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Title: Historic Highways of America (Vol. 9) - Waterways of Westward Expansion - The Ohio River and its Tributaries
Author: Hulbert, Archer Butler, 1873-1933
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  Waterways of Westward Expansion



  _With Maps_






  PREFACE                                      9
   II. THE INDIAN SIDE                        48
  III. "THE NAVIGATOR"                        73
   VI. THE NAVIGATION OF THE OHIO            189


    I. BONNÉCAMPS'S MAP OF THE OHIO RIVER; 1749                       24
   II. CAPTAIN GORDON'S MAP OF THE OHIO; 1766                _facing_ 48


In the study of Waterways of Westward Expansion, the Ohio River--the
"Gateway of the West"--occupies such a commanding position that it must
be considered most important and most typical. Such is its situation in
our geography and history that it is entitled to a most prominent place
among Historic Highways of America which greatly influenced the early
westward extension of the borders and the people of the United States.
Not until a late period in the expansion era--the day of steam
navigation--did the Great Lakes rise to importance as highways of
immigration, and south of the Ohio River Basin there was no westward
waterway of importance. The day of the keel-boat and barge was of moment
in the broadening of the American sphere of influence on this continent,
and nowhere is the study of these ancient craft made to so good
advantage as on the Ohio and its tributaries.

This monograph is devoted, therefore, to the part played by this
waterway as a road into the West. The two introductory chapters,
concerning Céloron and the first occupation of the Old Northwest, added
to previous volumes of this series (iii, iv, v, and vi), complete the
legendary and historical setting necessary for a proper view of the Ohio
in the first momentous years of the nineteenth century. The occupation
and filling of the southern shores of the Ohio was the story of Volume
VI; the story of the filling of the northern shore is outlined in the
second chapter of this book. With the position of the first colonies and
settlements in the great valley well comprehended, and a conception of
the origin of the different colonies and their varied types, the next
logical step in our study is the rise of the river trade and its

It is hardly necessary to point out to any reader of these volumes that
the Ohio River was the highway upon which all of the great early
continental routes focused. Washington's Road, Braddock's Road,
Forbes's Road, and Boone's Road--like the Indian and buffalo trails
they followed--had their goal on the shores of this strategic waterway.
The westward movement was by river valleys (a fact perhaps never
sufficiently emphasized) and not until the Tennessee, Monongahela,
Kanawha, and Kentucky Rivers were reached were any waters found to run
parallel with the social movement itself.

When this goal of half a century was reached, then followed a half
century of river travel that is being forgotten with remarkable
rapidity. This cannot be realized until one marks out for himself the
task, for instance, of learning how a keel-boat was made and how it was
operated. The echo of the steersman's voice and the tuneful note of the
bargeman's horn have faded from our valleys; and with this music has
passed away a chapter of our history of vital importance and
transcendant human interest.

For the sum and substance of Chapter III, the author is indebted, as
the title indicates, to the painstaking labor of one Zadoc Cramer, a
statistical hero of a time when a man who could "earn his salt" was
making a good day's wage, and when it seemed likely that Pittsburg might
become one of the principal cities of the West.

                                                              A. B. H.

MARIETTA, OHIO, July 23, 1903.

Waterways of Westward Expansion



The Ohio River is a greater and more important stream than is generally
realized. It drains a vast and rich territory; its northern source is in
latitude 42° 20['], while its mouth, thirteen hundred miles away, is in
latitude 37° north. Its eastern tributaries are in longitude 78°, while
its outlet is in longitude 89° 20[']. It thus comprises 5° 2['] of
latitude and 11° 20['] of longitude. The Ohio drains a greater area than
the Mississippi above the mouth of the Missouri; nearly one quarter of
the waters which flow into the Gulf of Mexico come from it. The lower
Mississippi and Missouri, only, drain more territory than the Ohio; but
the downfall of rain in the Missouri drainage is not so great in actual
water supply as that which falls within the 214,000 square miles drained
by the Ohio. Moreover, in the district drained by the two heads of the
Ohio, the Allegheny and the Monongahela (20,000 square miles), it has
been estimated that the ratio of discharge to downfall is much greater
than on any of the tributaries of the Mississippi. In 1868,
1,342,605,725,800 cubic feet of water passed Pittsburg, and in 1869,
1,634,846,499,200 cubic feet. At the same time the annual downfall of
rain in the entire Ohio drainage was twenty and one-half trillion cubic
feet, while the discharge of the Ohio into the Mississippi at Cairo was
five trillion cubic feet. The ratio of discharge to downfall therefore
was 0.24.

These estimates, which undoubtedly approximate the truth, are of moment
to our study. Nature cast, with a lavish hand, her waters where they
would count tremendously in the opening of this continent: for the
waters that fell here flowed into the West and the social movement was
to be westward. The Ohio, more than any river, was to influence the
flood-tides of immigration. The provision of water was, comparatively,
abundant; that was the first necessity. A large proportion of the water
that fell flowed away; that was the second necessity. It flowed
approximately west; that was the third necessity. Thus it is that this
river, of all rivers, has a place among the Historic Highways of America
which were controlling forces in the early days of our national
expansion westward.

There are various theories concerning the name Ohio, the most popular
and generally acceptable being that Ohio was the English way of spelling
and pronouncing the name Oyo, "beautiful" which the Indians had given to
the river. The French, who usually translated Indian names, called the
Ohio River La Belle Rivière. Later came the English, and the Iroquois
name Oyo was Anglicized to Ohio, the modern name of the river. This
makes a very satisfactory explanation of La Belle Rivière, were it not
that the Reverend John Heckewelder affirmed that the French name Belle
Rivière was not a translation from the Indian, since there was no such
Indian word meaning "beautiful." Mr. Heckewelder felt dissatisfied with
the theory that Ohio meant "beautiful," and while yet associated with
the Indians and familiar with their language, made a study of their
names for the Ohio River with interesting and enlightening results. In
tracing the derivation of the word Ohio he shows that, in the Miamis
language, O'hui or Ohi, when prefixed, meant "very," while Ohiopeek
meant "very white" (caused by froth or white caps) and Ohiopeekhanne
meant "the white foaming river." He further states: "The Ohio river
being in many places wide and deep and so gentle that for many miles, in
some places, no current is perceivable, the least wind blowing up the
river covers the surface with what the people of that country call
'white caps;' and I have myself witnessed that for days together, this
has been the case, caused by southwesterly winds (which by the by are
the prevailing winds in that country) so that we, navigating the canoes,
durst not venture to proceed, as these white caps would have filled, and
sunk our canoe in an instant. Now, in all such cases, when the river
could not be navigated with canoes, nor even crossed with this kind of
craft--when the whole surface of the water presented white foaming
swells, the Indians would, as the case was at the time, say, 'juh
Ohiopiechen, Ohiopeek Ohiopeekhanne;' and when they supposed the water
very deep they would say, 'kitschi Ohiopeekhanne,' which means, 'verily
this is a deep white river.'"[1]

The traders who penetrated the Indian country were commonly careless of
the pronunciation of names; any word which bore a fragment of similarity
to the true name was satisfactory. There is, however, great excuse for
this, as it was impossible for white men to acquire the "Indian ear" and
pronounce the gutturals of the Indian language. Thus the abridgement of
many words was carried to such an extent that nothing significant of the
original Indian name remains. The newcomer learned of his predecessor
and the "nick-names" were adopted and handed down leaving the true names
to pass out of memory and existence. For instance Pittsburg was commonly
called "Pitt" by the traders; Youghiogheny, "Yough;" Hockhocking,
"Hocken." Our word Lehigh has no signification but was shortened from
the original Indian name Leehauhanne. In this same manner, the traders
adopted the first syllables of the word Ohiopeekhanne, thus obtaining an
easier name to pronounce and remember.

The Reverend Mr. Heckewelder is probably the best authority on Indian
names and customs, so that, presumably, his version of the derivation
and meaning of the name Ohio is the most authentic; but, the question
remains, why should the French have called it La Belle Rivière? One
cannot pass, however, without noting that in the Onondaga language there
was a word ojoneri--the j being pronounced like our y. The Reverend
David Zeisberger, who compiled a copious dictionary of the Onondaga
language, asserted that ojoneri meant "beautiful" but in an adverbial
sense, describing the manner in which something is done--synonymous with
our word well. If the French translated an Indian name La Belle Rivière,
it was the first syllables of this word, ojoneri, that they
translated--about as correctly as Washington translated Illinois when he
first heard it "Black Island" (Île Noire) or Lieutenant-governor
Hamilton of Detroit translated Rivière d'Anguille (Eel River, as the
Indians called it) as if it were Rivière d'Anglais.

It is believed that the famous La Salle was the discoverer of the Ohio;
three years of his life are unaccounted for at a moment when, as Fate
would have it, we would like most to know where the brave explorer went.
Suddenly we lose sight of La Salle near Niagara--searching earnestly for
a great western river. Where he went we do not know but there is
evidence that he came to what the French later knew as La Belle Rivière
and descended it to "the Falls," or Louisville, Kentucky, about 1670.

The earliest actual description of the Allegheny and Ohio Rivers is
contained in the narratives of two men who came to the Ohio about the
middle of the eighteenth century. Here we find the earliest authentic
experience of travelers on this great water highway. This first glimpse
of the Allegheny and Ohio is alluring in its suggestiveness; there is so
much to be noted, between the lines. No story of the Ohio can be written
without presenting the faintly filled-in pictures of Céloron and
Bonnécamps: of the rugged hills, the rapid waters, the humorous
scattering of the Loups and Renards; the solemn proclamations "in a loud
voice" of sovereignty; the flotilla of canoes sweeping around the hill
and out of sight. But almost all of this is left to the imagination;
lacking this, the story is but a meaningless record of landings and
departures, harangues and horrors. To every reader the story must appear
differently, but to all it must be a first glimpse of the primeval Ohio.


On the afternoon of the fifteenth day of June in the year 1749 a gallant
company of French, with savage allies, under the direction of Monsieur
Céloron de Bienville, embarked on the St. Lawrence in twenty-three
canoes at La Chine near Montreal. Progress was slow for, in addition to
the passengers, provisions, and camp necessities, the weight of a number
of leaden plates caused the canoes to glide deeply in the clear waters.
It is to the journals of Céloron and Father Bonnécamps, both of which
are preserved in the archives of the Department of the Marine, in Paris,
that we owe our knowledge of this first recorded voyage down La Belle
Rivière, and with this expedition of 1749 begins the authentic
history of the Ohio River.[2]

Céloron and his detachment, with M. de Contrecoeur as captain,
proceeded up the St. Lawrence and into the lakes. After coasting the
southern shore of Lake Erie, he arrived at the Chautauqua portage--now
known as Barcelona or Portland--on the sixteenth of July; and with the
dawn of the following day began the ascent of Chautauqua Creek, called
by the French Rivière aux Pommes. Much patience and labor was expended
on this unnavigable stream, and it was not until the twenty-second of
the following month that the band entered Chautauqua Lake, having spent
six days of this time in toiling over the six-mile portage which
connects Chautauqua Creek with the lake. Céloron now voyaged down the
lake and on the morning of the twenty-fourth of July entered Conewango
Creek. The water was low and, borrowing the words of Céloron: "On the
29th at noon I entered 'la Belle Rivière' I buried a plate of lead at
the foot of a red oak on the south bank of the river Oyo and of the
Chauougon, not far from the village of Kanaouagon, in latitude 42° 5[']
23['']."[3] Of this same occasion Father Bonnécamps wrote: "Finally,
overcome with weariness, and almost despairing of seeing the Beautiful
River, we entered it on the 29th at noon. Monsieur de Céloron buried a
plate of lead on the south bank of the Ohio; and, farther down, he
attached the royal coat of arms to a tree. After these operations, we
encamped opposite a little Iroquois village, of 12 or 13 cabins; it is
called Kananouangon.[4]

It is an ancient custom of the French people to assert claim to lands in
their possession by burying leaden plates at the mouths of all streams
that drain that territory. When Céloron started upon his memorable
journey he carried with him six leaden plates. These plates were about
eleven inches long, seven and a half inches wide, and one-eighth of an
inch thick. Each was engraved with an appropriate inscription, leaving a
blank space for date and name of place of deposit at the mouths of the
various streams.[5] A _Procès Verbal_, similar in nature to the
inscription on the plate, was drawn up and signed by the officers
present. To the nearest tree was tacked a plate of sheet-iron stamped
with the royal arms. The officers and men of the expedition were drawn
up in battle array and the chief in command shouted "Vive le Roi,"
declaring possession in the name of the King of France. La Salle
established this custom on this continent in the latter part of the
seventeenth century and now this chevalier of the order of St. Louis
penetrates the half-known Central West to make good the precedent
established fifty years and more ago.

Although the treaty of Aix la Chapelle ended a tedious war in Europe,
many points of controversy remained unsettled in the New World. At the
conclusion of the war, England lost no time in taking measures to occupy
the disputed territory. The Ohio Company was formed and the crown
granted half a million acres to this association on the condition that
settlements protected by forts be made upon the granted lands. These
demonstrations on the part of their rivals had aroused the French to
action. The Marquis de la Galissonière, Governor of Canada, dispatched
Céloron and his company with orders to descend La Belle Rivière and take
possession of all the territory drained by it and its tributaries, in
the name of the King of France. In order to reach the field of action he
has come a forty-four days' journey filled with bitter lessons. Today
his first leaden plate has been buried, and tonight his weary "soldiers"
have, for the first time, pitched their camp on the bank of the river in
question. The first act of the real mission he has come to perform took
place this afternoon with the interment of the plate--but that is only
one of six! They rest in disputed territory and already has Céloron sent
his right-hand man, M. de Joncaire, on to La Paille Coupée,[6] to
reassure the suspicious savages.

On the thirtieth the expedition moved on to Paille Coupée. Here a
council was conducted by Joncaire whom the Indians addressed as "our
child Joncaire." He had previously been adopted by the Indians and
consequently had a great influence over them.[7] The "speech" of the
Marquis de la Galissonière, brought and presented by Céloron to the
Iroquois, is especially interesting and to the point, as it plainly
shows the French attitude with reference to the English:

"My children, since I have been at war with the English, I have learned
that that nation has deceived you; and not content with breaking your
heart, they have profited by my absence from this country to invade the
land which does not belong to them and which is mine. This is what
determined me to send to you Mr. Céloron, to inform you of my
intentions, which are, that I will not suffer the English on my land;
and I invite you, if you are my true children, to not receive them any
more in your villages. I forbid, then, by this belt, the commerce which
they have established lately in this part of the land, and announce to
you that I will no longer suffer it. If you attack them you will make
them retire and send them home; by that means you will be always
peaceable in your village. I will give you all the aid you should expect
from a good father. If you come to see me, next spring, you will have
reason to be satisfied with the reception which I will give you. I will
furnish you with traders in abundance, if you wish for them. I will even
place here officers, if that will please you, to govern you and give you
the good spirit, so that you will only work in good affairs. The English
are more in the wrong in coming to this land, as the Five Nations have
told them to fly from there to the mountains. Give serious attention, my
children, to the words which I send you; listen well, follow it, it is
the way to see always in your villages a haven beautiful and serene. I
expect from you a reply worthy of my true children. You see the marks to
be respected which I have attached along La Belle Rivière, which will
prove to the English that this land belongs to me and that they cannot
come here without exposing themselves to be chased away. I wish for this
time to treat them with kindness and warn them; if they are wise they
will profit by my advice."[8]

The result of this council was not entirely satisfactory to the French.
It was too plainly evident that there existed a feeling in favor of the
English. Bonnécamps writes in his journal: "... and in the evening he
received their reply, that every one had been satisfied--if one could
believe it sincere; but we did not doubt that it was extorted with
fear."[9] Such fears, however, did not alter the determination of the
French. On July 31, Céloron writes: "I sojourned at this village,
[Paille Coupée] having been stopped by the abundance of rain, which
pleased us much. The water rose three feet during the night."[10]

The expedition left Paille Coupée on the first of August and journeyed
all day "between two chains of mountains, which bordered the river on
the right and left." Father Bonnécamps notes that "the Ohio is very low
during the first twenty leagues; but a great storm, which we had
experienced on the eve of our departure, had swollen the waters, and we
pursued our journey without any hindrance."[11] Under date of August 1,
Father Bonnécamps, tourist-like, recounts a snake story, accompanying it
by the impressions of a newcomer into the Ohio Basin:

"Monsieur Chabert on that day caught seven rattlesnakes, which were the
first that I had seen. This snake differs in no way from others, except
that its tail is terminated by seven or eight little scales, fitting one
into another, which makes a sort of clicking sound when the creature
moves or shakes itself. Some have yellowish spots scattered over a brown
ground, and others are entirely brown, or almost black.

"There are, I am told, very large ones. None of those which I have seen
exceed four feet. The bite is fatal. It is said that washing the wound
which has been received, with saliva mixed with a little sea-salt, is a
sovereign remedy. We have not had, thank God, any occasion to put this
antidote to the test."

After having marched nearly four leagues on this first day of August,
the party reached a village of Loups and Renards--clans of the Delaware
Nation.[12] Having been informed of the approach of this expedition, all
except one man had fled. Céloron explained to this solitary individual
that he did not mean to harm the Indians, and invited them "to go to the
village lower down, which was but four or five leagues distant, where he
would speak to them." Proceeding on down the river he passed another
Loup village of about the same size, six cabins. To these inhabitants he
also addressed himself and requested them also to go to the most
considerable village, where he promised to "speak to them on the part
of their Father Onontio." They arrived there a little after the

At this "considerable village" of Loups, after having progressed eight
or nine leagues in the hot August sun, the tired company rested during
the night. The second of August was spent at the village, and Céloron
spoke, conciliating the assembled savages.

Under date of August 3, Father Bonnécamps writes: "We continued our
route, and we marched, as on the first day, buried in the somber and
dismal valley, which serves as the bed of the Ohio." During this day's
journey, two Indian villages were passed. The first village was
abandoned by its inhabitants in favor of the woods, at the approach of
the expedition. The second village, Venango,[13] consisted of but nine
or ten cabins. Céloron disembarked here and spoke to the inhabitants
"nearly as I had spoken to the Loups, and reëmbarked immediately. This
evening I buried a lead plate and the arms of the king by a tree, and
drew up the Procès Verbal."[14] This second plate was buried "near" or
"underneath" a large boulder upon which were numerous Indian
hieroglyphics. Following the course of the river, this rock was about
nine miles below the mouth of French Creek, then called Rivière aux
Boeufs by the French. According to Bonnécamps: "we buried a 2nd plate
of lead under a great rock, upon which were to be seen several figures
roughly graven,"[15] while Céloron himself informs us: "I ... have
buried on the south bank of the Ohio, four leagues below the River aux
Boeufs, opposite a bald mountain and near a large stone, on which are
seen several figures, rather roughly engraved, a lead plate and attached
in the same place to a tree the arms of the king."[16] This plate has
never been found.

On the morning of the fourth, a conference was held, it being decided
that Joncaire with the chiefs should precede the party to Attiqué and
inform the inhabitants of the good intentions of the approaching band,
and to beg them not to flee from their village. Of this day Father
Bonnécamps writes:

"The 4th. We continued our route, always surrounded by
mountains--sometimes so high that they did not permit us to see the sun
before 9 or 10 o'clock in the morning, or [after] 2 or 3 in the
afternoon. This double chain of mountains stretches along the Beautiful
River, at least as far as rivière à la Roche ('Rocky River'). Here and
there, they fall back from the shore, and display little plains of one
or two leagues in depth." Céloron seems to have had his mind too full of
serious matters to notice his surroundings or, at least, to have given
us the benefit of any observations; and Father Bonnécamps's eyes are the
first through which we can gaze upon the primeval Ohio.

On the fourth the expedition made about fifteen leagues. Camp was broken
at an early hour on the fifth, and after having journeyed three or four
leagues the _voyageurs_ passed a river, the confluence of which with the
Allegheny, Céloron describes as "very beautiful;" a league further down
they passed another. "They are both south of la Belle Rivière. On the
heights there are villages of Loups and Iroquois of the Five Nations. I
encamped early to give time to Mr. de Joncaire to arrive at the village

After having journeyed about five leagues on the sixth they reached
Attiqué where they found Joncaire and his chiefs awaiting their arrival;
all the inhabitants of the village had fled to the woods. "I reëmbarked
and I passed the same day the ancient village of the Chaouanons
[Shawanese], which has been abandoned since the departure of Chartier
and his band, who were removed from this place by the orders of the
Marquis de Beauharnois, and conducted to the river Vermillon, in the
Wabash, in 1745."[18] At this place Céloron "encountered" six English
traders with fifty horses and about one hundred and fifty packs of
peltry with which they were returning to Philadelphia. Céloron warned
these Englishmen against intruding upon the territory of the French king
and gave them a letter to deliver to the governor of Pennsylvania at

On the seventh they passed a village of Loups where only three men
remained--"the rest of their people had gone to Chinique, not daring to
remain at home. I invited these three men to come with me to Chinique to
hear what I had to say to them." Céloron tells us that they reëmbarked
and proceeded on down to "Written Rock" which was inhabited by the
Iroquois and governed by an old woman[20] who is "entirely devoted to
the English." All the savages had fled in alarm from the village and
"there only remained ... six English traders, who came before me
trembling.... I made them the same summons as to the others, and I wrote
to their governor.... This place is one of the most beautiful that
until the present I have seen on the Belle Rivière."[21]

This village was commonly known throughout the pioneer period as
Shannopin's Town; it was about four miles above the junction of the
Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers. There could be nothing more singular
than the omission of any references to the Monongahela River, but
neither Céloron nor Bonnécamps refer in any wise to it. As they did not
travel at night and as, from the Ohio River, the Allegheny does not now,
and did not then, appear to be so important a stream as the Monongahela,
there can be but one explanation for this astounding omission. As no
mention whatever is made of the Monongahela, and as no plate was buried
here, either Céloron's party did not see it, or, believing it took its
rise in Pennsylvania and was already settled by the English, they
tacitly omitted to claim it for their king. The first supposition is
absurd; the formation of the country is particularly significant and
would attract the attention of the most unobserving; the meeting of the
river tides, the difference in the color of the waters--everything would
attract the attention of the _voyageur_. The second supposition is
inexplicable; the only possible shred of evidence that the French ever
intended that the English should have even a chance to claim any land in
the Monongahela Valley is in the Sixth Article of the capitulation
signed by Washington at Fort Necessity in 1754.[22]

The company spent the night of the seventh about three leagues below
"Written Rock," and as Chiningué was but two leagues below the camp they
easily reached this town, which was one of the "most considerable on the
Belle Rivière," the following day. Céloron informs us that this village
consisted of fifty cabins of Loups, Iroquois, and Shawanese, and Father
Bonnécamps records that they called it Chiningué from its close
proximity to a river of that name.[23] This place (a few miles below
the present Economy, Pennsylvania) has figured prominently in later
Indian history as Logstown. Croghan's _Journal_ under date of August,
1749, says that "Monsieur Celaroon with two hundred French soldiers" had
passed through Logstown just before his arrival. Inquiring of the
inhabitants the object of "Celaroon's" expedition, he was told that "it
was to drive the English away, and by burying iron plates, with
inscriptions on them at the mouth of each remarkable creek, to steal
away their country."[24]

Upon reaching Chiningué Céloron compelled several English whom he found
established there to leave and sent by them a letter, similar to the one
previously spoken of, to Governor Hamilton. The Indians were very
suspicious of Céloron, and here his Iroquois and Abenaki allies deserted
him. They treated his speech with contempt and tore down the plates
which had been nailed upon the trees.

