1844, Jan 8 - Hollister, David S. to Joseph Smith


Maid of Iowa


8 January 1844 (from the Journal History of the Church)


A letter to Joseph the Prophet from Mr. Hollister in New Orleans. Written at the above date. (Letter to Nauvoo)


Dear Brother Joseph:  I have until today delayed writing you because I could not give you a definite account of what had been done in the matter pertaining to the Bopat "Maid of Iowa", but will proceed to give you now the particulars up to the present time. After a long and tedious voyage, spending many days on sand bars, I arrived at Natchez, Adams County, Mississippi, in just three weeks from the time I left home, and there learned that the "Maid" had ascended Red River and was plying between the raft and Fort Townsend, about eleven hundred miles from the mouth. I embraced the first opportunity and started up Red River and, after proceeding a few hundred miles passed her in the night without any possibility of boarding her and was under the necessity of proceeding about one hundred miles farther before I could land and there waited several days before I was able to get passage to New Orleans. Meeting with so many delays, I was nearly five weeks from the time I left home before I found the boat and then to my surprise she was in the possession of the sheriff for a debt contracted at St. Louis and so badly damaged by running through the raft and in the upper Red River that I doubt whether she would have brought at auction over $2,000. I called on Jones and offered to charter his portion of the boat and tried in every practicable manner to get possession and offered to raise the money through some of my friends and relieve the boat from her embarrassment, run her in some of the boyoes this winter and return to Nauvoo in the spring, but he would accede to no proposition I could make. His wife was commandant in Chief and was fully determined not to give up the command. She came out on the hurricane deck when Jones and I were talking and declared that it was just what she had expected a plan of Joseph to cheat them out of every cent of their hard earned money. I soon saw that all efforts were futile and the boat must be sold and all claims against her would by the statutes of the state have the preference to yours, for two reasons, first you are a partner and secondly no claims of over sixty days standing against a boat can come in for their pro-rating until after the new amounts of new claims, cost of suits, lawyers fees, etdc., would swallow up the little boat, bones and all. The claims against her are as follows:


McCallisters bill, St. Louis and cost about                                                        $160.00

Foundry bill in St. Louis                                                                                     179.00

Butchers                                                                                                            70.00

Due to hands on board                                                                                      190.00

Store bill                                                                                                              55.00

Due to Hubbard on a foolish charter, gives him one third in St. Louis                     50.00

Sundry other bills, supposed to be                                                                        40.00




With these debts saddled upon her and her credit gone entirely, and so badly damaged that before she could do business at least $400.00 must be expended in repairs, two families and a gang of hands on board eating her up and but the small sum of $64.00 on hand, I thought best to call on Mr. Derby for the $64.00, remove the deposits, made an arrangement for the payment of McCallister's bill for which she was sued and commenced a suit against Jones for a settlement and attach the boat the only way the thing can be done according to the statutes of this state. I accordingly set the lawyers at work, but while I was looking up securities, which was necessary to give Jones sold one half of the boat to Capt. C. F. Miller who formerly ran the steamboat Des Moines, now owner of the Steamboat Elizabeth. With this new feature, I thought best to compromise the matter, try to raise means to do one half of the repairs and get the boat out of debt and delay litigation until I could hear from you. I suppose that Jones' arrangement with Miller is such a one as he calculates he will get her back again, but if she should not make money enough to pay her debts within 3 or 4 months the result is doubtful, and if Miller holds on to her and having the command there is no way that I can bring her home; for the time being, until I hear from you I shall remain on board as clerk representing the interest specified in my charter. She will run in the Bayou La Foache and Bayou La Thurborne, can make one trip a week, can carry about 100 hogsheads of sugar and 100 barrels of Molasses which at the present prices of freight would amount to $350.00 and if up freight and passage money will pay half of her expenses she will do well. The navigation is reported to be a safe one; large boats can not enter Bayou La Thurborne as there is but about three feet of water. I feel in hopes the boat may be able to pay her debts in this trade. I have thus far been governed by what I considered your best interest. Please acquaint me if it meets your approbation, and give me such further directions as may wish me to follow. Jones says he will return to Nauvoo and settle with you honorably, but he is much incensed against me, Captain Mrs. Jones especially. If you write him requesting him so to do, I think he will. I understand the consideration for the one half was $1500, the expense of repairs and debts from said half to come out. The contract for carpenters' work in repairs is let at $300.00; the castings for engine $61.00, wages of engineers and other hands while laying her will be $60.00 or $70.00 more, so that when she leaves port she will owe at least $1100.00. This will be owing to Captain Miller and the other half I raise on the charter on my own account; so if Miller is disposed to do right the boat will not be troubled. There is some business between Miller and Jones which at present I can not understand, but I guess Miller keeps the half anyway. I shall look with anxiety for an answer to this. Respectfully your,


D. S. Hollister


(To General Joseph Smith)






Jones, Dan


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