Category Archives: The Boats

Bee Line Ferry – More WILMINGTON – PINELLAS Ferry Articles

Ferry Service Resumed; ‘Normal Operations’ Expected At End Of Week By Port Authority

The month-old Bee Line ferry strike is broken.
Limited service, with one of three boats in Operation, was restored yesterday morning at 7:30 o’clock.
Manned by newly-recruited crews from all parts of the state, the smallest of the boats —the Pinellas— maintained a regular schedule throughout the day. A second boat will be placed in service this morning. Normal operations are expected to be restored by the end of the week.
E. Leslie Cole, chairman of the St. Petersburg Port Authority—operating agency of the ferry between St. Petersburg and Bradenton, personally supervised the first “sailing”. He expressed

St. Petersburg Times – Nov 12, 1946

McNeely Takes Over Bee Line

Resignation of E. Roy Baldinger, manager of the Port Authority and head of the Bee Line ferry, was announced this morning by Walter E. Keyes, secretary-director of the state internal improvement commission. Baldinger has been with the commission as its St. Petersburg executive since the state took over the Tampa bay bridge project and the ferry system.
At the same time, Keyes announced appointment of Capt. E. Ray McNeely as successor to Baldinger. McNeely has been operating superintendent of the ferry line since the city acquired it. He had been with the old Bee Line ferry company since 1926 with the exception of the period from Mar. 1942 through Oct. 1945 during which he was with the U.S. Merchant marine. He returned on November ’45 to become cuperintendent for the city.
The Evening Independent – Aug 19, 1949 (Good picture of Baldinger, Keyes and McNeely. McNeely dies just 4 months and 10 days from this.)

Capt. McNeely Succeeds Baldinger as Port Manager

E. R. Baldinger yesterday resigned as Port Manager here for the Florida State Improvement Commission.
Commission Director Walter E. Keyes, who accepted the resignation “with regrets,” immediately appointed Capt. E. Ray McNeely to succeed Baldinger.
McNeely, a veteran ferry boat captain, has served for the past 21 years as superintendent of the Bee Line Ferry which is now operated by the Improvement Commission.
St. Petersburg Times – Aug 20, 1949

Capt. Eugene Ray McNeely
Bee Line Ferry Head, Dies

Capt. Eugene Ray McNeely, 57, operator for the state of the Bee Line ferry and connected with it since 1927, died this morning at his home, 1440 Fifteenth street south, after a protracted illness.
Of a long line of Mississippi steamboat captains and operators, McNeely entered the service of the ferry, then privately owned, immediately on coming here from Natchez, Miss. Previously he had operated the McNeely ferry between Natchez and Vidalia, La. A family enterprise.
Capt. McNeely soon rose in the service of the ferry company and for nearly 20 years was its marine superintendent. When the ferry was purchased by the St. Petersburg Port authority as a part of the promotion of the lower bay bridge plan, he continued in

The Evening Independent – Dec 30, 1949,2356377

Boats Made Beeline Across Tampa Bay
Fred Wright, Independent Reporter

Like the song says, on a clear day you can see forever – in this case, Manatee County from Pinellas.
Only about seven miles of water separate the two bodies of land.
For motorists, however, the land of Manatee was as far away from St. Petersburg — up to the 1920s — as if it had been half way across the state.
Now there’s the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, putting weekend vacationers and year-around tourists just a hop, skip and 50-cent toll apart from Pinellas and Manatee.
But up until the 1920s, the trip was formidable. To reach Manatee,
The Evening Independent – Oct 24, 1966

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Posted by on November 25, 2014 in The Boats


Bee Line Ferry – WILMINGTON – PINELLAS Ferry


Pinellas-Piney Point Line to Have Big, New Craft About Nov. 1

A fine new large boat will be put into service on the Bee Line ferry service, between St. Petersburg’s Pinellas Point wharf and Piney Point by Nov. 1, according to announcement made Saturday by Charles L. Carter, president of the company.
The company has two boats for service on the ferry line across Tampa bay at this time, one of them “The Doty,” being in service during the slack summer period. “The Wilmington,” the second boat owned by the company and in service during the busy fall, winter and spring seasons, will be overhauled. Mr. Carter said, and converted into a more powerful and speedier craft. The steam boilers will be removed and a Diese[l] engine will be installed. It is expected that after the changes are made the Wilmington will cross Tampa bay in 25 minutes or less, carrying passengers, freight and motor cars.
The new highway between Piney Point and Palmetto in Manatee county, Mr. Carter said, will be completed in its new form of construction before the opening of the busy tourist season. The xxx spur from Piney Point to the xxx shore road is now reconstructed with a width of 20 feet. The xxx base is down, is rolled and trxxx is opened with the exception of about half a mile, which is provided with a good detour. One of the Bay shore road the surface is being xxx from the Palmetto end toward Piney Point. On the spur the surface will be a penetration asphalt over rolled shell.
The one boat in service now making five round trips a day xxx the ferry route. The new boat will go into service in time to provide a quick trip to Sarasota, winter headquarters for the Ringling Brothers circus, and a route also shorter by 47 miles to Palmetto, Manatee, Braedenton, Punta Gorda and For Myers.

