A chronology of the Cape Fear… Cape-Fear Navigation Company

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A Chronology of the Cape Fear…


Navigation Company.


THE Directors of the Cape Fear Navigation Company, having in discharge of the duties of their appointment, provided Boats, Flats and all necessary fixtures to enable them to carry into effect the provisions of their Charter, and having nearly expended in the purchase of young prime negroes, the balance of the first Instalment on the Stock, are compelled to call on the Stockholders for an additional payment on their respective Shares. They trust, that with the aid of the present requisition, they will be enabled to make not only a profitable advance, towards the clearing of the North West Branch of Cape Fear, from Fayetteville to Wilmington, but such an one as will insure the patronage and interest of the Public at large.

The little, that the shortness of the time since they prepared for work, has permitted to be done, justifies ### ### to the Stockholders that the result of their exertions will be beneficial.

They therefore give NOTICE, That an instalment of Ten Dollars on each and every share held in the Cape Fear Navigation Company, will be payable to the Treasurer in Fayetteville, on the first Monday in November next, who will on the receipt thereof issue the necessary Scrip.

The STOCKHOLDERS will observe that a forfeiture of Shares is provided for by Charter in case of non payment agreeably to Notice.

By Order of the Board of Directors,

J. W. Wright, Treasurer.

Fayetteville, Sept. 28. 34 5

Stock for Sale.

Cape-Fear Navigation

Stock, offered.

Enquire of the Printer.

October 10, 1816 35tf

[The American – Fayetteville, N. C. – Thursday October 17, 1816]

Notice to Flat Builders


AT the Town House, on Monday the 25th inst. At 4 o’clock, P. M. will be let to the lowest Bidder, the building of Two Flats for the use of the Cape Fear Navigation Company, of the following description:

48 feet long,

10 feet wide,

10 feet rake,

Sides 2 feet high, to be made of one piece, or two securing them with wagged bolts.

Three Kelsons, each 12 inches wide and 6 inches thick.

To be plank’d across with 2 inch plank, and lined fore and aft on inside with 1 ¼ inch plank.

Sides to be 5 inches wide on the gunwale, and the ends banded in a sufficient manner with iron.

ALSO, the building of two other Flats, on the following description.—

30 feet long,

6 feet wide,

6 feet rake,

Sides 1 ½ feet high, 3 inches on the gunwale.

One Kelson, 5 by 10 inches.

To be planked across and lined with 1 1-2 inch boards, inside.

Ends banded with iron.

J. W. Wright, Sec’ry.

Fayetteville, Nov. 14. 1w

[The American – Fayetteville, N. C. – Thursday November 21, 1816]

W. F. & B. SALTER,


Opposite Mr. John MacMillan’s,

Are receiving by Mr.

Mitchell’s Boat,

11 Hhd’s West-India and

Northern RUM

15 Bags of COFFEE


Swedes IRON

Window GLASS.

They are selling their STOCK of Silk, Cotton & Woollen GOODS, at New-York Auction prices.

Fayetteville, Nov. 21. 41tf

[The American – Fayetteville, N. C. – Thursday, December 5, 1816]


THE Public are respectfully requested to take notice, that in carrying Merchandize or Produce between Wilmington & Fayetteville ### to or from either place, the subscribers will not in future be liable to any of the rules applicable to common carriers, nor be responsible for any loss or damage happening to property placed on board their Boats, unless occasioned by the want of ordinary care and diligence in the commander and crew.

Duncan Thompson, Clark & McNeill,

John MacMillan, L. Newby,

H. Branson, P. I. Tillinghast, jr

Winslow & Huske, James Mitchell,

Norman McLeod, Sam’l Pearce & Co.,

James Baker, Will. H. Bowen,

Campbell & Waddill, Kelly & Evans,

McNeill & Kirkland, Yarbrough & Hart,

Alexander Campbell.

Fayetteville, Jan. 30, 1817.

