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MAGAZINE SECTION I THE OGDEN STANDARD 1 MAGAZINE SECTION i
I Z- 1
OGDEN CITY, UTAH, SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 1913.
S . , 1
? Ik SteBead tas (Stpamhualiiui I
"Mark Twain "
",11 "Eight foot."
? I "Xo bottom."
One who has spent days and
nights on the Mississippi River,
listening to tho negro roustabouts
; shouting their soundings" to the.
pilot In his cabin on tho uppermost
portion of tho flat-bottomed steam
boats that sail from St. Paul to the
Ilk ' delta of the great river below New
Orleans, Will never forget the mo
notonous half-song of the Inland
sallorman, although the great days
in., of eteamboatlng long have passed
Again the old song of the captain
Instructing his pilot In making r
landing will never be forgotten.
'Let your outride turn over, come
ahead strong inside," Is the cap
tain's order a? the great steamboat
jj Is swinging slowly Into dock A bell
I rings, the outside wheel turns slow
er i ly. while In response to another bell,
the lndde wheel turns rapidly.
"Stop her'" shouts Iho captain.
A ringing of bells and the great
steamer slowly stops with her ' nose"
embedded in the soft mud of tho
rl er bank.
"Lower aw ay'" shouts the mate
I on the main deck. The gang plank
falls. The thirtv or forty negro
. roustabouts run to the landing and
return with loads of freight con
H r; signed to the steamer.
"Get out them long gates:" howls
M I the m tc.
The negroes produce long gate,
lash them together with ropes and
then prepare for the loading of cat
Si M tie.
That's the way It used to be In the
i ha. on Jay s of steamboat trafllc --n
the Mississippi River, when thou
p.'. fands of Inland steamers plied their
way In and out of the harbors of
St. Louis. Paducah, New Orleans,
I Memphis and other large ports
I Now the trade on the Mississippi
I- is falling. No longer do the large
steamboats tra el the great Father
of Waters. Tho railroads have
R taken away a largo percentago of
the travelers and the boaus are used
only In handling slow" freight.
Yet. with the usurpation of tho
railroad, there Is still a great deal of
i romance connected with steamboat
lng on the Mississippi, as the song,
"Waiting for the Hubert E. Lee."
n csprcsslve ditty, telling the story
of tho great races of the river
steamers of days gone by, so clever
NEGROES REALLY SAT
i ON SAFETY VALVES.
There were great races In those
days, when discretion was thrown
to the winds by pilots who hoped to
win the race against a competitor.
Jj In the great song of the river, relat
ing the heroshlp of Jim Bludsoe, the
pilot, who stuck to hie wheel until
Prm ' the last galoot's ashore." the poet
spoke of having a "nlsger squat on
jjjHi the safety valve."
Tales that old river men tell to-
M elude many ouch episodes.
l MLts often raced to obtain tho
V'fltt H 1 mal' contract, as ra II-
fl BBk now contest. In such
i E ginecrs and firemen
i A fa0 extent of burning
S ri'.-lno.in knots to
If & pBrcssure of steam.
JfH Ik. recollect tho
1 j JL de-
I ;M B it was no
uncommon event to place one or two
negroes on the safety valve, so that
all tho steam generated would go
to tho mighty engines that turned
the great paddle wheels.
Tho occasional fato of such dar
ing captains and pilots Is well de
scribed In the song 'Steamboat Dill"
that ends up with the Itne. "He s
Now a Pilot In the Promised lAnd "
Explosions were frequent In tn
dajs of racing and tho enmity of
captains, pilots, engineers and mates
against each other was great.
Such rivalry still exists In a man
ner. It ;s but a few years ago that
four steamboats, leaving the St.
Louis harbor for tho North, raced
for the Alton Bridge, several miles
above the city, and employed every
means to defeat the other.
One of the means used was the
dangerous "whccl-looklnc " A clever
pilot could run his boat alongside
a rival and catch his paddle wheel
In that of his competitor In such a
way as to disable It but keep his
own vessel safe.
It Is said also that Jealous pilots
even nosed their boats info that of
a rival, endangering the lives of the
When a boat going up stream ap
proaches one downward bound, it
gives the signal as to which side It
is to pas9. One blast of the
whlstlo means the upward bound
boat intends to go to the tight.
Two blasts mean to the left. The
signal is answered by the other
If one pilot In going to his side
of the channel were to delay he
might find the other vessel ram
ming him amidships, veterans of
the river say.
