The inspiration for this post was the 1874 article entitled An Appeal, written by the widow of Capt. John McAllister, pleading with the public to not allow the Fannie Dugan‘s new competition to run her out of business, as this steamboat was her sole source of income since the death of her husband. It turns out the Fannie Dugan was one of the most popular steamboats running in the Portsmouth area during the 1870′s.
The Mountain Belle leaves for Catlettsburg, every day at 2 o’clock. She was purchased a few days since, by John McAllister, from the Big Sandy Packet Company — price $15,000.
The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Aug 6, 1870
Frank Morgan and Capt. McAllister of the Mountain Belle, have gone to Cincinnati to get an outfit for their new boat, the Fannie Dugan. They will return Wednesday.
The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jan 6, 1872
The Fannie Dugan was presented with a new bell by Thomas Dugan.
The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jan 27, 1872
Some background on where the Fannie Dugan got her name:
(I) Thomas Dugan. grandfather of Dr. Thomas (2) Dugan, of Huntington, was born, according to one tradition, in Ireland, and according to another in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. When a young man he removed to Portsmouth, Ohio, where he engaged in mercantile business, later becoming a leading banker of that city. He was president of the Farmers’ National Bank of Portsmouth, and loaned the money with which the site of the city of Huntington was purchased. He married Levenia Mackoy, born in Kentucky, and they were the parents of two children: i. James S., of whom further. 2. Fannie, became the wife of J. C. Adams, a prominent citizen of Portsmouth, and died in 1885, at the age of thirty-two years, leaving two children : Earl and William, now engaged in the manufacture of fire-arms and fire-works in Portsmouth.
The steamer “Fannie Dugan” was named in compliment to Mrs. Adams, and her father, Thomas (i) Dugan, gave two hundred and fifty dollars for the silver to be used in casting its bell, and also presented the piano to form part of its equipment. At the time of his death, a sudden one occurring in 1873, ‘”IS ^^’^s in the prime of life. The old Dugan residence still stands in Portsmouth, on the corner of Chillicothe and Eighth streets, and is one of the finest specimens of colonial architecture extant. Mrs. Dugan died in 1894, in Huntington.
West Virginia and its People (1913)
Author: Miller, Thomas Condit; Maxwell, Hu, joint author
Publisher: New York, Lewis Historical Pub. Co.
The Fannie Dugan, on her second trip out, broke a camrod and returned to this place on one wheel, where she is to remain until the ice thins out.
The new and elegant steamer Fannie Dugan has purchased a beautiful Valley Gem piano of D.S. Johnston.
The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Feb 17, 1872
Capt. John McAllister, and not Jack as we erroneously stated, is sick, but recovering slowly.
Capt. Jack McAllister has sold out his interest in the Fannie Dugan at the rate of $24,000 for the boat, and has purchased the Mountain Belle for $10,000. Capt. McAllister has refitted and refurnished the Belle, and will leave here with her for Pittsburg next Monday, the 22d. We wish Capt. Jack abundant success.
The Fannie Dugan brought 400 barrels of malt from Pomeroy last Monday.
NOTICE TO SHIPPERS AND THE TRAVELING PUBLIC.
The Mountain Belle refurnished and refitted, will leave the city, at the foot of Market street, on Monday next, for Pittsburg and return. Parties having goods to ship to any way landings, or through to Pittsburg, are requested to ship by the Belle.
First class accommodations for passengers.
The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jul 20, 1872
Captain John McAllister is prostrated at his residence in Springville, Ky., but hopes are entertained of his recovery.
Captain Jack McAllister has sold his interest in the Mountain Belle To Robert Cook, and purchased an eighth interest in the Fannie Dugan from his brother. The Dugan has been repainted, and with Captain Jack on the roof, is running in the Portsmouth and Cincinnati trade.
The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Oct 19, 1872
Capt. John McAllister is still confined to his bed.
The Fannie Dugan has returned to her Portsmouth and Guyandotte trade.
