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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 occu-
pied 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 of very small draft com
ply 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 stop-
pages 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 mail-
bag 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,
Page
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Six: page one hundred and twenty-six
Description:Describes traveling on the steamboat ''Ben Franklin'' on the Ohio River.
Date:1853-09-27
Subject:African Americans; Ben Franklin (Ship); Gunn, Thomas Butler; Lock; Transportation; Travel
Coverage (City/State):[Cincinnati, Ohio]
Scan Date:2011-02-02

 

Volume
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Six
Description:Includes descriptions of Gunn's writing and drawing work in New York, a visit to the Catskill Mountains, attending the wedding of his friend Charles Damoreau (Brown), a visit to the Crystal Palace in New York, his friend Lotty's difficult marriage to John Whytal, a sailing trip around Lake Superior, a visit to Mackinac Island in Michigan, a visit to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, and a journey by horseback from Kentucky to Louisiana with friends.
Subject:African Americans; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Marriage; Native Americans; Publishers and publishing; Slavery; Travel; Women
Coverage (City/State):New York, New York; Michigan; Wisconsin; Ohio; Kentucky; Mississippi; Alabama; Louisiana
Note:Thomas Butler Gunn was born February 15, 1826, in Banbury, England, and came to New York in 1849. During the Civil War he worked as a correspondent for the New York Tribune and the New York Evening Post. He returned to England in 1863, and died in Birmingham in April 1903. The collection includes twenty-one volumes of his diaries, including newspaper clippings, letters, photographs, sketches, and various other items inserted by Gunn. Diary entries date from July 7, 1849, to April 7, 1863, and include his experiences with the New York publishing and literary world, his descriptions of boarding houses, his travels throughout the United States, and his experiences traveling with the Federal army as a Civil War correspondent.
Publisher:Missouri History Museum
Rights:Copyright 2011 Missouri History Museum.
Source:Page images, transcriptions, and metadata of the Thomas Butler Gunn diaries have been provided by the Missouri History Museum.