OHIO RIVER TOWBOAT COMPANIES HEADQUARTERED AT WHEELING by John Bowman
WHEELING’S OHIO RIVER TRANSPORTATION COMPANIES
Armstrong brothers, John A. and Robert P. of Wheeling, West Virginia in 1871, went into the towboat business hauling crossties for the B&O Railroad and coal from the mines at Wegee Creek, Ohio. In 1875, three other Armstrong brothers joined the business, William H., Walter M., and Charles L. These five brothers and Henry, H. Hornbrook ran the towboat company and sub-companies under the “Monitor Tow-Boat & Barge Co.”, “Monitor Tow-Boat and Lumber Co.”, “Wheeling Towboat and Barge Co.” and “Armstrong Sand Co.” Their office was on the corner of Tenth and Market Streets Wheeling, and in 1919, the office was listed at 114 Virginia Street, this was on Wheeling Island. Wheeling’s ‘Successor’ to the business of this outfit was the “Standard Sand & Gravel Co. See my May 5, 2019 website post “STANDARD SAND & GRAVEL CO. WHEELING Towboats, Derrick Boats, and Sand Dredges”.
In the following photos, we see the B&O RR Towboat Adelia with a B&O Railroad Transfer barge and John Bowman’s model of the B&O Transfer Barge No. 2 with a Central Ohio Passenger Railcar.
In 1871, The Armstrong’s started their business purchasing two towboats from the B&O Railroad, the 1862 Wheeling built towboat Wm. H. Harrison and the 1868 Wheeling built towboat Mount Clare built by Wilson, Dunlevy & Wheeler with Sweeney machinery. The B&O R.R. had used these towboats towing transfer barges between Wheeling and Bellaire, Ohio where the B&O connected with the Central Ohio Railroad. In 1871, the Bellaire RR Bridge was completed revoking the need for transfer boats. Armstrongs (chartered) placed these towboats under contract to the B&O, hauling crossties to the B&O’s Parkersburg, West Virginia yards. Chartered was the term used in those times to denote boats leased. William H. Harrison built in Wheeling in 1862 for the B&O Railroad was sold to the Armstrongs in 1871, they ran her into 1885. Wm. H. Harrison’s engines came from the railroad’s 1855 Brown Dick towboat named for a famous racehorse. See my June 27, 2017 website post: “BROWN DICK STERNWHEEL PACKET/TOWBOAT AND B&O RR BARGE NO 2”.
In this photo of Wheeling’s Wharf in 1885, notice that the hillside behind Wheeling is denuded of trees (every tree). Wheeling’s last remaining timber was cut for crossties for the B&O Railroad.
Mount Clare built in Wheeling for the B&O Railroad in 1866 by Wilson, Dunlevy & Wheeler with Sweeney machinery was listed as owned by the Monitor Towboat and Lumber Co. and called ‘Clara’ by the Armstrongs. She was towing crossties for the B&O. and coal from the Monongahela and Pittsburgh pools to Wheeling with Monitor Barge No. 66 and Monitor Barge No. 10 in 1881.
Monitor No. 2., a small towboat built in 1862 at Allegheny City, Pennsylvania was running out of Wheeling in 1868, and was bought by the Armstrongs in 1872.
Another towboat with the Monitor name The stern-wheel steam-powered towboat Monitor, built in Wheeling in 1876 with engines from the Pittsburgh Rees Shops, was built for the Monitor Tow-Boat & Barge Co., to haul crossties for B&O Railroad. She caught fire and burned at Bellaire, Ohio October 14, 1885.
Other Towboats owned by the Armstrongs: John A. Armstrong bought the 1871, D.T. Lane (David T.) in 1875, and keeping her only a short time, sold her to James H. Sentz for towing coal out of the Kanawha River.
Monitor Tow-Boat & Barge Co. purchased the 1862 towboat Whale in 1877 and ran her along with the G.W. Hornbrook and Nail City. Whale had been severely damaged in 1876 and bought in that condition by the Armstrongs in 1877. She is seen in a photo with Monitor. Whale was dismantled in 1883.
The stern-wheel towboat Annie L. was built at the Murraysville, West Virginia boat yard in 1881 in the Pittsburgh “poolboat style” for the Armstrong’s Monitor Tow-Boat & Barge Co. of Wheeling. She towed crosstie flats for the B&O Railroad between Parkersburg, West Virginia, Wheeling, West Virginia and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania into the early 1890s.
