Originally named for Upper Mississippi River Pioneer Joseph Throckmorton, the boat was one of three identical dredge tenders built for the St. Paul District Corps of Engineers. The three boats were built to serve the cutterhead dredge William A. Thompson, now a museum in Wisconsin.
Retired from active service in the early 90â€™s the Throckmorton was auctioned into private hands and was used for a time in hauling timber out of the Mississippi River backwaters. Later she was sold to a sand and gravel operation where she was hauled out due to a faulty gearbox. Because of itâ€™s significance the gravel yard owner couldnâ€™t come to terms with cutting the old boat up so he donated it to a non-profit group, Historic Sternwheeler Preservation Society in 2004. HSPS retained ownership for a year before other projects necessitated the sale of the boat to the current owner.
In 2005 the name was changed to ELIZABETH LEA in honor of the owners Wife and Motherâ€™s middle names. The boat has undergone major renovations from 2005 through 2014 and was returned to the water late in 2014. The current owner uses the boat as a family â€śhouseboatâ€ť as well as a floating piece of river history.