St. Petersburg Times – Aug 5, 1928



Effective tomorrow morning, the new boat “Pinellas” of the Bee Line Ferry will go into active service in the transporation of automobiles and passengers across Tampa bay between Pinellas and Piney Points. It is the first of several improvements in the service contemplated by officers of the company for the winter season of 1930-31.
The newly commissioned ferry boat was recently completed by the company in local shipyards. The boat is practically new throughout, except for a few pieces of plating, frame angle irons, floor plates, keel, main deck beams and the bulwark, representing less than 10 per cent of the structural work. All parts of the old “Wilmington” which were retained have been heavily re-enforced, although tests showed them to be in first class shape.
New equipment on the boat includes the engines, from bilge pumps, air compressor pumps, and dynamos to the 350 horsepower Atlas Imperial full Diesel; deck planking, tanks for both fuel and air, the electric lighting plant, all superstructure, steel enclosed sides, lifeboat deck, pilot house, funnel and siren.
The latter, officers of the company state, should be audible throughout St. Petersburg and over Tampa bay for a distance of miles, announcing the arrival of the “Pinellas” at Pinellas Point on the regular daily trips. The boat is [last line of article lost]
The Evening Independent – Nov 14, 1930

City Supplies $185,000 to Buy Ferry.
Plan Permanenet Pinellas-manatee Link

St. Petersburg Times – Dec 20, 1944

Council to Get New Proposal Providing Public Operation Of Ferry Within 30 Days

St. Petersburg Times – Nov 6, 1945

Bee Line Ferry Closes Tonight
[Temporary, 5 days, closing for repairs.]

St. Petersburg Times – Sep 7, 1947

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Posted by on November 25, 2014 in The Boats


1913, A Pivotal Year

In August of 1871, the boiler, of the Steamer R. E. LEE, exploded at Thames Shoals (sometimes referenced as Timms or Thomas Shoals) about 14 miles below Fayetteville, N. C.

The explosion killed and wounded several persons. Capt. William Skinner was blown from his boat into the Cape Fear river, but was rescued. Capt. Skinner’s 1st cousin, Capt. Samuel Skinner was nearby, aboard the Steamer A. P. HURT, and the crew of that vessel also jumped into the fray to aid and rescue survivors. Zach. Roberts, a negro pilot, but not piloting the R. E. LEE that day, was also injured. Zach. Roberts died in February, 1913 and Capt. William W. Skinner died later that year on November 17th.

The Steamer GOVERNOR WORTH arrived on the Cape Fear in the spring of 1866. She was named in honor of the then current North Carolina governor, Jonathan Worth. About 1886, the steamer was sold to the Jacksonville, Tampa & Key West Railroad and Capt. R. P. “Dick” Paddison was placed in command of her. Her name was changed to the ROCKLEDGE and she ran on the Indian River for several years. As the railroad was being built, the steamer followed the work crews southward, acting as sleeping quarters. As the first hotel was being built in Miami, the ROCKLEDGE was used as a residence, and later a gambling casino was operated aboard her. Eventually she wilted into a state of decay with little more than her steel hull remaining. On Thursday, November 13th, 1913, she was towed to the three-mile limit in the Atlantic ocean and sunk.

On November 18th, 1913 the Steamer C. W. LYON caught fire and burned about 20 miles above Wilmington, NC. Piloting the vessel at the time of the fire was Barney Baldwin, and the captain was W. F. Register. Capt. Henry W. Edge was a mate aboard the vessel at the time and was hindered from getting to shore by the fire. He jumped into the swollen Cape Fear river, and although attempts were made to throw him aid, he was swept down river and drowned. His body was recovered several weeks later.

Capt. Henry Edge was master of the Steamer CITY OF FAYETTEVILLE, which had broken in two at her slip at the foot of Red Cross Street on the Wilmington waterfront, on September 29, 1913. She had arrived on the Cape Fear river in January of 1903. No expense had been spared in building the vessel which assured that no profit would ever be made either.

With the sinking of the CITY OF FAYETTEVILLE and the burning of the C. W. LYON, there was no river transportation on the Cape Fear river between Fayetteville and Wilmington, NC. The Steamer THELMA was put into operation later that month, November, and would be the last paddlewheel steamboat to run on the river.

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Posted by on April 1, 2014 in The Boats, The Captains


Captain Jefferson Davis Robeson

Newspaper articles regarding Capt. Jeff D. Robeson:

— Capt. W. A. Robeson, for many years the popular commander of the Wave, has bought that fine steamer from the Express Steamboat Company, and will hereafter run her on his own account.  Messrs. G. W. Williams & Co. will be the Wilmington agents.  “Sandy” is one of the “institutions” of the Cape Fear river, and he has the best wishes of a host of friends.  Long may he Wave.

[? – January 6, 1882]

THE STEAMER WAVE.—In common with their numerous other friends, we regret to hear of Capt. W. A. Robeson’s and his brother’s loss by the sinking of their steamer near Wilmington last week. But we were glad to hear that it is thought the larger part of the cargo is saved, and that the boat can be raised without great expense. The reported drowning of the colored cook, Ned Beebe, is a sad feature of the accident.

