I’m attempting to determine the accuracy of a family story. In 1917, a biography of my great grandfather said that his father, David M. Tucker, had been a riverboat captain on the Mississippi (out of St Louis.) The bio mentioned being the captain of several boats, one of which was The Bonniecord (which in my research I would guess was the Bon Accord.) It also said that he gave up the river when his land was swept away by the high water of 1844. But I see some problems with the story, and hopefully some of you folks more knowledgeable on the subject can help me with my suspicions.
1) I have very little on David M. Tucker, but one thing I do have is an approximate year of birth of 1811. That would have made him just 33 when he “gave up the river.” In looking at the old photos, it seems like one would have had to have been older than that to be a riverboat captain. Could he have been a captain at such a relatively young age?
2) In my research of Riverboats, I found that their life expectancy was about 5 years. But the Bon Accord was wrecked in 1856, long past the life expectancy of a boat that he could have captained had he given up the river in 1844. I looked for more on the Bon Accord but found nothing on when it was built.
I have to wonder if the story of being a riverboat captain wasn’t just a tall tale. Any input would be greatly appreciated.