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Steamboats on the Yellowstone - RootsWeb

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									Riverboat History

   “On the Yellowstone”

       by Cleve Kimmel - July 2006
• Chronological listings of boat travel
• Military - Corps of Engineers - Commercial
• Photographs (Very few were taken - many
  were misidentified)
• Landing locations used by the boats
      1817 - Beginning of Travel
• The first boat reportedly on the Missouri was
  the Constitution in October. Tickets were sold
  for an excursion trip from St. Louis to
  Bellefontaine, eight miles distant.

• (Dyer’s homepage reported this information, obtained from the Missouri
  Gazette of October 4, 1817.)
   1817 - Beginning of Travel
• The War Department and Congress both
  used the term “Yellowstone Expedition”
  on virtually every endeavor to learn more
  about the Montana Regions.
• There boats failed to reach the
  Yellowstone until much later
• This caused much error in researchers
              1818 - 1819
• The government initiated an effort to use
  riverboats to carry expedition parties (mainly
  the Corps of Engineers, or Military
  commands) into the area frequented by the
• This trek being on the Upper Missouri River &
  the Yellowstone River; the Independence,
  commissioned by Elias Rector, was second
  boat to attempt the trip.
                          1818 - 1819
• The Independence, with Captain John Nelson
  commanding, went from St. Louis to Franklin,
  MO. A distance of about 200 miles, taking 15
  days to complete.
• ”Old Man River, Memories of Captain Louis Rosche.”, Robert A. Hereford, 1942.
   (Caxton Printers), pages 97-100. Information provided by a site visitor to Dyers
   history page.
   1819-Yellowstone Expedition
• The first steamship constructed specifically for
  river travel was the Western Engineer.
• It was the third boat to ascend the Missouri.
• “To scare the Indians and to keep them from
  causing trouble, the Western Engineer was
  made to look as if she were riding on the back
  of a sea monster.”
   – 75’x19’x6’ (Pattered after the Keel Boat)
  1819-Yellowstone Expedition
• At the bow of the Western Engineer was a
  huge snake’s head, with an open – red mouth.
  Exhaust steam from the engines hissed out of
  the mouth, giving the appearance of a real
  monster that was breathing fire. It was
  designed to terrify the Indians.
  –   “Days of the Steamboats”, William H. Ewen, Parents Magazine, 1947
1819-Yellowstone Expedition
– On June 9, 1819 the Western Engineer left St. Louis,
  along with a large group of smaller boats carrying military
– Two weeks after the Independence had returned to St.
  Louis, a scientific expedition led by Col. Henry Atkinson &
  Major Stephen Long, started up the Missouri River in four
  steamboats and nine keelboats.
– Six riverboats were created for the trip, but only four made
  it to St. Louis.
1819-Yellowstone Expedition
– The other boats for this 1st Expedition were the
  Thomas Jefferson, Expedition, R.M. Johnson,
  J.C. Calhoun and Exchange.
– This military expedition’s primary purpose was to
  establish an American presence at the mouth of the
  Yellowstone River to discourage the British from
  entering the area.
1819-Yellowstone Expedition
– The boats only made it as far as Council Bluffs, a
  fort was established there.
– The boats transported 1,100 escort troops and
  supplies under the command of Col. Atkinson.
– Major Long headed up a scientific team aboard the
  Western Engineer.
1819-Yellowstone Expedition
– The Western Engineer accompanied the other
  boats, but was far in advance, and had to wait a
  year for the others.
– It arrived alone at Ft. Osage on August 1st, then
  passed the future site of Ft. Leavenworth on the
  18th, and stayed a week at Fort Lisa (five miles
  below Council Bluffs.)
– Congress canceled all funding.
  1820-Yellowstone Expedition
• The only reported boats on the Missouri were
  the Missouri Packet and the Expedition.
• The Missouri Packet arrived at Franklin on
  May 5th, and on the return trip it hit a snag and
  sunk not far from Franklin.
• Both boats carried supplies for the military
  troops at Cantonment Missouri.
• No boats reported
  1830-Yellowstone Expedition
• Kenneth McKinzie established the American Fur
  Company in the remote regions of the Upper
  Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers in 1827.
