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actual disuse or limited utility, until the generation in which it appeared turned back and perfected some earlier feature of the existing transportation system, or else added another to it, in order to apply successfully and widely the new device to public need.'
The appearance of wheeled vehicles forced the transformation of tote-paths and pack-train routes into wagon roads, and as fast as dirt highways were built the wagons multiplied and compelled still farther extension of such avenues of travel. The early stage-coaches showed the necessity of abandoning dirt roads in favor of turnpikes with a permanent stone surface, and resulted in their creation. The general introduction of steamboats on the interior waterways forced governmental control and improvement of the rivers in order that their safe navigation, not previously possible, might be obtained. Railway locomotives were to be of limited value and slight use until proper road beds, after long experiment, could be made for them. And to-day the same sort of progress is being forced by motor-cars. They constitute an impulse compelling the tardy creation of improved highways worthy of the name, and which will be limited only by the nation's boundaries.
While the years from about 1788 to 1830 were the ones witnessing the ascendency of big, unwieldy timber boats as travel vehicles on the interior rivers of the country, it is nevertheless true that similar craft had for a long time been a familiar means of human transport on several widely separated streams in the old colonies. It
* The canal building period was a confirmation of the common rule of progress rather than a contradiction of it. It is true that in the creation of a canal the track is made before the vehicle known as a canal boat appears, but the making of a canal is nothing but the construction of an artificial river in which the roadway is a safe, unobstructed track for conveyances -- water craft — that already exist. And in its early form the canal boat was only a modified type of a certain kind of river vessel.
? Perhaps the earliest reference to such vessel is to be found in Thomas Budd's “Account" of Pennsylvania and New Jersey: 1685.
77.—Sample page from one of the chart-books used by a flatboat family for
guidance while descending the Ohio or Mississippi. The continuous line indicates the best course for a Aatboat on the Ohio between Evansville, Indiana, and the mouth of the Wabash. From Cummings' "Western Pilot."
therefore happened that when the general tide of westward travel began immediately after 1787, the various sorts of existing eastern river vessels were extensively in
Directions for Map No. 17.-Ohio River.
2 798 Channel near the opposite shore. At a middling stage of water keep wel to the right to avoid the rocks below its mouth.
Green River Islands, (channel to the left.) Io sight of Green river below. The large one is hardly visible; the chute to the left is nearly grown over with timber. The other lies in the middle of the river along side of the large one, and about a mile below its head. In low water you must run the point of the bar that makes up from the head of the island in the middle of the river, middling close to avoid a shore bar on the left, then keep down the left hand bend until near the point opposite Evansville, then keep near the middle until opposite the head of dry bar under the point on ihe left, then go in towards it, then turn and go over towards the steammill, below the town. EVANSVILLE, right side..
81 806 Pigeon Creek, right side....
1 8071 When one as a half miles below Pigeon, at the point and rocks on the right, go over to the left, keep down near the left shore to the point on the left; then go into the middle of the river, keep it around the point and bear on the left to avoid some rocks and logs in the bend on the right, under water. When up with the right hand point make a long coussing to within 200 yards of the left shore opposite a house en your left and big bar on your right, then straighten down; don't go near the shore until you get 300 yards further down, then keep. Dearest that shore until you get to HENDERSONVILLE, left side...
| 10 &178 78.—Text printed in Cummings' "Western Pilot” to accompany the particular
chart shown in the preceding illustration. Similarly explicit directions were given, both by illustration and text, for navigating each mile of the river's
troduced on the Mississippi system of waters, together with certain modifications of them. A few new forms better suited to the larger streams and greater dangers of
1 Eastern emigrants to the West, on reaching the Ohio, at first built the sort of boats with which they were most familiar.
western navigation also appeared. One result of the invasion of the interior by floating domestic establishments of the period was a confusion of the names by which such craft were known in different localities. This did not matter at the time, for everybody then understood the differences or similarities between a broadhorn, a keelboat, a Durham boat and an ark, as well as a twentieth century man knows what is meant by street-car, automobile, subway or aeroplane. But the early travellers who left accounts of the first overrunning of the West never wrote explanatory descriptions designed for the enlightenment of those who, in the future, might want to find out just how the people undertook their long journeys. When one of them had occasion for mentioning a boat he referred to it by a name common to one neighborhood or river, omitting to say that the same identical sort of craft, or a type very similar, was known elsewhere by a different name. Nor did they describe the floating homes of the moving population in careful detail. Only by the comparison of various narratives and the piecing together of numerous references can the extensive river travel of the early West, as carried on for about forty years, be seen in substance as it was. Any description of it must be a composite picture, a mosaic made of many fragments joined as best they may be, with many details gone.
A list of the several kinds of non-mechanical river boats used during the days when water travel by means of them was at its climax, together with a short description of each and mention of its origin and utility will illuminate the time and its habits. Such a catalogue may consequently be given.
The most simple of the boats still in use for river travel was the log canoe. It was employed by one or two men, particularly when the need of speed became urgent, and could be bought for three dollars or less.
A pirogue was a very large canoe, often forty or fifty feet long and six or eight feet wide, capable of carrying a family and several tons of household goods. It was sometimes employed after danger from Indians had ceased, but vulnerability to attack made it unpopular for long trips on western streams in the early part of the white invasion. The pirogue cost from five to twenty dollars, according to size.
The skiff was a wide, flat-bottomed affair, made of planks, similar to the small pleasure boat bearing the same name to-day. It was occasionally used by parties of two or three on long trips, but was most commonly employed as an attendant on the big boats for use in carrying their occupants to shore when necessary. The value of a skiff was about five dollars.
A batteau was a very big skiff that bore to its smaller brother the same relation a pirogue held to a canoe. The batteau could carry a family, cost from twenty to fifty dollars, and was moved down-stream by several pairs of long oars called sweeps. Another sweep served as rudder. On up-stream trips it was propelled by poles.
The keel-boat received its name because it had at the bottom, and extending for its whole length, a heavy timber about four inches wide and equally thick. The timber was so placed to take the shock of a collision with any submerged obstruction. Stout planks served in constructing the hull. It was usually from forty to seventy-five feet long, from seven to nine feet wide, and carried a mast and sails. One steersman and two men at the sweeps could
1 Sometimes spelled peroque or perrogue. Likewise of Indian origin.
? It developed from the batteau. The early illustration of boats on the Mohawk River gives a good idea of the appearance of one type of keel-boat.