John H. Couch (side-wheeler)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
John W Couch (sidewheeler).jpg
Steamer John H. Couch sometime between 1863 and 1870.
History
Route: Willamette and Columbia rivers
Builder: John Bruce
Identification: U.S. # 13622
Status: Dismantled
General characteristics
Class and type: riverine all-purpose
Tonnage: 255.24 gross tons
Length: 122 ft (37.2 m)
Beam: 21 ft (6.4 m) over hull (exclusive of guards).
Installed power: steam engines, with bore of 14.375 in (365.1 mm) and stroke of 54 ft (16.46 m).
Propulsion: side-wheels

John H. Couch was a side-wheel driven steamboat that operated on the Columbia and lower Willamette rivers from 1863 to 1873. Informally the vessel was known as the Couch.

Construction[edit]

John H. Couch was built at Westport, Oregon in 1863.[1] The boat was named after a prominent seaman, John H. Couch, who was also Oregon’s first inspector of hulls.[1] The boat was built by Capt. Charles Holman, D. Huntington, and Capt. Oliff Olsen.[1] Holman owned one-half of the boat, with the others holding a one-third and a one-sixth share, respectively.[1]

The shipbuilder was John Bruce, of Astoria.[2]

Design, dimensions, and engineering[edit]

John H. Couch was a side-wheel driven vessel. It was built to run from Portland to Astoria, Oregon.[1] The official merchant vessel registry number was 13622.[3]

John H. Couch was 122 ft (37.2 m) long, with a beam of 21 ft (6.4 m), exclusive of the guards and the paddle-wheel housings.[1] Gross tonnage was 255.24 tons.[3] The engines had cylinders with an inside bore of 14 and three-eighths inches with a stroke of 54 inches.[1]

Operations[edit]

Advertisement for John H. Couch, November 10, 1866.

John H. Couch operated for a time in opposition to the dominant steamboat concern on the river, the Oregon Steam Navigation Company.[1] O.S.N was running the steamer Julia against the Couch on the Astoria route.[1]

In January 1865, O.S.N. bought the Couch, as well as the steamers Cowlitz (ex Swan) and Belle, which were also owned by Holman, Huntington, and Olsen.[1] Once O.S.N. had the Couch, it withdrew Julia from the Astoria route.[1]

O.S.N. kept the Couch on the Astoria run under Capt. J.O. Van Bergen, as master, with Richard Hoyt, Jr. as purser.[1] During summer, the boat was sometimes engaged in excursion business.[1] Van Bergen was succeed in command by Capt. Henry A. Snow, who remained in charge until 1870.[1]

In November 1866, the Couch had a contract to carry the U.S. mail from Portland to Astoria.[4] Captain Snow was then in command.[4] Couch left Portland for Astoria and way landings at 6:00 a.m. on Mondays and Fridays of each week.[4] Returning, Couch departed Astoria on Tuesdays and Saturdays at 6:00 a.m.[4]

Captain Grenville Reed was also reported to have been in command of the John H. Couch for five years.[5]

Disposition[edit]

By 1870, Couch was no longer fit to carry passengers and was retired from service.[1] In January 1873, Couch was dismantled, with the boat’s engines being salvaged and sent to the upper Columbia, to be installed on another steamer.[1]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Wright, E.W., ed. (1895). "Chapter VI: The Oregon Steam Navigation Company's Best Days, Many New Steamers in Puget Sound Waters". Lewis & Dryden's Marine History of the Pacific Northwest. Portland, OR: Lewis and Dryden Printing Co. pp. 117–118, 123. LCCN 28001147. 
  2. ^ "Ship Building". Oregon City Enterprise. 1 (38). Oregon City, OR: D.C. Ireland. July 13, 1867. p.2, col.1. 
  3. ^ a b U.S. Treasury Dept, Statistics Bureau (1870). Annual List of Merchant Vessels (FY end Jun 30, 1869). 2. Wash. DC: GPO. p. 118. 
  4. ^ a b c d Ainsworth, John C.; Oregon Steam Navigation Co. (November 10, 1866). "Astoria Route — The U.S. Mail Steamer John H. Couch". Oregon City Enterprise (advertisement). Oregon City, OR. p.3, col.4. 
  5. ^ "Veteran Pilot is Dead — Captain Grenville Reed Passes Away at Astoria, Aged 73". Morning Oregonian. 52 (16,276). Portland, OR. January 23, 1913. p.4, col.5. 

References[edit]

Printed sources[edit]

On-line newspaper collections[edit]