This is the newest addition to my collection of Lee Line passes.
Corporate letterheads today are quite bland compared to ones from the late 1800’s and early to mid 1900’s. A one page story proudly conveys exactly what this company produced. The Rees family supplied engines and other hard parts that went into Lee Line boats. They also were partners in the Valley Line which was the combination of the Delta Line (KATE ADAMS) and the remaining Lee Line boats. This merger occurred January 1924.
The S&D Reflector is the quarterly magazine published by the Sons and Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen. Membership is open to anyone who is interested in the steamboat era. Membership cost $35 per year with family subscription costing $1 per additional family member. Full membership includes the quarterly S&D Reflector, admission to the Ohio River Museum, the towboat W. P. SNYDER, JR. both at Marietta Ohio and voting rights at the annual meeting. Family members enjoy all the same privileges except a copy of the Reflector. You may become a member at www.riverhistory.org.
This December 2015 issue concludes the history of the Lee Line. These 4 issues were possible primarily thanks to Capt. William Tippitt whose lengthy research using newspaper accounts from multiple decades past and oral accounts he heard from rivermen who new my Lee ancestors. His history was complied in the early 1970’s and thankfully was microfilmed with copies sent to the Tennessee State Library at Nashville, Louisiana State University at Baton Rogue Louisiana as well as several other libraries. David Tschiggfrie editor of the S&D Reflector gracious granted me permission to use the above image as well as skillfully edited my four part submissions.
This advertising mirror is a recent find. The maker was the Whitehead and Hoag Co. Newark NJ.
A recent EBay purchase. D. A. Loomis was quite a traveler as numerous passes from this era bear his name or he made a hobby of collecting railroad and steamboat passes. Comping executives of railroads and steamboat companies was a common practice in the transportation industry. Thankfully these passes were preserved and are sold from time to time.
These pictures are from a family album dating from 1907 1908 and were sent to me by Susan Lea whose family members are pictured. They are the Schott and Ruppel families. The man in the lower two pictures is thought to be the Captain of the STACKER LEE. Thank you Susan for sharing these old family pictures. I am always looking for old pictures such as these.
The STACKER LEE was nicknamed Stack-O-Dollars by her crew. She was build following the demise of the St. Louis New Orleans Anchor Line a St. Louis major competitor. Prior the end of the Anchor Line, the Lee Line went no further than Cairo Il. Following the end of the Anchor Line, the Lee Line built 3 large packets, the STACKER LEE, JAMES LEE and the PETERS LEE. JAMES LEE ran to and above St. Louis. The STACKER LEE likewise ran the St. Louis trade while the PETERS LEE ran up the Ohio River to Cincinnati Ohio. However these boats ran various routes as needed and competition allowed. The Lee Line built several smaller packets in the late 1890’s in addition to the above boats.
The original picture was taken from a glass negative and colorized by my friend Josh Gamble Photo Shop maestro. The first REES LEE was completed 1899 at Howard Shipyard Jeffersonville Ind., she sank and was lost at Tiptonville Tenn. June 6, 1906. http://leelinesteamers.com/?page_id=1549 tells of a January 1906 sinking.
The BOB LEE Jr was built on the levee by the Southern Tank & Boiler Works. She was 145 ft long x 32 ft wide. A fire destroyed her upper works in Aug. 1913. She was sold to Standard Oil which made a towboat out of her and renamed her CORONA. Later she was sold to a subsidiary of Standard Oil, the Transcontinental Oil Co. and taken to the Panuco River Mexico where she was renamed ROBALO. Eventually she was brought back by Standard Oil and renamed CORONA. Pictures in the Univ. of Wisconsin LaCrosse collection show her pushing gasoline barges. Interestingly, a few days after the BOB LEE Jr. was completed, my great uncle Robert E Lee in a Memphis newspaper was quoted as saying “his company would never build a side-wheel boat, the day of the big boat is gone.” Later modifications added an additional smoke stack along with four boilers replacing the origional single boiler.
The above newspaper clipping was taken from Capt. William Tippitt’s History of the Lee Line.
This history of the FERD HAROLD was complied by Capt. William Tippitt as part of his history of the Lee Line and is found at the end his 1920 report. The FERD was operated along with the GEORGIA LEE as part of the Memphis and St. Louis Transportation Co. My great uncle G. Peters Lee was Vice President of this company. Of interest is the mention of Capt. Milt Harry who at various times in Capt. Tippitt’s History of the Lee Line was mentioned as a friend, a shewed competitor, “friendemy” and finally enemy. Capt. Harry was a man who seemingly always had plan a, plan b and plan c when he encounter numerous setbacks over the course of his long career. The loss of a Milt Harry boat proved to be a stepping stone to the next boat and backers for Capt. Harry. He landed on the Lee Line enemy list when he bid on a one year mail contract at no cost to the Post Office; taking the contract from a Lee Line boat.
My grandfather S. Rees Lee woke his father James Lee Jr. with the news that several Lee Line boats were burning. Great grandfathers response was “there is nothing I can do about that” and rolled over and went back to sleep. His response sounded like a man who knew exactly where he could put his hand on the insurance policy covering the James Lee.