Copyright © Janice Tracy, Mississippi Memories

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Ever-Lovin' Kate Adams

In 1917, my grandfather, Clark Commander Branch, met one of the great loves of his life, Kate Adams. Kate made regular trips between Memphis, Tennessee and Arkansas City, Arkansas. Although she was known by many residents in the Lower Mississippi Valley as "Ever Lovin' Kate," to those in the riverboat industry, she was known as "The Kate Adams."

My grandfather needed a job during the summer of 1917 and sought out employment on the riverboat. The job would bring in much needed money to help support his widowed mother and three unmarried sisters still living at home. Not yet eighteen years old, he had been the sole breadwinner for his family since his father had died almost two years earlier.

According to "Life in Arkansas: The First 100 Years," The Kate Adams carried "mail, freight, and passengers" and was a type of craft known as "a sidewheeler and of the type known as a short-trade packet." According to the book, the craft became stuck in the mud on June 23, 1917, during a stop at the Mississippi River Port of Helena, Arkansas. She would remain there for the next fifteen months, and my grandfather was forced to abandon "Ever Lovin' Kate" early in their relationship.

Early in the 1920's, The Kate Adams was placed back into service as an excursion boat, an adventure that only lasted a few years, when she was moved to the Ohio river. Her demise was an early one when she burned in 1927.

My grandfather's stint as part of a riverboat crew was a story we heard many times growing up, and he was very proud of his rather adventurous experience. But his real love was not the river or the riverboat, it was the land and the people of Attala County, Mississippi, and it was there that he met his lifelong love, my grandmother, Lelia Porter.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post about your Grandfather and the ship. Sounds like your Grandfather was a true gentleman-taking care of his family.