In 1817, a year after his election, Vice President Daniel D. Tompkins developed the first motorized ferry for the Richmond Turnpike Company, as a part of his created Tompkinsville. He financed the Turnpike Company himself. Tompkins first intensions was to create a highway across Staten Island. Before the motorized ferry, there were originally "two-masted sailingboats."
John De Forest was the first captain of this new motorized ferry, name the Nautilus, named after the Nautilus Hall. De Forest was the brother-in-law of Cornelius Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt bought the company in 1838 but sold it to his brother Jacob in the early 1860's when the American Civil War began.