[The American -- Fayetteville, N. C. -- January 9, 1817]

Lots for Sale


THE Cape-Fear Navigation Company having commenced the improvement of the river above Fayetteville, invite the attention of Merchants and Mechanics to the town of Haywood. The lands on which the town is laid out were purchased by the company several years ago, and part of the lots were then sold in considerable number of the residue of the lots will be exposed to sale on the premises, on the 4th and 5th of September next, on a credit of six and twelve months. This town is situate near the centre of the state, at the confluence of the Haw and Deep Rivers, convenient to the greatest part of the tobacco and wheat country which have trades to the Cape Fear. The company expect that within less then two years, a commodious navigation will be opened to this town for boats carrying fifty hogsheads of tobacco. They assure the public that no exertions will be spared on their part to effect this object. Preparations are now making by sundry individuals to erect bridges across the rivers, and to establish extensive Brick Yards at this place. Several Carpenters are about to settle themselves in the town, and the Company hope that persons disposed to establish themselves there will meet with no difficulty in procuring either materials or workmen.

H. BRANSON, President.

July 10, 1818 24 7t

[The American -- Fayetteville, N. C. -- Thursday July 23, 1818]




THE following arrangement has been adopted for the transportation of produce and merchandize by the Steam-Boat Henrietta, between Fayetteville and Wilmington.

Produce will be received on board the Henrietta at Fayetteville, and landed at the Steam-Boat Wharf in Wilmington, free of wharfage in both places—And , if required, will be received in the Steam-Boat Warehouse in Wilmington, free of storage for the first week; subject, afterwards, to a charge of half the usual rates of storage.

Merchandise will be received on board the Henrietta at the Steam-Boat Wharf in Wilmington free of wharfage.

Merchandize received at Wilmington, and intended to be forwarded by the Henrietta to Fayetteville, may be landed at the Steam Boat Wharf, and will be received in the warehouse free of charge for wharfage and storage.




Cotton, per Bale, 55

Tobacco, “ Hhd., $2 40

Flour, “ Bbl. 33

Flaxseed, “ Cask, 73


Salt, coarse, per Bushel, 12

Ditto, fine, “ do. 10

Sugar, over 1250 lbs. Hhd. 325

“ under 1250 “ “ 275

Molasses, per Hhd. 275

Rum, “ “ 275

Iron, “ Ton, 450

Boxes and bales, “ Cubic foot 15

JAMES M’KAY & CO. Fayetteville, }

TIMOTHY SAVAGE, Wilmington. } Agents

Fayetteville, N. C. Nov. 7, 1820. 38 tf

The editors of the New York Evening Post, and Charleston Courier are requested to give the above four insertions in their respective papers and forward their accounts to this office for collection.

[Fayetteville Gazette – Wednesday November 22, 1820]

Cape Fear Navigation Company.

PURSUANT to the Provisions of the Act of Incorporation, notice is hereby given, that the Annual meeting of the Stockholders of the Cape-Fear Navigation Co. will be holden at the Town House in Fayetteville on Monday the 3rd. day of June next, at which time presence of the Proprietors, on {or} their Representatives, is requested.


Fayetteville May 1,

[The Gazette -- Fayetteville, NC -- May 29, 1822]


ARRIVED—On Sunday, Steam Boat North Carolina, with 29 hhds. molasses; 14 hhds. and 5 bbls. sugar; 6 hhds. and 18 bags coffee; 2 hhds. and 42 bbls. rum; 6 bbls. oil; 6 bags spice; 125 ps. pot metal; 395 bars iron; 80 bundles steel; 296 share moulds; 3 hhds. 8 casks, 221 bbls. and 44 boxes sundries.

Tow Boat Eliza Neal, with 1350 bushels salt; and Tow Boat Gen. Jackson, with 1500 bushels salt.

The Henrietta departed on the 23d, but we could not obtain the list of freight.

[Carolina Observer – Thursday Morning, March 31, 1825]

We participated, on Tuesday last, in one of the most agreeable parties of pleasure which it has ever been our good fortune to enjoy. Capt. Rush, of the Steam boat Henrietta, had politely invited a number of ladies and gentlemen to take an excursion in the boat about 12 miles up the river. The boat left the wharf a little after 10 o’clock, when about forty ladies and gentlemen had assembled. There being fine music on board, the younger part of the company commenced dancing, in which delightful amusement they were engaged, with such intermissions as pleasure suggested, till the boat returned, at 7 o’clock in the evening. Refreshments, of the best kind, were provided in the greatest profusion. All was enjoyment, all was happiness, no single accident or circumstance occurring to cast a shade on the brow or leave an unpleasant emotion on the heart of any.

