From Camille Ammerman , Winnipeg, MB, Canada

I have collected items which appeared primarily in the "Daily State Journal" of Parkersburg W. Va., in the mid-late 1880s. Often a column appeared under the heading "River News". As I photocopied the items from the microfilmed newspapers, the items are verbatim, spelling warts and all.

Outdoor 12

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August 1886

Source: LDS Microfilm No. 0205538, Vol. 6, No. 137 (1 Jul 1886) - Vol. 7, No. 138 (31 Dec 1886), "The Daily State Journal", Parkersburg, Wood county W. Va.

Issue dated Monday, 2 August 1886:
"Government work on the Ohio. From the 'Cincinnati Commercial Gazette'. The purpose of the Three Brothers' Dam, which is exciting so much comment among coal men on the Ohio, is to increase the depth of water in Rowland's Race at the foot of the Second Brother or Broadhead Island, the dam running from the West Virginia shore below French Creek to the head of Broadhead, cutting off the water which otherwise would flow down the West Virginia side and turning it along the Ohio side.

"The dam has worked admirably and coalboat men will no longer have any trouble at this point. It is also a monument to the engineering skill of Colonel Merrill, U.S.A., to whom is due this great improvement of crib work over the old riprap dam, and a credit to the contractors, J. F. King and L. B. Dellicker, of Parkersburg, W. Va., and to Humphrey Devereaux, Government Inspector. The crib-work of the dam is 2,902 feet long, the total length, including rip-rap at the ends, is 3,500 feet, the width being thirty feet. It is composed of three walls, the upper four logs deep, the middle five and the lower two longs deep.

"These walls are connected alternately every six feet on top by sloping cross-ties fifteen and a half feet long, and on the bottom by a cross-tie thirty feet long. Grillage planks are placed along this, every twelve feet, to hold in place the stone which is used to weight the crib. Each quare thus formed is paved for a depth of one foot with sandstone regularly laid out, the lower squares being divided by a tie running longtidudinally.

"This is built like Brown's Island dam, about fifty miles below Pittsburgh, the ties breaking the lower squares being an improvement.

The upper log is one foot and the lower log two feet lower than the middle log, which is built to a seven-feet stage of water.

"The bridge over the Little Kanawha river is not a Government work, and is the subject of much disapproval among river men, who object to it for the reason that the piers are built so low as to prevent the possibility of boats passing under the bridge. This will be a serious matter, as the boats were in the habit of taking refuge in the harbor at the mouth of the Little Kanawha during the breaking-up of the ice in the Ohio."

Issue dated Thursday, 5 August 1886:
"River Reminiscences. Between 1852 and '57, 446 steamers were built at Pittsburgh.

"The old 'residenter', the 'Crystal Palace', entered the Pittsburgh and Cincinnati in 1853.

"The 'Diurnal' is an old Ohio river steamboat name. As early as 1852 a craft by that name was plying between Wheeling and Pittsburgh.

"The new steamer 'R. E. Phillips' will go into the trade between this point and Marietta, making three trips daily. The boat is very speedy and a handsome craft in every respect.

"In 1852 the Cincinnati and Pittsburgh packets were the 'Buckeye State', 'Keystone State', 'Allegheny', 'Cincinnati', 'Philadelphia', 'Pittsburgh' and 'Pennsyvania'.

"Capt. Sam Dean, well known to all our river men, began his river career in 1826, sixty years ago. He is still in good health and spirits, and stands a watch on the wharf of a steamboat as well as if not better than many pilots who are many years younger.

"The first regular mail service between Pittsburgh and Cleveland was established 1791. A boat, manned by four oarsmen and a steersman, all armed to the teeth, carried the mail. In the same year a passenger line between the two points was started."

"On the River. There is ab out four feet of water in the channel.

"A fine passenger steamer, the 'H. K. Bedford', has entered the Pittsburgh-Cincinnati trade.

"The towboat 'Nail City' is having her machinery repaired and is receiving new chimneys at Gallipolis.

"The 'Scotia', 'Louis A. Sherley', 'General Pike' and 'Katie Stockdale while laid up have been undergoing repairs.

"Col. W. E. Merrill, in charge of Ohio river improvements, is reported seriously ill at his residence in Cincinnati, with an attack of diptheria.

"The Emma Graham Transportation Company will, it is again given out, soon put a steamer permanently in the Pittsburgh-Cleveland trade, in place of the old '(Emma) Graham'.

"The mines up the Monongahela are commencing to shut down for the want of empty barges. This is not so bad, as usually the run stops in June, instead of August, and it will probably begin again in September."

Issue dated Tuesday, 10 August 1886:
"Belleville. The steamers 'General Dawes' and 'Harry D. Knox' manifested great generosity by way of valuable contributions to the M. E. festival and the ladies of the M. E. C. desire to express their thanks to the gentlemanly officers for the favors rendered."

"We now have a regular packet leaving Parkersburg for Gallipolis and Pt. Pleasant, every day at 1 p.m., Capt. R. H. Henderson, agent. Headquarters at Hotel Buckingham."

