Flatboat

Flatboat

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Fil
Fil
FIL or Fil may refer to:* Functional Imaging Laboratory, the colloquial name for the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging.* International Luge Federation, the international governing body for the sport of luge....

1800flatboat.jpg
A flatboat is a rectangular flat-bottomed boat
Flat-bottomed boat
A flat-bottomed boat is a boat with a flat bottomed, two-chined hull, which allows it be used in shallow bodies of water, such as rivers, because it is less likely to ground....

 with (mostly
NOTE: "(parenthesized)" wordings in the quote below are notes added to clarify />

There were a variety of specialized flatboats (eventually developed) to ship cargo to world markets. Some (later, meaning c. 1815–20, after steam boats became common) flatboats were built with raked bows to be used on return trips alongside steamboats, serving as 'fuel flats', first hauling wood, then coal. These flatboats with raked bows evolved into coal boats. (Later,) Coal boats were tied together in fleets to be pushed by steamboats. Those coal boats evolved into the steel barges of today (plying the rivers servicing the coal fields of the Ohio River watershed).

Nancy Jordan Blackmore, Janes Saddlebag
>) name=JanesFBHist>
square ends used to transport freight and passengers on inland waterway
Waterway
A waterway is any navigable body of water. Waterways can include rivers, lakes, seas, oceans, and canals. In order for a waterway to be navigable, it must meet several criteria:...

s. The flatboat could be any size, but essentially it is large, sturdy tub with a hull that displaces water and so floats in the water. This differentiates the flatboat
from the raft
Raft
A raft is any flat structure for support or transportation over water. It is the most basic of boat design, characterized by the absence of a hull...

, which floats on the water.

A flatboat is almost always a one-way vessel, and is usually dismantled for lumber when it reaches its downstream destination. group=notes>

|author=Nancy Jordan Blackmore
|url=http://www.janessaddlebag.org/about-us/big-bone-lick-area-history/ohio-river-info-and-history.html
|publisher=Big Bone Lick Historical Society, Janes Saddlebag
|title=Ohio River Info and History|accessdate=2010-11-30
|date=2009
|quote=The flatboat was the cheapest of the many types of boats used and became the standard conveyance for families moving west. All of the boats in this period were hand-powered, with poles or oars for steering, and usually floated with the current. They were not intended for round trips since the settlers used them only to get to their new homes and then broke them up for their lumber.
}}
>

Varieties of flatboat in the early 19th century included the mid-range broadhorn and Kentucky boat, and the longer-range New Orleans boat, which was fully covered. Some times wheels were attached to the flat boat and were wheeled in by horse.
After serving through the American War of Independence in the Pennsylvania line, the farmer Jacob Yoder
Jacob Yoder
Jacob Yoder, pioneer, born in Reading, Pennsylvania, 11 August, 1758 : died in Spencer County, Kentucky, 7 April, 1832. He was of Swiss descent....

 invented and built the first flatboat (1782) on Redstone Creek
Redstone Creek
Redstone Creek is a historically important widemouthed canoe and river boat-navigable brook-sized tributary stream of the Monongahela River in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. The creek is long, running from headwaters on Chestnut Ridge north through the city of Uniontown and reaching the Monongahela...

 at Redstone Old Fort
Redstone Old Fort
Redstone Old Fort or Redstone Fort or Fort Burd on The Nemacolin Trail was the name of the French and Indian War era wooden fort built in 1759 by Pennsylvania Militia Colonel James Burd to guard the ancient Indian trail's river ford on a mound overlooking the eastern shore of the Monongahela River...

, which soon after became Brownsville, Pennsylvania
Brownsville, Pennsylvania
Brownsville is a borough in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, United States, officially founded in 1785 located 35 miles south of Pittsburgh along the Monongahela River...

 on the Monongahela River
Monongahela River
The Monongahela River is a river on the Allegheny Plateau in north-central West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania in the United States...

, which he freighted with flour and carried to New Orleans in May, 1782. The rest of America returned to normal as the revolution wound down, and that meant settling the Ohio Country
Ohio Country
The Ohio Country was the name used in the 18th century for the regions of North America west of the Appalachian Mountains and in the region of the upper Ohio River south of Lake Erie...

, and after the peace treaty, the Northwest Territory
Northwest Territory
The Territory Northwest of the River Ohio, more commonly known as the Northwest Territory, was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from July 13, 1787, until March 1, 1803, when the southeastern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the state of Ohio...

