Dubuque County Historical Society Images

The River People

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Captain Grant Marsh

Captain Grant Marsh's fame came to him when his steamer Far West brought the wounded soldiers from the Little Big Horn River with the news of General Custer's bloody defeat. His reputation came from a lifetime of unequaled skill as a steamboat pilot. Marsh served as mate on steamboats in the Ohio, Mississippi, Tennessee and lower Missouri River trade and witnessed the great St. Louis "ice gorge" of 1856. In 1866, he received his first command on the Luella, a legendary upper Missouri boat.

Marsh surveyed the Yellowstone River for the Army in 1874. Two years later he steamed and warped up the uncharted Big Horn River to re-supply and rescue the survivors of the battle of the Little Big Horn. From 1882 to 1901, Grant Marsh worked the lower Mississippi, before returning to the upper Missouri as pilot for the Benton Packet Company in 1902. Grant Marsh served on more than 22 vessels in his long and illustrious career.

Inducted in 1997.

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