Who Built the First Steamboat?
This question has a complex answer, so we've made a page that includes everything you've send us! Plus some good links for more info.!
Latest info. on an old controversy. This came in Jan. 27, 2008 from David Duff of Australia, an excerpt from his research on the history of steam powered vehicles.
Manufacturer Name * Location * Month, Year * Type * Comments
Capt Blasco de Garay * Spain* June 1543 * Steam Paddle Engine * Temporary engine to power a two hundred ton ship
Thomas Savery * England * July 1698 * Steam Pressure Engine
Denis Papin * Germany * 1704 * Steamship * French inventor Denis Papin built the first steamship while visiting Germany
James Watt * England * 1776 * Heat Engine
James Rumsey * USA - Virginia * 1784 * Steam Water Jet Boat * Sailed up the Potomac River in 1786
William Symington * Scotland * October 1788 * Steamship
Richard Trevithick * Wales * 1804 * Steam Locomotive
Sophia Jane * Imported to NSW * May 1831 * 153 ton Paddle Wheeler * First steamship to operate in Australia - Sydney to Newcastle
The Surprise * Neutral Bay, NSW * June 1831 * 80ft Steamship * First steamship built in Australia
Thompson Steam Car * Armadale, Victoria * July 1896 * Steam Car * First vehicle built in Australia
Editor's note: we found another reference to add. In 1721, Thomas Newcomen invented the first practical steam engine. It was used throughout Europe to pump water out of mines. Later, James Watts came along and made improvements.
New book on the invention of steamboats! This book answers the question of who built the first steamboat:
Steam: The Untold Story of America's First Great Invention by Andrea Sutcliffe
At this Site: John Fitch and Robert Fulton
Biographies of two famous steamboat inventors: John Fitch and Robert Fulton. Link here for John Fitch. Link here for Robert Fulton. Information from the newly re-published book, Lloyd's Steamboat Directory, which is available from Amazon.com - click here to order a copy.
These are scans of pages from the directory, reproduced with the consent of the publisher. They are large jpgs that may take a minute to download unless you're using DSL, you lucky surfer.
Latest News on Who Built the Frist Steamboat:
Yet another person is the first to invent the steamboat. The following note arrived in our email basket today:
Subj: James Rumsey
Date: Wed, 12 Dec 2001 11:40:48 PM Eastern Standard Time
I wanted to let you know there is a web page devoted to James Rumsey at:
Although there seems to be little interest in Rumsey outside of the Eastern Panhandle of WV, some of the local historians know quite a bit about him, including the facts that:
1. Rumsey was truly the first to succeed at a practical application of steam power to a boat.
2. John Fitch had visited Rumsey and was spying on him while Rumsey was working on one of his first designs. This is where Fitch got his idea for the rack of paddles he used. At the time Rumsey was experimenting with it and found it impractical. When testing it in the shallow waters of the Potomac River near Shepherdstown, the paddles would snap off when they hit the bottom of the river. This is why Rumsey decided to change his design to water-jet propulsion.
Not sure what the dates will be yet, but maybe you can make it to the Rumsey Regatta next year! (more info on the web page)
More info. added to the stew from Mike Odell:
Blasco de Garay's 1543 Steamship
from the Steam Engine Library at the University of Rochester, NY
In 1543, a naval officer under Charles V is said to have propelled a ship of two hundred tons, by steam, in the harbor of Barcelona. No account of his machinery is extant, except that he had a large copper boiler, and that paddle wheels were suspended over the sides of the vessel. Like all old inventors he refused to explain the mechanism. The following account was furnished for publication by the superintendent of the Spanish royal archives.
