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Outagamie County (Wis.) State Centennial Committee / Land of the fox, saga of Outagamie County
([1949])

Mackesy, Lillian; Schubert, William E.; Brummund, Walter H.
Industrial progress,   pp. 141-163 PDF (10.2 MB)


Page 141


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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