Frederick Way Jr.; Chronicled History of River Steamboats

From Associated Press

Frederick Way Jr., a retired riverboat captain who made a career of chronicling the history of steamboats on inland rivers, has died. He was 91.

Way died at his home Saturday in this Ohio River city in southeast Ohio.

"He was the foremost river historian in the country and had a tremendous importance in the further study of steamboats," said John Briley, manager of Marietta's Ohio River Museum.

Way once piloted the Delta Queen, helping to take it from San Francisco to New Orleans through the Panama Canal. The trip helped convert the famous passenger boat into a Mississippi River tourist steamer.

The voyage was chronicled in one of Way's books, "Saga of the Delta Queen."

Way also compiled "Way's Packet Directory," which documented more than 5,900 passenger steamboats on the Mississippi River system since 1848.

He also wrote five other books and directories.

Way was born in Sewickley, Pa. He spent most of his life piloting steamboats on the Ohio River. He managed and owned passenger and freight steamers.

Way was the first and only president of the Sons and Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen, a group dedicated to preserving river history. It meets every year in Marietta.

He is survived by two sons, Frederick Way III of Cleveland Heights and James Courtney Way of Holtville, Calif.; one daughter, Betty Bryne Rutter of Marietta, nine grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

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