Steamboats Built at Middleport, Ohio Boatyard


The following is a partial list of boats that were built at the Middleport, Ohio boatyard owned and operated by Benjamin Taylor Flesher.  This was known as a busy place in the late 1800s, so this list is far from complete.  Captain Ben T. Flesher moved to Huntington, West Virginia in 1915 and ran a Ferry service.  He died in 1928 at the age of 73 in Huntington, WV.  The information in this list comes primarily from Ways Packet Directory, compiled by Frederick Way, Jr., Ways Steam Towboat Directory and from various issues of S & D Reflector Magazine, a quarterly publication of the Sons and Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen. 


Steamboat                  Date Built       Description                                                                        Built For/Owner


Conveyor                    1898                Stern wheel Ferry, wood hull, 110.2 X 30.3 X 4.4               Capt. Levi W. Inglebright


Dauntless                   1897                Tugboat, wood hull, 52.3 X 9.7 X 4.5


H. E. Spillman           1898                Stern wheel Towboat, wood hull, 127 X 23 X 4.6               Capt. Newt Flesher


J. B. Lewis                  1900               Stern wheel Towboat, wood hull, 141.4 X 26 X 4.4            Collins & Hartweg


Liberty                         1900               Side wheel Packet, wood hull, 128.4 X 20.5 X 4.2


T. H. Davis                 1899                Stern wheel Towboat, wood hull, 150 X 27.5 X 5.2            T. H. Davis


T. J. Wood                  1899                Stern wheel Towboat, wood hull, 131.8 X 22.7 X 4.4          John A. Wood


Rush                           1882                Stern wheel Towboat, wood hull, 127 X 19.5 X 4


Speedwell                   1897                Stern wheel Packet, wood hull, 140.7 X 25.5 X 6.5             Carr Milling Company


Note:  The dimensions given are the centerline length of the hull, with at the widest part of the hull and depth, all in lineal feet.  The overall length of a stern wheel steamboat is much greater than listed due to the paddlewheel hung at the rear.  The side-wheel boat is much wider than listed due to the guards necessary to enclose and support the wheels.  (Only the hull dimensions are given.)


Written by Bob Krepps  2005 all rights reserved.  Permission granted to copy for personal & non-commercial purposes only.  Additional information on the history of this boatyard and the steamboats built there will be greatly appreciated.  I am also looking for photos of these steamboats and of Ben T. Flesher.



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