From the Wilmington Review of Monday evening we learn later particulars of the disaster, as follows:

The steamer Wave, Capt. Robinson, capsized in the Cape Fear at Wanet’s Landing, at 5 o’clock yesterday morning, while on her way from Fayetteville to this city, and three of those on board were drowned. The circumstances were as follows:

In coming round a curve in the river, near that place, the speed of the boat caused her to careen so that her outside guard was under the water. This caused the cargo, which consisted of between 400 and 500 barrels of rosin and spirits of turpentine, to ship to that side, the weight of which capsized the boat. Those drowned were Empie Hill, a passenger, Lucy Brewington, colored, a passenger, and Ned Beebe, colored, cook. The accident happened at an hour when all the passengers and those of the crew not employed were asleep in their berths, and all those came very near being lost. The other passengers were Messrs. Edward Lilly and E. D. Burkhimer of this city, Mr. Buchanan, of Charles-ton, S. C. and Miss Shepherd, aged about 14 years. Mr. Lilly was badly bruised and was saved with considerable difficulty. Messrs. Buchanan and Burkhimer came very near drowning and were saved only by super-human efforts. Miss Shepherd was in eminent peril, but she maintained the most perfect composure and coolness throughout the trying ordeal through which she was compelled to pass with an almost inevitable death staring her in the face. The door of her stateroom was locked and it was some time, and not until the water had reached above her waist, before she was rescued by the determined efforts of Capt. Robeson. After the accident Capt. Robeson started and walked to this city, reaching here at about 1 o’clock yesterday afternoon, and gave the first intelligence of the disaster. The steamtug Wm. Nyce was immediately sent to the scene and returned about 10 o’clock that night with the passengers. The dredging boat was sent up this morning to render such assistance in raising the Wave and securing the cargo as may be necessary.

[Fayetteville Observer – Thursday, June 5, 1884.]



  — The body of Mr. Empie Hill, one of the victims of the Wave disaster, was found Wednesday night just below Turkey Point, and that of Ned Bebee has also bee recovered, having been found about half a mile from Wanut Landing.

The steamer is now afloat and it is expected to get her entirely clear by this evening.  Her wheel is now about a foot out of water.

[Wilmington Star – June 7, 1884]



The Steamer Wave Upsets on the River and Three Persons are Drowned—Narrow Escape of Others—The Steamer Nyce Goes to the Rescue—The Survivors Brought to this City.

     On Sunday our community was startled by the announcement of the intelligence that the steamer Wave, of the Express Steamboat Company’s line, had met with a terrible disaster and that three persons were drowned; which number, by common report, was afterwards erroneously augmented to four.  The news of the accident was brought by Capt. Robeson, Mr. Nick Carr and Mr. Bryant Watson, who left the steamer at the point where she went down.  The steamer Wm. Nyce got up steam and started about 5 o’clock for the scene of the disaster, arriving there the same evening about 8 o’clock, when the survivors were taken on board, with the exception of Capt. Jeff. Robeson and two deck hands, and brought them to this city.  We first interviewed Mr. Carr, and subsequently talked with Mr. H. D. Burkhimer, from whom we obtained the following particulars.

The steamer was rounding a sharp curve or point in the river, about twenty-two miles above this city, at or near John Wanut’s Landing, about half past 5 o’clock on Sunday morning, just as the sun had commenced rising, when she keeled over too far on one side, and the water began to pour in over her guards, when the freight, consisting of barrels of naval stores, boxes, crates, etc., was shifted from the starboard to the port side, which had the effect to turn her over.  She rested on one side, with the upper part about two feet above the water, and the lower part apparently on the bottom, for a few minutes, when, being relieved of the greater part of the cargo, she gradually uprighted and settled down in about twenty feet of water, having one hundred casks of spirits of turpentine in her hold.  In the meantime the stancheons had broken loose between the cabin and the main deck, and the former, with hurricane deck and pilot house attached, left the hull and settled down on the boiler and part of cargo of rosin at the side of the boat, a portion of the hurricane deck being out of the water.  The passengers were mostly in their berths when the alarm was given.  They consisted of Messrs. E. Lilly, N. Carr and H. D. Burkhimer and Miss Katie Shepherd, of this city.  Mr. J. A. Buchanan, of South Carolina, Mr. Empie Hill, of Bladen, Mr. Bryant Watson, of Fayetteville, and Lucy Brewington, colored, of Fayetteville.  The passengers got out as best they could, Mr. Lilly and Mr. Burkhimer both having some difficulty in getting their doors open.  Mr. Burkhimer also got his hands badly cut in trying to escape by a window and when he finally succeeded in getting out by the door the water was up to his waist.  Miss Shepherd was rescued from her berth by Capt. Jeff. Robeson and placed in a position of safety on the hurricane deck.  Mr. Burkhimer, upon reaching the deck, thinking the boat was about to go to pieces, jumped overboard, and himself, Mr. Buchanan and the colored steward were carried away from the boat about one hundred yards and landed among a parcel of rubbish, where they remained until Capt. Robeson sent a boat and took them off and put them ashore; Mr. Burkhimer sustaining himself with a spirits cask under one arm and a plank under the other and Mr. Buchanan clinging to a piece of the engine house.  Mr. Burkhimer says that Mr. Hill was some distance lower down the river and he heard his call three times for help after which he threw up his hands and sank.  The fireman, when he awoke, was completely submerged by the water.  Mr. Lilly, who had jumped overboard in the first excitement and confusion, was assisted upon the hurricane deck by Capt. Robeson and others.  As soon as possible the survivors were all landed on the shore and repaired to the residence of Mr. John Wanut, by whom they were very kindly treated.  It was ascertained that Mr. Empie Hill, aged about 25 years, a nephew of the late Adam Empie, of this city; Ned. Beebe, the colored cook, aged about 50, and Lucy Brewington, colored, of Fayetteville, aged about 30, were drowned.  It is a wonder, considering the number and quantity of barrels, boxes, rubbish, etc., that was drifting about, and among which many of the men were at one time struggling, that more lives were not lost.  There was very little excitement among the crew and passengers, and the coolness displayed by all, and especially by Capt. Jeff. Robeson, was one reason why so many were saved.

