This colorful and legendary steamboat captain pioneered steamboating on the upper Mississippi River in the mid-19th century; he was first president of the Galena, Dubuque and Minnesota Packet Company and founded the city of Winona, Minnesota. Item #36383
Partly-printed DS, 1p, 8" X 10", Chicago, IL, 1871 January 1. Very good. Faint age toning; paper loss (approx. 3½" X 2") at upper left corner, affecting portion of printed text but not holograph portion. Printed "Judgment Note" (promissory note) acknowledging that Smith owes Nathan Corwith five thousand dollars at ten percent annual interest. Signed boldly, twice, by Smith. Verso bears docket penned and signed WILLIAM R. ROWLEY (1824-86), one of Galena's famous nine generals and at this date the circuit clerk; this native New Yorker enlisted as a first lieutenant in Company D of the 45th Illinois Volunteers in 1861, promoted to captain in 1862 and lieutenant colonel in 1864 and finally named brevet general; he fought at Fort Donelson, Shiloh and Vicksburg; in 1864 he was named military secretary on General Grant's staff. Accompanied by a second, larger (8½" X 14") Partly-printed Document Signed, Chicago, IL, 1871 n.d. Very good. Printed "Narr. and Cognovit" (literally, Complaint and Confession) legal document in which the top two-thirds (the Narration portion) consists of plaintiff Nathan Corwith referring to the promissory note just described of defendant Orrin Smith and demanding payment (signed by Corwith's attorney, M.M. Miller) and the lower third (the Cognovit portion) consists of Smith's attorney (Edward A. Small) acknowledging same -- all couched in delightfully archaic and convoluted legalese, of course. Verso of this document too bears a docket penned and signed by William R. Rowley. M.M. MILLER (?-?) was a noted Galena, Illinois attorney who left Yale University to return home and join the famous Washburne Lead Mine Regiment during the Civil War; he was made commander of a colored regiment, the 9th Louisiana Regiment, in which every man was wounded or killed in the famous June 7, 1863 Battle of Milliken's Bend, part of the Vicksburg Campaign. EDWARD A. SMALL (1829-82) was another noted Galena attorney, though in 1869 he relocated to Chicago. Plaintiff NATHAN CORWITH (1819-89) was a noted Galena pig lead broker, clothier and then head of a prominent banking family that founded the Bank of Galena, which he served as president. Why Captain Smith borrowed $5,000 (a huge sum of money in 1871) from Corwith is unknown, though it's a reasonable assumption that it involved river commerce in some way -- perhaps purchase of another packet boat? An intriguing and scarce pair, in any case, involving and signed by a number of prominent northwest Illinoisans. Documents signed by Captain Smith are rarely encountered.