Cover image for Before Mark Twain : a sampler of old, old times on the Mississippi
Before Mark Twain : a sampler of old, old times on the Mississippi
McDermott, John Francis, 1902-1981.
Paperback edition.
Publication Information:
Carbondale, Ill. : Southern Illinois University Press, 1998.

Physical Description:
xxvii, 298 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm.
Reading Level:
1350 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F351 .M128C Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



This text is a sampler of informative stories and descriptions of the kaleidoscopic life of the Mississippi before Mark Twain travelled the river. It includes discussions of the crafts that plied the river, life on the river and descriptions of famous towns along the river.

Author Notes

John Francis McDermott was a research professor of humanities at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. Before his death in 1981, he had written or edited more than thirty books.

Table of Contents

No Craft So Whimsical- No Shape So Outlandishp. 3
Flatboat Fleets in 1808p. 13
Episode on a Flatboat: The Death of Banks Finchp. 20
The Western Steamboatp. 26
From New Harmony to New Orleans, 1826p. 40
Time Passes Tranquilly, If Not Pleasantlyp. 48
Joe Cowell Recalls a Voyage in the Helen Mcgregor in 1829: Or, Twelve Days Confinement in a High Pressure Prisonp. 58
A Lady Writer Reports Some Incidents of Steamboat Travelp. 70
Deck Passage to Natchez, 1838p. 83
The Little Steamboats of the Mississippip. 87
Concerning the Conduct of the Captain of the Casketp. 91
Steamboat Mannersp. 103
Never Such a Collection of Unblushing, Degraded Scoundrelsp. 107
Adventures of the Artistp. 112
Description of Banvard's Panoramap. 126
On Board a Keelboat during an Earthquakep. 148
A Little Difficulty with Icep. 155
Hurricane at Natchezp. 159
A Storm Scene on the Mississippip. 161
A Severe Time on the Mississippip. 166
The Burning of the General Pratte: As Reported in the St. Louis Missouri Republicanp. 170
Explosion of the Steamer Pennsylvaniap. 178
Fever, Fatigue, and Deathp. 187
The """"Pilgrims""""p. 191
Reminiscence of Natchez """"Under-The-Hill"""": My Grandmother's Trickp. 196
Gamblers and Suckersp. 200
Thimblerig, the Riverboat Gamblerp. 209
The Big Bear of Arkansasp. 222
The Disgraced Scalp Lock or Incidents on the Western Watersp. 235
Sketches from the Saga of Jack Pierce: Flatboatman and Ram-Butterp. 248
The Steamboat Captain Who Was Averse to Racingp. 257
Stopping to Woodp. 261
The Second Advent!: Tom Bangall, the Engineer, and Millerismp. 264
Glimpses of New Orleans in 1819p. 270
10 Days in New Orleans, 1826p. 278
Carnival in New Orleans, 1846p. 287