What Coca Cola, the Statue of Liberty & Geronimo have in common
Did you know that
Margaret Tobin
was born in
Hannibal, MO

It was there, working as a
waitress, she met,
Samuel Clemens.
He taught her how to handle
a row boat on the
Mississippi River.

It was also
Clemens that told her of the
get rich gold opportunities
in the Rocky Mountains. She
took his advice.
Today, we all know
Margaret Tobin as:
"the Unsinkable"
Molly Brown
In 2013
There are fewer than a 75 authentic Riverboats are still operating on the rivers and waters of
the world today. Of those, the largest ones are deliberately preserved for tourists attractions.
Some of them still operate on the Mississippi River.

The newest trend on the river today; is that of the sternwheeler enthusiast. These individuals,
in growing numbers,and from all walks of life... are devoted to keeping these historic vessels
off the American "endangered species" list.  Through private ownership and investment, these
proud Americans, historians, nature and boat lovers, are diligently building their own
sternwheelers, and helping others do the same.  They also participate in Sternwheel Regattas
and Riverboat Festivals and events to help raise money to restore as many of these historic
vessels as possible.

Want to learn more?  The American Sternwheel Association can help... They have great
information, pictures and links to help you get started - even to build your own!
And to think - that In 1929
Congress voted to abolish the Patent Office.
They had determined and decided that:
"everything that can be invented, has been invented."
Since then, we have had: stereo, TV, computers, cellphones, jets
rockets to the moon, Internet, GPS, iphones, ipods, and
over 10 million new invention patents in the US alone.

In 1878 - First commercial telephone exchange opened; and Thomas A. Edison founded Edison
Electric Light Co.
In 1879
- President Hayes becomes the first President to use a telephone. Albert Einstein is
in Ulm, Germany.
In 1880 - the steamboat paddle-wheeled Robert E. Lee makes the trip from Hannibal, Missouri
to New Orleans in 17 hours 11 minutes.
In 1881 - Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross. While a famous gun battle involving
the Earp brothers takes place at the OK Corral
, Tombstone, AZ.
In 1883 - Northern Pacific Railroad completed, operates between New York and California, and
Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show begins its 30-year touring run.
In 1884 - The first "long-distance" telephone call completed. It was between Boston and New
First roller coaster in the U.S. opened at Coney Island in New York City.  And Mark Twain's
masterpiece, The Adventures of
Huckleberry Finn, is published.

The steamboat
exploded killing
more than
1,800 passengers
(mostly Union
soldiers).  This
exceeds the number
of lives
lost on the Titanic
and remains as
maritime disaster.
In 1870 the Natchez &
Lee race (upstream) on
the Mississippi, from
New Orleans to St.
Louis.  The Robert E. Lee
wins - taking 3 days, 18
hours, 13 minutes.
It is a journey, that prior
to the invention of the
paddle wheeled
steamboat - took
travelers 4 months to
Also in 1859
Congress approved the offer of a $600,000 Grant
for the first concern to maintain a 2 day mail delivery service
for 60 consecutive days between
St. Joseph, MO and Sacramento, CA.
By the time
Samuel Clemens
was 10... in Hannibal, MO
- traffic made it
impossible to look at the
Mississippi River
in daylight, and not see a
riverboat passing by.
In 1849, Abraham Lincoln
received Patent No. 6469 -
for this (scale model) device
to lift boats over sand bars,
and add buoyancy to vessel
in shallow waters.
Nov. 1860
Abe Lincoln
elected President
Jan. 1861
Civil War begins

In 1849, Abraham Lincoln received Patent No. 6469 for a device to lift riverboats over
shoals, an invention (obviously driven from his experience) which made him the only U.S.
President to ever hold a patent.
In 1850, five states; Florida, Texas, Wisconsin, Iowa, and California were added as States
(making 31 states in all).
In 1851 - Herman Melville, the School Master who hopped on an Erie Canal boat near Buffalo
NY and ended up on a Whaling ship going around Cape Horn, gets his book "Moby-Dick"
In 1853 - White House installs first "hot" running water.
In 1855  - First railroad train crossed the Mississippi River on the river's first bridge, Rock
Island, IL-Davenport, IA, (hence the name: Rock Island Railroad)
In 1857, Samuel Clemens embarks on his career as a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi
River, and did so until the outbreak of the Civil War.
1859 First oil well, drilled near Titusville, PA, while Abolitionist John Brown, with 21 men,
seized U.S. Armory at Harpers Ferry.

