Rivermen
Compiled and submitted by Georgeann McClure

Photo McClure
Albany Illinois



Babatz

Babatz, Louis
Babatz, Wm.
Brake Wilson
Charlie Barnes
Mate
“When Rafters Ruled”
Clinton Herald
Jerome E. Short
 
Late in the season I shipped Charlie Barnes who seemed to be having a hard time in making a living. Charlie was a boyhood playmate, although older, and I was very fond of him. I told him to come on board and do what he could and when the boat laid up I paid him deckhand’s wages. Once I had him for a mate and he did very well but drink was his main trouble. Had another deck hand named William Ilif and after the boat laid up they got hold of a sort of house boat with the intention of going south. When ready to leave they floated down alongside of the Gile and helped themselves to whatever outfit seemed necessary taking a skiff, oars, blankets, kitchen utensils and anything that struck their fancy. We did not find it out until some time after, too late to do anything about it.
 
Buckingham D. J.


Carpenter

Carpenter Chris
Carpenter George
“When Rafters Ruled”
The Career of Capt. Jerome E. Short
Captain Fred A. Bill, St. Paul, Minnesota
“The order to discharge the first one George Carpenter, was brought to me by Lafayette Lamb.  I began to argue with “Lafe” and tried to have him talk with his father and let me keep George as he had not done anything to warrant discharge, just got stuck for a day at Bellevue slough, a thing that was liable to happen to any of us. But, it was no use, he had to go.
The carpenter family and our family lived as neighbors for many years only a street between us and we were the best of friends.   Chris Carpenter and I were the only ones who quarreled.  He was about twelve days my senior and we had a fight when we were about ten years old.  The fight must have been a draw for when it was over I thought  Chris had licked me and he thought I had licked him and we were so afraid of each other that we were warm friends ever after.”
 
“When Rafters Ruled”
Chapter Six
Fred A. Bill
Jerome Short telling story:
“Just before leaving I sold a little skiff I had for six dollars and so had money enough from sale of the skiffs to take me home.  As I was too sick to knock around on deck I took cabin fare. On arrival at Burlington who should come on board but my old playmate Chris Carpenter.  He was going back deck fare and suggested I change my ticket and come down with him and he would look after me, and this I was glad to do.  That night I went to bed on a pile of five bushel sacks-filled with oats, I think and Chris bunked at my feet.  In the morning I felt much better and Chris said I was talking in my sleep most of the night.  He took good care of me until we reached Albany where I went ashore and he went on up river.”
 
Chamberlain Frank
watchman
 
Chasey Ithamer
pilot
 
Denneen Mark
engineer
 
Duncan Thomas
*see Clinton Rivermen
 
Duncan James
*see Clinton Rivermen
 
Durant Alfred
Pilot
  
Durant Edward W.
Cook
 
“The life and Adventures of Stephen B. Hanks”
Burlington Saturday Evening Post
“Among other things I had a barrel of butter weighed some three hundred pounds that cost me five cents a pound.  This may be of interest as a contrast to the price today.  Finished purchasing our supplies, chiefly groceries at Galena and went on to Stillwater and soon our men and supplies were sent into the woods.  Our crew was made up of our summers rafting crew and in addition we had Edward W. Durant, now one of Stillwater’s most prominent citizens as our chief cook.  He was from Albany and it was his first trip North.”
 
Ewing William
“The Life and Adventures of Stephen B. Hanks”
Burlington Saturday Evening Post
July 23rd 1921
We started some time in July, 1844 and to avoid the heavy pull through the lakes we secured a boat I think it was the otter, to tow all the rafts together through the two lakes and that part of the trip which had been such a drag was now quickly made and we were soon at it reaching the foot of Lake Pepin. The pilots in charge of these rafts were James (Sandy) McPhail: Gantey (?), Jun (?) Hickman; Mr. Bruce the surveyor; a man commonly called “(Bible back)” on account of being stoop shouldered and myself.  There were twelve oarsmen, a cook and a helper and a pilot on each raft.  Among the men who came up from Albany were Wm. Ewing, Jim Hugins (?), Mat Thompson; Tover Bard; Jim Withrow; two Robinsons and a man named Flack.  Some of these were in the crews on the rafts and some had gone up to the mill to the log driver, as there were lots of logs still hung up.

