The Memphis Commercial Appeal Mid-South Memories June 7, 1887
“The Artesian Water Co., chartered by Napoleon Hill, John K. Speed, S.H. Brooks, W.J. Bowdre, John J. Johnson, N.M. Jones, R.C. Graves, John W. Dillard and O.H.P. Piper, yesterday was granted permission by the Legislative Council to lay water pipes under the streets and alleys.”
Napoleon Hill was a Memphian of renouned business ability. The book Memphis Down in Dixie has a very interesting history of his ability to make very large amounts of money as a businessman and cotton trader. John K. Speed was a river man who owned the steamer JOHN K SPEED. Way’s Packet Directory has the following history of this steamboat: Sternwheel Packet, wood hull, built Madison Ind., 1892. 261 ft. x 40 ft. x 8 ft. 691 tons, Engines, 24’s – 8 ft. Three boilers each 46″ by 28 ft. Came out with Capt. Lew Kates master and Joe Conlon clerk and made a Mardi Gras trip from Cincinnati to New Orleans. Owned by the Cincinnati Memphis & New Orleans Packet Co. Capt. M.M. Deem with Charles P. Vinton clerk in her early career. She sank 3 times, was afire twice, broke several shafts and once lost her wheel overboard. Her first sinking was at Belle Grove Plantation Nov. 29, 1898. Second was at the Louisville Falls, April 9, 1899. The third time at Presidents Island below Memphis, Nov. 27, 1901. She threw her paddlewheel in the river upbound at Davall’s Landing 34 miles above Vicksburg in May 1898 and the BUCKEYE STATE took her passengers. At that time she was running St. Louis New Orleans along with CITY OF ST. LOUIS and HILL CITY. On June 30, 1901, she stripped her wheel at Island 66 and had it rebuilt at Helena Ark. Burned at New Orleans May 22, 1902.