By Reuben Gold Thwaites
Nineteenth-century American shuttle literature offers interesting glimpses into the lives of standard humans and into the heritage of the nation's payment. Reuben Gold Thwaites's Afloat at the Ohio is a superb instance of the style, wealthy in Ohio River personalities, legends, and historical past as noticeable via Thwaites's eyes. His six-week trip by means of skiff lined one thousand miles from Redstone, Pennsylvania, to Cairo, Illinois, the place the Ohio River meets the Mississippi. Thwaites's voyage echoes these taken through early explorers, pioneers, and settlers who spread out the West via river go back and forth from the East.This version is a reprinting of the unique 1897 edition.
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Additional resources for Afloat on the Ohio: an historical pilgrimage of a thousand miles in a skiff, from Redstone to Cairo
A few miles below New Cumberland, on the Ohio shore, we inspected the tile works at Freeman, and admired the dexterity which the workmen had attained. But what interested us most of all was the appalling havoc which these clay and iron industries are making with the once beautiful banks of the river. Each of them has a large daily output of debris, which is dumped unmercifully upon the water's edge in heaps from fifty to a hundred feet high. Sometimes for nearly a mile in length, the natural bank is deep buried out of sight; and we have from our canoe naught but a dismal wall of rubbish, Page 41 crowding upon the river to the uttermost limit of governmental allowance.
From an altitude of four or five hundred feet, the country falls in sharp steeps to a narrow alluvial bench, and then a broad beach of shale and pebble; the slopes are broken, here and there, where deep, shadowy ravines come winding down, bearing muddy contributions to the greater flood. The higher hills are crowned with forest trees, the lower ofttimes checkered with brown fields, recently planted, and rows of vines trimmed low to stakes, as in the fashion of the Rhine. The stream, though still majestic in its sweep, is henceforth a commercial slack-water, lined with noisy, grimy, matter-of-fact manufacturing towns, for the most part literally abutting one upon the other all of the way down to Pittsburg, and fast defiling the once picturesque banks with the gruesome offal of coal mines and iron plants.
But it is Sunday, and the lock is closed. Above, a dozen down-going steamboats are moored to the shore, waiting for midnight and the resumption of business; while below, a similar line of ascending boats is awaiting the close of the day of rest. Pilgrim, however, cannot hang up at the levee with any comfort to her crew; it is necessary, with evening at hand, and a thunder-storm angrily rising over the Pittsburg hills, to get out of this grimy pool, flanked about with iron and coal yards, chimney stacks, and a forest of shipping, and to quickly seek the open country lower down on the Ohio.