J. M. White Steamboat, Captain John W. Tobin “Mistress of the Mississippi” The J. M. White, named for the famous riverboat captain, was the most luxurious steamboat that ever navigated the Mississippi River. The sidewheel wooden hull packet boat was built by Howard & Company of Jeffersonville, Indiana at a cost of $300,000. Launched on April 3, 1873, she was 375 feet long and her deck measured 91 feet in width. Her feather-crowned chimneys rose upward 81 feet and two men were required to turn her 12 foot diameter steering wheel. The J. M White could carry 350 salon passengers and 7000 bales of cotton. She was lavishly appointed with the finest furnishings and her passengers were treated as visiting royalty. The nautical masterpiece was considered the fastest steamboat of her day breaking all records for speed. On a fateful voyage from Vicksburg, Mississippi on December 13, 1888, the J.M. White was destroyed by fire ending a remarkable 10 year career on the Mississippi.
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