Fulton’s First Ferry – Pilot Dead

Image from the Greater Astoria Historical Society website

Death of the Pilot of Robert Fulton’s First Ferry-Boat.

Peter Coffee, the venerable pilot, who ran the Nassau, the first ferry boat built by Robert Fulton, is dead. He expired at the residence of his son, No. 76 Lafayette avenue, on Wednesday. The old pilot was born in Peekskill, in this State, in the year 1777, and was 98 years of age at the time of his death. His father was murdered by robbers while he was carrying the United States mail.

Peter Coffee came to New York in boyhood, and entered the merchant service as a sailor. He served in the United States war vessels Little Adams and York during the threatened war with France, in the early part of the present century. On May 10, 1814, he was made pilot of the Nassau, the first steamboat at Fulton Ferry, of which a model is now in a niche in the front of the Fulton Ferry house in Brooklyn, with a statue of Robert Fulton.

Image from The Project Gutenberg‘s Stories of Great Inventors

He was employed as a ferry pilot until about thirty-five years ago, after which he had charge of the repair department, and, as he became more decrepit, he was given a position as a watchman. He left the service of the ferry company about nine years ago, and has since been living with his son.

Brooklyn Argus.

The Perry Chief (Perry, Iowa) Jul 17, 1875

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