LOG BOOK OF THE STEAMER BOAZ FRANK A. GOULD CAPTAIN by John Bowman©

Excerpts from the Towboat BOAZ LOG BOOK by Capt. Frank A. Gould December 27, 1904 to March 5, 1913.

LOG BOOK OF THE STEAMER BOAZ FRANK A. GOULD Captain

The stern-wheel towboat Boaz (Way T0277), the third of five towboats with this name had her hull built at Sewickley, Pennsylvania.  She was completed at Pittsburgh in 1882 with engines and five boilers from the prior (1867) Boaz towboat.

Frank A. Gould was Capt. and Master of the 1882 towboat Boaz from 1902 to 1916, and in the early 1930s, he was Master of the 1927 towboat Allegheny.

Boaz Towboat under steam photo Liberty Photo Service Frederick J. McCabe

The Boaz entered the R.C. River Coal or River Combine (Monongahela River Consolidated Coal and Coke Co.) in 1900.  The Combine acquired and owned eighty towboats, six thousand coal-boats and barges.  The Combine was run out of a Pittsburgh building facing the Monongahela River that housed the Combine’s “Valley Supply Company” general store.  Their large Wharf Boat moored at the foot of Market Street is where the Towboats picked up their “store orders” of Groceries and supplies; Capt. Frank A. Gould tells us of this in his Log Book.

Combine Stock Certificate photo courtesy Liberty Photo Service Frederick J. McCabe
R.C. River Coal or River Combine

R.C. Painted on the Steamboat’s Pilot House stood for River Coal or River Combine.  The letters were Painted Black and Shaded Red. R.C. on the Combine’s Barges were Painted White. In the following photo, the single stacked white boat that was situated within the barge fleet is a Pump Boat.

Combine Coal Fleet Monongahela River Pittsburgh photo courtesy Northern Kentucky Tribune
Boaz Log Book Page 1

Capt. Gould catches us up on the Steamer Boaz in this Log Book on Page 1.  Str. Boaz left Pittsburgh Dec 27th 1904 down bound.  Made (9) trips up to Nov 1st 1905.  (6) to Louisville, (2) to Cincinnati, (1) to Memphis.  Towing down in the (9) trips 146 Coal Boats, 128 barges, 26 Fuel Barges, 24 Flats, 12 Model barges totaling 336 on down trips.  Towing up in (9) trips 83 Coal Boats, 98 Barges, 17 Fuel Barges, 32 Flats, 4 Model Barges totaling 234 on up trips.  Total handled 570 in (9) trips traveling 11,508 miles. 

This history on Page 1 comes from a previous Boaz Log Book.

Capt. Frank A. Gould Piloting the Steamer Boaz in 1905 at Pittsburgh. Boaz with Lowered Stacks has just cleared a Monongahela River Bridge. Pittsburgh Coal Fleet photo courtesy the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Ohio. Pittsburgh “The Smoky City”

The Boaz Log starts on Page 2 “Trip No 9, Oct 21st 1905” Capt. Frank A. Gould and J.E. King Pilot towing 15 Coal Boats, 2 Models, (Model Barges had a tapered bow) 1 Barge, 5 Fuels loaded with ore. This trip, we went to Louisville. We had 5 Boats added to our original tow. Nov 8th, River raised and we took empty Towboat and brought her home arriving home Nov 9 coaled and laid up in Pittsburgh.  Our Empty tow up home from Louisville was 12 Coal Boats, 10 Barges and 2 Fuels. Throughout the Log, Capt. Gould recorded the River’s Depth at different locations. See Marks.

Boaz cabin photo courtesy the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Ohio











In The W.C. Brown Photo at left,
The Ohio River at Wheeling in October 1908 is 7 inches, the “lowest stage of water ever recorded.” Capt. Gould tells us in his Marks, Nov 5th, due to low water, he “Had a hard time getting over Wheeling”
photo from the John Bowman collection



