A Mississippi Riverboat pilot looks back on his career, 1845-1883

Recollections of a Pioneer Steamboat Pilot

This short book contains the recollections of Mississippi steamboat pilot George C. Nichols, as recorded in the third person by an anonymous editor. Nichols was born in Ohio in 1824 and his family moved steadily westward until settling on the Black River in Wisconsin in 1840. Young George went to St. Louis that year to learn to be a riverboat pilot but soon returned north to work on the family farm for four years. In 1845, he returned to the river, beginning a decades-long career as a steamboat pilot for the Minnesota Packet Company; over the next 40 years he worked for many other firms on the upper Mississippi and its tributaries. Nichols' memoir discusses not only a pilot's duties and wages but also the early years of Fort Snelling, the fur trade, the Ho-Chunk, Sioux and Ojibwe Indians, lumber rafts, birth of Wisconsin river towns, and collisions and crashes between vessels. A long section describes the removal of the Ho-Chunk to Minnesota, in which he was personally involved.

Related Topics: Immigration and Settlement
Great Lakes Steamships and Canals
Creator: Nichols, George C., 1824-
Pub Data: La Crosse, Wis. : Tucker & Co., 1883; digitized from a copy in the Wisconsin Historical Society rare book collection, Call Number 98-2415.
Citation: Nichols, George C. Recollections of a Pioneer Steamboat Pilot: contributing to the early history of the Mississippi (La Crosse, Wis. : Tucker & Co., 1883) Online facsimile at:  http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/turningpoints/search.asp?id=1712; Visited on: 9/27/2022