Frank Gladhill
Clinton Herald
April 11, 1913
One Rafter On the Upper River
“Capt. Frank Gladhill of Albany was in the city yesterday, and states that the Frontenac, Captain R. H. Tromley, will be in the river soon for the year’s excursion trade.  She tows the barge Mississippi, and is owned by St. Clare Amusement Company.  Harry Winter’s is manager of the boat.  The Frontenac took a couple of excursions out of Clinton last year.  Captain Gladhill will run on the Frontenac as pilot.”
FRANK GLADHILL PILOT ON RIVER 40 YEARS, DIES
Unknown paper and date
Frank Gladhill, 62 of 518, Main St, a registered river pilot on the Mississippi during the past 40 years, died at Mercy hospital at 6 o’clock this morning, following an extended illness.
Born on April 8, 1871, in Fulton Ill. He resided for many years in Albany Ill. He came to Davenport 14 years ago. He was associated with the Streckfus steamboat company until he became ill last November.
Mr. Gladhill was of Methodist faith. He was a member of the Albany Masonic lodge, A.F. & A. M. No. 566.
Surviving are two sisters, Mrs. May Jordan of Albany, Ill. And Mrs. Mabel Erwin of Pondcreek Okla; three brothers, Charles Gladhill of Portsmouth, N.M. William Gladhill of Charlotte, Iowa and Arthur Gladhill of Albany, Ill.
The body was taken to the Horrigan home for funerals, and will be removed Tuesday afternoon to the home of his sister, Mrs. Mary Jordan of Albany. Funeral services will be held Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. at the Albany Methodist church. Burial will be in the Albany Ill., cemetery.
 
Hanks
“When Rafters Ruled”
The Career of Capt. Jerome E. Short
Clinton Herald

Chapter One
Thomas Wright Hanks left Kentucky with a cousin named Dick Hanks for some point in the South, I think Mississippi.  He learned the saddler’s trade, a very profitable one at that time.  We had only one letter from him and we do not know whether he is alive or dead.
Mary Ann and myself went to northern Illinois, with the family of Alfred Slocomb.  She made her home with us until she married Aaron Colvert about 1840.  Later they moved to Iowa.  Her husband went into the Union army and died in the South and she became a pensioner.  Of Uncle Sam, and at the writing is living with a son in the state of Washington.
 
David C. Hanks came to Albany, Ill., about 1843.  He soon followed me in river work and has spent most of his life as a pilot and master, engaged chiefly in the rafting business.  He married Helen Bennett in 1852 and has spent the last eighteen years with his family in Albany.
  
Samuel S. Hanks came to Illinois in 1844 and to Albany a little later.  He has spent the larger portion of his life on the river and apart of it in farming.  With others he went to California during the gold excitement but did not remain long.  He was married to Hannah Stagg, previous to going to California.  He moved to near Davenport some thirty-five years ago and recently went to Princeton, Iowa, where he still lives with some of his children, his wife having died a number of years ago.
 

Capt. S. S. Hanks
Hanks David
"When Rafters Ruled”
The Career of Capt. Jerome E. Short
Clinton Herald
“I was fortunate enough to get a job with Capt. David Hanks on the Hiram Price and finished the season with him.  On one trip, and I think it was the last one of the season, I learned a lesson that never was forgotten and I learned it cheaply.  He had a raft of logs in cattail slough, above Albany to be taken to Benton Bay, above Oquawka.  We were ten days on the trip, including fitting up and one day stuck, and were paid off after the raft was laid up and I received $20.  After we started up the river one John Hooge suggested we have a game of poker.  I did not want to play as I knew nothing about the game but I was the sucker he was after and after awhile I was in it.  It did not take long to lose $2.50 and then I came to and quit.  That loss bothered me as much as would the loss of a friend for I knew what my mother would say to me when she learned of it and it did not occur to me to try and keep it from her.”
 