Céloron left Chiningué on the eleventh and at noon of the thirteenth
interred a plate of lead "at the entrance of the river and on the south
bank of the Kenawah, which discharges itself to the east of the river
Ohio."[25] According to Bonnécamps's journal, the plate was interred at
the mouth of the Kanonouaora. This third plate was probably buried at
the mouth of Wheeling Creek in West Virginia, though the descriptions of
the place as given by both Céloron and Bonnécamps are so vague that it
is quite impossible to identify positively the site.[26]

At seven o'clock on the morning of the fourteenth, the expedition was
again on its way down the river. They passed two rivers, the entrances
of which, Céloron tells us, were very beautiful. On the fifteenth the
route was continued, and a leaden plate was interred "at the foot of a
maple, which forms a tripod with a red oak and a cone pine, at the
entrance of the river Yenanguekouan, on the west shore of this river ...
and in the same place attached to a tree the arms of the King."[27]
Father Bonnécamps gives, as the name of this river, Jenanguékoua. This,
the fourth plate, was interred at the mouth of the Muskingum River in
Ohio, on the site of old Fort Harmar and within the present city of
Marietta. This plate, found in 1798 by some boys bathing in the
Muskingum, was presented to the Antiquarian Society of Massachusetts in
the library of which it is now preserved.

On the sixteenth at nine o'clock, the party resumed its journey, making
nearly twelve leagues. On the seventeenth Céloron makes record of having
seen two "beautiful" rivers the names of which he says he does not know.
"I disembarked early to hunt, being altogether reduced to a diet of

The journey was resumed at an early hour the next day, but the party was
forced to camp at noon, as the rain prevented their continuing. On this
day, the eighteenth of August, the fifth leaden plate was "buried, at
the foot of a tree, on the southern shore of the Ohio and the eastern
shore of Chiniondaista."[29] Father Bonnécamps gives the name of this
river, the Great Kanawha, Chinodaichta. The spelling of the name on the
plate, which was found in 1846 and has been preserved by the Virginia
Historical Society, differs somewhat from that of the _Journal_, that on
the plate being Chinodahichetha. This place, where the fifth plate was
interred, was named Point Pleasant, West Virginia, by the early settlers
and still bears that name.

At this point the expedition was delayed on account of rain, but all
reëmbarked on the twentieth, and during the day encountered a Loup, who,
upon being asked how many inhabitants there were at St. Yotoc,[30]
replied there were eighty or a hundred cabins. On the following day
Joncaire, two chiefs of the Sault de St. Louis, three Abenakis chiefs,
and M. de Niverville were sent ahead to St. Yotoc "to tranquilize the
nations and restore their spirits, in case any carrier of news had
troubled them."

Céloron gave his envoys a start of several hours before resuming his
journey. By embarking early on the morning of the twenty-second, they
were enabled to reach St. Yotoc that day, and encamped opposite the
village. The next three days were spent in holding councils. The
Chaouanons (Shawanese) inhabitants of "St. Yotoc" were very suspicious
of the French and their intentions. Bonnécamps says: "Monsieur the
Commandant had great difficulty to reassure them." "The situation of the
village of the Chaouanons is quite pleasant--at least, it is not masked
by the mountains, like the other villages through which we had passed.
The Sinhioto river, which bounds it on the West, has given it its name.
It is composed of about sixty cabins. The Englishmen there numbered
five. They were ordered to withdraw, and promised to do so."

The expedition embarked on the morning of the twenty-sixth of August and
reached Rivière la Blanche[31] that night at ten o'clock. Here they
waited two days for Le Baril, the chief, and his band of Miamis, to join
them and proceed to La Demoiselle to hear Céloron's speech. "Finally, on
the morning of the 31st, they appeared, followed by their women, their
children, and their dogs. All embarked, and about 4 o'clock in the
afternoon we entered Rivière à la Roche, after having buried the 6th and
last leaden plate on the western bank of that river,[32] and to the
north of the Ohio."[33] "I ... have buried on the point formed by the
right shore of the Ohio, and the left of the River la Roche, a plate of
lead, and attached to a tree the arms of the king."[34]

With the burial of this sixth and last leaden plate, which, so far as
known, has never been discovered, Céloron's voyage on La Belle Rivière
ended, and on the morning of the first of September the canoes began the
ascent of the shallow Rivière à la Roche en route to Quebec by way of
Lake Erie.

Through the eyes of these travelers the Governor of New France looked
upon the great valley of the Ohio and realized its extent and strategic
value. The many large rivers entering it, the Indian villages which
dotted its banks and, more than all else, the avidity of English traders
for the fur trade of these villages, were the items in the report of
these first _voyageurs_ which led quickly to the French fort-building
here and precipitated the old French War.



The campaign of General John Forbes in 1758, which ended French rule on
the Ohio, gave the Ohio Valley to the English. From this time on, the
entire sweep of territory between the Atlantic Ocean and the present
Pittsburg may be termed English territory. While England now nominally
came into possession of all of this portion of New France, the lands on
either side of the Ohio River below Pittsburg were claimed by the Indian
nations inhabiting them, and the Crown attempted, in the Proclamation of
1763, to preserve these lands for the Indians by prohibiting the
migrations of the colonists. The Treaty of Fort Stanwix in 1768, and the
expansion of Virginia into the vast tract south of the Ohio have been
recounted.[35] It is sufficient to recall here that this treaty gave to
Virginia the entire southern bank of the Ohio and all the territory
southward to the banks of the Tennessee. The treaty was made with the
Iroquois, the conquerors of half a continent, not with the Delawares and
Shawanese and Southern Nations, who camped and hunted there. These
dependents of the Iroquois contested the treaty stoutly and not until
1774 did the Shawanese even pretend to agree to its stipulations. This
agreement was secured by what is known as Dunmore's War and was the
direct result of General Andrew Lewis's bloody victory over the allied
Indians at the mouth of the Great Kanawha River, October 10, 1774. It is
not less than significant that this decisive battle which assured the
Old Southwest to the Americans, should have been fought practically over
the burial place of Céloron's fifth leaden plate which claimed the land
for France. By the time of the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, the
entire southern shore of the Ohio had been abandoned by Indians, though
for many years they continually invaded the pleasant country which was
fast filling with a scattered white population.

_From original in Library of Congress_]

The story of the conquest and occupation of the northern side of the
Ohio River is as bitter and bloody a tale as that of the southern side.
The artificial division of the Middle West into states has resulted in
some very artificial historical distinctions; the Ohio River has perhaps
never been considered a mighty boundary line on the brink of which
civilization paused for many critical years. The northern bank of the
Ohio was, through many years, known as the "Indian Side;" and while
western Virginia and Kentucky were counting their tens of thousands, the
"Indian Side" was forbidden territory. The Ohio River was the western
boundary of the colonies and of the United States for seventeen years:
from 1768 until 1785. When, in 1783, the United States by the Treaty of
Paris came into possession of the territory between the Alleghenies and
the Mississippi, the "men who wore hats" had not purchased an acre of
land north and west of the Ohio River from its bareheaded inhabitants.

In 1785 at the Treaty of Fort McIntosh the United States secured from
its actual possessors (the Iroquois claims having been satisfied at a
second treaty at Fort Stanwix, October 1784) the first grant of land
north of the Ohio. The western boundary line of the United States now
began on Lake Erie, ascended the Cuyahoga, descended the Tuscarawas to
the site of Fort Laurens, ran west to the portage between the Miami and
St. Mary Rivers; ascending the Maumee to Lake Erie it followed the lake
shore to the starting point. The lands south, east, and west of this
line were given to the United States so far as the Indians "formerly
claimed the same." This was the first of a long series of treaties each
of which gave the northwest side of the Ohio River to the United States.

Thus in 1785 the Ohio Valley legally became a part of the territory of
the United States.

By an ordinance immediately passed by Congress, this tract of land north
of the Ohio River was ordered to be surveyed, the lots to be sold by the
Government in order to create a fund to pay the war debt. A geographer
and surveyors were appointed to survey and plat seven ranges of
townships westward from the Pennsylvania boundary. These were to be
sold by townships by commissioners of the loan office of the several
states after proper advertisement.

Thus, at the stroke of a pen, the Ohio River became a division line
between empires differing wholly from each other. The "Virginia Side"
was peopled by southerners according to the Virginia system, which
allowed a man to take and mark for himself unappropriated lands. Thus
the entire southern shore of the Ohio had been occupied by Virginians,
Pennsylvanians, and North Carolinians. By act of Congress the New
England system was extended to the land lying north of the Ohio; the
land was to be properly surveyed and sold. The Ohio River at once became
the western projection of Mason and Dixon's Line. In some such way as
Chevalier has suggested, the Ohio River became a division fence between
Roundhead and Cavalier. South of the river, lands were taken up by
southerners in the old Virginia way; north of the river the New England
system obtained, as though prophesying that the dominant race was to be
of New England stock. It was a momentous turning point in the history
of the Central West when Congress made the New England system operative
on the "Indian Side" of the Ohio, banishing at once and forever from
that great area the strife and suffering caused by the thousand
conflicts of overlapping "tomahawk claims" and incorrect and confusing

But these acts of Congress were far more easily passed than enforced. In
the first place, even before the land north of the Ohio was purchased by
the United States, white settlers began crossing the Ohio and settling
on the "Indian Side." By the year 1780 the Indian Side of the river had
been quite wrested from the savages, at least from Pittsburg down to the
Scioto. Mclntosh had built Fort Laurens on the Tuscarawas and, with the
help of others, the Delawares had been driven from the Muskingum Valley.
Clark had captured Illinois and it was now a part of Virginia. Many
invasions from Kentucky had passed up the Scioto and the Miamis, In all
these campaigns the soldiery was largely made up of the border settlers
of western Pennsylvania and Virginia, and they somehow conceived the
notion that they were as much entitled as any one to the splendid lands
from which they had driven the Indians. Heretofore the states and the
Government had done everything in reason to encourage the western
movement and protect it. No one perhaps realized that the Ohio River was
to be considered, in any sense, a boundary line. Yet the United States
recognized the Indian right and took such means as were possible to
accomplish an utterly impossible thing. The lands on the northern side
of the Ohio River were to be preserved to the Indians until purchased
from them. It was even decreed that retaliatory raids of the whites
should not cross the Ohio. As early as 1779 "trespassers" of a law as
inherently impossible as the Proclamation of 1763, made settlements on
the Indian Side of the Ohio "from the river Muskingum to Fort Mclntosh,
and thirty miles up some of the branches of the Ohio river."[36] Colonel
Brodhead at Fort Pitt immediately despatched Captain Clark to drive off
the intruders.

The commissioners at the Fort Mclntosh treaty (1785) were not blind to
such possibilities, and took occasion to forward the following
instructions to Colonel Harmar at Fort Pitt, January 24, 1785:
"Surveying or settling the lands not within the limits of any particular
State being forbid by the United States, in Congress assembled, the
commander will employ such force as he may judge necessary in driving
off persons attempting to settle on the lands of the United States."[37]
The task laid upon Colonel Harmar was a most unpopular and impossible
one. By this time the country south of the Ohio was teeming with a great
restless population.

There were, by 1785, a hundred thousand people in what we know as West
Virginia and Kentucky. The first comers had fallen upon the very best
lands and appropriated them. There is no doubt that all the fertile
"bottoms" along the southern shore of the Ohio River had been "staked
out" and more or less "improved" by this time. Washington alone, through
his agents Crawford and Freeman, had secured not less than sixty
thousand acres on the Ohio and Little and Great Kanawha before this
time. Other far-sighted, enterprising men, like Patrick Henry, had
secured other tracts of land. It must be remembered, too, that this was
a day of no roads; lands lying away from the immediate river valleys
could be reached and improved only with the greatest difficulty.

It is therefore no wonder that the southern shore of the Ohio was
crowded at this time with a swarm of pioneers whose uncouth faces and
unkempt appearance suggested plainly the labor they had endured to reach
and hold the river--their goal. They looked across to the fertile
bottoms on the Indian Side and the splendid stretches of land in the
valleys of the Muskingum, Hocking, Scioto, and Miami Rivers. They and
their children had conquered that land; under a score of fierce leaders
they had flung themselves upon the upper Muskingum and driven the
Delawares away to the Lakes, or upon the Scioto and sent the Shawanese
scurrying up the Sandusky or Maumee. Yet there on the trees on the other
side were nailed proclamations from the commanding officer at Fort Pitt
warning them against settling on those lands.

Little wonder they defied the proclamation. In less than two months
after Colonel Harmar had received the instructions to drive off all
settlers from these lands of the United States, he sent a force under
Ensign Armstrong down the river from Pittsburg. His report was most
alarming;[38] he affirmed that there were three hundred families at the
falls of the Hocking and an equal number on the Muskingum; on the Miami
and Scioto Rivers the number of "intruders" was placed at fifteen
hundred. "From Wheeling to that place [Miami]," he wrote, "there is
scarcely one bottom on the river but has one or more families living
thereon." These settlers "were equal to self-government," writes William
Henry Smith, "and, if undisturbed, would soon have laid the foundations
of a State on the Ohio."[39] Indeed, a call was issued by these pioneers
March 12, 1785, for an election of members to a convention for the
framing of a constitution for the government of a new state; elections
were to be held at the mouths of the Miami, Scioto, and Muskingum Rivers
and one at the house of Jonas Menzons in the present Belmont County,
Ohio. The advertisement of these elections was signed by John Emerson
and its final paragraph denied the right of Colonel Harmar to dispossess
the settlers on the Indian Side, in the following terms:

"I do certify that all mankind, agreeable to every constitution formed
in America, have an undoubted right to pass into every vacant country,
and there to form their constitution, and that from the confederation of
the whole United States, Congress is not empowered to forbid them,
neither is Congress empowered from that confederation to make any sale
of uninhabited lands to pay the public debts, which is to be by a tax
levied and lifted [collected] by authority of the Legislature of each

On January 31, 1786, a treaty was concluded at the mouth of the Great
Miami with the Shawanese. The United States received from that dangerous
nation a title to the lower Ohio Valley. But the general government was
by this time at its wits' end to keep the acquired territory from the
restless inhabitants of its own impoverished colonies. Colonel Harmar
wrote the Secretary of War now that he had, by force of arms, driven off
all intruders for a distance of seventy miles below Pittsburg, but that
the number beyond "was immense" and that nothing could prevent the lands
being occupied in the old Virginia way "unless Congress enters into
immediate measures." Congress took the cue and resolved that if troops
stationed at Pittsburg could not enforce its commands, a new garrison
must be established on the lower Ohio. Accordingly Colonel Harmar was
ordered to take post on the north side of the Ohio between the Muskingum
and the Miami Rivers, where he could successfully keep the front ranks
of the immigration army from crossing the river, and where he could also
protect the surveyors of the seven ranges from any insults of the
Indians.[41] Under this order Fort Harmar was erected at the mouth of
the Muskingum River (Marietta, Ohio) in 1785. Fort Harmar and Fort
Finney, erected at the mouth of the Miami, nominally accomplished the
purposes for which they were erected; the immigration movement across
the Ohio was stopped until preparations had been made for it. They were
the first legal homes of Americans north of the Ohio River after the
Revolutionary War.

In the meantime propositions for the government of this great region
north of the Ohio River were being debated in Congress; and finally it
was declared to be the "Territory Northwest of the River Ohio" by the
Ordinance of 1787. This famous act had been pending three years in
Congress, but was passed within twelve days of the arrival in New York
of Dr. Manasseh Cutler, hero-preacher and skilled diplomat; he came as
the authorized agent of an Ohio Company of Associates which had been
formed by Revolutionary veterans under the leadership of General Rufus
Putnam in Boston in 1786 with special reference to the western land
bounties promised by Congress in 1776 to faithful soldiers. The
Ordinance organized from the lands ceded to the government by the
several states the magnificent territory now occupied by the states of
Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. The act itself was
conceived in a petition signed by these Revolutionary soldiers composing
the Ohio Company of Associates, and forwarded by General Putnam to
General Washington, praying that the Government redeem its worthless
scrip by grants of western land.

This a grateful government was willing to do. The difficulty was that it
would be hazardous to organize a territory, to be suckled and protected
at great expense, unless a considerable fraction of the area thus
organized should be populated and developed by worthy citizens. The Ohio
Company of Associates offered to take a million and a half acres. This
was not satisfactory to the delegates in Congress. It was a mere
clearing in all that vast stretch of territory between the Ohio, the
Mississippi, and the Great Lakes. It was, therefore, on a momentous
mission of reconciliation that Dr. Cutler hurried to New York. The
"Territory Northwest of the River Ohio" could not be erected unless the
Ohio Company took a considerable part of the lands. The Ohio Company, on
the other hand, could not take land without the assurance that it was to
be an integral part of the United States. The Ohio Company would make
the Ordinance possible; the Ordinance made the Ohio Company's purchase

In order to realize the hopes of his clients, and, at the same time,
satisfy the demands of the delegates at Congress, Dr. Cutler added to
the grant of the Ohio Company an additional grant of three and a half
million acres, taken by a Scioto Company on behalf of Colonel Duer and
others. Thus by a stupendous speculation, unhappy in its results but
compromising in no way the Ohio Company or its agent, and by shrewdly,
though without dissimulation, announcing his determination to obtain
lands from the individual states if Congress would not now come to
terms, Dr. Cutler won a signal victory. The famed Ordinance was passed,
corrected almost to the letter of his amendments, and Congress entered
into the greatest private contract it had ever made. It was signed by
Dr. Cutler and Major Winthrop Sargent for the Ohio Company and Samuel
Osgood and Arthur Lee for the Treasury Department, October 27, 1787.

Speaking in general terms, therefore, the Ohio Valley from the
Pennsylvania line to the mouth of the Muskingum was, in 1785-86,
surveyed into the "Seven Ranges;" southwest of this, down the valley,
came the Ohio Company grant of 1787. This embraced the lands from the
seventh through the seventeenth range. The earnestness of these New
Englanders is suggested by the immediate payment of half a million
dollars down, when the contract was signed with the United States, and
by the immediate arrival on the Ohio of the Ohio Company's vanguard of
settlers. These forty-eight "Pilgrims of Ohio," under the leadership of
the noble Putnam, reached the Youghiogheny by way of the Old Glade Road
through Pennsylvania in the midwinter of 1787-88. On the seventh of the
following April they landed at the mouth of the Muskingum. Here, across
the Muskingum from Fort Harmar, they built their pioneer castle, around
which grew up Marietta--named in honor of Marie Antoinette, whom its
founders, old Revolutionary veterans, had learned to love. In July,
General Arthur St. Clair, the newly-appointed governor of the Territory
Northwest of the River Ohio arrived, and with imposing ceremony, the
administration of the great Territory was inaugurated. Within two years
five colonies had been planted by the Ohio Company, four in the
Muskingum Valley and one on the Ohio, opposite the mouth of the Little
Kanawha River. The "Indian Side" of the "white foaming river" had now
received its first permanent quota of white settlers.[42]

In the same year, 1787, John Cleves Symmes and associates, largely from
New Jersey, entered into correspondence with Congress for the purchase
of a million acres of land north of the Ohio, lying between the Little
and Great Miami Rivers. This "Symmes" or "Miami" purchase was achieved,
and the Marietta pioneers saw the Miami settlers passing down the Ohio
late in 1788 en route to their lands two hundred miles away. In point of
daring no pioneer movement in America, save only the founding of
Boonesborough, Kentucky, was more plucky than the founding of what is
now Cincinnati. In December, Losantiville (Cincinnati) was settled,
opposite the mouth of the Licking River. The Symmes company also settled
Columbia, at the mouth of the Little Miami, and North Bend (Indiana) a
little to the west. Each of the three settlements vied with the others
for supremacy. Judge Symmes located at North Bend, but Fort Washington
was erected at Losantiville and, the name being changed to Cincinnati,
that settlement became the metropolis of the Ohio River below Pittsburg;
the seat of government of the Northwest Territory was moved hither in

Therefore in 1790, when the Indian War broke out, the northern bank of
the Ohio was settled, in a certain sense, between the mouths of the
Muskingum and Scioto and the mouths of the Little and the Great Miami.
But these light spots in all the darkness of the Black Forest, as the
West was familiarly called, were, after all, but one shade lighter than
the surrounding wilderness. The population of the Ohio Company
settlements was only a few score; Cincinnati, six years after its
founding, could only number, garrison and all, an equal number of
hundreds. The founders of Cincinnati, like those of Marietta, were of
the best of colonial and revolutionary stock; but, because of the
contaminations of the rough frontier, their settlements became what
Pittsburg was throughout its early history. General Richard Butler, had
he lived, might well have written Governor St. Clair at Cincinnati in
1800 the same words he penned General Irvine at Pittsburg in 1782--"am
happy to find you can manage the d--ls of that country and the b--tes
of the garrison." Of Pittsburg in 1782 General Irvine wrote his wife:
"There never was, nor I hope will there ever be, such a wretched,
villainous place as this." Of Marietta, equally disagreeable pictures
were drawn by contemporaneous writers. It was a question whether or not
the leaven of New England could leaven the whole lump. It did--with the
help of good Virginian blood.