  • Marks down
  • Davis Island Dam 12 ft. 3 in.
  • Merritt Dam 17 ft. 2 in.
  • Steubenville 15 ft.
  • Bellaire Bridge 17 ft.
  • Marietta 15 ft. 2 in.
  • Dewits Rock 13 ft. 4 in.
  • Antiquity Marks covered
  • Middleport 16 ft.
  • Pt. Pleasant Marks covered
  • Portsmouth 1 ft. 3 in.
  • Cincinnati 20 ft.
  • Marks up
  • Cincinnati 16 ft.
  • Kenova 8 ft.
  • Pt. Pleasant 6 ft. 2 in.
  • Deviants Rock 6 ft.
  • Mustapha  5 ft. 8 in.
  • Parkersburg 7 ft. 6 in.
  • Marietta 6 ft. 3 in.
  • Alton Grape 6 ft. 3 in.
  • Bellaire Bridge 6 ft. 2 in.
  • Wheeling 6 ft. 2 in. Had a hard time getting over Wheeling
  • Steubenville 5 ft. 4 in.
  • Nov 6th Laid up

Trip No. 1 Page 3 is published in its entirety.

Trip No. 1 Page 3 Capt. Frank A. Gould and J.E. ‘Ed’ King Pilot Nov 29, 1905 Got orders to get up steam, weather raining river raising. 

