The Jim Johnson
by Bob Dyer
Bob found stories of this fictional steamboat in some old Boonville newspapers and put the legend to song. Probably since the steamboat's golden age in the mid- 1800s rousters told tales about the biggest steamboat that had ever been. On the Missouri, she's the Jim Johnson; on the Mississippi, she's the Hurricano. In the Adirondack Mountains, we're told, park rangers keep the tradition alive with stories about the biggest RV they ever saw.
You've heard about the Natchez and the Robert E. Lee,|
The famous Grand Republic and the big Belle Key.
But the greatest floating palace that ever has been
Is the side-wheel giant called the Jim Johnson.
Look out, boys, she's coming up the riverShe had forty rubber boilers and a forty-hinged hull,
Forty big smoke stacks a hundred feet tall.
She had four big side wheels, two at the stern.
A paddle took a day just to make a full turn.
She could slide through the bends of the mean Muddy Mo
The Jim Johnson ate enough wood on a run
The Jim Johnson pilot was a mighty mean man,