The next tract of land to be opened was that lying between the Ohio
Company's purchase and Judge Symmes's, a six thousand square mile tract
bounded on the east by the Scioto and on the west by the Little Miami.
This was the Virginia Military District. The Old Dominion had voted her
soldiers upon continental and state establishment bounties in western
lands. The land that was granted (practically the old Henderson purchase
between the Green and Tennessee Rivers) did not prove large enough.
Virginia, guarding against this very contingency, had reserved the tract
between the Scioto and Little Miami for bounty lands when she ceded her
county of Illinois to the Government in 1784. Therefore in 1790
Congress passed a law "directing the Secretary of War to make return to
the Governor of Virginia of the names of the Virginia officers and men
entitled to bounty-lands, and the amount in acres due them." The same
act authorized the agents of the said troops to locate and survey for
their use, between the two rivers, apparently in the wretched Virginia
fashion, such a number of acres of land as, together with the number
already located on the waters of the Cumberland, would make the amount
to which they were entitled; these locations and surveys to be recorded,
together with the names of those for whom they were made, in the office
of the Secretary of State. The President was then directed to issue
letters patent for these lands to the persons entitled to them, for
their use or the use of their heirs, assigns, or legal representatives.
The Secretary of State should forward these deeds to the executive of
Virginia, to be delivered to the proper persons. It will be seen that
the national Government issued the deeds, but did not make the

The Indian War which raged from 1790 to 1795 was fought almost wholly
north of the Ohio River basin with Fort Washington as the base of
supplies.[44] The conflict delayed the pioneer movement into the Ohio
Valley but, after the treaty of Greenville (1795), the movement was
renewed with a rush. The Virginia Military District now (1796) began
filling with Virginians, and under good and great men such as General
Nathaniel Massie and Duncan McArthur, subsequently governor of Ohio,
became a power in the old Northwest.

We have intimated that the original Ohio Company purchase and the
Virginia Military District adjoined; upon the utter failure of the
Scioto Company, which had been a party with the Ohio Company in its
first contract, the additional lands taken by Colonel Duer came again
into the possession of the United States and were known as Congress
Lands. This tract embraced about four thousand square miles and
stretched over the twenty odd miles on the Ohio between the Ohio Company
lands and those of the Virginia Military District.

Thus at the opening of the actual pioneer period, about 1800, we find
both shores of the Ohio dotted with settlements. In Virginia and
Kentucky there are Pittsburg, Charleston, Wheeling, Limestone
(Maysville), and Louisville; and on the old-time Indian Side are Beaver
(Fort Mclntosh), Wellsburg, Marietta (Fort Harmar), Gallipolis,
Manchester, Columbia, Cincinnati; and Madison and Clarksville, Indiana.
By 1800 there are forty-five thousand inhabitants in the entire
Northwest Territory, of which probably twenty-five thousand are in the
Ohio Valley. Kentucky contains a population of over two hundred
thousand; not such a large fraction are on the Ohio however, as is true
in the Northwest Territory. The question of conquest is past, though
still for a decade the British, who have sullenly withdrawn across the
Detroit River, will continue to incite the Indians until Harrison shall
annihilate Tecumseh's confederacy at Tippecanoe in 1811. But so far as
the Ohio Valley is concerned the question is one of occupation; and now
come the streams of immigration from all easterly points of the compass
to this great waterway.




As the eighteenth century neared its close the great highways converging
upon Pittsburg and its neighboring towns on the Youghiogheny and
Monongahela became the routes of the great flood-tide of immigration
which in a day filled the Middle West with towns and cities. The
emigrant reached navigable waters at Pittsburg, if he came over Forbes's
Road or the Pittsburg Pike; if he followed Braddock's Road he found
himself on navigable waters at Brownsville, or, continuing the land
journey, he reached Wheeling on the Ohio. If he came over the Genesee
Road through New York he would reach the Allegheny waters at Warren or
Watertown, Pennsylvania.

At any of these points he would, perhaps, provide himself with a
handbook of information concerning his prospective route. One of these,
_The Navigator_, was published in Pittsburg in the first year of the
nineteenth century by Zadok Cramer. Its title-page (fifth edition)
affirms the book to be "the trader's useful guide in navigating the
Monongahela, Allegheny, Ohio and Mississippi Rivers; containing an ample
account of these much admired waters, from the head of the former to the
mouth of the latter; a concise description of their towns, villages,
harbours, settlements, &c with particular directions how to navigate
them, in all stages of the water, pointing out their rocks, ripples,
channels, islands, bluffs, creeks, rivers &c and the distances from
place to place."[45]

Perhaps the typical emigrant would not secure such a guide book but the
information for which he made eager inquiry at his port of embarkation
is contained here and is of great interest to the student of the times
because of the variety of matters treated. Of the Ohio and its two great
tributaries let us quote the following information:


"This river rises at the foot of the Laurel Mountain, in Virginia,
thence meandering in a N. by E. direction, passes into Pennsylvania, and
receives Cheat river from the S.S.E. Thence winding to a N. by W.
direction, separates Fayette and Westmorland from Washington county, and
passing into Allegheny county receives the Youghiogheny river at
Pittsburgh, fifteen miles below the mouth of the former, and by land,
fifty-five below Cheat. The Monongahela is about 450 yards wide at its
mouth, measuring from the top of bank to bank, and in the fall and
spring freshes has water enough to carry ships of 400 tons burthen;
these, however, subside quickly and render the navigation for such
vessels very precarious. One great difficulty attending the navigation
of vessels of burden down this river arises from the almost
impossibility of keeping them in the proper channel, it being in many
places very narrow, and full of short turns around points of islands
which are numerous. This observation will also apply to the Ohio,
especially as low down as Wheelen [Wheeling], ninety miles below

The waters of the Monongahela River, in those days as in these, were
very muddy, and had it not been for the magnificent trees which
abundantly lined the firm banks, the stream could not have been termed
very beautiful. These trees were chiefly walnuts, black-oaks, hickories,
maples, and button-woods, and afforded a bountiful supply of logs for
the many sawmills which the pioneers had already erected along the river
at the mouths of the various tributaries. Mr. Cramer tells us that the
lumber obtained from these logs was floated down to Pittsburg, Wheeling,
or some more remote point, and sold for a price ranging from a dollar to
a dollar and a half per hundred feet. The country of the Monongahela
was, even at this early day (1806), well populated; the land along the
river was fertile and productive, and sold at any price from twelve to
thirty dollars an acre. The "bottoms" contained many valuable
sugar-maples and Cramer estimated that, if properly managed, each tree
would yield four pounds of maple-sugar per annum--about one dollar a
tree each season.

"The mean velocity of the current of this river is about two miles an
hour, and is in a middling state of the water, uninterrupted with falls,
impeding the navigation, from Morgantown to its mouth, a distance of one
hundred miles; thence upwards the navigation is frequently interrupted
by rapids, but is navigable however for small crafts for fifty or sixty
miles further. The west branch in high water is navigable for fifteen
miles, and communicates with a southern branch of the Little Kenhawa, by
a portage of eight miles."

According to _The Navigator_, such cereals as wheat, oats, barley, rye,
and buckwheat were already raised to "great perfection" in the valley of
the Monongahela. It was a soil especially adapted to raising exceptional
wheat crops and Mr. Cramer informs us that the flour made from
Monongahela Valley wheat sold for two dollars more per barrel in New
Orleans than Kentucky flour. Apples and peaches were staple fruit crops
of the Monongahela country and these fruits were not infrequently made
into brandy. Peach brandy was a luxury in the South and sold at a dollar
a gallon.


"This is a beautiful, large and navigable river, taking its rise in
Lycoming county, P. within a few miles of the head waters of
Sinemahoning creek, a navigable stream that falls into the Susquehanna
river, to which there is a portage of 23 miles. Thence pursuing a N.
course passes into New-York state, winding to the N. W. about 20 miles,
turns gradually to the S. W. enters Pennsylvania, and meandering in
about that direction 180 miles, joins the Monongahela at Pittsburgh.

"Few rivers and perhaps none excel the Allegheny for the transparency of
its waters....

"Its mean velocity is about two miles and a half an hour. In its course
it receives many large and tributary streams; among these are the
Kiskimenetas, Mohulbuckitum, Tobas, French creek, &c. French creek is
navigable to Waterford; thence to Lake Erie is but fifteen miles
portage. To render the communication more complete the legislature of
Pennsylvania have passed a law for the erection of a turnpike between
Waterford and Erie. Another communication to lake Erie is by way of
Chataughque creek and lake; here is a portage of only nine miles, and
affording ground for an excellent waggon road. We understand a
ware-house is already established at Chautaughque lake. The navigation
by this route is said to be the best of the two. At the mouth of a
creek, also called Chautaughque emptying into lake Erie, a town has been
recently laid off called Portland nine miles from Chataughque lake. This
town is about thirty miles below the town of Erie, and ten below the
line between Pennsylvania and New-York, John M'Mahon proprietor."

The trade between the Allegheny River and the Lakes was at this time
well established and, it was predicted, would become of great
importance. Pittsburg was receiving from Onondaga salt works in New York
State two thousand barrels of salt annually. Immense quantities of
timber were also constantly being hurried toward their destinations by
the current of the Allegheny. Quite an extensive trade in salt fish from
Lake Erie was carried on in 1806, and Mr. Cramer expresses an earnest
hope that this trade would be encouraged to the extent of superseding
the importing of fish from beyond the mountains, for the fish brought
over the mountains then cost twelve cents while those from Lake Erie
could be offered for four cents and perhaps less per pound.

"In return we could send up whiskey, bar-iron, castings, cider, bacon,
apples, glass, nails, &c. and this would be keeping trade among
ourselves, which is always preferable to the sending away specie for
articles of home consumption. It has been suggested that merchandize
could be bro't to Pittsburgh from New-York, by way of the lake and down
this river, for about three cents a pound, which is one half less than
is given from Philadelphia. By this route, there would be a portage of
fifteen miles from Albany on the Hudson to Schenectada on the Mohawk, 10
miles around the falls of Niagara, and fifteen between Erie and
Waterford, making in all forty miles land carriage from New-York to
Pittsburgh. The Pennsylvanians, however, are struggling for a turnpike
road all the way over the mountains, which when compleated, will no
doubt tend to lessen the very heavy carriages that are now paid on
merchandize of all kinds."

The current of the Allegheny River is much more rapid than that of the
Monongahela; and in the days of _The Navigator_, as now, the clear,
transparent waters of the Allegheny marked their course across the
yellow, muddy waters of the Monongahela. And even three miles below the
junction, the waters of the Allegheny were to be distinguished from the
Monongahela. "Here [at the junction of the two rivers] the Allegheny is
about 450 yards wide, and when an island lying to the right is
completely washed away, which is accomplishing rapidly, the river here
will be at least 800 yards wide. Will not the inquiring mind, on
examination, have cause to entertain an opinion with us, that the bed of
this river has greatly shifted its situation; and that it once washed
the hill now a considerable distance to the east; and that the ground on
which Pittsburgh now stands has been made by its withdrawing, through
time and accident, from that hill to its present channel?


"This river commences at the junction of the two above mentioned rivers,
and here also commences its beauty. It has been described, as 'beyond
all competition, the most beautiful river in the universe, whether we
consider it for its meandering course through an immense region of
forests, for its clean and elegant banks, which afford innumerable
delightful situations for cities, villages and improved farms: or for
those many other advantages, which truly entitle it to the name
originally given it by the French, of La Belle Rivière.' This
description was penned several years since, and it has not generally
been thought an exaggerated one. Now, the immense forests recede,
cultivation smiles along its banks, towns every here and there decorate
its shores, and it is not extravagant to suppose that the day is not far
distant when its whole margin will form one continued village."

Mr. Cramer further states that his reasons for such a supposition are
numerous. Among those which he gives are: the large tracts of fertile
lands that are connected with the Ohio River by means of the navigable
waters that empty into it; the high, dry and usually healthy river
bottoms of exceptional extent, fertility and beauty; and the
extraordinarily superior navigation of the Ohio, by means of whose
waters the abundant products of these extensive and fertile lands must
eventually be distributed.

"At its commencement at Pittsburgh, it takes a N.W. course for about 30
miles, then turns gradually to W.S.W. and pursuing that course for about
500 miles, winds to the S.W. for nearly 160 miles, then turns to the W.
for about 276 miles, then S.W. for 160 miles, and empties into the
Mississippi in a S.E. direction, about 1100 below Pittsburgh, and nearly
the same distance above New-Orleans, in lat. 36. 43 m. N. It is
amazingly crooked, so much so indeed, that in some places a person
taking observations of the sun or stars, will find that he sometimes
entirely changes his direction, and appears to be going back again; but
its general course is S. 60 d. W. Its general width is from 500 to 800
yards, but at the rapids and near the mouth, it is considerably wider."

We can easily agree with Mr. Cramer that the numerous islands, found in
the Ohio River, added greatly to its picturesque grandeur; yet, he
reminds us, they caused many shoals and sandbars and greatly embarrassed
navigation. Some of these islands contain several acres of rich and
fertile soil and, _The Navigator_ tells us, were covered with a
luxuriant growth of timber; when cleared and planted with fruit trees
the orchards thrived amazingly, bearing the choicest fruit and the crop
seldom failing. This was also the case when fruit trees were planted on
the river bottoms, the excellent crops, in both instances, being due to
the same cause: a sandy, fertile soil.

"In times of high freshes, vessels of almost any tonnage may descend,
and it is never so low, but canoes and other light crafts can navigate
it. Many of the impediments that are now met with while the water is
low, might in a dry time be got rid of, and that at a very
inconsiderable expense: at least the expense would be by no means
inadequate to the advantages accruing from the undertaking, if properly

"Rocks that now, during the dry season, obstruct or render dangerous the
navigation of the large flat bottomed, or what are called Kentucky
boats, might be blown, even a considerable depth under water; channels
might be made through the ripples, and the snags and the fallen timber
along the banks entirely removed.

"These improvements together with many others that might be enumerated
will undoubtedly, sooner or later, be carried into effect, as they
appear to be a national concern of the first importance.

"The Ohio has on its left in descending a part of Pennsylvania,
Virginia, Kentucky, and the S. W. territory; on the right, Pennsylvania,
Ohio and Indiana territory. It receives in its course many large,
navigable streams, the principal ones are, Big Beaver, Muskingum, Little
and Great Kenhawa, Sandy, Scioto, Little and Great Miami, Licking,
Kentucky, Salt, Green, Wabash, Cumberland and Tennessee; these will be
more particularly mentioned in their proper places."

It is of interest to note what Mr. Cramer has to say of the fish of the
Ohio River. He tells us they were numerous and of various kinds: the
catfish, weighing from three to eighty pounds; the buffalo, from five to
thirty; the pike, from four to fifteen pounds; the sturgeon, from four
to ten; the perch, from one to twenty-five; the sucker, from one-half a
pound to six pounds; and occasionally a few herring were caught. A
fisherman, drawing in his seine in the spring of 1805, found among other
fish, it is said, a few shad of three or four pounds. These were caught
at Pittsburg. A great many felt disposed to dispute that these were salt
water shad considering the great distance from the sea, but all who
tasted of them positively identified them, in taste and shape, as the
shad which were caught in the Delaware River. Eels and soft-shell
turtles, though occasionally caught, were not plentiful in 1806. The
numerous and various kinds of wild ducks and the few geese which
frequented the river often furnished food for pioneers descending the
Ohio; for the purpose of shooting ducks and geese, turkeys, and
occasionally a deer or bear, the boats were always well supplied with

"We should be glad could some method be devised to ascertain annually
the state of the trade of our rivers--could not houses for this purpose
be established, say at Pittsburg and Louisville, to take an account of
all cargoes that descend the Ohio? A statement of this kind published
yearly would show the growing increase of our exportations, and no doubt
would be interesting to the trading part of the community, and perhaps
have a tendency to rouse the spirits of the more indolent and careless.

"To the vast quantities of produce and articles of our own manufacture
that are sent down this river, consisting of flour, whiskey, peach
brandy, cider, beer, bar-iron, hollow-ware, earthern-ware, cabinet
works, boots, hoes, plow-irons, mill-irons, chairs, biscuit, bread,
cheese, bacon, beef, pork, lumber, linen, &c. &c. we must not forget to
mention a part of the articles which are brought up in return, viz.
large quantities of cotton, furs, peltries, lead and hemp. As the
articles of cotton and lead can be brought up in this way much cheaper
than by bringing them over the mountains, and as they are in great and
constant demand in this country, we hope that those concerned will use
all due exertion in pushing this part of our trade, which in time we may
presume will become a very considerable object to those engaged in it."

The "Instructions" in _The Navigator_ to emigrants afford a very clear
idea of the nature and needs of river travel in the first half-decade of
the eighteenth century: The first thing to be attended to by emigrants
was to secure a boat, and be on the alert to take advantage of the first
flood. Mr. Cramer speaks with emphatic indignation concerning the
dishonesty often manifested by the builders of the river boats. He
asserts that a great per cent of the accidents which happened on the
Ohio and Mississippi Rivers were due either to unpardonable carelessness
or stinginess of the builder, who either slighted his work or used unfit
timber. He earnestly recommends the appointment of boat-inspectors to be
stationed wherever boats were built, thereby avoiding many serious
accidents caused by unsafe boats. Mr. Cramer attempts to impress upon
all who were purchasing Kentucky boats that those intended for
navigating the Mississippi must necessarily be constructed differently
and of much stronger timber; he suggests and urges that the owner have
them narrowly examined, before embarkation, by one who understands the
form and strength of a boat suitable for navigating the Mississippi

"Flat and Keel boats may be procured at New-Geneva, Brownsville,
Williamsport, Elizabethtown, M'Keesport, on the Monongahela, and perhaps
several places on the Youghiougheny; at Pittsburgh, Beaver, Charlestown,
and Wheelen, Marietta, Limestone, Cincinnati, the Falls, &c. and at most
of the above places vessels of considerable burden are built and
freighted to the Islands, and to different ports in Europe, their
principal cargoes consisting of flour, staves, cordage, cotton, hemp,

The spring and autumn were the two seasons when the Ohio could be most
advantageously navigated. The spring season began at the breaking up of
the ice, about the middle of February, and lasted for three months. The
fall season generally began in October and lasted until the advent of
winter, or about the first of December. At this time the forming ice
prevented navigation. These spring and fall freshets, however, could not
be called periodical, as they entirely depended upon the rainfall and
the earliness or tardiness of the beginning and ending of winter. Nor
were these seasons of high water entirely confined to the spring and
autumn. It commonly occurred that in the summer season a heavy rainfall
in the Appalachian ridges, where the creeks and rivers that flow into
the Monongahela take their rise, would cause a considerable freshet in
the Ohio; or a swelling of the current of the Allegheny and other rivers
often happened in the summer months and occasioned a sufficient amount
of water, if taken immediate advantage of, to render the navigation of
the Ohio perfectly possible. These out-of-season freshets, however,
subsided rapidly and if the owner of a boat wished to take advantage of
one and go down the river, he had to embark immediately.

"When provided with a good boat and strong cable of at least 40 feet
long there is little danger in descending the river in high freshes,
when proper care is taken, unless at such times as when there is much
floating ice in it. Much exertion with the oars is, at such times,
generally speaking of no manner of use; indeed it is rather detrimental
than otherwise, as such exertion frequently throws you out of the
current which you ought to continue in, as it will carry you along with
more rapidity, and at the same time always takes you right. By trusting
to the current there is no danger to be feared in passing the islands as
it will carry you past them in safety. On the other hand, if you row,
and by so doing happen to be in the middle of the river on approaching
an island, there is great danger of being thrown on the upper point of
it before you are aware, or have time to regain the current. In case you
get aground in such a situation, become entangled among the aquatic
timber, which is generally abundant, or are driven by the force of the
water among the tops or trunks of other trees, you may consider yourself
in imminent danger; nothing but the presence of mind and great exertion
can extricate you from this dilemma.

"As frequent landing is attended with considerable loss of time and some
hazard, you should contrive to land as seldom as possible, you need not
even lie by at night, provided you trust to the current, and keep a good
look out; if you have a moon, so much the better. When you bring to, the
strength of your cable is a great safe-guard. A quantity of fuel and
other necessaries, should be laid in at once, and every boat ought to
have a canoe along side, to send on shore when necessary.

"Though the labour of navigating this river in times of fresh is very
inconsiderable to what it is during low water, when continual rowing is
necessary, it is always best to keep a good look out, and be strong
handed.--The wind will sometimes drive you too near the points of the
islands, or on projecting parts of the main shore, when considerable
extra exertion is necessary to surmount the difficulty. You will
frequently meet with head winds, as the river is so very crooked that
what is in your favour one hour, will probably be directly against you
the next, and when contrary winds contend with a strong current, it is
attended with considerable inconvenience, and requires careful and
circumspect management, or you may be driven on shore in spite of all
your efforts. One favourable circumstance is, that the wind commonly
abates about sunset, particularly in summer.

"Boats have frequently passed from Pittsburgh to the mouth of Ohio in 15
days, but in general 10 days from Pittsburgh to the falls is reckoned a
quick passage.

"Descending the river when much incommoded with floating ice, should be
as much as possible avoided, particularly early in the winter, as there
is a great probability of its stopping your boat; however, if the water
is high, and there is an appearance of open weather, you may venture
with some propriety, if the cakes are not so heavy as to impede your
progress, or injure your timbers; the boat will in such case, make more
way than the ice, a great deal of which will sink and get thinner as it
progresses, but on the other hand, if the water is low, it is by no
means safe to embark on it when anything considerable of ice is in it.

