The following is from the first page of the booklet entitled Greene Line Steamers, Inc. Celebrates its 75th Anniversary, written by Betty Blake Simcox:
Perhaps it all began with Daniel Greene who sailed the schooner Isabelle down the Ohio River to the high seas.
In 1796, Daniel came to the Ohio Valley from Rhode Island with his parents and nine brothers and sisters. They traveled by ox team to the river, then by dugout canoe.
This family establised a settlement and way-point at Newport, Ohio. They watched the river travelers come through.
The life on the bounding main intrigued Daniel and when he finished the brick house for his family in 1808, he watched no longer. He took command of the schooner Isabelle, built at Marietta, and sailed her down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers and across the Atlantic Ocean to St. Petersburg (Leningrad), Russia. It was hard to believe. The Russians impounded the schooner until he could show them there really was a Port of Marietta, and outline the route he followed to Russia.
Captain Daniel also visited London and other foreign ports. In a letter to his brother in 1811, he said, I am now on a short voyage to the West Indies...Brother John, give my kind remembrance to your good wife and child.
That child was Christopher. Not long after Daniel's return to Ohio, the youngster was inspired by his uncle's adventures. Who knows, maybe Chris would become a sailor. But, in the meantime, he bacame a flatboatman and made 21 trips to New Orleans, enduring the perils of river pirates and getting back to his growing family in Ohio by foot or horseback.
Real experience with dugout canoes, schooners, and flatboats made wonderful stories for Chris's little son Gordon and, by 1862, steamboats were plentiful.
So regardless of just how it began, Gordon Christopher Greene came by his liking for the river quite naturally.
In 1878, Gordon started "decking" on a riverboat and when he had saved $250, he paid it to a pilot to teach him to steer. He continued towboating until he obrained his pilot's license.
Note: It was Gordon's son Tom who purchased the Delta Queen for $46,250 and sailed her from California to Cincinnati via the San Francisco Bay, the Pacific Ocean, Panama Canal, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico into New Orleans and up the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.