MOUNDSVILLE FERRYBOAT “RANDY” built in Wheeling, West Virginia in 1957 and named for Randy Ruble by John Bowman

RANDY was built by YATES MARINE CONSTRUCTION CO. (Yates, Jack and Pluckebaum, Arthur) built RANDY in Wheeling, (Wheeling Island) West Virginia in 1957 as a steel-hulled single prop Diesel Ferry Towboat with a General Motors 3-71 100 hp diesel engine for Rosswell E. Ruble of Powhatan Point, Ohio. Rosswell named the boat for his son, Randy Ruble. Ruble owned the Moundsville Ferry Co. that offered ferry service from Moundsville, West Virginia to Dilleys Bottom, Ohio. Randy, length 30’ width 10’ hull depth 3.5’. RANDY was listed in the 1985 INLAND RIVER RECORD with the number 596468.
Source: Owen, Daniel C., INLAND RIVER RECORD 1985 A Publication of the Waterways Journal St. Louis, MO.

John Bowman’s photo of the Ferry Towboat RANDY

John Bowman’s photo of Ferry RANDY and SANDY Ferry Flat at Moundsville, West Virginia

SANDY a FERRY FLAT BARGE (Barges have names too) is shown in this photo coupled with RANDY.
YATES MARINE CONSTRUCTION CO. (Yates, Thomas ‘Jack’ and Pluckebaum, Arthur) began building diesel towboats, ferry flats and barges in Wheeling, (Wheeling Island) West Virginia in 1953. Yates and Pluckebaum had worked in the Louisville, Kentucky, Jeffersonville, Indiana boat yards, and in 1953, they decided to go out on their own. That year, they came to Wheeling where they established a boat yard on Wheeling Island.
Source: Bowman, John, WHEELING THE BIRTHPLACE OF THE AMERICAN STEAMBOAT 2008 Wheeling, West Virginia

Moundsville, West Virginia Ferry to Dilles Bottom, Ohio
Joseph Tomlinson’s late 1700s Ferry, at the mouth of Little Grave Creek ran across the Ohio River to the Northwest Territory (Dilles Bottom, Ohio). Tomlinson later moved the ferry to a landing just south of Eleventh Street in Moundsville, Virginia. In the early 1800s, Tomlinson’s ferry had a huge business just as Martin and Zanes ferrys were doing at Martins Ferry, Ohio. As at Martins Ferry, livestock Drovers were moving large herds to Dilles Bottom avoiding at all costs the Wheeling crossing.
In 1914, we find Joe Cresap of Moundsville in the ferry business running the gasoline-powered ferryboat Betsy Ann built for him at Clarington, Ohio. Cresap ran Betsy Ann at Moundsville from 1914 to the early 1920s. Joe had the towboat J.A. Cresap built at Clarington in 1923 for ferry work at Moundsville. The J.A. Cresap was sold in 1943 to Crain Bros. of Pittsburgh who in 1945 renamed her Skippy.
In the mid-1920s, we find the Moundsville-Dilles Bottom ferry service in the hands of E.B. Potts. Potts ran the ferryboat F.B. Potts built at Clarington in 1921 for F.B. Potts of Wheeling. By the late 1920s, J.F. Robinson of Bellaire, Ohio was running the ferry using the ferryboat F.S.W. (Farmers Supply Warehouse) built at Clarington and a barge flat. Robinson ran the ferry into the 1940s. Gasoline-powered ferryboats built at Clarington dominated the local scene from the early 1900s into the late 1930s.
Rosswell E. Ruble of Powhatan Point, Ohio entered the boat business in the early 1950s, in partnership with Nelson Potts. Circa 1950, Rosswell started building a boat, a wood hulled sternwheel towboat whose length was 50’, width 14’ and depth 2.5’ that he never quite finished, and in 1952, sold the boat to his neighbor, Robert ‘Bob’ G. Thomas. Thomas fitted the boat with a Caterpillar 100 hp Diesel, named her CINDY and ran the boat to 1956 when Thomas sold her.
Source: Source: Way, Frederick, Jr., INLAND RIVER RECORD 1959 Sewickley, Pa.
Rosswell in 1952 or 1953 bought the towboat Mickey built at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Rosswell ran Mickey in his tramp-towing outfit, the Bel-Mon Towing Co. In July of 1956, Rosswell now on his own became the owner of the Moundsville Ferry Co., and bought the old wood-hulled motor towboat TROUT and a steel-hulled ferry flat named SANDY.

TROUT Ferryboat and SANDY Ferry Flat 1956
Liberty Marine photo

Source: Way, Frederick, Jr., INLAND RIVER RECORD 1958 Sewickley, Pa.

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