Bee Line Ferry, Pinellas, Videos…

What did I come across today?  Three videos.  Of the Bee Line Ferry Dock, on the Pinellas Point side (YouTube), 1950s and a couple of older 16 mm videos, on of the Ferry, Pinellas, coming into dock and an automobile disembarking and riding a ferry into the Pinellas Point Dock and the captain leading the way.  *I do not know which captain.

Even a few seconds of video is a rich treasure.  And, let me conjecture… Even though I do not see which ferry I am riding in the second video, does it not make sense that you would have taken the first video of the Pinellas coming into dock, boarded on the Piney Point side, and rode her for her return trip into Pinellas Point.

Comments Off on Bee Line Ferry, Pinellas, Videos…

Posted by on October 18, 2018 in Uncategorized


Understanding What You Are Seeing…


Louis T. Moore Photographs – Waterfront, Cape Fear River – Wilmington – Foot of Grace Street.

Sometimes you can be looking at something important, and not understand what you are viewing.  I had viewed the 1000+ online, digital photos, from the Louis T. Moore Collection at least twice before my mind drew all the pieces of the puzzle together and helped me understand the importance of this photo.

I had written off the image at least twice because of the height of the vessel above the water.  Paddle wheel steamboats would have been closer to the water.  I surely thought that this photo was probably taken aboard some ocean steamer at the Wilmington harbor.

It may have been the pilot house “bell” or “search light” that triggered my understanding.

We see no name aboard the vessel, but once we know the vessel, and can look at other images of “her”, it becomes quite clear.  This photo was take aboard the City of Wilmington and sometime before the Old Stone Post Office was demolished, as we can see the clock tower from the Wilmington waterfront.

The search light and the bell are distinctive on the pilot house.  The railing is unique.  Note the guy wire leading up to, yes, you can see the shadow of the smoke stack on the deck.  There is a description of the upper deck here included in James H. McKoy’s article, “The Steamer Wilmington“. (ECU Digital Archives Online)



Note the pilot house bell, and ribbed railing and the position of the smoke stack.


This is a beautiful image of the City of Wilmington taken from the side with her flag flying.  I have seen this image used, but noted that the flag was shown with the words Wilmington in normal reading order.  But, this was a one sided flag, and if you see the original photo, you realize they have digitally reversed the image.  The name “Wilmington” on the pilot house would be written backwards, if you are reading the flag as normal.  I’ve also noted that someone digitally removed the name on the pilot house in order to use the photo in this way.


Comments Off on Understanding What You Are Seeing…

Posted by on July 10, 2018 in Uncategorized


A Judge, a Justice, a Governor, a Senator, a Vice-President & Several Presidents.

I may have mentioned this elsewhere, but since I don’t recall, here goes.

David Davis is one of the most interesting men I have ever read about.  I first heard his name when I came across a New York Times newspaper article (archived) from 1883.  The story appeared to be at least two full newspaper columns and was written about the marriage of David Davis and his fiance, in Fayetteville, NC, at Tokay Vineyards (owned by Wharton J. Green).  I think the marriage was held about 10 am, and within the hour, Davis and his bride were boarding the paddlewheel steamer, Governor Worth, and heading down the Cape Fear river to Wilmington, NC for the start of their Honeymoon vacation.  After Wilmington, I think the couple made it down to Charleston, SC and then headed West.  I think the original intent was for Davis and bride to go to California.  I don’t recall for what purpose, but then eventually ending up in Illinois (I hope it was Ill. and not Indiana.).

When I first read this story, I thought that David Davis might be some local dignitary or prominent person from Fayetteville.  Nothing in the story gave a clue as to who Davis was, and I had surely never heard of him.  I googled for David Davis and Fayetteville, NC but there was nothing.  At least a couple of years passed, and I returned to the story and googled again for “David Davis. ”  This time there were several online articles about Davis and his story began to bloom.

David Davis was a contemporary of Abraham Lincoln.  In fact, Judge Davis tried a good number of legal cases brought by Lincoln, and did not always find in favor of Mr. Lincoln.  Davis became the campaign manager for Lincoln, and was instrumental in getting Abe elected.  I recall that Davis prompted fellow judges to support Lincoln’s presidency which got him elected.

After Lincoln was elected President, he did not immediately reward David Davis.  A couple of years later, President Lincoln appointed David Davis to be a Supreme Court Justice.

When Lincoln was assassinated, Todd, his son, contacted Justice Davis and asked that he come to Washington to act as Executor of President Lincoln’s estate.  *I do not know, but I would imagine there were several executors involved.  Davis was quite candid about Mrs. Lincoln, not describing her in favorable terms.  I think the article I read by Davis had him mention that Mary Lincoln was a kleptomaniac.

Davis was a Supreme Court Justice for about 12 years, and then he ran for the US Senate, representing Illinois, and was elected.

I do not recall the order of events, but Davis’ first wife took ill and died.  Her nurse during her illness, perhaps a young protege, was almost 30 years younger than Justice Davis.  I think Mrs. Davis died either shortly before or after Davis was elected to the US Senate.  Justice Davis and the young woman remained in contact after he became a widower.