Hanks Stephen B.
 
Capt. Stephen B. Hanks
Huginun James
Capt. James Hugunin
Of
Albany Township, Whiteside Co IL
Capt. James Hugunin, resident at Albany, was born Dec. 24, 1839, in Butler Co., Ohio. His father, James Hugunin, was born in 1806, in Oswego Co., N. Y., and was taken by his parents, in his early boyhood, to Ohio, where his father secured a claim of land from the United States. The site of the city of Cincinnati now includes the land comprised in the claim. He constructed a residence, which his family occupied a short time, after which it was sold, and they went to Butler County. The father returned to Massachusetts and died in his native place. James Hugunin (first) grew to manhood in Butler County, and married Sarah Flack, a native of Ohio. They lived in Butler County until 1840, when they removed to this State, and five years later came to Albany. The parents, with five children, came from Ohio overland with their own conveyance. Mr. Hugunin at first selected a location a little east of Albany, and later went to the township of Garden Plain, whence he removed to Clay Co., Kan., and is now resident there.
Capt. Hugunin was but six years old when his parents came to Albany. He was but 15 when, in the fall of 1854, he engaged in the capacity of a common hand on the river, and he has spent every successive season in the same service in the several capacities of common hand, pilot and Captain. He is also the owner of forty acres of land, and gives some attention to agriculture. He is interested in good breeds of horses, and owns some fine thorough­bred Almont Rattlers.
He was married Aug. 16, 1859, to Sarah Whistler. She was born Feb. 7, 1841, in Morrow Co., Ohio, and is the daughter of John and Elizabeth (Kiehl) Whistler. John E., Clara M., Harry D. and Ida Augusta are the names of their children.
A Raft Pilot's Log by Capt. Walter A. Blair
1929-Arthur H. Clark Company
Transcribed by Joan Bard Robinson
Celtic cousins.com
The 'Le Claire Belle' made one trip to Saint Louis during low water in
September. She made this trip under charter to the Eau Claire Lumber
Company, Captain Peter Kerns took charge and Captain Hugunin went with him as
pilot. He did not need a clerk, or had one of his own, so George Tromley and
I did not get to make this trip, but we were transferred to the 'Silver Wave' until the 'Belle' returned.
 
