John Beatty's Navy update

John Beatty's Navy wreckage (2009)
by Naquillity

I had the pleasant fortune of receiving an email last Monday (7/20) from a man named Corey. He wrote me about one of my former posts, John Beatty's Navy. When I wrote him back I asked if I could use his name and e-mail correspondence in an update here at Poefusion. Imagine my excitement when he said yes. Here's the first of two emails he sent.

I recently stumbled across your photos of Beatty’s wreckage. I spent time on that boat as a kid and with Captain Beatty. I was living on the West Coast when Beatty passed away and when the sinking of his towboat happened.

And the other...

Interestingly enough this isn’t the first time the Clare E. Beatty towboat has sunk. It sunk back in the late 1970s when Captain Beatty was trying to rescue some barges that cut loose down in Warsaw, KY (at the Markland Dam and Locks). The Clare E. Beatty towboat sunk when the Ohio River was almost frozen solid in ice. Beatty of course raised the boat because after all, that is what he did best.

Personally, I knew Captain Beatty back between 1986-1990. I was 9 years old when I first met him. Not a very long time but during that time I spent a lot of time at his house down in Warsaw KY and on overnight trips up and down the Ohio River. One trip was even during a salvage operation back in 1989 when a barge broke loose and hit the L & N Bridge in Cincinnati. The bridge was right next to Riverfront Stadium. It was a 3 week salvage operation, and all of Beatty’s equipment was anchored to one of the bridge piers. I remember sitting in the pilot house of the Clare E. Beatty late into the night and being able to see the beautiful lights from the city buildings glistening on the river. Captain Beatty’s wife, Clare, was in her early 70s at the time and battling some form of cancer. I think it was lung cancer because she was a daily smoker. Despite her illness, she too came along on the overnight trips. She would be the head cook and the galley (kitchen) of the boat was her domain. She made sure she fed everyone great home cooked meals during the trips. She’d cook for like a crew of 10 to 15 people on the boat. I remember she baked a delicious coconut cake and whenever I came to their house in Warsaw she’d always have one ready for me to eat! My most favorite summer trips on that boat was always to Augusta KY where they would hold an annual sternwheel boat regatta. It would take place at Augusta’s landing and about 15 to 20 sternwheelers would beach up at the shore. It would last 4 to 5 days and there would be music, craft makers, a corn roast, fireworks, etc. When I moved back to Cincinnati in 2004 I remember checking the calendar to see if they were still having the regatta but they discontinued them a couple years before. I was very disappointed but it probably wouldn’t be the same without Captain Beatty and Clare anyway. So yes, the Clare E. Beatty boat holds some very special memories for me and I can tell you that when it becomes feasible in the future, I might try to salvage and restore the boat myself.

The Kenton County Library just recently posted 8 pages of photos of Captain Beatty, his wife Clare, and the boat. Click here: Just type in the word “beatty” in the photo search.

You may have seen it already, but I attached an oil painting photo that was done by artist Tom Lohre. It is my favorite picture of the boat!

John Beatty's Navy, oil painting
by Tom Lohre

Corey also provided a link to a book titled Beatty's Navy: The Life and Times of John L. and Claire E. Beatty at Amazon but it is currently unavailable.

Thank you so much Corey for sharing your memories of John, Claire and Beatty's Navy with us here at Naquillity. It is greatly appreciated.

Update: Being the interesting story this was I decided to change the blog name to my current blog and share this post here. Hope you enjoyed the story...


christine said...

Wow, original history, straight from a direct source. I imagine you'll weave all of this story into a poem... .

lisaschaos said...

I'm glad Corey wrote and filled in more information!

Sally in WA said...

Great post. Glad you were allowed to share the emails.

Jim said...

I am very glad that people still remember my grandparents. They were the best. Thank you Corey, the thought of raising here is great.But 14 years is a long time and the river does not like giving up things easily. John new the river better than anybody and without him the Clare would not be the same.
Just remember all the good times and how she was back then.Those things bring a smile to my face and an ache in my heart. I sure do miss them.

Pete Yingling said...

I have the original lantterns from the Clarie (kerosene burner, mounting brackets and all) green and red. Also have steam whistle from U.S.S. America that John salvaged and gave to my father. Pete Yingling 7720 Pine av. Leeds al. 35094. Also spent a lot of time with John and have been eating at Mike Finks for over 30 Years

Pete Yingling said...

P.S. Why is it that nobody ever mentions the house on the island?