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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 193, November 15-17, 1853

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Identifier: DX04206287

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 193, November 15-17, 1853

Description: Describes his trip up the Mississippi River on the Swamp Fox steamboat, and his arrival at Cairo, Illinois.


the piled molasses barrels, some of which leaking, had formed rich colored, odoriferous puddles on the wet deck. An Irish family encamped in the rear, two young, sturdy women, men and children. Shores of the river monotonous as ever. Sounding with the lead, when sand bars occur. By an hour before sunset we have, on our right reached a line of high bluffs, perhaps 50 or 60 feet high, bare, variously colored clays, surmounted by tall trees; these terminating we pass a little town perched up on the bank, called Randolph. The river narrows much here. Various steamboats pass us. Once we own aground, but speedily “back out.” I write all the evening & part of the days.

16. Wednesday. Wrote letter to George Bolton. Also to my Mother [Naomi Butler Gunn]. River monotonously impressive, fleets of flat-boats passed, & steamboats seen. A picturesque night scene. Stopping “to wood” on the Kentucky shore, (for we now have that on our right, and Missouri on our left.) A huge flat barge laden with cottonwood, lying moored beneath a steep clay bank, tree-surmounted; is three parts emptied by the “hands.” The red glare of the blazing contents of two bucket like wire flames held aloft on either side of the fore-deck; the men in their rough, picturesque costume, toiling to & fro; the muddy rushing river; the high banks growing dim in the distance and shrouded in mist; the troubled sky above, with sombre, wet-looking clouds moving uneasily all across the gloomy firmament; — a complete Mississippi picture in its way.

17. Thursday. Aroused from an uneasily passed, half sleepless night, by the intelligence that Cairo was in sight. So dressing hastily before day-break, I presently disembarked at the most miserable, dreary, wretched place in the United States of America, I verily believe. Situate on, the Illinois shore at the junction of the Ohio with the Mississippi, Cairo, years ago was vaunted as a place of mighty promise, land speculations, saw-mills,

Rights: NoC-US


Dates: 1853-11-15

Type(s): Diary

Maker/Creator: Gunn, Thomas Butler, 1826-1903

Subjects: Diaries
Mississippi River
Ohio River


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