Senator David Davis was elected President Pro Tempore during his first, and only US Senate term.  James A. Garfield was elected President of the United States and his Vice President was Chester A. Arthur.  President Garfield was assassinated.  Arthur’s wife died before he took office as President of the United States.  At the time, there was no process for replacing the Vice President, so David Davis became acting Vice President because of his position in the US Senate.  If President Arthur had died during office, Senator Davis would have become an unelected US President.

As I said earlier, David Davis and Adeline Burr had remained in contact after his first wife’s death.  I seem to recall they corresponded and when in Washington visited together.  With President Arthur being widowed, there was no First Lady in the White House.  Davis was also widowed, so Addie was treated as acting First Lady, but this was something she did not wish upon herself.  In fact, Senator Davis did not run for a second term in the Senate because Ms. Burr said she would not marry him with the possibility that she might become the First Lady of the US.

So, about 10 days after his US Senate term ended, Senator Davis came to Fayetteville, NC aboard a train, from Washington, DC via Richmond, VA.

The New York Times Reporter that had been assigned to follow Davis painted a bleak picture of travel to and from Fayetteville, and his stay in Fayetteville was portrayed no better.  The reporter, who was nameless, left a perpetual legacy of his pettiness, when he named the paddlewheel steamer as the General Worth, not Governor Worth, in his article.

The NY Times reporter did not travel down the Cape Fear on the Governor Worth, with the Davis entourage, but traveled the next day aboard the D. Murchison.

Senator Davis was 68 years old when he married Addie Burr, who was 40 years old, 28 years his junior.  Addie had been staying with her cousin, XXX the wife of W. J. Green at Tokay Vineyard, a short distance from Fayetteville, NC.

Senator Davis died just three years after he was married for the second time.  The wife of Wharton J. Green had died only a few months after Addie and Senator Davis were married.  So, Mrs. Davis, was now a widow, and Wharton Green was a widower.

A few years later, Mrs. Davis and Wharton Green married.  They were married for about 20 years, and it was a good marriage.  W. J. Green wrote complimentary of his wife in his biography.  Green died in 1910.  Tokay Vineyard no longer exists although there is a Fayetteville neighborhood and road by the name of Tokay still.  After her husband’s death, Mrs. Green had a home built in the Haymount area of Fayetteville.  The home still exists to this day.

The Steamer Governor Worth was sold and came to run on the Indian River beneath Jacksonville, FL for about 10 years.  As the railroad made its way further south through Florida, the need for water transportation waned.  The steamer was renamed the Rockledge, for the Florida town which was a terminus.

In 1888, President Grover Cleveland, his wife and entourage, came to Florida for the Sub-Tropical Exposition.  As part of his visit, President Cleveland rode aboard the Steamer Rockledge for a two-hours round trip.  Captain XXX sent to the White House, a case of Indian River oranges, for the President and his wife, and was thanked appropriately.

So, the Steamer Governor Worth had an interesting life, both upon the Cape Fear & as the Rockledge upon the Indian River.  But, recall that the Rockledge traveled along with the railroad crew acting as a floating hotel, and eventually was tied up at the Miami waterfront.  The Rockledge was used both as a hotel and a floating casino while docked at Miami.

By 1913, the Rockledge was just a rusting steel hull on the Miami shore.  In late 1913, the Rockledge was hauled several miles out into the Atlantic Ocean and sunk.  *Although there are copious records of the locations of Florida shipwrecks, there is no record for where the Rockledge was scuttled.

NOTE:  I am sure there are several omissions (XXX) and misinformation in the above article.  I wrote it quickly without going back to verify dates, ages, locations, names, etc.  But, having gotten the basic framework down, I hopefully will go back and make all the necessary corrections.

I think the story of David Davis should become a part of North Carolina history because he is “A Most Interesting Man.”  A contemporary of Abraham Lincoln.  Campaign manager for the Lincoln Campaign.  Executor for Lincoln’s Estate.  A US Supreme Court Justice.  A United States Senator.  President Pro Tempore of the Senate.  Acting Vice-President of the United States.  Second wealthiest man in Illinois at the time of this death.

Comments Off on A Judge, a Justice, a Governor, a Senator, a Vice-President & Several Presidents.

Posted by on August 14, 2016 in Uncategorized


The Eagle/Duck License Plate

eagle-duckIt is interesting that this stylized eagle has the illusion of incorporating a sleeping yellow duck as it’s bill.  And here is another that looks like a mad yellow duck.


Comments Off on The Eagle/Duck License Plate

Posted by on August 15, 2015 in Uncategorized


Bee Line to Place New Ferry Boat in Use on Christmas

Sent: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 7:45 PM
To: Gibson, Bill
Subject: Bee Line to Place New Ferry Boat in Use on Christmas

Comments Off on Bee Line to Place New Ferry Boat in Use on Christmas

Posted by on November 25, 2014 in Uncategorized


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


YouTube Video – Possibly autos waiting to catch a ferry at Bee Line dock

And, 16mm footage of the ferry Pinellas arriving at the Bee Line Dock (I think the Bradenton side.)


Comments Off on Bee Line Ferry – More WILMINGTON – PINELLAS Ferry Articles

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

Comments Off on Bee Line Ferry – WILMINGTON – PINELLAS Ferry

Posted by on November 25, 2014 in The Boats