This image was sent by David Reed, Chief Curator Reno County Museum and Strataca Hutchinson Kansas. David emailed the following about the collection of glass negatives,
David, thank you for allowing me to use this great image of the REES LEE going about her business. I am always on the look out for old images of LEE LINE boats.
I wish I could give you more information. The box contained 32 plates. With the exception of this one, they were all of recognizable locations in Reno County. I’d say half of them were of the downtown area and events downtown in the early 1890s. There are some that are earlier. Reno County had (and still does) numerous salt plants. There are photos of at least 3 different plants and the buildings located around them. The Arkansas River flows through Reno County and Hutchinson in particular, but I don’t know of any depots we ever had on the river. This has always been a rail town. Looking at the photos, the river is much too wide and far too many trees to be in this area. I also think it is unlikely to be Wichita as well. I live in Wichita, and again, it was mainly a rail town. The Arkansas just isn’t wide enough to support a ship of this size.
Several years ago, a lady in Northeast Arkansas purchased at a local auction a collection of glass negatives. Included in the collection (which she graciously sold me) were 5 negatives of the REES LEE on the Mississippi River during January or February picking up the last of that previous years cotton crop as well as delivering the large iron tractor rims to a farmers landing somewhere on the Mississippi.
This postcard is a recent EBay find. March 5, 1899 the BUTTORFF struck a bridge pier abutment at Clarksville Tennnessee on the Cumberland River. One account noted that all that was needed to put a steamboat back into service was to gather up all the pieces and nail them back together. As this picture shows, the BUTTORFF suffered more damage than hammers and nails could repair. She was purchased by the Lee Line January 1911 and renamed the JOHN LEE.
Both of these pictures were found in the archive of the University of Wisconsin Lacrosse Collection. Prior to wide spread dredging of the Mississippi River, ice gorges developed due to slow moving currents with the result that steamboats that could not be moved to safe harbors where crushed. (Use Control + to enlarge the image so as to have a copy large enough to read)
Justin B., thank you for sending these pictures of Lee Line serving dishes. These silver plated dishes were made by Reed and Barton. Last year I was able to purchase an identical creamer pitcher that had lost just about all its silver plating. When my grandfather was asked how many boats the Lee Line operated, he would reply “We have more boats under the water than on the water.” I am always excited to see new\old Lee Line items turn up as most of the items such as these reside under the water.
Way’s Packet Directory recorded the SADIE hit a snag at Dennis Landing. Of interest is the stern sign SADIE LEE of NEW YORK. Sometime after the death of Capt. James Lee Jr., (Feb 1905) the Lee Line reincorporated in New Jersey. I suspect a tax dispute over the value of the assets of the company between the executors of his estate and the state of Tennessee led to the Lee Line reincorporating as a New Jersey corporation. Additionally, my great aunt Rowena Teagle’s husband Walter who was the chairman of Standard Oil of New Jersey became the President of the Lee Line. Walter Evans Edge the wife of Lady Lee Philips Edge became the Vice President. Lady Lee Philips Edge was the daughter of my great aunt Sara Lee who married Capt. Sam Philips in 1905. Walter Edge was a newspaper publisher, governor of New Jersey and an ambassador to France. Way’s Packet Directory records Sadie Lee as the daughter of Capt. James Lee Jr. Actually Sadie Ardinger Lee was the daughter of James Lee Jr.’s son James Lee III and Capt. James Lee Jr.’s law partner Hiram Warinner and Bodien Warinner. Capt. Tippits History of the Lee Line seems to be missing pages for 1912.
The Evening Independent Newspaper St. Petersburg Florida reported on June 27, 1929 the following story
G Peters Lee Caught after repeated warnings by Memphis Chief of Police
Memphis Tenn., June 27 (AP)
G. Peters Lee, president of the Valley Line Steamers, Inc. was arrested today on charges of possession of liquor, conspiracy to violate the prohibition law and violating the liquor law. He immediately made bond of $500 cash of each of the charges.
Capt. Lee’s arrest followed a visit by police chief Will D. Lee and Capt. Hulet Smith accompanied by Finis Wilson, federal prohibition chief, here. The officers said they found 75 gallons of liquor on the wharf-boat and 100 gallons in an auto.
“For years I have been telling Captain Lee that we would get him sooner or later,” Chief Lee said. “We have arrested several of his employees and each time have given Captain Lee a warning.” We have an open and shut case on him this time.”