The first steamboat which ran on the Waccamaw River from Conway to Georgetown was the “Juniper“. This was brought from Wilmington, N. C., and continued in use until the “Maggie” was built. Capt. Williams was captain of this boat.
[The Independent Republic Quarterly – Vol. 15, No. 2 – Spring 1981 – p.5]
NOTE: “…Later on the Juniper was rebuilt and became the Driver. To accomplish this work and other steamboat projects Burroughs and Collins took over an abandoned shipyard and reactivated it. It was located on Kingston Lake near the site of the old Government shipyard which was just above the point where the lake flows into the Waccamaw River…” from an article regarding Franklin Gorham Burroughs (1834-1897)
NEW STEAMBOAT LINE.
The Merchants and Farmers Steamboat
Company to Run a boat Between Here
and Fayetteville – The First Trip to be
A new steamboat line to be operated by an incorporated company to be known as the “Merchants and Farmers Steamboat Company,” is to be established on the Cape Fear river between this city and Fayetteville. Corporation papers are to be taken out in a few days, and Mr. R. R. Love is to be the manager and general agent.
The steamer Driver, recently bought in Georgetown, S. C., by the company arrived here last evening in tow by the steamer Wilmington. She left Georgetown at 5 o’clock Tuesday morning in tow by a tug and arrived yesterday morning at 5 o’clock at Southport whence the steamer Wilmington towed her here. She is a stern wheel vessel, and is a good freight and passenger boat. She has eighteen berths and has accommodations for fifty cabin passengers. She will use Colonel Roger Moore’s wharf, formerly used by the steamer Frank Sessoms when Captain Black run her, and will make two trips a week to and from Fayetteville. She will leave here today at 2:30 o’clock p.m. on her first trip.
(Wilmington Messenger – October 8, 1896)
The Steamboat Driver
The steamboat Driver, from Georgetown, S. C., arrived here last evening in charge of Captain Irwin Robinson, to run on the Cape Fear river between Wilmington and Fayetteville. The Driver has been running between Georgetown and Conwayboro, S. C. She will make her first trip up the river today. Mr. R. R. Love, of this city, will be general agent and manager.
(Wilmington Dispatch – October 8, 1896)
The River Route to Fayetteville Again Open.
Both of the river steamboats plying regularly between Wilmington and Fayetteville were here yesterday. The Driver, Capt. Irving Robinson, left Elizabethtown, where she has been tied up during the drought, Tuesday at 8 a. m. for Fayetteville, arriving at 11 a. m. Wednesday, and returning arrived here at 3.20 p. m. yesterday. She will leave for Fayetteville at 12 o’clock to-day.
The A. P. Hurt, Capt. Sandy Robeson, was also in port yesterday, having brought freight from points as far up as Willis Creek. She left yesterday afternoon at 4 o’clock for Fayetteville with a heavy cargo of freight which had been accumulating, waiting for her to resume her regular trips.
Without more rain it is feared that the river will not continue high enough for boats to get into Fayetteville with safety. There is barely enough as it is, and the river will fall, of course, unless there are heavy rains to keep it up.
(Wilmington Star – October 29, 1897)
In a Thunder Storm.
The steamboat Driver on her last trip down the river had a “close call.” Near Waddill’s Ferry, a bolt of lightning struck a tree, passing close to the Driver. The pilot, Zach Roberts, was knocked from the wheel and stunned, and Capt. Robinson, a passenger Mr. E. C. Singletary and several boathands were shocked. The pilot soon regained consciousness and resumed his place at the wheel.
(Wilmington Star – September 9, 1898)
NOTE: Zach Roberts was injured while aboard the steamer R. E. Lee, when the Lee’s boiler exploded in August of 1871. Both he and Capt. William Skinner died in 1913.
— Capt. T. S. Whitted, of Elizabethtown, is running temporarily as master of the steamboat Driver, in place of Capt. Jeff Bradshaw, who is confined to his home at Fayetteville with rheumatism.
(Wilmington Star – March 25, 1900)
The Steamer Driver.
Repairs to the boiler of the steamer Driver will be completed in a few days and she will then resume her regular runs to Fayetteville. The tug “F & F” has been running in the place of the Driver for about two weeks.
(Wilmington Dispatch – April 26, 1901)
NEW STEAMBOAT OFFICE.
Mr. T. D. Love Will Soon be in Convenient
Quarters Near Market House.
Handsome and commodious quarters for the Merchants’ and Farmers’ Transportation Company, likewise for Mr. T. D. Love, its enterprising general manager and wholesale grocer, are being built on the wharf next north of the market house wharf on South Water street.
The building will be completed in about ten days and will afford Mr. Love and the steamboat company every facility for handling freight and selling groceries. In addition to the steamer Driver, now being operated by the company on its Fayetteville line, a new craft admirably adopted to the river trade is nearing completion. Its name is the Highlander which will be on the river in a very short time.
(Wilmington Star – September 28, 1901)
Mr. T. D. Love will rebuild the steamer Driver. The work will be done at the foot of Queen street.
(Wilmington Dispatch – November 11, 1902)