In 1860 - Abraham Lincoln elected president, and the first Pony Express begins operating
between St. Joseph, MO and Sacramento, CA.
In 1861 - Civil War begins while the first transcontinental telegraph line was put in operation.
Drafted by the Army, Samuel Clemens "quits" and goes to Virginia City, Nevada where he begins
using the name Mark Twain.  
Apache Indian Chief Cochise declares war on "White Man" and
the "Apache Wars" begin.
In 1862
- The Sultana is christened by the John Lithoberry Shipyard in Cincinnati, Ohio,  weighing
1,719 tons, the steamer carried a crew of 85.  She ran a regular route between St. Louis and New
Orleans and was frequently commissioned by the War Department to carry troops.
Also in 1862, Lincoln receives letter from Napoleon offering Lincoln a chance to surrender the
America - stating that his Emperor of Mexico, Maximilian and his Army were on their way to the White
House. Lincoln of course, up to the top of his hat in the Civil War was helpless, and our country was
defenseless. Now, what Mexico celebrates as "Cinco de Mayo" should be an even bigger American
In 1863 - The entire Mississippi River is controlled by the Union Army, and with the exception
of transporting Union soldiers and supplies - all Riverboat traffic on the Mississippi, Ohio, and
Missouri comes to a halt. Also,
Battle at Gettysburg, Lincoln gives his Gettysburg Address; and
Thanksgiving to be a national holiday.
In 1865 - Pres. Lincoln was shot on Apr. 14, and on April 18, Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to
Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.
 On Apr. 27 the steamboat, Sultana, explodes near Memphis after
passing a safety inspection in St. Louis. She was loaded with 2,400 passengers (mostly Union
soldiers) more than 1,800 passengers killed. This exceeds the number of the lives lost on the Titanic
and remains  "America's worst maritime disaster".

On June 30, 1870 in New Orleans a crowd of more than ten thousand watched the Natchez and
Robert E. Lee set off  on a 1,200 miles race up the Mississippi to St. Louis.  On July 4th
1870, the R. E. Lee arrived victoriously in St. Louis while a crowd of thousands cheered wildly. In the
book, "Tales of the Mississippi", it is reported that the "ovation which
the Robert E. Lee received in
St. Louis was legendary - arriving New Orleans at 11:33 on the morning of Independence Day,
exactly 3 days, 18 hours and 13 minutes after leaving St. Mary's market in New Orleans.
Natchez did not arrive in St. Louis for another six hours and 33 minutes after the Lee.
Previously, the speed record was held by the Natchez which had just earlier in the month (June
1870) surpassed
J. M. White's long standing May 8, 1844 record of three days, twenty-three hours,
and nine minutes. The Natchez' best record to St. Louis being 3 days, 22 hours and 57 minutes.
In 1875 Congress passed Civil Rights Act, and the first Kentucky Derby takes place.

In 1876 - Alexander
Graham Bell patented
the telephone
, while Col.
George A. Custer
and all
the soldiers of the 7th
Cavalry were killed in the
Battle of the Little Big

In 1889 - President Benjamin Harrison becomes the first President to have electricity in the White House - but, he
doesn't use it as he and the First Lady are afraid to touch the switches. (They didn't let the staff use it ether.)
In 1903 - Just 100 years after Fulton's demonstration of his steamboat Claremont, people all around Kitty Hawk were thinking
the Wright Bros. were crazy.
:: Capt John's RiverBoat Glory Days ::
A 100 year history of the American Riverboat
Molly Brown
100 year History
of the Riverboat

is brought to you
Capt John

and his crew aboard
the SummerWind
© 1993 - 2017 CaptainJohn.org
here it is:
I promised to let you know what
Molly Tobin Brown
(the Unsinkable Molly Brown)
and RiverBoats had in common.
The answer is
Mark Twain
(Samuel Clemens)
In 1886 - while the newly formed Coke Cola
was serving Coke Cola to the public for the
very first time at a little drug store in Atlanta, GA;
At the same time, the
Apache Indian Chief, Geronimo
in Arizona ending 25 year "Apache Wars".  
While in New York City, they were having a party for the
dedication ceremony for the
Statue of Liberty...
(notice the difference in
the stages of
development between the
East & West?)
Live your dream. . . What ever it is. . . Do what it takes to live your dream!
Building Summerwind was a 2 year project that turned into 10 years from laying the hull to final completion.