Commerce on Early American Waterways

The Transport of Goods by Arks, Rafts and Log Drives


In stock

About the Book

Colonial pioneers began entering the logging and forestry industries in great numbers along the Allegheny and Appalachian mountains during the late 1700s and were soon producing more products than they could use. This book details how settlers used waterways to transport goods to coastal markets. Topics include the timeline of water craft construction; major figures in the development of early waterway transportation; types of goods transported; and occupational hazards from raging rapids to snowstorms. The book also features photographs, charts, and diary excerpts and an appendix detailing ark and raft construction.
Twenty years of research produced one hundred and fifteen sources, ninety-five percent from historical societies, since large libraries held minimal information on the subject. For the Civil War buffs, chapters 5 through 9 give the “Woodhick’s” (Pennsylvania Lumberjack) work ethic that made them a feared fighting force in the Union Army, known as the Bucktails.

About the Author(s)

Earl E. Brown, a retired Marine officer and Naval Aviator, with an M.S. in Operation Research and System Analysis, directed studies for the national government. He has previously published on water commerce in Colonial America.

Bibliographic Details

Earl E. Brown
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 240
Bibliographic Info: 36 photos, appendix, glossary, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2010
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4742-8
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5596-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vi
Preface      1
Introduction: The Use of Rivers and Streams to Transport Heavy Loads to Market      3

1. Early Colonial America      7
The Beginning      7
Rafts, Durham Boats and Conestoga Wagons      7
Philadelphia      9
Baltimore and the Susquehanna Valley      9
The French and Indian War      9
The Quakers Lose Control of the Pennsylvania Assembly      10
Baltimore      11
Between the Wars      11
The Revolutionary War 1776–1783      12
Pennsylvania      12
Baltimore      13
After the Revolutionary War      13
Pennsylvania      13
Middletown, York Haven and Columbia      14
Baltimore      15
2. The Susquehanna Is Opened to the Chesapeake Bay Cryder’s Run      17
3. Arks on the Penns Creek      27
The Creek      27
Building a Dam Across a Public Highway      32
Three Sides to the Chute Controversy      33
Ark Navigation      34
Butter Rock      36
Ark Stoving (Wrecking)      37
Ark Cargos      37
The Costs to Get Products to Market      38
What Was 180,000 Bushels of Wheat Worth?      39
Warehouses, Landings and Ark Construction      39
Penns Valley Arks      40
The Manufacturing of Wheat      41
4. Waterways from 1791 to the Early 1800s      43
Arks and Rafts in New York State      43
Before the War of 1812      46
Vying for the Susquehanna River Trade      47
The Steamboat      48
Baltimore During the War of 1812      48
Arks on Other Public Highways      49
The West Branch of the Susquehanna River      49
The North Branch of the Susquehanna River      51
The Lehigh River      52
The Main Branch of the Susquehanna River      53
Baltimore after the War of 1812      53
The Canals      54
5. Rafting on the North Branch      57
Strong’s Journal      57
Strong’s Voyage      58
Thomas Yates’ Charts      79
6. Rafting on the Main Branches      84
The Shamokin Dam      84
Simon Girty      85
Lazy Man’s Gap      86
Lower River Pilots      92
Conewago Falls      92
Susquehanna Gorge      95
Port Deposit, Maryland      96
Jacob Tome’s Port Deposit      98
William Lowman: a Waterman’s Life in Port Deposit      98
Dancing over the Columbia Dam      100
7. Rafts on the West Branch      105
William Langdon: 1855      105
8. Tales of the West Branch      123
Getting Stuck on a Rock      123
Rafting Grub      124
Danger at Shamokin Dam      125
A Tragedy at Millers Landing      126
Caught in a Spring Snowstorm      127
A Rafting Town in Season      132
Cherry Tree Joe      134
Ladies on the River      140
My First Rafting Trip      145
Gallows Harbor: How it Got its Name      149
9. Log Driving      151
Log Drive to Williamsport in 1868      151
John Dubois and Hiram Woodward      152
The Woodhicks      153
The Raftsmen and Log Drivers’ Relationships      154
Log Rustlers      156
The Camps      157
Camp Dubois Opens      158
The Jobber      159
Felling and Skidding      159
Parties along the Sinnemahoning Creek      160
How the Number of Logs Was Estimated      161
How the Drive Was Organized      162
The Drive Begins      162
Tragedy on the River      166
On to Williamsport      166
West Branch Log Drives      169
10. Woodhicks      173
Jam Breakers      173
Woodhick Baseball      179
Bullies      182
Abe Bloom      182
Miles Dent      184
Ambrose Campbell and Len Childs      185
Big Bob Gowdy      185
11. The Mississippi Watershed      188
Early Road West      188
The Allegheny and Ohio Rivers      189
The Mississippi River      191
Appendix: Arks and Raft construction      193
Ark Construction      193
Board Raft Construction      195
Manufacturing Sticks      199
Manufacturing a Stick into a Spar      201
Manufacturing a Stick into a Square Timber      202
Building a Hauling or Skidding Road      203
Hauling or Skidding Spars      204
Landings or Rafting Grounds      206
Oars or Sweeps      206
Rafting-in a Spar Raft      207
Rafting-in a Square Timber Raft      210
Double Bowing      213
Landing and Snubbing Rafts      213
Rafting Shanties      214
Rafting-in a Round Log Raft      215
Log Slide Construction      215

Glossary      193
Works Cited      227
Index      233

Book Reviews & Awards

“valuable”—International Journal of Maritime History.