· I was layilg on the le7t.'er en:1 of it, too, and had about ~oreight flood refugees on the boat, too. we had taken out of the houses when we were on the west side. one was nr:1 wife and a yc:R.1:Dg' sister-in-law and Clyde, trr:l boy, ani had an ergineer, on the boat of course. Didn't have the ergineer up on the Miami, we had no use for hiln aver there. weu, out we went and the ~Williams was la¥ilg up with the wharf boat, ani I cx:mnenoed blC'~WJ.n;J the distress whistle, and she backed. out ani cane down there to us. Wanted to know where I wanted him ani I said get down on the head of our tow, ahead of the fleet, and keep canii'q ahead on her ani shovilg in her toward the Cbio side; if we get in there with the timber on the shore we could rough lock, get the line out and could tie up. well, the river was so dam high that we weren't aey ways near the shore, we was over the top of the bank, you knc::M, way up; well, I'll tell you, there was a great big, down at this head of ~Island, just above it, were sane great big cottonwood trees up there, ani the water was right up in the top of them. '!bat's what stqJped that fleet. Us a earning ahead with the boat, the ~and the Williams on the upper en:1 shovi.rq the head in all thetillie: Got a li:ne out onto the trees, but the trees were what stqJped the fleet and the whole business. We tied up there. Q: You were lucky. A: I had made up Jirf mird if we went on down, that is if we couldn•tF them stopped before they qat dawn to Parkersburg Bridge, I was Just goirq to tum the boats loose ani go ashore with what I had. Let the balance of it go. Go bel01r1 if I could and salvage what I could. '!bat was in 1913, March, and the Navy and the Arrrr:f, the Navy came there and took charge by appointment of, no, wait a minute, the Arrrr:f came there and took chal:qe of the outfit, except the steamboats. The CJOVen:unent, after the Ar1Jr¥ took chal:ge, why, the Navy took charge of the steamboats. I can remember that Major Whirtenburger from New York City, he had charge of the New York Harbor at that time. An awful nice old fellow too, and he took charge. He told me what he would like to do with the boat and wanted to know how soon I could get the ~steam up em her. wel.l, I said just as soon as I can get together and that would be just as quick as we oould possibly do it, and if work goes swiftly. well we got her out ani took steam on in a ocuple of days. Meantime I was goirq a run fran Parkersburg to Marietta, carryin;J suwlies, food ani stuff like that up to Marietta ani Williamstown. 'Ihey'd brirg it into Parkersburg by rail. SUpplies for the flood area. so after we got steam on the Miami, I started her q:p::site me on that run and through Whirtenburgeranrthe A:r:my, they would brirg supplies in there for the flood relief on below, down river. so Wh.irtenburger asked me if -I thought we could go down the river with suwlies. I said, "Yes we can go as far as we can at any rate; if we could get urrler the bridges." well he said you put sanebody in chal:qe of the Miami and crew of her and have her nm, I dal't knc::M why he told me that, all that done, ani let her do what you are doirg her r'Oil. You go to Parkersburq and 'We111 load two flats with supplies for dcMn river. Which we did, that's when I qat so I J. Eml:y Edgin;Jton 24 didn't like salmon~ DDre. carey a case of salmon in on them bargesani instead of layin;;J them down or settin;J them down they'd throw" them off to the shore. 'lbere were so doggone many of them, you know, and they 'WOUld bust one open they 'WOUld go on the deck ani sane fellow· 'WOUld tranp on a can of it an:i that juice 'WOUld run out and I could smell that yet. (chuckles) '!hen we lit out for down river. Hc:Mever,I'm a little ahead of my story there. When I went to work, clearingthat fleet up, taJd.n;J one barge out at a time, one dredge out at a time, getting drift all cut of it, an:i qettincJ rid of all that old I..c1tlell Bridge. '1he last doggone thin::J I 1:alched was the I..cMell Bridgewhich was on top of it, that was the store flat, store boat. She was stopped umer that there and I had p.rt lines out to everyt:hin;J else so as to hold it ani cane back. I got that thing out in the river, trying to run that ~out ani I couldn't budge it. I would back and cane ahead, that ~wouldn't tu::lge. I was taJd.rq backing on a slide an:1 swing ani couldn't do it. Go down to the head of the Muskin;Jum Island I saw the tops of trees aver there, so I decided to just take it aver there ani p.rt it into that. 'lbere was an apple . orchard aver there, took the tops out of f!NerY dam one of them apple trees and still that wasn't umer there. I seen sane great big sycem:>re trees aver on the west inside of the islan:i and there was eddy enaJgh in there that I COJld back it aver there ani get a swing on it and I hooked one ern of that darn thing into one of them sycem:>re trees with a down hill p.ll1. ani got it out. '1he next place I saw that darn bridge was down there at Bethlehem, sixteen miles below Madison in a lot of big sycamore m the shore. I went down with them supplies down the canal to I.cuisville ani p.zt off what I had left off down there and cane back up the river. I didn•t have but about three nights sleep in that whole b.lsiness. When I got back to Marietta by george I didn•t hardly krlow myself. I was in bed three weeks. Q: It was rough water then, wasn't it? A: I had just exhausted myself, that is all there was to it. course these thirXJs are all in a lifetllne. But of Q: we have exhausted two tapes. A: You krlow, my daughter-in-law nms a party house here ncM. tell you anyt:hj.rg about it? Did she Q: Not yet. A: Better step it then here. Errl of side 'lWo, Tape 'lWo
