Whose Names Begin With

Captain Hilmar Lax's Obituary June 27, 1999
From site visitor Suzanne Varnell
(Clipping from January or February, 1940) D. Capt. Lax, Steamboat Man 35 Years; Dies Capt. Hilmar Lax, who had been employed by the Streckfus Steamers, Inc. for about 35 years, died suddenly last night at the York Hotel, where he resided. He was 45. As a boy of 10, he joined the Streckfus Line at Paducah, KY., as a cabin boy under Capt. John S. Streckfus, and worked his way up to the command of steamboats. He was captain of the St. Paul for a number of years, and for awhile also commanded the President and the Washington. Last night at 10:30 he notified the hotel clerk he was ill and asked that a physician be called. While hotel attaches attended him, Dr. W. Antoine Hall, 1625 Tower Grove Ave., was summoned, but on arrival found Capt. Lax on the floor of the bathroom dead. His wife, from whom he had been divorced, Mrs. Gladys Lax, resides at 1319 Waldron Ave., University City, with their two children, Hilmar Jr.,13 and Jane 9. (This newspaper clipping was cut out and the date on it says either January or February 9, 1940. All I can see of the month is "ry", so I am not sure what month it actually is). S.V.


Thomas P. Leathers

From Capt. G.L. Nourse of the New York Marine Journal. Capt. Nourse was Harbor Master and Supervising Inspector of Steam Vessels at New Orleans, 1870 - 1885. *

"Capt. Thomas P. Leathers . . . had one of the most commanding presences
possible. He was over six feet tall, a giant in stature, wore a ruffeld
shirt with a large cluster diamond pin and always dressed in Confederate
Gray. Woe be to him who referred to the late unpleasantness (The Civil War),
as Capt Leathers did not recognize that the war was over, nor did he ever
lose sight of the fact that I was a government official and therefore a
carpetbagger. . . ."

Outdoor 12

Jacob Lewis

I have an old letter written in 1924 that talks about my gggggrandfather
that supposably ran a steamboat on the Ohio River to New Orleans.  He lived
near Sisterville WV on the the Ohio River (This is a few miles south of
Wheeling WV)

I have included part of this letter:

". . . Perhaps if I tell you what grandmother wrote it will cause you to remember
something hither lost to memory.  You see cousin Jacob, I work on the theory
that we never really forget.  I have had too much experience in this line.
Now won't you please put on your thinking cap for an hour?  This is the
information grandma gave me concerning her father Jacob Lewis.

He was a fine singer, had beautiful tenor voice; sang in Baptist Church 12
years somewhere in Virginia (Do you know where?)  He was Forman of Kanawha
Salt Works.  From there went on a boat on the Ohio River, as Captain.  Made
trips to New Orleans (Do you know when this was?) Was  your father a child
or nearly grown or was it before grandfather Lewis was married?)  Later
moved to Ohio, where they were making the Ohio Canal.  He had charge of menw
working on the canal.  Lived near the canal, and grandmother Lewis boarded
some of the men.  (Do you know where in Ohio, this was?)  From then moved to
Clay County Indianna. . . "  

Jacob Lewis left WV in 1835 and moved to Ohio to work on the canal, so he
must have worked on the steamboat prior to this.  He was born 1797, so he
could have started sometime in the 1813-1835 time range.   I have also heard
family stories about a James Curtis near Wheeling who owned a boat in this
same time range.  He was Jacob Lewis's uncle.

I read ALL I could find on your site about the early steam ships in this
region.  Do you have any suggestions of where I could get additional data on
these early boats that ran on the OHIO river to New Orleans and back?  

Thanks for any help you can give me on this matter!  Again THANKS for doing
the web site- it is wonderful!!

Deb Spencer

355  P  Road
Douglas, NE 68344

1. Way's Packet Directory, 1848 - 1994

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