  • Nov 29, 1905 Left Pacific Landing at 12 o’clock noon, went up to Wharf Boat, got stores aboard and went down to Grays Landing and got 2 barges, 2 fuel boats and 1 flat.  Towed them up to Sligo Landing and laid up for the nighttime 9:30 p.m.
  • Nov 30, 1905 Laying at Sligo Landing hitching up at 8:45 a.m.  The Coal City (Way T0457), which was hitching up above us broke loose and came down into us, but our lines held and we stopped her.  There was no damage done.  The pool boats coming to bring our tow and we commenced to hitch up.  We could not get hitched up in time for Merriman before dark so we concluded to lay till morning.  River 17 ft. stationary.
  • Dec 1, 1905 Pgh. (Pittsburgh) 15 ft. and falling Backed out of Sligo Landing at 9:15 a.m.  12 boats 2 barges 5 fuel barges 1 flat, Frank A. Gould on watch.  Passed Davis Island Dam 10:20 a.m., 14 ft. 10 in. on marks.  Changed watch 12 o’clock at Economy, passed Beaver Bridge at 1:30 p.m., marks covered, passed Merrill Dam 2 p.m., 21 ft. 6 in. on marks.  Landed for the night opposite Wellsville Dam at 4:40 p.m.
  • Dec 2, 1905 Turned out at 6:15 a.m.  River fell 2 ft. 1 in. during the night, weather raining and foggy.  Passed Steubenville Bridge, marks covered.  19 ft. at Steubenville and falling.  Changed watch at 12 o’clock at Tiltonsville.  Marks at Bellaire Bridge covered.  Got 5 boats and 2 fuel boats at Josh Cooks making our tow; 17 boats, 2 barges, 7 fuel boats and 1 flat.  Changed watch at 6 o’clock at Clarington, rain all watch.  Landed for rain, fog at Cochranville at 10:30 p.m. 
  • Dec 3, 1905 Turned out 6:15 a.m.  River raised 9 in. during night, weather rain and sleet; 24 ft. at Marietta.  Changed watch at 12 o’clock head of Muskingum Island; 26 ft. at Parkersburg.  Left flat 2076 head of Blaney Landing at Longbottom at 5:30  
  • Dec 4, 1905 Turned out at 6:30 a.m., river raised 12 in. during night Dewits Rock covered.  Antiquity rock covered.  Changed watch at 12 o’clock at Segrist Riffle.  Middleport marks 30 ft. raising.  Passed Point Pleasant Bridge 3 o’clock marks covered.  35 ft. at Gallipolis and raising.  Changed watch 6 p.m. foot Straight Ripple.  Landed in the nook at Guyan at 9:30.
  • Dec 5, 1905 Turned out at 5:20 a.m., river raised 9 in. during night.  Changed watch at 6 a.m. at Central City, marks covered on Kenova Bridge, Ironton Marks 36 ft.  Changed watch at 12 o’clock at Bonanza Dyke.  Left fuel barge 2072 at Buena Vista.  40 ft. at Vanceburg.  Changed watch 6 o’clock in Manchester Island.  Changed watch 11 p.m., Straight Creek, floated all watch.
  • Dec 6, 1905 Changed watch 3 a.m. at Schultz Light.  Changed watch at 6 a.m. at Blairs Brick Yard.  Passed Cincinnati at 10:30, 38 ½ ft. at marks.  Got 3 more barges off Fallie at Ludlow, making our tow 17 boats, 7 barges, 6 fuel barges.  Changed watch 12 o’clock below Rapid Run. Changed watch 6 o’clock at Sugar Creek.  Changed watch 11 o’clock Highland Bar.
  • Dec 7, 1905 Changed watch 3 o’clock Fulton Light.  Changed watch 6 o’clock in 12 Mile Island.  Landed opposite Utica at 7:30 a.m.  Got word that we were going south but as yet, do not know how far.
  • Dec 8, 1905 Went over the falls today and landed at Commons House.  The Pilots down are Thomas Patterson and John Godfrey.  Note: The ‘Falls of the Ohio’ at Louisville required experienced Pilots to traverse the falls during low water.  These pilots kept a detailed account of the number of boats and the amount of products they piloted over the ‘Falls’.
A Steamboat goes over the “Falls” Postcard Gaulfield & Shook Inc. Louisville, KY
  • Dec 9, 1905 Laid all day waiting for balance of tow.
  • Dec 10, 1905 Waited all day for balance of tow, which we commenced to get about 3 p.m.  Left at 9:45 p.m. with 22 coal boats, 8 fuel barges, coal digger Reaper and Dancin Gal.
  • Dec 11, 1905 Glad to run slow all day, weather very windy.
  • Dec 12, 1905 Passed Evansville at 10 a.m., 28 ft. 4 in. on gauge.  Tug Isabella (Way T1213) helped us through Henderson Bridge at noon.  Tug Nellie Brown (Way T1906 a Combine Tug), took us further from Boaz at 11:30 p.m.
  • Dec 13, 1905 Arrived at Cairo at 5 p.m. and landed opposite town and laid all night, 28 ft. on gauge.  Cairo is Ohio River mile 980, 981.  Cairo is Mississippi River mile 953.
  • Dec 14, 1905 Turned our tow over to Sprague and started for Memphis for tow of empties at 12 midnight, 27 ft. on gauge, with 1 deck barge and 1 fuel barge, 25 ½ ft. on Columbus gauge.  Landed for wind and rain at foot of Island No. 10 at 6 p.m.
  • Dec 15, 1905 Left foot of 10 at 6:30 a.m.  Left deck barge Churchill at New Madrid, 22 ½ ft. and falling on the gauge.  21ft. and falling on gauge at Cottonwood Point. 19 ½ ft. and falling at Fulton.  Hit the bank at head of Island No. 35 and sunk fuel barge 2758.  Landed opposite Richardsons and cleaned boilers.