"If at any time you are obliged to bring to on account of the ice, great
circumspection should be used in the choice of a place to lie in; there
are many places where the shore projecting to a point, throws off the
cakes of ice towards the middle of the river, and forms a kind of
harbour below. By bringing to in such a situation, and fixing your canoe
above the boat, with one end strongly to the shore, and the other out in
the stream sloping down the river, so as to drive out such masses of ice
as would otherwise accumulate on the upper side of your boat, and tend
to sink her and drive her from her moorings, you may lie with a
tolerable degree of safety.--This is a much better method than that of
felling a tree on the shore above, so as to fall partly into the river,
for if in felling it, it does not adhere in some measure to the trunk,
or rest sufficiently on the bank, the weight of accumulated ice will be
apt to send it adrift, and bring it down, ice and all, on the boat, when
no safety can be expected for it. The reflection here naturally occurs,
how easy it would be, and how little it would cost, in different places
on the river where boats are accustomed to land, to project a sort of
pier into the river, which inclining down stream, would at all times
insure a place of safety below it. The advantages accruing from such
projection to the places where they might be made would be very
considerable, bring them into repute as landing places, occasion many
boats and passengers to stop there, who otherwise would not, and soon
repay the trifling expense incurred by the erection.

"The above observations are more particularly applicable to the Ohio;
the following apply to the Mississippi, and point out the greatest
impediments and the most imminent dangers attending the navigation of
this heavy-watered and powerful river:

"These are, 1st. The instability of the banks.

2. Planters, sawyers, and wooden islands.[46]

"We shall endeavor to instruct the unexperienced navigator how to avoid
them. The instability of the banks proceeds from their being composed of
a loose sandy soil, and the impetuosity of the current against their
prominent parts, which, by undermining them unceasingly, causes them to
tumble into the river, taking with them everything that may be above.
And if when the event happens boats should be moored there, they must
necessarily be buried in the common ruin, which unfortunately has been
sometimes the case. For which reason, navigators have made it an
invariable rule never to land at or near a point, but always in the
sinuosity or cove below it, which is generally lined with small willows
of the weeping kind, whence some call them although improperly, willow
points, and which being generally clear of logs and planters, the
landing is easily effected, by running directly into them, the
resistance of the willows destroying a part of the boat's velosity, and
the rest is overcome without much exertion by holding fast to the limbs
which surround you.--In those places the river generally deposits the
surplus of soil, with which it is charged from the continual cavings of
the points, and so forms new land on one side by destroying some on the

"The banks of this river from where it receives the Missouri to its
mouth, being with a few exceptions below high water mark, an immense
country is inundated, when the river is in its highest state, by which
those extensive swamps are formed and supplied, which prove the
nurseries of myriades of musquitoes and other insects (to the no small
inconvenience of the traveller) and the never failing source of grievous
diseases to the inhabitants. There are also streams, which at all times
sally forth from the main river with astonishing rapidity, and whose
vortex extends some distance into the stream. Boats once sucked into
such bayous are next to lost, it being almost impossible to force so
unwieldy a machine as a flat bottomed boat against so powerful a
current. It will therefore be safest for boats, never to keep too close
to shore, but to keep some distance out in the river. To avoid planters
and sawyers requires nothing more but attention, for they always
occasion a small breaker whereever they are, and if your boat seems to
be hurried towards them row the boat from them, else if you are dilatory
you must abide by the consequence.

"WOODEN-ISLANDS are more dangerous than real ones the former being an
obstacle lately thrown in the way of the current, and the bed of the
river not having had sufficient time to form that bar or gradual ascent
from the bottom of the river to the island, which divides the current at
some distance from the point of the island above water, the current will
hurry you against them, unless you use timely exertion. From all this it
must be evident how imprudent it is attempting to go after night, even
when assisted by a clear moon; but after you are once arrived at
Natchez, you may safely proceed day and night, the river from that place
to its mouth being clear, and opposing nothing to your progress but a
few eddies into which you may occasionally be drawn and detained for a
short time."



The evolution of craft on the Ohio River portrays in a remarkable manner
the economic development of the Central West. Being the one practicable
artery in the empire between the Appalachian uplift and the Mississippi,
and the Blue Ridge and the Great Lakes, this river was, from the
beginning of the eighteenth century onward, the main route of
immigration and commerce, and the story of those years is contained in
the story of these craft which carried the freight and fortune of the
millions who came and built homes and labored here.

The greater the detail with which this study is examined the more
interesting and enlightening it becomes. Of the score and more of
distinctive craft which regularly plied this waterway not one but is
significant of some change in the social order of things, indicative of
some open or secret development which, unnoticed at the time perhaps,
marked a new forward movement in our social evolution. Such an
indication may be thought slight but it was a straw which marked the
direction of the sweeping current of advance, and the swiftness of it.
Compared with the evolution of methods of travel by land, the evolution
on our rivers was rapid and spectacular. The "freighter" or "Conestoga"
of 1790 was practically the same as that of 1840: a half century had
witnessed little change in wagons and stages, save minor improvements.
But compare the craft of 1790 on the Ohio with that of 1840. The canoe,
pirogue, keel-boat, "bark," barge, brig, schooner, galley-boat, batteau,
and dug-out were forgotten--a consequence of the early application of
steam-power to boats rather than to vehicles. When, in 1811, "The
Orleans" went steaming down the Ohio from Pittsburg, and when, six years
later, the "Washington" convinced a desparing public that steamboat
navigation would succeed on "western waters" the new era in western
history dawned.

In the earliest days the primitive light canoe, the unwieldy pirogue,
and the heavy batteau were the common means of navigation on the Ohio.
The canoe was made from the bark of trees; quickly made and quickly worn
out, if the water was low, by continually coming in contact with the
bottom. The pirogue was likewise quickly made; the canoe was paddled,
the pirogue pushed by oars or setting-poles. The canoe easily glided up
stream; the pirogue ran easily with the current but could not ascend the
stream without the expenditure of much labor. Often the words canoe and
pirogue were used interchangeably of the same craft; in George Rogers
Clark's famous march to Vincennes in 1779, the army, upon arriving at
the Little Wabash, February 13, built a boat which in Bowman's _Journal_
is called a "canoe," and in Clark's _Memoir_, a "pirogue." The batteau,
better known in the West as the barge, was a square box of any length,
width, and depth. It was distinctively a downstream craft, and in the
early days rarely ascended with a load any river of current. The canoe
and pirogue, compared with the barge, were craft of little burden
though those of generous size would carry the loads of a score of men.
The barge or batteau was the freight craft and could be loaded with any
burden the stage of water permitted.

These three craft reigned supreme on the Ohio and its tributaries
probably until the close of the Revolutionary War, or about 1785. The
canoe never abdicated and never can so long as man loves the water; at
numerous points along the Ohio today many a tourist may be seen enjoying
the exquisite delight of "paddling his own canoe." The batteau or barge
has its direct descendant in the wooden and magnificent steel barges in
which thousands of tons of coal and ore are transported yearly up and
down the Ohio. The pirogue has been forgotten. But in the era of
exploration and conquest these boats had a story which disproves the
adage that history repeats itself. The history of that last half of the
eighteenth century cannot be repeated here or elsewhere. There is no
other valley in the world that is to be found, explored, conquered,
reconquered and settled like the Ohio Basin. What a line of daring
_voyageurs_ that was from La Salle to Céloron and Washington, who
feasted their eyes upon the virgin beauty of La Belle Rivière, from
their heavily-loaded, long canoes; in these craft came the explorers of
Ohio and Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois; they ploughed the waters of the
Muskingum far back in the distant day when those waters were, as the
name implies, clear as an elk's eye; they forged slowly up the Licking
and Scioto, the Beaver and the Kanawhas. In the early days the canoe was
the customary bearer of two significant kinds of freight: wampum and
Indian goods and presents, and packs of peltry. The history of the canoe
cannot be repeated, for the Indians are vanished who loved the bright
presents brought to them from the East; and the fur bearing animals
which once supplied the eastern markets are gone. We speak of the value
of our cargoes on the Ohio today; it is great, truly; but what would be
the value today of the furs brought in one season down the Wabash,
Licking, Miami, Scioto, Kanawha, Muskingum, and Beaver and up the Ohio
to Pittsburg, in those days when canoes bore their precious tons of
freight? Compared to the number of persons engaged in it, the old trade
(in today's markets) would be considered a hundred per cent more

The burdens those long canoes could bear should not be underestimated.
When Washington made his journey down the Ohio in 1770 he "embarked in a
large canoe," October 20, at Pittsburg, "with sufficient store of
provisions and necessaries, and the following persons, besides Dr. Craik
and myself, to wit: Capt. Crawford, Joseph Nicholson, Robert Bell,
William Harrison, Charles Morgan and Daniel Rendon, a boy of Capt.

In the era of conquest the canoe played an important part in
transporting small bodies of men swiftly and, which was frequently not
less important, silently, to their destinations. But now it was that the
heavy barge acquired importance as a factor in the making of the West.
It was the quarter-master's and commissariat's sole reliance, and in
these great clumsy hulks which floated with the current, sometimes with
the aid of sails, were transported the armament and stores which made
possible the forts that at once came into existence in the valley--Forts
Mclntosh, Henry, Harmar, Finney, Washington, and others. These boats
were huge boxes, covered and uncovered, square at each end, and
flat-bottomed. A batteau, in distinction from a barge, was widest in the
middle and tapered to a point at each end, of about fifteen
hundred-weight burden and could be managed by two men with oars and

The batteau form was more or less adopted by later barges; but the
ordinary early barge was much the shape of the present-day coal barge.
The "canal boat" form, or batteau, was a later development.

American expansion westward, as elsewhere suggested, was favored more by
the Ohio River than by any and all others: it ran the right way.
Throughout the earlier decades of the pioneer era the greater portion of
traffic was down stream. Even in the later days of steamboating the
downstream traffic was ever heaviest. In 1835 the total tonnage received
and entered at the port of Pittsburg was 63,221 tons; of this, 41,533
tons was export. In 1837 the total number of boats arriving at Pittsburg
from February 10 to July 1 was five hundred and ninety-three; the total
number departing was five hundred and eighty-two.[48] If the upstream
trade did not equal the downstream trade in the days of steamboats, it
can be readily imagined how great was the difference in the days of
rowed and pushed craft. Upstream traffic began to thrive with the
founding of Pittsburg and other cities in the upper Ohio Valley. A
market was then created, and the product of the lower valley began to

Thus dawned the era of the famous keel-boat, the first craft of burden
that plied to and fro on western waters. True, the name was applied to
craft that came earlier. Colonel Burd, the English officer who led one
of the marauding expeditions from Detroit into Kentucky in the
Revolutionary War, came from the lakes and ascended the Licking in
keel-boats. It is given on good authority that Tarascon, Berthoud and
Company of Pittsburg introduced the use of keel-boats on the Ohio in

The keel-boat heralded a new era in internal development, an era of
internal communication never known before in the Central West. As a
craft it is almost forgotten today. Our oldest citizens can barely
remember the last years of its reign; but the cry of the steersman to
"lift" and "set" that once rang in our river valleys, is still one of
the undying memories of their childhood days. It was a long, narrow
craft perhaps averaging twelve to fifteen feet by fifty, and pointed at
both prow and stern. On either side were provided what were known as
"running boards," extending from end to end. The space between, the body
of the boat, was enclosed and roofed over with boards or shingles. A
keel-boat would carry from twenty to forty tons of freight well
protected from the weather; it required from six to ten men, in addition
to the captain, who was usually the steersman, to propel it upstream.
Each man was provided with a pole to which was affixed a heavy socket,
The crew, being divided equally on each side of the boat, "set" their
poles at the head of the boat; then bringing the end of the pole to the
shoulder, with bodies bent, they walked slowly along the running boards
to the stern--returning quickly, at the command of the captain, to the
head for a new "set." "In ascending rapids, the greatest effort of the
whole crew was required, so that only one at a time could 'shift' his
pole. This ascending of rapids was attended with great danger,
especially if the channel was rocky. The slightest error in pushing or
steering the boat exposed her to be thrown across the current, and to be
brought sideways in contact with rocks which would mean her destruction.
Or, if she escaped injury, a crew who had let their boat swing in the
rapids would have lost caste. A boatman who could not boast that he had
never swung or backed in a chute was regarded with contempt, and never
trusted with the head pole, the place of honor among the keel-boat men.
It required much practice to become a first rate boatman, and none would
be taken, even on trial, who did not possess great muscular power."[50]
Under certain circumstances it was serviceable to catch hold of the
bushes and trees on a river's bank and pull a keel-boat upstream; this
was commonly known as "bushwhacking" and was particularly useful in
times of high water. The number of keel-boats on the Ohio was not as
large, probably, as would be supposed. It is on record that from
November 24, 1810 to January 24, 1811--two winter months--twenty-four of
these craft descended the "falls" of the Ohio at Louisville. It is
probable that at this time there were not over three or four hundred
keel-boats regularly plying the Ohio and its tributaries.

The narrowness of the keel-boat, it will be noted, permitted it to ply
far up the larger tributaries of the Ohio and to a considerable way up
its smaller tributaries--territory which the barge and flat-boat could
never reach. It is probable, therefore, that the keel-boat brought much
territory into touch with the world that otherwise was never reached
save by the heavy freighter and the pack-saddle; indeed it is probable
that this was the greatest service of the keel-boat--to reach the rich
interior settlements and carry their imports and exports. The place of
the keel-boat is now taken by such packets as the Greenwood and Lorena
which bring to Pittsburg the produce of such valleys as the Kanawha and
the Muskingum. In this connection it is proper to emphasize a fact
suggested elsewhere: that the inhabitants of the Central West, from the
earliest times until today, have found the favorite sites of occupation
to be in the interior of the country, beside the lesser tributaries of
the Ohio.[51] Thus as the pioneer settlements spread up on the Licking,
Muskingum, Hockhocking, Scioto, and Miami, a boat like the keel-boat,
which could ply in any season of the year and on the narrow creeks and
"runs," was an inestimable boon. Again, take for instance the salt
industry, which in the day of the keel-boat was one of the most
important, if not the most important, in the Central West; as values
were a century ago the best of men did well to "earn his salt." These
salt springs and licks were found at some distance from the main artery
of travel, the Ohio, and it was the keel-boat, more enduring than the
canoe, and of lighter weight and draught and of lesser width than the
barge, which did the greater part of the salt distribution, returning
usually with loads of flour. The heyday of the keel-boat was also the
day of the portage path--which played a most important part in the
development of the land. These portages or carries were mostly located
far in the interior where rivers flowing in opposite directions took
their rise. The keel-boat was the only craft of burden that could ascend
many of our streams to the carrying-place; they were also less unwieldy
to carry than the old batteau which was used also in the portage
carrying-trade.[52] Mention has been made of Burd's invasion of Kentucky
during the Revolutionary War, in keel-boats. If this was not a misnomer
it is probable that they were brought from the lakes and carried across
the portage, as was done in the case of Hamilton's capture of Vincennes.

The keel-boat may be considered, therefore, the first upstream boat of
burden which plied the Ohio and its tributaries; its special functions:
first, the upstream trade, second, to touch and connect interior
settlements and do the carrying-trade of the portages.

The great craft of burden on the Ohio and its larger tributaries were
the barges and the flat-boats, the latter commonly known as the Kentucky
"broad-horns" or Kentucky boats, and New Orleans boats. The Ohio and
Mississippi barge resembled the "West Country" barges of England and the
"wherries" of London. They were great, pointed, covered hulks carrying
forty or fifty tons of freight and manned by almost as many men. They
were the great freighters of the larger rivers, descending with the
current and ascending by means of oars, poles, sails and
cordelles--ropes by which the craft was often towed from the shore. The
following description of a barge journey, from the pen of the famous
naturalist Audubon, is perhaps one of the most accurate left to us:

"We shall suppose one of these boats under way, and, having passed
Natchez, entering upon what were called the difficulties of their
ascent. Wherever a point projected so as to render the course or bend
below it of some magnitude, there was an eddy, the returning current of
which was sometimes as strong as that of the middle of the great stream.
The bargemen, therefore, rowed up pretty close under the bank, and had
merely to keep watch in the bow lest the boat should run against a
planter or sawyer. But the boat has reached the point, and there the
current is to all appearance of double strength and right against it.
The men, who have rested a few minutes, are ordered to take their
stations and lay hold of their oars, for the river must be crossed, it
being seldom possible to double such a point and proceed along the same
shore. The boat is crossing, its head slanting to the current, which is,
however, too strong for the rowers, and when the other side of the river
has been reached, it has drifted perhaps a quarter of a mile. The men
are by this time exhausted, and, as we shall suppose it to be 12
o'clock, fasten the boat to a tree on the shore. A small glass of
whiskey is given to each, when they cook and eat their dinner, and
after resting from their fatigue for an hour, recommence their labors.
The boat is again seen slowly advancing against the stream. It has
reached the lower end of a sandbar, along the edge of which it is
propelled by means of long poles, if the bottom be hard. Two men, called
bowsmen, remain at the prow to assist, in concert with the steersman, in
managing the boat and keeping its head right against the current. The
rest place themselves on the land side of the footway of the vessel, put
one end of their poles on the ground and the other against their
shoulders and push with all their might. As each of the men reaches the
stern, he crosses to the other side, runs along it and comes again to
the landward side of the bow, when he recommences operations. The barge
in the meantime is ascending at a rate not exceeding one mile in the

"The bar is at length passed, and as the shore in sight is straight on
both sides and the current uniformly strong, the poles are laid aside,
and the men being equally divided, those on the river side take to
their oars, while those on the land-side lay hold of the branches of
willows or other trees, and thus slowly propel the boat. Here and there,
however, the trunk of a fallen tree, partly lying on the bank and partly
projecting beyond it, impedes their progress and requires to be doubled.
This is performed by striking into it the iron points of the poles and
gaff-hooks, and so pulling around it. The sun is now quite low, and the
barge is again secured in the best harbor within reach for the night,
after having accomplished a distance of perhaps fifteen miles. The next
day the wind proves favorable, the sail is set, the boat takes all
advantages, and meeting with no accident, has ascended thirty
miles--perhaps double that distance. The next day comes with a very
different aspect. The wind is right ahead, the shores are without trees
of any kind, and the canes on the bank are so thick and stout that not
even the cordelles can be used. This occasions a halt. The time is not
altogether lost, as most of the men, being provided with rifles, betake
themselves to the woods and search for the deer, the hares or the
turkeys that are generally abundant there. Three days may pass before
the wind changes, and the advantages gained on the previous five days
are forgotten. Again the boat proceeds, but in passing over a shallow
place, runs on a log, swings with the current, but hangs fast with her
lee-side almost under water. Now for the poles! All hands are on deck,
bustling and pushing. At length, towards sunset, the boat is once more
afloat, and is again taken to the shore where the wearied crew pass
another night.

"I could tell you of the crew abandoning the boat and cargo and of
numberless accidents and perils, but be it enough to say, that advancing
in this tardy manner, the boat that left New Orleans on the 1st of
March, often did not reach the Falls of Ohio [Louisville] until the
month of July, sometimes not until October; and after all this immense
trouble, it brought only a few bags of coffee and at most one hundred
hogsheads of sugar. Such was the state of things as late as 1808. The
number of barges at that period did not amount to more than 25 or 30,
and the largest probably did not exceed one hundred tons burden. To
make the best of this fatiguing navigation, I may conclude by saying
that a barge which came up in three months, had done wonders, for I
believe few voyages were performed in that time."[53]

This is the story of an Orleans boat in distinction from a Kentucky boat
which was smaller and not so well finished.[54] The heavy up-river loads
of the Orleans boats--sugar and molasses--were very important cargoes
and illustrate the place the barge took in pioneer history; they were
the freighters which carried on the larger rivers the heavy cargoes of a
country fast filling with a new population. They plied, like the
keel-boat, up and down stream but could not ascend the smaller rivers or
reach portages of the larger streams because of their draught and size.
There were, of course, small barges that could go wherever a keel-boat
went; it was these that were common on certain portage path trades.[55]
The small barge was practically a keel-boat (without running boards)
save only in shape.

The flat-boat was the important craft of the era of immigration, the
friend of the pioneer. It was the boat that never came back, a
downstream craft solely. The flat-boat of average size was a roofed
craft about forty feet long, twelve feet wide and eight feet deep. It
was square and flat-bottomed and was managed by six oars; two of these,
about thirty feet long, on each side, were known as "sweeps" and were
manned by two men each; one at the stern, forty or fifty feet long
including its big blade, was called the "steering oar;" a small oar was
located at the prow, known as the "gouger," which aided in steering the
boat in swift water. One man only was needed at the steering oar and at
the gouger.

"Kentucky" and "New Orleans" were the significant names for the old-time
flat-boats, for Kentucky and New Orleans were the destinations of the
large majority. The nominal difference between a Kentucky and New
Orleans boat was that the former was commonly roofed only half over
while the latter was stronger and was entirely covered with a roof. How
to buy or build a "flat" was the first query of the pioneer father as he
finally arrived at one of the ports on the upper Ohio. Often several
families joined together and came down the river on one flat-boat, a
motley congregation of men, women, children and domestic animals
surrounded by the few crude, housekeeping utensils which had been
brought over the mountains or purchased at the port of embarkation.
Perhaps all of the details which engrossed a prospective pioneer's
attention are suggested in the previous quotations from _The Navigator_.

These Kentucky "broadhorns," or "broadhorn flatboats" as they were also
called, almost invariably carried a tin horn by means of which some one
on board would announce their arrival or make known their whereabouts in
a fog. This weird music, reverberating from hill to hill, was heard far
and wide and was welcomed by the country people.

The history of the flat-boat comes down within the present generation,
for as late as the beginning of the Civil War flat-boating was common
on the Ohio River. In the early day the flat-boat was the sign of
immigration; not so in the later day. The flat-boats of the fifties bore
cargoes to the southern ports, or cargoes to be retailed along the
Mississippi River plantations. Any enterprising man who owned or could
build a "flat," bought up the crops of his neighborhood, put them
aboard, and was ready to start on the "fall rise." Flat-boats were
loaded at the bow--sometimes through trapdoors in the roof--the cargo
stored away in the hold. For through freight, apples and potatoes were
the staples. If it was intended to "coast" (peddle the cargo to the
plantations) the freight also included cider, cheese, pork, bacon, and
even cabbage. Apple and peach brandy was a most profitable investment;
especially if apple brandy, with a few peaches in it, could be palmed
off on the thirsty darkies as peach brandy.

