Editor's Note: The following text is a verbatim transcription of an article written by George W. Murdock, for the Kingston (NY) Daily Freeman newspaper in the 1930s. Murdock, a veteran marine engineer, wrote a regular column. Articles transcribed by HRMM volunteer Adam Kaplan. For more of Murdock's articles, see the "Steamboat Biographies" category.
"City of Troy"
The hull of the “City of Troy” was built of wood by John Englis and Son of Greenpoint, N.Y., in 1876, and was 280 feet long. Her engine was a vertical beam engine from the steamboat “Fire Cracker,” and was rebuilt by the Quintard Iron Works of New York.
The “City of Troy” was built for the Citizens’ Line of Troy to take the place of the “Sunnyside” which was lost the year previous, and she made her first trip under the command of Captain L.D. Deming on June 15, 1876, from New York to Troy. At that time the new craft was one of the finest and largest of the night boats plying the waters of the Hudson and she had accommodations for a large number of passengers as well as ample space for freight.
The running mate for the “City of Troy” during its first year in service was the “Thomas Powell.” In 1877 the new steamboat “Saratoga” was added to the Citizens’ Line and the two boats ran together on the same route for many years. The fastest trip ever made by the “City of Troy” occurred in the summer of 1897, when she completed the New York to Troy run in nine hours and six minutes.
The engine of the “City of Troy” has an amazing history. As was stated above, it was originally built for the steamboat “Fire Cracker,” constructed in 10861 for service in Chinese waters. The “Fire Cracker” traveled to China under her own power but was later wrecked on the China coast and her engine shipped back to New York. Thomas Cornell of Rondout purchased the engine and then in the winter of 1876 sold it to the Citizens’ Line.
Once again the flames ended the career of a river steamer. On April 5, 1907, the “City of Troy” left her pier at the foot of West 10th street at 6:15 p.m., heavily loaded with freight and passengers, bound for Troy. On the way up the Hudson she caught fire and burned up to the water’s edge alongside the private dock of Edwin Gould at Dobbs Ferry. Every one of the 90 passengers reached shore safely due to the coolness and bravery of Captain Charles H. Bruder and his crew, but the magnificent steamer was completely destroyed, with the exception of her boilers, which were later used on the “Saratoga.”
George W. Murdock, (b. 1853-d. 1940) was a veteran marine engineer who served on the steamboats "Utica", "Sunnyside", "City of Troy", and "Mary Powell". He also helped dismantle engines in scrapped steamboats in the winter months and later in his career worked as an engineer at the brickyards in Port Ewen. In 1883 he moved to Brooklyn, NY and operated several private yachts. He ended his career working in power houses in the outer boroughs of New York City. His mother Catherine Murdock was the keeper of the Rondout Lighthouse for 50 years.
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