The following photos were sent to us by Mary Torner Burbach, the daughter of Lawrence Glenn and Vina Burge Torner, and the granddaughter of William and Jennie Amanda Greene Torner. Captions under each of the photos were provided to us by William V. Torner, the son of Hugo and Elsie Torner and the grandson of William and Jennie Torner.
The photo with the Coca Cola sign on the roof of the Newport Garage Co., that sold Sohio gasoline. The view is looking down river, and the down river side of the Vaucluse Hill is in the background, 1937.
The photo with small buildings and trees without leaves is Newport, and in the background is the mouth of Greens Run in W. Va. The hill on the right of Greens Run is the upriver side of Vaucluse Hill. The water surrounding the buildings and trees is the 1937 flood.
More from Bill's letter:
Also in that letter I mentioned Greens Run and Vaucluse on the West Virginia side of the Ohio River. Vaucluse is pronounced with a silent s making it Vaucloo. On the side of Vaucluse Hill along Greens Run was once the town of Vaucluse. It was the terminus of the Baltimore, Maryland, to the Oho River stagecoach line. There were houses, stores, a hotel and stables for the stagecoach horses. It was here that west bound travleers left the stagecoaches and boarded steamboats to go to Pittsburgh or down the Ohio River to the Mississippi River and up to St. Louis. East bound travelers doing just the reverse.
Newport, Ohio, also had a hotel and house of entertainment for travelers by steamboat. In those days a house of entertainment was an inn and opra house and supposedly not a house of prostitution. There was a ferry service between Newport and Vaucluse making the two towns a travel center many years ago.
When the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was built it followed the stagecoach line from Baltimore to a few miles short of the Ohio River where it veered southwest to what is now Parkersburg, W. Va. Later it crossed the Ohio River and continued overland to St. Louis, Missouri.
When the B&O Railroad built the Ohio River division from Pittsburgh, Penn., to Huntington, W. Va., the stagecoach line was gone and eventually the town of Vaucluse completely disappeared. There were five B&O passenger trains a day carrying the U.S. Mail, and they made a mail stop at what had been Vaucluse. It was from the Newport post office to and from this mail stop that Grandpa [William V. Torner], Uncle Norris [Torner] and I ferried the mail in the skiff you saw in the 1937 flood.
[The reverse of the photo identifies this house as the Collette home. Bill Torner's comments correct the identity.] The photo marked Collette home is acutally the "Mugsy" Valentine home. It is next door to the Torner filling station on the upriver side. I never knew Mr. Valentine's first name. Everybody called him "Mugsy."
The photo with two men in a skiff and two men on a roof, are probably Norris and Harley Torner in the skiff. Norris and Grandpa owned the skiff and it is the skiff I learned to use when I started my life on the river. The object at the left of the photo is the temper screw on a standard rig used for drilling oil wells. One of the men on the roof is Billy Bosworth, a retired steamboat engineer that I knew and who got me intersted in steamboating.
The two men in the skiff to the left of the tree in the Valentine yard appear to be Harley Torner at the oars and Norris Torner standing.
The five men in the skiff in front of the Valentine home may be Harley Torner the second man from the left. The other four men I do not know.
The man in the lower left side of the picture is Harley Torner, and the pick-up truck behind him is a 1937 model truck. The boat is the same U. S. Coast Guard that is floating over Greene Street in front of the Kerr store and home. I do not see any other Torners in the photo.
The photo with the Torner sign at the right edge shows the Valentine home next to the filling station. The two story house in the center of the photo is the Collett home. The water on the left side of the photo and in front of the Collett home is over Ohio Rt. 7 and U. S. Alternate Route 50. The Torner home is out of the photo on high ground to the left of the photo and directly across Ohio 7 and US 50 from the Collett home. Roy Collett was the purser on the steam packet LIBERTY and let me have free rides on the boat. He gave a free ride for Dad, Mother, Chuck (Pollie), Duane and me from Parkersburg, W. Va., to St. Marys, W. Va. The only steamboat ride Pollie has ever had.
The Torner filling station was built in 1928 and sold Sunoco oil and gasoline. The flood was in 1937.
The Kerr store and Coast Guard boat photo has a correct caption on the back and the year is 1937. Caption on reverse of photo: Coast Guard boat in front of Kerr store and home.