THE WHEELING, PARKERSBURG AND CINCINNATI STEAMBOAT TRANSPORTATION COMPANY by John Bowman

Ohio River Steamboat Transportation Companies Headquartered in Wheeling / Wheeling Packet Lines.

The Wheeling, Parkersburg and Cincinnati Transportation Company in business from early 1867 owned and ran these steamboats, the 1864 Rebecca from 1867 to 1869, the 1862 Express from 1869 to 1871, the 1870 Courier from 1870 to 1884, and the 1870 Express No. 2 from 1870 to 1879.  The company owned and ran the 1869 Science from 1870 to 1884, the 1870 Mallie Ragon from 1877 to 1880, the 1879 Diurnal from 1879 to 1884, and the 1880 Little Boone from 1880 to 1884. 

Much history of the steamboat’s ownership and history comes from a ‘Bill of Lading’.  Doing research for this history, one must intently read the steamboat’s ‘Bill of Lading’, for it can be hard to distinguish whether the boat was company owned or just in Packet Service, which meant the Capt. of the boat was usually the owner or ‘Master’. 

Frederick Way, Jr. in his research for “Way’s Packet Directory” derived much boat history from ‘Bills of Lading’.  What is a “Bill of Lading”? A Bill of Lading was a two-piece receipt torn from a bound book, usually kept at the Wharfboat office that listed the goods received by a steamboat agent.  One copy of the ‘Bill of Lading’ was provided to the carrier of the goods and one copy was given to the person shipping the goods.  With a copy of this “Bill of Lading” and the goods placed onboard the steamboat, the shipment was considered “Freight On Board”.     

The Wheeling, Parkersburg and Cincinnati Transportation Company began business with the 1864 sidewheel steamboat Rebecca that they purchased in March of 1867 and ran into 1869.  A “Bill of Lading” Jun 8, 1868 tell us Rebecca was a regular Wheeling, Marietta, and Parkersburg Packet in the Wheeling – Parkersburg trade with Capt. C.H. Booth and Capt. J. Wehrman.  Rebecca was leaving Wheeling every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 11 a.m., and leaving Parkersburg every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 7 a.m.  Rebecca was lost in 1869 with four deck hands when she hit one of the piers of the Parkersburg B&O R.R. Bridge then under construction.  Some of her machinery went to the new sidewheel Courier the company was having built for them in 1870 at the Harmar, Ohio boatyard.

Steamer Rebecca June 8, 1868 Bill of Lading photo courtesy Wayne Farley
1870 sidewheel Courier photo courtesy Liberty Marine Photos

Courier The Company ran the 1870 Courier as a U.S. Mail Packet.  A Feb 9, 1878Bill of Lading” has Capt. Jack Henderson and Martin F. Noll clerk and later Courier was running with Capt. Jack Henderson and J. Mack Gamble clerk.  Capt. Henderson was replaced with Capt. John K. Booth who ran Courier into 1884.  An 1885 photo of the Wheeling Wharf shows this Courier sitting at the wharf.

Steamer Courier Feb 9, 1878 Bill of Lading photo courtesy Wayne Farley
1862 Steamer Express from Liberty Marine Photos Fred McCabe

Express Capt. Phil Anshutz and clerk E.J. Anshutz was running the 1862 Express, as a regular Wheeling, Marietta, and Parkersburg Packet in the Wheeling – Parkersburg trade in 1868.  The Express’s ‘Bill of Lading’s’ indicates Express was running in Packet Service and not at first company owned.  A May 15, 1868 Bill of Lading” reads Express was leaving Wheeling every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 11 a.m., and leaving Parkersburg every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6 a.m.  A Nov 8, 1869 Bill of Lading” has the Express schedule reversed.  She was leaving Wheeling every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 11 a.m., and leaving Parkersburg every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 7 a.m.

1862 Express May 15, 1868 Bill of Lading photo courtesy Wayne Farley
1862 Express Nov 8, 1869 Bill of Lading photo courtesy Wayne Farley
1870 Express No 2 at Wheeling photo courtesy Liberty Marine Photos

Express No. 2.  In 1870, Capt. A.B. Booth, and clerk E.J. Anshutz, and lastly, clerk Alex. W. Voegtly was running the Wheeling built 1870 Express No. 2.  A Sep 21, 1871 Bill of Lading” has Capt. A.B. Booth with clerk E.J. Anshutz leaving Wheeling every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 10 ½ a.m., and leaves Parkersburg every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 5 a.m.  In late September 1871, Capt. Phil Anshutz and clerk E.J. Anshutz took over Express No. 2 running her as Regular Wheeling, Marietta, & Parkersburg U.S. Mail Packet.  A Mar 8, 1875 Express No. 2 “Bill of Lading” has Capt. Phil Anshutz and clerk E.J. Anshutz leaving Wheeling every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at ½ a.m., and leaves Parkersburg every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 5 a.m.  H.C. Caldwell was clerk in 1877 and Martin F. Noll replaced him in 1878.  Express No. 2 was dismantled in 1879.

