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 1800’s, 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 Way’s Packet Directory, compiled by Frederick Way, Jr., Way’s Steam Towboat Directory and from various issues of S & D Reflector Magazine, a quarterly publication of the Sons and Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen.
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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