Among the few articles saved from the wreck were two boxes of eggs, and these served to help out in furnishing the large number with dinner and supper.

In the meantime Capt. Robeson, Mr. Carr and Mr. Bryant Watson had started for the railroad station at Northwest, a distance of about five or six miles, hoping to meet the train on the Carolina Central road, but reached there about ten minutes too late.  They then started to walk to Wilmington and reached there about 12 o’clock, when they dispatched the steamer Nyce to the assistance of their shipwrecked friends and comrades, and she returned about 10 o’clock Sunday night with all of the passengers and crew except those named as staying by the wreck.  Yesterday the dredging boat was sent up to see what help could be rendered.  At last accounts the cargo of naval stores, or a portion of it, was drifting off.

Mr. Lilly, who was quite badly bruised, lost his valise, pocket book containing about $50 and a gold watch chain.  Miss Shepherd’s trunk drifted off, but was picked up by persons on a raft and was taken off by the steamer Nyce as she came up Sunday evening.  Mr. Burkhimer was considerably bruised and cut by glass, and got a sprained ankle.

This is the first accident of a serious nature that has happened on our river for a long time.

The following is a list of the officers and crew of the Wave:  Capt. W. A. Robeson, master; Capt. Jeff Robeson, engineer; Dallis Austin, assistant engineer; Ned Beebe, cook; Sam Williams, steward; Horace Williams, fireman; Sam Dunn, Charles McIntire, John Smith and two others, deck hands; Archie White, 1st pilot; Wm. Roberts, 2nd pilot.

Archie White, colored, one of the pilots, was active in picking up those in the water and displayed much zeal and courage.

[The Wilmington Weekly Star – June 7, 1884]



  — The body of Mr. Empie Hill, one of the victims of the Wave disaster, was found Wednesday night just below Turkey Point, and that of Ned Bebee has also been recovered, having been found about half a mile from Wanut Landing.

The steamer is now afloat and it is expected to get her entirely clear by this evening.  Her wheel is now about a foot out of water.

[The Wilmington Star – June 7, 1884]

Steamer Wave at Wilmington.

The Steamer Wave which met with such a severe accident two weeks ago on her down trip from this point to Wilmington, has been raised, and towed into the latter place where she will be pumped out and the necessary repairs added.  The Wave is one of the smartest little boats that ever plied the upper Cape Fear.  Her speed was never surpassed.  Her owners deserve great credit for the enterprise, they have displayed in raising and getting her to Wilmington.  The dispatch with which this result was accomplished was truly wonderful.  We shall soon expect to hear her whistle at this wharf.

[The Sun – Fayetteville, N.C. – Tuesday, June 17, 1884]

— Capt. Jeff Robinson and his carpenters came down on the steamer D. Murchison, yesterday, for the purpose of making necessary repairs upon the steamer Wave, which will be hauled up on Capt. Skinner’s marine railway to-day.

[Wilmington Star – June 19, 1884]

The pilot boat GRACIE and the schooner MARY WHEELER are on the ways at Capt. Skinner’s shipyard, for overhauling, and painting.  Repairs to the hull of the steamer WAVE have been finished and she is now afloat, with carpenters busily engaged putting on the upper deck.  The WAVE, by the way, was the first vessel taken out of the water on the marine railway after the completion of the work of reconstruction that had been in progress at the yard for about three months.  During that time the railway was rebuilt from its foundation throughout, with new irons and cradles, and is now complete and substantial in every particular.  A new house has been built over the engines and boilers, and other improvements have been made.  We noticed a large lighter being built at the yard for the steamer BLADEN.

[Wilmington Weekly Star – August 1, 1884]



— The river is very low and the water is still falling. So steamboatmen report.

— The steamer Lisbon has been thoroughly overhauled, enlarged and improved and started out on her first trip yesterday.

— The steamer Wave, which met with a serious disaster up the river some months ago, which necessitated extensive repairs, has now commenced her regular trips again having arrived here from Fayetteville yesterday morning, and left on the return trip at 3 p. m. The Wave has been remodeled in a measure, being lighter and more roomy than before. The gentlemen’s cabin and dining room have been completed and workmen are now engaged in putting up the ladies’ cabin.

She draws less water than before the accident and is believed to be a stronger and better boat in every way. The engine room is open, in accordance with the custom of steamers on many other rivers, instead of being inclosed as heretofore, and will remain so all summer, or as long as the weather will permit. The boat is being thoroughly repainted and will present a handsome appearance when completed. She is commanded by Capt. Jeff Robeson.

River Improvements.

Under the supervision of the engineers in charge of the upper Cape Fear river improvements, the work of building a jetty at Fayetteville is now in progress, and when completed, will prove a great advantage in the matter of navigation, as boats can then go up to the wharf without any trouble or detention whatever. Heretofore the boats have often experienced much difficulty on account of the low water on the shoals there.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Friday, August 29, 1884.]



  — Capt. S. W. Skinner went up the river yesterday on the steamer Excelsior, with two steam pumps and a gang of hands for the purpose of raising and floating the steamer Wave, sunk at Whitehall.  From Capt. Jeff Robinson, who came down for assistance, we learn that the Wave lies close in shore, with the freight deck out of water.

[The Wilmington Star – December 4, 1884]

— The steamer Wave arrived here early yesterday morning, and was hauled up on Capt. Skinner’s marine railway for repairs to her hull, etc.