• He decided to cut operating costs for these outlying
  posts by building a new steamboat “Yellowstone” to
  service the trading posts in 1830.
• It was 130 feet long and patterned after the
  Mississippi boats, had a beam of 19-feet, a 6-foot
  hold, and drew 6-feet of water. (Basically unusable)
  1831-Yellowstone Expedition
• The Yellowstone departed April 20th for Fort
  Tecumseh. On June 19th it could go no further,
  returning to St. Louis on July 15th, carrying a
  load of buffalo robes, furs and 10,000 pounds
  of buffalo tongues.
• This trip revolutionized the Missouri river fur
  trade by being able to make the trip in a few
  weeks, which normally took a whole season.
  1832-Yellowstone Expedition
• The Yellowstone made its second trip up the
  Missouri, traveling 1,800 miles to Fort Union
  without difficulty, arriving June 17th.
• This boat showed that the river could be
  tamed, and the era of Steamboating on the
  western rivers was to begin in earnest.
• The flow of fur trade was such that there was
  no need to travel beyond Fort Union.
1833-1849-Yellowstone Expedition
• No travel relative to the Yellowstone reported
• All was on Missouri.
  1850-Yellowstone Expedition
• The El Paso, commanded by Captain John
  Duroc, in an interest to get fame, traveled past
  the Yellowstone and continued west to just
  past the mouth of the Milk River.
• They named this historic point on the Missouri
  “El Paso.”
• Another lull in boat reporting.
• Governor Stevens & Capt McClellan receives
  grant to survey route for NPR along 45th
  parallel. (1853-1855)
• They map the route, locate placement of
  streams & rivers (incl Yellowstone), major
  landmarks, and Indian Tribes.
• Map created in 1860, published 1867
  1860-Yellowstone Expedition
• The Chippewa and Key West were reported
  to be the first riverboats to reach Fort Benton,
  on the Missouri River.
• The military units stationed in the west started
  to use riverboats as a means to transport goods
  and personnel.
• Government representatives contracted for a
  boat on a day-to-day basis, which was costly.
  1861-Yellowstone Expedition
• The Steamer "Chippewa" burned and exploded
  on the south side of the Missouri River a few
  miles below Poplar River on June 22, 1861.
  1863-Yellowstone Expedition
• During the winter, General Pope conceived of
  a new plan for his military operations in the
  Indian country along the Missouri River, and
  assigned General Sully the task to implement.
• General Sully was assigned to construct four
  new posts at: Devil’s Lake, James River, Long
  Lake outlet, and one on the Yellowstone, near
  Fort Alexander. These posts supported the
  Emigrant Road to the Montana Gold Mines.
  1864-Yellowstone Expedition
• The first major Indian Campaign was started.
• General Sully mustered about 2,200 men, two
  batteries (e.g., 12 artillery pieces), 300 teams
  and 300 beef steers for food.
• The men and equipment marched west by land
  while steamers carried the supplies
• Seven boats were used to carry supplies to Fort
  1864-Yellowstone Expedition
• The quartermaster misdirected 1,000 tons of
  supplies to Farm Island, where they were
  dumped, and causing great delay in recovery
  of the supplies. Three boats were dispatched.
• Steamer Alone and Chippewa Falls [drawing
  12” water] each carried about fifty tons of
  freight; and a little corn for the animals
  reached the Big Horn River.
  1864-Yellowstone Expedition
• The steamer Island City was the third boat in
  this group, carrying aboard nearly all of the
  command’s much needed corn, struck a snag
  near Fort Union and sank.
• Shortage of Corn prevented General Sully
  from proceeding west of the Yellowstone to
  engage the Sioux.
  1864-Yellowstone Expedition
• The remaining steamers attempted to go
  upstream from the Big Horn, but a rapid shoal
  rendered it impossible .
• The two remaining steamers then went
  downstream carrying Sully’s supplies, until the
  water became too low to navigate.
  1864-Yellowstone Expedition
• The supplies were off-loaded from the
  steamers and transported by the command.
