24 Apr


In this town, on Tuesday evening last, by the Rev. H. M. Mason, Mr. Doyle O’Hanlon, of Wilmington, to Miss Margaret Mary MacRae, daughter of Duncan MacRae, Esq.

[Carolina Observer – Thursday Morning, October 13, 1825]

” … I remember at about W – (as marked on map) the steamer Henrietta (oldest steamer in US) Capt Doyle O’Hanlon – was then beached at high water – for calking and repairs to bottom – too early for ships rail ways (later Jas Cassidy installed at his yard)…”

[Map (p.119) – Excerpted text (p.120) from Nicholas W. Schenck Diary – UNCW – Online]

Wilmington, Aug. 11, 1832.

[steamboat image]  THE Subscriber returns his thanks to all those that have given him freight between Wilmington and Fayetteville of their own free will and accord.  The Fall Goods are now coming on-the Steamer John Walker has started this day and will continue to run while the water holds up.

Every exertion will be used to take the freight up, as it is a known fact the injury to goods lying in boats on the river, is not only a great risk to the owner of the Goods but a serious loss on account of the delay, and my opinion is, that the goods are more safe lying in the ware house than tied up in a boat lying on the river that cannot stem a freshet.

I offer you a new Boat, with a skilful Captain, that does not draw but 36 inches with a common load in, and with her hold full and a deck load on, does not exceed four feet.  I hold myself responsible for the good condition of my boats as well as the good conduct of her officers, every thing connected shall be properly attended to, dangers of the river excepted.

No distinction will be made about freight, light or heavy-it will be taken as it comes, without any Jockeying; for hereafter to obtain freight.

I hereby feel it a duty to state to shippers of Cotton, I care not who it comes to, who it came from, or in whose boat it came down, it is notorious that it lays on the wharves in Wilmington taking in the rain to the injury of the grower, the owner and the market that the article goes from.

I am preparing to put up suitable sheds for the protection of this valuable article from the weather: the advantage to be derived from this plan the Country Merchant is as well aware of as I can inform him.  The Agent for the Steam Boat Mr. D. G. MacRae will receive and ship at the same rates as other consignees are in the habit of doing, it matters not whether it comes in my boats or others, the business will be promptly and effectually attended to.  Opposition is the life of trade and I like a fair one, I cannot afford to work for nothing, neither can my agents.  Another important question-but I am the principal in this; about the payment of freight-some of my acquaintances have been very slack in stays-they will take due notice, I am to be paid for freight on its being called for, as soon as the bills can be made out after delivery.  Rates of freight the same as published in April last.  For the faithful performance of what I promise I refer all that want information to


J. K. McILHENNY,           A. & J. MACRAE.


[Carolina Observer – Fayetteville, NC – Tuesday Evening, October 9, 1832]

Notice to Merchants and Consignees.

WHEREAS, difficulties have arisen on the subject of the delivery of Goods at the Fayetteville Boat Landing, the undersigned, engaged in the transportation of Goods, in boats of various descriptions on the Cape Fear River, deem it proper to remind all whom it may concern, that their undertakings in transporting Goods from Wilmington on the River extending farther than the Fayetteville Boat Landing.  We therefore give this Public Notice, that after the delivery of Goods the regularly licensed Town Wagons, Drays and Carts, and to all other vehicles used commonly for the transportation of Goods from the Fayetteville Boat Landing to the Town, that our undertaking is fully completed.  Furthermore, we invite all persons who do not approve of this disposition of their Goods on their arrival at the Boat Landing, to come forward by themselves or by other persons whom they may authorize, and receive their Goods in person at the place of discharge.  We hereby express our willingness to adapt any other plan for the delivery of Goods which Merchants and Consignees may think proper to adopt or suggest, so that the same may operate generally, and accomplish the desired end with the most beneficial consequences to all concerned, provided that no further burdens or inconveniences are thereby imposed upon us, to extend beyond the undertakings we are lawfully bound to perform, in the prosecution of the boating business on the Cape Fear River.  After this Notice we ##### the trouble of hunting up Goods which have been our #####ed in ###### #### our willingness to give such information as all times our Books may afford.




[Fayetteville Observer – October 13, 1835]

Steam Boat Disaster and Destruction of human life? –

We learn with extreme regret by the Wilmington Advertiser, that the Steam Boat John Walker, owned by Doyle O’Hanlon, Esq., of this place, was almost totally destroyed by the burstin of her boilers. Our correspondent of the Advertiser states, that the bow and stern of the boat were both blown out, and what is still more distressin is three persons were killed, and another mortally wounded; among the former were Capt. Dickson, of the boat, and the pilot Purdy Jacobs, a free man of color, of this Town; the other was a slave the property of Mrs. S. Smith of this vicinity.

