Steamboats were once a common sight on the Ohio River. The first Steamboat boat built on the Ohio River was the New Orleans a 400 ton boat built in 1812. The Riverboat age was brought about because roads were difficult to travel and the railroad had not linked all of the towns and villages. These boats were a preferred way to travel in comfort for most people. Mail, news and produce were also commonly sent by boat.
Another common sight from the era was boat races. Captains of these crafts would often challenge each other to races on the river. One such race is documented in RiverNews Volume 1. The race in question was between the Chesapeake, captained by Uriah B. Scott, and the Fanny Dugan, captained by A. J. “Jack” McAllister. Of course, the races were not safe and the resulting explosions often cost the lives of passengers, deckhands, and livestock.
Accidents were common on these steam-powered machines. The boilers with it high temperatures and pressure were a common cause of disasters aboard ship. However, like most water fairing crafts, water, wind, weather, floods, snags, ice, and lack of water could cause accidents, too. Specific stories of disasters can be found in the RiverNews books.