  • Dec 16, 1905 Left head of No. 35 at 5:30 a.m. arrived at Memphis at 9:30 a.m., 19 ¾ ft. on gauge.  Got stores and started to hitch up at 12 midnight.  Hitched into 16 boats, the coal digger Memphis No. 16 and 1 fuel barge.  Left Memphis Landing at 4:15 p.m. for Pittsburgh.
  • Dec 17, 1905 17 ¾ ft. at Fulton, river falling.  Met steamer Sprague (Way T2327) at Mouth of Hatcher River with 46 boats and trimmings. The Towboat Sprague was built at Dubuque, Iowa’s “Iowa Iron Works” in 1901 by Captain Peter Sprague for the Monongahela River Consolidated Coal and Coke Co. (the Combine) Sprague was the world’s largest steam powered sternwheeler towboat.  She was nicknamed Big Mama, and was capable of towing (pushing) 56 coal barges at once.  In 1907, Sprague set a world record, towing 60 barges of coal, weighing 67,307 tons.
The Combine’s SprageBig Mama‘ photo courtesy the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Ohio
  • Dec 17, 1905 At 9 p.m. John Godfrey put our starboard head boat out on Sand Bar at Fletcher Towhead, nearly dry and tore tow up.  We took balance of tow to foot of Island No. 26 and came back after boat.
  • Dec 18, 1905 Left foot of No. 26 at 8 a.m. nearly wrecked coal boat 8061 getting it off of Bar at Fletcher, parted 2” lines pulling at it and tore nearly all the floor timbers out.  It is a sick looking boat.  11 hours lost there, West N.W. at foot of 26 with 31 boats and trimmings.
  • Dec 19, 1905 18 ft. and falling on gauge at New Madrid.  Heavy weather all day and night.
  • Dec 20, 1905 20 ft. and falling on gauge at Columbus, it spit rain all day.  Arrived at Cairo at 4:40 p.m.  Added 5 boats, 3 fuel barges to our tow which made 21 boats, 4 fuel barges and Coal Hoist.  Laid up and cleaned Boilers.
  • Dec 21, 1905 Left Cairo at 4:15 a.m., heavy side-wind blowing.
  • Dec 22, 1905 Rain in early morning threatening all day, rained all afternoon.  Got fuel barge 2590 at Caseyville.  Cleaned up after part of night.
  • Dec 23, 1905 Nice sunshine day, all day; in evening wind commenced to raising river and getting cold.
  • Dec 24, 1905 Wind blew us and how below Evansville.  Lost 4 hours weather sleet and cold arrived Evansville 5:30 a.m.
  • Dec 25, 1905 Nice clear warm sunshine all day.  Ran around in shirtsleeves.  6 a.m. at Frank’s Landing, 6 p.m. at Wolf Creek.  38 miles today.
  • Dec 26, 1905 Made 33 miles last night, ran along all day, arrived at foot of the Canal (the Louisville and Portland Canal) at 7 p.m., and started to lock at once.  On seeing the previous picture of the “Falls”, one may wonder how could a boat ever come back up-stream and ascend the twenty-two foot “Falls”?  Spring rains usually kept the Ohio running high into mid-summer and boats could easily ascend with no trouble.  If the water was low, they had to await a rise in the river.  A canal completed in 1830 bypassed the “Falls”.
  • Dec 27, 1905 Got out of Canal at 9 a.m. (13 hours).  Went to hitching up at towhead and before we got through, the Engineer came up and Hollered “Boiler Work”.  Got into tow and went over to foot of Duffy’s Landing at 3 p.m. and laid up with 2 loaded models, 6 barges, 6 boats, and 6 fuel boats.
  • Dec 28, 1905 Laid at Duffy’s Landing all day fixing Boilers.
  • Dec 29, 1905 Left foot Duffy’s Landing 1:30 a.m.  Hard west wind blowing, getting colder.  Changed watch 6 a.m. at Beggs Light.  6 p.m. at Notch lick, 39 ½ miles today, hard west wind, big swells. At Madison at 4 p.m.
  • Dec 30, 1905 Changed watch 6 a.m. at foot East Bend.  Cold down-stream wind.  Changed watch 6 p.m. at Rapid Run Bar, 22 ½ ft. and falling at Cincinnati.  32 miles today.
  • Dec 31, 1905 Changed watch 6 a.m. at head of Richmond Bar.  Dark and cloudy day.  Changed watch 6 p.m. ½ way between Maysville and Brooks Bar.  40 miles today, 32 miles last night.
  • Jan 1, 1906 Changed watch 6 a.m. at foot of Kinney Bar.  15 ft. at Portsmouth.  Changed watch 6 p.m. at head of Ferguson Bar.  36 miles last night.
  • Jan 2, 1906 Changed watch 6 a.m. at Millersport.  Changed watch 6 p.m. above Point Pleasant Bridge.  14 ft. 1 in. at Pt. Pleasant, rising river all day.  31 miles today.
  • Jan 3, 1906 Changed watch 6 a.m. at foot of Letart.  Made 30 miles last night.  Changed watch 6 p.m. at Dewits Rock.   Made 33 miles today.
  • Jan 4, 1906 Changed watch 6 a.m. at head of Pt. Pleasant Island.  Made 29 miles last night.  2 hours coming past Coffer Dam at 18.   Changed watch 6 p.m. at Petticoat.  Made 34 miles today.  17 ft. at Marietta, rising fast, very windy and rough.
  • Jan 5, 1906 Changed watch 6 a.m. at Powhatan Point.  Made 38 miles last night.   Changed watch 6 p.m. at foot of Pike Island where Towboat Rival (Way T2164) met us at 4:30 p.m. and took 6 boats, 2 barges.  24 miles today.  18 ft. at Bellaire Bridge.
  • Jan 6, 1906 Changed watch 6 a.m. at Walkers Landing.  Left Pike Island last night at 7 p.m.  Made 38 miles today.  Very stormy and cold.  Arrived at Landing at 10 p.m., 39 days out, 2,208 miles this trip.  We are warned to Look out for loaded models from up stream; it figures each one is drawing 5 ½ ft.  About 7 barges.