We take this brief notice of the excursion, for the purpose of returning the thanks of the company to Capt. Rush, for the very polite and gratifying attentions which they received at his hands.


ARRIVED—On the 1st. inst. Steam Boat Henrietta, with 15 hhds. and 2 bbls. sugar; 27 bags coffee; 2 hdds. and 1 bbl. molasses; 25 bbls. whiskey; 40 bbls. rum; 547 bars Iron, and 3 bundles chains; 201 hides; 30 pieces bagging; 11 rolls leather; 4 crates and 1 cask crockery; 83 boxes, 15 casks, 5 bales, 12 barrels and 19 trunks sundries.

Tow Boat Commodore Perry, with 2409 bushels salt and 2 hhds. molasses.

DEPARTED—On the 1st. inst. Steam boat North Carolina, with 25 hhds. and 35 kegs tobacco; 247 bales cotton; 299 barrels flour; 14 boxes; 15 barrels; 3 hhds.

[Carolina Observer – Thursday Morning, April 7, 1825]

Labourers Wanted

On the CAPE FEAR RIVER, between


IT is my intention to recommence the works for the improvement of the Cape Fear river, between Fayetteville and Wilmington, as early as the season will admit.

Any number of laborers who choose to apply will find immediate employment.

Owners of Negroes will do well to embrace this opportunity of engaging them in a work where the wages are liberal and promptly paid, the provisions are wholesome and abundant and every attention will be paid to their cleanliness and health.


March 9.--tf State Engineer
[Carolina Observer – Thursday, June 2, 1825]


In this town, on Tuesday evening last, by the Rev. H. M. Mason, Mr. Doyle O’Hanlon, of Wilmington, to Miss Margaret Mary MacRae, daughter of Duncan MacRae, Esq.

[Carolina Observer – Thursday Morning, October 13, 1825]

The Cape-Fear Navigation Company.—

This body held its annual meeting in this town during the last week. The former officers were re-elected, and a dividend of 4 per cent. Payable on the 1st of October next, was declared.

We understand, with regret, that the Board of Internal Improvement, ahs as yet, obtained the services of no Civil Engineer, since Mr. Fulton resigned.—Without wishing or intending to impute any possible blame to the distinguished gentlemen who now compose the Board, towards all of whom we entertain the highest respect, we must be allowed to express our fears, that on account of the absence of an Engineer, the affairs of this Company are likely to fall into the same disorder and ruinous state as they were some years ago. It is understood that the Dredging Machine is at work below Wilmington, that two persons are engaged at a salary of $1,000 each, to superintend working hands on the river above Wilmington, and that one hundred labourers are or will be engaged to work under them, and the whole of this work, and all this expenditure, is going on without any Engineer to direct the operations.

Will no experience teach us wisdom? Are the resources of the State and the Company always to be frittered away in expenditures which avail nothing?

If the Board of Internal Improvement are unable to procure the services of a competent Engineer, it would be much better, we think, to suspend all work on the river until they can do so, than to employ men who are not Engineers and who will probably do more harm than good.—We are recollect how many thousand dollars were expended on the river while Messrs. Abernathy, & Co. were the superintendants, but none of us can point out any benefit from their work. The truth is, that civil engineering is a science not to be learned in a day, and it is worse than folly to be employing men in that department who know nothing about it. It cannot be denied that the spirit of internal improvement has suffered a retrograde motion in this State. This has been ascribed to the want of success in the works heretofore begun. But is a failure in the beginning to operate as a perpetual bar to further effort? Because complete success has not attended our first designs, are we to retire from the work and abandon it in despair? Will not the example of other countries, and of other States in our country, animate us to further and to higher efforts? Shall we shut our eyes to the splendid example of New York, to what Ohio, Virginia, Maryland and Delaware are doing? Is North-Carolina always to be in the rear of the march towards wealth and improvement? With a hardy, industrious, and patriotic population, with a climate as salubrious as any in the world, with a soil naturally good, and highly susceptible of improvement, with numerous rivers and water courses which might be made navigable, and with a rich treasury, shall we not diligently improve those means which a beneficent Creator has bestowed upon us? Shall we be contented to see our population gradually decreasing by emigration to the Westward, to see our produce waggoned to the neighboring States to build up their towns, or to see it sent to their cities to swell the amount of their exports? If no feeling of personal convenience will animate, us, shall we be insensible to state pride? What North-Carolinian is there who does not feel the glow of mortified pride when he is told that the little State of Maine exports domestic produce, annually, to the value of $964,664, while our exports are only $553,390? And that Alabama, of yesterday’s growth, exports upwards of $138,500 more than we do?

