Andrew Jackson Flesher

Andrew Jackson Flesher (1827 – 1898) – Andrew Jackson Flesher was born on January 2, 1827, in Jackson County, West Virginia, the son of Isaac Newton and Elizabeth (Bonett) Flesher.  He married Sarah Melissa Weaver on September 5, 1847.  They had five children: Flavius J, Millard F., William A., Benjamin T. and Andrew Jackson, Jr.   Sarah died on May 18, 1857.  Andrew married Sarah Barrett, the sister of Captain John Barrett on July 15, 1858.  They had nine additional children.

 Andrew Jackson Flesher began building boats when he was sixteen years old and continued in that business for fifty-five years.  He owned a sawmill and boat yard at the village of Antiquity in Meigs County, Ohio.  He purchased an interest in the boat yard at Murraysville, Jackson County, West Virginia, and ran it with the remaining owner R. W. Skillinger.  Murrayville became famous for building steamboats.  Many boats that were household names along the Ohio and Mississippi River were built at Murraysville. Captain A. J. Flesher became one of the foremost boat builders in the Ohio Valley.  Captain Flesher owned thirty Ohio River steamers (although not all at the same time.)  He built over one hundred-fifty vessels for others.  The last boat built at the Flesher boatyard was the Henry M. Stanley, built in 1890.  A. J. Flesher then moved to Ohio and for a time ran the Barrett boatyard at Levanna, OH.[1]

            At age sixteen Andrew joined the Methodist Episcopal Church and was known for living an exemplary life.  Under the leadership of Captain A. J. Flesher and his partner Murraysville became almost a model town for sobriety, good order and morality in general - which is saying a good deal for a river port town.  A newspaper writer commenting on this in 1876 stated that there had not been a whiskey shop kept in the place for 30 years or more and that “as long as Captain A. J. Flesher and R. W. Skillinger run the yard it may be safely predicted that whiskey will get but a poor foothold in the town”.  A. J. Flesher never used tobacco in any form and was never heard to utter a profane word.  He was known for his honesty and for being talkative and jovial.

            Captain Flesher soon became prosperous.  The Ohio River flood of 1884 swept away a large part of his wealth.  He accepted the loss with Christian resignation saying Providence intended it and that there was no use for him to worry over it.  He was generous and was the major supporter of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Murraysville.  A. J. Flesher was on the board of trustees of the Murraysville Methodist Church and the land on which the church was obtained from him.[2]

            Andrew valued education, even though he did not have the advantage of an early education.   He employed a teacher and paid him out of his own pocket and invited his neighbors to send their children to the school established at his expense.

            The 1891 Meigs County Business Review states the two individuals who have done the most to advance the interests of Antiquity, Ohio are Mr. Henry Harpold and Mr. A. J. Flesher.[3]

            Shortly before his death, he purchased the Ripley ferryboat and franchise.  Andrew Jackson Flesher died on January 16, 1898, in Ripley, Ohio. [4]


[1] Way’s Packet Directory, 1884 – 1994, Compiled by Frederick Way, Jr., Ohio University Press, 1994

[2] Jackson County, West Virginia, Past and Present, 1990, page 48

[3] Historical and Business Review, Meigs County, Ohio, 1891, Union Publishing Co, page 178

[4] Newspaper Article in the Huntington, WV Herald-Advertiser, June 3, 1934 tiled “Flesher Family Looms Large in River History” by R.C. Hall - Note: a significant part of the information in this biography comes from this article, all dates and genealogical information have been confirmed by using at least two or more separate sources before they were included. 

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Father*                       Isaac Newton Flesher (b. 22 Nov 1796, d. 29 Jun 1841)

Mother*                      Elizabeth M. Bonnett (b. 04 Oct 1802, d. 30 Mar 1880)

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Birth*               02 Jan 1827                Jackson County, WV.

Marriage*        05 Sep 1847                Sarah Melissa Weaver (b. 15 Sep 1827, d. 19 May 1857)

Son:                27 Aug 1848                Flavius J. Flesher (b. 27 Aug 1848,d. 1923); Jackson County, WV.; married Nancy Cosgrove (b. 1843, d. 1927)

Son:                25 Dec 1849                Millard F. Flesher (b. 25 Dec 1849, d. 19 Jun 1914); married Lydia Chambers; married Amelia Waters 

Son:                13 Nov 1852                William Arthur Flesher (b. 13 Nov 1852,          ) ; married Mary Collins

Son:                13 Nov 1855                Benjamin Taylor Flesher (b. 13 Nov 1855, d. 30 Jan 1928); married Mary A. Francis

Son:                14 Feb 1857                Andrew J. Flesher (b. 14 Feb 1857, d. 27 Sep 1857)

Marriage*          15 Jul 1858                Sarah Barrett (b. 25 Dec 1840,          )

Son:                02 Feb 1859                Isaac N. Flesher (b. 02 Feb 1859, d. 4 May 1915); married Belle Prince

Daughter:         23 Apr 1861                Emily S. Flesher (b. 23 Apr 1861,          )

Daughter:         19 Jun 1863                Mary B. Flesher (b. 19 Jun 1863,          )

Son:               04 Sep 1865                David Flesher (b. 04 Sep 1865,          )

Daughter:        06 Nov 1867                Dolly Melissa Flesher (b. 06 Nov 1867,          ); married Henry Eugene Kelly on 26 Dec 1888

Daughter:        26 Nov 1869                Dorthia T. Flesher (b. 26 Nov 1869,          )

Son:                28 Jun 1872                Charles T. Flesher (b. 28 Jun 1872, d. 1929)

Son:               16 Sep 1874                Jesse L. Flesher (b. 16 Sep 1874, d.1936)

Son:                09 Jan 1880                Harry L. Flesher (b. 09 Jan 1880,d. 1940); married Isa Edna Myers (1883 - 1974)

Death*             16 Jan 1898                Ripley, Meigs County, OH.

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Written by Bob Krepps  © 2001 all rights reserved.  Permission granted to copy for personal & non-commercial purposes only.  Please contact me if you are able to provide additional details on Andrew Jackson Flesher or any of his descendants. 

Contact information

 Flesher Family Tree | Flesher History | Family History Homepage 

Steamboats Built at the Murraysville, WV Boatyard

Flesher Family River History Article