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Riverboat Liberty

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Riverboat Liberty

The Liberty was built in Clarington in 1912. She was probably the most famous boat ever built at Clarington (others included the "City of Wheeling," the "Ruth 2," and the "Avalon" with the "Liberty" being the last in the line of packets of that name. This boat was built in 1912 to run from Clarington to Wheeling. It made a round trip a day and whistled each morning about 5:00 AM so that prospective passengers would get up and board the craft for a day's shopping. The "Liberty" remained in Wheeling several hours each day and brought its passengers back home in the evening.

A change in the "Liberty's" route marked the decline of packet boating. As people traveled more by rail, then by motor car, the vessel's route was lengthened from this short daily run to a weekly trip between Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Charleston, West Virginia. At the last, it towed a showboat with the Major Bowes Amateur Hour aboard. It also served as a rescue boat on the lower Ohio River in the famous flood of 1937. She was dismantled in 1938.

-from Way's Packet Directory

BOAT TYPE: Packet/Towboat
BUILT: 1912 at Clarington, Ohio
FINAL DISPOSITION: Dismantled in 1938
OWNERS: Walter Webster (1937); Captain Ben Raike (1938); Liberty Packet Company
OFFICERS & CREW: Captain S.W. Litten (master, 1912); Frank Humphrey (clerk, 1912); Walter C. Booth (clerk, 1912); Captain Walter C. Booth (master, 1936); Wilsie Miller (pilot, 1936); Roy Collett (purser, 1936); Ross Minard (clerk, 1936); Mason Thomas (chief engineer, 1936); Walter Webster (2nd engineer, 1936); Harry Elliott (mate, 1936); Andy Krull (2nd mate, 1936); Kid Riley (steward, 1936); Peter Kollar (2nd steward, 1936); William Colter (watchman, 1936); Jim Williams (fireman, 1936); John Clay (fireman, 1936); Henry W. Mozena (clerk, 1922); Captain Joe McLaughlin (pilot, 1936)
RIVERS: Ohio River; Kanawha River; Muskingum River
OTHER INFORMATION: Her engines were from the T.N. Barnsdall, Royal, Liberty. She was built for the Wheeling-Clarington trade. By 1918, she was running to New Matamoras, then to Parkersburg, and entered the Wheeling-McConnelsville trade in September, 1918. On December 20, 1918 she went into Pittsburgh for the first time, extending her route to Pittsburgh-McConnelsville. In August, 1920 she started running Pittsburgh-Zanesville. A texas was added to her at that time also. In the fall of 1921, she left that trade and ran Gallipolis-Charleston, then Pittsburgh-Wheeling where she was quite successful. In 1929 she took over the Pittsburgh-Charleston trade which had been abandoned by the Senator Cordill. In April, 1932, the Liberty made two trips above Charleston to Boomer, West Virginia with freight. In June, 1936 she quit the Pittsburgh-Charleston trade. She was the last regular packet to operate year-round out of Pittsburgh. In the summer and fall of 1936, she towed the showboat Goldenrod with the Major Bowes' Amateurs show. To advertise the show, she once left the showboat at Star City and went to Morgantown, West Virginia and back playing calliope music the whole time. The Liberty was caught in the 1936 flood on the lower Ohio and was stripped of her whistle, bell, fittings, etc. by vandals. Walter Webster bought her, fixed her up, and returned her to the Parkersburg Docks in February 1937, having been caught in the 1937 flood enroute. She was attached for debt and sold for $195 on July 27, 1938. Captain Raike dismantled her at Kanauga, Ohio. Her engines went to the towboat Valley Belle. Her whistle was found and put on the towboat Mildred.

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