[ The North Carolina Journal – Vol. VI No. 16 – Fayetteville, NC, Thursday, June 16, 1836. ]

Awful Disaster. –

For the first time on our waters, we have the melancholy task of recording a steam boat explosion, attended by the loss of three lives. The following are the particulars, as hastily stated by the Advertiser extra, of Friday last:

STEAM BOAT EXPLOSION! —  After our paper went to press, an accident of a most melancholy character occurred. The Steam Boat John Walker, owned by Doyle O’Hanlon, Esq. was, this morning, about daylight, blown up, and made a complete wreck.

It appears that she had raised a head of steam and run down along side the Brig Roque, lying at anchor in the stream, for the purpose of towing her down over the shoals. Soon after making her fast to the brig and while in the act of heaving up the anchor, the boilers burst, — simultaneously blowing out the bow and stern of the boat, which, in a few minutes, sunk; and is now almost entirely under water. Capt. A. G. Dickson, who was standing on the engine house, by the side of the engineer, was blown over the stern of the brig, and has not been recovered. Damon, a black fireman, who was in the hold; and Purdie Jacobs, the pilot, were also killed. Isaac, the Engineer, a black man, was blown on board the brig, and is dangerously wounded. Prince, a black man, was also slightly wounded. The boat had on board some goods for the interior; but we are not informed who are the owners. The Steamboats Clarendon and Henrietta, are about towing the wreck into the dock, where she may be got on shore if possible.

[ Fayetteville Observer – Fayetteville, NC – Thursday, June 16, 1836 ]

Further particulars of the Loss of the JOHN WALKER.

Since the publication of our extra of last week, the following facts connected with the loss and destruction of the Steamer John Walker by the bursting of her boilers, have come to our knowledge. — It appears from all the circumstances, that this unfortunate accident was the result of carelessness & neglect in not having sufficient water in the boilers. The Boat left the wharf, at 3 o’clock in the morning, for the purpose of towing the brig Roque, then laying at anchor (ancbor sp?) below the town; this had been the practice with all our steam boats after taking in freight, either before or after their departure for Fayetteville. Capt. Dickson of the Walker run down alongside the brig; after laying there five minutes, he ascertained his impending danger from the roaring of the steam through the safety valve, the water then being below the lower gauge cock; he called to the captain to make haste and weigh his anchor, that his boilers were in danger, and he could stand it no longer; scarcely had the words escaped his lips, when at the first move of the starting bar to put the engine in operation, the explosien (sp?) took place, the body of Capt. Dickson was seen going over the top-sail-yard of the brig, and fell in the river, & was not found until Wednesday night, 16 miles below town, and was interred yesterday with military honors; he was a young man of promise and worth; his untimely and melancholy fate is mourned and lamented by a numerous circle of friends and acquaintances. The Engineer Isaac Smith was thrown against the main top-sail-yard, fell on the quarter deck, covered with the fragments of the boat, and though much mutilated, it is supposed will recover. The pilot Purdie Jacobs and fireman Damon were in the hole, and both killed, their bodies have been recovered. Prince Nichols the second pilot, standing at the helm was knocked down by a piece of one of the beams, severely wounded, but is recovering. The boat is the most perfect wreck we have ever witnessed, one of the boiler heads went through the starboard bow cutting its way through a part of each beam in its course; the starboard side, a breast the boilers, for three feet down is blown completely off, carrying all the beams and deck with it; the starboard quarter is carried away; the quarter deck lifted up and landed on the timber heads; the most unaccountable damage, is a hole blown through the bottom between the fore-hatch and forecastle, the boat and engine are entirely ruined and abandoned as a total loss. Some of the goods have been taken out, very much damaged, many of the packages have not been recovered, we understand there is some insurance on the goods which will of course be paid; no insurance on the boat. Loss including the uninsured goods, estimated from $15 to $18,000, which we regret to say, will fall upon our enterprising fellow citizen Doyle O’Hanlon.

Wilmington Advertiser.

[ The North Carolina Journal – Vol. VI No 17 – Fayetteville , NC Thursday, June 23, 1836 ]

Steamer Cotton Plant.

[steamboat image]   THE new Steamer Cotton Plant, in connection with suitable Tow Boats, will commence operating on the Cape Fear River in fifteen or twenty days.  The Proprietor is now constructing on the River bank a commodious Warehouse, where Goods and Merchandise, to and from the Interior, may be stored, free of charge and in comparative safety from the danger of Fire.  Such fixtures will be connected with the Warehouse as to land goods in better order than formerly, and without incurring the expense of drayage.  The Cotton Plant is entirely new, with a draft of water adapted to the River navigation, and offers to the public the surest and most convenient mode of Transportation.  Goods and Merchandize will be received and forwarded at the customary rates by


Agent at Wilmington, N. C.


Agent at Fayetteville, N. C.

The Charlotte Journal, Salisbury Watchman, Lincolnton Transcript, Rutherfordton Gazette, Greensborough Telescope, Hillsborough Recorder, Raleigh Register, Salem Scrap Book, Ashborough Citizen and Wilmington Advertiser will insert the above 3 weeks.

