"Hard Aground: The Packet Hartford on the Kansas River in 1855"
By Michael Boss
Casein on Rag Board
20" x 30"

From the Collection of Randy Martin, Manhattan Kansas.

Built at Monongahela City, Pennsylvania in 1851, the Hartford plied the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. Later purchased by the Cincinnati and Kansas Land Company, the Hartford with Captain David Millard, was headed up the Kansas River in 1855 to a site south and west of Ft. Riley to establish the "Manhattan of the Midwest " which would have been the present day Junction City

The Hartford left Port of Kansas (Kansas City) on May 20th. Nearing their destination, the Hartford beached once on June 1st and again on the 3rd of June of 1855 on the current southwest side of present Manhattan.

On July 1st, the water came up and Captain Dave Millard turned the Hartford around and headed downriver toward the mouth of the Big Blue River and a settlement named Boston. The people of Boston asked the passengers from the Hartford to stay. An agreement was reached for a renaming of the small town and Boston became Manhattan. Once again, the boat became stranded, this time, at the confluence of the Big Blue and Kaw River.

Having served as a church and hotel for the months of July and August, early September saw the Hartford steaming toward Kansas City. Dave Millard had left for Cincinnati and another Captain, J.J. Whittenburg, took to the pilot house. Once again, the Hartford ran aground at St. Marys, Kansas. October 10th was a fateful day for the beached steamer. For whatever reason the Hartford burned ending a short but colorful life.