ANDREW FLETCHER, New York, NY – 1865
This 1865 painting of the "ANDREW FLETCHER" is a good representation of the earliest tow boats (now called tug boats) to operate on a part time basis from New York Harbor as what would later become known as the 'party boat' or 'head boat'. On Sundays during the 1860s and 1870s, there was very little towing business available and many New York harbor tow boats took parties of anglers to "The Fishing Banks" during their off days. And during the summer months, it was common to see as many as 30 tow vessels anchored on the fishing grounds east of Sandy Hook, New Jersey. At the time, she sailed from Manhattan's East River under the guidance of veteran fishing pilot Samuel 'Sam' Greenwood. An advertisement for her dated June 29, 1865 announced "The New and Splendid Steamer ANDREW FLETCHER for the Fishing Banks".
The "ANDREW FLETCHER" was built in 1864 at Athens, New York for the Fletcher Harrison & Co. who at the time manufactured marine steam engines. She was powered with a Fletcher Harrison & Co. engine and was named after Company Chairman, Andrew Fletcher. She was later owned by the Quarantine Commission of New York and on December 19, 1872, she caught fire while returning from Hoffman Island in Lower New York Bay and burned to the waterline. She was scrapped and her engine was salvaged and installed in a newly built vessel.