Steamboat Building in Elizabeth, PA
A Journal of daily activities at the Elizabeth Marine Ways 1898 to 1925
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A brief history of the Brownsville Packet Company taken from the book, The Old and New Monongahela, written in 1893.
Prior to the completion of the slackwater to Brownsville there were no regular packets on the river. The Liberty, Exchange, Oella, Massachusetts, Export and that class of boat did duty as carriers of freight and passengers whenever the depth of water would allow. The Pittsburgh Brownsville Packet Company was organized in 1844 by Adam Jacobs, G. W. Cass, J.K. Moorhead, J.L. Dawson, I. C. Woodward and others.
The Consul was the first boat built for the company; she was commanded by Captain Samuel Clark. Shortly afterward the Louis McLane was put on the line, under the command of Captain Adam Jacobs. These boats in 1850 were superseded by the Baltic, Captain Jacobs, and the Atlantic, Captain James Parkinson. In the year 1851 the Redstone was placed on the line, with I.C. Woodward as Captain. After a short term of service she was sold and a few months afterwards she exploded her boilers near Cincinnati, killing the engineer and several others.
In 1852 the Jefferson and Luzerne were put in the trade to take the place of the Baltic and Atlantic. Captain Morgan Mason was put in command of the Jefferson and Elisha Bennet the Luzerne. In 1856 the Telegraph, Captain I.C. Woodward, was built. The slackwater now being finished above Brownsville, the Jefferson, Captain G.W. Clark, was put above to connect with the Telegraph and Luzerne.
In 1859 the Gallatin, Captain Clark, and Dunbar, Captain Bennett, were built. The Dunbar was in service only a very short time when she was sold to parties in the lower Ohio. The Franklin, with Bennet as Captain came out in 1860. In 1864 the Fayette was placed on the line, Captain S.C. Speers on the roof. In 1866 the E. Bennett was put on the line, with Captain M.A. Cox in command. At that time the company were running four boats. In 1868 the Peoples' Line, which had been operating for a few months with their boats Elector and Chieftain, was consolidated with the old line, after which the style and corporate title of the company was the Pittsburgh, Brownsville and Geneva Packet Company, and by this arrangement the Elector and Chieftain were added to the line. The Geneva was built in 1871 and was in the trade 14 years.
The stern-wheel boat John Snowden came into service in 1876, Captain Peter Donaldson in charge. In a short time she was sold to Captain L.N. Clark, of Pittsburgh, who turned her into an excursion boat. The Bennett and Chieftain were lost in the disastrous ice breakup in 1877. In 1878 the Germania came out, in charge of Captain R.R. Abrams. The James G. Blaine was built in 1882, M.A. Cox master, and has been in continual service ever since. The Adam Jacobs made her maiden trip September 15, 1885, Captain M.A. Cox in command. This boat was the first to carry electric light, and now, 1893, with the Blaine and Germania, constitutes the fleet in the line.
This site gives a schedule for the Brownsville Packet Line:
Brownsville Packet Line