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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 126, September 27, 1853

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Identifier: DX04145069

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 126, September 27, 1853

Description: Describes traveling on the steamboat ''Ben Franklin'' on the Ohio River.

Transcription:

With Lock to the river side & aboard the Ben Franklin. Shook hands, and soon we were steaming down the Ohio. The boat, a spacious one, was very different in construction from those in use on the Eastern waters, all the machinery being open on the lower deck, where monstrous iron-work with jar and oscillation moved with ponderous regularity. Six great furnace mouths were incessantly fed by logs, there in thrust by rough looking, scantily dressed men, some negroes among them. Wood piled about everywhere, the waters of the swift river hurry by in the hot sunlight, the surface of the stream being but at little space below the un-guarded deck, piled with bales & packages. Above, the upper deck, approached by staircase at the stern, differed not much from the Eastern vessels. Neat cabins, one of which I occupied in company with a young Louisvillian, with coarse voice and face to match, who had a libidinously stupid, yellow-covered Holywell-Street originated novel lying on his berth. The Ohio has very pretty picturesque scenery, round sloping hills, green-bosomed banks, fine trees which at this time are tinted by the approaching Autumn. ‘Tis a sort of minature Hudson, but where the latter offers both grandeur and beauty, the Ohio has but prettiness. The river varies much in color, yellow and turbid sometimes, then clear and bright. During the hot summer months, boats but of very small draft comply on it; — the Franklin needed but 4 feet. Tis never very wide, but varies very much. Onwards we sped, our vessel, (high pressure,) snorting out a long bellowing wail as another approached her. Sometimes we passed one with paddle wheel at the stern, — ugly looking affairs. Many stoppages at dull-looking places on either bank, where the houses would be perched on bare treeless banks, and where other boats might cluster by two and three, and there would be much clamor & bell-jangling ere we, having left mailbag and passengers, got off. So the day wore on, and night came. Below it was very picturesque; the hot raging glow of the fire, the shouts of the men as they heaped the full in, with boisterous cries and continuous blasphemy,

Rights: NoC-US

Place:

Dates: 1853-09-27

Type(s): Diary
Page

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

Subjects: African Americans
Diaries
Transportation
Travel
Steamboats
Ohio River
Books and reading
Autumn
Hudson River (N.Y. and N.J.)

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http://collections.mohistory.org/resource/182457

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