Contributed by Else Martin
MARITIME Pioneer Capt. THOMAS RHODES of the Mississippi Sound, Pascagoula, Escatawpa, Mobile and Alabama Rivers.
A real pioneer, CAPTAIN THOMAS RHODES, was one of the first OR THE FIRST to establish a line of STEAMBOATS between Mobile and New Orleans carrying passengers, U. S. MAIL and freight. He also was one of the first to have a steamboat on the Alabama River, carrying cotton and passengers from the capital Cahaba to Mobile.
As a young SURVEYOR, he had a prestigious career that took a great mind, plenty of adventurous courage and much education. RHODES came to the new LOUISIANA PURCHASE in 1807 as a U. S. appointed SURVEYOR. The earliest families were raising sugar cane and were in desperate need of vessels to get their molasses and sugar to market. Seeing this need to own his own vessel, Rhodes expanded his opportunities to become part of the important MARITIME TRADING world in the Mississippi Sound, Territories of Alabama, Mississippi, from the Alabama River to Mobile to New Orleans. The new invention of steamboats became the most important way to get important products, sugar, indigo and especially cotton, to market for the textile mills abroad.