A yellow page of an old account-book of 1858 leaves record that the
proprietor of one "flat" purchased the entire product of a neighboring
farm and took it south that fall. The items and their cost price on
shore is interesting:

  350 bu. wheat @ $1.05 per bu.                $367.50
  208 bbls potatoes @ 2.05 per bbl.             426.40
   17 bbls seed potatoes @ 1.2 5 per bbl         21.25
   20 hogs, 6086 lbs. @ 4.33 per hundred        263.52
   5 bbls beans                                  15.25
   9 bbls & 13-1/2 lbs. sauer-Kraut              66.87
  Portion of a flat boat                         70.00

A yearly cash income of $1,230.79 would make many a farmer of our day

The proprietor of the flat-boat left on his three thousand mile trip
taking only a couple of farm hands with him as crew. They lived in the
stern of the boat under the same roof that sheltered the cargo, but
separated by a partition. It was all clear sailing, night and day.
Almost the only work was to keep the craft in the current. Several miles
above the "falls" at Louisville, pilots would be found in skiffs ready
to climb aboard and steer the "flat" down the rapids for ten dollars or
less. If the cargo was intended for the coasting trade, business began
at the first large plantations. This was in the day of overseers who
liberally patronized these "coasters," giving in payment drafts on New
Orleans. The darkies were, in some cases, allowed to make their own
purchases; they did not neglect the liquor, often exchanging molasses
for brandy even, gallon for gallon.

Upon arriving at his destination, the proprietor sold his remaining
stock and boat, invested his money in sugar and molasses, and embarked
with his freight on a packet for home. Thus two profits were cleared.

The advent of the Civil War was evident to these latter day boatmen;
watches were always kept on the outlook lest the "lines" be cut. At the
opening of the war flat-boats were frequently fired upon. When the
business was again revived in 1866 it was a new, sad South the flat-boat
men found. The negroes were "free," the overseers gone, the coasting
trade ruined; through freights were found to be the only ones that paid
after 1865.

Collins asserts that Captain Jacob Yoder took the first flat-boat down
the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans in 1782; "the late Capt.
Jos. Pierce of Cincinnati, Ohio, had erected over the remains of his old
friend Capt. Jacob Yoder, an iron tablet (the first cast west of the
Alleghanies) thus inscribed:


    Was born at Reading, Pennsylvania, August 11, 1758; and was | a
    soldier of the Revolutionary army in 1777 and 1778. | He emigrated
    to the West in 1780; and in May, 1782, from Fort Redstone, | on the
    Monongahela river, in the | FIRST FLAT BOAT. | That ever descended
    the Mississippi river, he landed in | New Orleans, with a cargoe of
    produce. | He died April 7, 1832, at his farm in Spencer County,
    Kentucky, and lies | here interred beneath this tablet.'"

Flat-boats were, both in early and modern times, always used or sold at
their destination for lumber. Thus the early bargemen and flat-boat men
who made down river trips returned largely on foot, until the era of
steamboats. The long journey across country from New Orleans through the
low fever-infested country and into Kentucky was a dangerous and
arduous experience.[56] "A large number of these boatmen were brought
together at New Orleans. Their journey home could not be made in small
parties, as they carried large quantities of specie, and the road was
infested by robbers. The outlaws and fugitives from justice from the
states resorted to this road. Some precautionary arrangements were
necessary. The boatmen who preferred returning through the wilderness
organized and selected their officers. These companies sometimes
numbered several hundred, and a greater proportion of them were armed.
They were provided with mules to carry the specie and provisions, and
some spare ones for the sick. Those who were able purchased mules, or
Indian ponies, for their use, but few could afford to ride. As the
journey was usually performed after the sickly season commenced, and the
first six or seven hundred miles was through a flat, unhealthy country,
with bad water, the spare mules were early loaded with the sick. There
was a general anxiety to hasten through this region of malaria. Officers
would give up their horses to the sick, companions would carry them
forward as long as their strength enabled; but although everything was
done for their relief which could be done without retarding the progress
of their journey, many died on the way or were left to the care of the
Indian or hunter who settled on the road. Many who survived an attack of
fever, and reached the healthy country of Tennessee, were long
recovering sufficient strength to resume their journey home. One would
suppose that men would have been reluctant to engage in a service which
exposed them to such great suffering and mortality without extraordinary
compensation; but such was the love of adventure and recklessness of
danger which characterized the young men of the West, that there was no
lack of hands to man the boats, although their number increased from
twenty-five to fifty per cent yearly. The fact that some of these
boatmen would return with fifty Spanish dollars, which was a large sum
at that day, was no small incentive to others, who perhaps never had a
dollar of their own."[57]

The "ark" of pioneer days was, as the name implies, the earliest type of
houseboat. "These boats," Mr. Harris records, "are generally called
'Arks;' and are said to have been invented by Mr. Krudger, on the
Juniata, about ten years ago [1795]. They are square, and flat-bottomed;
about forty feet by fifteen, with sides six feet deep; covered with a
roof of thin boards; and accommodated with a fire-place. They require
but four hands to navigate them, carry no sail, and are wafted down by
the current."[58]

Rafting logs down the Ohio was one of the great employments of the men
of three-quarters of a century ago. "Our raft," testified an old
_voyageur_ who went down the Allegheny and Ohio from Olean, New York in
1821, "was one hundred and twenty feet long and sixty wide and about
two feet deep. It had eight oars. In the center was our cabin, which
was twenty by sixteen, and contained, of course, our provisions and
valuables, ... and our _stove_. This was a patent range peculiar to
those days and quite wonderful in its way. It was made of a wooden box
lined with clay. It had a hole in the top for a kettle, and another
through which the smoke passed to an aperture in the roof of our cabin,
left for that purpose.... Our crew consisted of ten persons, including a
man and his wife and one child, who were going to migrate.... There are
many eddies along the river and at them we tried to tie up at night in
order to be out of the current.... From Pittsburg to Cincinnati, five
hundred miles, the river being broad and deep and free from snags, we
could travel night and day.... At one point in our trip we saw a raft
stranded on an island; but the Captain did not seem to take the matter
very seriously to heart, and answered our salutations by singing and
dancing and lustily waving his hat as we passed by.... At Limestone,
[Maysville] Ky., seventy miles east of Cincinnati, I stopped and sold
some shingles, the raft and the rest of the crew going on. After I had
transacted my business, I took passage on another going to C.
[Cincinnati]. At L. [Limestone] I remember seeing a bell on a tavern for
the first time. This raft had the misfortune to run into a flatboat
loaded with coal, and also the audacity to sneak off before the damage
was discovered to avoid both delay and expense.... Once there [at
Cincinnati] we hired a gang of men to wash the lumber, which was covered
with dirt and weeds; they then drew it to the lumber yard, where we sold
it.... I was not sorry when I reached my home ... on the evening of the
10th of June. I had been away since the middle of February."[59]

The galley--a model boat with covered deck impelled by oarsmen--was not
an unfamiliar craft in the early river days. It was such a boat as this
that General George Rogers Clark armed as a gunboat on the lower Ohio
and used as a patrolling gunboat during the Revolutionary War. The
famed "Adventure Galley," of the New England pilgrims to Marietta, was a
craft of this pattern. It was forty-five feet long and twelve feet wide,
with an estimated burden of fifty tons. Her bows were raking or curved,
strongly built with heavy timbers and covered with a deck roof.[60] It
is probable that the first mail boats which ran on the Ohio in 1793 were
of similar design. This service, established by Jacob Myers between
Cincinnati and Pittsburg, was advertised on November 16 as leaving
Cincinnati at 8 A. M. every alternate Saturday, requiring one month for
the round trip. The proprietor took great credit to himself, "claiming
to be 'influenced by love of philanthropy and desire of being
serviceable to the public.' He further stated: 'No danger need be
apprehended from the [Indian] enemy, as every person on board will be
under cover, made proof against rifle or musquet balls, and port holes
for firing out of. Each boat is armed with six pieces carrying a pound
ball; also a number of good musquets, and amply supplied with
ammunition, strongly manned with choice hands, and the masters of
approved knowledge. A separate cabin is partitioned off for
accommodating ladies on their passage; conveniences are constructed so
as to render landing unnecessary, as it might, at times, be attended
with danger. Rules and regulations for maintaining order and for the
good management of the boats, and tables of the rates of freightage,
passage, and carrying of letters; also, of the exact time of arrival and
departure at all way places, may be seen on the boat and at the printing
office in Cincinnati. Passengers supplied with provisions and liquors,
of first quality, at most reasonable rates possible. Persons may work
their passage. An office for insuring at moderate rates the property
carried, will be kept at Cincinnati, Limestone, (i. e. Maysville) and
Pittsburgh.' Packet-boat promises then, like steamboat promises
nowadays, were not _always_ kept; instead of on November 30th, the
second boat did not leave until December 10th, 'precisely at 10 o'clock
in the morning.'"[61]

In the days before steamboats, sails were greatly used on almost every
manner of craft, and were made of every conceivable material. The great
barges of early days were moved by sails when the wind was
favorable.[62] Both barges and keel-boats were "provided with a mast, a
square sail...."[63] Canoes were frequently provided with sails and
their progress was more or less dependent on the winds.[64]

The story of the building of the first brigs and schooners on the Ohio
and its tributaries, the dreams of their proprietors and masters, and
the experiences of their crews, is a subject worthy of a volume. The
building of these larger craft for the Mississippi and ocean trade
suggests at the outset the long, conflicting story of Mississippi
control which can only be hinted at here.

This business of building sailing vessels in the Ohio Basin began the
decade before the nineteenth century opened, and grew more and more
important until steam navigation revolutionized the river trade. These
brigs and schooners were, without doubt, distinctively down river craft,
which never returned; they were therefore the export carriers, and the
importance of their place in history may be found in the fact that their
appearance marks the rise of the export business to a position of
prominence, as the use of the keel-boat marked the rise of what may be
called interstate commerce.

In the year 1792 the company of shipbuilders previously mentioned,
Tarascon, Berthoud, and Company, who put the first keel-boats into
business on the Ohio, built the schooner "Amity" of one hundred and
twenty tons, and the "Pittsburgh," a ship of two hundred and fifty tons.
In 1793 the schooner "was sent to St. Thomas, and the ship to
Philadelphia, both laden with Flour. The second summer, they built the
brig 'Nanina,' of two hundred, and the ship 'Louisiana,' of 350 tons.
The brig was sent direct to Marseilles; the ship was sent out ballasted
with our _stone coal_, which was sold at _Philadelphia_, for 37 1-2
cents per bushel. The year after they built the ship 'Western Trader'
of 400 tons."[65] By 1800, therefore, cargoes of flour, iron, beef,
pork, glass-ware, furniture of black walnut, wild cherry, and yellow
birch, and beverages of varying character were awaiting the great hulls
of these new ships of several hundred tons. In 1803 Thaddeus Harris
found several of these ships on the stocks at Pittsburg; three had been
launched before April, "from 160 to 275 tons burden."[66] On May 4 he
wrote at Marietta: "the schooner 'Dorcas and Sally,' of 70 tons, built
at Wheeling and rigged at Marietta, dropped down the river. The
following day there there passed down the schooner 'Amity,' of 103 tons,
from Pittsburg, and the ship 'Pittsburg,' of 275 tons burden, from the
same place, laden with seventeen hundred barrels of flour, with the rest
of her cargo in flat-bottomed boats. In the evening the brig 'Mary
Avery,' of 130 tons, built at Marietta, set sail. These afforded an
interesting spectacle to the inhabitants of this place, who saluted the
vessels as they passed with three cheers, and by firing a small piece of
ordnance from the banks."[67] "The building and lading of ships is now
considered as an enterprize of the greatest importance in this part of
the country. The last (1802) there were launched from the ship-yard of
Captain Devol, on the Muskingum river, five miles above its mouth, the
ship 'MUSKINGUM,' of 204 tons, owned by Benjamin Ives Gilman, Esq. and
the brigantine 'ELIZA GREENE,' of 115 tons, owned by Charles Greene,
Esq. merchants at Marietta. At the spring flood of the present year, the
schooner 'Indiana,' of 100 tons, the brig 'Marietta,' of 130 tons, and
another of 150 tons, also built here, were launched and descended the
river for New Orleans and the trade to the West Indies. Good judges of
naval architecture have pronounced these vessels equal, in point of
workmanship and materials, to the best that have been built in America.
The firmness and great length of their planks, and the excellency of
their timbers, (their frames being almost wholly composed of black
walnut, a wood which, if properly selected, has nearly the strength of
white oak, and the durability of the live oak of the south without its
weight) it is believed will give these vessels the preference over any
built of the timber commonly made use of, in any market where there are
competent judges. This part of the country owes much to those gentlemen,
who, in a new and experimental line, have set this example of enterprize
and perseverance."[68] One ship from Marietta is said to have had the
existence of her port of clearance questioned in Italy.

In 1811 we learn that ship-building was not prospering as might be
supposed; misfortunes and accidents "have given a damp to ships building
at present."[69] On an inland river, where the winds and the amount of
rainfall at any time were very uncertain, it must have been a most
difficult thing to cope successfully with low water and shifting sand
bars and other innumerable obstacles to navigation in the Ohio. The
times were ripe for another power, one which did not require that the
vessels have deep draught, as was the case with sailing vessels.

The dawning of the new era of steam navigation cannot be introduced
better than by quoting a unique paragraph from _The Navigator_ of 1811:

"There is now on foot a new mode of navigating our western waters,
particularly the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. This is with boats
propelled by the power of steam. This plan has been carried into
successful operation on the Hudson river at New York, and on the
Delaware between New Castle and Burlington.--It has been stated that the
one on the Hudson goes at the rate of four miles an hour against wind
and tide on her route between New York and Albany, and frequently with
500 passengers on board. From these successful experiments there can be
but little doubt of the plan succeeding on our western waters, and
proving of immense advantage to the commerce of our country. A Mr.
Rosewalt, a gentleman of enterprise, and who is acting it is said in
conjunction with Messrs. Fulton and Livingston of New York, has a boat
of this kind now on the stocks at Pittsburgh, of 138 feet keel,
calculated for 300 or 400 tons burden. And there is one building at
Frankfort, Kentucky, by citizens who no doubt will push the enterprise.
It will be a novel sight, and as pleasing as novel to see a huge boat
working her way up the windings of the Ohio, without the appearance of
sail, oar, pole, or any manual labour about her--moving within the
secrets of her own wonderful mechanism, and propelled by power
undiscoverable!--This plan if it succeeds, must open to view flattering
prospects to an immense country, an interior of not less than two
thousand miles of as fine a soil and climate, as the world can produce,
and to a people worthy of all the advantages that nature and art can
give them, a people the more meritorious because they know how to
sustain peace and live independent, among the crushing of empires, the
falling of kings, the slaughter and bloodshed of millions, and the
tumult, corruption and tyranny of all the world beside. The immensity of
country we have yet to settle, the vast riches of the bowels of the
earth, the unexampled advantages of our water courses, which wind
without interruption for thousands of miles, the numerous sources of
trade and wealth opening to the enterprising and industrious citizens,
are reflections that must rouse the most dull and stupid.... From the
canoe, we now see ships of two or three hundred tons burden, masted and
rigged, descending the same Ohio, laden with the products of the
country, bound to New Orleans,--thence to any part of the world.--Thus
the rise and progress of the trade and the trader on the western waters,
thus the progress of our country from infancy to manhood, and thus the
flattering prospects of its future greatness through the channels of the
Ohio and Mississippi rivers."[70]

These words came true in a miraculously short space of time. Previous to
the adoption of the steamboat navigation, say in 1817, the whole
commerce from New Orleans to the upper country was carried in about
twenty barges, averaging one hundred tons each, and making but one trip
a year. The number of keel-boats employed on the Upper Ohio could not
have exceeded one hundred and fifty, carrying thirty tons each, and
making one trip from Pittsburg to Louisville and back in two months, or
about three voyages in the season. The tonnage of all the boats
ascending the Ohio and Lower Mississippi was then about sixty-five

In 1811 the first steamboat was constructed at Brownsville,
Pennsylvania, on the Monongahela. Several others were built soon after,
but it was probably fifteen years before steamboats came into such
general use as to cause any diminution in the flat-and keel-boat
navigation. These first boats were built after models of ships, with
deep holds. They also were constructed with low pressure engines and
heavy machinery. Hence they were useless in low water, very hard to
propel against the current, and their carrying capacity was greatly
reduced. In order to attain greater speed, the builders soon made the
boats long and narrow but it was not until they came to the decision
that boats would run faster on the water than in it, and began making
them flat and broad, that they finally got a boat capable of carrying a
thousand tons, when drawing only four feet, and when empty only two and
one-half feet. Then with a high pressure engine at each wheel they could
make unprecedented speed; and these boats afforded traveling and freight
accommodations equal to any. Although the prices of passages did not
exceed hotel rates, yet more bountifully filled tables were not to be
found on land and the boats were marvels of splendor in their
appointments. The chief improvement made in the river steamboats was
placing one large wheel at the stern of the boat entirely behind the
hulk and with long paddles the full length of the beam, operated by
double engines and quartering cranks. This had the advantage of allowing
the wheel to fly in the eddy water of the boat, while it cleared the
boat of the afterdraft. With these improvements rapid currents and
shallow waters could be conquered.

In 1832 it was calculated that the whole number of persons deriving
subsistence on the Ohio, including the crews of steam- and flat-boats,
mechanics and laborers employed in building and repairing boats,
woodcutters, and persons employed in furnishing, supplying, loading and
unloading these boats, was ninety thousand. At this time, 1832, the
boats numbered four hundred and fifty and their burden ninety thousand
tons. In 1843 the whole number of steamboats constructed at Cincinnati
alone was forty-five; the aggregate amount of their tonnage was twelve
thousand and thirty-five tons, and their cost $705,000. This gives an
average of two hundred and sixty-seven tons for each boat and about
$16,000 for the cost of each.

The models of these 1843 boats, as well as their finish and
accommodations, evinced a progressive improvement upon earlier boats.
They had more length and less draught, and were faster than those of the
last generation, while the hulls were more staunch, though they
contained less weight of timber. The cabins were not so gaudy and
expensive as those of former years but were greatly superior in comfort
and convenience.

In 1844 the number of steamboats employed in navigating the Mississippi
and its tributaries was four hundred and fifty. The average burden of
these boats was 200 tons each, making an aggregate of 90,000 tons and
their aggregate value, at $80 per ton, was $7,200,000. Many of these
were fine vessels, affording most comfortable accommodations for
passengers, and compared favorably in all particulars with the best
packets in any part of the world. The number of persons engaged in
navigating the steam-boats at this time varied from twenty-five to fifty
for each boat, or an average of about thirty-five persons, which gives a
total of 15,750 persons employed.

It appears from the reports of the Louisville and Portland Canal at this
time that more than seven hundred flat-boats passed that canal in one
year. There were, therefore, probably four thousand descending the
Mississippi, and counting five men to a boat there were 20,000 persons
employed in flat-boating. The cost of these boats was in the
neighborhood of $400,000, which, as they did not return, was an annual
expense; the cost of loading, navigating, and unloading them
approximated $900,000, making a total annual expenditure upon this class
of boats $1,300,000.

If, in 1834, the number of steamboats on western waters was two hundred
and thirty, and they carried 39,000 tons, the expense of running them
could be estimated as follows:[71]

  60 boats, over 200 tons, 108 running
    days, at $140. per day--                     $1,512,000.

  70 boats, 120-200 tons, 240 running
    days, at $90. per day--                       1,512,000.

  100 boats, under 120 tons, 270 running
    days, at $60. per day--                       1,620,000.
          Total yearly expenses                  $4,645,000.

In 1844 the calculation was:

  110 boats, over 200 tons, 180 running
    days, at $140 per day--                      $2,772,000.

  140 boats, 120-200 tons, 240 running
    days, at $90 per day--                        3,024,000.

  200 boats, under 120 tons, 280 running
    days, at $60--                                3,240,000.
          Total yearly expenses                  $9,036,000.

This sum, reduced to the different items producing it, would be
apportioned as follows:

  For wages, 36%               $3,252,960.
  For wood, 30%                 2,710,800.
  For provisions, 18%           1,626,480.
  For contingencies, 16%        1,445,760.
          Total                $9,036,000.

To this should be added:

  Insurance, 15% on $7,200,000                   $1,080,000.
  Louisville and Portland Canal tolls--             250,000.
  Interest on $7,200,000. Investment at 6%          432,000.
  Wear and tear of boats, 20%                     1,440,000.
          Total                                 $12,238,000.
  Add for flat-boats, as above,                   1,380,000.
          Total annual cost of transportation   $13,618,000.

There were steadily employed at the Cincinnati shipyards, during the
year 1843, in the heavier portions of the work, 320 hands at the
boatyards, 200 joiners, 200 engine- and foundry-men, 50 painters, making
the total number of persons employed 770.

Within the same year, there were built at Louisville, New Albany, and
Jeffersonville, 35 boats, of 7,406 tons, which cost $700,000. These
boats cost $20,000 each, averaged 211 tons, and cost about $95 per ton.

At Pittsburg, the same year, there were built 25 boats, of 4347 tons;
the average tonnage of these boats was about 173 tons.

The aggregate number of boats built in 1843, is about as follows:

  Cincinnati,                                  45 boats,   12,035 tons
  Louisville, New Albany, and Jeffersonville   35 boats,    7,406  "
  Pittsburg,                                   25 boats,    4,347  "
  Add for all other places,                    15 boats,    3,000  "
          Total.                                           26,788 tons

The whole tonnage of western boats previous to 1843, being 90,000 tons,
and the annual loss by destruction and superannuation being twenty per
cent, the decrease by the latter cause for 1843, was 18,000 tons, and
the increase 26,788 tons, making a net increase of 8,788 tons.

By the official returns in 1842 it appears that the whole steamboat
tonnage of the United States was 218,994 tons; this was divided as


  New Orleans,                80,993 tons
  St. Louis,                  14,725   "
  Cincinnati,                 12,025   "
  Pittsburg,                  10,107   "
  Louisville,                  4,618   "
  Nashville,                   3,810   "
      Total                  126,278 tons.