[Fayetteville Observer – Thursday, March 16, 1837]


THE subscriber gives notice to all whom it may concern, in shipping, receiving, and paying freights on the Cape Fear between Wilmington and Fayetteville, that he is compelled to raise the price or lay up his Boats.  By a careful examination of the business of the steam boats on our river, the Proprietors all agree, that there is nothing made at the prices of carrying.  The expenses of the Boats are paid monthly; the Tolls increase to an enormous amount and must be paid.  After working twelve months, by the most rigid economy the Boat Owners are satisfied by fair experiment, they cannot make a surplus sufficient to repair the boats.  This is the season that the merchant is preparing to go North to purchase his Goods, and I consider it the proper time to advise him, at what rate I will agree to bring his freights up.  I am well prepared to do a part of the carrying trade of the river, having a good Steam Boat, sufficient Tow Boats, convenient Warehouses on the bank of the river, and will receive and forward up and down, freights at the following rates:  25 per cent. on the amount of the freight bill, the bills to be paid when the Goods are delivered-all payments in North Carolina notes.

A well qualified Agent will attend in Fayetteville, to all business of the concern.  I wish those persons who suffered by the loss of the John Walker, to observe this notice particularly, as it would be a matter impossible to pay them that loss, without an increase on the rates; also, those persons that have given me the Agency of their Goods, as pay day, twenty-five per cent., exclusive of the tolls, and cash payment, may change the character of our understanding.  All now have due notice; ship where you please.  I offer no reference, as I have always done a straight business and intend to pursue my old track.  Goods will always be forwarded by the first boat.


[Fayetteville Observer – Wednesday Evening, July 19, 1837]

The North Carolinian 11271841 Boat Arrivals Fayetteville

The North Carolinian 11271841 Boat Arrivals Fayetteville



The Cotton Plant Line of Steam
Boats and her Pole Boats.


THE Proprietor, finding his health not adequate to the task of keeping up the Line, is determined to sell.

The Line consists of the TWO STEAM BOATS, the Cotton Plant and the Wm. B. Meares.  The latter is a New Boat, of 200 tons, built of the best materials, draws when light 28 inches, and 3 ½ feet when loaded.  The character of these Boats is so well established, that further description is unnecessary.  In addition there are FOUR POLE BOATS, two of them new and two second hand.  These are quite sufficient to serve as Lighters, and make the Line complete, and fully adequate to the wants of the River, either in high or low Water.  If not disposed of by the first day of June, they will be offered for Sale at Public Auction on that day, at the Market House in Fayetteville, on liberal terms, to be made known at the sale.  The Books and accounts of the Line are at Mr. John Waddill’s Store, and may be inspected by persons wishing to purchase, and will show the value and profit of the Business.  Applications can be made to the Subscriber at his residence, or to the Auctioneer.

DOYLE O’HANLON, Proprietor.

E. W. WILKINGS, Auctioneer.

[Fayetteville Observer – Wednesday Morning, May 14, 1845]


In Baltimore, on Thursday morning last, DOYLE O’HANLON, Esq. of this place, aged forty-five years.  Mr. O’Hanlon was a native of South Carolina, but for about 25 years past had resided in this place.  His whole life was a model of enterprise, energy, industry, and perseverance under all circumstances, whether of prosperity or adversity, sickness or health.  Of ardent temperament, he was remarkable for the warmth of his friendships, and the extent to which he would go to serve a friend, or indeed any one in distress.  Many years of sickness and suffering worked no change in these prominent traits of his character, though they served to soften and chasten his naturally indomitable spirit.  He had gone as far as Baltimore in search of Medical advice, when his journey was arrested by the hand of death.  There he was attended, not only by his devoted wife, but by warm friends, who “smoothed his pillow of affliction and softened his path to the grave.”  These friends were once strangers here, sick and in distress.  With characteristic generosity, he ministered to them, and they have sought at home to repay the debt of gratitude thus incurred.  One of them writes, “I was with him at his last moment, and so easy was the departure of his spirit that it was some time before the watchers at his bed-side could convince themselves that it had fled.”

His remains were brought to this place on Sunday last, and were followed to the grave on Monday by a very large concourse of citizens, and interred with Masonic honors.

[Fayetteville Observer – Wednesday Morning, July 16, 1845]

THE RIVER-is at last in a navigable state, from which appearances lead to a confident hope that it will not again recede during this Fall and winter.  It rose on Saturday and Sunday upwards of 20 feet-more rain having fallen from Saturday morning to Sunday morning than, we think, fell during any month for the last 18 or 20.  A very large quantity of goods for this place and the interior may be expected up in a day or two.

We ought heretofore to have stated, that the Steamer Wm. B. Meares, and three Lighters, belonging to the estate of the late Mr. O’Hanlon, were sold at auction some days ago for $11,100, and were bought by a company of our most wealthy and enterprising merchants, whose arrangements are already made to run them on this river.

A new Steamer, of very light draught of water, built by the Henrietta Company, was launched by the rise of water on Sunday night.  She is intended to ply on this river, and will be a material accession to the line, especially in periods of low water.

[Fayetteville Observer – Wednesday Morning, October 15, 1845]

The Cape Fear River Steamers

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