From: National Genealogical Society Quarterly Dec 1990 Pg251
Finding River People on Western Waters
William F. Davidson & Family Papers
Files of packet boat lines and freight companies are another valuable resource. Most informative are their portage books, containing names of employees, positions, employment dates, and wages paid, in a
chronological arrangement under the name of the vessel, and cabin registers that name the steamboat and commander and then list passengers. Sometimes these registers are combined in a single volume. The Northwestern Union Packet Company Papers, for example, are part of the WILLIAM F. DAVIDSON and FAMILY Papers, 1817-1919, at the Minnesota Historical Scoiety's Research Center. DAVIDSON a Saint Paul and Saint Louis businessman, virtually controlled steamboat traffic on the upper Mississippi after the Civil War through his popular White Collar Line. The collection consists of 172 boxes, including 469 volumes of records pertaining to DAVIDSON'S widespread interests in the Mississippi Valley. There are cabin registers for various years and lists of steamboat employees mixed with business records for other DAVIDSON interests.