Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Nat F. Dortch steamboat model

The History Center has a model of the Nat F. Dortch steamboat on display.

The Nat F. Dortch was built in Jefferson, Indiana by Howard in 1889 for the Lovell Line. It was named for a tobacco merchant in Nashville. The boat was sold and started to run along the Red River in 1894, captained by Matt F. Scovall. In March of 1895, it snagged in Ninock Lake and sank in five feet of water. The wreck was visible for many years after.

Mathilde Gatlin McLelland, who grew up on Bear Point Plantation in south Bossier Parish, wrote about the Dortch in her memoirs. Their plantation bell was actually the bell from the Dortch! Mathilde's father, Thomas Gatlin II, rescued the bell and a boiler from the sunken boat. Both were about 15 feet down in the mud. Mathilde writes that the Dortch hit a large snag near Cotton Point Landing while it was carrying 828 bales of cotton and 119 sacks of seed. She found a detailed description of the steamer and asked Bill Atteridge of Arcadia Crafts to construct this model. 

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