1870 Express No. 2 Sep 21, 1871 Bill of Lading photo courtesy Wayne Farley
1870 Express No. 2 Mar 8, 1875 Bill of Lading photo courtesy Wayne Farley
1869 Science at Wheeling photo courtesy Liberty Marine Photos

Science the Company ran the 1869 Wheeling built Science in the trade with Capt. Phil Anshutz and clerk C.W. Anshutz into 1882.  An Oct 7, 1872 “Bill of Lading” reads that Science leaves Wheeling every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 10 ½ a.m., and leaves Parkersburg every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 5 a.m.    “We also have facilities for Receipting Freight of all kinds through Pittsburgh, quicker than any other line of Steamers”.  Science in 1876 had Capt. A.B. Booth and clerk E.J. Anshutz, and in 1880, Science had Capt. A.B. Booth and clerk E.K. Booth, and under them, a time and destination switch, Science leaves Parkersburg every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 5 o’clock a.m., and Leaves Parkersburg every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 10 ½ a.m.  Later, Science was under the command of Capt. George W. Johnson and later still, Capt. Charles Muhleman.  See below, the Sep 7, 1880 “Bill of Lading” which shows C.W. ANDERSON written over SCIENCE. 

1869 Science Oct 7, 1872 Bill of Lading photo courtesy Wayne Farley
1869 Science C.W. Anderson / Science Sep 7, 1880 Bill of Lading photo courtesy Wayne Farley

Mallie Ragon The Wheeling, Parkersburg and Cincinnati Transportation Company purchased the 1870 sternwheel packet Mallie Ragon in 1877. A Dec 21, 1878 “Bill of Lading” shows running her in 1878 was Capt. J.G. Muhleman and clerks, A.W. and J.A. Voegtly. Second, is a July 16, 1878 “Bill of Lading” that shows Mallie Ragon over Science with Capt. J.G. Muhleman who ran her into late 1880, over Capt. A.B. Booth.

1870 Mallie Ragon Dec 21 878 Bill of Lading photo courtesy Wayne Farley
1870 Science Mallie Ragan / Science Jul 16, 1878 Bill of Lading photo courtesy Wayne Farley

Little Boone The Wheeling, Parkersburg and Cincinnati Transportation Company was running the 1880 sidewheel Little Boone from 1880 to 1884, a Sep 9, 1881“Bill of Lading” reads “Wheeling, Parkersburg and Cincinnati Transportation Company Regular Wheeling and Parkersburg Try-Weekly Packet”.  “In no case whatever will the boat be responsible for Freight after she leaves the Landing”.   In 1884, Little Boone had Capt. John K. Booth and Ed Dunn and W.B. Martin clerks.

1880 Little Boone Sep 17, 1881 Bill of Lading photo courtesy Wayne Farley
1879 sidewheel Diurnal photo courtesy Liberty Marine Photos

Diurnal The Wheeling, Parkersburg and Cincinnati Transportation Company ran the 1879 steam-powered sidewheel packet Diurnal built for Capt. John K. Booth and ran by Capt. A.B. Booth, and clerk E.K. Booth.  Diurnal Card The Oct. 4, 1880 Wheeling, Parkersburg and Cincinnati Transportation Company Packet “Bill of Lading” reads, to Steamer DIURNAL, Dr. leaves Parkersburg every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 5 o’clock a.m., leaves Wheeling every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 10 ½ o’clock a.m. and reading further “Through Receipts given for Kanawha and Muskingum River Freights We also have facilities for Receipting Freight of all kinds through Pittsburgh, quicker than any other line of Steamers”.  Diurnal was later sold to Capt. J. Mack Gamble. Aug 29, 1885 Wheeling, Marietta and Parkersburg Packet DiurnalBill of Lading” with Capt. J. Mack Gamble and clerk J.P. Goodwin.

1879 Steamer Diurnal Business Card photo courtesy Wayne Farley
1879 Diurnal Oct 4, 1880 Bill of Lading photo courtesy Wayne Farley
1879 Diurnal Aug 29, 1885 Bill of Lading photo courtesy Wayne Farley

Bibliography and Sources

  1. Bowman, John, Bills of Lading Freight On Board Wheeling, W. Va. Wheeling, WV 2012.
  2. Way, Frederick, Jr., with Joseph W. Rutter Way’s Steam Towboat Directory, Sons and Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, 1990
  3. Way, Frederick Jr., Way’s Packet Directory, 1848-1983 Sons and Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, 1983

Bills of Lading photos

  1. Courier photo courtesy Wayne Farley
  2. Diurnal (3) photos courtesy Wayne Farley
  3. Express (2) photos courtesy Wayne Farley
  4. Express No. 2 (2) photos courtesy Wayne Farley
  5. Little Boone photo courtesy Wayne Farley
  6. Mallie Ragon (2) photos courtesy Wayne Farley
  7. Rebecca photo courtesy Wayne Farley
  8. Science (2) photos courtesy Wayne Farley

Steamboat photos

  1. Courier photo courtesy Liberty Marine Photos
  2. Diurnal photo courtesy Liberty Marine Photos
  3. Express photo courtesy the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Ohio
  4. Express No. 2 photo courtesy the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Ohio
  5. Little Boone no known photo
  6. Mallie Ragon no photo
  7. Rebecca no photo
  8. Science at Wheeling photo courtesy Liberty Marine Photos

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