Hardesty's History of Wirt County


The first steamboat that ever reached Wirt Court House was
the "Scioto Belle" in the year 1842. She was built by Shanklin
& Sons at Parkersburg, in the summer of 1840, for the Scioto
river trade. She never made but one voyage on the Little
Kanawha. After she arrived at Parkersburg she was taken to the
lower Ohio, and never returned. The second steamer that
ascended the river to the Court House was the "Lodi" in 1847.
When she left the landing, on her return voyage, John Petty,
then residing in the Mingo bottoms, boarded her, expecting to
get off when the boat reached what is now known as Mingo
Landing, but upon her arrival she could not land. Mr. Petty was
carried several miles below the mouth of Hughs river, and was
compelled to return on foot the next day. During his absence
one of his cows gave birth to a calf, which  (in memory of the
steamer on which he had made his experimental voyage on the
Little Kanawha) he called "Lodi."

From that date until the beginning of the oil excitement in the
early part of the year 1860 but little was done, but with that
came the charter of  the Little Kanawha Navigation Company.
Improvements were at once commenced on the river. Then
came a number of steamers, among which were the George
Thomson, the Zebra, the Silver Heel,  the Do Ra Me, the Argo,
and others. In 1871 Captain F. A. Martin built a steamer for the
Little Kanawha trade at Burning Springs, which he called the
Wirt. She was soon after taken to the Muskingum river, where
she remained about a year, and then returned to the trade for 
which she was designed.

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