Pittsburgh: February 27, 1833. pp., on a single folded sheet, addressed on the verso of second leaf, remnants of wax seal. Original mailing folds, some foxing and mild soiling, small marginal paper loss from wax seal. Very good. Item #3623
An interesting piece of correspondence from a Nashville-based clerk who recounts his recent service onboard a ship that traveled the Ohio River between Florence and Louisville, Kentucky. He writes, in part: "I shipped as Clerk on board the Lady Jackson on the 20th of Nov last one trip we made from Florence to Louisville. I thought we would have been shipwrecked. We were struck by a squall at midnight which nearly capsized the Boat. I was standing in the boiler deck when the squall struck us, holding on by the chimney braces and feeling the braces give way. I let go and slip'd to the lower side of the Boat and should have gone overboard had I not fortunately caught hold of the cable as it lay coiled on the boiler deck. We were entirely light and the lower deck five feet from the water so you can have some idea of the force of the wind when I tell you the water run in both hatches as she lay on her side. As soon as we could see the shore we made a landing and put up a pair of wooden chimneys which run us to Louisville." Roche then compares this experience to similar moments while on the other great river that runs through this part of the United States: "I have seen a great many squalls on the Mississippi but never one as severe as this." Following this description, Roche also reports on several shared friends, including John Pettway, who has "gone to Texas with the expectation of making a fortune but I think he will be sadly disappointed." Roche then states he plans to leave the Lady Jackson the next time it docks at Nashville due to a combination of "no credit...bad luck and small freights" plus a bout of rheumatism in his right shoulder. A unique snapshot of one boatman's experiences on the Ohio River during the glory years of the steamship in 19th-century America.