Trip No. 2 Page 12 (abbreviated) Capt. Frank A. Gould and Alonzo Robinson Pilot Jan 15 1906 Got orders to get up steam and build up in Grays Landing.

  • Jan 16, 1906 Left Grays Landing at 7 a.m.  12 barges, 2 fuel barges, 1 flat and a shanty boat hull.  Had to land at 1:30 p.m. at Industry for wind.  Turned out at 2:45 p.m. and had to land again for wind at Georgetown at 4 p.m.  Laid up all night.
  • Jan 17, 1906 At Bellaire got 10 barges off Rival (Way T2164) making tour tow 22 barges, 2 fuel barges, 1 flat and a shanty boat hull.
  • Jan 19, 1906 Left flat 2611 at Buena Vista.
  • Jan 20, 1906 Passing Cincinnati, we landed at Bromley and got 5 boats and 3 barges, making our tow 25 barges, 5 coal boats, 1 fuel barge and 1 shanty boat hull.
  • Jan 21, 1906 Landed at Towhead, mile 602 at 2:30 p.m. where boats took all of our tow except 17 barges, which we took into the head of the Canal.
  • Jan 22, 1906 Got up steam at 9 a.m. and started to hitch into 10 boats, 2 models (loaded), 6 barges, 3 fuel barges, and left up-stream at 2 p.m.
  • Jan 24, 1906 At Moscow, left 4 boats at Coal Haven, and got 1 barge making our tow 6 boats, 7 barges, 2 fuel barges and 2 loaded model barges.  Capt. Wm. Shaw with the Ranger (Way T2111) and Delta (Way T0592) helped us from Southern Bridge to Coal Haven. 
  • Jan 29, 1906 At Marietta, we met the “Old Soldier” Volunteer (Way T2545) and she took 6 boats. Jan 31, 1906 arrived at Pittsburgh at 9 p.m. coaled up and laid up at Grays Landing Monongahela River mile 82, 1,368 miles 15 days out.

Page 16 Mar 5, 1906 Trip No. 3 Capt. Frank A. Gould and J.E. King Pilot

  • Mar 5, 1906 Got orders to get up steam at 9 a.m.  Went to Wharf Boat, got stores and went to Grays and got 1 model and 1 barge and went down to Advance Landing to hitch up.
  • Mar 6, 1906 Turned out at 7 a.m.  Morning very Smoky (Pittsburgh the Smoky City).  Left with 6 boats, 6 barges, 1 model, 1 fuel barge and 2 flats.
  • Mar 7, 1906 12:15 a.m. snagged boat C83 and had to beach it opposite Moundsville.
  • Mar 10, 1906 Landed on the sand opposite Cincinnati at 11 p.m.
  • Mar 11, 1906 Started to deliver at 6:30 a.m.  Left our barges in Ludlow Landing mile 473 and coal boats and models in Mill Creek Landing.  Hitched into 22 barges and 6 boats and left for Pittsburgh at 9 p.m.
  • Mar 14, 1906 Found Boiler trouble at Gallipolis. There the 15th and 16th.
  • Mar 17, 1906 Got up steam and left at 3:40 a.m.
  • Mar 19, 1906 Rained all day.
  • Mar 20, 1906 Heavy Snow all day. Mar 21, 1906 Arrived at Pittsburgh at 4:30 a.m.  946 miles out 15 days.  Coaled up and got orders.

Page 20 Mar 21, 1906 Trip No. 4 Capt. Frank A. Gould and J.E. King Pilot

  • Mar 21, 1906 Hitched up to 16 barges and 4 fuel barges and left at 6:10 a.m.  Heavy wind blew us against No. 3 Lock and sunk flat 2156.  Landed under Run Bar at Racoon Creek at 11:30 on account of wind which parted our lines.
  • Mar 26, 1906 Landed under the Water Works at Chilo, mile 435 and delivered tow assisted by Ranger (Way T2111).  Hitched up to 12 boats, 10 barges, the pleasure boat Coronado and Left for Pittsburgh at 9 p.m. Apr 4, 1906 Arrived in Pittsburgh 11:15 p.m. coaled up and laid at Wharf Boat all night. 870 miles.