"Blasco de Garay, a captain in the navy, proposed in 1543, to the Emperor and King, Charles the Fifth, a machine to propel large boats and ships, even in calm weather, without oars or sails. In spite of the impediments and the opposition which this project met with, the Emperor ordered a trial to be made of it in the port of Barcelona, which in fact took place on the 17th on the month of June, of the said year 1543. Garay would not explain the particulars of his discovery: it was evident however during the experiment that it consisted in a large copper of boiling water, and in moving wheels attached to either side of the ship. The experiment was tried on a ship of two hundred tons, called the Trinity, which came from Colibre to discharge a cargo of corn at Barcelona, of which Peter de Scarza was captain. By order of Charles V, Don Henry de Toledo the governor, Don Pedro de Cordova the treasurer Ravago, and the vice chancellor, and intendant of Catalonia witnessed the experiment. In the reports made to the emperor and to the prince, this ingenious invention was generally approved, particularly on account of the promptness and facility with which the ship was made to go about. The treasurer Ravago, an enemy to the project, said that the vessel could be propelled two leagues in three hours that the machine was complicated and expensive and that there would be an exposure to danger in case the boiler should burst. The other commissioners affirmed that the vessel tacked with the same rapidity as a galley maneuvered in the ordinary way, and went at least a league an hour. As soon as the experiment was made Garay took the whole machine with which he had furnished the vessel, leaving only the wooden part in the arsenal at Barcelona, and keeping all the rest for himself. In spite of Ravago's opposition, the invention was approved, and if the expedition in which Charles the Vth was then engaged had not prevented, he would no doubt have encouraged it. Nevertheless, the emperor promoted the inventor one grade, made him a present of two hundred thousand maravedis, and ordered the expense to be paid out of the treasury, and granted him besides many other favors."
"This account is derived from the documents and original registers kept in the Royal Archives of Simuncas, among the commercial papers of Catalonia, and from those of the military and naval departments for the said year, 1543.
Simuncas, August 27, 1825
From this account it has been inferred that steam vessels were invented in Spain, being only revived in modern times; and that Blasco de Garay should be regarded as the inventor of the first steam engine. As long as the authenticity of the document is admitted and no earlier experiment adduced, it is difficult to perceive how such a conclusion can be avoided; at least so far as steam vessels are concerned. It may appear singular that this specimen of mechanical skill should have been matured in that country; but at the time referred to, Spain was probably the most promising scene for the display of such operations. Every one knows that half a century before, Columbus could find a patron no where else. The great loss which Charles sustained in his fleet before Algiers the previous year, must have convinced him of the value of an invention by which ships could be propelled without oars or sails; and there is nothing improbable in supposing the loss on that occasion (fifteen ships of war and one hundred and forty transports, in which eight thousand men perished and Charles himself narrowly escaped) was one principal reason for Captain Garay to bring forward his project. M. Arago, who advocates with peculiar eloquence and zeal the claims of Decaus and Papin, as inventors of the steam engine, thinks the document should be set aside for the following reasons: 1st. Because it was not printed in 1543. 2d. It does not sufficiently prove that steam was the motive agent. 3d. If Captain Garay really did employ a steam engine, it was "according to all appearance" the reacting eolipile of Heron, and therefore nothing new. To us there does not appear much force in these reasons. M. Arago observes, "manuscript documents cannot have any value with the public, because, generally, it has no means whatever of verifying the date assigned to them." To a limited extent this may be admitted. Respecting private MSS. it may be true; but surely official and national records like those referred to by Spanish secretary should be excepted. We have in eighth chapter of our Third Book quoted largely from official MS. documents belonging to this city, (New-York:) now these are preserved in a public office and may be examined to verify our extracts as well as their own authenticity: and the Spanish records we presume are equally accessible, and their authenticity may be equally established. The mere printing of both could add nothing to their credibility, although it would afford to the public greater facilities of judging of their claims to it. So far from rejecting such sources of information respecting the arts of former times, we should have supposed they were unexceptionable.
But it is said although a boiler is mentioned, that is not sufficient proof that steam was the impelling agent, since there are various machines in which fire is used under a boiler, without that fluid having any thing to do with the operations: Well, but the account states that which rally appears conclusive on this point, viz. that this vessel contained "boiling water" and that Ravago the treasurer, opposed the scheme on the ground that there would be and exposure to danger "in case the boiler should burst." And this danger could not arise from the liquid contents merely, but from the accumulation of steam, (the irresistible force of which was, as has been observed, well known from the employment of eolipiles) it is obvious enough that this fluid performed an essential part in the operation in other words was the source of the motive power. Had it not been necessary, Garay would never have furnished in it such a plausible pretext for opposition to his project. It has been also said "if we were to admit that the machine of Garay was set in motion by steam, it would not necessarily follow that the invention [steam engine] was new and that it bore any resemblance to those of our day." True, but it would at least follow that Garay should be considered the father of steam navigation, until some earlier and actual experiment is produced. Arago further thinks, that if Garay used steam at all, his engine was the whirling eolipile-- "every thing" he observes would lead us to believe that he employed this. We regret to say there are strong objection to such an opinion. That an engine acting on the same principle of recoil as Heron's eolipile might have been made to propel a vessel of two hundred tons is admitted; but from modern experiments with small engines of this description, we know ; 1st, that in order to produce the reported results, the elasticity of the steam employed must have equivalent to a pressure of several atmospheres; and 2d, that the enormous consumption of the fluid when used in one of these engines must have required either a number of boilers or one of extraordinary dimensions. Had Garay employed several boilers, the principal difficulty would be removed, as he might then have made them sufficiently strong to resist the pressure of the confined vapor; he however used but one, and every person who has witnessed the operation of reacting engines will admit that a single boiler could hardly have been made to furnish the quantity of steam required, at the requisite degree of tension.
