Category Archives: Wheeling’s Manufacturing History

AMERICA’S FIRST STEAMBOAT EXPLOSION by John Bowman

Henry Miller Shreve’s Steamboat Washington blows her head! Eight persons scalded to death!  EXCERPT from the book, “A HISTORY OF THE STEAMBOAT WASHINGTON THE FIRST SUCCESSFUL WESTERN RIVERS STEAMBOAT” © 2013 John Bowman Wheeling, WV Henry Miller Shreve laid the keel of the riverboat Washington September 10, 1815 in Wheeling, Virginia.  The sternwheel steam-powered Washington was […]

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SECESSIONISTS TICKET May 23, 1861 WHEELING, VIRGINIA by John Bowman

SECESSIONISTS TICKET May 23, 1861, the people of the state of Virginia ratified the Virginia Ordinance of Secession by a vote of 132,201 to 37,451.  The Poll-book of Wheeling listed those who voted to approve the Ordinance of Secession and to secede from the Union.[1] [2] Wheeling persons voting to approve the ordinance of Secession […]

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THE WHEELING SUSPENSION BRIDGE’S FIRST SUICIDE ATTEMPT 1854 by John Bowman

The First person to jump off the Wheeling Suspension Bridge. January 25th 1854, Capt. J.C. Jelly master of the steamer Albemarle, having just slipped away from the Wheeling wharf, observed a person leap from the Wheeling Suspension Bridge.  He dispatched two crewmembers in a yawl to rescue the person, apparently still alive in the icy […]

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WHEELING BUILT CARRIAGES, COACHES AND WAGONS 1820 – 1920 © by John Bowman

In 1820, Joshua Bodley and Thomas M. Galley collaborated and established the “Bodley & Galley” [1]wagon factory in Wheeling, Virginia.  In the late 1820s, it became the “Joshua Bodley” wagon works, and in 1832, it became “Bodley & Richards” wagon works (Bodley, Joshua and Richards, David).  In 1865, Mr. Frome joined Bodley as the “Frome […]

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POINT PLEASANT RIVER MUSEUM FIRE Point Pleasant, West Virginia by John Bowman

The Point Pleasant River Museum was heavily damaged by fire July 1, 2018.  Several (eight) of my boat models were displayed at the museum. For the Loomis family, in 2019, I am presently rebuilding two Loomis boat models, the Capt. Jack Loomis towboat model and the Roy L. towboat model. If you would like to […]

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STEAMBOATS SERVING WHEELING 1811 – 1920 By John Bowman

A 100-year listing of approximately 500 steamboats that served Wheeling businesses. The year shown is the first year they served the port and some would serve Wheeling for many years.  From the Civil War years to 1900, eighteen steamboats docked daily at Wheeling.  Steamboats porting at Wheeling were charged a wharfage fee of $3.00 per […]

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WHARFBOATS AT WHEELING WEST VIRGINIA By John Bowman

You may wonder, what is a Wharfboat?  A Wharfboat was a floating warehouse found moored (tied-up) at a waterfront.  If you wanted to mail a letter, you took it to a Post Office.  If you wanted to send something by train, you took it to the Railroad’s Depot.  If you wanted to send an item […]

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WHEELING’S FIRST OHIO RIVER FERRY BOATS and LAST 1789 – 1926 by John Bowman

Many of us cross the Ohio River daily, giving hardly a thought if any, to the crossing or to the bridge we used.  However, to cross the river two-hundred years ago was something one had to plan and ferryboats were the means one used.  Crossing the river on a ferry was costly, and it took […]

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BOOKS by WHEELING AUTHOR John Bowman

John Bowman Author, Historian, West Virginia History Hero and Steamboat Model Builder. John’s writings concentrate on Wheeling’s boat history.  Wheeling began building boats, Barges, Bateaux, Flatboats, Keelboats, and Pirogues in 1774, the first Ohio River city to build boats, and the third settlement on the ‘Western Rivers’ to have a boat building industry.  ‘Western Rivers’ […]

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STEAMBOATS BUILT IN WHEELING, WEST VIRGINIA 1815 – 1900 by John Bowman

Wheeling began building boats, Barges, Bateaux, Flatboats, Keelboats, and Pirogues in 1774, the first Ohio River city to build boats, and the third settlement on the ‘Western Rivers’ to have a boat building industry.  ‘Western Rivers’ are rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico.  Red Stone Old Fort now Brownsville, Pennsylvania was building boats […]

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