December 3, 1787: James Rumsey Tests First Steamboat Near Shepherdstown

Dec 3, 2014

Spectators gathered in Shepherdstown along the banks of the Potomac River to watch history being made.
Credit e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online.

On December 3, 1787, spectators gathered in Shepherdstown along the banks of the Potomac River to watch history being made. Inventor James Rumsey stepped aboard a crudely built wooden boat and fired up a steam engine. The waters of the Potomac started churning up, and, suddenly, the boat headed upstream, leaving a stunned crowd in amazement.