• At the outlet of the Yellowstone, General Sully
  selected the site for Fort Buford. (Constructed
  in 1866 when supplies were made available.)
1864-Fort Buford
1864-Fort Buford
    1866-Military Supplies
– War Department revises contracting method for
  hauling supplies
– Sign leases for “commandeering” boats as
  needed for a flat rate.
1867-1868Yellowstone Expedition
  – Steamboat traffic was established between St.
    Louis and Fort Benton

  – The "Amelia Poe", a sternwheeler, hit a snag
    south of Frazer and sunk on May 28, 1868
   1869 - 1st Yellowstone Trip
• Steamer Alone, with Captains RB Bailey &
  Cutler; and then again with Captain Abe
  Hutchison, went upstream on the
  Yellowstone about 45 miles to a place
  called Crane’s Ranch;
• Located General Sully’s command so they
  could deliver the army’s supplies.
              1870 - 1872
• No records located
 1873 - Fur Trade in Full Force
• Three major companies vied for fur trade
  and commerce on the Upper Missouri Area.

  – Missouri River Trans. Company based at
    Yankton (Coulson-15 boats)
  – Northwest Trans. Company (7 boats)
  – Kountz Line (4 boats)
       1873 - Shift of Power
• In August, William J. Kountz (who had
  worked with Sanford B. Coulson earlier),
  announced that he would no longer be
  associated with the Coulson Line (Missouri
  River Transportation Company), and would
  now operate exclusively for NPR
  1873 - Military Takes Action
• Kountz formed the “Northern Pacific
  Railroad Line” [steamboat line] stationed at
• The military immediately realized the
  importance of having steamboats carry
  supplies and troops.
• Thus the era of ‘Steamboating’ on the
  Yellowstone started to flourish.
  1873 - Military Takes Action
• The Army thought the Yellowstone area
  was filled with hostile Sioux warriors
• General Forsythe was assigned to ascend
  the Yellowstone River and examine the
  channel and the countryside as far as the
  Powder River
• Capt Grant Marsh was assigned as Boat
  Captain for the Key West (Coulson Line)
1873 - Key West on Yellowstone
• There was no available military support at
  Fort Lincoln (Bismarck)
• General Forsythe made arrangements to
  pick up soldiers from Fort Buford (Colonel
  WB Hazen commanded five companies in
  his regiment stationed at Fort Buford)
• He also hired two French-Indian guides,
  who immediately proved worthless
1873 - Key West on Yellowstone
• Captain Marsh recommended that they ask
  Yellowstone Kelly (age 23 & at Wood
  Chopper’s Point to join them.) He did.
• There was no room for his horse on this
  trip, only brought his pack and rifle aboard
• On the Yellowstone he scouted the land
  ahead of the steamer
• He then revised the 1867 Map with addition
  of streams (Issued 1878)
1873 - Key West on Yellowstone
• At Fort Buford they stopped and picked up
  two companies of the 6th Infantry under
  Captains M. Bryant and D. H. Murdock.
• Departing Fort Buford they entered the
  Yellowstone River.
• After 125 miles they reached Glendive
  Creek; the place where the NPR planned to
  cross the Yellowstone
1873 - Key West on Yellowstone
• General Forsythe established a supply depot
  at Glendive Creek
• He disposed the bulk of his supplies, to be
  used later by the Infantry, who approaching
  overland by foot.
• The supplies were arranged such that it
  formed a sort of barricade.
• He then left for Powder River (Apr 30th)
1873 - Key West on Yellowstone
• Key West arrived within two miles of the
  Powder River, stopping there on May 6th.
• Further journey was not possible due to low
  water and a large expanse of rocks blocking
  their path. (Later in season, travel okay)
• This demonstrated that the river was
  navigable for at least 245 miles.
1873 - Key West on Yellowstone
• Captain Beusen (listed as both Clerk and
  Pilot on Key West was the first person to
  receive a license for piloting on the
• He, Capt Marsh & Gen Forsythe recorded
  the river conditions, driftwood availability,
  channels, chutes, and named many of the
  visible mountains, excepting those identified
  earlier by William Clark in 1806
1873 - Key West on Yellowstone
• Forsythe Butte (First prominent Bluff on
  east bank of the Yellowstone just below its
  confluence with the Missouri) named in
  honor of General Forsythe
• Cut Nose Butte, Chimney Rock and
  Diamond Island were named because of
  their shapes.