|Title||Edgington, J. Emory - Interview and Memoir|
Floods--Ohio River, 1913
|Description||Captain Edgington discusses his family's involvement with steamboats and the Ohio River. He recalls the 1913 flood, shipping on the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers, boating conditions and hazards, sawmills, coal towing, and cargo hauling.|
|Creator||Edgington, J. Emory|
|Contributing Institution||Oral History Collection, Archives/Special Collections, University of Illinois at Springfield|
|Contributors||Knoepfle, John [interviewer]|
|Digital Format||PDF; MP3|
|Relation||STEAMBOATS AND INLAND RIVERS|
|Rights||© Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. For permission to reproduce, distribute, or otherwise use this material, please contact: Archives/Special Collections, University of Illinois at Springfield, One University Plaza, MS BRK 140, Springfield IL 62703-5407. Phone: (217) 206-6520. http://library.uis.edu/archives/index.html|
|Collection Name||Oral History Collection of the University of Illinois at Springfield|
|Title||J. Emory Edgington Memoir|
|Source||J. Emory Edgington Memoir.pdf|
|Rights||© Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. For permission to reproduce, distribute, or otherwise use this material, please contact: Archives/Special Collections, University of Illinois at Springfield, One University Plaza, MS BRK 140, Springfield IL 62703-5407. Phone: (217) 206-6520. http://library.uis.edu/archives/index.html|
University of Illinois at Springfield
Norris L Brookens Library
J. Emory Edington Memoir
ED44. Edgington, J. Emory (1870-1966)
STEAMBOATS AND INLAND RIVERS
Captain Edgington discusses his family's involvement with steamboats and the Ohio River. He recalls the 1913 flood, shipping on the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers, boating conditions and hazards, sawmills, coal towing, and cargo hauling.
Interview by John Knoepfle, 1957 OPEN: released by John Knoepfle
Archives/Special Collections LIB 144
University of Illinois at Springfield
One University Plaza, MS BRK 140
Springfield IL 62703-5407
© 1957, University of Illinois Board of Trustees
~!his manuscript is the product of a tape recorded i.nteJ:view corrlucted
by John Knoepfle on July 16, 1957. Margaret Reeder transcribed the
tape and Dr. Knoepfle edited and reviewed the transcript. ~!his and
other i.nteJ:views in a series on steamboats and inland rivers were
produced urder the auspices of the Public Librazy of Cincinnati and
Hamilton COtmty, Ohio and Bangalron state university, Sprin;field,
In this mem:>ir J. ED:ny aigi.ngtal diSOJSses his family's irwolvement
with steamboats and river boats, the 1913 flood., and boatin;J
John Rnoepfle was bom in Cincinnati in 1923. He obtained his R:t.o. in literature fran saint Iouis university in 1967. Dr. Knoepfle is presently a professor of Fn;Jlish at Bangalron State university. He was named Illinois Author of the Year in october, 1986. John and his wife Peg have one daughter and three sons.
Durirq 1953-1955 while workin;r as producer-directr of an educational television station, WCEI'-'IV, Cincinnati, Dr. ~fleproposed a project on steamboats ani inland rivers. 'lbese r~ve.r memoirs are a result of the research collected during 1954-1960.
Readers of the oral histoJ:y mem:>ir should bear in mind that it is a transcript of the spoken word, and that the i.nteJ:vieNer, narrator and editor sought to preserve the infonnal, conversational style that is inherent in such historical sources. Bangalron state university and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton county, Ohio are not responsible for the factual accuracy of the mem:>ir, nor for views expressed therein; these are for the reader to judge.
'nle marruscript may be read, quoted and cited freely. It may not be
reproduced in whole or in part by B:rri means, electronic or mechanical, witho.lt permission in writirg fran either the oral History Office, Bangalron state university, Sprirgfield, Illinois, 62794-9243 or the OJrator of Rare Books ani Special Collections of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton county, Ohio, 45202-2071.
J. EmJry Edgirqton, July 16, 1957, I.anc:aster, arlo.
John Knoepfle, Interviewer.
A: Bat win.gs, that's right, a wheel on the outside with a long shaft
across it from one side to the other ani a belt connected with the bullwheel. It was a big wheel, they called it a bullwheel. When he ~tthe boat the boiler on it was a thresh machine boiler with the engme up on top of the boiler. '!hat's when I first went steamboating.
Q: '!hat Katie Prather is kind of a fanoJS legen::laJ:y boat?
A: I supposed yoo have hea:td that legen:i about the what became of her. 'lhat Bill I
|Collection Name||Oral History Collection of the University of Illinois at Springfield|