RACINE — The second of 12 Meigs County Bicentennial Markers is set to be unveiled at 10 a.m. on Wednesday at Racine’s Star Mill Park.
Each month throughout 2019 (Meigs County’s Bicentennial) markers will be unveiled, one in each of Meigs County’s 12 townships. The first was placed in Salisbury Township in January to mark the Kerrs Run Colored School.
The second marker is being placed in Sutton Township.
Sutton Township’s marker will commemorate Weaver Skiff Works.
According to writings by local historian Jordan Pickens and the Pioneer History of Meigs County,
In 1869, Captain George Smith started a skiff and boat building business in Racine. He passed this skill onto his son J.Q and his grandson Wallace Weaver. While Wallace took instantly to the craftsmanship of boat building, Wallace’s father Lucius persuaded him to learn the flour milling business. Wallace went on to become part owner of the Star Mill Co. in Racine (Star Mill Park’s namesake). Wallace married Lillian Weldon, and together they had one son, James Wallace “Boone” Weaver, Jr., born in 1897. In 1900, Wallace went on start his own business, leaving milling behind for his original trade: Weaver Skiff Works was born.
The term skiff or skiff boats refers to a typically small flat-bottomed open boat with a pointed bow and a flat stern that was originally developed as an inexpensive and easy-to-build boat for use by inshore fishermen. Weaver’s skiffs and johnboats were mostly 14, 16, 18, and 20 feet in length and were used mainly as life boats on steamboats and ferry boats all across the inland waterways.
In 1941, Boone married Nora Holter. Eight years later, Boone’s father Wallace died. At the time of his death, Wallace Weaver was the director of Racine Home Bank. Wallace’s death not only left Boone the skiff business, but Boone succeeded his father as director of Racine Home Bank. In 1950, Boone decided to build his wife Nora a beauty shop next to their home. He also moved the Weaver Skiff Works business next door at the corner of 5th and Vine Streets in Racine. Boone would continue to build skiffs at this location and serve as bank director until his death in 1978. During his tenure as bank director, he oversaw the consolidation of Racine Home Bank and First National Bank of Racine to become Home National Bank of Racine.
A year after Boone’s death, Weaver Skiff Works was sold to Gordon Winebrinner who continued the business for many years. Ironically, when Gordon Winebrinner was less than two weeks old, he was transported to safety in a Weaver skiff during the great flood of 1937. Coming full circle, Gordon went on to build the same pattern boat that saved his life those many years ago. It was noted in Meigs County History: Volume II that Gordon had much respect for Boone, and he considered it an honor to carry on his traditions.
The marker will be unveiled at 10 a.m. on Wednesday at Star Mill Park.
Information from the writings of local historian Jordan Pickens and the Pioneer History of Meigs County, provided by the Meigs County Bicentennial Committee.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.