The Mountain Belle is doing a thriving business just now, and Capt. Ripley is looking up freight industriously. Capt. Jack McAllister is on the roof, and the Belle is a good boat to travel on or ship by.
The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Oct 26, 1872
Death of Captain John McAllister.
CAPTAIN JOHN McALLISTER, of Springville, Ky., and well and favorably known as a steamboat captain, died last Monday morning at 8:40 A.M. Captain McAllister had a host of friends on the river and shore, and his loss is one that will be felt by a large circle of friends and relatives.
He was a native of Lewis county, Ky., and was forty-eight years of age at the time of his death. About the year 1864 he purchased the Portsmouth and Springville ferry and removed to the latter place. He afterwards owned the steamers Jonas Powell and Mountain Belle, and last fall built the sidewheel steamer Fannie Dugan, which he commanded at the time he was taken ill.
Although a resident of Greenup county, he took a deep interest in the growth and business prosperity of our city, and by his liberality and enterprise he provided Portsmouth with excellent up-river packets, and did much to increase the trade of the city in that direction. The deceased always bore an irreproachable character, and was a man of generous impulses. The remains were taken to his old home, in Lewis county, on Tuesday for interment.
The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Nov 9, 1872
THE Fannie Dugan has taken the fancy collar off her pipes and looks as large as the Great Republic. She blew out a cylinder head last Wednesday on her up trip, and returned here for repairs.
The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Apr 5, 1873
Ten couple of Guyan lads and lasses came down on a pleasure trip on the Fannie Dugan last Wednesday. They danced all night, and enjoyed themselves hugely. Clerks, Simon Balmert and Robert McAllister, joined in the Terpsichorean excitement.
Quite a change has been made in the steamer Fannie Dugan. Mr. James Bagby, for many years connected with the commercial interests of Portsmouth, and at present in the mercantile business just across the river, has purchased of Mrs. McAllister, widow of the late Captain John McAllister, one half of the boat, at the rate of $24,000. He has placed Captain Jack McAllister on the roof, and under his command the merchants and traveling public will find the Fannie Dugan the steamer to patronize. These gentlemen have done much to keep up the wholesale trade of Portsmouth and Ironton, the boat having been built under the immediate superintendancy of Captain McAllister to meet the demand for a strictly local freight and passenger packet. So long as they give satisfaction, they are entitled to the entire patronage of shippers at this place and points on the river between here and Guyau.
The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jul 12, 1873
TO CHARLESTON AND RETURN:
A Cheerful Lunatic Writes us a Letter — He finds out how far it is to Gallipolis.
Monday, in the evening,
May 26, 1873.
EDITOR TIMES — Thinking it would interest your readers, I have concluded to write you a few lines about (we keep the type standing of all letters up to this place. It don’t fail once in ten thousand times — EDITOR,) a pleasure trip on the Fannie Dugan to Charleston and return. I seat myself to the task. (A large reward offered for a correspondent who will stand up and write us a letter. — ED.)
Through the kindness of Capt. Wm. Ripley, several young folks were invited to take passage last Saturday evening, and at 6 o’clock we rounded out and were soon steaming up the beautiful river. At Haverbill, Ironton, and elsewhere, others came aboard. The distance from Portsmouth to Gallipolis is ninety miles, and from thence to Charleston, sixty-four miles.
MUSIC AND DANCING.
After supper the table was cleared and music, with its voluptuous swell, set many happy lads and lassies tripping the animated toe, which same continued to trip until midnight, when, to avoid mutilating the fourth paragraph on the Mosaical tablet of stone, fond pillows were pressed, and placid sleep, nature’s uncopyrighted and unpatented panacea, was poured upon the weary sons and daughters of Terpsichore.
HOW MEMORY FAILS.
I had forgotten to observe that at Ironton the gentlemanly and accommodating wharfmaster, W.G. Bradford, and lady got aboard, spoke kindly of you, and complimented the TIMES very highly.
