River museum gets sizable collection

Monday, October 28, 2002

Submitted photo

Annette Voelker, second from right, recently donated 81 items to the Cape River Heritage Museum, collections of her riverboat captain father, Laurence Trovillion. With Voelker were Robyn Mainor, museum docent; Marjorie Thompson, museum board president; and Terry Cook, Voelker's fiance. Voelker held a model of the Lady Linda, which Trovillion piloted.By Janis M. Gosche ~ Southeast Missourian

It's not every day the Cape River Heritage Museum receives a boat, boat equipment, and 77 photographs and drawings in one collection.

The boat is a model of the Lady Linda, owned by Island Oil and Transportation Company of St. Louis which Capt. Laurence Trovillion of Cape Girardeau piloted on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. Trovillion's daughter, Annette Voelker of Cape Girardeau, is making this sizable contribution to the museum.

"I would rather share these items with people interested in the river than store them away where they couldn't be seen and appreciated," Voelker said.

The boat equipment consists of a signal light and boat wheel, the photos were taken by Trovillion, an amateur photographer, and the drawings are items he acquired during his travels.

The museum, which closes for the winter on Dec. 14, will feature these new exhibits when it opens next spring on March 14. Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday with special tours of 10 or more available by appointment.

"We have a river room at the museum, and we are going to redo it to properly display these items," said Marjorie Thompson, museum board president.

Born in 1914, Trovillion began his river career as a deck hand and over the next 40 years worked his way up to captain. During World War II, he was commissioned to deliver supplies to New Orleans for shipment overseas. Trovillion's schedule was that he worked on the boat for 30 days and was home for two weeks.

"He was gone a lot and missed quite a few things, but we enjoyed spending time with him when he was home," Voelker said. "Mother had a radio, and she could tell where he was at when he was gone, so we would go down to the riverfront and wave. He'd have his binoculars, and he would blow the horn."

According to Voelker, she traveled with her father during the day, but never spent a night on the boat as her mother sometimes did. Though she was young at the time, she remembers that the food was good and the pilot house interesting.

Trovillion died in 1977. Voelker's mother, Geneva Trovillion, died in November 2001.

jgosche@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 133

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