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No. 4 Alexandr Lakier, 1857/Steamboat 'wooding.'

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Old 05-24-2006, 10:22 AM
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.
Posts: 1,573
Default No. 4 Alexandr Lakier, 1857/Steamboat 'wooding.'

Steamboating colleagues:
Russian writer Alexandr Lakier moved from Cincinnati on to Kentucky skirting Louisville to tour Mammoth Cave by horse stage. To Europeans Niagra Falls and Mammoth Cave were their ideals of natural wonders. By train he visited Chicago, Great Lakes and then on to the Mississipppi. He steamed from Dubuque north for four days [*Boat not named] to visit 'Indian country.' His interest in fueling steamboats is worth quoting as per previous discussions on Comments =[*]
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"Tree-covered islets are frequently found in the river. Veering left and right, the pilot tried to avoid shoals and find a clear channel. If it were necessary to disembark a farmer or immigrant, [*pioneer settler] he [*pilot] could put in to shore nearly any place. A gangplank is lowered from the steamboat to the shore and the passenger, shaking and dancing as if on a rope to keep his balance, descends to solid ground, after which his baggage is thrown to him from the steamboat. [*Lakier didn't understand the psychology of pioneers leaving their homes to stake out a new life in the wilds of the American West. He discovered not all of them were "poor" as he'd thought.]

If it was necessary to take on cargo or stock up on firewood, the steamboat put in to shore and the business was done quickly and smoothly. Firewood cut and sawed was already stacked on shore with prices and quantities posted on a board. From the deck of the steamboat the captain used a telescope to make out the condition of the forest, [*Type of trees and wood quality for burning properties] and if the price was agreeable, he put into shore. A wood barge was hooked on to the steamboat and firewood loaded while underway. The barge was then detached and sent to a mooring along the way. I was particularly delighted when Indians emerged from wigwams and tents scattered along the west bank of the Mississippi and boarded our steamboat for St. Paul. They were of the Sious tribe...with arms and faces painted most fearsome."
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Shore 'landings' for 'immigrants' recalls a story told by John Burns, son of old Jim Burns builder of the DELTA KING/DELTA QUEEN, in his youth seeing Chinese laborers [*termed 'coolies] being put off along the Sacramento River at 'brush landings.' No stage was put down for them and the poor fellows either jumped--or were pushed--with their humble possessions tossed off after them. John commented to me, "The boat crews were very indifferent to them in those days."

R. Dale Flick
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