We reached Gallipolis Sunday morning at 9 A.M., and taking a Kanawba pilot, departed at 10 A.M. The Kanawba is a meandering stream, interspersed with beautiful islands and Sunday fishermen. Very few towns on the river from Point Pleasant to Charleston. Landed at Charleston at 4:30 P.M.
Charleston is the capital of West Virginia, and if a man don’t care what he says, it is a beautiful city. The population is liberal, and about one-third of it is negroes. The streets are thirty feet wide and two feet deep. Gorgeous mud holes adorn the principal streets, and the delicious musical concatenations of whippoorwill and frog produce an endless chain of discord at all hours.
The artistic crossings are sawed logs raised a foot above the streets, and the dull monotony of smooth carriage riding is broken by the logs and the mud holes. Only one Charlestonian was out riding last Sunday with his dulcines. His buggy was upset, and when his hat was fished out of a mud hole he gave two negroes three dollars to take it home in a wheelbarrow. They have their sidewalks in their cellars. The State House is a magnificent old-fashioned mammoth building, a cross between a hospital and a penitentiary, and is romantically situated in a clover pasture, with no pavements or sidewalks, and in wet weather the Reps go over on stilts or in dugouts. The pious Charlestonians don’t drink wine, ale, beer, or even whisky, on Sunday, but Boggs, (everybody has heard of Boggs,) keeps a soda fountain on Front street, and “flies” are great things to get in a glass of soda water, especially when the soda man hears you wink.
LOVE AND A FREE ADVERTISEMENT.
We left Charleston at 4:30 P.M., nothing of importance occurring between that place and Gallipolis, except the assiduous love-making of two Portsmouth gentlemen to a brace of Gallipolis damsels. It is hinted that certain young ladies of this city should not trust their fickle lovers away from home, especially when the Gallipolitian senoritas are in their company.
Captain Ripley and Simon Balmert, Clerk, were attentive and obliging, and it was hereby resolved that as long as the Fannie Dugan is officered by them, passengers will be pleased, freight will be cared for properly, and the bird of the period, the goose, will be dizzily elevated. The steward set tempting tables, and after midnight Sunday night dancing was renewed, and everybody reached Portsmouth happy.
The Fannie Dugan is the first sidewheel steamer that has been to Charleston for many years, and made the run from Gallipolis to Charleston and return in less time than ever made before by any boat.
The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) May 31, 1873
MRS. McALLISTER, widow of the late John McAllister, has purchased the one-eight interest in the Fannie Dugan, owned by Mr. Robert Bagby. Capt. McAllister will continue on the roof, and no more accommodating boatman ever walked the roof of an Ohio river steamboat than Captain Jack. The Fannie Dugan will be off the docks and resume her trade the early part of next week.
The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Aug 9, 1873
THE Fannie Dugan has temporarily quit the trade. The logs, rocks and bars of low water were too thick for so good a little boat. She leave this evening on a special trip to Cincinnati. Passengers will take in the Exposition Monday and return the same evening.
The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Sep 20, 1873
MRS. McALLISTER has repurchased J. Bagby’s interest in the Fannie Dugan, and the gallant Capt. Ripley is on the roof and will look after the interests of the steamer. Capt. Bagby will superintend the new wharfboat and attend to his store on Second street.
The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Nov 29, 1873
Capt. A.J. McAllister will go on the roof of the Fannie Dugan next Monday, and Mate Gray and the old Steward will ship with him. This gives the Fannie her old crew again.