[The Wilmington Star – December 7, 1884]

NOTE:  Although repaired, and her boiler inspected, it might be surmised that the boiler had been weakened due to these repeated events.  A steam filled boiler would experience extreme changes when being submersed in the much cooler river water. 

Steamer Wave Explodes Her Boiler and Sinks.


Yesterday afternoon shortly after 3 o’clock, a heavy explosion shook the offices and other buildings about the wharfs and created widespread alarm for a few moments, as no one knew what to make of it. Some thought the deadly dynamite had begun its work in their midst. There were some, however, who were witnesses to the sad cause of the terrible concussion, and soon it was known that the steamer Wave, on the line between this city and Fayetteville, had exploded her boiler and almost immediately sunk. She was lying at the time of the accident near Mr. A. A. Willard’s wharf, on the west side of the river, nearly opposite Messrs. Worth & Worth’s wharf, and soon tugs, yawls and other small craft were taking excited crowds to the scene of the disaster. Crowds also lined the wharves and eagerly awaited tidings from the wreck, and as one and another of the boats would return to this side of the river the persons on board would be quickly interviewed.

First along it was reported that all hands on board had gone down with the boat, but later information places the loss of life at only three. They were Neill Jessup, a stevedore; Jim Stedman, an employee; and Kitty Harvey, the cook—all colored. The injured were Perry Cotton, pilot, and Dave McPherson, a deck hand—both colored. They were both badly scalded; both of them were taken to the Marine Hospital. All the killed and wounded were residents of Fayetteville, except Cotton, who is said to live here at present.

Mr. J. D. L. Smith, engineer of the boat, says he had just come from the boiler, and was sitting in the engine room when the explosion occurred. He says there was plenty of water in the boiler and not too much steam, the pressure being only eighty pounds. He saw the three persons drown whose names are given. A boy named Turner had one of his ears blown off, and received several gashes about the head. The flue of the boiler was found after the accident on top of a warehouse several hundred feet distant.

The boat was taking on fertilizers and there were about four hundred and fifty bags on board, which all went down with the wreck. The bags had been wheeled across a flat to the boat, and at the time of the accident the flat was being loaded.

Mr. J. G Wright, shipping clerk for Messrs. G. W. Williams & Co., was on the boat, and he and the engineer sprang on the flat. Mr. Wright was slightly hurt. Mr. Smith had to feel his way out of the room, which was quickly filled with a dense smoke.

Part of the boiler in its upward flight struck the top mast of the schooner Nellie Potter, lying close to the boat, and broke it off. The smoke stack was blown to atoms. The furniture went down with the boat, but a good deal of it was subsequently fished out. The boat went down in almost one minute after the explosion. Several persons jumped into the river besides those that were drowned.

Mr. L. B. Love, assistant engineer, got jammed between the cabin of the boat and a schooner and made a narrow escape from being carried down with the wreck. One of his hands was pretty badly bruised.

At the time of the accident Capt. Jeff Robeson was on this side of the river, attending to some business.

The boat is a complete wreck, the hull, it is thought, being broken in twain. She was owned principally by Capts. W. A. and J. D. Robeson, but Smith, the engineer also owned an interest in her. She was valued at from $8,000 to $10,000, and was insured for $5,000. Much sympathy is felt among the many friends of the owners on account of their loss, and much regret is felt at the loss of live. {LIFE?}

Mr. Robert Sweet, of Mr. Willard’s establishment, was on the boat at the time and was blown into the water, from which he was rescued, as he could not swim.

The schooners Nellie Potter and Alice Hearn were in the immediate vicinity of the boat and Capt. Pennswell, of the former, says he was badly shaken up. He rushed from the cabin as soon as he thought safety would admit of it and saw the three persons  drown—Wilmington Star.

[The Fayetteville Observer – Thursday, March 12, 1885.]

Capt. T. J. Green has sold his interest in the steamer Bladen, and we are informed will retire altogether from the river, devoting his whole time hereafter to other business pursuits. Capt. Jeff D. Robeson will succeed Capt. Green in command of the Bladen.

[Wilmington Morning Star – Saturday, January 23, 1886 Vol. XXXVII No. 103]

The Steamer Bladen.

We learn that Capt. Jeff. D. Robeson, popular young river captain, is to take command of the steamer Bladen, Capt. T. J. Green designing to retire from the boating business and devote himself to other pursuits.  Whatever field Capt. Green may choose for his labors, he will doubtless find as many friends as he has on the Cape Fear, where he has been known and esteemed for so many years.

[Fayetteville Observer – Thursday, January 28, 1886]

The Burning of the Bladen.

The loss of the steamer Bladen, briefly mentioned in the account of the fire at Wilmington on Sunday morning last, was caused by fire which occurred when the steamer was within 150 yards of her wharf. The most strenuous efforts immediately became necessary to save the lives of the passengers and crew, as the flames increased with fearful rapidity, and the Bladen was run in at the shed of the New York steamers, where the passengers were with difficulty landed in safety from small boats, but with the loss of all their baggage.

The Bladen was a stern-wheel steamer of wooden hull, remodeled in the spring of 1885, was fitted up for both passengers and freight, and had a capacity of about 800 barrels of rosin.  She was owned by the “Bladen Steamboat Company,” and Messrs. A. E. Rankin & Co. were the agents at Fayetteville.  She was built at a cost of $9,000, and was insured for $5,500, with $2,500 on cargo.  A lot of 112 bales of cotton shipped by Mr. R. M. Nimocks to Messrs. Sprunt & Son, Wilmington, was protected by a floating policy.  Capt. R. H. Tomlinson had recently been made commander of the Bladen, and at the time of its burning both he and Capt. Jeff. D. Robinson were on board.

