Category Archives: Wheeling Steamboat History

WHEELING BUILT ‘APALACHEE’ STEAMBOAT 1890-1899 by John Bowman

The sternwheel steamboat Apalachee, the First steamboat with a composite hull built on the Western Rivers.  Western Rivers are United States Rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico. Apalachee was designed and built in 1890 by John M. Sweeney at the ‘A.J. Sweeney & Sons’ Boat Yard, Wheeling, West Virginia.  One of the last […]

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WHEELING’S LINK TO THE ‘EDMUND FITZGERALD’ OGLEBAY NORTON’S GREAT LAKES FLAGSHIP by John Bowman

In 1958, the Great Lakes Engineering Works at River Rouge, Michigan, built the bulk freighter SS Edmund Fitzgerald named for Mr. Edmund Fitzgerald of the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. who owned her.  Her 729’3” x 75’ x 39’ registered hull number was 301.  When launched June 7, 1958, she was the largest ship on […]

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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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WHEELING’S MINGO and GLADES INDIAN PATH by John Bowman

INDIAN PATHS Regarding WHEELING and the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia Generally, Indians made cuts to the bark of trees creating a marked ‘Indian Path’, its long usage established a well-beaten path.  The most thorough written material on “Indian Paths” comes from Wallace, Paul, A.W., “Indian Paths of Pennsylvania”.  Delf Norona, “Eighteenth Century Paths, Roads […]

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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

West Virginia’s River Museum, the Point Pleasant River Museum, Point Pleasant, WV was heavily damaged by fire July 1, 2018.  Several (eight) of my (John Bowman’s) boat models were displayed at the museum. If you would like to donate to the museum’s rebuilding effort, please make a donation to the museum in the name of […]

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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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