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Philipsburg Mail
Philipsburg , Montana
December 23, 1938     Philipsburg Mail
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December 23, 1938

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THE PHILIPSBURG MAIL H00sory ,of SCearnboa Josephine Mos Co00orfu00 ,00of&apos; Any in 0000J[00ssour00 Or Ve0000owstone River Trade By JOEL F. OVERHOLSER TEAMBOATS running in the "mountain trade" on the upper Missouri and Yellowstone rivers had varied careers in plying the twisted channels of those Mon- tana rivers, but scarcely any, of all the 200-odd boats listed as having ;made trips to Montana ports could boast of as strange, as varied and as colorful and eventful a history as the Josephine. The vessel first entered Montana via the Yellowstone river in 1873 on government service with the Sev- enth Cavalry, then ,carried cargoes for the Couison line un- til tt went back into government service on river improve- ment in the late eighties, and was laid up and almost for- gotten on the river bank a few miles be- low Fort Benton for a year and a half, from 1889 to 1891. And the boa?t, cut down by ice in South Dakota in 1907, be- came a total wreck, Joel Ovcrholser Jr. but its boilers and machinery were salvaged and shipped to the Yukon river in Alaska to carry on the work of navigating the rivers of America. The Josephine was built by Joseph La Barge, famous river captain and pilot of the Missouri, under the in- structions and for the use of another and even more famous pilot--Captain Grant Marsh. Designed especially for filling a government charter on the Shallow Yellowstone, the Josephine was laid down at Pittsburgh, Pa., ship- yards early in 1873. The Coulson Pack- ,et company, of which Marsh was a member, had contracts for working with the Northern Pacific survey party of 1873, which was escorted by the Seventh Cavalry under the lead- .ership of Gem G. A. Custer. Recognizing the difficulties of navi- gation on the Yellowstone, the Jose- phine was built to specifications of Grant Marsh. She was a stern wheeler of 214 tons, 183 feet long, 31 feet wide and di'awing less than four feet :of water. There were two engines and two boilers, with a pressure of 160 rough as it was, was probably %he only one ever made of the Yellowstone, al- though charts of the Missouri from Fort Union to Fort Benton were made accurately by government engineers. Above Powder river was virtually an unknown stream, and Captain Marsh named the points, bends and rapids of the river, as The Narrows, and Hell Roaring rapids. At the Big Horn the Josephine was turned up that narrow stream, and went up for 12 miles, then returned to the Yellowstone and con- tinued its voyage. June 7th the boat had reached a point 46 miles above Pompcys Pillar and 483 above the mouth of the Yellowstone, near the present town of Bfllingsthe probable extreme head of navigation on the Yellowstone. As soon as the Josephine had fin- ished her government contract, prob- ably not later than mid-June, she was hurriedly pressed into service for an- other government, on another river. The Canadian Northwest territory was just beginning to be opened in 1875, and Mart Coulson took over the Josephine to fill a contract for the transport of a boatload of Canadian troops up 'the Missouri. The Josephine arrived at 'Carroll, 150 miles below Fort Benton, June 20, and left im- mediately for up the river--Benton- bound. Eight days later she was back at Carroll, minus the troaps. Fort Ben- ton had not been reached, but the Josephine had gotten far enough up the Missouri to mean a great saving in time for the Canadians. Three Trips for Canada The boat made three more trips carrying supplies as far as Carroll and Cow island for the Canadian govern- ment. I. G. Baker had had these con- tracts with that government, but the Benton, in which Baker owned a part interest, was full and tile crew over- worked, so the Coulsons stepped in to take them over. July 12 the Josephine came in to Carroll six days and 18 hours out Of Bismarck, a record at that time, although later boats bet- tered it on many occasions. Sept. 20 the boat left Carroll for down river, and its eventful season of 1875 was over. In 1876, the year the Sioux rose and wiped out Custer's command, was a year of fear in the Montana and Dakota country when rumors swept across the prairies to frighten whites with word of risings and massacres, Jj  /l IJJJHN J|JlJ ]I was informed that it was Montana Red Lodge New City H. all "'""" """" went over to the meetlng place, where J t ! ! l lk llt.JJlll tJ IXJI day, and that Senator Charley Muf- | t WT rq lr v ,r T r ,r TT i fley, Broadwater county, state presl- I' 'I'WA'l": k l II |lll-I !dent of the Montana Mining assocl- Fast Nearing Completion ' o0000,or ,ro00 | , Butte, appointed by Governor Erlck- |  ,son, trod not appeared. I was informed u GEORGE T. PORTER TURNS DOWN that I was to be chairman of the day. -., ,, ,,., . ...... I'1 am a Montanan by birth, and no !iii i!i! ii iiiiiiill i 1 :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: ...... i!l:' .<\