The passengers on board the Bladen, were Messrs. Robt. Lee, of Wilmington, A. J. Harmon, of Bladen county, Dodson, a commercial traveler, Mrs. Thos. Hundley and child, of Fayetteville, Miss Erambert, of Richmond, Va., and one or two others whose names were not learned.

We learn that Miss Erambert was for a few moments in great danger, her hair being singed and clothing scorched before she could be rescued from the boat.”

[Fayetteville Observer and Gazette – February 25, 1886]

Incorporating the Louisa Steamboat Company (The State of Georgia – September 21, 1891)

The steamer LOUISA was built for Capt. R. C. Henry (originally from NC and years later re-interred at a family cemetery in Burgaw, NC).  Capt. Henry’s wife’s name was Louisa.

Several North Carolina businessmen/boatmen came together to organize this Georgia company.  J. D. & M. E. Robeson were listed as Georgia residents.  (I have not yet found who M. E. Robeson was.  Probably an older brother of J. D. & W. A. “Sandy” Robeson.)  I see that J. D. Robeson married a Georgia girl in 1891 and they had a daughter the next year.


J. D. Robeson was an engineer when the WAVE capsized killing at least one in 1884.  In March 1885, he was her captain, but not aboard her when her boiler exploded sinking her and killing several persons across from the Wilmington, NC waterfront.


Jeff D. Robeson was supposed to become the new captain of the steamer BLADEN when retiring captain T. J. Green retired in Jan./Feb. 1886, but on the day of the Great Fire of Wilmington, NC 02/26/1886, he is a mate aboard the BLADEN, and R. H. Thomlinson is her captain.

NOTES:  Found “Jefferson Davis Robeson” grave here.  I see an M. E. Robeson listed down in this general area, which I am thinking might be a brother (older).  W. A. Robeson was an older brother (buried in Fayetteville, NC).  M. E., J. D. and W. A. Robeson were all involved in the creation of the Louisa Steamboat Company in Georgia in 1891.  The LOUISA was to run between Dublin and Red Bluff, GA.  **I can only hope that through some more research, I might find that “Andy and Nan Marie” were related, but probably not;-).  **It finally dawned on me that the M. E. Robeson was Martha “Mattie” E. Dorminy Robeson, the wife of Capt. Jeff D. Robeson.  It just didn’t occur to me that one of the owners could be a woman.

Birth: Apr. 15, 1860

Death: Jul. 2, 1923


Evergreen Cemetery


Ben Hill County

Georgia, USA

Plot: s-1

Created by: D.J. Thompson

Record added: Jan 29, 2009

Find A Grave Memorial# 33373752




Captain J. D. Roberson (Robeson), well-known citizen and prominently connected in this and Irwin County, died at the home of Mr. D. R. Henderson, his brother-in-law, at Ocilla yesterday, following an illness of several years. His death however; at this time coming as a severe shock to his many friends.

For many years Captain Roberson was in charge of one of the boats that plied up and down the Ocmulgee river during which time he was married to Miss Mattie Dorminy, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. G. Dorminy, during the past several years he has made his home in Asheville, N. C.

His trip to South Georgia was to include a visit to his relatives in this vicinity as well as a business trip to Bainbridge, from which place he moved to Asheville.

Funeral services were conducted at Ocilla this afternoon.

[ THE FITZGERALD HERALD Tuesday July 3, 1923 ]



The death of Captain J. D. Roberson (Robeson) late of Asheville, N.C., occurred rather suddenly on Monday afternoon at the home of his brother-in-law Mr. D. R. Henderson in Ocilla whose family he was visiting in company with his wife and grandchildren. He was slightly ailing from Friday but no serious outcome was apprehended until the last few hours.

Captain Roberson was sixty-three years of age and until a stroke of paralysis he suffered ten years ago, had been a particularly hale and hearty man of large physique and most commanding appearance. He followed the calling of a steamboat captain for many years and was plying on the Ocmulgee River at the time he married his wife who was Miss Mattie Dorminey (Dorminy) at that time making her home with her parents the late Mr. and Mrs. Dorminey on their plantation on the river.

After marriage the couple resided in Dublin, at Bainbridge and at Quincey Fla. One daughter Mrs. Mary Eliza Correy with her two children Martha and Billie have been living with them for several years in Asheville, N. C. where they all moved in the interest of Mrs. Correy’s health. She is their only child. In January 1922 Mr. A. D. Corry, their son-in-law died in Quincey (Quincy), Fla. where his business interests had kept him most of the time. This shock and loss gave Mrs. Correy a great setback in her health and at the present time it was not thought prudent for her to come to her father’s funeral.

Mr. Roberson was the only survivor of his immediate parental family at the time of his death. His youth was spent in and about Tarhill (Tarheel) and Fayettesville, (Fayetteville) N. C.

The funeral services were conducted in Ocilla with his former Bainbridge friend, Rev. Whitley Langston officiating. Rev. Langston who was a near neighbor and a good friend of Captain Roberson for two years in Bainbridge paid a splendid tribute to the noble qualities of Mr. Roberson’s character and his superior mental gifts and business ability. He set forth the commendable traits that were in evidence as a husband, a father, a citizen and a church member. In none had he been found wanting. His message was of particular cheer and comfort to the bereaved widow.