1873 - Key West on Yellowstone
• A few miles above Diamond Island there
 were seven small islands; Captain Marsh
 named them: Seven Sisters Islands (in
 remembrance of his seven sisters.)
• Crittenden Island was named for General
 TL Crittenden, Comdr. of the 17th Infantry
 garrisoned at several posts along the
1873 - Key West on Yellowstone
• Mary Island was attributed to the
  chambermaid of the Key West, and wife of
  ship steward “Dutch Jake.”
• Reno Island was named for Major M Reno,
  of the 7th Cavalry.
• Schindel Island was named for Captain
  Schindel of the 6th Infantry.
1873 - Key West on Yellowstone
• Bryant’s Buttes were named for Major M
  Bryant, Commanding Escort for the Key
• Edgerly Island was named for Lt WS
  Edgerly of the 7th Cavalry.
• Monroe Island was named for Monroe
  Marsh, Captain Marsh’s brother.
1873 - Key West on Yellowstone
• DeRussy Rapids was named for Issac D
  DeRussy, later a Colonel of the 14th Infantry
• McCune Rapids was named for one of
  Captain Marsh’s friend in St Louis
• Barr’s Bluff was named for another of
  Captain Marsh’s friends.
1873 - Key West on Yellowstone
• Stanley’s Point (located just before the
  Powder River) was named for Colonel
  Stanley, a member of the 22nd Infantry.
• Sheridan’s Bluffs (located across the river
  from the mouth of the Powder River and
  now called “Sheridan Butte”) was named
  for Lt-General Sheridan.
   1873 - Key West Personnel
• Dan Scott, correspondent for the Sioux City
  Journal was aboard to recod the event.
• Army officers from Fort Buford on board:
  – 2nd Lt RT Jacobs, Jr., 2nd Lt George B Walker,
    Captain DH Murdock,
  – 2nd Lt Josiah Chance, 2nd Lt Thomas G
    Townsend, Captain M Bryant (Brevet Major),
    Captain ER Ames, and 1st Lt Fred W Thibaut.
 1873 - Military Action in June
• Steamers, Peninah, Key West, and Far
  West, loaded supplies at Bismarck for the
  army troops that had left earlier from Fort
  Rice, and were traveling cross-country under
  the command of General Stanley.
  – Peninah - Captain Abner Shaw
  – Key West - Captain Grant Marsh
  – Far West - Captain Mart Coulson
 1873 - Military Action in June
• The Key West had previously been ordered
  to first go to Yankton and pick up
  passengers, and then join the other two
• General Custer ordered Captain Marsh to
  take on board most of the women and
  children of the regiment, as well as the
  personal baggage of the officers
 1873 - Military Action in June
• After reaching the Yellowstone River the
  NPR survey party and the large military
  escort provided by General Stanley
  proceeded south along the east bank of the
  river as far as Pompey's Pillar
• The Indians, concluded that the surveying
  had gone far enough
• August 4th, just opposite where Fort Keogh
  was built (Miles City), the Sioux attacked
1873 - Continued Sioux Attacks
• On August 11th, the cavalry, camped
  opposite the mouth of the Big Horn River,
  again encountered the Indians and a
  desperate fight ensued with loss of life on
  both sides
• From Pompey's Pillar the expedition
  marched north to the Musselshell River,
  thence westward to the Great Porcupine,
  following it until the Yellowstone was again
  1873 - June Steamer Support
• Each boat, carrying advance supplies for the
  military and surveyors, dropped them off at
  the Glendive Creek depot
• Two boats immediately returned (Peninah &
  Far West)
• The Key West went to Fort Buford to pick
  up a company from the 6th Infantry under
  Captain Hawkins, who remained on the boat
  for the duration of the campaign
  1873 - June Steamer Support
• Returning to Glendive the Key West
  remained to ferry various personnel assigned
  to support the surveying efforts of the NPR
  and other duties, and the soldiers started to
  erect a stockade at the supply station.