Bnh ..,,..,. l.s.tnnr. t.ll..lc ., A
captains were eagerly appreciated
by passengers In tho days of long
Many professional gamblers made
river trips and were willing to be!
on anything. The song Illustrates
this In the description of an cxplo
sicm of a steamboat where a gam
bler and a passenger were sailing
Into the air and the gambler re
marked " I'll bet you Joi I go
higher than you."
MANY "JIM BLUDSOE8"
ON THE .MISSISSIPPI.
The steamboats of the early days
were tho main passenger carrier
and were of great service to both
armies In the Civil War They
also handled freight more cheaply
than It Is carried by the railroads
today. It also Is said that steam
boats were faster then than they
Todwy there are but few passen
ger boats on the Mississippi an-I
Ohio rivers as compared with the
numerous craft that steamed the
inland "seas' forty years ago.
Th old pilots arc gone all of
the famous captains of other years
with but too few exceptions have
passed to the other shore. Yet
people of the West remember the
veterans of the river for their deeds
There has brrn many a "Jim
Bludsoe" on the Mississippi River.
The original poem told of a pilot,
whoso boat was afire, keeping his
Vessel headed toward the shore un
til it srounded and then keeping his
engines "strong ahead" until all of
the passengers wore ashore. The
pilot and the faithful engineer who
stuck to their posts were burned
to death Tales of such heroism
are numerous in the minds of rlv
ermcn. but unfortunately they
never have been recorded In print.
Thousands and thousands of
heroes have been born In the hour
of necessity on the treat river, but
their deeds of bravery havo almost (
The pilot, who feels his way alons
tho channel at night, is guided In
a way by the hand of Providence.
With onlv tho government light.
that mark an ever changing chan
nel, as his guides, he goes through
impossible places steered by his
What passenger has not felt a
thrill when In the night he hears
the huge bell on the hurricane deck
of the steamer rins its signal of
' one'' for the "lead ' on tho rlsht
side and two on the left. In an
swer to this call the mate appears
with the lead w ith Its rope line, and
Its leather marks telling him the
depth Of the channel h" Is soundiiiK.
A negro appears on the hurricane
deck and communicates the findln-
of the officer to t lie pilot
"Quarter twain." calls the mate.
"Quarter twain." repeats the deck
han.l In a monotone.
' Eight feet," comes the call, as
the pilot slowly noses his way fur
want. ' No bottom,"' Is tho encouraging
It means that the vessel has
passed over a sandbar and Is reach
Ing deep water. "No bottom" re
peated several times means the boat
is cleared of a. dangerous bar and
Is once more In the channel.
As a sidelight on tho work of the
river, nothing can be more enter
taining or shocking than tho lan
guage of the mates.
Tennessee River mates were
called the most profane officers In
the country. They were also more
npIIIS remarkable photn of n boat race near Fads Bridge in St. IjouIh
I was taken from an aeroplane Hying over the MlaetoBippI River
severe In treating their crevn and
many a negro has felt tho sting of
a bullet or tho la.sh of the mute s
Now, however, these old negroes
who spend their time lounging in
the tun oc the gockj and Usveea
along the river, are the only rem
nants of tho great days of steam
boating with tho exception of a few
boats now plying the Mississippi.
SOUND OF Till" WHISTLE
JM T A ItEQtlEM TODAY.
Now the sound of the steamboat
whistle as a vessel makes Its way
Into port is to them but a requiem
for the days of the past. The two
long blasts accompanied by three
short ones, a signal used by a cer
tain large steamboat company, re
calls to them the time when the
leveo resounded all night and day
with such blasts. The signals, they
knew litem all A boat might be a
mile aw; vs hen u lounded Its land
Memories of the Mississippi fl
River's Halcyon Past When I
the Good Ships With Flat I
Bottoms and Round Paddle I
Boxes Strained Their Boilers I
to the Exploding Point in I
Races for Speed Supremacy. I
Ing signal, but there was not a
negro ou the levee who could not
name the boat by Its blast.
When such a boat reached port
Ivmoreds of negroes swarmed to tho
levee to aid In unloading. There
was plenty of work for all of them,
for In the days of thirty and forty
years ago often more than 100
steamboats landed In St. Lonls,
Now the old familiar scenes have
passed. Boats have sunk, been burned
or wrecked and never rebuilt or re
placed. .Many of tho remaining
side wheelers have been converted
into excursion boat?, while only a
few now piy the Mississippi lu the
regular freight and passenger trade.
The hearts of the old rlvermen
are sad as from day to day they see .';
It u and less of the grand old liners
that sti smsd the Misslsolppli but
the H1 -vcr take pleasure In the
nun of the halcyon days of
eteamboatlng when brave men II 19
risked their lives on their steamer j M'm
to prove in spaed against that of a