Nettie Walden Johnson

Born Sept 12, 1866
Died Dec 30, 1921 

Soon after Nettie married Isadora Johnson, a Mississippi River boat Captain, she started going with him in 1904 on board a small packet boat on the St. Francis River. After a short time she was hooked. She started studying for the United States Steamboat Inspectors test for river boat pilot. She passed and was allowed to operate steam boats on the Missouri and White Rivers. Several months later she took and passed the Masters of The Waterways of the US Riverboat Captains test. She passed this and was now licensed to operate on the Arkansas River and the Mississippi River. She bought and sold several boats after this including the Grand steamboat and became the owner of her own steamboat transportation company.

She was the first female in the history of the Steamboat business to obtain a Maritime Master of Waterways license. In the winter of 1913 she and her son Emory almost lost their lives on the St. Francis River. She was one of the best known and most well respected river boat captains of the time, and was known for always giving the public a fair deal. She died on December 30, 1921. She was a native Memphian and lived at 309 Lucy Ave on the S.E. corner of Lucy and Marksman. At the time of her death she was the only living woman with this certification. She also owned the Rock Island Ferry Boat which was used at Helena Arkansas. Her boat is on the right in the picture below.  

5 thoughts on “Nettie Walden Johnson

    1. Hi David! She was also my great great grandmother by marriage. My grandmomma Clara💕 was married to your grandfather Fontaine. How are you doing?

  1. My great grandmother lived with her and was her niece. Her name was Letsy Waldran and I’m still hoping to find more information about her mother. Her father was William Waldran who was brother to Nettie. There was a article where they were both interviewed on Netties steamboat.

  2. hello all! Nettie’s Husband Isadore was my wife’s grandfather. I would love to communicate with you all, as I’m fleshing out gaps in family history and would love to share any any family photos, stories, and pictures of the boats with you!

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