Oct 9, 1906 Capt. Gould writes that in his 2nd years’ work, he made 1 trip to Memphis, 4 to Louisville, 3 to Cincinnati.  Towing down in 8 trips 61 coal boats, 161 barges, 24 fuel barges, 2 floats, 4 models, 1 coal digger and 21 flats for a total of 274.  Towing up 73 coal boats, 127 barges, 19 fuel barges, 21 flats, 1 coal digger, 4 loaded models and 1 pleasure boat for a total of 246.  Total handled in 8 trips 520 traveling 9,575 miles.

Boaz Log Book Page 44 3rd Year 1907

Nov 5, 1907 Capt. Gould writes that in his 3rd years’ work, he made 4 trips to Louisville, 2 to Cincinnati, 1 to Caseysville after empty’s from Louisville, 1 trip to Memphis. Towing down in 8 trips 88 coal boats, 127 barges, 23 fuel barges, 9 flats and 4 models for a total of 251.  Towing up 82 coal boats, 120 barges, 20 fuel barges, 11 flats and 6 models for a total of 239.  Total handled in 8 trips 490 traveling 9,628 miles.

May 25, 1908 Capt. Gould writes that in his 4th years’ work, he made 4 trips through May 1908.

Sep 30, 1908 Capt. Gould piloted Boaz in the Marine Parade that was part of Pittsburgh’s Sesqui-Centennial celebration.

Boaz photo Courtesy Dispatch from Liberty Marine Photos

Oct 24, 1912 Capt. Gould logs his last Trip from Pittsburgh to Chilo arriving back at Pittsburgh Nov 11, 1912. Boaz was retired in 1913 and dismantled in 1916.

Capt. Frank A. Gould went on as Master of Carnegie Steel’s 1927 Pittsburgh Poolboat Style Allegheny (Way T0105).  Combine boats were built to the low profile ‘Rees’ design, and commonly called ‘Poolboats’.  These towboats were designed with their pilothouse built at the forward end of the boiler deck rather than on the hurricane deck or roof and her stacks were also hinged which allowed these towboats to easily navigate under the Monongahela River’s low bridges.

1927 Allegheny T0105 Liberty Photo Service Frederick J. McCabe

In Way’s “Steam Towboat Directory” Page 26 Boaz T0277 Capt. Way writes: “When Capt. Frank Gould was an old man he visited the River Exposition at Pittsburgh (September, 1938) where the old pilot wheel of the BOAZ was on display and wept tears as his hands were guided to the spokes, he was then blind.” 

12 Photo Credits

  • LOG BOOK OF THE STEAMER BOAZ FRANK A. GOULD Captain
  • Boaz Towboat under steam photo Liberty Photo Service Frederick J. McCabe
  • Combine Stock Certificate photo courtesy Liberty Photo Service Frederick J. McCabe
  • Combine Coal Fleet Monongahela River Pittsburgh photo courtesy Northern Kentucky Tribune
  • Boaz Log Book Page 1
  • Pittsburgh Coal Fleet photo courtesy the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Ohio.
  • Boaz cabin photo courtesy the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Ohio
  • W.C. Brown Photo Ohio River at Wheeling in October 1908 photo from the John Bowman collection
  • A Steamboat goes over the “Falls” Postcard Gaulfield & Shook Inc. Louisville, KY
  • The Combine’s SprageBig Mama‘ photo courtesy the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Ohio
  • Boaz 1908 Marine Parade photo Courtesy Dispatch from Liberty Marine Photos
  • Boaz Log Book Page 44 3rd Year 1907
  • 1927 Allegheny T0105 Liberty Photo Service Frederick J. McCabe

Bibliography and Sources

1 Gould, Frank A. Capt. Log Book Str. Boaz 1902-1913 296 pages from the John Bowman collection.

2 Way, Frederick, Jr., with Joseph W. Rutter Way’s Steam Towboat Directory, Sons and Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, 1990 Example from this book Page 11, Allegheny (Way T0105)

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