  Buffalo,                     8,212 tons
  Detroit,                     3,296  "
  Presque Isle,                2,315  "
  Oswego,                      1,970  "
  Cuyahoga,                    1,859  "
      Total                   17,652 tons.


  New York,                   35,260 tons
  Baltimore,                   7,143  "
  Mobile,                      6,982  "
  Philadelphia,                4,578  "
  Charleston,                  3,289  "
  Newbern,                     2,854  "
  Perth Amboy,                 2,606  "
  Apalachicola,                1,418  "
  Boston,                      1,362  "
  Norfolk,                     1,395  "
  Wilmington,                  1,212  "
  Georgetown,                  1,178  "
  Newark,                      1,120  "
  Miscellaneous,               4,767  "
      Total                   76,064 tons.

At this time the steamboat tonnage belonged to the internal commerce of
the country, as, with the exception of two or three in the Gulf of
Mexico, we had no steam vessels engaged in foreign commerce. Of the
whole 218,994 tons, it appears that two-thirds belonged to the West; and
as a portion of the other tonnage was employed on routes leading to the
West and connecting with our highways, the commerce of the West no doubt
amounted to more than two-thirds of the commerce of the Union. And,
estimating the number of steamboats from their average tonnage, there
must have been in 1842, one thousand in the United States, of which six
hundred belonged to the West.

The table of tonnage above given, shows where this vast commercial
marine was employed; first, in the Mississippi Basin; next, in the city
of New York; and then on the Lakes. From the port of New York there were
some seventy or eighty steamboats constantly running--on the Lakes there
were hundreds. In the valley of the Mississippi the number of steamboats
they employed was equal to the whole number of those employed in
England. This will appear from the following statement from McCullough's
gazetteer of the steamboat tonnage of Great Britain in 1834:

                          _Steam Ships_   _Tonnage_
  England                      434          43,877
  Scotland                     105          13,113
  Ireland                       84          17,674
  British dependencies          49           8,032
                               ---          ------
      Total,                   672          82,696

It appears then that the steamboat tonnage of the Mississippi Valley
(1842) exceeded by forty thousand tons the entire steamboat tonnage of
Great Britain (1834). In other words, the steamboat tonnage of Great
Britain was only two-thirds that of the Mississippi Valley. The
magnitude of this fact will be best appreciated by considering that the
entire tonnage of the United States was but two-thirds that of Great
Britain, showing that this proportion is exactly reversed in western
steamboat trade. The influence of the West in pushing the steamboat to
its ultimate use as a common carrier has been most remarkable.



The history of the Ohio Basin rivermen, from those who paddled a canoe
and pushed a keel-boat to those who labor today on our steamboats has
never been written. The lights and shades of this life have never been
pictured by any novelist and perhaps they never can be. Even the student
who gleans imperfect pictures from the miscellanies preserved in local
histories, must in the very nature of the case, secure but a poor focus
on realities. Study as you will, you will only make yourself ridiculous
when you attempt to talk to one of the old-time rivermen. Your use and
even pronunciation of words will seem absurd; if the dictionary is on
your side, so much the worse for the dictionary. An attempt will create
in the enthusiast much the same feeling that will be felt on giving a
veteran of Gettysburg a copy of an historical novel describing the
battle; it may have thrilled you but your old soldier friend will say
"That man never was in battle." The old riverman will, by his smile,
make you conscious that you speak in unfamiliar terms, though his manner
may be politeness itself. "You have never been in battle" will be the
gist of his implications.

The first generation of rivermen, excluding, of course the Indians,
would cover the year from 1750 to 1780 and would include those whose
principal acquaintance with the Ohio and its tributaries was made
through the canoe and pirogue. The second generation would stretch from
1780 or 1790 to 1810, and for our purposes will include those who lived
in the heyday of the keel- and flat-boat. The third generation would
carry us forward from 1810 to about 1850, and in this we would count the
thousands who knew these valleys before the railway had robbed the
steamboat of so much of its business and pride. This classification is
extremely loose; it will help us, however, to place some limits on a
subject as boundless as human ambition.

For, taken through the years, the human element in the historical phases
of these valleys has remained practically unchanged. Greed of the great
round dollar has been the commanding passion, and nowhere has it burned
more fiercely. All the crimes, treacheries, deceptions, and frauds
practiced under the sun have been repeated on the Ohio between Pittsburg
and Cairo. Some, perhaps unknown elsewhere, have here been committed.
But here, too, that old-time clear love of living for life's sake only,
the thing which makes sailors sing the world over, was deeply felt. In
its lower extremities the river reaches practically southern climes
while its northern arms reach out into New York and Pennsylvania. On its
northwestern shore settled many colonies from New England; on the
south-eastern coast flocked the Virginians. Thus, from the standpoint of
temperament, the Ohio offers a most remarkable field of study of human
types. As said, it was the western projection of Mason and Dixon's Line;
but instead of being a mere geographical technicality, it was a teeming
highway where passion, hate, love, and fraternity were every day
displayed until the great crisis was finally passed. For, be it
remembered, there was civil war on the Ohio long before Fort Sumter
belched its defiance to secessionism. True, western Virginia and
Kentucky were not unbalanced by the fervor that swept the South, but
this river highway between them and Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois (as
loyal as Vermont or Massachusetts) was the meeting-place of hundreds who
could not meet without striking fire. Brought up in this zone where
issues were plain and where it was not derogatory to carry a broken nose
or a blackened eye any time between 1840 and 1860, fired to fast
thinking and faster action by the passionate current in which they
lived, were many of the bravest leaders of the Civil War, such as
Lincoln, Grant, and Sherman. Our study here has nothing to do with the
history of the Civil War, but disclosures made at that time bring out
most plainly the position of the Ohio Valley in the Union, and the
political consequences. It has been in place elsewhere to define the
various stocks of people who entered the Ohio Valley a century ago and
who have been its controlling spirits since their entrance. Of these the
rivermen were a part, moved by one and the same force politically. Some
were of the North and some came up from the South, and they wrangled for
years over the problems solved by the Civil War.

But now, turning specifically to our classification, let us glance at
the first generation of Ohio rivermen: those who knew these waters
before and during Revolutionary days. At the outset it is clear that
their tasks are as strange to us as the sights upon which their eyes
feasted and the sounds which day and night were sounding in their ears.
They were engaged in the only trade known in the valley then--the fur
trade. At about midsummer, or a little earlier, the fur trade of the
entire Ohio Basin focused at the mouth of the Monongahela for
transportation to Philadelphia and Baltimore or on the lower Ohio for
shipment by canoe down the Ohio and Mississippi. When the curtain of
actual history arose on the Ohio River, the fur traders formed the
motley background in the drama in which Céloron, Contrecoeur,
Villiers, Washington, and Gist stood out clearly in the dark foreground.
Céloron found them here and there in 1750 and sent them back to Virginia
with a sharp letter to Governor Dinwiddie. Indeed it was these first
rivermen who floated on the Ohio in canoes laden with peltry who brought
on apace the Old French War. Nominally, of course, it was that quota of
one hundred families with which the Ohio Company promised to people its
two hundred thousand acre grant between the Monongahela and Kanawha
Rivers which alarmed the Quebec government; but in reality it was the
Virginia and Pennsylvania fur traders in whose canoes thousands of
dollars' worth of beaver skins were being kept from the St. Lawrence.
From village to village these traders passed, securing from the natives
their plunder of river and forest. In their long canoes the packs were
carefully deposited, and payment was made in goods, of which ammunition
and fire-arms were of most worth. Though these were the first rivermen,
they as frequently came by land as by water. But, when in their canoes,
they were the first to ply the western rivers. They, first of white
men, learned the old-time riffles--many of which became known to
millions by the names these first _voyageurs_ gave them. They knew
islands which have long since passed from sight; they knew the old licks
and the old trails. They practiced the lost arts of the woodsman; they
had eyes and ears of which their successors in these valleys do not
know. They did not become white Indians for, it would seem, they did not
mingle as closely with the red-men as did the French; but they became
exceedingly proficient in the Indian's woodland wisdom. Browned by the
sun and hardened by wind and rain and snow they were a strong race of
men; they could paddle or walk the entire day with little fatigue. Yet
their day's work was not such usually that it made mere brute machines
of them. Not as boisterous as the French on the Great Lakes and their
tributaries, these first Americans in the West were yet a buoyant crew;
there were songs to be sung as the canoe glided speedily along beneath
the shadows of those tremendous forest trees; dangers intensified the
joys, and, as everywhere else, added a flavor to living, a romantic
tinge to what otherwise might have been commonplace. There was no caste,
no clique, no faction; even Virginian and Pennsylvanian eyed one another
more considerately on the Ohio than elsewhere; true, the quarrel at last
grew bitter, even here, but it was confined to the possession of
Pittsburg and did not concern the valley as a whole.

With the deepening of the struggle for the Ohio its first generation of
_voyageurs_ became of great importance. Their knowledge of the river and
the land through which it flowed was of moment to marching armies,
scouts and spies, peace commissioners, military superintendents,
commanders of forts, cohorts of surveyors, land companies, investors,
promoters, and pioneers. With the passing of the fur trade, a score of
remunerative openings was at the command of the rivermen who had learned
well his lesson. Thus with the opening of the new era of the barge and
keel-boat the old-time _voyageur_ could remain upon the scene, or, like
Daniel Boone, paddle away to the West and in a new land live over again
the days when the forests were fresh and green.

With the filling of the Ohio Valley came the introduction of these heavy
freight craft, the barge and flat-boat, and, almost immediately, the
keel-boat, the first upstream craft. To row or steer a barge or flat or
to pole a keel-boat was work no _voyageur_ of earlier times had
undertaken. It was rougher work than had ever been demanded of men in
the West and it soon developed rougher men than the West had ever seen.
Social conditions, growing spasmodically complex in a new country, made
them worse. Once free of savage red-men, the Ohio Valley became a famous
retreat for criminals of every class from every state; horse thieves,
gamblers, and men guilty of far worse crimes were comparatively safe on
the Ohio by 1800; and, in the descending barge or flat, could pass on
into a new career under new names in Kentucky, Ohio, or beyond. Added to
this scum of the older communities must be counted the hundreds who had
served in the western armies which were now disbanded, many of whom bred
in roughest surroundings now sank quickly to their social level in the
fast-filling West they had freed. This type of hardy but vicious manhood
found hard work awaiting them on the rivers where millions of tons of
freight were waiting to be moved. They laid down a heavy musket and
picked up a heavier oar; but the two forms of occupation were not
dissimilar, for both offered a life of alternate labor and rest. On
these first freight craft in the West the work was severe in the
extreme, but it was not continuous; it was often a desperate pull today
and leisure tomorrow. A writer of a generation ago caught the exact
spirit of this life at this transitional state:

"The Ohio River being once reached, the main channel of emigration lay
in the water-courses. Steamboats as yet were but beginning their
invasion, amid the general dismay and cursing of the population of
boatmen that had rapidly established itself along the shore of every
river. The early water life of the Ohio and its kindred streams was the
very romance of emigration; no monotonous agriculture, no toilsome
wood-chopping could keep back the adventurous boys who found delight in
the endless novelty, the alternate energy and repose of a floating
existence on those delightful waters. The variety of river craft
corresponded to the varied temperaments of the boatmen. There was the
great barge with lofty deck requiring twenty-five men to work it
up-stream; there was the long keel-boat, carrying from twenty-five to
thirty tons; there was the Kentucky 'broadhorn,' compared by the
emigrants of that day to a New England pig-sty set afloat, and sometimes
built one hundred feet long, and carrying seventy tons; there was the
'family-boat,' of like structure, and bearing a whole household, with
cattle, hogs, horses, and sheep. Other boats were floating tin shops,
blacksmith's shops, whiskey shops, dry-goods shops. A few were propelled
by horsepower. Of smaller vessels there were 'covered sleds,' 'ferry
flats,' and 'Alleghany skiffs;' 'pirogues' made from two tree trunks, or
'dug-outs' consisting of one."

"The bargemen were a distinct class of people," writes Mr. Cassedy,
"whose fearlessness of character, recklessness of habits and laxity of
morals rendered them a marked people. Their history will hereafter form
the groundwork of many a heroic romance or epic poem. In the earlier
stages of this sort of navigation, their trips were dangerous, not only
on account of the Indians whose hunting-grounds bounded their track on
either side, but also because the shores of both rivers were infested
with organized banditti, who sought every occasion to rob and murder the
owners of these boats. Beside all this the Spanish Government had
forbidden the navigation of the lower Mississippi by the Americans, and
thus, hedged in every way by danger, it became these boatmen to
cultivate all the hardihood and wiliness of the Pioneer, while it led
them also into the possession of that recklessness of independent
freedom of manner, which even after the causes that produced it had
ceased, still clung to and formed an integral part of the character of
the Western Bargeman. It is a matter of no little surprise that
something like an authentic history of these wonderful men has never
been written. Certainly it is desirable to preserve such a history, and
no book could have been undertaken which would be likely to produce more
both of pleasure and profit to the writer and none which would meet with
a larger circle of delighted readers. The traditions on the subject are,
even at this recent period, so vague and contradictory that it would be
difficult to procure anything like reliable or authentic data in regard
to them. No story in which the bargemen figured is too improbable to be
narrated, nor can one determine what particular person is the hero of an
incident which is in turn laid at the door of each distinguished member
of the whole fraternity."[72]

"The crews were carefully chosen. A 'Kentuck,' or Kentuckian, was
considered the best man at a pole, and a 'Canuck,' or French Canadian,
at the oar or the 'cordelles,' the rope used to haul a boat upstream.
Their talk was of the dangers of the river; of 'planters and sawyers,'
meaning tree trunks imbedded more or less firmly in the river; of
'riffles,' meaning ripples; and of 'shoots,' or rapids (French
_chutes_). It was as necessary to have violins on board as to have
whiskey and all the traditions in song or picture of 'the jolly boatman'
date back to that by-gone day. Between the two sides of the river there
was already a jealousy. Ohio was called 'the Yankee State' and Flint
tells us that it was a standing joke among the Ohio boatmen when asked
their cargo to reply, 'Pitcoal indigo, wooden nutmegs, straw baskets,
and Yankee notions.' The same authority describes this sort of
questioning as being inexhaustible among the river people and asserts
that from one descending boat came this series of answers all of which
proved to be truthful:

"'Where are you from?'


'What is your lading?'


'What's your captain's name?'


'Where are you bound?'

'To Limestone.'"

"It was the highway of emigration," a pioneer has written of the Ohio in
its early years, "by the old and nearly forgotten flat-boat system....
I was familiar with the sight of these primitive navigators and their
sluggish moving vessels when in the early spring days they came down....
I have seen several generations on a single flatboat, from the white
haired grand-sire and his aged helpmate, seated in rude chairs of
domestic manufacture, with split hickory bottoms, down to the infant
babe nestled in its rough hewn cradle, made by the ax of the stalwart
young man, father to a group of little 'towheads' who surrounded the
parents, and their small assortment of household goods. A cow--that
domesticated helpmate to the family of the emigrating poor--was
generally tied near the center of the flatboat, and on the lumber or
planks that were intended, when the voyage terminated, to be made into
flooring, and combine with the broken up flat-boat to make a quickly
constructed home at some point on the forest covered hills of Kentucky
or Ohio, or on the low, flat lands that border the Mississippi.... They
were going to settle in the wilderness, with a cow, a flitch of bacon, a
small coop of chickens, and, generally, a large family of children."

Among the heroes of the days of the keel-boat, stands Mike Fink who, in
his own words, is described as follows: "I can out-run, out-hop,
out-jump, throw down, drag out and lick any man in the country. I'm a
Salt-river roarer; I love the wimming and I'm chock full of fight." Of
this typical leader of his class an old magazine, the _Western Monthly_,
gives us this description: "His weight was about 180 pounds; height
about five feet, nine inches; broad, round face, pleasant features,
brown skin, tanned by sun and rain; blue, but very expressive eyes,
inclining to grey; broad, white teeth, and square, brawny form, well
proportioned; and every muscle of his arms, thighs and legs, was fully
developed, indicating the greatest strength and activity. His person,
taken altogether, was a model for a Hercules, except as to size." No
plucky adventure or cunning trickery performed by bargemen from the
Hudson to the Mississippi but seems to have been accredited by some one
at some time to Mike Fink. One of these, told of Fink et al., is
sufficiently typical to represent the other ninety-nine. Voyaging down
the Ohio, Fink one day noticed a flock of fine sheep on shore, and,
being out of fresh provisions, he determined to secure a supply of
mutton without the delay and vexation attendant upon any financial
exchange. In his cargo was a number of bladders of Scotch snuff.
Obtaining a quantity of this drug he caught a few sheep, rubbed it on
their heads and faces, and instantly sent a messenger for the owner
whose house was not far distant.

By the time this man appeared the sheep Fink had dosed were deporting
themselves in a manner at once disgraceful to the remainder of the flock
and prodigiously marvelous to the eyes of their dazed owner. Leaping and
bleating, the distracted animals were pawing their heads, rubbing them
wildly on the ground and acting in general as though possessed of devils
and on the point of dashing down the river bank into the water.

"What's the matter with my sheep?" exclaimed the alarmed owner.

"Don't you know?" said Mike, suspiciously.

"No, I don't!"

"Didn't you ever hear of black murrain?"

"Yes," was the terrified reply.

"Well, that's it--all sheep up the river's got it dreadful--dyin' like
rotten dogs, hundreds daily."

"You don't tell!" cried the victim; "and what's the cure?"

"Nothin' but killin' 'em to prevent it's spreadin'; it's dreadful
catchin', is black murrain."

The riverman was at once begged to kill the infected sheep and throw
their bodies into the current of the river. Mike did not at once agree,
but when a couple of gallons of peach brandy was named as a
consideration, he consented. And that night as his boat left the cove
its freight was increased by many pounds of mutton and something less
than two gallons of peach brandy. The same story is told of other
bargemen in various portions of the Union but, whoever was guilty of the
theft, it is typical of all so far as their attitude to the public is

Such men, being constantly on the move, were hard to place, and as
difficult to bring to justice as a government official. A keel-boat
captain surrounded by a swarthy crew which he had treated liberally to
plunder would not be attacked by any posse in its right mind. On one
occasion--whether or not the story is true, the spirit of it is no
misrepresentation--Mike Fink was so earnestly desired that a reward was
offered for his capture. When his boat was anchored at Louisville an old
friend of Mike's, a constable, approached him and expressed the desire
to bring him to trial in order to obtain the promised reward. At the
same time he assured the culprit that there was no evidence that could
result in conviction. The keel-boat man took pity on his friend and
agreed, after some consideration, to acquiesce on one condition: he
would go if he could be drawn thither in his yawl, surrounded by his

The condition was agreed to. "Accordingly a long-coupled wagon was
procured, and, with oxen attached, it went down the hill, at Third
Street for Mike's yawl. The road, for it was not then a street, was
very steep and very muddy at this point. Regardless of this, however,
the boat was set upon the wagon, and Mike and his men, with their long
poles ready, as if for an aquatic excursion, were put aboard, Mike in
the stern. By dint of laborious dragging, the wagon had attained half
the height of the hill, when out shouted the stentorian voice of Mike
calling to his men, 'Set poles!'--and the end of every long pole was set
firmly in the thick mud; 'Back her!' roared Mike, and down the hill
again went wagon, yawl, men, and oxen. Mike had been revolving the
matter in his mind and had concluded that it was best not to go; and
well knowing that each of his men was equal to a moderately strong ox,
he had at once conceived and executed this retrograde movement. Once at
the bottom, another parley was held and Mike was again overpowered. This
time they had almost reached the top of the hill, when 'Set poles! Back
her!' was again ordered and again executed. A third attempt, however,
was successful, and Mike reached the court house in safety; and, as his
friend, the constable, had endeavored to induce him to believe, he was
acquitted for lack of sufficient evidence. Other indictments, however,
were found against him, but Mike preferred not to wait to hear them
tried; so, at a given signal he and his men boarded their craft and
again stood ready to weigh anchor. The dread of the long poles in the
hands of Mike's men prevented the posse from urging any serious
remonstrance against his departure. And off they started with poles
'tossed.' As they left the court house yard Mike waved his red bandanna,
which he had fixed on one of the poles, and promising to 'call again'
was borne back to his element and launched once more upon the

Our inability to believe such stories is only an additional proof that
those days might as well be a cycle as a century behind us, so far as
catching the genuine atmosphere of them is concerned. It was a rough day
on shore, a day when, so the story goes, a Louis Phillippe could not
treat an Ohio innkeeper with hauteur (after announcing that he would "be
King of France") without being thrown into the street to the
accompaniment of the boast: "We are all Kings over here." English
travelers in the middle West have probably left truer pictures of actual
social conditions in the days of the keel-boat and barge than we have
elsewhere. We think many of these accounts are, like Dickens's _Notes_,
exaggerated. If any of them are true, all might as well be. And, at any
rate, whatever the social average, we can be very certain that the
rivermen had the hardest work and were the hardest type of all laborers
in the new West.

A hint has been dropped some pages before about the feeling of the
old-time rivermen concerning the introduction of steam navigation. In
this series of monographs it has been in place now and then to refer to
the anger and disgust of every class of men engaged in land
transportation over the introduction of new methods. The old
packhorse-men were intensely incensed at the introduction of wheeled
vehicles on the great routes of trade and immigration, and even opposed
the widening of Indian trails and the building of roads. The first
wagons were assaulted and demolished. In turn the "waggoners" and
teamsters opposed the building of canals and the improvement of the
rivers. Teamsters, tow-boat men, and rivermen were foremost in opposing
the railway. Something of the same spirit exists in certain parts today,
in the struggle which is on, and which is growing more bitter each year,
between railway and electric roads.

