On the Water

Rigged Model, Packet Ship Ohio

The packet ship Ohio was built at Philadelphia, PA in 1825 and measured 105’-6” on deck and 352 tons. Its ownership changed several times, beginning with C. Price & Morgan’s Philadelphia–New Orleans route in 1825. In 1830, the Russell Line bought the vessel, running it from New York to New Orleans. Eight years later, Hand’s Line purchased the Ohio and resumed its original Philadelphia–New Orleans route. Its later career is unknown.

Packet ships derive their name from their original cargo—packets of mail. Unlike independent merchant vessels, packet companies maintained set schedules and routes, making it easier for merchants and industries to know when supplies would arrive and depart. The packet lines also received government subsidies for transporting the mails.

Cotton production in the United States coincided with the upswing in coastal packet lines. By the mid-1800s, the United States was the world’s largest cotton producer. Most raw cotton came from the South, sailing out of New Orleans. During cotton’s off-season, the Ohio probably carried goods like lead, molasses, tobacco, flaxseed, and furs.

ID Number:
15 x 20 x 7 in.; 38.1 x 50.8 x 17.78 cm

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