Also in 1848 - Wyatt Earp is born in Monmouth, IL. War between U.S. and Mexico ended
with Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. In exchange for $15 million, the U.S. acquired the
areas encompassing all or parts of present day California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New
Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and Texas.
In 1849 - St. Louis alone, reported being visited by 3,000 different
riverboats. The City had grown from a population 3,000 to over 77,000 and had become
the second largest Port in the country (second only to NYC).
That same year, a fire destroyed 23 sternwheelers and 15 city blocks along the riverfront
and it was reported that as many as 170 sternwheelers a day were docked along the St.
Louis river front.
|In 1804, Vice President Aaron Burr kills Alexander Hamilton in a legal duel over campaign election results. (Remember "dangling chad"?)
In 1807 - Well financed by Livingston, Robert Fulton's paddle-wheeled steamboat the Clermont, (named after the Livinston's Estates
"Clermont" traveled 150 miles from NYC to Albany in record breaking speed. The trip took 30 hours and included an over-night stay - this
beat out the fastest over-land route by 4 days and the fastest sailing vessel by 2 days. News of Fulton's "fast" (7 mph) steam-powered,
paddle-wheeled driven boat seem to travel faster than the journey itself, and the Clermont set in motion what would become the first commercially
successful Steamboat Company in the world.
Also In 1807 - Robert E. Lee is born in Virginia. Robert Stevens, builds the paddle-wheeled steamboat Phoenix, which operates for six years on
the Delaware River. To reach the Delaware, the Phoenix had to navigate from New York City, around New Jersey, and thus became the first
sternwheeler and steamship to cruise on the ocean.
And Robert Fulton, under Livingston's influence however - realized how important the Louisiana Purchase was for opening the Mississippi and
Mid-West. They promptly began building what would be one of the largest stern-wheeled steamboats to ever navigate the waters of the Mississippi
River. The boat was named New Orleans and was 116 feet length, 20 feet beam, the engine had one cylinder 34 inches in diameter.
docked at the St. Louis levy
In 1811 - Built on the Ohio, Fulton's New Orleans started its first voyage down the Ohio
in September, and became the first sternwheeler to travel the full down stream length of
Mississippi from the Ohio. Thereafter, it operated regularly between New Orleans, Natchez
and St. Louis.
In 1812 - War of 1812 against Americans and British
In 1814 - The British landed in Maryland, defeated U.S. forces and on Aug. 24, burned the
Capitol and the White House.
By 1816, the fleet of passenger and freight paddle-wheeled steamboats operating on
the Mississippi River and its tributaries totaled shipping nearly a half million tons of
freight - supplying economical and fast transportation of freight and people. The
paddle-wheeled steamboat is credited with being the single largest influence for the
successful and expeditious opening of all territory west of the Mississippi, and for settlements
north and south along the Mississippi, Ohio, and Missouri Rivers.
In 1817 - construction began on the Erie Canal - linking NYC to Lake Erie and the Great
Lakes and the Mississippi.
In 1819 - American steamship Savannah made the first part steam, part sail powered
crossing of Atlantic. She traveled from Savannah, GA, to Liverpool, England, in 29 days. The
Independence, became the first sternwheeler to navigate the Missouri river.
In 1820 - the trip from New Orleans to St. Louis over land, required 6 months, Sternwheelers
made the trip in 20 days.
In 1823 - The steamboat, Virginia, was first to navigate the Mississippi from St. Louis north to
Ft. Snelling (Minneapolis).
In 1825 - Erie Canal opened; first boat left Buffalo and reached New York City in 10 days;
John Stevens, (Robert's brother) demonstrates first experimental steam locomotive
|In 1827 - Massachusetts passed a law providing for tax-supported public schools, and
mandatory school attendance. Contrary to what we were taught in school: it was not the Gold
Rush that was responsible for the saying "Go West, Young Man, Go West." It was the
Massachusetts passing a law mandating school attendance. Gold was not discovered in
California for another 21 years.
|In 1828 - Abe Lincoln (at 19 years of age) and Allen Gentry built a flatbed boat and took a cargo of farm
produce from St. Louis to New Orleans. During the trip they got stuck on a shoal, fought off a robbery attack -
and while in New Orleans - Abe observed a slave auction. Between 1828 and 1831 Lincoln and Gentry built at
least two more such flatbed boats and took them loaded with produce from Illinois to New Orleans, all his
return trips were on a sternwheeler.
|In 1830 - Sternwheelers with newer engines were now making the trip from New Orleans to St. Louis in 12 days.
In 1833 - Indoor plumbing with running water the first indoor flush toilets were installed in White House.
In 1835 - Samuel Clemens (AKA Mark Twain) was born in Florida, Missouri, and at the age of four, his family moved to Hannibal. In that same
year, the trip from Hannibal to New Orleans was being made by sternwheelers in 6 days.
In 1836 - Narcissa Whitman arrives in Walla Walla, Washington, becoming the first white women to settle west of the Rocky Mountains. The Alamo
falls to Gen. Santa Anna.
In 1841 - First emigrant wagon train for California, 47 persons, left Independence, MO, May 1, reached California in 6 months and 4 days.
In 1843 - More than 1,000 settlers left Independence, MO, for Oregon.
In 1844 - First message over first telegraph line sent by inventor Samuel F.B. Morse from Washington to Baltimore, with the message: “What
hath God wrought!” Alexander Graham Bell is not born until 1847.
In 1848 - Gold is discovered in
California (probably by one of those
Massachusetts' school drop outs) Over
80,000 prospectors arrive in California
within one year - most by riverboats.
|During this time,
Lincoln makes his first
public speech which was
a speech in favor of
America's Waterways for
|© 1993 - 2017 CaptainJohn.org
"Go West young Man. Go West!"
was NOT because of the Gold
Rush as most think. . .
It was in response to
mandatory school attendance
|What about these two. . .
Mark Twin &
the Unsinkable Molly Brown
|What does - Geronimo - the Statue of Liberty
& Coca Cola
have in common?
|(answers on the next page)