As the nature of this Spanish engine is not mentioned, every person is left to form his own opinion of it. We see no difficulty in admitting that he employed the elastic force of steam to push a piston to and fro or that he formed a vacuum under one by condensing the vapor. Such applications of steam were likely to occur to a person deeply engaged in devising modes of employing it, in the sixteenth as well as in the seventeenth century, not withstanding the objection so often reiterated, that the arts were not sufficiently matured for fabrication of metallic cylinder a piston, and apparatus for transmitting the movements of a piston to revolving mechanism. The casting and boring of pieces of ordinance show that the construction of a steam cylinder was not beyond the arts of the sixteenth century, or even of the two preceding ones; while the water-works, consisting of forcing pumps worked by wheels, and also numerous other machines put in motion by cranks, (and the irregularity of their movements being also regulated by fly wheels) described in the works of Besson, Agricola, &c. show that engineers at that time well understood the means of converting rotary into rectilinear motions, and rectilinear into rotary ones.
Note from a visitor about the accuracy of the following information:
After visiting your website, I was deeply concerned about the grievous mistake you made dealing with William Symington. Since I am a direct descendant of William (I'm his great, great, great, great grandson), I feel it necessary to inform you that William was certainly not English. William was born in Leadhills, Lanarkshire which is in SCOTLAND, not England. It seems quite necessary for you to change this error for in the future, people may mistake him for being English, and that would be a terrible shame. One final thing; I do believe that I saw somewhere that you wrote that it was the American who invented the steamship first. Well, I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but you're wrong. It was indeed, my great, great, great, great grandfather, William Symington. Hopefully you'll make the necessary adjustments.
Thank you so much for your corrections. I will post your note on our page about the first steamboats. Also, please note, there is no relation between William Symington and Richard Simonton.
More details sent in on Mon, 13 May 2002 5:19:44 PM
I found your site while surfing on marine engines. Its very good and informative, but could I offer a small correction about early steamboats -
the Forth and Clyde canal is in Scotland, not England, and William Symington (of the Charlotte Dundas) is not an Englishman. You can check details at http://www.tecsoc.org/pubs/history/2002/mar22.htm
From the 1850's - 1900's most of the worlds steam engines, steamships, and engineers were all conceived and produced on the River Clyde in Scotland. England is a different country. ( If you imagine you are sitting by the banks of the Mississipi river in Canda, admiring the steam boats making their way up river from Mexico you will understand the similar error in geography)
01-01-01 Richard Simonton wrote:
How's the steamboat site? I thought of you recently when I watched a few minutes of "Little Old New York" on the Fox Movie Channel. I'm sure you've seen it. That's the "true story" of Robert Fulton's steamboat, directed by my old friend Henry King in 1940. When I knew Mr. King, he was in his nineties and still flying his twin-engine plane! I've seen a number of movies (a relatively small number) about later Mississippi River boats, but only one stood out. That was "Steamboat Round the Bend," of course. Sure wish Fox Movie Channel would show it
Hope Christmas was Merry and that a Happy New Year is assured. Best wishes.....
Jan. 2000 Jerry Canavit wrote:
HAPPY NEW YEAR! Hope your Holidays were enjoyable. It's cold here in Texas today so I'm spending the day inside taking care of computer stuff. Have been getting occasional research questions from people - probably coming from your site and from Dave's. One of the inquiries was from a high school student wanting information on the development of the steamboat before Fulton's CLERMONT. Another was someone wanting information on the sinking/burning of the steamboat SULTANA on the Mississippi in 1865. There are more people out there interested in steamboats that I thought.
many more than i thought too
Hi! Sorry I haven't written in a while. Have been out of pocket for a couple of weeks on business and not near a computer. I just checked your bulletin board and came across the posting on Samuel Morey as being the inventor of the steamboat and wanted to send you a comment.