We shall resume this subject again soon.

[North Carolina Journal – Wednesday, June 7, 1826]

In our number of June 7th, in speaking of the Cape-Fear Navigation Company, we expressed our regret, “that the Board of Internal Improvements had not employed a Civil Engineer, and our fears, that for the want of one, the affairs of the Company would again fall into disorder; that two persons, as we understood, were engaged at a salary of $1,000 each to superintend hands working on the River, and that 100 labourers were or would be engaged to work under them.” The information, respecting the superintendants and the labourers, was obtained from a gentleman of the highest respectability, who is a Stockholder in the Company, and was present at the meeting. The matter was openly spoken of both in and out of doors, and formed, we believe, the subject of a memorial or remonstrance from the Company to the Board of Internal Improvements. But the Editors of the Register say that it is “not correct,” that two superintendants of the work on Cape-Fear are engaged at a salary of $1,000 each.” As, we presume, this is semi-official information, we must consider it as correct, though it is a matter past controversy, that the Cape-Fear Company, at their late meeting, believed that Hinton James and Otway Burns, Esquires, were engaged as superintendants at $1,000 each, and that each was to have the charge of a gang of 50 hands; and under the influence of this belief, and of the “fears and apprehensions” of the fallacy of this policy, they unanimously adopted a resolution instructing their Board of Directors to “memorialize the Board of Internal Improvements upon the necessity of procuring a Civil Engineer as soon as practicable, and to represent to them, the probably ruinous consequences to the interests of the Company, and the cause of Internal Improvements at large, of expending any money in opening the river until a suitable Engineer is employed.’ Thus you see, gentlemen, that “fears and regrets” were not confined to our bosoms, but were felt by all those most immediately interested in the navigation of the Cape-Fear.

That the public may understand why the Cape-Fear Navigation Company deemed it expedient to memorialize the Board of Internal Improvements on this subject, it may be necessary for us to state, that in the Session of 1823, the General Assembly passed an act authorizing the Board of Internal Improvements to subscribe, on behalf of the State, the sum of $25,000 to the capital stock of the Cape-Fear Navigation Company, on condition that the Stockholders should give their assent to a reduction of the Capital Stock from its nominal value of one hundred dollars for each share, to a sum not exceeding fifty dollars per share, and that “the President and Directors of the Company shall consent, in writing, that the Board of Internal Improvements shall have the sole and exclusive direction of the operations of the works, the making of contracts for the same, and all the improvements to be made on the River.” Be it remembered, that at this time the State had in its employment an Engineer who stood high in public confidence, and there was every expectation that he or some other Engineer would continue to be employed, until the great work of Internal Improvement was effected.—Under these views, and with these expectations, the Stockholders of the Company did, in February, 1824, accept of the proposition of the State, and upon the required terms; so that from that time, to the present, the Board of Internal Improvements “have had the sole and exclusive directions of the operations of the works, the making of contracts for the same, and all the improvements to be made on the River. “ The Navigation Company know, by dear bought experience, how idle, how worse than idle, how ruinous it is to have “superintendants” working on the river with a gang of hands under them, unless their operations be directed by a skillful and competent Engineer. Year after year had they ried the experiment, and although their “superintendants” were industrious, and as “intelligent,” and as “efficient” as any which are now employed, it always resulted in abortion and loss—thousands of dollars were spent, and for want of the requisite practical skill, the navigation of the river, instead of being amended, became more dangerous and troublesome. Hence they could not perceive, without regret that the Board of Internal Improvements, even without the lights which their experience had shed upon them, were pursuing the same path which always had led to disappointment and loss.

