The program will be a Power Point presentation titled “The Almighty’s Natural Highway–a Century of Steamboat Navigation on the Upper Red River.” The program has been crafted specifically for Red River County, and it will be a continuation from the program held on May 1, the factors which initially brought the boats to Red River County (ca. 1830), the head of navigation on the river, places the boats were built, including some locally-built boats, places the boats were owned, again, including some locally-owned boats and some photographs of boats documented to have been on the river in Red River County, two of which were named for Red River County river merchants.
Also featured will be actual newspaper advertisements from New Orleans, Shreveport and Clarksville newspapers, for boats coming to this area. The program will also discuss the types of produce the boats hauled away to market, accommodations for passengers on the boats, and the very surprising list of items the boats brought to the settlers of the area; the many obstacles to navigation faced by the boats, and how they overcame these obstacles, as well as accidents and wrecks which occurred in the area. Red River County river landings will also be pointed out and discussed.
Mike and wife Carolyn are Bowie County natives, living in the Spring Hill community, northwest of De Kalb, near the Red River.
Mike received a degree in agriculture from Stephen F. Austin State University, and had a career with the United States Department of Agriculture at various Texas locations, and in Georgia and Maryland.
He has been engaged in genealogical and historical research for forty-plus years, and for the past ten years has concentrated on the early history of the counties bordering the Red River, here in Northeast Texas, with special emphasis on Bowie and Red River Counties. Carolyn is president of Friends of the Williams House, an organization which operates De Kalb’s Williams House Museum, and she act as curator of the museum.
Much of Mike’s research has centered on the vital role Red River steamboats had in the development and growth of this area. During his research, Mike has documented more than 200 steamboats by name which navigated the upper Red River.
“I love to present the program”, Mike stated “and I am looking forward to being in Clarksville to share this fascinating, though little-known, chapter of our history. I believe those in attendance will be truly amazed at the scope of the steamboat era”.