Towboat J. C. Rawn

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On Dec. 7, 1939, the towboat J.C. Rawn was tied up on the Ohio River at 20th Street in Huntington
when one of its three boilers exploded. The entire front end of the boat was blown away.
 The blast killed three crewmen and badly burned several others.
File photo | The Herald-Dispatch

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HUNTINGTON During the steamboat era on the river,
 boiler explosions were a constant threat.

On Dec. 7, 1939, the towboat J.C. Rawn was tied up on the Ohio River
 at 20th Street in Huntington when one of its three boilers exploded.
 The entire front end of the boat was blown away. The blast
 killed three crewmen and badly burned several others.
 The J.C. Rawn had to be scrapped due to the
extensive damage from the explosion.

Built at Jeffersonville, Indiana, in 1911, the 135-foot-long
sternwheeler was originally named the H.S. Chamberlain
 and later renamed the Weber. It was purchased by
E.V. Rawn of the River Dredging Co. in 1931.

On Feb. 13, 1937, she ended up in a cornfield when she went
ashore opposite Gallipolis Ohio, during high water. Two
other towboats, the Iroquois and Fairplay, tried to free
 her but were unable to do so. When the river fell,
she was left stranded. Owner Rawn had a
series of earth ponds built and so was
able to get her back in the river
by piloting her from pond
to pond.

On Dec. 4, 1988, the 130-pound bell of the J.C. Rawn
was found partially buried in the sand and gravel of
the river bottom by divers and salvaged by
diver Charlie Carroll, who hung the bell
 in his Huntington dive shop.

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Note:  This Article and picture appeared in the Herald-Dispatch Newspaper on Dec. 6, 2022..

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