Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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SHREVE, Henry Miller, inventor, born in Burlington county, New Jersey, 21 October, 1785" died in St. Louis, Missouri, 6 March, 1854. He was educated in western Pennsylvania, and as a boy became interested in the navigation of western rivers. In 1810 he carried the first cargo of lead that was taken by an American from Galena river to New Orleans, thus establishing a business that previously had been exclusively in the hands of the British. During the war of 1812 he conveyed supplies to Fort St. Philip past the British batteries by protecting his vessel with cotton-bales. At the battle of New Orleans he had charge of one of the fieldpieces that proved so destructive to that column of the British army that was led by General Sir John Keane. In May, 1815, he ascended the Mississippi to Louisville in the "Enterprise," the first steam vessel that ever performed that voyage, and subsequently he built the "Washington" on a plan of his own invention, with improvements that made it superior to Robert Fulton's boat. By using a cam cut-off that he devised, he was able to save three fifths of the fuel. In March, 1817, his vessel made its first trip laden with passengers and freight, and demonstrated its superiority. When its success was thoroughly shown, Fulton and his associates, having the exclusive right "to navigate all vessels propelled by fire and steam in the rivers of said territory," entered suit against him and seized his boats; but the case was decided in his favor. In 1826 he was appointed superintendent of western river improvements, which place he held until 1841. During that time he had charge of the removal of the great Red river raft, " consisting of an accumulation of trees, logs, and driftwood of every description firmly imbedded in its channel for more than 160 miles," and in consequence the river was opened for a distance of 1,200 miles. He built the snag-boat "Heliopolis" in 1829 for removing snags and "sawyers "from Ohio river, and during the same year invented a steam marine battering-ram for harbor defence.
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