The services were attended by the large connection and friends of his wife’s people the Dorminey’s Interment was made in Evergreen Cemetery where Mrs. Roberson’s parents are buried.


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Posted by on March 7, 2014 in The Boats, The Captains


The Steamer EVELYN




The steamer Wilmington is scheduled to sail for Charleston tonight to begin running between that city and Sullivans island.

Captain L. D. Potter, of the Wilmington-Southport Steamboat company, will be in charge of the steamer Wilmington on the trip to Charleston.

The Wilmington will be operated this summer by the Marine Construction and Towing company, of Charleston which concern recently chartered the vessel for the Charleston-Sullivans island run.

Captain Potter expressed regret over the fact that it is necessary to move the Wilmington, but he explained that the revenue from the steamer on the Wilmington-Southport run did not justify its operation on Cape Fear river.

The “steamer” Evelyn for some time has been plying between this city and Southport.

[ND – April 27, 1925]


Passengers and Crew take to Lifeboats When Flames Envelop Ship

     The steamer Evelyn, which recently replaced the Wilmington in the freight and passenger service between the city and Southport, burned to the water’s edge when off river buoy No. 16 yesterday afternoon.  The passengers and members of the crew were landed on the fish factory wharf without injury with the exception of Captain Blizzard, the last man to quit the ship, who was painfully burned.

     Only a charred hull bobbing on the river surface is all that is left of the gallant little craft whose decks have been trod by nearly every person in the city of Wilmington.

     The Eevlyn was carrying only three passengers on the trip up the river.  They were M. B. Cavanaugh, Miss Sallie Darby, and Miss Carrie DuBose.  The blaze was not attended by any undue excitement and the passengers and crew members were quickly put ashore in the lifeboats when it became apparent that the vessel was doomed.

     First indications of the fire came when the steamer, ploughing her way up stream, was off river buoy 16, wisps of smoke later were observed curling from the engine room windows.  A few moments later and the interior of the boat was a mass of flames.  Efforts were first made to extinguish the flames by a bucket brigade and through the use of fire extinguishers but the efforts of the crew were unavailing and the work abandoned as plans were made to lower the boats and put off from the doomed ship.

     This work was accomplished without mishap.  The three passengers were the first to enter the boats.  Then members of the crew piled aboard until all others were safely in the boats.  His refusal to quit the ship until the others had been taken care of resulted in his sustaining painful burns.

     The stack fell soon after the fire had spread throughout the ship although those aboard the craft remained cool and calm at all times, crew members working heroically to halt thhe spread of the flames until it was seen their efforts were without effect.

     The Evelyn was a 90 foot craft with a draft of seven feet.  She had engaged in the passenger and freight service between the city and Southport since the Wilmington was taken off that run and was frequently used as an excursion boat.  The loss is partially covered by insurance.

     Announcement was made last night by the owners of the vessel that the Wilmington-Southport business would be taken care of Monday and carried on as though nothing had occurred.

[ Wilmington Morning Star – Wilmington, NC — Sunday, October 31, 1926 ]

NOTE:  I guess it would be inferred from the 1927 WMS article regarding the renovation of the WILMINGTON into an automobile ferry, that the Steamer WILMINGTON was still in the Cape Fear area at the time of the burning of the EVELYN, but just not in service any longer.



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Posted by on February 17, 2014 in The Boats



     A new steam boat, called the John Walker, was launched at Wilmington, (N. C.) on the 10th inst.  She is a large boat, and is intended to ply between that place and Fayetteville, and occasionally tow vessels to sea.

Charles. Gaz

[Carolina Observer – Fayetteville, NC – Wednesday Morning, November 23, 1831]

The new Steam Boat John Walker, Capt. Patrick, from Wilmington, made her first appearance here, on Saturday last.  We had  ### to pay her a visit, but it is agreed on ###nds that she is calculated to make a valuable addition to the means of communication ### our sister town.  She departed on Monday for Wilmington.

The Henrietta, Capt. Taws, which arrived Monday forenoon, brought goods which had been shipped from New York only five days before.  She unloaded nearly a full cargo, and ### again on her way to Wilmington the same ###ng, having been stopped here only about ###n hours.  We hope Judge Seawell will #### himself of these facts, when he makes his next speech on the subject.

[Carolina Observer – Fayetteville, NC – Wednesday Morning, December 21, 1831]


THE Boat ELIZA NEAL and FURNITURE, attached to the Steam Boat John Walker, and used as a tender for the conveyance of freight, having been seized by the Cape Fear Navigation Company, agreeably to the provisions of its charter, for a forfeiture incurred by a refusal to pay the Tolls due theron, the said Boat will be exposed to sale at the Campbellton Landing, on Saturday, the 21st inst., at 12 o’clock, to satisfy the debt due to the Company.

     Terms of Sale cash.


Agent of the Cape Fear Nav. Company.

January 11, 1832.                                              63.

