10 Apr

— Capt. Alonzo Garrison, late of the Steamer Robert E. Lee, has been transferred to the command of the D. Murchison, vice Capt. T. J. Green, resigned. Capt. Green goes to Fayetteville to superintend the building of two steamers for the Company recently organized. Capt. Wm. Skinner succeeds Capt. Garrison in command of the Lee.

[Wilmington Star – December 19, 1869]

Boats and Navigation on the

Cape Fear River.


Our river transportation is becoming more active and extensive. This, with the continued large production of Naval Stores, and the very large increase in cotton farming, shows plainly that the substantial business of this section is improving. The Cape Fear Navigation Company now reorganized is to open out the river, and keep it in better navigable order.

There are now two new boats building, another in contemplation, three lines of steamers, and three other separate boats, as follows: The Cape Fear Steamboat Company have two boats, the Hurt, run by Capt. Sam. W. Skinner, and the Gov. Worth, run by Capt. A. P. Hurt. The Hurt makes two trips to Wilmington a week and the Gov Worth about three trips in two weeks—both excellent boats for passengers and freight. This company embraces the Messrs. Worth, Lilly, Hurt and others.

The Express Steam boat Company have two boats, each making two trips a week, the R. E. Lee, run by Capt. Wm. Skinner, and the D. Murchison run by Capt. A. Garrison. Both are new and fast going steamers and do a large business. This company embraces Messrs. Williams, Murchison, Lutterloh, &c., we believe. The Peoples’ Line is a new company recently organized embracing F. W. Kerchner, Adrian & Vollers, Smith & Strauss, W. A. Whitehead & Co. Capt. T. J. Green and others, as we learn. This company has the Marion run by Capt. Phillips, and which was formerly owned by the Messrs Mallet, Capt. T. J. Green, formerly of the R. E. Lee, is superintending the business of the company, and they are building a new boat at Fayetteville, which is expected to be in use by May next. The capacity of this new steamer will be about 700 bbls. and 36 passengers, and will be some larger than the Hurt.

The People’s Line Company (capital of $25,000) expect to build another boat during the year perhaps, and with the three, they may accept mail contract and also connect with the Rail Road, both ways, three times a week.

The Juniper also a light new boat is run by Capt. A. Worth, but not on regular schedule. This boat is owned and used by the Messrs. Bullard, Willard Bros. & c., and some week or two ago went up to Averasboro during a freshet, and received there a heavy load of naval stores, and could not return until the freshet yesterday. The Halcyon has been repaired and is again on her regular trips, run by Capt R M Orrell. There has been some proposition by the People’s Line to purchase this steamer. The Orrell, a light boat is in damaged condition, and we hear is to be repaired and used for freight transportation—perhaps above Fayetteville.

Capt. Samuel W. Skinner is also building a small light steamer, the Little Sam, for use as we hear, on Waccamaw river to Georgetown in S. C. It will be finished in a few weeks.

Thus we see there are seven steamers actively and profitably engaged in our business now—half of them new and all in good condition, besides three more to be in use on the river during the year. With such facilities for cheap water transportation, Fayetteville can certainly receive the products of central North Carolina and furnish supplies in return, on better terms, than any other town in the state. We think arrangements might be made soon for travelers from Raleigh to Wilmington to come this way and spend the night on the boats—all within 24 hours either way, and for eight or ten dollars.

[The Eagle – Thursday, January 20, 1870]




WILL run the following Schedule between Fayetteville and Wilmington:

The New Iron Steamer DUNCAN MURCHISON, Capt. ALONZO GARRISON, will leave Fayetteville at 8 o’clock A. M. every Tuesday and Friday. Returning, leave Wilmington every Wednesday and Saturday, at 2 o’clock P. M.

The Steamer ROBERT E. LEE, Capt. WILLIAM SKINNER, will leave Fayetteville at 8 o’clock A. M. every Wednesday and Saturday. Returning, leave Wilmington every Monday and Thursday, at 2 o’clock P. M.

The EXPRESS STEAMBOAT COMPANY offers to the public both security and comfort in the above Boats, and asks for a share of the travel on the Cape Fear.

J. D. WILLIAMS & CO. Agents, Fayetteville, N. C.

WILLIAMS & MURCHISON, Agents, Wilmington, N. C.

