From the duel between future Senator Thomas Hart Benton and Charles Lucas on Bloody Island through the “Missouri Miracle” of the kidnapping and recovery of Shawn Hornbeck, Missouri has seen its share of notorious crimes. It witnessed the first Western gunfight on the town square between Wild Bill Hickok and Dave Tutt, three trials of the alleged murderer of Colonel Thomas Swope, the founder of Kansas City’s Swope Park, and the killings within a few blocks of each other that inspired the songs “Stagger Lee” and “Frankie and Johnny.” James W. Erwin and Vicki Berger Erwin explore crimes, criminals, and victims from the violent history of the last two hundred years in the Show-Me State.
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Available at www.arcadiapublishing.com and fine bookstores everywhere on April 12, 2021
During the nineteenth century, more than 300 boats met their end in the steamboat graveyard that was the Lower Missouri River – from Omaha to its mouth. Although derided as little more than an “orderly pile of kindling,” steamboats were in fact technological marvels superbly adapted to the river’s conditions. Their light superstructure and long, wide, flat hulls powered by high-pressure engines drew so little water that they could cruise on “a heavy dew” even when fully loaded. But these same characteristics made them susceptible to fires, explosions, and snags (tree trunks ripped from the banks, hiding under the water’s surface). And the river held other dangers – disease, crime and (in time of war) guerrillas.
This is the story of the perils steamboats, their passengers and crews faced on every voyage.
Available from Arcadia Publishing Company at www.arcadiapublishing.com and fine bookstores everywhere.
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