"The steamer 'Gen. Dawes' will leave this city for the Harvest Home picnic at Newberry, August 19th, at 8:30 a.m., and return at 4 o'clock in the evening. Band free. Fare for round trip fifty cents."

"The River News. The river is still falling.

"A large number of steamboat men, whose boats are laid up by low water, went up over the Ohio River road this morning.

"On her last trip down the 'Belle Prince' took 1,200 tons of steel rails to Point Pleasant for the Ohio River extension.

"The towboat 'John F. Walton' is laid up at Marietta, where she touched last Thursday evening. she has been out from Pittsburgh just 55 days with no prospects of an early return.

"The steamer 'R. E. Phillips' took an excursion from Marietta to Blennerhassett Island this afternoon. The party will leave the Island at 8 o'clock. No doubt they had a very pleasant time.

"Camping along the Muskingum river is becoming more popular every year. There are at least twenty-five parties along the river, several from a distance. The beautiful scenery, the excellent fishing, and numerous attractive and desirable sites for camping make this a most desirable locality for pleasure."

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Issue dated Wednesday, 11 August 1886:
"The Marietta excursion to Blennerhassett Island on the steamer 'R. E. Phillips' was quite a success. Over 100 were on board. The young gentlemen who managed the affair have every reason to congratulate themselves upon the success of the excursion."

Issue dated Thursday, 12 August 1886:
"Fate of a Bold Punster. "This is Blennerhassett Island," said an Ohio river steamboat captain, as the boat ran past the historic spot where Aaron Burr plotted treason.

'"Can you tell me," asked a passenger "whether Mr. Blennerhassett yet?"

"The captain said nothing, but he placed one firm hand on the speaker's collar and seized the slack of his pants with the other. There was a hurried scampering of feet toward the rail, a quick cry, a lunge, and the muddy waters of the Ohio closed over the reckless punster forever."

Issue dated Tuesday, 17 August 1886:
"Col. Geo. W. Thompson is home from a trip down the river."

Issue dated Wednesday, 18 August 1886:
"The young ladies and gentlemen are arranging for another excursion to the Blennerhassett Island pavillion. The ferry boat will take the party down and Peyton's orchestra will occupy the music stand."

"The Big Picnic. The annual picnic given at Newberry will take place to-morrow and a grand time is anticipated. The steamer "General Dawes' will leave the wharf to-morrow morning at half past eight o'clock for the scene of the festivities. There is always a large attendance at the Newberry Harvest Home, and it is quite likely that the 'Dawes' will have all she can carry. Dancing and other amusements have been provided and a cordial invitation is extended to all Parkersburg to come."

Issue dated Thursday, 19 August 1886:
"The steamer 'General Dawes' left left the wharf this morning, loaded to the guards, with excursionists for Newberry's Harvest Home. The City Band and Peyton's orchestra were both aboard to minister to the enjoyment of the occasion. There will doubtless be a very pleasant time. The wheel of fortune men and others who manipulate similar amusements all went down yesterday evening so as to be early on hand."

"On to Point Pleasant. The magnificent stern wheeler, the 'Lizzie Bay', will carry passengers to the Point Pleasant Convention, and visitors to the Mason County Fair, which will be one of the most interesting ever yet held, on the 23rd, 25th and 27th, the tickets good to return on the 27th. The fare for the round trip (including meals and berths) will be $3.00 from this city. Captain George McClintock will see to the comfort of all those who ship with him."

Issue dated Friday, 20 August 1886:
"Admiral David Gibson, President of the Tacoma Navigation Co., has contracted with Wm. Knox & Son, of Harmar, for a new stern wheeler steamer for the Cincinnati and New Richmond and Chilo trade, to be completed in 60 days ready for steam. Admiral Gibson will pay $10 a day extra for every day the boat is completed ahead of the contract time."

"The River News. Yesterday was a red letter day for our local excursion packets.

"There is about nine feet of water in the channel at this point. More water is anticipated on the prresent rise.

"The 'Andes', while laid up at Cincinnati waiting for more water, is to receive a new dress of paints, and several improvements are to be made.

"Capt. Mart. Noll, of the 'Andes', is visiting at his home in Monroe county, while the steamer is laid up at Cincinnati waiting for more water.

"The 'Old Reliable' wharf boat of Wheeling is to be taken to Pt. Pleasant and docked and generally overhauled and repaired. She will probably be taken down this week by the 'Belle Prince'.

"Judge J. M. Jackson will leave here next Monday with a specially chartered steamer having on board his friends for the Point Pleasant Democratic Congressional Convention. The City Band will accompany the party, and a gay and festive time generally is anticipated.

"The following named boats of the coal fleet passed down last night and to-day with about 900,000 bushels. 'Fred. Wilson', 'Joseph A. Stone', 'Eagle', 'Pacific', 'Annie Roberts', 'Mark Winnett', 'Nellie Walton', 'Charles Brown', 'John Penny', 'Dauntless', 'Lioness No. 2', 'Onward', 'J. H. McConnell', 'Jennie Speer', 'Dick Fulton', 'Hornet No. 2', 'L. W. Morgan', 'Joseph W. Gould', 'Ellie'.

