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Riverboat Men


Many of the early settlers in the Columbia County end of the island were riverboat men from the East. The river trade had become big business and competition was fierce. There are many stories of violent battles with a lot of bloodshed. They said these river boat men were hard working, hard drinking and had the river in their blood. They built and ran flatboats down rivers made famous By the infamous Mike Fink and the stories of Mark Twain.


These are the kind of men who came to Sauvie Island and started a river trade on the Columbia, Willamette and along the Lewis river. In Washington. Soon rivalries and good natured competition ( no bloodshed) to rival those in the east were part of the river trade in Oregon and Washington. Unfortunatly we didn’t have a Mark Twain to record our riverboat history.


There are many stories about the Wier and Kamm riverboat eploits These were passed on by their descendants. Sadly there were no descendants to pass on stories about Captain Isaac Thomas.


Eventually tales of the Bonser family and their many river adventures will be shared by Roger Knowles Thompson . Until then this is a hidden part of the Island’s history.

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