This page is a tribute to John "Cheyenne
C. Cheyenne" Hess
Cheyenne C. Cheyenne ("where the middle "C"
stands for Cheyenne") is dying and his mom called
the boat that Donald works on with the news
early this morning (September 23, 2003). He
apparently doesn't have long to live. Cheyenne
is an old steamboatman who worked on the
Delta Queen, Mississippi Queen, and the Natchez.
Cheyenne is the only person that Donald knows
who has a permanent employees' badge to get
onto the DQSC boats.
He'd love to hear from all his "old steamboatin'
buddies", as he calls his many friends from the
His address is:
John "Cheyenne C. Cheyenne" Hess
903 5th Street
Carrollton, KY 41008
or you may call: 1-502-732-4634
His mom said that her son is in the hospital, now,
but will be released soon, to return home to die
there. She also related that there will be no
funeral services, and he will be cremated.
To view Cheyenne's photos, please visit Donalds
site with the images of Cheyenne in them. Thanks.
John "Cheyenne C. Cheyenne", (where the middle
"C" also stands for Cheyenne, and don't you forget
it!) Hess started on the Delta Queen around
1970 or 1971 as a deckhand. In those days, we
had to have a man on the narrow outside of the
deck, handling the bumper, better known as the
"possum", when we went into a lock chamber.
It was a very hazardous job, especially consider-
ing that the deck was buckled into waves of steel
from hitting the concrete walls over the years.
At best, the "bumper man" had only about a
foot between himself and the boat and the lock
wall when the Queen finally came to rest within
the chamber. If the possum was not inserted
exactly right to cushion the boat, then the Queen
rang like a bell when steel and concrete met.
Cheyenne always wore cowboy boots with very
high heels and faux silver toe caps.
John worked on an actual ranch as a cowboy.
He rode fence on the back of a horse for days,
and couldn't sit down to eat when he got back
to the bunkhouse. He had to stand with his
plate resting on the fireplace mantle until he
was able to sit down again.
Miraculously, Cheyenne was skilled at getting
the bumper exactly at the right spot, and rarely,
if ever, did the Delta Queen "ring like a bell"
when he was handling the possum, and he finished
his steamboat career with both legs in place and
One of his favorite jokes is, "I don't drink
anymore" "But I don't drink any less."
Cheyenne was a great prankster.
Cheyenne hated his real name, John Hess, when
Donald first met him. He'd been put into an
institution when he was little because his family
was poor and couldn't take care of him. He was
quite intelligent, but has always been upset be-
cause he'd been abandoned. He kept looking for his
family until at last, he finally found his sister and
his mother. Because he didn't like his real name,
he took the moniker "Cheyenne", and it was the
pranksters aboard the steamboat Delta Queen
who began calling him "Cheyenne C. Cheyenne",
where the middle "C" also stood for Cheyenne.
After he found his mom, he found that early
circumstances were different than he had imagined,
so for many years now, he's been living with and
enjoying the relationship with "MOM".
John will be fondly remembered by all who worked
with him on the boats. No one who knew him
could ever forget him. The top header image
for this set pictures John "Cheyenne" Hess
on the left and Captain Gabe Chengery. They
are posing together on the bow of the Delta Queen.
Please visit the link below to read more, on what
friends of John have to say about him. Thanks
and please keep John in your prayers.
John Hess has passed from this life. He died
from cancer in 2003. He will be
dearly missed by all who had worked with
him on the boats. He will remain in our
This set is not in the public domain. No part
of it is to be removed from this site.
Photos are copyrighted to John Hess (Cheyenne
C. Cheyenne) and are used with permission through
Donald J. Sanders. Thank you Donald. All back-
grounds and images were created by me
(Fiddlinsue). Information was composed by
Donald. Please visit Donalds site to view
images of Cheyenne.