Steamboat "Jacob H. Tremper"
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.
Steamboat "Jacob H. Tremper"
Built originally for a local concern, Romer & Tremper, with offices in Rondout, the steamboat “Jacob H. Tremper” was a familiar sight sailing in and out of the Rondout creek a few years ago. Today, the “Jacob H. Tremper” is no more as she was broken up in 1928, but memories of this graceful steamboat are not very dim in the minds of local residents, and the tone of her whistle still haunts the hillsides along the banks of the Rondout creek.
The wooden hull of the “Jacob H. Tremper” was built by Herbert Lawrence at Greenpoint, New York, in 1885, and her engine was constructed by W.A. Fletcher & Company of New York. She was 180 feet long, breadth of beam 30 feet, two inches. Her tonnage was listed as gross 572 and net 432, and her vertical beam engine had a cylinder diameter of 44 inches with a 10 foot stroke.
The “Jacob H. Tremper” was built for the firm of Romer & Tremper of Rondout to be used as a freight and passenger vessel on a daytime run between Newburgh and Albany. She ran in line with the steamboat “M. Martin.” In August of 1884 the steamboat “Eagle,” which had been running on the Newburgh route since 1856 and for several years before 1884 in line with the “M. Martin,” was destroyed by fire, and the “Jacob H. Tremper” was built to replace the “Eagle.”
The new steamboat proved to be an exceptionally fine vessel for the purpose for which she was built. She had a large freight capacity and fine accommodations for passengers, and these advantages soon made themselves evident by the appearance of the “Jacob H. Tremper” as one of the first vessels placed in service in the spring of the year and the last steamboat to be laid up in the fall.
In the winter of 1899 the Romer & Tremper fleet of river steamboats was purchased by the Central Hudson Steamboat Company of Newburgh. This transaction included the steamboats “Jacob H. Tremper, “M. Martin,” “James W. Baldwin,” and “William F. Romer.”
Another distinction which places the “Jacob H. Tremper” apart from many of the other Hudson river steamboats was her exceptionally clear record. In fact, only one accident to the “Jacob H. Tremper” was demed worthy of note in her history. This accident occurred on Monday morning, July 21, 1913. On this morning, the “Jacob H. Tremper” left Newburgh at her usual time for Albany. On her way up the river she struck an uncharted rock off Esopus Island. The captain immediately ordered her course set for the mud flats off Staatsburgh on the east side of the river, and at this place she sunk rapidly.
Following this experience, the “Jacob H. Tremper” was raised and repaired and again placed in service, and in 1916 she was plying her regular route under the command of Captain John Dearstyne.
The “Jacob H. Tremper” was also one of the last of the sidewheel steamboats of her class to continue in service on the waters of the Hudson river as a freight and passenger vessel. In the fall of 1928 the “Jacob H. Tremper” was deemed unfit for further service and was laid up at Newburgh, and in July of the following year she was sold to a junk dealer and broken up at Newburgh.
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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