Hardin native remembers his grandfather’s years as a riverboat captain

Tom King’s grandfather, Raymond Mallory, departed Kansas City for Simmesport, La., on this boat Nov. 10, 1937. Mallory spent a lot of his career dredging and shoring up the Missouri River to deepen the channel for navigation. He worked with Steve Strider’s father, James, for Massman Construction. The photo was taken by Bill Spinner at the foot of Olive Street in Kansas City. (Photos courtesy of Tom King)

By Liz Johnson, Staff Writer

Summer months spent on the Missouri River with his grandfather color the memory of Hardin native Tom King. Those memories speak of a carefree childhood spent fishing, hearing stories from his grandpa and playing with his friend Steve Strider.

King’s maternal grandfather was Raymond Mallory, who worked the Missouri River during the days of dredging the channel, and shoring up the river and running boats on construction projects. Mallory’s two brothers, Jasper and Albert, also worked the river.

“My grandfather went to work for Massman Construction as a pile driver,” King said. “Then he went to work on line boats. They ran up and down the river pushing barges – 30 days on, 30 days off.”

Those are long shifts sleeping, eating and working for a month at a time.

“When my grandfather was working for Massman with Steve’s dad, they were building a bridge in St. Louis,” King said. “They all lived in trailers in a trailer park.”

Raymond met his future wife, Maggie Marie Dufour, while working in Simmesport, La. They remained in Louisiana for a long time, not returning to Hardin until the late 1940s or early 1950s. In between, Raymond served in the Navy during World War II.

“I remember my grandfather talking about the boat called the JW Rose,” King said. “He worked for Rose Barge Line at one time. They operated out of St. Louis.”

King remembers his grandfather working the river.

“They deepened and widened the channel,” he said. “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hired contractors like Massman to do the work for them. Then the grocery boats would take food out to the workers on the bigger boats to keep them supplied with groceries.”

The complete story is in the Friday, April 21, 2017 Richmond News.

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