Dann Marine Towing dates back to the 1800's, in the 1870's, Captain Henry Clay Johnson began his career on the waters of the Kissimmee River in Florida. Captain 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. Captain 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, Captain Johnson married a woman by the name of Lilly Augusta Rose, who was originally from New Orleans, Louisiana. Prior to moving to Florida, Captain Johnson lived in New Orleans for a time, having moved there from Illinois. Captain Johnson and Lilly had four children. Albina Rose Johnson who was born in 1875, married into the Dann family. She was courted by Alonzo Pittman Dann, of Orange County Florida and they where married in 1897.
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, continuing to work in the maritime industry. During their life together, 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. Captain Dann, began working those same bodies of water in Florida which his grandfather and father operated on for many years. In the beginning of his career, he worked for his grandfather, and was captain of the steamboat Osceola .
In 1924, Rodney married Ruby Moore from Johnson County, Georgia. Captain and Mrs. Dann had four children. Captain Dann worked for Standard Dredging Company of New York, and after moving his family up and down the east coast following the various dredging jobs, he finally settled in Newark, Delaware in the late 30's.
It was during that time that he formed his own company and went into business for himself. Rodney H. Dann Towing and Lightering was formed, thus continuing the entrepreneurial spirit that his grandfather started years ago.
In the early 1950's Captain Dann purchased a Marine Construction Company, as well as a working shipyard in Chesapeake City, Maryland, and formed another company, The Chesapeake and Delaware Shipyard. It was at this facility where he 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 Captain Rodney and Mrs. Dann's children was Robert Fulton Dann, born in 1939. Robert started working for his father while attending high school, and upon graduating, began his full time career as a tug captain. 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.
After years of working with his father, Captain Robert along with his brother Rodney, purchased the tug Rodney H. Dann , an former Navy YTB from their father in 1967, and began a career of their own. The first new tug, the Ocean Tower , 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. To this day, the Zeus continues to be one of the main stays of the current fleet.
Captain Robert, along with his wife Joan, later formed their own company, Robert Dann Company, changed later to Dann Marine Towing. Captain Dann and his wife Joan worked for many years running their successful tug business from their home in Middletown, Delaware.
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. Renovations of the property have been on going through the years with an office, warehouse, workshop, and bulk heads servicing the fleet of tugs and barges.
Dann Marine Towing, is now a fifth generation family owned and operated tugboat company, manages a fleet of seventeen ocean going tugboats and inland push boats. These vessels range in horsepower from 1,100 horsepower to 4,200 horsepower. The fleet operates along the United States East Coast, Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean and South America.