Kenney Martin
Knapp Cornelius
Cornelius Knapp
Of
Albany Township, Whiteside Co IL
Capt. Cornelius Knapp, a resident of Albany, was born July 9, 1830, in the town­ship of Moers, Clinton Co., N. Y., and is the third son of Robert and Emily (Frost) Knapp. His father was born in 1792, in Nassau, N. Y., and was brought up in Lansingburg, near the city of Troy. He was a commis­sioned officer during the war of 1812, and after its close located in Clinton County, where he was a citi­zen until his removal to Illinois in 1845. He made the journey with his family, comprising his wife and five children, and they set out from Rouse's Point on Lake Champlain, whence they proceeded to Whitehall. They went from there via the Champlain and Erie Canals to Buffalo, and thence on the lakes to Chicago. A farmer brought the party from the Garden City to Whiteside County.
Mr. Knapp bought a tract of Government land in what is now Garden Plain Township, on which he built a small frame house, suited to the times and his means; but it soon gave way to one of more conveni­ent dimensions. On this place which the proprietor placed under excellent improvements, he resided until his death, in 1871, a period of 26 years. The mother was born May 4, 1799, in Rutland, Vt., and she died March 15, 1877, aged 78 years. Their chil­dren were five in number. C. Seymour lives in Garden Plain Township, which is also the place of residence of George M., the second son, and of Hiram F. and Mary Almira.
Captain Knapp was 15 years of age when he accompanied his father's family to Whiteside County. In the winter following he attended school at Albany, and in the ensuing summer he was employed as teamster by Capt. W. S. Barnes. He spent the succeeding winter in school at Union Grove. In the spring of 1847 he engaged in rafting on the Mississippi River, and followed that occupation three consecu­tive seasons, attending school two alternating winters and teaching a third in the school-house in Cedar Creek District. In 1850 he went to California, journeying thither most of the way on foot, supplies, etc., being transported by horse teams. He was enroute three months. He became interested in gold mining and remained on the Pacific coast until the fall of 1853, when he returned via the Isthmus of Panama and New Orleans. In 1854 he once more engaged in his former occupation of rafting on the river, and was engaged in that business until the war. In 1857 he bought an interest in a steamboat, but was not concerned personally in its management. On the advent of civil war, Captain Knapp became master on a freight boat plying between St. Croix, and Burlington, which he conducted one summer. In the winter following he took the boat to Memphis and sold it. Captain Knapp continued in the river service until 1884, operating during the time princi­pally as master and pilot on steamboats. He was engaged two years on the " Diamond Joe" line, which was his only digression from the service above mentioned.
Captain Knapp was married Nov. 22, 1855, to Harriet L. Townley. She was born in Quincy, ILL. and is the daughter of William and Harriet (Huntington) Townley. Her father was born March 5, 1803 in Elizabethtown NJ. Her mother was born in Oswega, N.Y. March 3, 1808. The family settled in New York in 1833. The two older children of Capt. and Mrs. Knapp, Florence and Mildred C., live in Chicago, William T. lives in Clinton Iowa, Mary L. lives with her parents. Florence is the widow of Harry Leland.
“When Rafters Ruled”
The Career of Capt. Jerome E. Short
Clinton Herald
Chapter 2
“Then Capt. Cornelius Knapp came along with the Viola and took charge of the outfit and my first reign as master and pilot was over; greatly to my relief.  I was glad to take a place in the viola crew.  Our first trip was some logs from the bay at the foot of Lake Pepin, and right here came one of the closest call I ever had to passing out!  While we were fitting up the raft Captain Cornelius bought a barrel of eggs for which I believe he paid three cents a dozen-and told the boys to help themselves.  There was a steam pipe at the after end of the boiler and by running it into a bucket full of eggs and water the eggs were boiled in short order.  They could be cooked for all kinds of tastes but the boys generally wanted them hard, and hard they were.  We all ate our fill using salt onl7 for seasoning.  During the night I awoke with a severe pain in my “egg basket” was given medicine and my stomach rubbed until it was raw, but got no relief.
After we started down the rive the boys went out at nearly every town for medicine some one would think about, but all to no effect and I got so I did not care whether I lived or died.  On the seventh day we were down to Lansing and some of the boys went out for more dope.  Captain Knapp spent as much time with me as he could and finally concluded I was going to die so when the dope came on board he told the boys to give me a double dose, which was done.  Soon after the pain left me and I went to sleep and in the morning was all right, except very weak and it took a few days to get my strength back. 
It was a great experience and cured me of excessive egg eating for all time
In going over the upper rapids the rapids pilot undertook to run the ten strings through the steamboat channel.  We had two men on each oar in front and pull as hard as we could the raft would not follow the channel at Sycamore chain but went straight ahead and piled up on the rocks on which there were about 18 inches of water.  I got the job of getting the raft off which took about ten days and it was hard and dangerous work.  There were deep crevices between the rocks and frequently, some man would fall into the water, from which he was rescued with difficulty.  After everything was cleaned up Captain Knapp and I had a falling out and he paid me off.”
 
Lamb David
“When Rafters Ruled”
The Career of Capt. Jerome E. Short
Clinton Herald
Chapter 13
Captain David Lamb, of Albany, was one of the pilots on the Natrona, a good friend of mine and we were both graduates from the ash pan association of pilots at Albany in the early days.

