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Capt. Tony Harrison

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Old 12-24-2007, 03:11 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Rabbit Hash, KY and Decatur, Al Shipyards
Posts: 1,160
Default Capt. Tony Harrison

The sad news reached the RH Shipyard, just as the Christmas party was getting into full swing that Captain TONY HARRISON died earlier this month, and it put a damper on our holiday mood.

Tony and I met through his late brother, Jim Harrison, when the "Tee" was unemployed and looking for any sort of work. That was just after Cappy Lawson Hamilton hired me to run the P. A. DENNY, but there wasn't a slot for him on deck as we had such notables as Nelson Jones, Bill Barr, and Tom Cook were filling the station bill during their summer break from college. So I sent Tony over to the Cincinnati Landing and told him to look up Captain Gabe who would surely give him a job if he had an opening; he did and Tony was hired on the DELTA QUEEN.

Tony asked, before he went over to see Gabe, that if an opening occurred on the PAD, to let him know, especially in September when the school boys returned to school. Right before the 1976 Sternwheel Regatta, "T" was sent a postcard saying he'd be hired if he was still interested in the DENNY job, and I received a call from him phoning from the Under-the-Hill Saloon in Natchez. Tony came to Charleston for the festive week, was impressed, and stayed.

After he "sat" for his 100 Ton Master's ticket, in the Fall of 1977, I presented him the command of the DENNY as a Christmas gift while celebrating aboard the sternwheeler that holiday season. Tony was BB Riverboat's first Captain when he commanded the BETTY BLAKE, but T's specialty was sternwheelers, and he was right at home on the MARK TWAIN when BB acquired that cute little paddlewheeler; especially-so as Tony had a strong resemblance to a young Mark Twain, the man.

Captain Tony had some sad breaks, but when he was at his best, he was terrific. T. could cook like a pro, and he rustled up some tasty grub over open fires on several riverbanks when we were tramping the DENNY. Tony was a fine boatman and as good a sternwheel boat handler as there was on river for his age and experience. I will surely miss him.

Last edited by Shipyard Sam; 12-26-2007 at 12:30 PM. Reason: PDQ
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