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Novel Research Help Request #5

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    Novel Research Help Request #5

    Folks, here is another scene that I humbly request be vetted by you. Some of it is not regarding steamboats per se, but there may be errors that history buffs can spot. The opening of Chapter 4 (timeframe is 1848):

    'St Louis made St Joseph look like a canoe landing. The waterfront stretched along the river a mile and more and was crowded with every kind of river craft—big sidewheel Mississippi steamboats, smaller Ohio and Missouri boats like ours, sternwheelers, steam tugs, launches, ferries, trading scows, keelboats, flatboats, rowboats, canoes and more—all crowding into the shore to discharge and take on passengers and every manner of cargo. The port was an anthill of wagons, drays, carts, buggies, and carriages all moving to or from their particular steamer in the long ranks. Roustabouts loaded and unloaded freight via thick planks that developed rhythmic undulations that flung anyone who got out of step into the river. Carters cracked whips, leather-lunged steamboat mates shouted orders in profanity laced volleys, vendors and sharpies worked the crowds, and passengers moved anxiously about seeking their vessels.

    The Monroe nosed into shore and Lord Percy strolled down the gangplank to hire a wagon to haul the fur packs. He returned and stood watch as One Ball, Sneaks Up and I carried the one hundred pound packs of furs to the wagon while never leaving the wagon or boat stacks unattended. With the goods loaded we piled aboard and the teamster navigated the heavy traffic until we arrived at a secure warehouse where the furs were offloaded and receipted. Percy came out of the office looking satisfied.'

    As always, thanks for all inputs.

    (on edit: italicized the steamboat name)


    Loren: Looks generally good to me but I'd use the term "yawl" instead of rowboat and put the name of the steamer all in Caps as: MONROE. There are other ways to do it but some distinctive lettering is useful in printing a steamboat name. Also, "carters" might better be called draymen. I also have some lingering doubts about how many launches were about in 1848, but not many of us were there in 1848. Don't think that anything you have is wrong...just preferred usage. Cap'n Walnut.


      Loren, I think you would be okay with "rowboat". "Yawl" is okay, too, but that, to me, is an Ohio River term. Elsewhere they are called "skiffs".


        Good that you are writing about St. Louis in 1848, because most of the downtown and the entire riverfront area including 22 steamboats were destroyed in the Great fire of May 17, 1849.


          Loren: I think Bob is correct and the reader may well not know what a yawl or skiff is with out your telling them it is a rowboat...Cap'n Walnut


            Thank you for all the replies.

            I am moving forward incorporating all my pen & ink changes to my 9th draft into my laptop (I'm on chapter 11 of 23), and once done I will come back to my posts here and the replies received and incorporate suggestions.

            Just a note: In my manuscript steamboat names are italicized, as in 'the James Monroe' but when I copy & paste the excerpt into the browser the italics didn't come through. I'm going to go correct my original post.

            Thanks again.