• Commands as they arrived were ferried
  across the Yellowstone, to a point about 15-
  20 miles upstream named “Stanley’s
  Stockade.” (July 31st was last to arrive).
  1873 - June Steamer Support
• The NPR engineer in charge of the survey
  group was General TL Rosser, Custer’s
  roommate at West Point, who had previously
  joined the Confederate Army, and had fought
  against Custer’s command.
• The Key West continued for several days to
  ferry men and supplies from Glendive to the
  temporary fort at Stanley’s Stockade until
  all were transferred
1873 - Stanley’s Stockade
     1873 - NPR Final Survey
• Captain Marsh then took the group of
  surveyors fifty miles upstream from the Big
  Horn River, where they surveyed that
  section of the valley.(1872 Baker Battle,
  T1N-R26E-S5 to 7; e.g., Tracy’s Landing)
• Marsh (Key West) was then ordered to
  carry some mail that just arrived from Fort
  Rice, back upstream to the Powder River
  contingent before leaving for Bismarck.
      1873 - Transfer of Boats
• In mid August Marsh met the newly built
  Josephine (Captain John Todd) coming up
  river loaded with some more supplies to be
  delivered at Glendive Creek.
• Captain Marsh transferred to the Josephine
  and sent the Key West back to Bismarck
  (Fort Abraham Lincoln).
1873 - Operation with Josephine
• Lt. Charles Braden was shot through the left
  leg by a rifle ball, shattering the bone from
  hip to knee . He was carried on a stretcher
  back to the Josephine and transferred to
• The Josephine then continued to ferry the
  command across the Yellowstone in
  preparation for their return to Fort Rice.
  1873 - Return of the Josephine
• The Josephine returned to Fort Buford on
  August 17th with nine companies of troops
  and 28 officers from the 8th & 9th Infantry
  Battalions, for transfer to Sioux City.
• Stopping at Fort Buford, on the way down
  stream, Captain Marsh picked up William
  H. Seward (Clerk to Paymaster, Major
  William Smith)
  1874 - No Yellowstone Travel
• The Josephine made several commercial
  trips between Yankton and Fort Benton.
• Carroll was founded near the mouth of the
  Musselshell River and was a freight landing
  point for overland shipment by wagon trains
  across Judith Basin and into Helena.
• The Diamond R. Transportation Company,
  operated the overland shipments.
   1875 - Josephine 1st Journey
• On 19 May, General Sherman ordered Col’s
  Forsythe and Grant, under orders from the
  War Department, to commandeer the
  Steamer Josephine for an Expedition up the
  Yellowstone to determine how far they could
  go, and to determine places for military
  support to the army.
• In 1873 Grant Marsh was 7 miles from
  Coulson while on the Key West.
   1875 - Josephine 1st Journey
• The boat reached a clear-water area on June
  7th, about 1-1/2 mile west of Duck Creek
  Bridge, Billings, MT, and then turned around
• No civilians, excepting for the boat’s crew,
  were permitted on board. Four mounted
  scouts were allowed along with a number of
  1875 - Josephine 2nd Journey
• While the Josephine was en route on the
  Yellowstone with Colonel Forsythe, the War
  Department, Engineering Section issued a
  direct order on June 14th, to commandeer the
  Josephine and make a trip to the Yellowstone
• This trip carried four Smithsonian Scientists
  mentioned in a copy of Captain Grant
  Marsh’s 1907 letter to the President
  1875 - Josephine 2nd Journey
• The Josephine traveled on the Missouri River
  and discharged its passengers at Carroll,
  Montana, and then returned to Fort Buford on
  July 15th. (Ludlow Survey Yellowstone Park)
• The members of this crew by numerous
  researchers have mistakenly been thought to
  be the ones on the previous trip to Duck
         1876 - Military Support
• General Terry was sent into the Sioux Territory to
• From previous trips it was clear that supplies
  needed by the Army could be transported easily
  by “steamer” to the mouth of the Big Horn River.
