Steamboats Built at the Flesher Boatyard, Murraysville, WV

We know that over 150 steamboats were built at the boatyard at Murraysville, WV, owned by A. J. Flesher and Robert W. Skillinger.  This boatyard was established in 1838 by Elijah Murray.  In 1840 Murray sold his interest in the facility to Robert W. Skillinger and John Roberts.  In 1847 William Henry Hicks bought out Mr. Roberts.  About 1853 William Hicks retired and sold his shares to J. F. Scott and A. C. Tidd.  Mr. Tidd withdrew from the firm in 1855.  In 1858 William Hicks bought the Scott interest for his son, Milton Hicks.  In 1959 this interest was sold to R. H. Sherman.  In 1863 Andrew Jackson Flesher bought the Sherman shares and worked with R. W. Skillinger as partners in the operation until it closed.  The following is a partial list of boats that were built at Murraysville.  The last boat built at the Flesher boatyard was built in 1890.  After that A. J. Flesher moved to Ohio and for a while ran the Barrett boatyard in Levanna, Ohio.  Shortly before his death he bought the Ripley Ferry.  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.

Steamboat                  Date Built            Description                                                      Built For

AN Johnston              1847                Side-wheel Packet, wood hull, 199 tons                  Capt. Bennett

Annie L.                     1881                Stern wheel Towboat, wood hull, 115.8 X 20.3 X 3.1

Amazon                       1838                Side-wheel Packet, wood hull, 231 tons                  Capt. Louderbeck


Atlantic                      1871                Stern wheel Towboat, wood hull, 266.56 tons

Audubon                     1853                Stern wheel Packet, wood hull, 191 tons                  Martin & Anshutz

Bayou Belle                1855                Stern wheel Packet, wood hull, 168 tons                  Capt. Walker

Beacon                        1848                Side-wheel Packet, wood hull, 175 tons                   Capt. Shaw

Bob Ballard                1890                Stern wheel Packet, wood hull, 130 X 26.2 X 4      

Car of Commerce       1848                Side-wheel Packet, wood hull, 294 tons                    Davis & Smith

Catahoula                  1858                Side-wheel Packet, wood hull, 137 X 33 X 5            Capt. Walker

City Belle                   1854                Side-wheel Packet, wood hull, 215 tons                    Capt. Hicks

Congress                     1843                                                                                                Capt. Hicks

David Gibson             1854                Side-wheel Packet, wood hull, 414 tons                    Capt. McKinley

Ed. Hobbs                   1871                                                                                                Capt. Hornbrook

Emperor                      1864                Stern wheel Packet, wood hull, 245 tons                  Capt. Reno

Freestone                    1858                Stern wheel Packet, wood hull, 150 tons                  Garrett & Co.

Fort Wayne                1844                                                                                                Capt. Hicks

General Scott             1839                                                                                                Capt. Dobbins

Glide                           1863                Stern wheel Packet, wood hull, 232 tons, 160.4 X 33 X 5.1

                                                                                                                                            Capt. Anderson

H Lindsay                   1873                                                                                                 Capt. Barrett

Ham Howell               1857                Stern wheel Packet, wood hull, 144 tons, 120 X 30 X 4.5    Capt. Robb

                                                                                                                                            Proctor Ankrum

Harry                          1879                Stern wheel Towboat, wood hull, 81 X 15 X 2.5  Capt. Harry Flesher

Henry Logan              1878                Stern wheel Packet, wood hull, 106.6 X 24.4 X 3.4   L. Kanawha R.

Henry M Stanley        1890                Stern wheel Packet, wood hull, 180 X 32.4 X 5.5   Bay Brothers

            (Reported to be the last boat built at the Flesher boatyard at Murraysville, WV.)

Hope                           1868                Stern wheel Packet, wood hull                                    Capt. Davis

Horace                        1881                Stern wheel Packet, wood hull, 90 X 81 X 3               L. Kanawha R.

Hudson                       1875                Stern wheel Packet, wood hull, 200 X 33.6 X 6.2       Capt. List

Importer                      1842                                                                                                  Capt. Johnson

Isaac Shelby               1856                Stern wheel Packet, wood hull, 100 tons                     Capt. Bishop

Irvin                             1873                                                                                                   Capt. Barrett

J. H. Moulton             1881                Towboat, 52.19 tons

J. N. Roberts               1875                Stern wheel Towboat, 62.09 tons                                Capt. Roberts


Lancet                         1843                                                                                                    Capt. Hicks

Louis Phillippe           1843                                                                                                    Rogers & Co.

Luella Brown             1890                Stern wheel Packet, wood hull, 128 X 22.3 X 4.5         Capt. Brown

Miami                         1839                                                                                                     Capt. Greene 

Moulton                      1873                                                                                                      Capt. Barrett  

Nellie F. Brown         1881                Towboat, 122.7 X 19.7 X 4.4

Ohio Valley                1841                                                                                                Davis & Smith

Oneida                        1841                                                                                                    Davis & Smith

Oriole                         1863                Stern wheel Packet, Tinclad, wood hull, 160 X 33.5 X 5

Oriole                         1869                Side-wheel Packet, wood hull                                       Capt. Dowry

Quickstep                   1866                Side-wheel Packet, wood hull, 456 tons, 200 X 29 X 5.4, Capt. Smith

RR Hudson                 1866                Stern wheel Packet, wood hull, 169 X 33 X 5.5            Capt. Russell

R W Skillinger            1871                Stern wheel Packet, wood hull                                     Capt. Flesher

Reuben White             1856                Side-wheel Packet, wood hull, 110 tons, 104 X 27 X 3.5 Capt. Shelby

Revenue                      1863                Stern wheel Packet, wood hull, 236 tons                      Capt. Booth

S R Van Metre            1888                Stern wheel Packet, wood hull, 98 tons, 112 X 18.3 X 3.4    Muskingum R.

Shelby                          1855                                                                                                        Capt. Bishop

St. Johns                     1864                Stern wheel Packet, wood hull, 309 tons, 174 X 36 X 3.5  List & Co.

St. Lawrence               1879                Stern wheel Packet, wood hull, 266.5 X 41 X 6           Capt. List

Scioto                          1846                Side-wheel Packet, wood hull, 231 tons                      Davis & Smith

Scioto Valley              1840                                                                                                    Captian Hicks

Sidney                         1880                Stern wheel Packet, wood hull, 221.3 X 35.5 X 5.5   Capt. List

Transit                        1878                Stern wheel Ferry, wood hull, 80 X 18 X 4                 Ferry at Wheeling

Yuba                            1852                Side-wheel Packet, wood hull, 348 tons                      Capt R. Hill

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  © 2002 & 2005  all rights reserved.  Permission granted to copy for personal & non-commercial purposes only.  Additional information on the history of this boatyard, the steamboats built there or Andrew Jackson Flesher will be greatly appreciated.  I am also looking for photos of these steamboats and of A. J. Flesher and his descendents.

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