A good number of people were involved with early experiments with steam-powered vessels: Samuel Morey among them. Many of these people have their supporters and like to tout them as the true inventors of the steamboat - many regional prejudices withstanding.
Most people in the U.S. learned that Robert Fulton invented the steamboat. I know I certainly did. It was right there in my seventh grade history book. The date was August 7, 1807. I remember it as well as I remember my birthday. I could imagine how it must have been - paddlewheels noisily creaking and splashing, that crude steam engine rocking and shaking the deck, black sooty smoke belching from the chimney with sparks falling all around - people on board chattering with excitement as the vessel slowly moved up the Hudson River against the current and without sail. Fulton's steamboat went from New York City to Albany and into the history books - a 150-mile trip taking 32 hours at an average speed of about 5 miles-per-hour. She was called the CLERMONT. At least that's what my history book said.
Come to think of it - that's not the first thing that history book had wrong. It's not too hard to imagine how that mistake was made and was perpetuated. Bad historical information being repeated with inquiry is, unfortunately, not uncommon. The fact is that Fulton's steamboat was not called the CLERMONT. The correct information is clearly there for the finding. In his writings, Fulton always referred to his vessel as "the Steamboat." After the first historic journey in 1807, Fulton advertised his boat to the public as THE NORTH RIVER STEAMBOAT. On September 4, 1807, the vessel made her first voyage with commercial paying passengers as the NORTH RIVER.
After a brief running season, Fulton's NORTH RIVER STEAMBOAT was completely rebuilt in the spring of 1808. Design flaws were remedied and she was launched again, for all practical purposes, a new, stronger and larger boat. By the summer of 1808 the boat was such a success that it could not accommodate all of the people who wanted passage on her. By March of 1809, the NORTH RIVER had made a clear profit of $16,000 - pretty good money in those days.
But what about John Fitch? Didn't he have a steamboat before Fulton? Wasn't he really the steamboat? A little digging will tell you that Fitch had a successful trial steamboat on the Deleware River in August of 1787 when, on its initial trip, his PERSEVERANCE made three miles-per-hour against the current. In 1790 he had an even more successful vessel. He called this boat the THORNTON. An ad in the Federal Gazette of June 14, 1790 reads: :the steamboat is ready to take on passengers and is ready to take on passengers and is intended to set off from Arch Street Ferry in Philadelphia every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for Burlington, Bristol, Bordentown and Trenton, to return on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Price for passengers 2/6 to Burlington and Bristol, 3/9 to Bordentown, and 5s to Trenton." Further reading will reveal that Mr. Fitch's vessel made regularly scheduled trips all that summer, covering between 2,000-3,000 miles. Breakdowns were rare and his vessel consistently traveled between 6-8 miles-per-hour. She had only one problem. She lost money and ran for only one season. The efforts of Mr. Fitch pretty much ended there.
How about all of those other steamboats? On December 3, 1787, James Rumsey's steam-powered water-jet craft ran successfully for about two hours on the Potomac River averaging about 3 miles-per-hour. Before that, in 1776, Frenchman Marquis de Jouffroy d'Abbans ran a steamboat on the Saone River at Lyons (France) - moving under its own power for 15 minutes before its bottom gave way. In 1789, [Scotsman, see above note] William Symington's small steam-powered sidewheel vessel ran briefly on the Forth and Clyde Canal at between 5-7 miles-per-hour. In 1792, American Elijah Ormsbee's duck-foot steam paddler ram briefly out of Windsor's Cove at Narragansett Bay, making 3 miles-per-hour. American Samuel Morey (ref. your bulletin board) built and ran a stern-wheel powered vessel, running Hartford to New York at about 5 miles-per-hour in 1793. Back in [Scotland, see above], William Symington ran his steam-powered sidewheel tug, the CHARLOTTE DUNDAS, on the Forth and Clyde while towing 2 barges, each of 70 tons. In March of 1803, his vessel ran 19 1/2 miles in a 6-hour period without incident. If you learn from the history textbooks in England [Scotland, see above], you'll find the invention of the steamboat credited to Mr. Symington. A year later, American Robert L. Stevens ran a steam-powered, screw-propelled vessel from New York to Hoboken.