• Boats used to provide the supplies were: Far
  West, Tiger, Benton, Silver Lake, Carroll,
  Yellowstone, Durfee and Josephine
        1876 - Military Support
• After the Custer Battle, Captain Marsh,
  commanding the Far West, on June 30th, took on
  board 52 wounded, plus “Comanche”, Custer’s
  injured horse.
• He delivered them to Fort Lincoln and Bismarck.
         1876 - Military Support
• The need for better fort protection, identified in
  General Pope’s 1863 original plan became
• Congress committed $200,000 for two posts on
  the Yellowstone:
  – Fort Keogh (near the mouth of Tongue River, usually
    referred to as the Tongue River Post), and
  – Fort Custer (located at the mouth of the Big Horn).
        1876 - Military Support
• Fort Keogh
• T8N R47E
        1876 - Military Support
• July 24th the Quartermaster General of the
  Department of Dakota, issued orders to provide
  building supplies to 2nd Lt. Drubb (Bismarck
• He instructed the Key West to be loaded with
  lumber and shingles, proceed to Fort Buford to
  take on a military guard, and go up the
  Yellowstone (but not past Tongue River), & leave
  for supplies for General Forsythe at Fort Keogh
        1876 - Military Support
• Drubb later added five more Coulson boats to
  transport materials, plus Wilder’s Silver Lake
  and Peck’s Nellie Peck.
• To accommodate the heavy military demand, the
  Coulson line had to charter six more boats from
  their rivals (unnamed).
         1876 - Military Support
• John O’Brien, a local Billings’ Indian War
  Veteran, was stationed at Fort Richardson.
• He was ordered to the Cheyenne Agency, taking
  the train to Yankton, and the steamer Nellie Peck
  to the agency
        1877 - New Bidding Era
• The government opened a new bidding contest.
• Twenty firms competed, and John B. Davis won
  the bid.
• He then organized the Yellowstone
  Transportation Company (YTC), with John
  Reaney as manager
• Coulson Line was shut out of military support
        1877 - New Bidding Era
• YTC leased heavy Mississippi Riverboats &
  crews, plus built towing barges to carry coal and
  supplies for the journey; wood being too scarce.
• The pressures of delivery were too tough to
  handle, and the freighting needs could not be met
  on schedule.
• One disaster after another befell the company
        1877 - New Bidding Era
• Loss of all the supplies and the boat Osceola,
  which was blown to pieces in a storm at the
  mouth of the Powder River, basically ended the
  short contract with the YTC.
• Lt. Drubb then loaded Coulson’s boats with
  supplies anytime a Davis boat was unavailable.
• By fall all of Davis’ boats were unavailable.
          1877 - July-October
• Providing supplies were: Far West, Western,
  Tiger, Yellowstone, Peninah, General Meade,
  General Sherman, Florence, Mayer, Osceola,
  Savannah, Kendall, Weaver, Victoria,
  Arkansas, Fanchon, JC Fletcher, Tidal Wave,
  Silver City, JH Rankin (sunk at the mouth of
  O’Fallon Creek), Rosebud, Big Horn,
  Fontanelle, General Custer, and Josephine
• Aug 3rd, Gen Sherman on Rosebud @ Big Horn
       1877-1878 - Junction City
• William Taylor, in June, opened a tent store near
  the ferry on the north side of the Yellowstone,
  directly across from Terry’s Landing.
• This was the start of Junction City and the
  beginning of a major riverboat stop.
• A “swing” ferry was built by Brown & Davis in
  1878; replaced later by cabled ferry
• Muggins Taylor had 1st stage stop
           1877 - Guy Landing
• John C. Guy (former sheriff of Gallatin Co)
  settled in Pease Bottom (north of Big Horn)
• He established a steamboat landing, store, stage
  stop, saloon, PO and wood supply yard.
    1877 - Indian Supply Contracts
• The Indian Service released a split-supply
  contract in New York,
  – with the C.K. Peck & C.M. Primeau (associate of
  – Five steamers were used to carry the Indian supplies,
  – plus General Terry’s military freight.
