Sunday, September 13, 2009

Capt. Napoleon B. Hayward



Copyright on photographs and text by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG
May not be copied without written consent

It was almost inevitable that Napoleon Bonaparte Hayward would go into the steamboat business. He lived in Smithland, the home of many men who earned their living working on the rivers, so he was exposed to river talk and river men. In addition, his sister, Sarah, married Capt. Nathaniel F. Drew , who was a steamboat captain for many years.

Napoleon B. Hayward counted several Smithland families among his relatives, including Washington Beverly and James McCawley. Napoleon B.’s father, James Haywood, married Sarah Beverly, daughter of John Beverly and Anne McCawley, in Livingston County in 1822. The Haywards lived for a while in Jefferson County before moving back to Smithland before 1840.

Napoleon B. and his first wife had one child, Sarah Addie, who was born about 1854. With his second wife, Virginia Quertermous, he had the following children: Lavinia, Walter Scott, James T., Charles W., Bertha, Harry C., Virginia Grace, Ruby I. and John F.

The Hayward family lived a couple of years in Crittenden County, where Napoleon B. is listed as a blacksmith on the 1860 census. Shortly after that date, the family moved to Evansville, Indiana, where Napoleon went to work for his brother-in-law, Capt. Drew. In 1867, the steamboat Linton, was built in Pittsburg for Capt. Drew and first operated on the Monongahela River. The Linton later transferred to the Evansville-Nashville trade before it sank 25 October 1869. Napoleon later became captain of the steamer, Glasgow, which operated on the Ohio River.

Capt. Nathaniel F. Drew, Napoleon B. Hayward’s brother-in-law, died in the spring of 1874 and Napoleon was appointed administrator of Capt. Drew’s estate. Napoleon B. never completed the administration of Capt. Drew’s estate as he died about a year later. An account of his death is found in the Evansville Daily Journal on 22 and 23 April 1875. It is stated that Mrs. Hayward was on board when the Glasgow left Evansville, planning to visit Mrs. Drew in Smithland. When they reached Smithland, a physician was consulted, who attributed his illness to a severe cold. Mrs. Hayward attended her husband on board the steamer, but Napoleon B. Hayward died shortly after becoming ill.

News of the death of Napoleon B. Hayward reached Evansville before the Glasgow arrived. His obituary in the Evansville Daily Journal states the following: “Capt. Hayward was an excellent citizen and was rapidly accumulating property and become daily more and more identified with the general interests of the city. He was a sober, honest and enterprising gentleman, about 48 or 49 years old.”


Capt. Hayward left a will, dated 16 March 1872. With the exception of $1000 left to his oldest daughter, he left his entire estate to his widow, Virginia, who lived until 29 September 1920.

Most of Hayward family is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Evansville. The tall, imposing tombstone marks their burial place in section 30, lot 29. The only family member buried elsewhere is Sarah Addie, who died in 1942 Shreveport, Louisiana.

2 comments:

Genevieve said...

I imagine that his severe cold turned into pneumonia, and there was no treatment at all for that in those days.

Rivers, rivertowns, and river people have their own unique cultures and histories, and they are very, very foreign to me. I am the queen of landlubbers. My daughter's mother-in-law-to-be works on a Mississippi/Ohio river tugboat as a cook, 30 days in and 30 days out. She is probably the closest personal contact I will ever have with the rivers and things associated therewith.

Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG said...

I think you are correct - these river folks did have their own culture and were very close. News of the steamboats and their crews was reported in the 3 Evansville newspapers - fascinating reading for one who has no knowledge of such things. I'm learning too.