J. A. Paisley Steamship Company and Morrow Steamship Company Records

Identifier: GLMS-0006

Collection Overview

Scope and Contents

Financial Records for the J. A. Paisley and Morrow Steamship Companies are the complete content of this collection. The records date from 1922 to 1953. The majority of these files are in the series of Vessel Expense Vouchers for the Paisley company. Dating from 1952-1953, these files document daily expenditures involved in operating the vessels in the fleet.

The remaining part of the collection contains three ledgers for the Paisley and Morrow companies. Wage expenses are recorded in separate volumes for each company from 1943-1953. The ledgers contain employee names and wages. A ledger with general financial information for the Morrow company completes the collection. The years 1922-1948 are covered in this volume of accounts for payments regarding companies with which Morrow conducted business. Letters and invoices appear for mining companies, towing services, grocers, and other businesses.


  • 1922-December 31, 1953


2 Cubic Feet (2 records storage cartons and 3 volumes)


Company History

The J. A. Paisley Steamship Company and the Morrow Steamship Company were founded in the early twentieth century to participate in the Great Lakes coal trade. The Paisley organization, named for James A. Paisley, was founded in 1915 as a subsidiary of the Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company of Cleveland, Ohio. The Morrow Steamship Company was formed as another Cleveland Cliffs subsidiary in 1916.

In 1926 the Cleveland Cliffs management sold the Paisley and Morrow fleets to the Valley Camp Coal Company for inclusion in the fleet managed by the Valley Camp Steamship Company. The Paisley and Morrow lines transported coal under this arrangement until 1935 when the Columbia Transportation Company acquired them through a merger with the Valley Camp Steamship Company.

The Paisley name became directly involved in managing both the Paisley and Morrow fleets when Robert J. Paisley , son of James A. Paisley, became president of both lines after the 1935 merger. Robert Paisley had been managing the fleet for the Valley Camp Steamship Company. Paisley's business skills directed the Paisley and Morrow lines through successful years until his death in 1952. Robert Paisley simultaneously directed the fleets of the Columbia Transportation Company, including Paisley and Morrow vessels, the Oglebay Norton Company and the Lake Carriers' Association.

In 1954 the Oglebay Norton Company purchased the vessels of the Columbia Transportation Company and its Paisley and Morrow subsidiaries. The J. A. Paisley Steamship Company and the Morrow Steamship Company were merged with the Oglebay Norton fleet and ceased to operate under their own names.

Conditions Governing Access

No known access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers using this collection assume full responsibility for conforming to the laws of libel, privacy, and copyright, and are responsible for securing permissions necessary for publication or reproduction.

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Related Materials

For further information on the Paisley fleet, see the book The Five Fleets of James A. Paisley & Fourteen Fleets of James Playfair by John O. Greenwood, published by Freshwater Press, 1997. The personal papers of James A. Paisley are held by the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland, OH. The finding aid can be located using the OhioLINK Finding Aid Repository at this link.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Acquired by the Center for Archival Collections on July 9, 1973.

Guide to the J. A. Paisley Steamship Co. & Morrow Steamship Co. Records
Mark Sprang
June 2018
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