Thursday, August 1, 2013

Along the River Front ...

Nearly every town along the Ohio and Cumberland rivers that had a newspaper, had a column covering news of boat arrivals and people who were connected to the rivers. The Evansville, Indiana newspapers had one of the best columns, in my opinion. The titles changed - sometimes being called "River News," other times "River Intelligence" and, in the case of the Evansville Courier in 1895, "Along the River Front."  The following sketch comes from the 23 January 1895 issue of the Courier, but was reprinted from the Paducah News.

"Just 40 years ago on January 11, 1855, Jos. H. Fowler, a 24-year-old wharfboat clerk, and Miss Mattie E. Leech, a belle of Smithland, were married at the capital of old Livingston [County]. Among the witnesses to that ceremony were the groom's father, his stepmother and his four brothers; the bride's mother, her six brothers and a host of relatives and kinspeople. Of all that number, only three are now alive, the couple that were united that winter evening and one brother of Mrs. Fowler, Colonel W.T. Leech, of Cape Girardeau.  The wharfboat clerk has grown to be Captain Fowler, of Paducah, superintendent of two steamboat lines and proprietor of several wharfboats, but not a single member of his family has survived the two score years since his wedding. He has neither a brother, sister, uncle, aunt or parent. In fact, he is the only living representative of the Fowler line. One of the most honored and prominent names in the history of western Kentucky and of the establishment of navigation of western waterways. His wife, a handsome matron, like the stout mariner himself, is still in the prime of life, but only a few of the friends and invited guests of Smithland, who were present at their union, are above the sod, and these are dying fast."

Published 1 August 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

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