  – Coulson’s steamers were released for other freighting
  1877 - Josephine Trip to Coulson
• Thomas McGirl, homesteaded in April on land
  near the confluence of the Pryor Creek (Arrow
  Creek in Crow) with the Yellowstone (later
• He went to Bismarck and ordered some needed
  supplies for a trading post he was establishing.
• The Josephine carried supplies for him, arriving
  at the end of May.
  1877 - Josephine Trip to Coulson
• At the McGirl Trading post Captain Marsh took
  on a load of furs.
• On June 6th he proceeded upstream to where
  other homesteaders were reported to be residing.
• At this time, all were absent, and the only
  probable apparent campsite (tent) was Joseph MV
  Cochran’s, located at the site of the famed
  “Josephine Tree”.
    1877 - Josephine Trip to Coulson
• Josephine docked at Cochran’s land, tied to large
  Cottonwood Tree.
• Walter DeLacy recorded the 1877 event in 1878.
• Captain Marsh years later mistakenly recalled the
  docking as June 7, 1875!
• This simple date and location has been
  interchanged with the actual June 6th, 1875 date,
  due to confusing Gen Forsythe with Col Forsythe.
  1877 - Josephine Trip to Coulson
• 1877 June 7th
• Insert 2000     1878-


                  Located in Riverfront Park
  1877 - Josephine Trip to Coulson
• On the 1878 survey map, Walter deLacy
  recorded what was carved on the tree, and
  reported it as “Highest point reached by a
  steamboat in 1877.”
• There is no record of any tree being marked
  according to reports issued by Colonels
  Forsythe and Grant in 1875.
    1878 - Indian Supply Contracts
• Peck retained part of the supply contract,
• Coulson received all the rest.
• Supplies for the Red Cloud & Spotted Tail
  agencies were estimated at 900 carloads.
    1878 - Indian Supply Contracts
• Steamers Rosebud, Butte, Helena, Eclipse,
  General Sherman, Batchelor, Big Horn,
  General Custer, Yellowstone, General Rucker,
  General Terry, General Tompkins, Peninah,
  and General Meade made trips on the
    1878 - Indian Supply Contracts
• Nine steamers made 15 trips, with stops at
• Junction was on the “Outlaw Trail”, a route
  from Utah to Canada.
• George Parker (Butch Cassidy) was one of the
  outlaws who used the trail.
• The town was a haven for the outlaws.
        1879 - Private Contracts
• Reported by the Bismarck Tribune, “private
  shipments amounting to about 4,675 tons was
  equally divided between the Coulson, Benton
  and Baker Lines.”
• Shipments were made to all points on the
  Missouri and Yellowstone River.
• Steamers not noted.
      1879 - Junction City (July)
• FY Batchelor delivered 50 tons of merchandise
  to Terry’s Landing (South bank of
  Yellowstone, across from Junction)
• Dried Buffalo hides sold for $1 to 1.50 each.
• Milk was 10 ¢/quart
• Butter 40-50 ¢/pound
• Winter Eggs cost $1/dozen
1879-1880 Ranchers on Yellowstone
• Upstream of Fort Keogh (Miles City) were:
  – 74 Ranchers on homesteads in 1879
  – 31 Ranchers in 1880 between Miles City and Sherman
  – Junction had 3 saloons, 2 stores, PO, Telegraph, 2
    restaurants, and a ferry
  – Huntley had PO, blacksmith shop, 2 stores, stage stop
    and hotel
  – Coulson had PO, telegraph, store, saloon, sawmill and
    a two-story hotel (Alderson)
1880-Transportation Distances
1880 - Typical Homestead
        1880 - Private Contracts
• Steamers Rosebud, Helena, Butte, Big Horn,
  Nellie Peck, General Terry, Batchelor,
  Western, and Josephine made trips on the
• Peninah II made its last trip to Fort Benton.
        1881 - Private Contracts
• Only the Batchelor, Josephine, Rosebud, Big
  Horn, Helena, Black Hills, and Eclipse were on
  the river.
• Freight deliveries were made to:
  – May & June        - Miles City, Glendive, Fort
   Keogh, Fort Custer & Fort Buford
  – October - Popular River & Fort Buford
   1881 - Private & NPR Contracts
• Steam boating on the Yellowstone River
  essentially came to a close, with the hauling of
  materials for NPR.