Langsford Perry
“When Rafters Ruled”
Jerome E. Short
Clinton Herald
Chapter 15
In 1880 it was get the logs down!  And we sure were pushing them down.  One trip I had for a partner Perry Langsford, who lived in Albany, where all good pilots come from –except Tom Forbush who lived in St. Louis.  Tom once made a trip with a floating raft from Stillwater to Maple Island, about four or five miles below Alton, in nine days and a few hours, a record never beaten to my knowledge.
(Note:- we have to take exception to our friend in this statement.  We will concede that all pilots from Albany were good ones and the celebrated “ash-pan school” of that burg turned out some of the best but it did not have a monopoly! Le Claire, Read’s Landing, Pepin and Stillwater-as well as some other places-were the homes of many “stars,” – F.A.B.)
 
Lusk Isaac
Lyons James
Mc Donald Toliver
“When Rafters Ruled”
Jerome E. Short
Clinton Herald
Chapter 10
On one down trip we were caught in a “Jimmy cane” in Richmond slough., a little above the village, about six or seven o’clock in the morning.  It came over the bluff and mowed a swath down the side to the river laying everything flat.  When it struck the oat I tried to back into it, but no go.  Then the rain began to pour and it became so dark we could not see a thing; then it began to hail and such chunks of ice I never saw before nor since.  Some of them were three or four inches long and an inch thick.  There was not a regular hail stone to be seen and when these chunks hit the roof they ripped the canvas and filled it so full of holes that we had to put on a new one.  Toliver McDonald was my partner and when the wind struck us he came rushing to the pilot house and got alongside but could not get any further.  The windows were broken, sash and all, and went hurtling over his head into the river.  When the storm was over we were opposite the upper branch of black river going down the river stern first.
 
Meecher Monroe
Mitchell Abe
“When Rafters Ruled”
Jerome E. Short
Clinton Herald
Chapter 5
In the spring of 1865 I got my first free ride on a steamboat.  It was on the War Eagle commanded by Captain Abe Mitchell of Albany an old friend of the family.  The boat had wintered in Le Claire and came up from that place with the side wheel steamer Ocean Wave on one side and a barge on the other en route to Dubuque.  Capt. Mitchell had promised to take my brother Ira H. and myself to Dubuque and try to get work for us on some boat as we both had the “bug”.  Think my brother was successful in landing a job as “shiner” but I did not get any kind of a job and how I got home has been a mystery since I have been trying to solve some of these kind of problems .I have no recollection how I got home from this trip.
Death
02-22-1876 Mitchell, Capt. Abraham in Albany, Ill. 58 years old.
Nevitt Clem
“The life and adventures of Stephen B. Hanks”
“Rafting on the upper river in 1848-49”
“Reached the raft at Marion city in a few days and found the river frozen over but the ice not very thick.   Had left the raft in charge of my clerk, Clem Nevitt, when we laid it up.”

Robertson William
Clerk
 
Shorts
“When Rafters Ruled”
The Career of Capt. Jerome E. Short
A graphic story of his 55 years of service on the Upper Mississippi
Chapter One
“During the year 1833 the family moved from New Jersey and settled in Carroll county Illinois, near the present village of Thompson and lived in the regulation log house of the times.  Here were born; George Lyman, March 11, 1841, Ira H. January 2, 1844; Allen Marne, April 26, 1847 Marne, April 26, 1847: Jerome Elija, March 4, 1849.  In 1850 the family moved to Albany Illinois and first lived in a house on Front street not over 75 feet from the river.  A few years later the father built a house some two blocks from the river, which was home so long as any member of the family resided in Albany.  There were born in Albany Charles Martin, November 30, 1853: Anna A., December 9, 1856.
The father left home to seek his fortune in the gold fields around Pike’s Peak in 1863 and was never heard from.  The mother died at the home of her daughter Anna, in Davenport, in 1883.  There are living today, 1933 only Jerome and Anna, (Williams).”
*Shorts moved to Clinton, then to Keokuk
 
Slocumbs
 
“The Life and Adventures of Capt. Stephen B. Hanks”
Burlington Saturday Evening Post Aug 30, 1921
Note: _Albany without the Slocumbs would have been like one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays with hamlet left out.  They were numerous and if all counted might have outnumbered the Fuller family of Pepin.  They did not, however, take to the river with the unanimity of that famous family.
 