Monitor Tow-Boat & Barge Co. was towing with the 1881 towboat Jennie Campbell, and the 1872, Samuel Miller out of Wheeling in the early 1880s. What is unclear to me is, maybe the Armstrongs owned these towboats or they were chartered (leased) to them.
Hornbrook & Co., (Hornbrook, Capt. Edwin and Hornbrook, C.W. and Voegtly, J.A., clerks) ran the Wheeling built C.W. Hornbrook from 1872-1878. Their office in 1878 was at 1206 Water Street. Hornbrook & Co. also listed on their Bills of Lading, the towboats Ed Hobbs and Nail City.
In 1872, the stern-wheel towboat Nail City was built for Ed Hobbs by Wilson, Dunlevy & Wheeler at their Wheeling boat yard. with engines by Ed Hobbs Foundry, “Hobbs, Taylor & Co.” of Wheeling. Ed from 1872, leased his towboats Nail City and Ed Hobbs to “Hornbrook & Co.”, and then in 1877 Ed sold Nail City to the “Monitor Tow-boat and Lumber Co.” Monitor Tow-boat had Nail City’s pilothouse removed from the cabin skylight and placed on the boiler deck in the Pittsburgh, poolboat style as seen in this Nail City photo. Ed’s 1871 towboat, Ed Hobbs was also leased to Hornbrook & Co. from 1871 until 1877 when she was sunk in the 1877 ice run out. She was rebuilt, and became the towboat Atlantic. Eventually the Ed Hobbs machinery went into the famous Wheeling packet Ben Hur.
The “Armstrong Sand Co.” doing business from 1889 owned the 1889 steam-powered towboat Fay S. built at Clarington, Ohio, that they used in conjunction with towing barges loaded with river sand and gravel. Fay S. was sold in 1904. John L. Shriver advertised he was a dealer in the best grades of sand, gravel and coal, by boat, car or wagonload, that he sold from Monitor Tow-Boat barges moored on the river at Wheeling. His office was in a barge at the foot of Twelfth Street from 1895.
Monie Bauer was purchased by the Armstrongs in 1915 and she along with the sand dredge Catherine was cut down in ice at Wheeling in the winter of 1917-1918.
The towboat Nail City was named for the “Nail City”, Wheeling, West Virginia. Many knew of and referred to Wheeling as the “Nail City”. Wheeling was noted for shipping as many as 6,000 kegs of nails daily on every packet boat leaving the Wheeling wharf. And this of interest as to the Monitor’s towboat Nail City. In the very early morning April 1, 1879, William Page, the chief engineer on the Nail City, had breakfast and relieved his assistant. About five o’clock a.m., Page walked out on the fantail to oil the wrist pin and paddle-wheel bearing. Apparently, the fantail damaged sometime during the night gave way, tossing him in the water. Mr. Page had drowned before anyone discovered him missing.
- Monitor Tow-Boat & Barge Co.’s Towboat List and Photo credits
- Annie L. Photo from The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Ohio.
- D.T. Lane Photo from Liberty Marine Photos Fred McCabe
- Ed Hobbs
- Fay S.
- G.W. Hornbrook
- Jennie Campbell
- Monie Bauer Photo from Liberty Marine Photos
- Monitor Photo from Liberty Marine Photos Fred McCabe
- Monitor, Whale and Barge Photo from Liberty Marine Photos Fred McCabe
- Monitor No. 2.
- Mount Clare they called ‘Clara’ Photo from Liberty Marine Photos Fred McCabe
- Nail City Photo from The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Ohio.
- Samuel Miller
- Wm. H. Harrison Photo from Liberty Marine Photos Fred McCabe
- Catherine Sand Dredge Photo from Liberty Marine Photos Fred McCabe
- Wheeling Wharf 1885 Photo from the John Bowman collection
- Standing on the Fantail, oiling the Wrist Pin Photo from Liberty Marine Photos
- Hornbrook and Co. Towboats Heading 1206 Water Street Wheeling Photo from the John Bowman collection
- Monitor Tow-Boat and Barge Co. Headings Photo from the John Bowman collection
- Monitor Towboat and Lumber Co. Heading Photo from the John Bowman collection
Bibliography and Sources
- Bowman, John, Wheeling The Birthplace of the American Steamboat Wheeling National Heritage Area Corporation, Wheeling, WV, 2008.
- Bowman, John, A Pictorial History of Wheeling and Ohio River Steamboats Wheeling 2010
- Bowman, John, Bills of Lading Freight On Board Wheeling, W. Va. Wheeling, WV 2012.