• The Eclipse made one trip, the General Terry
  one trip, and the F. Y. Batchelor made four
  short trips, its last being to Junction City.
   1881 - Private & NPR Contracts
• Some minor sightseeing excursions were made
  near the mouth of the Yellowstone from 1881
  until about 1910.
• No recorded materials
   1882 - Private & NPR Contracts
• Deliveries in 1882 were:
  – April      Little Muddy, Fort Buford,
               Miles City (beer delivery)
  – June       Fort Buford, Popular River, Wolf
• T.C. Power used the NPR for shipments to his
  Benton-Billings freight line. Business was so
  profitable that he moved his warehouses to
  Billings to better serve the storage needs.
   1882 - Private & NPR Contracts
• FY Batchelor made it as far as Pease Bottom (12
  miles below Junction City, its last destination)
  and had to wait until spring 1883 to return.
• Northern Pacific #2 (NPR tender @ Big Horn)
  provided materials and support
   1882 - Private & NPR Contracts
• Supplies were delivered to various places
  where Military personnel guarding the
  summer track construction (Batchelor)
• Once a week supplies were delivered to
  – Heman Clark’s waterworks (Batchelor)
  – Winston Company (St Paul track laying
     1883 - Travel is about to Stop
• No steamboat trips up the Yellowstone; all were
  on the Missouri
• The NPR made a special contract with the two
  foremost remaining steamboat companies
  – Fort Benton Transportation Company (Owned by TC
    Power, organized in 1875)
  – Missouri River Transportation Company (Owned by
       1883 - NPR Takes Over-1
• 1. Any imports or exports of points on the
  Missouri above Bismarck, which also had to be
  handled by the railroad, would be channeled
  through NPR.
• 2. The steamboat companies could not carry
  freight, which was delivered to the Missouri
  River below Bismarck.
• 3. The steamboat companies could not carry
  freight destined for points on the NPR line.
       1883 - NPR Takes Over-2
• 4. No steamboats would trade on the
  Yellowstone River, and:
• NPR would give the steamboat companies the
  benefit of reduced rates and rebates.
• All riverboat trade in the Yellowstone River
  Valley was eliminated.
          1906 - Restart of Trade
• Captain Grant Marsh carried concrete between
  Glendive and the Mondak Dam on the steamer
• July; he transported the Hon. Secretary of
  Interior, Mr. Garfield and Senators Dixon and
  Carter of Montana and their party, from
  Glendive, to the headgate of the irrigating ditch
  on the Expansion,
• All agreed that the navigation of the river should
  be conserved.
    1907 - Letter to Pres. Roosevelt
• From the 1906 meeting Captain Grant wrote a
  letter to President Roosevelt, protesting the
  potential damming of the Yellowstone.
• There are two versions:
  – His original, very short letter, recommending a bypass
    be created for boats (with a lock)
  – A large doctored one for human interest (combines all
    travels & all boats). Very entertaining!
Billings Broncs-Model by Kimmel
Butte - Ice Wreckage
Cheyenne - 1873
DeSmet-Date Unknown
        Expansion 1907
No details on
      F.Y. Batchelor 1878
180’x30’4’ Hold
Far West - Model by EJ Drown
    Far West-At Fort Lincoln

189’x33-1/2’x5’ hold ….20” draw empty
      Far West-Fort Lincoln

189’x33-1/2’x5’ hold ….20” draw empty
Parmly Billings Library

178’x31’x4-1/2’ hold ….20” draw empty
Josephine-NARA Sketch
Josephine - Passenger Ticket

 Shows Planned Boat to be a Side-Wheeler
Josephine in Dry Dock
Nellie Peck - on RR Tracks
Nellie Peck - 1872 at Fort Benton
Omega-Pierre Chateau’s Boat
Rosebud - 1898 with Troops

177’x31’x4’ hold ….
Rosebud - Loading Supplies
Rosebud - on Missouri
Wyoming - on Missouri
Yellowstone - Painting by Lucy

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