Alfred Slocumb, with whom Capt. Hanks made his home so long, was followed to Albany by his four brothers, Stephen, Charles, Samuel, and William, all being cousins of the Captain’s mother.
 
William W. Slocumb became a famous raft pilot in both floating and steamboat days and was in the employ of Knapp, stout, and Company, Mennomonie, Wis. and Laird Norton & Co., Winona , Minn. for many years.  His nephew William R. Slocumb a son of Stephen Slocumb was with him for many years, to distinguish between them the former was known as “Old Bill” and the latter as “Young Bill.”  Later W. R. was a successful pilot and master on his own hook.
 
Henry Slocumb, son of Wm. W., ran with his father for many years and succeeded him at his death.  Both Wm. R. and Henry F. died during 1920, their deaths being duly recorded in the Post.
 
The John Slocumb who was the third husband of the mother of Capt. Hanks was no relation to the five brothers mentioned but was a brother of one known as “River” Charley Slocumb and of Nancy Slocumb and they all added to the census of the Slocumbs in Albany. F. A. B.

Slocumb Alfred
“When Rafters Ruled”
The Career of Capt. Jerome E. Short
A graphic story of his 55 years of service on the Upper Mississippi
Edited and copyrighted, 1933 by Captain Fred A. Bill, St. Paul, Minnesota
Chapter One
“Albany was long known as the home of rivermen.  It will be remembered that the family of Alfred Slocomb of which Stephen B. Hanks was a member arrived there during the summer of 1836.  it is not of record that there were many river men there at that time but they increased rapidly and many of the crack pilots, especially in the rafting business, came from the busy and historic burg. 
 
Slocumb John
The John Slocumb, who was the third husband of the mother of Capt. Hanks was no relation to the five brothers mentioned, but was a brother of one known as “River” Charley Slocumb and of Nancy Slocumb and they all added to the census of the Slocumbs in Albany . F, A. B.
 
Slocomb W. W. ⁄ Slocomb Henry
“When Rafters Ruled”
The Career of Capt. Jerome E. Short
Clinton Herald

Chapter 8
“The Champion was another Knapp Stout & Company boat and about the smallest of that class then engaged in rafting and one of the best for her inches.  She was then commanded by Captain W. W. Slocumb.  We left Reads Landing a day or so after she left and for some reason Capt. Dan did not lay up on Saturday night and on a Sunday we passed the Champion, at the bank near Capoli, obeying orders as to Sunday lay up.  Henry Slocumb, son of Capt W. W. and the clerk of the Champion, came out in a skiff, went to the pilot house and asked Capt. Dan why he was running on Sunday, to which Capt. Dan replied: “to get down the river,” which reply did not set well and they had an argument that was quite hot, but of course did not accomplish anything.  I never did know why Capt. Dan violated the general rule of the company.
(Note: Generally speaking Sunday on the river was as good as any other day and treated about the same.  Occasionally a skipper would recognize the day but there are very few instances where the day was observed, differently from any other.  Knapp, Stout & Company had a rule requiring the boats to lay up on Sunday and it was generally observed.  Just the reason for the order we never knew, but some who followed the regular rule of running all the time the boats were on regular trips were unkind enough to say that it gave the company a chance to clean boilers every week and save some expense while that was being done as the per day men got no pay for Sunday -when they did not work! F.A.B.)”
 
