Outagamie County (Wis.) State Centennial Committee / Land of the fox, saga of Outagamie County
Mackesy, Lillian; Schubert, William E.; Brummund, Walter H.
Industrial progress, pp. 141-163 PDF (6.9 MB)
INDUSTRIAL PROGRESS Highways and Waterways By Lillian Mackesy The woodland Indian trail and the turbulent river with its dangerous rapids and whirling waters offered the only high- ways of travel in the county when the white man first came here. The Indian used his foot-trail and canoe, the fur trader brought the bateau and with the settler came the American Durham boat and finally the steamboat and railroad. As soon as the pioneer settled on his homestead he turned to building a crude road for himself by the process of chopping his way through the forest. Later he traveled the early plank toll roads until the county and state governments evolved their public road systems. In earlier days the Indian canoe and French bateaux, laden with furs and pelts, xxecut up and down the Fox River. Indian totem poles stood as symbols of safety below and above the rapids of the Grand Chute. The more adventurous voyageurs and travelers "shot the rapids,'' but more often, they unloaded their cargoes and portaged them around the treacherous spots in the river, particularly at the Grand Chute, the Petite Chute and the Grand Kakalin rapids. The bateau was used especially by the French fur traders x% Iio found need for a larger and sturdier boat than the Indian canoe. This boat was usually manned by, 10 or 12 Indians who propelled the boat With oars or long poles while the fur trader kept his eyes on his precious goods. It was valuable in that it carried up to 12 tons of cargo and drew but two feet of water. The later Durham boat carried more cargo and used fewer men in the crew. This xvas an American boat, invented in 1750 by a Pennsylvanian. John P. Arndt, boat builder at Green Baiy, introduced the craft to Wisconsin when he built otne in 1825 for the transportation of goods up the Fox River. Within live years he had a brisk business and Durham boats carried all the heavy traffic on the Fox and Wis- consin rivers right up to the time that the rivers were made navigable to steam- boats. In a way the Durham ,vas picturesque xxith its wide, platform deck on which walked the crew of eight men, poling the boat through the water as they walked. Each man started at the bow of the boat, 141
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