Maysville Boats

This is a Kentucky Boat, the form of transportation most
 early settlers used to get to Maysville.  After reaching Maysville,
it was common to set them adrift, or sell them, cheaply, for the timber.

Cincinnati's Fort Washington was built out of boats from Maysville, here.

...but then there's also this:

“We landed at Maysville, the 1st of June.  Sunk the boats.  There was a law requiring that,
in order to keep the Indians from getting them.”  Mrs. Pierce, interviewed in the Draper Papers,  13CC7.

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River Boat and Aerial View of Maysville Ferry and Aerial View Steamers Ben Hur and the Courier
    More Ben Hur pics are at this site, while more Courier pics are at this site.
Maysville Boats Maysville Boats Maysville Boats
Steamer Greenland, leaving
 Maysville, c. 1910
The Steamer Princess
 heading into Maysville,
c. 1910
The Steamer Homer Smith Excursion Boat
Thanks! to Regina Stewart for the above image.
Lots more shots of the Homer Smith are at this site.

The press release announcing the coming Homer Smith promised big things. Read it here.


Kanawha and Ice

The Big Kanawha, destroyed in the Ice, and the 1884 Flood


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Floating Theatre
in Maysville
River Scene near
 Chester, circa 1875
Launching on
the Ohio River


Ohio River Ohio River
Steamers at Maysville. From Facebook posts by Lisa Collins


Silver Wave Silver Wave
The Silver Wave, left, was built in Portsmouth in 1888, ran local stops around Maysville, and burned in 1897, after which her hull was used as the basis for a new steamer built in Higginsport, the Wm. Duffy which would spend most of her life in and around Marietta, Ohio.


Eugene Robinson

The Eugene Robinson Floating Palaces come to Maysville, 1890.
Read the story here.


Courier Maysville Boats Maysville Boats Maysville Boats
The Steamer Courier
 between Cincinnati, and Maysville.
More on the Courier, here.
Wharf Boat,
The Steamer Ben Hur
more on the Ben Hur, here.


Bostona Swiftsure and Fair Play
Bostona ad
Portsmouth Enquirer, December 15, 1854
Swiftsure & Fair Play
Georgetown (Oh) Standard, October 27, 1840


City of Maysville

The City of Maysville

Built in 1942 in St. Louis, she's 121 x 23 x 6', and has 800 H.P. Her hull is from an old steam boat - The Tallulah, from 1922 - and she was originally named the Walter F. Carey. She was renamed the Commercial Dixie in 1949, later the same year the Tennessee Dixie. She changed hands again in 1952, and the Triangle Towing Company named her the City of Maysville.

imestone Ferry
from the Kentucky Gazette, June 10, 1797

Laurance Laurance
From a Facebook post by John Henderson From a Facebook post by someone whose name we should have copied but don't. Sorry.


Maysville Boats Maysville Boats Maysville Boats
The Ferry Laurance, at Aberdeen
The Laurance was in use until the Simon Kenton bridge opened in 1931
This is Con Phister, long time owner/operator of the Maysville wharf boat, and the ferry Laurance.  You can read more about him here and here. The Aberdeen Ferry (The Laurance)
Phister also built himself a gas powered boat.


Laurance Laurance Laurance Laurance
The ferry Laurance, c. 1925
Thanks to Cecilia Gastright Hudepohl for these
The Ferry Laurance (close-up of the wharf boat sign)
Don Sanders and Bob Feezor tell us: “The Laurance was owned by Captain C. M. Phister, then Captains Gordon C. Greene and Charles Stadler. Engineers were Mr. Harry Flesher, Mr. Edward Hall, and Mr. Arch Paul. Capt. William Clephane served on her for many years. The ferry Laurance had a record day August 14, 1919, carrying 75 passengers and 9 automobiles. A rattlesnake was once cremated in her furnace to eliminate the “dangerous character.” The price for an excursion in 1892 was only ten cents, but a dime, then, had the same value as $2.88 today; still a fair price for a steamboat ride on the beautiful Ohio River.”
The newly married Phister and Miss Florinal Hannan were expecting, and hoped for a girl. The plan was to name the ferry the Laura after the baby. At the birth of their son, Phister wired the ferry builders to “ADD THREE MORE LETTERS TO THAT NAME: NCE.”


Maysville Boats

The Florinal, above, was built on the hull of the Newt Cooper.  The Newt Cooper,
named for a prominent Maysville tobacco merchant, burned in September, 1904.
Florinel after Mrs. Phister.


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The South Ripley Ferry
 - the Proctor Smiley
The Ferry to Ripley, Ohio
The Proctor K. Smiley
More on the Proctor K. Smiley, here.
The Ripley Ferry
The W. S. Taylor

“The first ferry at Maysville came this year [1794] when was granted by law of the Mason county court the privilege of operation to Benjamin Sutton, who owned two lots on the north or outside of the present Front Street, just above the street named in is honor.” G. Glenn Clift, in The History of Maysville and Mason County

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Laurance Wildwood
The Steamer Handy The Steamer Wildwood

The steamer Phæton's boiler exploded at Maysville. 
(location shown in the picture is unknown)

During a race with the Handy (above), June 28, 1881, the Phaeton's boiler exploded at Brooks Bar above Maysville, Kentucky, killing three persons and another drowned. Story here.


“It may not be generally known that the fine little steamer Cleona, Capt. A. F. Powers, is a regular packet in the Maysville trade, leaving every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. She will leave this morning at 12 M. [sic] punctually at the hour. The Cleona is a gem of a boat, had splendid accommodations, and is well officered. Don’t forget that she will leave this morning.” Courier-Journal, August 18, 1864 “The Maysville Bulletin says that the supply of coal there is almost entirely exhausted, and the ice in the river prevents more from being brought.” The Courier-Journal, February 25, 1885. (Which meant Maysville citizens were at risk of not having heat, in the winter)
The Mary of Maysville was built in Maysville. In 1804. Details here. “The spring of 1789 found Mason County the most thickly explored, most enthusiastic and busiest frontier in America. The great flatboats were coming down the Ohio and landing at Limestone at a rate of thirty each day.” G. Glenn Clift's History of Maysville and Mason County.
The Magnolia disaster of 1867.
“We learn from the Maysville Eagle that a judgment for some $1500 was obtained against the steamer Bostona in the Lewis Circuit Court last week for having taken off a slave belonging to Mrs. Eshom.  The law of common carriers, always strict and severe when enforced, bears quite hard in this case, but it will make steamboats more careful as to whom they allow to travel with them.”  from the Covington Journal, December 22, 1855 “The ferry boats Gretna Green and Frank S. Owens met with quite an accident a few days since by being cut loose from the wharf by the the ice, and drifted down the river four miles, and in the drifting, had the guards and sides torn away, loss sustained at $600.  No Insurance.”  from the Newport Local, January 2,1879. 
“We learn from the stage way bills of Wednesday, and letters by the mail, that the Ohio River has risen between four and five feet - that some twenty steamboats had arrived at Maysville and that an unusually large quantity of merchandise had been landed upon the wharves of that city.” from the Paris, Ky., Western Citizen, November 16, 1838

Additional Ohio River information which may or may not be applicable to Mason County, check out our Rivers Page

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