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Way Back Wednesday's: Early Transportation

By Audrey Schiesser | Local Happenings

Up until 1792, the canoe was the primary means of water transportation in our region. As you may be aware, the canoe was not the ideal form of transportation. This is because when it came to transporting a settler’s household items and family, it became very limited and very dangerous.

This is what set the settler’s to create a more efficient and safer way. This is when vessels like the keelboat and barge came into use. These vessels could safely carry twenty to forty tons of freight.

This innovation is what caused the high influx of settlers into our county. These settlers were able to transport their homes and families safely up and down the Ohio River. It was by these means that our population began to grow.

From here life began to prosper. Boats continuously brought in flour, pork, whiskey, apple cider, vinegar, brandy, Seneca oil, butter, tallow, soap, feathers, hemp thread, oats, potatoes, and more!

These products came all the way from New Orleans by means of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. Once the crew would arrive and sell off all the goods, they would sell the vessels for its value as lumber.

They did this because the downriver venture was dangerous. It was infested with lawless gangs and pirates such as Wilson of Cave-in Rock, Jim Girty of Crows Nest, and Fluger of Cash Creek. So instead of taking the chance, they sold their vessels and made their way home by land.

Fast forward to 1811 and the first steamboat went into successful operation on the Ohio river. It was called “New Orleans” and it was launched at Pittsburg. This ship totaled $40,000.

Thanks for riding along with us this week as we took a look at our county’s history with transportation! Tune back next week as we take a look at “The County Seat Story”.



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