Capt. THOMAS RHODES, Maritime Pioneer

Con­tributed by Else Mar­tin

MARITIME Pio­neer Capt. THOMAS RHODES Mississippi Maritime Museum's photo.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.