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List of Merchant Steamboats in NC (1861 to 1880)
   The first steamboats or steamships began plying North Carolina's sounds and rivers in 1818 (see steamboat list prior to 1861). The state's outer banks and difficult river navigation posed significant barriers. A local steamboat construction industry started in Fayetteville, Wilmington and Washington. Additional material will be added to this sectionl. Please provide any information for changes to this list to Ron Vinson.




    
   The steamboat transportation industry in North Carolina was much larger than previous reports. We have identified about 100 (at present) steamers plying North Carolina rivers, canals and sounds prior to 1861, with an additional 140 such boats (excluding steamer flats and tugs) built and operating between 1861 and 1899. These lists are expected to grow.
   This comprehensive listing does not contain the occasional ocean-going steamship that once or only a few times on an irregular basis stopped at Wilmington or Smithville (now Southport) or other NC seaports. The intent is to list cargo and passenger steamers, not tugs. Note: There were many lighters large flat-bottomed barges that are not included in this list, as these vessels were not considered "Steam Boats" by contemporary sources. Links are provided to some steamers to provide additional information and drawings/photos, where available. More information on specific steamers is constantly being added.
Steamers in North Carolina from 1812 to 1849 (click link) are contained in this list.
Steamers in North Carolina from 1850 to 1860 (click link) are contained in this list.
Steamers in North Carolina from 1861 to 1880 (click link) are contained in this list.
Steamers in North Carolina from 1881 to 1899 (click link) are contained in this list.

Listing of Steamboats
(Cargo and/or Passenger) on NC rivers and sounds (does not include tugs)

Wheel types - P (sidewheel); W (stern or center); S (screw drive);   Service - f  (ferry)

Year Built

Name of Vessel

Wheel Type

Tons

Built In

First Home Port

NC River/Sound Routes/Dates

Final Disposition

1861 North Carolina (VII)

S

618

New York, NY New York, NY Ocean going from Wilmington renamed Annie Childs 1861 blockade runner; renamed Julia Usher 1862; captured as Confederate steamer Victory 6-21-1863; USS Queen 8-15-1863; redocumented Gulf Stream 9-29-1865;
Loss 1903
1861 Waccamaw (originally built as Nuestra Senora de Regia) renamed 11-25-65 P 376 Brooklyn, NY New York, NY (originally built as a Ferry for Havanna; captured as blockcade runner) Wilmington to Carolina Beach July 1876 Lost 1885
1861 Annie 185 Washington, NC Washington, NC New Bern & Trent River, Tar, etc. Sunk 1895 in the Tar River
1862 I. D. Coleman

1863

Rebecca Clyde

S

446

Chester, PA

Philadelphia, PA

 

Stranded Portsmouth, NC

1864

Minquas

P

160

Wilmington, DE

Philadelphia, PA

 

Burnt 4/7/1865 Neuse River, NC

1865

Bettie

P

117

New Bern, NC

New Bern, NC

Little River

Abandoned 1869

1865

Washington

S

472

Chester, PA

Philadelphia, PA

 

Burnt 10/14/1870 Cape Fear River, NC

1865 Wave S

80

Philadelphia, PA New York, NY Cape Fear Abandoned 1898
1869 D. Murchison (I) P

140

Wilmington, DE Wilmington, NC Cape Fear Abandoned by 1895

1866

Governor Worth6

P

165

Wilmington, DE

Wilmington, NC

Cape Fear

Sank 1881, raised; sold in 1886 to Jacksonville, Tampa & Key West RR; Abandoned 1913

1866

Mystic

S

87

New Bern, NC

New Bern, NC

 

Abandoned 1887

1865+ Juniper W Fayetteville, NC

1866

R.M. Orrell

P

35

Fayetteville, NC

Wilmington, NC

 

Abandoned 1871

1866

W. T. DeForest

S

19

Unknown

New Bern, NC

 

Abandoned 1868

1867

Halcyon

P

92

Fayetteville, NC

Wilmington, NC

 

Abandoned 1877

1867

Marion

P W?

176

Fayetteville, NC

Wilmington, NC

Cape Fear

Abandoned 1872

1867

North Carolina

S

50

Camden, SC

Plymouth, NC

 

Abandoned 1880

1867 C.M. Gary Cape Fear

1867?

Ida C. Potter

S

16

Unknown

Wilmington, NC

 

Abandoned 1868

1869? Bailey Cape Fear
1869 Olive S Chowan River, Washington, NC and Norfolk (1905-) Sank in 1903 on Chowan River; later rebuilt and operated until 1929
1869 Fairmount
1870 Kalula Hertford, NC Hertford, NC Plymouth to Hertford Abandoned 1875
1870s Robert E. Lee Fayetteville, NC Cape Fear Exploded at Thomas Shoals 14 miles below Fayetteville
1870 Little Sam Point Caswell, NC Black River
1871 Vesper 331 Washington, NC Washington, NC New Bern & Neuse River, etc. Sold to Old Dominion Steamship Co. in 1872; then to Clyde Line in 1891; by 1896 on Eastern Dispatch Line (Newbern-Eliz. City)
1871 Cumberland (I)
1872 Bertie S 20 Windsor/Hertford, NC Edenton, NC
1873 Ella Franklin, VA to Plymouth, NC
1873 Mary E. Roberts Scuppernong & Chowan Rivers & Edenton

1874

Pitt

P

 

Washington, NC

Washington, NC

Tar River

 

1874 North East Tar River (1874) & Black River (1875- ) Burned in 1879
1874 Lota Chowan River at least past 1886
1874 Col. W. P. Craighill
1875 Little Adrian W

50

Black River
1875 Chowan
renamed in 1889 Nanticoke
Chowan River sold in 1889 and renamed Nanticoke, worked in Albemarle Sound
1876 Neuse P 55 Kinston, NC New Berne, NC Kinston - Trenton and various points Neuse & Trenton Steamboat Co.
1875 Bonita
1877 Alexander Jones
1877 Colville
1877 Contentnea
1878 Edith
1879? Isis W NC (BlkRivSBoat) NC Black River; 1879 on Cape Fear

1879

R.L. Myers (1)

 

 

Washington, NC

Washington, NC

Tar River

Lost prior to 1885

1879

Greenville

 

 

Washington, NC

Washington, NC

Tar River

Sank April 1891; raised in May; sold in June 1892

1879? Clinton W Northeast & Black Rivers Sank 1881
1879 Italian

1880

Tarboro

 

 

Washington, NC

Washington, NC

Tar River

 

1880 John Dawson (II) W Point Caswell, NC Black River; on Cape Fear in 1882 Burnt 1885 on Black River, Maultsby's Point
1880 Northampton P
1880 Curlew
1880s Hall Black River
1880s Magruder Black River
 Source: Ron Vinson, CSI/ISI; newspaper reports, federal registration, etc.
 
Note: Pioneering research on U.S. steamers was conducted by William M. Lytle, Forrest R. Holdcamper, C. Bradford Mitchell , Roy F. Johnson and others.

Wheel types - P (sidewheel); W (stern or center); S (screw drive);   Service - f  (ferry)

16 built as 199-ton schooner (1843/44), then converted to steam (registered as steamer in 1851)

* now called Southport

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