NATCHEZ

"SW p wh b. Cincinnati, Oh., 1869. 1,547 tons. 301 x 42.6 x 9.8. Engines, 34's--10 ft. Eight boilers, each 2-flue. . . . Built for Capt. T.P. Leathers for the New Orleans-Vicksburg trade. . . ."

[One of more than a dozen boats of the same name, most famous for its race from St. Louis to New Orleans against the ROB'T E. LEE in 1870.]

In off-cotton seasons the NATCHEZ made trips to St. Louis, and so it was in June 1870 she sprinted north to that port breaking the long-standing J.M. WHITE record by one hour 12 minutes. The businessmen of St. Louis presented a fine set of deer horns to Leathers and much printers' ink was expended in laudation. This achievement set the stage for the celebrated race run several weeks later, New Orleans to St. Louis, between the NATCHEZ and the ROB'T E. LEE. It is said that she went through water like a swan. She had a half-round groove in her stemband that spurted water like a fountain-jet when under full headway. Smokestacks were red, and she wore the cotton bale symbol between them. The whistle, a huge, single-chime affair, was mounted inside one of the smokestacks, Capt. Leathers remarking: The whistle is for awakening persons on shore; not on the steamboat.' Observers said it had the sound of a big bumblebee. . . . " [The NATCHEZ lost the race to the LEE after getting lost in fog.]

The boat was stuck on a sandbar at Rising Sun, Ind. on its way to Cincinnati in June, 1879 to be dismantled. Partially dismantled midstream, it finally reached Cincinnati the next month, where it remained until early in 1881 when "the R.R. SPRINGER took her in tow to Jeffersonville, Ind., and left her at the Howard Yard. Later the hull was taken south to become a wharfboat at the Refuge Oil Mill below Vicksburg. (N5)