[The Eagle – Thursday, February 24, 1870]

Correspondence of the Eagle.


Old “Squi Bob” is now afloat again after a retirement of nearly two years—still his vigor is the same, tho’ oft repeated misfortunes have befallen him in his peregrinations in this elaborately curled up world of ours—which a man of more nerve and determination would have “caved in under.” I must here tell you what a terrible mishap befell that trusty old friend of mine the Carpet Bag, just on the point of my leaving that always happy and desirable place which you know nothing about –home.

You know when any great personage is making his extensive arrangements for a long journey, there is a great amount of assorting, packing, sewing on buttons, starching collars, darning socks, which causes a great deal of excitement and bustle about the house. All know just what you want and must get it for you and it finally proves to be the very thing you do not want. But all both great and small must have something to do with packing. Squi’s little daughter who is very smart, willing and anxious to lend a helping hand, must volunteer her services to bring the said carpet bag, partly filled down from the second story, when lo! Such a rumbling, tumbling and tearing away as was heard.—When Squi looked around to discover the cause of this tumultuous uproar, here came daughter, carpet bag, collars, cravats, socks, combs, unmentionables all in glorious confusion. Sometimes carpet bag “top rail,” then daughter “top rail,” and when all reached the lower floor you could hardly have told daughter from the other dry goods, so perfect was the mixture. The result was carpet bag mashed—stove in—lock gone and a goose egg protuberance on said daughter’s head.

I can assure you, your ‘old friend “Squi” felt his breath pass easier when the extent of the catastrophe was ascertained, because this little individual is the only female boy of any #iz# “Squi” ###.

It was a dark and stormy morning the clouds were low and murky.

The winds blew cold and bleak, the mud was very soft and deep, when your humble correspondent left the town of magnificent distances with all the valuables which years of toil and anxiety had placed under kind protection, upon one of those vehicles which transport merchandise to and from the town, just one mile from the river, and myself upon another with a small box 2 by 3 that contained slight mementoes to friends in “furren lands.”

The Capt. of the D. Murchison had been waiting for my august body ever since the day before, and it would have done your soul good to have seen that kind and genial smile which pervaded his countenance as he saw me drive down to the gang plank with my beautiful caparisoned steed and equipments.

He says, “Squire,” I am very glad to see you, for we have been anxiously waiting for you. At the same time he remarked, I suppose you intend taking a long trip by the magnitude of your baggage. This I thought a gratuitous compliment therefore paid no attention to it.

We are now off, and down the Cape Fear we are speeding our way towards the sea. While it is cold without, we are comfortable within this snug and coy little cabin. Old Sol keeps his face in obscurity for the present so that when he shall conclude to cast upon us his effulgent rays, we may, more fully appreciate his revivifying power.

There is nothing of interest, which I have seen in our voyage but what all of your readers have heard and seen before, still all have views different from each other that an interchange might produce some good result.

In passing along this river, all I have no doubt, have noticed the large amount of marl which has lain in its present bed for thousands of years and may continue so to do thousands of years more, if the hand of men should not be raised to take it from its present resting place. Those that are good judges have pronounced some of these marls equal to the “Green sands” of New Jersey. This being the case why not dig them and apply them to the lands along the Cape Fear, in preference to paying the exorbitant prices asked for imported and domestic manipulated fertilizers. Some of which have a good portion of snuff colored clay found in almost inexhaustible quantities in the New England States and Pennsylvania mixed with them.

These marls could be easily transported on flats up and down the river at a small cost. And when prudently applied to land after being composted, for years cotton and corn are stimulated by them to produce abundant yields and no deleterious effects remain after their stimulating qualities are gone.

Night approaches and I must put up paper and pencil for the very agreeable task of destroying a few refreshments prepared by our hospitable captain.

Yours, SQUI BOB.

[The Eagle – Thursday February 24, 1870]

NOTE: I have just come across a book online, The Squibob Papers by JOHN PHOENIX [Capt. George Horatio Derby] (published in 1865), which has humorous, sometimes tongue in cheek, stories and comic illustrations.  It would be my guess that the reference to “Squi Bob” in the above article would have told the reader that there was somewhat of a humorous glint in the writer’s eye as he recounted his trip to “the Springs”.

The Cape Fear River Steamers

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Posted by on April 10, 2009 in Uncategorized


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