River Pioneers in Northern Kentucky
According to statements in the Newport (Ky.) News, the first steamboat that ever ran on the western waters was built under the superintendence of Mr. John Robson, now 80 years old, and living with his son William, two miles back of Newport, Ky. His head is whitened by age, but his memory is good, and recollects well about his youthful exercises. He was employed by Fulton, Livingston & Co., of New York. The boat was launched at Pittsburg, Pa., on the 17 th day of March, 1811, and was called the New Orleans. She was painted with a blueish colored paint. She passed New Madrid, Mo., at the time of the earthquake in December, 1811. Mr. Scowls, now living in Covington, a wealthy man, was cabin-boy on her; Andrew Jack was pilot, and a Mr. Baker was engineer.
from Hunt's Merchant's Magazine and Commercial Review, Vol. 29, 1853