About half-past three o'clock yesterday afternoon, while the coal fleet was passing Wheeling in close order, the 'Dan Kaine' with about a dozen barges of coal, ran too close to the Wheeling side of the river, when opposite the creek, and grounded five barges on the bar at that point. The boat and the floating barges were at once cut loose from those fast on the bar, but not before one barge had been so badly injured as to sink some distance before where the accident occurred, dipping head first beneath the surface. The steamer gathered her remaining boats and endeavored to haul the barges off the bar, but was unable to move them. They lie in a bad position, almost directly in the channel, and will about close the river to navigation should the water fall."

Issue dated Saturday, 21 August 1886:
"Contemptible Work. "Those who expect to leave Parkersburg on the 'Lizzie Bay' at 6 a.m. and reach Point Pleasant by noon, will be disappointed. If she gets there by supper time, she will beat her record. - 'Sentinel'." The animus governing the 'Sentinel' in the foregoing criticism is one merely of jealousy at not getting any of the advertising or printing for that grand excursion advertised by the 'Lizzie Bay' for next Monday. The managers of the 'Lizzie Bay' assure us that they will redeem every promise made, and on the present good stage of water will have no trouble at all in doing it. Delegates and others leaving at six o'clock Monday morning will be landed at Point Pleasant Monday noon in time to put in all that afternoon, all night and a portion of Tuesday morning before the convention meets. The 'Bay' will only make mail landings and will refuse all heavy freight, such as salt, wheat, etc., and will go through on a rush. This will be the only sure way of reaching Point Pleasant in time for the convention. The 'Sentinel' has overreached itself. The excursion will leave Monday morning and will be a 'buster'."

"The 'Lizzie Bay' can provide over a hundred with sleeping accommodations.

"Everybody is going on the 'Lizzie Bay' excursion at six a.m. Monday to Pt. Pleasant.

"Go on the 'Lizzie Bay' to Point Pleasant on Monday. Only three dollars for the round trip, including berths and meals.

"Go to Point Pleasant on the 'Lizzie Bay' Monday and have ample time Monday for rest and comfort. You can go to Gallipolis if you find it too crowded and get a full night's sleep at a first-class hotel."

Issue dated Friday, 27 August 1886:
"The 'General Dawes' will carry excursionists to the Ravenswood Fair at one fare for the round trip."

"A Pleasant Picnic. The picnic given at Blennerhassett Island by St. Xavier's Church, was a decided success. It is estimated that there were at least 700 people in attendance. All kinds of amusements were engaged in on the Island and everyone enjoyed the occasion to the fullest extent. There was no occurrence during the day to mar the pleasure of anyone in attendance. The excursion went down and returned by steamer."

Issue dated Monday, 30 August 1886:
"A towboat crew of forty went up over the Ohio River road on a special train Saturday."

"The 'Lizzie Bay' stuck for some time yesterday on the Newberry bar. She was detained about seven hours."

"The River. The 'C. W. Batchelor' is running in the place of the 'Andes' during low water.

"The 'Katie Stockdale' is laid up at Indian Run waiting for a rise.

"John Yeager and William Fleetwood, two Brilliant, O., sailors, have been at work for some time on a new style paddle wheel for steamboats which promises to be a valuable invention. In the new wheel the paddles are so hinged that just as they leave the water as the wheel revolves, they turn so that no water is raised up behind the boat as is the case with the ordinary inflexible paddles. The invention has been tried and found to work perfectly."

Issue dated Tuesday, 31 August 1886:
"To Ravenswood. The steamer 'General Dawes' will take passengers to the Ravenswood Fair on Tuesday and Thursdat of this week for $1 the round trip. The boat leaves at 1 o'clock."

"On the River. The steamer 'Lizzie Bay' is doing a land office business between the point and Ravenswood this week. The fair is attracting much attention and a large attendance.

"The 'W. N. Chancellor' is being fitted up in an excellent manner and it is expected that with her improvements, she will be much faster. She will be out again about Sept. 8th.

"The 'Andes' is tied up at Cincinnati on account of low water. She is undergoing some repairs and is being painted. She will present a nice appearance when she comes out again.

"Capt. John Livesay, of Harmar, walked to this side of the river last Wednesday for the first time since his sickness. He says he is feeling remarkably well and we are pleased to again have him with us. - 'Marietta Register'.

"Recently the Government sent out circulars of inquiry as to how long navigation had been suspended in the Ohio River each year on account of ice and low water. A table has been prepared to show the time for each year since 1840, and the result is surprising. In forty-six years the number of days lost by the combined causes is 440, or less than eleven days each year. The greatest number of days business was suspended in any one year was sixty-one which was in the winter of 1856-57, and the least number of days was ten, in 1847-48. During twenty-four of these, however, business was not suspended at all, and never on account of low water."

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