Steamboat Adventure
Made possible by the Rivers Institute and the History Department of Hanover College.

Summer 1811

The steamboat New Orleans' 1811-1812  trip down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers from Pittsburgh to New Orleans marked a turning point in the Transportation Revolution.  After the New Orleans showed that it could be done, steamboats proliferated on the Ohio and the Mississippi and their tributaries.  Steamboat traffic helped create a national economy, opening markets for farm goods and drawing people and commerce to cities along the rivers.  The items below were published in Summer, 1811, and they provide context for understanding the Roosevelts' "steamboat adventure."  (Note that newspaper editors often reprinted stories that appeared earlier elsewhere.)

The summer of 1811 found the Roosevelt still in Pittsburgh.  Nicholas Roosevelt was continuing to supervise the construction of the steamboat New Orleans. Lydia Roosevelt, anticipating a second child in the fall, probably took an interest in the business while also being occupied with the care of their toddler daughter, Rosetta. 

Meanwhile, American astronomers were beginning to sight the Great Comet of 1811.

June 5, 1811, Liberty Hall - first sighting of the comet in Chillicothe, Ohio
June 8, 1811, Western Spy - first sighting of the comet in Chillicothe, Ohio
July 3, 1811, Liberty Hall - report of the ship Three Sisters ("largest that ever descended the Ohio") arriving in New Orleans safely
July 27, 1811, Western Spy -  concerns about traveling out of Cincinnati because of the dangers from Indians
Aug. 3, 1811, Western Sun - editor asserts Indian resistance will increase as Tecumseh, having united northern tribes, travels south to bring more tribes into his confederacy
Aug. 3, 1811, Western Sun - "a very considerable number" from Knox county meet to petition the president to act against Indians organized by Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa

1871, First Steamboat Voyage - Lydia Roosevelt's brother describes the New Orleans's construction

More about the "Steamboat Adventure" of 1811-1812 --



Steamboat Adventure homepage


Spring 1811
Summer 1811
Fall 1811
Winter 1811-1812
Spring 1812


Louisville (Kentucky) and Madison (Indiana Territory)
New Madrid (now in Missouri)
Chickasaw Bluffs (now Memphis)
New Orleans


Nicholas and Lydia Roosevelt
The Transportation Revolution
The Great Comet of 1811
The New Madrid Earthquakes
Indian Relations

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