The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Dec 27, 1873
To the Merchants and Manufacturers of Portsmouth, Ohio, and elsewhere in the Portsmouth and Guyandotte trade, and the traveling public:
PAINFUL as is the necessity of making an appeal of this kind to you, under the circumstances I am compelled to do so, for reasons which appear herein. My late husband, Capt. John McAllister did more in his day to build up a trade between Portsmouth and the cities and towns along the river from this place to Guyandotte then any other man on the Ohio river. That his action tended largely to increase the wholesale trade of the city of Portsmouth, I think none will deny. He built the Fannie Dugan as a first class packet, which has worked in the interests of the Portsmouth and Guyandotte trade when no other boat has done so. Upon the death of Capt. John McAllister he left me the Fannie Dugan and the trade he had built up, my only means of support for myself and children.
Since his death a new boat has come in, making an effort to drive me out of the trade, or in the event of my staying to run me in debt and take away my only means for supporting my family. The action of her owners is hardly fair, when the clerk of the new boat when he sold his interest in the Fannie Dugan sold his good will in this trade. While his ingratitude to my late husband could be passed by, his effort to deprive me of my only income does not certainly recommend him to the people of Portsmouth, who knew my late husband so well, and remember him as only a clerk who has obtained the greater part of his money by the kind-heartedness and generosity of the dead man whose widow he is wronging.
While the name of the opposition boat should make citizens feel proud of her, the action of her officers and owners is too expressive of the motive that led them to adopt the name, and hence such as to lead the shippers of the city to give the matter some consideration. They are men able to make their living, and with a new boat it would be more creditable in them to build them a trade from Portsmouth to elsewhere than to attempt to wrest it from a woman.
I have aimed to deserve your support, and the means necessary to spend in an effort to save my boat from being crowded out, have been invested in a large and commodious wharf-boat, for the better preservation of freight shipped to and from the city. This I have only cited to show the merchants and business men of the city that nothing has been left undone to further their interests and the interests of shippers along the river.
As it is used against me by the opposition that I have only to blame myself because I would not put my boat in the Portsmouth and Pomeroy trade, I would say that the proposition was carefully considered, and at the advice of experienced business men and river men, it was made plain that a boat in that trade would lose money to begin with.
I have been thus plain in presenting these facts to you because I have felt the effects of the late panic, and have lost several hundred dollars by the partial failure of one who had all my earnings in his possession. I hope, then, those to whom I appeal will pardon me for so doing when my reason for it are so well taken, and that they will continue the liberal patronage heretofore extended to me, which I shall aim to deserve.
I have secured Capt. A.J. McAllister to command. He has done much to extend the trade of Portsmouth in the past, and will do all he can in the future, having served in the Portsmouth and Guyandotte trade for many years. The clerk, Simon P. Balmert, is a resident of Portsmouth, is accommodating and reliable, and known to you all, and needs no recommendation at my hands.
In conclusion, if the opposition, with their new boat, want to gain laurels, I put it to the gallant gentlemen of Portsmouth if they had not better try it in another field, and if they are successful the hand of scorn wouldn’t be pointed at them, and it couldn’t then be said, “Oh! they only succeeded in defeating a woman.” In the days of chivalry men fought men, have they degenerated so far that women will be called upon to defend themselves from those who should be their protectors?
MRS. CATHERINE McALLISTER.
The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jan 10, 1874
RIVER NEWS. The Rankin has taken the place of the Fannie Dugan, and the latter is now running in the Cincinnati and Manchester trade.
The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Sep 19, 1874
MRS. CATHERINE McALLISTER, Mrs. Nannie Thomson, and Miss Lennie McAllister, went up to Huntington on the Fannie Dugan last Saturday, had a very pleasant trip, and returned Monday morning.
The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jan 22, 1876
AN excursion party went up on the Fannie Dugan last Friday. Mr. and Mrs. John Thompson, Mrs. Nan Thomson, Mrs. Catherine McAllister who chaperoned Miss Lennie McAllister, and Miss Helen and Kate Morton were the guests immediately from Springville. Miss Nannie and Sallie, daughters of Capt. A.J. McAllister, accompanied by Miss Pet Thomson, got on the boat at their home, above Springville.