- Way, Frederick Jr., Way’s Packet Directory, 1848-1983 Sons and Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, 1983
- Way, Frederick, Jr., with Joseph W. Rutter Way’s Steam Towboat Directory, Sons and Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, 1990
I ‘m sure that you’re trying to be uncontroversial with your subject, but please understand that the jucier details will start a healthy debate when approached with respect..and this IS your blog after all, allow your “take” be King here!
“Very neat article post. Great.”
TB4wEW Say, you got a nice article.Much thanks again. Will read on
Wow, incredible blog format! How lengthy have you ever been running a blog for? you make blogging look easy. The whole glance of your website is great, as well as the content!
thanks in part. Good quality early morning!
You made some clear points there. I did a search on the issue and found most persons will go along with with your blog.
Well I truly liked reading it. This article provided by you is very effective for good planning.
Im thankful for the article. Really Cool.
please take a look at the web pages we comply with, such as this one, as it represents our picks from the web
Thanks again for the blog post.Really thank you! Cool.
Thanks again for the blog article.Thanks Again. Great.
Is using a copyright material as a reference to write articles illegal?
Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this write-up plus the rest of the site is also really good.
Looking forward to reading more. Great blog.Really thank you! Really Great.
Really enjoyed this blog.Really looking forward to read more. Want more.
Hey there! I’ve been following your site for some time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Huffman Texas! Just wanted to tell you keep up the excellent work!
Thank you ever so for you post.Much thanks again. Great.
Informative and precise Its hard to find informative and accurate information but here I noted
who you are however definitely you are going to a well-known blogger should you
robe de cocktail pas cher i am in fact delighted to read this blog posts which includes lots of valuable facts, many thanks for providing these kinds of statistics.
Thanks-a-mundo for the blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Really Great.
I think this is a real great post.Really thank you! Great.
Major thanks for the article.Thanks Again. Awesome.
Thank you for your article post.Really looking forward to read more. Will read on
Would you recommend starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option?
Pretty! This was an incredibly wonderful article. Thanks for supplying this info.
Thanks for the blog article.Thanks Again. Cool.
Your style is so unique in comparison to other folks I ave read stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this site.
It as really very complicated in this full of activity life to listen news on Television, therefore I simply use the web for that purpose, and take the newest information.
Im obliged for the article post.Really looking forward to read more. Really Great.
Utterly indited articles , Really enjoyed looking through.
Very good article. I am experiencing some of these issues as well..
Im thankful for the article post.Much thanks again. Really Great.
Major thanks for the article post. Want more.
Your style is very unique in comparison to other people I have read stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you ave got the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this site.
I really liked your article.Much thanks again. Fantastic.
Major thankies for the blog.Thanks Again. Want more.
Thanks for the blog post.Thanks Again. Keep writing.
It as not that I want to duplicate your web site, but I really like the layout. Could you let me know which theme are you using? Or was it tailor made?
Touche. Solid arguments. Keep up the good spirit.
Thank you ever so for you blog.Really thank you! Much obliged.
Really enjoyed this blog article.Much thanks again. Great.
Just wanna admit that this is handy , Thanks for taking your time to write this.
Pretty! This has been a really wonderful post. Many thanks for supplying this info.
Im obliged for the blog post. Fantastic.
Im grateful for the blog post.Thanks Again. Really Cool.
I truly appreciate this blog article. Will read on
you have a great weblog right here! would you like to make some invite posts on my weblog?
Major thankies for the post. Keep writing.
Very interesting subject , thanks for putting up. Everything in the world may be endured except continued prosperity. by Johann von Goethe.
Usually I don at read post on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very forced me to try and do so! Your writing style has been amazed me. Thanks, very nice article.
Well I definitely liked studying it. This post procured by you is very practical for good planning.
Pretty! This has been an extremely wonderful post. Many thanks for providing this information.
Some genuinely excellent posts on this website , thanks for contribution.
Normally I don at learn article on blogs, however I would like to say that this write-up very pressured me to check out and do so! Your writing style has been surprised me. Thanks, quite nice post.
Thank you for your article post. Much obliged.
Maybe in the future it all do even better in those areas, but for now it as a fantastic way to organize and listen to your music and videos,
Thanks so much for the article. Awesome.
you are truly a excellent webmaster. The site loading speed
It as not that I want to replicate your website, but I really like the style and design. Could you tell me which design are you using? Or was it custom made?