Delta Queen: The Ghost of “Ma” Greene

The Delta Queen, a paddle steamboat, was assembled at
Banner Island Shipyard in Stockton, California in May of 1927. She was one of
the most luxurious American steamboats ever built at a cost of one million

Mary Becker Greene fondly known as “Ma” was once the owner and co-captain of
the Delta Queen. It is she who haunts the boat to this day. She was the first
female licensed riverboat captain along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. 

While alive, Ma maintained a family atmosphere on the boat—she was a strong
supporter of temperance and did not allow liquor to be served on the Delta Queen. 

In April of 1949 after helping her son dock the Delta
Queen at her homeport on the Ohio River in Cincinnati, Ma retired to her cabin
where she passed away at the age of 79. 

After her death a saloon was established on board the
Delta Queen but shortly after the first drink was served a barge crashed into
the Delta Queen. When the crew was finally able to untangle the mess they were
amazed to discover the name of the barge was the Captain Mary B. 

So it appeared a barge carrying Ma’s name had managed to stop the one thing she
never wanted on board the Delta Queen–liquor. After this incident Ma’s ghost
started to appear on the Queen.

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