The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Tug Ajax

Neff, Charles S., Artist
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The tug, Ajax, 55' long, was built in 1870, Oshkosh, Wis. by Von & the Ryan Bros. for Capt. Sam Neff. H.C. Doman, builder of marine engines. Oshkosh, later of Antigo. said that the Ajax was the first propeller type steamer on the rivers above Oshkosh. The engine, a 14x14 upright. was built by John Morse. Capt. B.P.Bangs, part owner, operated the Ajax, along with Capt.Sam Neff, on the Wolf-Fox waterway, going above New London to haul hemlock bark back to the tannery at Fond du Lac. The Ajax drew 6 feet of water, and at that time when the Wolf river flowed wide and deep it was possible to navigate to Stephensville. The Ajax, together with the Neff barges. Lucy and Eveready, took part July 4, 1879. in what was considered then a great engineering feat. The grist mill at Ferd Laabs' Sons' Reliance Flouring Mills, Winneconne, was moved from its foundations, placed on the barges and moved to Oshkosh. The Ajax shoved its way along, a distance of about 12 miles. Sam Neff was the captain. Everyone said that the job could not be done. Capt. Neff had to give a bond. People stood on the banks to watch. The Ajax had a busy career in rafting & hauling; dismantled in 1880. Her machinery was placed in the steamer S.Neff...The Ajax hull broke up in 1886. The Oshkosh Northwestern probably has this story of the Ajax...See also in the Neff collection the photo of the grist mill; the Neff drawing of the event, and the sketch of the Ajax and barges at Fremont, Wis.
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John S. Neff
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Tug Ajax