But, say the Editors of the register, “the Board have acted wisely not to engage, at present, a Civil Engineer in the place of Mr. Fulton,” as “neither the affairs of the Cape-Fear Company, nor those of any other Company, will suffer for the want of such an officer—for the following reasons: 1st, Because our last Legislature was decidedly opposed to the employment of an engineer. 2d, Because there is no object at present which calls for the services of one.” In these two reasons we behold a virtual abandonment of the cause of Internal Improvement; and when the Secretary of the Board, who is supposed to speak an official language, justifies the non-employment of an Engineer on the ground “that there is no object at present which calls for one,” well might a Virginia editor exclaim “that North-Carolina had abandoned the subject of Internal Improvements in disgust.” What! Are we to be told that because the last Legislature were opposed to the employment of an Engineer, that therefore the interests of Improvement will not suffer for the want of one? Yielding to this body all the respect due to them, we ask, are they infallible? Is there every act formed in the depths of wisdom?—But if the next Legislature should not be opposed to the employment of an Engineer, will it then be expedient to employ one? Why this versatility of opinion? Why should the march of public improvement be thus interrupted and disordered to answer temporary purposes? Besides the shock thus given to this all-pervading interest, we conceive that the Stockholders in the Cape-R{F}ear Navigation Company are, by the non-employment of an Engineer, injured in their essential rights; for we state unhesitatingly, that a principal inducement with them in surrendering to the Board of Internal Improvements, the exclusive right of directing the operations on the Cape-Fear River, was the well-grounded expectation, that those operations, and all the contracts for them, would be made and conducted under and by a “competent and suitable Engineer.”

In the second reason assigned by the Editors of the Register, why a Civil Engineer is not wanted, we would give, as a sufficient answer for the present, the resolution of the Stockholders of the Navigation Company, before quoted. We have already occupied so much space, that we must defer what we have to say on this point, to another time.


Freshet.—On Monday last the waters of the Cape-Fear rose ten feet in height, but have fallen so rapidly since as to render the passage of Steam-boats, for Wilmington to this place, still difficult if not impracticable.
[North Carolina Journal – Wednesday, June 21, 1826]


In this Town, on Wednesday the 6th inst. By the Rev. Mr. Hamlin, Mr. JOHN WILKINSON, to Miss ANN MCKENZIE, daughter of Mr. John McKenzie,…

[North Carolina Journal – Wednesday, July 12, 1826]


AT the annual meeting of the Stockholders of the Cape Fear Navigation Company, in June last, a Dividend of 4 per cent. On the Capital Stock of said Company was declared; which dividend will be payable on the 1st day of October next.


Fayetteville, N. C. Aug. 9th, 1826-t21

***Editors of the Raleigh Register will please insert the above 9 weeks and forward their account to the subscriber for payment. J. C.
[North Carolina Journal – Wednesday, July 12, 1826]

The Board of Internal Improvements met in this town on Friday last, and the Cape fear Navigation Company also held a meeting on the same day; and after finishing their business, the Members of the Board proceeded, on Saturday morning, in the steam Boat Henrietta, for Wilmington, for the purpose of viewing the river and the work carrying on below Wilmington, and, also, the operations of the dredging machine. Measures were taken for resuming the exertions of the Navigation Company to remove any obstructions which may yet remain to a free navigation between this town and Wilmington. We are informed by the Raleigh Register, that the Board intend visiting the Club Foot and Harlow Creek canal before they return, which they are required to inspect and report on, before the Public Treasurer is authorized to advance the $12,000, loaned to that corporation by the Legislature; and as this tour of examination will detain the Governor from the Seat of Government two or three weeks, persons having business with him can make application to him on his route, or, should the business be urgent, and it not convenient to meet him, they can make application to his Private Secretary at Raleigh, who will dispatch an express to him.

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