The conflict between the new and the old was probably more fierce on the
rivers than elsewhere, for the reason that one route was common to all.
The canal and highway were not often contiguous, and the railway was yet
further removed, because it followed the waterways which the roads
frequently avoided. On the river the barge and steamboat moved side by
side; they landed at the same ports, and never lost sight of each other.
It was a significant repetition of history, recalling the day when the
wheeled vehicle was introduced on roads never used save by the
packhorse-men. In each instance improved methods of locomotion came into
violent contact with the old. And, as in the case of the struggle
between angry packhorse-men and wagon- and coach-drivers, the new
method was a labor-saving invention. No string of ponies could bear what
a great Conestoga wagon would carry. It took less "hands" to transport a
given amount of freight on wagons than by the old packsaddle system. The
difference in the case of barge and flat-boat and steamboat was much
more marked and the struggle so much more bitter. True it is that in
both cases the amount of business soon increased with improved
facilities--for the wagon was as much in advance of the packsaddle as
the steamer was in advance of the flat-boat--but this did not allay
temporary hostility.

River life at once underwent a great change with the gradual supremacy
of the steamboat in the carrying trade of the Ohio and its tributaries.
The sounding whistle blew away from our valleys much that was
picturesque--those strenuous days when a well developed muscle was the
best capital with which to begin business. Of course the flat-boat did
not pass from our waters, but as a type of old-time rivermen their lusty
crews have disappeared. The business interests of the new West, growing
to greater proportions each year, demanded all hands "on deck."

In connection with that first generation of rivermen it was observed
that social equality was a general rule. There were no distinctions;
every man was his own master and his own servant. In the days of
keel-boats and flat-boats conditions changed, as we have observed in the
case of Mike Fink who was "captain" of his boat and the leader of his
own henchmen. This has been touched upon in the consideration of the
evolution of river craft, and may be suggested, only in passing, here;
the second generation of rivermen were accustomed to obey orders of
superiors, and society was divided sharply into two classes, the serving
and the served. With the supremacy of the steamboat this division is
reduplicated over and again; here are found four general classes, the
proprietors, navigators, operators, and deckhands.

The upper ranks of the steam-packet business have furnished the West
with some of its strongest types of aggressive manhood. Keen-eyed,
physically strong, acquainted with men and equal to any emergency, the
typical captain of the first half century of steamboating in the West
was a man any one was glad to number among his friends and

But between the pilot house and the deck lay a gulf--not impassable, for
it was very frequently spanned by the worthy--deep, and significant.
Until the Civil War "deckoneering" was, largely, the pursuit of whites.
A few plantation owners rented out slaves to steamboat owners, but
negroes did not usurp the profession until they were freed. This was
contemporaneous with the general introduction of steam railways.

A heterogeneous population--not touched in the foregoing
generalizations--has made the waters of the Ohio Basin its home. They
may be classed as vagrants, gamblers, and banditti. The first class
would include both the indolent and the vicious population that has
swarmed the Ohio and its tributaries from times immemorial. In all sorts
of conceivable craft, resembling each other only in the sole particular
of buoyancy, these vagrants have been floating our waters and mooring
their boats along our shores for a hundred years or more. In house-boats
of all possible sizes, shapes, heights, depths, and stenches these
idlers and triflers have lived and trained their sons and daughters to
live. Their staple means of existence has been fishing and filching,
and, while living, are seemingly the happiest of people and no questions
asked. To dig a few hills of potatoes and snatch a few ears of corn or a
melon, to conciliate and lead away a watch-dog, to "run" the trot-line,
to barter stolen articles in a contiguous county, makes up the happy
round of their useless lives. If it is true that every man is as lazy as
he dare be the Ohio River can boast the most daring set of men in the
world. It is interesting to note that at the beginning of the last
century those who were engaged in legitimate business on western waters
were not considered as holding a respectable social position. "This
voyage performed," we read in _The Navigator_ for 1818, "which generally
occupies three month ... the trader returns [from New Orleans] doubly
invigorated, and enabled to enlarge his vessel and cargo, he sets out
again; this is repeated, until perhaps getting tired of this mode of
merchandizing, he sets himself down in some town or village as a
wholesale merchant, druggist or apothecary, practicing physician, or
lawyer, or something else, that renders him respectable in the eyes of
his neighbors, where he lives amidst wealth and comforts the remainder
of his days--nor is it by any known that his fortune was founded in the
paddling of a canoe, or trafficking in apples, cider-royal,
peach-brandy, whiskey, &c. &c. &c."

This refers to the early trader; the house-boater of the later day was
not, primarily, engaged in any trade, though many were. Nearly every
kind of a shop known on land has floated on the Ohio. As a class,
however, the proprietors of these craft were, and are, fishermen. "Queer
people you meet on the river," wrote a correspondent who recently
journeyed down the Ohio by canoe, "but perhaps the most interesting of
all are the 'shanty-boat' tribe. We had had a long, hard morning's pull
against head winds and had made little progress, were behind time and
were discouraged. We were passing the lone shanty-boat of a river
tradesman, tied up on shore, waiting for the wind 'to lay.' Chris hailed
him and asked leave to boil coffee on his stove. I expected a rebuff,
but the trader cordially invited us to 'walk in, gentlemen; you seem
ruther fagged. Set down, set down. I seen you uns a passin' us above
t'other day, but this old tortus runs night and day and gits ahead of
the rabbit sometimes while you're taking a nap.' And so the loquacious
old chap ran on. Glad of a rest, we stayed and drifted with him some ten
or twelve miles that night, bunking on a pile of bags in a corner. To be
sure the wily old fox turned our visit to his profit. He proved to us
plainly, by river logic, what our experience had already shown--that we
had certain cumbrous baggage that ought to be disposed of, and he bought
it of us for a song, 'jest to accommodate you uns, you know; I'm allers
a-buyin' a lot o' no-account truck, jest to help folks out.' Very
likely! But the information he gave proved so valuable, his bacon tasted
so good, that night spent with him drifting and resting was so
pleasant--what did I care if it was all a scheme to strike a trade. Long
into the night I sat with him as he steered his clumsy craft and shouted
his queerly quavered songs. Finally he lapsed into silence. The frogs
took up the song and had a monopoly, except for the gurgling of the
water and the distant baying of a hound. I was just ready to feel
romantic and silently soliloquizing the moon, when I heard a loud
whisper from the other end of the shanty-boat, as one of the trader's
young hopefuls said to his brother, 'Say, Bill, let's take the skiff and
go ashore and steal that hound barking.' 'Shet up, you young rascal,'
said the old man, never losing his good humor. 'You've got dogs enough
a'ready to start a Noah's Ark. What do yer want with any more? You roll
in.' Many kinds of people inhabit these shanty-boats. These boats are
built at a cost of from twenty dollars up to two or three hundred. The
ground to build on is free. There is no rent to pay. There is change of
air and scenery. One house serves for winter and summer residences--the
current and towboat carrying you back and forth. You can always be
traveling, yet always at home. Your livelihood is gained sometimes one
way, sometimes another--who questions? A man builds such a home, puts
his family aboard; or, if he has no family, gets a cook if he
chooses.... Then he drifts lazily during the summer, fishing, trapping,
stealing and making his way to warmer climes as winter approaches. Far
down at New Orleans or elsewhere, spring finds him and he sells out to
return, or tows back with some fleet of barges, to begin again. Or a
trader will load up at Pittsburg or Cincinnati with dry-goods, trinkets,
queensware, everything, and make his way trading with the farmers or
trappers, until at the end of the journey he has a rich store of
bartered goods to sell ere his northward return. They are a careless,
happy-go-lucky tribe of migrants--caring little for the morrow. 'Do you
see this little chap?' said a big rough-bearded fellow to me one day, as
he squeezed between his knees a fat, freckled, chuggy, grinning little
cub. 'Well, he's five year old, born on the river, and he likes it
better'n any other place. Don't you, hey, Johnny?' And so they eat
their day's food, sleep in their floating homes, saw their old broken
fiddles or pump wheezy accordeons, and are happy. Or sometimes as we
often saw, an honest mechanic will build a cozy floating house, furnish
it in comfortable style and moor it near his factory, saving rent and
owning his home."

Several significant social changes wrought by the Civil War have been
noted; it put an end to the days of the "coasting" trade of the
flat-boats and to the "deckoneering" of white men. It also marked the
passing of the old gambling days in the steam-boat business. The three
previous decades were famous days for a swarm of recognized banditti
which may be said to have almost lived upon the Ohio-Mississippi boats.
The opulence and chivalry of Southern planters who traveled largely by
steam-packets made gambling a source of immense revenue to such as
always won.

It was always cards, and the steamboat is the ideal hunting-ground of
the gambler and card-sharp; here is money, and those who have it are
utterly at leisure. Back in the days of the third generation of
rivermen, gambling, like drinking intoxicants, was not a social
disgrace; many men of national reputation "sat in" on games of chance
which are now outlawed. In such a social atmosphere and in such
environment little wonder that the river-boats gained most unenviable
reputation, until at last boat-owners were compelled to prohibit all
such pastimes. Gamblers at times took possession of steamers and
captains and clerks had almost no way to protect the passengers. It is
said that sometimes as high as ten thousand dollars and more has changed
hands in one night in games played between sporting men and rich

The story of one gambler's night is probably typical of the roughest of
this phase, with the exception of actual murder which was, all too
frequently, the climax of a night's gaming.

"Coming up on the 'Sultana' one night," a gambler leaves record, "there
were about twenty-five of the toughest set of men as cabin passengers I
believe I ever met. They were on their way to Napoleon, Ark. which at
that time was a great town and known as the jumping off place. In those
days these Napoleon fellows were looked upon as cut-throats and robbers,
and thought nothing of murdering a fellow simply to make them appear big
men with their gang. I had for a partner a man named Canada Bill, as
game a party as ever strode the deck of a steamboat, and one of the
shrewdest gamblers I ever encountered. As soon as supper was over this
gang of Arkansas toughs got in the cabin and of course wanted to play
cards. Bill had opened up business in the main hall, and a great crowd
had gathered about him. I saw that most of these devils had been
drinking, and gave Bill the nod, which he of course understood. He only
played a short while and left the game, pretending to be broke. Then we
fixed it up that I should do the playing and he would watch out for any
trouble. Well, the result was I got about everything the twenty-five men
had, including their watches, and beat some seven or eight other
passengers. The men all took it apparently good-natured at the time, but
as the night wore on and they kept drinking from their private flasks I
made a sneak to my room and changed my clothes. By the back stairs I
slipped down into the kitchen and sent a man after my partner. I had
blackened my face, and looked like one of the negro rousters. I only had
time to warn him, when a terrible rumpus upstairs told me the jig was
up, and with their whiskey to aid them they were searching for me, and
if they caught me it would be good day to me. I paid the cooks to keep
mum, and Bill made himself scarce. They had their guns out, and were
kicking in the state-room doors hunting for me. Some of them came down
on deck, and were walking back and forth by me, cursing and threatening
vengeance. I heard one of them ask a roustabout if he had noticed a
well-dressed man down on deck lately. He of course had not, as Bill had
gone back up the kitchen stairs, and with these devils was raising Cain,
looking for me, and my disguise had not been discovered under the
darkness of the night. The boat was plowing her way along up the coast.
The stevedores were shouting to the darkies, hurrying them along with
the freight for a landing soon to be reached. The boat's whistle blew,
and soon she was heading in for the shore. A crowd of these fellows
were waiting for me, as they suspected I would try and get off. They
were looking, mind you, for a well-dressed man. As soon as the boat
landed about ten of them, guns in hand, ran out over the stage to shore
and closely scanned the face of every person that came off. There was a
stock of plows to be discharged from the boat's cargo, and noting the
fact, I shouldered one and with it followed the long line of 'coons'
amid the curses of the mates, and fairly flew past these men who were
hunting me. I kept on up the high bank and over the levee, and when I
threw my plow in the pile with the others, made off for the cotton
fields and laid flat on my back until the boat got again under way, and
the burning pine in the torches on deck had been extinguished. It was a
close call, I can assure you. Bill met me at Vicksburg the next day and
brought the boodle, which we divided. He said the crowd took lights and
searched the boat's hold for me after we left the landing. Bill must
have played his part well, as he told me afterward that they never
suspicioned him. Yes, I could tell many of my exploits. The river was
for the greater portion of my gambling career my strongest hold. But
it's all over now. Even should a man strike a big winning, there are
always too many smart Alecks about, and you would have to whack up with
so many that there would be little left for the winner."

The days of gambling on the river boats are not altogether gone but the
days of the inland-water pirate are days of the distant past. In the
time of the keel- and flat-boat the Ohio, and its tributaries to a
certain extent, were infested with gangs of cut-throats and robbers
whose exploits challenge the pen of a Scott. In certain portions of the
river boatmen never dared to tie up at night, but kept their craft
fairly in the swiftest current in order to hasten by these haunts. It
was the common tradition among boatmen that their craft floated faster
at night than in daylight; whatever the ground for this belief, it is
certain the fastest current was all too slow if night found a
_voyageur_, for instance, in the neighborhood of the notorious Hurricane
Island between Illinois and Kentucky. Near here one Wilson, according
to the Kentucky historian Collins, fitted up a "home" in famed
Cave-in-Rock on the Illinois shore. This great cavern measures two
hundred feet in length, eighty in width, the entrance being twenty-five
feet high. Wilson's "place" was known as "Liquor Vault and House of
Entertainment." "Its very novelty attracted the attention of the boats
descending the river, and the crews generally landed for refreshments
and amusements. Idle characters after awhile gathered here, and it soon
became infamous for its licentiousness and blasphemy. Wilson ... formed
a band of robbers, and laid plans of the deepest villainy...."[74]

Some of the gang escaped when they found public vengeance aroused
against them, but some were taken prisoners; Wilson himself lost his
life at the hands of one of his own gang, tempted by the large reward
offered for his head. Not long after, in the upper part of this
mysterious cavern, were found sixty skeletons, confirming the tale of
systematic confidence, betrayal, and murder.



The neglect of the Ohio River by the United States government cannot be
better suggested than by comparing the expenditures on that river with
the appropriations for the great land thoroughfare--the Cumberland Road.
In thirty-two years (1806-1838) the government spent $6,823,559.52 on
the Cumberland Road. In seventy-five years (1827-1902) $6,752,042.04 was
appropriated for the Ohio River and much of that was portioned out to
the Mississippi, Missouri, and Arkansas.

It is impossible to determine with absolute assurance when and where the
first prominent movement looking toward the improvement of the Ohio
River originated. With the burst of population into the West came the
realization that the great waterway was a priceless possession.

It would be interesting to know in detail the actual condition of the
Ohio, say at the dawning of the eighteenth century. That it was greatly
clogged with sunken logs and protruding reefs and bars, of course, goes
without saying. Perhaps the average stage of water was less than it is
today; and yet the vast amount of water that stood in the tangled
forests and open swamps and meadows drained off so slowly as to maintain
a more uniform stage of water than is true in our day of alternate flood
and drought. If less water flowed in the Ohio's bed a century ago the
volume was at least more uniform than it is today.

As early as January 1817 a resolution was passed by the Legislature of
Ohio inviting the coöperation of Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and
Indiana for the improvement of their great waterway. Virginia,
Pennsylvania, and Kentucky promptly responded, and in 1819 a preliminary
examination was made by General Blackburn of Virginia, General John
Adair of Kentucky, General E. W. Tupper of Ohio and Walter Lowrie, Esq.
of Pennsylvania who made reports to their several legislatures under the
date of November 2, 1819. But during the generation following, each of
these commonwealths became absorbed in internal improvements. Ohio, for
instance, between 1819 and 1844, built seven hundred and sixty-five
miles of canals costing nearly ten millions and almost as many miles of
turnpike at a cost of four millions. Ohio also built seventy miles of
railway, and in 1836 began to improve her most valuable river, the
Muskingum, for slackwater navigation. Thus there was reason enough why
Ohio could not undertake the improvement of the Ohio River. Her sister
states were equally engaged with internal affairs, and though some steps
were taken toward surveying the Ohio along the shores of several states
the matter was left, as should have been the case, to the general

This meant a long delay, but at last, in 1825, the great work was
undertaken; since 1836 there has been a continual struggle to compel the
Government to do its duty by the Ohio River and its great commerce. In
1837 the Government commenced a system of surveys and an improvement of
the low-water channels by means of riprap stone dams, arranged so as to
prevent the spread of the water by guiding and maintaining it in
comparatively narrow channels. The work was put under the direction of
Captain Sanders of the War Department. This system was continued at
intervals until 1844, when, the appropriation being exhausted, the work
suddenly ceased, not to be resumed until 1866.

Something of the difficulties of the old engineers may be estimated from
the records left by them concerning the various obstructions in the Ohio
River. "Thirty years ago," wrote an engineer in 1866, "there were
considerable tracts of woods abounding the stream ... forming dangerous
obstructions to navigation. Gradually, since that period, the number of
settlers along the river valley has greatly increased, and the bottom
lands ... have been cleared; so that comparatively few trees remain that
are liable to fall into the stream. And the same is true of most of the
principal tributaries. I refer to this to show the probability that when
the present snags and logs are removed, a slight expenditure annually
will keep the river clear of this character of obstructions." The snags
and logs of generations had been almost untouched by the
government--"left to the uncertain and unpaid-for attention of private
individuals." The plan now (1866) to rid the valley entirely of these
great impediments to navigation marks a new era in the history of the
Ohio. It was found, upon examination, that in the six hundred odd miles
between Pittsburg and Louisville there were seventy-five separate points
where there were snags, forty-nine "logs and loggy places," twenty-eight
wrecks and seventy-two "sunken boats &c." Between Louisville and Cairo
there were some sixty additional obstructions of similar nature--a total
of two hundred and eighty-five obstruction points. A schedule of these
obstructions, between Pittsburg and Wheeling for instance, will be found
interesting. The asterisks refer to obstructions in or near the channel
at comparatively low water:

     _from_     _Snags,_  _Wrecks, etc._  _Remarks._
  _Pittsburg._   _etc._
  2-1/2                   Wreck.          In the right channel of
                                            Brunot's island below the
                                            point on the left side.

  3                       Wreck.          Same side as last, half mile

  3-1/3                   Sunken barge.   Left channel Brunot's island,
                                            first below point.

  4                       2 wrecks.*      Sunken in main channel near
                                            old pork-house; one of them
                                            has lately washed ashore.

  9-3/4                   Sunken barge.   In shore on left side in way
                                            of good landing; above
                                            Hamilton's house, on Neville
                                            island, a large coal barge
                                            has stranded just below, but
                                            may be gotten off.

  13                      2 wrecks.*      Above Boyle's landing; first,
                                            on right side, across
                                            channel, is very dangerous;
                                            second, in above, left.

  15                      Wreck.          Near Shousetown, left side,
                                            close in shore.

  16            Snag.                     Opposite Sewickley, a little
                                            below Boyle's landing.

  16-1/2                  Sunken barge.   Right shore below Sewickley,
                                            in way of boats at high

  18-1/2                  Stranded        Coal barge stranded, Logtown
                            barge.*         bar, below Economy.

  19-1/2                  Sunken barge.*  In channel of two boats,
                                            Logtown creek.

  21            Snag.                     Below foot of Crow island,
                                            right side.

  23-2/3        Snag.                     One-third mile above Freedom,
                                            Penn., right side.

  24            Snag.                     Close in shore at Freedom.

  24-1/4        Snag.                     In main channel, very large,
                                            below landing.

  30-1/3                  Sunken boat.    Close in to right; not
                                            dangerous below Raccoon

  30-1/4                  Sunken boat.    In channel below last;

  33-1/2        Snag.                     Opposite Industry, below Safe
                                            Harbor landing.

  33-2/3                  Sunken boat.*   Left side below last.

  41            Snag.     Sunken barge.   Left channel of Line island
                                            there is a snag.

  42-1/2                  Wreck.          Wreck of steamer Winchester,
                                            burnt, left channel of
                                            Babb's island, Va., shore;
                                            not much in the way.

  49-3/4                  Sunken boat.*   In channel foot of Baker's
                                            island; dangerous.

  63            Snag.                     Foot of Brown's island; old.

  63-1/4        Snag.                     Center of River, head of cable

  67                      Wreck and       Left channel, pier Pittsburg
                            cofferdam.      and Steubenville railroad

  67-1/2                  Sunken barge.   Left side above Steubenville;

  68                      Sunken barge.   Opposite Steubenville landing,
                                            center of river.

  70-3/4        Snags.*                   Several in the vicinity of the
                                            Virginia and Ohio cross

  73-1/4                  Sunken boats.*  Two, right side, above
                                            Wellsburg, Va.

  76                      Sunken boats.*  Left, below block-house run.

  76-1/2        Snag.                     Right side, below last;
                                            should come out.

  78-3/4                  Wreck.          Old, opposite brick house,
                                            close on left shore.

  81-1/2        Snags.                    Two, right of channel, above

  81-3/4        Snag.*                    Old, right side, near
                                            white frame house.

  83                      Ice breaker.    Head of Pike island, at coal

  84                      Sunken          Edge of bar, not dangerous,
                            barge.*         opposite brick house.

  87            Logs,                     Left and center, bottom of
                  etc.                      river, one mile below

  88                      Sunken boat.    Sunken ferry-boat, close in
                                            right side, Martinsville.

  89-1/4                  Sunken          At ship-yard, Wheeling,
                            barge.*         dangerous.[75]

Captain Sanders, in the forties, had estimated that it cost about
fifteen dollars to remove each ordinary snag from the Ohio. In the
Mississippi the roots of snags could be thrown into the deep pools where
they would soon become buried in mud; but on the Ohio such pools were
not frequent and it was usually necessary to carry the roots ashore and
destroy them with gunpowder. Sanders reported that up to September 1837
there had been three thousand three hundred and three obstructions
removed from the Ohio. In 1839 there had been about ten thousand
removed; at which time the work ceased. Some of the snags were six feet
in diameter at the butt and over one hundred feet in length. In a report
in 1835, on Mississippi improvement, Lieutenant Bowman stated: "It is a
well-established fact that snags do not move far from where they first
fall in, the weight of the earth attached to their roots serving as an
anchor. It is also well established that trees which once float seldom
form snags. Admitting this, it is sufficiently evident that if the banks
are once cleared, there can be no subsequent formation of snags."

