The Tombigbee River Steamboats: Rollodores, Dead Heads and Side-Wheelers

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The Tombigbee River flows through the history of Alabama and Mississippi, connecting the Black Prairie cotton belt of northeast Mississippi and west Alabama to Mobile and the Gulf of Mexico. In the early 1800s, it became the regional artery of commerce and trade, with steamboats carrying cotton to the port of Mobile and then returning upriver with farm supplies and consumer goods. Today, the "rollodores," who rolled cotton bales down slides to the decks of boats; the sunken logs, or "dead heads," that could sink a boat if struck; and the "side-wheeler" model steamboats have all but vanished. The Tombigbee River Steamboats brings this forgotten era back to life through accounts of the steamboats, their crews and their trials, such as the haunting story of the steamer Eliza Battle, which burned and sank on a freezing, flooded river.
ISBN: 9781596292857
Format: Paperback
Publisher: The History Press
State: Mississippi
Images: 167
Pages: 224
Dimensions: 6 (w) x 9 (h)
Rufus Ward has been active in the fields of history and historic preservation for more than thirty-five years. He divides his time between lectures on history-related topics and consulting on cultural projects. He also writes a weekly history column for the Commercial Dispatch in Columbus, Mississippi. Ward has been a contributing author for two other books: After Removal: The Choctaw in Mississippi and By the Flow of the Inland River: A History of Columbus, Mississippi, to 1825. Additionally, he has published numerous journal and magazine articles on southern history. He is an advisor emeritus to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, having previously represented the state of Mississippi on its board of advisors. Ward's past honors include the Calvin Brown Award from the Mississippi Association of Professional Archaeologists "in recognition of service by an amateur archaeologist in aid of historic preservation in the State of Mississippi" and a Resolution of Commendation from the board of trustees of the Mississippi Department of Archives & History for his "contributions and commitment to the preservation and interpretation of Mississippi History." Rufus, a retired prosecuting attorney, resides in a Victorian home in West Point, Mississippi, with his wife Karen and bird dog Eliza Faye. He graduated from the University of Mississippi, where he received a BA and a Juris Doctor. His daughter, Sarah, lives in Alexandria, Virginia, and his son, Bailey, lives in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.
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