The Ferry Ohio

The steam ferry Ohio was built in Paducah, Ky. in 1924.  She ran a short time in the Paducah-Brookport service, and then was bought by the Mary Jo Ferry Co., in Carrollton, Ky., where she ran until she burned in 1936.

On July 4, 1937, my brother and I bought the hull of the Ohio, together with the two landing docks and the Indiana landing from the Carrollton Ferry Co., Inc., C. D. (Jenks) Wilhoite, owner.  Prior to this he had junked the machinery, wheel shaft and whatever else he could dispose of.

We repaired and redecked the hull, which had not been damaged too badly, and repaired her from the deck up.  We put in a new 150 hp. Cummins diesel and had her running in time for the 1937 Carrollton tobacco market.

She was much faster than she had been as a steam ferry and could make the river crossing in ordinary river in three minutes as time by Mr. Clessie Cummins (Wikipedia) himself.

We operated her continuously until 1945, at which time we bought the Paducah, which could hold 10 cars, 4 more than the Ohio.  After that we used the Ohio after cutting her down, as a towboat handling gasoline to Clay's Ferry and Frankfort on the Kentucky River, making occasional trips to Green River with small tows.

She was dismantled in 1950 and the engine and other parts were sold.

Me and the crew used to give this post card to out of state car drives as a good and economical way of advertising.  The boy on the roof watching the wheel is my son Bill McKay who was given his operator's license at the age of 13 by Capt. J. Wylie Leek, and when not in school was relief pilot for several years.


  W. R. McCay, writing in the S&D Reflector, September, 1970