Early Days of Greenbush

EARLY DAYS IN GREENBUSH

ELDER R. M. SIMMONS TELLS OF HIS TRIP TO NEW ORLEANS


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p> On the 20th day of March, 1843, I started with F. G. Snapp from Greenbush, Illinois. He had fat cattle that he wanted to market at New Orleans. On that day we drove the cattle six miles to Moses T. Hand’s. Here we put up for the night and here a hard blizzard and snow storm struck us, but we braved through and made our drive all the same.

We arrived at St. Louis, March 30, and left there on Friday, April 7; arrived at New Orleans, April 13, with 51 head of cattle. We sold the cattle for $1,605.00

We left Orleans for home, April 18, 1843. Snapp engaged passage on a new steamer, “The Harry of the West.” She was a fine boat and was to make her first trip from New Orleans to St. Louis. The captain swore he would make the quickest trip ever made on that river or blow the boat up. “The Alex Scott” had made the trip in four days and six hours.

We went aboard “The Harry of the West,” and when I saw the cords of pitch-pine and piles of bacon for fuel, I refused to take passage. I told Snapp the captain would be as good as his word, and if the machinery was able to stand the pressure he might get to St. Louis; but if not, we should be in great danger of a wreck. This boat started on a full head of steam, full of passengers and a good cargo. Just above Vicksburg and near Memphis, she blew out her boilers and killed two passengers and had to be towed to St. Louis. We took passage on the “Charlotte,” a fine steamer, and was ten days on the trip to St. Louis with a drunken pilot. The first evening he ran the boat on a raft of logs in a fog. The pilot gave the bell to go ahead instead of back, and he ran her on the raft good. The next morning we loosed from the raft. One night afterwards he ran into a cornfield - said they wanted wood. After we passed Cairo we scraped the rocks on what is known as the “Devil’s Chain,” where many steamboats have been wrecked. Our boat rocked heavily, but we came out safely. The morning we reached St. Louis, the pilot ran our boat under some projecting tree branches and broke down both smokestacks. The captain paid him off and hired another.

Snapp and I parted at St. Louis. The boat ran up to Peoria and La Salle. Snapp stopped at Copperas creek landing. He said the boat was a fine runner. I went out to Troy, Madison county, Illinois, and got a horse for father on the farm he sold; from there to Green county, where we had left Snapp's horse as we went down.

When I came to Beardstown the river was from Beardstown to Frederick. They crossed me over and let me out in water up to the horses’ knees, and some times up to their breast; then took me on a “flat” to the next wading, and so on until I reached the bluff.

I arrived at Mr. Standard’s on the night of May 13. That night there came up a heavy storm of wind, thunder, lightning and rain. This was at Pennington’s Point, thirty miles from Greenbush. The storm having passed over, I told Standard I would make F. G. Snapp ‘s by 12 o’clock noon. When I arrived they had just sat down at the table for dinner.

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