Archive for December, 2013

The following was posted by Russell Lee Whitlock who is a historian from  the area along the Big Sandy River and is quite knowledgeable of the history of development of transportation in that area.  His comments pertain to an earlier article.  I love to read about the steam boats and early development of rail travel.  I hope you enjoy his comments as did I.

New comment on your post “STEAM NAVIGATION ON THE LEVISA FORK by Russell Lee Whitlock”
Author : Russell L. Whitlock (IP: , cpe-174-101-79-160.columbus.res.rr.com)
E-mail : whitlockrussell45@yahoo.com
URL : http://whitlockrussell45@yahoo.com
Whois : http://whois.arin.net/rest/ip/
It might be of interest to folks to know that the two steamers owned by C&O Rail Road were used extensively in completing construction of the rail road from Whitehouse on into Pikeville which was around 1905. CANDO’s sister boat was named DONCA and was reputed to have been the fastest boat on the river. I believe the fact that the well experienced steam locomotive mechanics caring for her engines contributed greatly to that fact. During construction of the Whitehouse to Pikeville leg of the railroad these two boats served to transport all the heavy equipment and supplies as well as workers up river. I have a list of over 100 steamers which operated on the Levisa Fork and it a mystery to me how few people are aware of their history. My mother, Janivea Daniels was born in 1912 at Thealka , Ky. which was home port of the steamer by that name. My mom had many wonderful memories of the river steamers and as she grew up in the coal camp of Auxier, Ky. always looked forward to hearing some one call “steam boats a coming” and hearing that distinctive whistle before the boats reached one of Auxiers two Landings. The lanes leading to the landings still remain but that is all that is left. My father left Auxier on one of the last boats to run but she grounded on a sandbar just south of Prestonsburg and he had to walk home in the rain down the railroad tracks, a distance of about 6 miles. In the 1940’s several attempts were made to channel the river and return the boats to operating in the coal transportation business but there were never successful. Sure would have been helpful to our highway system and to the environment by limiting the hundreds of coal trucks. To my best knowledge the last commercial steamboat operation on the Sandy was in 1937 when 3 barge were brought down river from Torchlight. The name of that final boat has been lost through the years but I am still searching for some one who might know it. I am getting well along in years and am unable to continue my research but would still like to hear any new news that is available.


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