The sternwheel steamboat Apalachee, the First steamboat with a composite hull built on the Western Rivers. Western Rivers are United States Rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico. Apalachee was designed and built in 1890 by John M. Sweeney at the ‘A.J. Sweeney & Sons’ Boat Yard, Wheeling, West Virginia. One of the last complete steamboats built in Wheeling. The hull consisted of an iron frame and bulkhead with hull sheathing, deck and cabins of wood. The three tall posts (trusses) composed of iron rods and turnbuckles on the port and starboard sides supported the hog chains, which held up the ends of the hull.
This February 18, 1891 Wheeling flood photo shows the Crockard & Booth Steamboat Agents Wharfboat with the Apalachee to the right. The Apalachee was launched in late January of 1891 and was getting ready for her maiden voyage to Florida. The Apalachee was built for Plant System, Atlantic Coast Line Railroad of Apalachicola, Florida. They operated her on the Flint and Chattahoochee Rivers. Apalachee was snagged and lost at the Chipola River Cut Off near Iola, Florida, June 23, 1899.
Source: Bowman, John, A Pictorial History of Wheeling and Ohio River Steamboats 2009 Wheeling, WV
Source: Way, Frederick, Jr. Way’s Packet Directory, Apalachee 0308 1890-1899 Pg. 26 (2) pictures 1890-1891
The Apalachee under construction at Wheeling, West Virginia in 1890
W.C. Brown Photograph from the John Bowman collection The Apalachee at right the flood of February 18, 1891 a W.C. Brown Photograph # 77 from the John Bowman collection