Dann Marine Towing has its roots dating back to the 1800's. In the 1870's, Henry Clay Johnson began his career on the waters of the Kissimmee River in Florida. Johnson, who was born in Illinois in 1850, was president of the Kissimmee River Steamship Line.
His first vessel, Mamie Lown. Was a small side wheeler that transported passengers up and down the river. He would later own and operate three larger stern-wheelers; the Osceola , the Lillie , and the Roseada. These three vessels ran passengers, freight, and mail from Clewiston to South Bay and Pahokee and from Okeechobee City to Canal Point and Pahokee. Johnson also handled transportation for the Disston Land Company running up and down the Kissimmee and Caloosahatchee Rivers and around Lake Okeechobee.
Years later Captain Johnson and his crew began moving cargo aboard barges up and down rivers and throughout southern Florida.
In 1873, Johnson married a woman by the name of Lilly Augusta Rose, who was originally from New Orleans, Louisiana. Prior to moving to Florida, Johnson resided in New Orleans for a time. Having moved there from Illinois. Johnson and Lilly had four children. Albina Rose Johnson who was born in 1875. Married into the Dann family. In 1897, she married Alonzo Pittman Dann, of Orange County Florida.
Alonzo Dann, worked as a blacksmith by trade and then later became a steamboat captain working for his father-in-law, Henry Clay Johnson. In 1908, Alonzo moved his family to Miami, Florida continuing to work in the maritime industry. Mr. and Mrs. Alonzo Dann had eight children one of which was Rodney Harold Dann, who was born in 1900 in Kissimmee Florida.
Rodney Harold began his career aboard stern wheelers as well. Rodney Dann, began working those same bodies of water in Florida which his grandfather and father operated on for many years. In the beginning, he worked for his grandfather. And, was captain of the steamboat Osceola .
In 1924, Rodney married Ruby Moore from Johnson County, Georgia. Rodney and Mrs. Dann had four children. Dann worked for the Standard Dredging Company of New York, New York. And, after moving his family up and down the east coast following the various dredging jobs, he settled his family in Newark, Delaware in the late 1930's.
It was during that time that he formed his own company. And, went into business for himself. the Rodney H. Dann Towing and Lightering Company was formed.
In the early 1950's Dann acquired a Marine Construction Company. As well as, a working shipyard in Chesapeake City, Maryland. The Chesapeake and Delaware Shipyard was established. It was at this facility where Dann was able to perform maintenance on his growing tug fleet. As well as, yacht repairs and moorings for the many pleasure craft in the northern Chesapeake Bay.
The youngest of Rodney Dann's children was Robert Fulton Dann. Born in 1939, Robert Dann began working for his father while attending high school. Upon graduating, Robert Dann began his full time as a tug master. Captain Dann, as he is known today. Spent many years at sea. Gaining vast experience towing barges of all types. He eventually met a woman by the name of Joan Francis Stephenson of Newark, Delaware.
In 1967, after years of working with his father. Robert Dann along with his brother Rodney Dann, acquired the tug Rodney H. Dann from their father. In 1968, the two constructed their first new the Ocean Tower. Which was built in 1968, by Main Iron Works of Houma, Louisiana. That was followed by the Zeus which was built in 1974 by Bobbin Fabricators of Harvey, Louisiana.
Captain Robert Dann, along with his wife Joan. Later formed their own company. The Robert Dann Company, later changed their name to Dann Marine Towing.
In 1985, Captain Dann and his family purchased the shipyard in Chesapeake City from Robert's mother Ruby. Canal Place, as it is called, is the current base of operations for Dann Marine Towing. The property houses an office, warehouse, workshop, and bulkheads to allow servicing the fleet of tugs and barges.