So, if all of these vessels ran successfully before Fulton's boat, why is Fulton credited with inventing the steamboat? The truth is that none of the individual details that made up his invention were his own - they were all borrowed from others. Why then should his vessel be considered the first truly successful model of the invention?
There were many before Fulton who actually built a steamboat that worked: Jouffroy in 1776 - Rumsey in 1787 - Fitch in 1787 and 1790 - Symington in 1789 and 1803 - Ormsbee in 1792 - Morey in 1793 and Stevens in 1804. While these vessels actually worked, they were all 'experiments." Even Fitch's remarkably effective, after covering several thousand miles on a regular schedule, failed after less than a year of operation - a commercial failure. After Fitch's achievement, steamboat development stood virtually still for over 15 years.
The [Scottish, see above] claim that William Symington was the true inventor of the steamboat. After abandoning successful experiments in 1789, he received financial support from Thomas Lord Dundas of Kerse to build a steam-powered tug for use on his canal. In march of 1803, the sidewheel CHARLOTTE DUNDAS was hitched to 2 barges and proceeded to make a 6 hour trip up the Forth and Clyde Canal. Had not the governors of the Forth and Clyde Canal forbade further use of the vessel (they were afraid the paddlewheels would wash away the bank), and had not Symington's funding for advancing the project gone away with the death of his benefactor, perhaps the CHARLOTTE DUNDAS would have successfully introduced steam navigation to [Scotland, see above] and the world. It probably could have. It didn't. Mr. Symington's efforts pretty much ended there.
So why is Fulton credited with the invention of the steamboat and Fitch, Symington and a host of others are not? Here is the case, as I see it, for the credit going to Fulton. Fulton carefully studied the work of most all of those who preceded him and combined all of their successes and made a steamboat that not only worked, but was commercially successful. Not a single part of his NORTH RIVER STEAMBOAT was his own invention - although he patented improvements on much of the machinery. His was, without question, the first "useful" steamboat. His vessel was the product of accumulated knowledge, not an isolated phenomenon as was those that preceded his. He took the best from each of the others, combining and improving on all of the pieces until the result of this synergism was success. The time was right. Acceptance was at hand. The boat worked. People could ride on it and did - and it paid its own way - no longer an experiment or demonstration. After the NORTH RIVER STEAMBOAT began running, steamboats began to proliferate - success breeding success - the ultimate testiment. Those who came before Fulton, however brilliant and worthy, were only martyrs in the cause, because the times were not yet ready. Because of these reasons, I believe Fulton deserves credit for being the inventor of the first successful steamboat. Was he the first to make a boat move under the power of steam? No. Was he the most creative and the most useful man connected with the invention? Maybe. Yet, it was not until after his first successful trip in 1807 that we saw the fruit of his genius - his ability to improve upon his designs and continue at will to build effective steamboats. The principles of his success were so clear and well stated that others were able to follow his lead and repeat his efforts. Steamboats then proliferated everywhere. It has ceased being a philisophical experiment and had become a practical and reliable methods of transportation.
Fulton was the right man at the right place at the right time in history. He was active and at the top of his game when the fruition of his efforts became possible. For these reasons I believe my history book was correct. Robert Fulton was the inventor of the steamboat. Even if the darned book had the name of the boat wrong.
Sorry this went a little long. Sometimes I find it hard to stop once I get going. Anyway, you might want to share some of this with your Samuel Morey proponent - as Morey was really just another "experimentor" and was not the inventor of the steamboat.
I'll give you a call once things get back to normal here and we can discuss other things.
My current project (I've been working on it during the remodeling) is a timeline for important events in steamboat history. It's turned out to be a bigger task than I had anticipated. What to put in - what to leave out - what is important enough??? I've got ten pages on the time period from 1786 to 1818 and that's just starting to get into the real "meat" of the subject. It may turn out to be a book.
Speaking of books - I just purchased a copy of Gould's River History (1889) on eBay. I stole it for $40.00. Unbelievable!!! I'm three chapters into it already. The early stuff is interesting and makes a good cross-referencing companion to Flexner's "Steamboats Come True." The early development period has turned out to be much more interesting that I had anticipated. Did you know that there were 12 steamboats that operated with some degree of success before Fulton's 1807 vessel?
