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


When the steamboat New Orleans made her way down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers from Pittsburgh to New Orleans in 1811-1812, it 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.

Nicholas Roosevelt supervised the construction of the New Orleans in Pittsburgh; the Roosevelts and the crew steamed out of Pittsburgh on October 20.

News of Events in Pittsburgh:

1805, Travels, by Michaux - extended description of Pittsburgh economy and natural resources
Mar. 8, 1811, Pittsburgh Gazette - advertisement for The Navigator, an indispensible guide to river travel that the Roosevelts surely purchased before beginning their trip
Oct. 18, 1811, Pittsburgh Gazette - the New Orleans makes a trial run and "fully answers the most sanguine expectations"
Oct. 23, 1811, Liberty Hall - "Mr. Roosevelt, it is stated, is building a Steam Boat, to run on the Ohio and Mississippi"
Oct. 25, 1811, Pittsburgh Gazette - "The Steam Boat sailed from this place on Sunday last."
Oct. 26, 1811, Western Spy - a (belated) report on the steamboat Nicholas Roosevelt was building
Oct. 26, 1811, Western Spy - optimism about the New Orleans based on her Oct. 15 test voyage
Oct. 30, 1811, Liberty Hall - shipping news, including mention of the New Orleans being built in Pittsburgh
Nov. 16, 1811, Western Spy - a discussion of steamboats and a belated report of the New Orleans' departure from Pittsburgh
Dec. 20, 1811, Pittsburgh Gazette - report of the Dec. 16 earthquake (from Pittsburgh)
Jan. 1, 1812, Liberty Hall - report of the earthquake in Pittsburgh
Jan. 4, 1812, Western Spy - more on the earthquake in Pittsburgh
Jan. 11, 1812, Western Sun - reports of the earthquake: east as far as Pittsburgh, south as far as Nashville
Jan. 29, 1812, Liberty Hall - shares offered for sale in a new steamboat company that will provide transport between Pittsburgh and Louisville
Jan. 31, 1812, Pittsburgh Gazette - a Pittsburgh songwriter offers for sale "a new song" about the Battle of Tippecanoe
Mar. 13, 1812, Pittsburgh Gazette - revisions to the Navigator (showing "wonderful changes for the worse" because of the earthquake) available gratis in Pittsburgh
June 15, 1812, letter from Robert Fulton, reporting on 1811 purchases from Pittsburgh stores for the New Orleans
1871, First Steamboat Voyage - Lydia Roosevelt's brother remembers Pittsburgh in 1811
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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