, and the only way to haul enough freight for that was on the waterways. Fortunately the new territories were possessed of many of those, at least until one entered the rain shadows of the Rocky Mountains. Yoder's was the first attempt to navigate the Ohio and Mississippi rivers for commercial purposes, and he succeeded brilliantly, giving the new country a new mindset about how to settle and exploit the West almost overnight. Watercraft would reign in the American frontier for the next 70 years, and then only decline because the railways spanned distances much faster, but far less economically. Brownsville, strategically sited at the river ford along the Nemacolin Trail at the end of Burd's Road where wagons could safely make a descent down the steep slopes encountered crossing the Cumberland Narrows
Cumberland Narrows
The Cumberland Narrows is a water gap in western Maryland in the United States, just west of Cumberland, Maryland. Wills Creek cuts through the central ridge of the Wills Mountain Anticline at a low elevation here between Wills Mountain to the north and Haystack Mountain to the south...

 pass
Mountain pass
A mountain pass is a route through a mountain range or over a ridge. If following the lowest possible route, a pass is locally the highest point on that route...

 became a specialist city in emigrant outfitting, the surrounding region for tens of miles developing cottage industries (boxes, barrels, brewers, weavers and clothes makers), and feedstock (e.g. timber
Timber
Timber may refer to:* Timber, a term common in the United Kingdom and Australia for wood materials * Timber, Oregon, an unincorporated community in the U.S...

, lumber
Lumber
Lumber or timber is wood in any of its stages from felling through readiness for use as structural material for construction, or wood pulp for paper production....

, pig iron
Pig iron
Pig iron is the intermediate product of smelting iron ore with a high-carbon fuel such as coke, usually with limestone as a flux. Charcoal and anthracite have also been used as fuel...

, iron fittings and nails) gathered, built, manufactured, mined, or bred for the benefit of the tens of thousands coming by Stage coach from Cumberland, Maryland
Cumberland, Maryland
Cumberland is a city in the far western, Appalachian portion of Maryland, United States. It is the county seat of Allegany County, and the primary city of the Cumberland, MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area. At the 2010 census, the city had a population of 20,859, and the metropolitan area had a...

 over the mountains desiring for homestead farther west.

An average of 3,000 flatboats descended the Ohio River
Ohio River
The Ohio River is the largest tributary, by volume, of the Mississippi River. At the confluence, the Ohio is even bigger than the Mississippi and, thus, is hydrologically the main stream of the whole river system, including the Allegheny River further upstream...

 each year between 1810 and 1820, the great majority of them being constructed at Brownsville with settlers heading to destinations as diverse as Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Iowa and Illinois. Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

 twice piloted a flatboat carrying produce to New Orleans, from Indiana
Indiana
Indiana is a US state, admitted to the United States as the 19th on December 11, 1816. It is located in the Midwestern United States and Great Lakes Region. With 6,483,802 residents, the state is ranked 15th in population and 16th in population density. Indiana is ranked 38th in land area and is...

 in 1828 and from Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

 in 1831.

See also

  • Barge
    Barge
    A barge is a flat-bottomed boat, built mainly for river and canal transport of heavy goods. Some barges are not self-propelled and need to be towed by tugboats or pushed by towboats...

  • Brownsville, Pennsylvania
    Brownsville, Pennsylvania
    Brownsville is a borough in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, United States, officially founded in 1785 located 35 miles south of Pittsburgh along the Monongahela River...

  • Horse-drawn boat
    Horse-drawn boat
    A horse-drawn boat or tow-boat is a historic boat operating on a canal, pulled by a horse walking on a special road along the canal, the towpath.-United Kingdom:...

  • Keelboat
    Keelboat
    Keelboat has two distinct meanings related to two different types of boats: one a riverine cargo-capable working boat, and the other a classification for small- to mid-sized recreational sailing yachts.-Historical keel-boats:...

  • Narrow boat
  • Punt
    Punt (boat)
    A punt is a flat-bottomed boat with a square-cut bow, designed for use in small rivers or other shallow water. Punting refers to boating in a punt. The punter generally propels the punt by pushing against the river bed with a pole...

  • Redstone Old Fort
    Redstone Old Fort
    Redstone Old Fort or Redstone Fort or Fort Burd on The Nemacolin Trail was the name of the French and Indian War era wooden fort built in 1759 by Pennsylvania Militia Colonel James Burd to guard the ancient Indian trail's river ford on a mound overlooking the eastern shore of the Monongahela River...

  • Towpath
    Towpath
    A towpath is a road or trail on the bank of a river, canal, or other inland waterway. The purpose of a towpath is to allow a land vehicle, beasts of burden, or a team of human pullers to tow a boat, often a barge...


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