Joseph Kinney: Steamboat Captain (Young Reader Series)

Maryellen McVicker


Joseph Kinney lived in the 1800s. He loved steamboats and came up with a design to make them run better. (2014)

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As a young boy in the early 1800s, Joseph Kinney watched the riverboats carrying people and goods throughout the country and he dreamed of being a steamboat captain. When he grew up, Joseph bought a steamboat and became its captain, moving things up and down the river. Though Joseph had many jobs, he loved being a steamboat captain most of all. He began designing steamboats and had an idea for a design that made the boats even better. Steamboats built today still use Joseph Kinney’s design.

This book is included in the nonfiction book series, Notable Missourians, for young readers in grades 4 to 6 about people who contributed to Missouri’s history or culture and who were born or lived in Missouri.

Ebooks are available in pdf format through ebrary and EBSCO.

Study Guide for Joseph Kinney: Steamboat Captain [download pdf]



Chapter 1: Life Along the River

Chapter 2: Joseph’s First Steamboat

Chapter 3: Boonville Merchant

Chapter 4: Steamboat Owner

Chapter 5: Rivercene and Retirement

Legacy: Golden Age of Steamboats


For Further Reading


Image Credits


Maryellen H. McVicker received her PhD in art history from the University of Missouri, with an emphasis on Missouri history. She teaches American history at Moberly Area Community College in Columbia, Missouri. She was previously executive director of the Friends of Historic Boonville.

John Hare is an illustrator, graphic designer and artist. He lives in Gladstone, Missouri.


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