Anyway, let me know if I can be of any assistance.
hi, First of all I would like to thank you for the wonderful explanation on steamboats. I have one last question, I have done a lot of reserch and I have found that Robert Fulton invented the steamboat, I have found other sites that say he has gotton the credit for inventing it but he only added to it. I was wondering if you could tell me if Robert Fulton really did invent the steamboat, and if not what role he played in the industrial revoultion.
Regarding the first steamboat , I believe it was built at Pittsburgh by Robert Fulton and his associates. I ran into a historical account either at The Historic Pittsburgh site or at the MOA site Cornell university . Both address's are on the Daniel's boar thing I sent you . Then again I could have this all wrong.
Sincerely Richard Pollard
thanks for the info. on the "first steamboat" i'm going to take some of that info and post it. Interesting controversy, isn't it? -nori
There is a lot more about these boats the Page was from the Historic Pittsburgh site, simple search. Yes it was a controversy back then as it is now who was first. But I do Believe most Historians credit Robert Fulton with it?
As far as posting those Pages I don't see why not as all the books posted on the historic Pittsburgh site are in the public domain [I think], Old as the hills and long out of Print.
Sincerely, Richard Pollard
Info. about the first steamboat
chris bryan has signed your guestbook.
I think this website could use some history about the first steamboat in the U.S.
michael g. has signed your guestbook.
i need to know how the steamboats were invented. can you hlep me????
i'm the webmaster & saw your question. I've invited comment about this from the steamboat community. See, the problem is, a lot of people invented steamboats at the same times. Everyone who knows anything about steamboats has a different opinion, so there are a variety of answers for that question. I hope someone else will add to this discussion, so we will at least have a vague answer for you and others who need to research this question. I am going to post another request at the guestbook so maybe someone will answer it. If you find a decent answer, i will post it. One of the people was Fulton, but there was another man who also gets credit.
Seeking statements from the steamboat community on the subject of the "first" steamboat. Please volunteer your opinion and any objective information you can provide to the guestbook or board room. I will use your statements to build a new exhibit on the subject in the steamboat museum. - the webmaster
DEAR STEAMBOAT CO.
I was wondering why do you still use steamboats?
I'm doing a report on Samuel Morey who invented the first steamboat have you ever heard of him? He's from Fairlee Vermont. I'm making a homepage about him. Could I use a picture of yours on my page?
Grant P. Grade 4
Hi. My name is Peter and i am 10 years fold. I am doing my science project on steamboats. I a m wondering if you can help me. I am trying to find out what was the very first steamboat ever built?
Thanks for you help.
Hi, i have a suggestion to help you get an A on your report. (In case you still have a day before you turn it in.) Writing is partly ideas and partly style. Your ideas are good and i commend you for wanting to write on this subject (just that much alone should earn you an A), but style-wise, your essay could use some work. Style means grammar and use of words. Please check all your grammar because teachers will subtract points for every spelling error, every place there should be a capital letter, comma, period, etc. Your really really great essay might be knocked down to a B (or worse depending on how much weight the teacher puts on grammar). So therefore, please check over your whole essay and look for these things. Also, get your parents to check it over for you. If you get a revised version, i will post it. Also, i may open a whole new branch of the museum, just to answer the question: "Who built the first steamboat."
thank u. but i turned it in today and i got an A+ thanks thow. r u going to put in on ur web site i can do more to it????
congratulations!!!!! A+ great!
check this address:
yes, feel free to do more to it & email me the newest version.
I got another letter today from a student. Could this be someone from your class???? I told him to look at your paper, but also told him not to copy you.
i've written to the young steamboat expert . . . and by coincidence (?) this morning i got another letter from a youngster inquiring about the same exact subject . . . If only school had been so easy for us, who were born before the computer age.
I posted the new snag picture, see if i got it right:
Also, i will be opening a new wing in the steamboats.com museum, to do justice to the question, "Who invented the first steamboat?" By the way, i sent Mike some copies of letters sent to me by Jerry Canavit (a well known steamboat freak from Austin, Texas), which is where he got some of that information. But he rewrote most of that, so he's okay as far as copyrights go.
here is a young adult novel at Amazon.com called "First Steamboat Down the Mississippi":
Link to Amazon