The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Feb 19, 1876
The steamer Fannie Dugan will extend her trip to Pomeroy to-day, with the genial Balmert and Bob McAllister in the office, and Capt. Jack on the roof. It is hinted that a grand excursion to Parkersburg is contemplated next Saturday, but of this we are not certain.
The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) May 13, 1876
The colored population of the city will give a picnic at the grove opposite Ironton, next Tuesday. The Scioto and Fannie Dugan will convey passengers. There will be a vast crowd present.
The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jul 29, 1876
Important changes have taken place in the Portsmouth and Pomeroy Packet Co.’s line, since last report, the new steamer City of Ironton taking the place of the Fannie Dugan, the Dugan in place of the Scioto, and the Scioto daily from Huntington to Pomeroy. There is no change in the crews. Capt. Jack McAllister commands the Dugan, with Will Waters clerk, Capt. Geo. Bay commands the City of Ironton, with Mr. Fuller in charge of the office.
The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Feb 28, 1880
The Fannie Dugan is out now, and ready for her run. The boat has been overhauled, repainted, and presents a fine appearance.
The Scioto, which has been running in the place of the Fannie Dugan, will resume her former trade, from Huntington to Pomeroy.
The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Nov 20, 1880
THE Bay Brothers are making regular time with their Portsmouth & Pomeroy packets, the B.T. Enos and Fannie Dugan.
The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Feb 4, 1882
Departure of the Fannie Dugan for Florida.
The staunch and reliable Ohio river packet, Fannie Dugan, has been sold by her owners to Capt. C.B. Smith, who will take her to Florida, in a short time, to run in the St. John’s river trade. The Dugan made her last trip from Pomeroy Saturday evening, starting Sunday morning for Cincinnati where she was delivered to her new owner, and put upon Capt. Coffin’s ways, to be repaired before taking her long trip to the South. The price received is understood to be $7,500, which is considered an extra good sale.
The Fannie Dugan was eminently a Portsmouth boat, having made this city the lower terminus of her tri-weekly trips ever since she was built in 1871. In that year her hull was constructed at Ironton, the machinery and cabin being added at our wharf. Her original owners were Capt. John McAllister, Frank Morgan, S.P. Balmert and Capt. “Jack” McAllister, the latter gentleman acting as her Captain from that time until the sale last week. The cost of putting her upon the river was about $20,000 and for more than ten years she made profitable trips from Portsmouth to Huntington, or Guyandotte, and return. The Dugan always made money for her owners — the net earnings during many busy seasons of her career being $1,000 a week. She was a fast boat, well furnished and manned, and was very popular along the route. Numerous changes were made in her owners ?p during the time she was in the trade, Messrs. George and William Bay, S.P. Balmert, William Jones, Wash Honshell and H.W. Bates, of Riverton owning her at the time of the transfer — the two last name gentle men having the controlling interest.
It is understood that no boat will be put in the place of the Fannie Dugan until the completion of the Bay Brothers’ Louise, now being finished at Ironton.
The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jun 17, 1882
CHARLES W. ZELL has returned from his trip to Florida, greatly pleased with what he saw and experienced. He was at Sanford, and saw the Portsmouth men who are working there, and says they are greatly pleased with the country and have made up their minds to remove their families and make it their home. He was on the Chesapeake, and saw Captain and Mrs. Maddy. The Fannie Dugan was run into by an ocean vessel and sunk, and is a total loss. An attempt will be made to get our her machinery and put it into a sternwheel boat.
The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Feb 27, 1886
Read an account of:
FANNIE DUGAN’S 1882 VOYAGE TO FLORIDA (pdf) HERE
A good article with pictures:
PADDLEWHEELERS ON THE ST JOHNS
c.2005 by Virginia M. Cowart LINK HERE
(note: if the above link doesn’t work, try THIS ONE and just scroll down)
A great collection of steamboat photographs can be found here:
UW La Crosse Historic Steamboat Photographs LINK
Specifics about the Fannie Dugan (including picture) HERE (same site)