Smith Edgar
clerk
 
Suitor Nicholas
“When Rafters Ruled”
The Career of Capt. Jerome E. Short
Clinton Herald
“After the season closed at Stillwater I went to Reed’s Landing hoping to get something that would help me out on the way home.  As luck would have it I found Dan Davison  and Boyd Newcomb taking eight strings of lumber to Dubuque and I got an oar on the bow.  I do not think we put out a line on the trip.  Nicholas Suitor an Albany boy, was cook on the raft and both of us anxious to get home.  So after getting our pay, there being no boats running, we decided to take the skiff route.  We started down late in the afternoon.  The weather was quite cold.  It was practically dark, when we reached Catfish so we landed, built a fire, made some coffee, hung around the fire awhile, and slept by jerks until about 4 o’clock the next morning when we pulled out.  Put in a full day and camped that night on an island just below Savanna.  It was getting colder and the next morning was very foggy and we were wet to the hide by the heavy dew.  Floated as best we could and when the fog lifted we were about six miles above Lyons and made home about 4 o’clock that afternoon.”
 
Townley Charles
Clerk
Whistler William
Wild Frank

Frank Wild
From The Burlington Saturday Evening Post March 1912
Chapter 28 of
Captain E. H. Thomas
I regret to announce the death of Capt Frank Wild, which occurred March 3rd at his home in Albany, Ills., at the age of 73 years. All old time river men will remember the genial Frank Wild and regret to hear of his death. I have not seen him for 30 years, yet I knew him well, and remember him as an active, genteel young man, away back in the 60’s. he went on the boats at an early age and last year completed his 50th year as a steamboat pilot. He was a good pilot, loved the business, and stayed with it to the end. My remembrance is that the family at one time lived at St. Francisville, Mo. And from there moved to Quincy, Ills., where Frank was born. He leaves a wife and daughter to mourn his loss, and the sympathy of all of Frank’s old time friends and associates will be extended to them in their bereavement.

Wallace Wilson
“When Rafters Ruled”
The Career of Capt. Jerome E. Short
Chapter One
“My first attempt at improved boating was not wholly a success.  My father had a very nice skiff, or row boat, and I was eternally after him to let me have it so I could make it a side wheeler.  Finally he consented and told me to go ahead and see what I could do, so I started on the job.
The first move was to get material.  This I did by gathering all the lumber and timbers that could be found along the shore of the rivers above and below Albany for some distance.  It took me some time to get the necessary material together but at least I was ready for work and had as tools a saw and hammer.  Of course I was not able to work continuously but did it at odd times.  The top of the skiff was decked over and there was very little guard forward and aft of the wheels.  The wheel frame was made out of saplings about three inches in diameter.  Having no way to make it exactly square I had to use my eye-and was fairly well satisfied.  The two shafts were made of round sticks about one and one-half inches in diameter, to which the wheel arms that carried the four buckets on each wheel were fastened.  The engineer sat in the hold of the skiff with good splash boards between him and the wheels.  The captain pilot and engineer were in one person.  The crew was Wallace Wilson who I had induced to make the trial trip with me.
When all was ready the captain issued orders to let go and we backed out slowly, the engineer at the crank of each wheel.  After we got clear and straightened up we came ahead slowly and having checked the backward speed came ahead strong.  After three or four revolutions both wheels dropped into the river!  The crew was ordered to take the headline and jump in the water, wade ashore and make the boat fast.  He obeyed orders to some extent but unfortunately took both ends of the line with him and I was adrift without oars, compass or pole.  For a little while I thought my time had come and that I was due to be wrecked or starved but fortunately Dave Byer saw my trouble an came out in a skiff and rescued me.  My reply was that a sidewheel boat did not need oars! That was my last attempt at boat construction.”
 
Whitcomb Samuel
Winans
Winans Aaron
Winans George
TWO OLD PILOTS HEAVE ANCHORS
Veterans Winans and Tromley sail for unknown
The Daily Times
Oct. 18, 1904
Pg. 4
Captain Winans
Captain Mahlon S. Winans was one of the earliest settlers in the village of Albany, a river town dating from the early days of the river’s greatness.  His residence in Albany dated from 1839 from which time until his death Sunday evening at 9:30 o’clock, he made his home in that village.  From the start, he engaged in the life of a riverman, working his way up from the lower deck to the pilot house, which berth he held for sixty years.  Guiding passenger and freight boats, rafters and tugs from the Falls of St. Anthony to St. Louis and to the gulf up and down the tributaries of the Mississippi, he learned every nook and cranny, every rapid, shoal and rock in the great river, as one knows the topography of his dooryard.
Taking an active part in the river traffic when before the advent of the railroad, it was at its height and the great west was beginning to push its wealth of grain and timber to the market of the world, the history of the Mississippi valley during the most momentous periods in its history was personally familiar to him
Broken down by the years of labor from heart trouble for some time and his end was not entirely unexpected.  He was a brother of Captain George Winans, connected with many river interests in the capacity of boat owner.
 