Second only to such obstructions was the "Falls of the Ohio," the one
spot in all its course of nearly a thousand miles where steamboat
navigation was impossible until the construction of a canal, which
followed the route of the ancient portage path two and one-half miles in
length between the present sites of Louisville and Shipping-port,
Kentucky. In this distance the Ohio makes a fall of about twenty-five
feet caused by a ledge of rocks extending across the river. Steamboating
is impracticable here save only when the river is at flood-tide.

A company was incorporated by the legislature of Kentucky to cut a canal
around the falls in 1804, but nothing was done until January 12, 1825,
when the Louisville and Portland Canal Company was organized, with a
capital of $600,000. The stock was taken by about seventy persons,
residing in Kentucky, Ohio, Missouri, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New
York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, the United States holding 2,335
shares, and 1,665 issued to private individuals. Many difficulties
attended the construction of the work, which was not completed until
December 5, 1830. During the year 1831 406 steamboats, 46 keel-boats,
and 357 flat-boats, measuring 76,323 tons, passed through the locks.[76]

The venture was highly successful from a financial point of view thanks
to outrageous tolls that were charged. A twenty-four thousand dollar
boat of three hundred tons running between Cincinnati and St. Louis
expended in tolls in the Louisville and Portland Canal in five years a
sum equal to her entire cost. "A boat of one hundred and ninety tons,
owned at Cincinnati, has been in the habit of making her trips from this
city to St. Louis and back, in two weeks, and has passed the canal
_four_ times in one month. Her toll, each trip, at $60 per ton, was
$114, and her toll for one month was $456, or at the rate of $5,472 per
year, which is nearly half the value of such a boat."[77]

From 1831 to 1843, 13,756 steamboats passed through the Canal, and 4,701
keeland flat-boats, with a total tonnage of two and a half million
tons, netting a toll of $1,227,625.20.[78] On the stock owned by the
United States a cash dividend (to 1843) of $258,378 was earned--$23,378
more than the Government's original investment. Other stockholders fared
equally well from this systematic highway robbery. Such a drain on the
public purse as was the Louisville-Portland Canal in the "good old days"
would not be countenanced a moment today. The canal was rebuilt and
enlarged in 1872, and in 1874 it passed into the control of the United
States by the authority of Congress.

Following is a synopsis of the expenditures on account of the canal
previous to June 11, 1874, the date when the United States assumed
complete control and management:

  "Expended by the canal company on original canal.  $1,019,277.09

  Expended by the canal company on subsequent
    improvements and construction                       120,000.00

  Expended by the canal company for enlargement of
    canal                                             1,825,403.00

  Expended by the United States for enlargement of
    canal, from appropriations                        1,463,200.00

  Expended by the United States from funds derived
    from toll collections                               150,000.00
          Total cost                                 $4,577,880.09

_Cost of the canal to the United States._

  Original stock                                      $ 233,500

  Total appropriations for enlargement                1,463,200

  Canal bonds paid                                    1,172,000
          Gross cost                                 $2,868,700

  Amount of dividends paid by the canal company to the
    United States                                       257,778
          Net cost                                   $2,610,922"[79]

The following table shows the traffic, in tons, of the canal since 1886:

  _Articles._         _1886 to 1901_     _Fiscal year_    _Total for 16_
                       _inclusive._         _1902._          _years._

  Coal                22,365,240-3/4    1,019,947-1/2    23,385,188-1/4
  Salt                   124,363-3/4        5,760-1/4       130,124
  Oil                     60,944-1/4        1,211-1/2        62,155-3/4
  Whiskey                 21,442-1/4        1,117            22,559-1/4
  Tobacco                 90,270-1/2        1,705            91,975-1/2
  Cotton                 140,213            2,299-1/2       142,512-1/2
  Lumber               3,401,021           85,305-1/2     3,486,326-1/2
  Corn and wheat         151,621            5,933-1/2       157,554-1/2
  Iron: ore and
    manufactured         518,642-1/2       34,634-1/2       553,277
  Steel rails            685,182          183,016           868,198
  Produce                 84,396-1/2        4,864            89,260-1/2
  Hay and straw          198,523-1/2        6,224-1/4       204,747-3/4
  Flour                   19,830-1/2          510-1/2        20,341
  Stock                   98,954            4,233-3/4       103,187-3/4
  Sugar and molasses     125,746-3/4       11,022-1/2       136,769-1/4
  Staves and shingles    475,310-3/4       34,405-1/2       509,716-1/4
  Cement                  40,568-3/4          835-3/4        41,404-1/2
  Miscellaneous        1,319,552           69,518-1/2     1,389,070-1/2
                      --------------    -------------    --------------
          Total       29,921,823-3/4    1,472,545        31,394,368-3/4[80]

Since 1825, when the first step toward improving the Ohio was taken, the
general plan has been to secure additional low-water depths at islands
and bars by the construction of low dams across chutes, by building
dikes where the river was wide and shallow, by dredging and by the
removal of rocks and snags. Various plans of improvement were seriously
mooted. Among these Charles Ellet's plan of supplying the Ohio with a
regular flow of water by means of reservoirs was strongly urged upon the
Government about 1857.[81] Near the same time Herman Haupt proposed a
plan of improvement by means of a system of longitudinal mounds and
cross dams so arranged as to make a canal on one side of the river some
two hundred feet wide, or a greater width, and reducing the grade to
nearly an average of six inches per mile between Pittsburg and
Louisville.[82] A few years later Alonzo Livermore secured a patent for
a combination of dams and peculiar open chutes through the dams,
arranged so as to retard the flow and lessen the velocity of the water
from higher to lower pools without interfering with the free passage of
the boats through the chutes; chutes were substituted for locks.

In 1866 the condition of the river improvements and the great change in
the river trade--which loudly called for improved methods--is tersely
summed up by Engineer W. Milnor Roberts as follows:

"For the purpose intended, namely, the making of an improved low-water
navigation, looking to a depth not exceeding two and one-half feet, the
general plan designed, and in part executed, under the superintendence
of Captain Sanders, was judicious; and if all the proposed dams had been
finished in accordance with his plans there would have been a better
navigation, especially for low-water craft, than there has been during
the twenty-two years which have elapsed since the works were left, many
of them, in a partly finished condition. Some of these wing dams, as
might reasonably have been anticipated, have, in the course of years,
been gradually injured by the action of floods, and in some cases
portions of the stone have been removed by persons without authority,
for their own private purposes. It is important to note the change which
has taken place in the coal trade, not only on account of its great and
increasing magnitude, but on account of the altered system upon which it
is conducted. Formerly, and at the time when the riprap dams were
constructed, the coal business was carried on by means of floating coal
barges, drawing at most four feet water, which were not assisted in
their descending navigation by steamers, and which never returned, but
were sold as lumber at their point of destination. The increasing demand
down the river for the Pittsburg coal, the increase in the value of
lumber, and the general systematizing of the trade, all combine to
revolutionize the mode of transportation. It is now [1866] carried on by
means of large barges, each containing ten to twelve, some as high as
sixteen thousand bushels of coal, which are arranged in fleets,
generally of ten or twelve barges, towed by powerful steamers built and
employed for that special purpose. Enough of these barges are owned by
the coal operators to enable them to leave the loaded barges at their
various points of coal delivery, down the Ohio, or on the Mississippi
and other rivers, while they return to Pittsburg with a corresponding
fleet of empty barges, to be again loaded, ready for the next coal-boat
freshet. As these barges, when loaded draw from six feet to eight feet
of water, it is obvious that they can only descend when there is what is
now called a 'coal-boat rise' in the river--that is, a flood giving not
less than eight feet water in the channels.

"This coal shipment from Pittsburg, which in 1844 only amounted to about
2,500,000 bushels per annum, now amounts to about 40,000,000 bushels per
annum. I have, in the special report mentioned, referred to the
construction of railroads as having affected the business which was
formerly carried on the Ohio river during the comparatively low water.
The lower the water, the higher the rates of freight and passenger
travel, when there was no railroad competition; but now, when the prices
on the river during very low water approach the railroad prices, the
freight, whenever it can, will of course take the railroad, on account
of the saving of time and greater certainty of delivery; and thousands
of passengers always prefer the railroad to the river. But in this
connection it is proper to note that since 1844 a large local business
between various points on the Ohio, both freight and passenger, has
gradually sprung up and become important, which scarcely had existence
at that time. The population along the river and in the counties in the
several States bordering upon it, and tributary to the river business,
has wonderfully increased. So that although a portion of the river
business has been attracted to the railroad, the business of steamboats,
as a whole, independently of the coal trade, has become much greater
than it was in 1844. Meanwhile the coal business has more than kept pace
with the increase of population and wealth along the Ohio, in
consequence of a steadily augmenting demand for the Pittsburg coal on
the Mississippi and other western rivers."[83]

The method of inland navigation by means of slackwater formed by dams
passable by locks was early proposed for the Ohio River after the first
experiment made of this method on the Green River, Kentucky, in 1834-36
by Chief Engineer Roberts. The successful operation of this system on
the Monongahela and Muskingum Rivers exerted a powerful influence in its
favor, and for many years its adoption on the Ohio was urged patiently
though unsuccessfully. At last the important matter was advocated with
success, and in 1885 the first of a series of locks and movable dams was
erected at Davis Island, four and one-half miles below Pittsburg. The
work now is rapidly being completed, the plan being to give a minimum
depth of six feet of water in the Ohio by means of thirty-eight dams and
locks between Pittsburg and the mouth of the Great Miami, below
Cincinnati. This form of improvement will of course be extended in time
to the mouth of the Ohio.

From past experience with dams in the river, the cost of locks is
estimated as follows:

For an average lock of six hundred feet length and one hundred and ten
feet width, with navigable pass of six hundred feet length, and with
weirs of two hundred and forty feet available openings, all arranged to
provide six feet navigable depth in the shoalest parts of the improved
channels of the pools, with an average lift at each dam of seven and
two-tenths feet:

  Lock, including cofferdam, excavations, foundations,
    masonry, timber, and ironwork of fixed and movable
    parts, power plant, machinery, and accessories            $350,000

  Navigable pass; same items as above                          150,000

  Weirs, piers, abutments; same items as above                 170,000

  Miscellaneous, including local surveys, purchase of
    sites, embanking, retaining, riprapping, and paving
    of banks, lock employees' houses, storehouses,
    other buildings, dredging of approaches to locks
    and passes, dredging of shoals and removal of
    obstructions in pools, engineering work of
    location, construction, and inspection, office
    work of engineering and disbursements, and other
    contingencies                                              200,000
          Total                                               $870,000

But the extra width and height of lock esplanade filling, extra length
of weirs, and extra channel dredging, incident to the individual
locations of the dams, increase the above estimates to final totals of
from nine hundred and fifty thousand dollars to one million, one hundred
thousand dollars at the individual dams.

The expenditures of the Government on the Ohio River from 1827 to 1902
are as follows:

  _Act of Congress._  _Appropriation._  _Remarks._
  March 3, 1827,       $30,000.00
  March 3, 1835,        50,000.00
  July 2, 1836,         20,000.00
  March 3, 1837,        60,000.00
  July 7, 1838,         50,000.00
  June 11, 1844,       100,000.00
  March 3, 1847,         6,479.25
  August 30, 1852,      90,000.00
  June 23, 1866,       172,000.00       Allotment of money already
                                          appropriated, for improving
                                          Mississippi, Missouri,
                                          Arkansas, and Ohio Rivers.
  June 23, 1866,        80,000.00       Allotment for snag boats and
                                          apparatus for improving
                                          western rivers.
  March 2, 1867,       100,000.00
  July 25, 1868,        85,000.00       Allotment for repair,
                                          preservation, extension,
                                          and completion of
                                          river and harbor works.
  July 11, 1870,        50,000.00
  March 3, 1871,        50,000.00
  June 10, 1872,       200,000.00
  March 3, 1873,       200,000.00
  June 23, 1874,       150,000.00
  March 3, 1875,       300,000.00
  August 14, 1876,     175,000.00
  June 18, 1878,       300,000.00
  June 18, 1878,        50,000.00       Harbor of refuge at or near
  March 3, 1879,       250,000.00
  June 14, 1880,       250,000.00
  March 3, 1881,       350,000.00
  March 21, 1882,      100,000.00       Continuing work on Davis
                                          Island dam.
  August 2, 1882,      350,000.00
  August 2, 1882,       16,000.00       Harbor of refuge near
                                          Cincinnati, Ohio.
  July 5, 1884,        600,000.00
  July 5, 1884,         17,000.00       Same.
  August 5, 1886,      375,000.00
  August 11, 1888,     380,000.00
  September 19, 1890,  300,000.00
  January 19, 1891,      2,128.87       Relief of Stubbs & Lackey.
                                          Treasury settlement No. 2593.
  July 13, 1892,       360,000.00
  August 18, 1894,     250,000.00
  June 3, 1896,        250,000.00
  July 1, 1898,         15,000.00       Allotment for restoring levee
                                          and banks of Ohio River at
                                          or near Shawneetown, Ill.
  March 3, 1899,       375,000.00
  June 13, 1902,       359,000.00       Amount appropriated, $400,000;
                                          $41,000 being for Falls of
                                          Ohio River, at Louisville, Ky.
          Total,    $6,565,608.12

  Total of appropriations, 1827-1902,   $6,565,608.12
  Total of allotments, 1827-1898,          352,000.00
  Received from sales, 1866-1893,            7,790.50
                                           ----------- $6,925,398.62
  Appropriations not drawn, 1827, 1852,      5,023.47
  Allotments not drawn, 1866, 1868,         43,134.60
  Returned by Treasury settlements,             30.07
  Amounts transferred to other works,      125,168.44
                                        --------------    173,356.58
          Total,                                       $6,752,042.04[84]


[1] _Transactions American Philosophical Society_ (new series), vol. iv,
pp. 369-370.

[2] Bonnécamps's journal was accompanied by a MS. map drawn by himself
upon which were marked all the places mentioned in his journal of this
expedition (1749). This map was preserved in the archives of the
Department of the Marine with his journal but disappeared between 1892
and 1894 and its location today is unknown.

[3] Warren, Pennsylvania; O. H. Marshall's "Céloron's Expedition,"
_Magazine of American History_, vol. 2, no. 3, (March 1878).

[4] _Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents_, vol. lxix, p. 165.

[5] _Historic Highways of America_, vol. iii, pp. 71-72.

[6] Brokenstraw Creek.

[7] Céloron's Journal in Darlington's _Fort Pitt_, p. 17.

[8] Céloron's Journal in Darlington's _Fort Pitt_, pp. 18-19.

[9] _Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents_, vol. lxix, p. 165.

[10] Céloron's Journal in Darlington's _Fort Pitt_, p. 21.

[11] _Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents_, vol. lxix, p. 167.

[12] For a sketch of Indian occupation of the Allegheny Valley see
_Historic Highways of America_, vol. iii, pp. 59-62.

[13] Franklin, Pennsylvania.

[14] Céloron's Journal in Darlington's _Fort Pitt_, p. 24.

[15] _Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents_, vol. lxix, p. 169.

[16] Céloron's Journal in Darlington's _Fort Pitt_, p. 25.

[17] _Id._, p. 25. Parkman places Attiqué on the site of Kittanning,
Pennsylvania (See Parkman's _Montcalm and Wolfe_, vol. i, p. 45). This
view is supported by Lambing (_Catholic Historical Researches_, January
1886, pp. 105-107, note 6).

[18] Céloron's Journal in Darlington's _Fort Pitt_, p. 26.

[19] This letter, dated August 6, with two others, all bearing the
signature of Céloron, has been preserved in the archives of the State of
Pennsylvania. For copy of translation see Rupp's _Early History of
Western Pennsylvania_, p. 36.

[20] Queen Alliquippa.

[21] Céloron's Journal in Darlington's _Fort Pitt_, p. 27.

[22] Toner's _Journal of Colonel George Washington, 1754_, pp. 157-158.
In this article it was demanded that the English should not return
across the Alleghenies _for one year_.

[23] Shenango, in English accounts.

[24] O. H. Marshall's 14 Céloron's Expedition,' _Magazine of American
History_, vol. 2, no. 3, (March 1878).

[25] Céloron's Journal in Darlington's _Fort Pitt_, p. 39.

[26] The location of the burial places of Céloron's leaden plates as
given in Darlington's _Fort Pitt_, which would naturally be considered
authoritative, are inexplicably contradictory.

[27] Céloron's Journal in Darlington's _Fort Pitt_, p. 40.

[28] _Id._, p. 40.

[29] _Id._, pp. 40, 41.

[30] St. Yotoc was probably a corruption of Scioto. Father Bonnécamps
calls it Sinhioto. It was near the present site of Alexandria, Ohio, at
the mouth of the Scioto River.

[31] Rivière Blanche was a name given by the French to several streams
which contained unusually clear waters. From distances mentioned this
was probably the Little Miami. Dunn (_History of Indiana_, p. 65, note
1) thinks it was the present White Oak Creek.

[32] Rivière à la Roche (Rocky River) was the present Great Miami. It
was called the "Rocky River" because of its numerous rapids.

[33] _Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents_, vol. lxix, p. 183.

[34] Céloron's Journal in Darlington's _Fort Pitt_, p. 52.

[35] _Historic Highways of America_, vol. vi, ch. i.

[36] _The St. Clair Papers_, vol. ii, p. 1.

[37] _Id._, p. 3, note 1.

[38] _Id._, vol. ii, p. 4, note.

[39] _Id._, p. 5, note.

[40] _Id._, p. 5, note. Legally John Emerson had no rights northwest of
the Ohio River; but as an exponent of the American idea he had a sort of
justification; see Professor Frederick J. Turner's studies, _American
Historical Review_, vol. 1, pp. 70-87, 251-268.

[41] _The MS. Harmar Papers_; _St. Clair Papers_, vol. ii, p. 7, note 1.

[42] The rights to certain lands on the upper Muskingum Valley, where
David Zeisberger had located the Moravian towns in 1773, were vested in
the Moravian Church. Gnadenhutten, Ohio, was, technically, the first
white settlement in Ohio after the French locations along the Lakes.
King's _Ohio_, p. 119.

[43] Hinsdale's _Old Northwest_ (1888), pp. 290-292.

[44] _Historic Highways of America_, vol. viii.

[45] _The Navigator_ (fifth edition), Pittsburg, 1806.

[46] "Planters are large bodies of trees firmly fixed by their roots in
the bottom of the river, in a perpendicular manner, and appearing no
more than about a foot above the surface of the water in its middling
state. So firmly are they rooted, that the largest boat running against
them, will not move them, but they frequently injure the boat.

"Sawyers, are likewise bodies of trees fixed less perpendicularly in the
river, and rather of a less size, yielding to the pressure of the
current, disappearing and appearing by turns above water, similar to the
motion of a saw-mill saw, from which they have taken their name.

"Wooden-Islands, are places where by some cause or other, large
quantities of drift wood, has through time, been arrested and matted
together in different parts of the river."

[47] Harris's _Tour_ (1805), p. 38.

[48] Harris's _Pittsburgh Business Directory for the year 1837_, pp.
178, 287.

[49] _Id._, p. 277.

[50] _The American Pioneer_, vol. ii, p. 271.

[51] _Historic Highways of America_, vol. i, p. 57.

[52] See note 55.

[53] Cassedy's _History of Louisville_, pp. 64-67.

[54] _American Pioneer_, vol. ii, p. 63.

[55] _Wisconsin Historical Collections_, vol. iv, p. 183; xii, p. 400;
vii, p. 371.

[56] An itinerary of the route from New Orleans northward is given in
_The Navigator_ (1817), p. 306. For a description of the journey see
_American Pioneer_, March, 1842.

[57] _American Pioneer_, vol. ii, pp. 163-164.

[58] Harris: _Tour_, pp. 30-31; cf. p. 139 where the author states the
historical succession of river craft as: canoe, pirogue, keel-boat,
barge, and ark.

[59] Interview with William DeForest published in the Cincinnati
_Commercial Gazette_, May, 1883.

[60] Dr. S. P. Hildreth's _Pioneer History_, p. 205.

[61] Collins's _History of Kentucky_, vol. ii, pp. 113-114.

[62] Burner's _Notes_, p. 400.

[63] Cassedy's _History of Louisville_, p. 64.

[64] Butler's Journal for October 9, 1785, _The Olden Time_, vol. ii, p.
442. Cf. _Wisconsin Historical Collections_, vol. xi, p. 13, note.

[65] Harris's _Pittsburgh Business Directory (1837)_, pp. 276-277.

[66] Harris: _Tour_, p. 43.

[67] _Id._, pp. 52-53.

[68] _Id._, pp. 140-141.

[69] _The Navigator_ (1811), p. 69.

[70] _The Navigator_, (1811), pp. 31-33.

[71] The authority for these and many of the following facts is derived
from a _Memorial of the Citizens of Cincinnati to the Congress of the
United States Relative to the Navigation of the Ohio and Mississippi
Rivers_, Cincinnati, 1844.

[72] Cassedy's _History of Louisville_, pp. 62-63.

[73] Cassedy's _History of Louisville_, pp. 78-79.

[74] Collins's _History of Kentucky_, vol. ii. p. 147.

[75] _Id._, p. 251.

[76] _House Reports_ 39th Congress, Second Session, Ex. Doc. 56, part 2,
p. 323.

[77] _Memorial of the Citizens of Cincinnati to the Congress of the
United States_, 1844, p. 39.

[78] _Id._, p. 38.

[79] _Annual Report of the Chief of Engineers, U. S. Army_, 1902,
Appendix H. H., p. 1978.

[80] _Id._, p. 1980.

[81] _House Records_, 41st Congress, Third Session, Ex. Doc. no. 72, p.

[82] _Id._, p. 5.

[83] House Reports 39th Congress, Second Session, Ex. Doc. 56. Part II,
p. 262.

[84] _Report of the Chief of Engineers U. S. Army_, 1902, Appendix D.
D., p. 1846.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes:

1. Passages in italics are surrounded by _underscores_.

2. Obvious errors in spelling and punctuation have been corrected.

3. Footnotes have been moved to the end of the main text body.

4. Images have been moved from the middle of a paragraph to the closest
paragraph break.

5. Certain words use an oe ligature in the original.

6. For longtitude and latitude, the minutes and seconds are placed as
single quotes within brackets. For example: 38° 47['] 20[''].

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