[Carolina Observer – Fayetteville, NC – Wednesday Morning, January 18, 1832]

Important Decision. – At our Sup’r Court now in session, Judge Norwood presiding, came on the trial of an Indictment, State vs. the Captain and Agent of the John Walker Steam Boat, for an Assault and Battery, alleged to have been committed by them on a person employed by the Agent of the Cape Fear Navigation Company, in assisting him to enforce the collection of Tolls, by a seizure of the Boat. A verdict was rendered for the State subject to the opinion of the Court, on a case agreed. The facts, so far as we could gather them, were these:

The Collector of the tolls, who is also the general Agent of the Company, had demanded the tolls due by the Boat, on merchandize brought up the river from Wilmington to Fayetteville, at a point below Campbellton Landing, which had been designated by the Company as the place where tolls should be collected, and which was well known to the Captain of the boat. The boat refused when hailed to come to, but proceeded on her voyage, until she arrived at the wharf, her usual place of discharging her cargo. The collector went on board the boat immediately, the next morning, accompanied by force, he again went on board to enforce the collection, by a seizure with intent to sell the boat for the dues then unpaid. He was resisted by the Defendants, and the assault and battery was committed which was the subject of the Indictment.

The case turned principally upon the Constitutionality of that part of the charter, which gives to the Company the right of enforcing the collection of the Tolls by a seizure and sale of the Boat. A variety of questions arose in the progress of the cause, involving the true construction of the act of 1815 (the act incorporating the Company;) and whether if the Legislature had a right Constitutionally to grant such a power, the authority had been regularly exercised. For it was admitted that if the Legislature had power to pass the Act, and the provisions contained in it, had been strictly pursued, the Collector was justified in his entry upon the Boat, and the Defendants would be Guilty.

It was contended on behalf of the Defendants, among other things, — that the Boat could not be seized for the tolls due on the merchandize conveyed in her: — that the right to exact tolls accrued to the Company, only from the use of the Canals, Locks, and Sluices, and as there were no artificial constructions of this description on the Cape Fear, between Fayetteville and Wilmington, tolls could not be demanded for using the ordinary navigation of the river: — that if the seizure was not made before the boat passed the point designated for the collection of tolls, she could not be seized after she had been suffered to pass, and had arrived at her place of destination: — and that as the Act incorporating the Cape Fear Navigation Company, had copied certain sections, and re-enacted them, of the Roanoke Charter, and in the clause of that Act authorizing the collection tolls had designated “a point at or near the Falls on Roanoke” and no other, the Cape Fear Company was confined to that place, and would be held to a strict construction of her powers, as to the time, place, and manner, in which the franchise granted to her, should be exercised.

On all these points, his Honor Judge Norwood was against the Defendant. But on the main question, whether the act of incorporation, as to this remedy given for collection, did not contravene the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, he agreed with the Defendants, and gave judgment in their favor. His Honor remarked, that in his opinion the Legislature had transcended their authority, in conferring on the Company a power to collect their tolls by a seizure and sale, as it had the effect of constituting them Judges in their own cause, and enabled them to ascertain for themselves the amount of their demand, and issue execution for their debt, without affording to the other party an opportunity of controverting their claim, or contesting its lawfulness, either as to the sum demanded, or the manner of enforcing it. — That he had no doubt that it was competent for the Legislature to have directed a seizure of the Boat, on a failure to pay the tolls, if it had taken care to have secured to the Boat owner some mode by which he might have had his defence heard and passed upon. If for instance, it had allowed the party whose property was seized to replevy , and upon giving security at appear to the County Court, where he might have an issue made up, and tried by a Jury, before he was divested of the possession of his property, it would have clearly been within the constitutional scope of the Legislature. But as by this summary made of proceeding, the right of Trial by Jury had been in fact, and virtually denied to the defendants, the Law, so far as this particular remedy was concerned, was unconstitutional, and therefore void. The Judge also noticed argument which had been urged for the prosecution, that the State , being largely interested as a joint corporator, and having assumed to herself by the act of 1823, the entire control and management of the improvements on the river, and deriving from it a considerable revenue for the support of Government, might direct the mode in which that revenue should be collected, in the same manner, as she enforces any other branch of taxation. But in reply, he denied that the State had any right to delegate her sovereignty in this particular to any individuals, — that she could not authorize any corporation, whether public or private, to collect money to be expended upon other than public purposes; — and that her interest in the Company constituted her no more than an individual private corporator.

We do not pretend to give any thing more than a mere outline of his Honor’s argument. The case, we understand, will go up to the Supreme Court, and its final decision will settle the law upon a point, which it is important to the rights of the Company which it is important to the rights of the Company and the Boat owner, should be clearly understood.

[Carolina Observer – Tuesday Evening, May 15, 1832]

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]

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 ]


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.

                                      DOYLE O’HANLON.

July 5, 1837.                                                     48tf.

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


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Posted by on February 17, 2014 in The Boats


Oops, Image of Steamer WILMINGTON Shown Backwards?

Photo of the Steamer WILMINGTON shown reversed.  I guess most people note the steamer’s flag showing WILMINGTON and think the photo is correct.  But, just zoom in on the photo below and note that the name of the steamer, both on the bow of the boat and above the pilot house are shown in reverse.  *It’s much more likely that the flag only had the name WILMINGTON spelled on one side, and when the photo was taken, you were looking through the flag and the letters were reversed.

New Hanover County Public Library Digital Archives

A co-worker was in Wilmington recently for a conference and took this picture from within the new convention center.  I’m not sure if it is the quality of the image, or if the photo of the WILMINGTON has been doctored.  It is not possible to tell the vessel’s name on the bow or pilot house, as in the library photo above.  Still, it is the same photo.  *Also note that the photo says c1930, which isn’t possible because the WILMINGTON had been converted to an automobile ferry in 1926 and taken down to St. Petersburg, FL that same year.  The ferry WILMINGTON was converted to a diesel vessel in 1930 and renamed the PINELLAS.


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Posted by on November 21, 2013 in The Boats