Winans Mahlon
“When Rafters Ruled”
Jerome E. Short
Clinton Herald
Chapter XIX
Early in the spring of 1857 we made our first trip pulling an oar, there was a raft of lumber belonging to Carson and Rand going to Burlington, Iowa.  This lumber raft wintered about a quarter of a mile above Nelson’s Landing.  A man by the name of Boyd Newcomb had a contract to run that lumber.  He had a young man with him, who acted as second pilot by the name of Tom Forbush, who soon became a first class pilot on rafts.  He had a knowledge of the river to St. Louis.  We shipped on this raft to Burlington, Iowa.  After we got back Carson and Rand had no lumber for some time to go down the river and we shipped with a pilot by the name of Malin Winans.  On this trip to Dubuque, we first became acquainted with George Winans, a brother of the pilot.  He was a year younger than myself.  He afterwards became Captain George Winans, a noted pilot and later owner and builder of steamboats.  We made a second trip with Pilot Malin Winans.  We do not recall where this raft went to, but we do recall that it went below the Rock Island Rapids.

Withrow Al. “When Rafters Ruled”
Capt. Jerome E. Short
Clinton Herald

Chapter 15
Once we took a raft out of Lansing bay that had been there for some time.  Weeds had grown up al over the raft and it looked more like a week field than a raft as we went down the river with it.  Alf Withrow was my partner and he was a good old pal.  Everything went nicely until he was taking the first piece through Cassville slough.  When near the second bend he got nervous and excited and began niggering the boat first one way and then the other, paying no attention to the rudders and all the time the boat was backing with all her power.  He was pulling the raft so hard that the windlasses on the fore and aft, lines began to snap; the “A” lines and cross lines began breaking and all the time Alf was cussin the men for all he was worth.  He had been getting on so well that I did not like to interfere but finally I went to the pilot house to stop his cursing the men.  I told him h was pulling the raft to pieces and if he did not quit we would be a week picking up loose logs.  He calmed down a little and when we had the raft adjusted so there was no more danger he said: “Lome, I would give a thousand dollars for your disposition.”  I said he could have it for nothing if he would stop and think for one minute when he got into trouble.  Instead of commencing to curse yourself;  “We are in for it, now let us get out of it as best we can,” and be pleasant about it.  He was all unstrung and said he never thought of that!  It was the first time I ever knew him not to argue his side of the question as his long suit was a controversy.  We got along nicely together and if he is alive today I wish him happiness and prosperity.  If he has passed on I hope he is with some of our old cronies with whom he can argue to his heart’s content, as that is the way he will get the most pleasure.
(Note Alfred R. Withrow was born on a farm in Henry Co., Ill., January 7, 1837, commenced his river career on a raft with David Hanks-no raft captains in those days-in 1854.  Enlisted in the sixth Wisconsin regiment in the Civil War in 1861.  Returned to the river after his discharge and followed the river as long as he was able his last few years.

Withrow Jim
“The Life and Adventures of Stephen B. Hanks”
Burlington Saturday Evening Post
July 23rd 1921
Among the men who came up from Albany were Wm. Ewing, Jim Hugins (?), Mat Thompson; Tover Bard; Jim Withrow; two Robinsons and a man named Flack.  Some of these were in the crews on the rafts and some had gone up to the mill to the log driver, as there were lots of logs still hung up.
 

 

 

 

 

 
Previous  |  Next ]     [ Up  |  First  |  Last ]     (Article 38 of 59)