BY NATHANIEL H. BISHOP,
AUTHOR OF "ONE THOUSAND MILES WALK ACROSS SOUTH AMERICA"
AND CORRESPONDING MEMBER OF THE BOSTON SOCIETY OF NATURAL HISTORY
AND OF THE NEW YORK ACADEMY OF SCIENCES.
BOSTON: LEE AND SHEPARD, PUBLISHERS. NEW YORK: CHARLES T. DILLINGHAM. 1878.
TO THE SUPERINTENDENT. ASSISTANTS, AIDS, AND ALL EMPLOYEES OF THE
UNITED STATES COAST SURVEY BUREAU, THE "VOYAGE OF THE PAPER CANOE"
IS RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED,
AS A SLIGHT EVIDENCE OF THE APPRECIATION BY ITS AUTHOR FOR
THEIR INTELLIGENT EFFORTS AND SELF-DENYING LABORS
IN THE SERVICE OF THEIR COUNTRY, SO PATIENTLY
AND SKILFULLY PERFORMING, UNDER MANY
DIFFICULTIES AND DANGERS.
The author left Quebec, Dominion of Canada,
July 4, 1874, with a single assistant, in a wooden
canoe eighteen feet in length, bound for the Gulf of
Mexico. It was his intention to follow the natural
and artificial connecting watercourses of the
continent in the most direct line southward to the gulf
coast of Florida, making portages as seldom as
possible, to show how few were the interruptions to
a continuous water-way for vessels of light draught,
from the chilly, foggy, and rocky regions of the Gulf
of St. Lawrence in the north, to the semi-tropical
waters of the great Southern Sea, the waves of which
beat upon the sandy shores of the southernmost
United States. Having proceeded about four
hundred miles upon his voyage, the author reached
Troy, on the Hudson River, New York state, where
for several years E. Waters & Sons had been
perfecting the construction of paper boats.
The advantages in using a boat of only fifty-eight
pounds weight, the strength and durability of which
had been well and satisfactorily tested, could not
be questioned, and the author dismissed his
assistant, and "paddled his own canoe" about two
thousand miles to the end of the journey. Though
frequently lost in the labyrinth of creeks and marshes
which skirt the southern coast of his country, the
author's difficulties were greatly lessened by the use
of the valuable and elaborate charts of the United
States Coast Survey Bureau, to the faithful
executers of which he desires to give unqualified and
To an unknown wanderer among the creeks, rivers,
and sounds of the coast, the courteous treatment of
the Southern people was most gratifying. The
author can only add to this expression an extract
from his reply to the address of the Mayor of St.
Mary's, Georgia, which city honored him with an
ovation and presentation of flags after the
completion of his voyage:
"Since my little paper canoe entered southern
waters upon her geographical errand, - from the
capes of the Delaware to your beautiful St. Mary's,
- I have been deeply sensible of the value of
Southern hospitality. The oystermen and fishermen
living along the lonely beaches of the eastern shore
of Maryland and Virginia; the surfmen and
lighthouse keepers of Albemarle, Pamplico, and Core
sounds, in North Carolina; the ground-nut planters
who inhabit the uplands that skirt the network of
creeks, marshes, ponds, and sounds from Bogue
Inlet to Cape Fear; the piny-woods people,
lumbermen, and turpentine distillers on the little bluffs
that jut into the fastnesses of the great swamps of the
crooked Waccamaw River; the representatives of
the once powerful rice-planting aristocracy of the
Santee and Peedee rivers; the colored men of the
beautiful sea-islands along the coast of Georgia;
The Floridians living between the St. Mary's River
and the Suwanee - the wild river of song; the
islanders on the Gulf of Mexico where I terminated
my long journey; - all have contributed to make the
'Voyage of the Paper Canoe' a success."
After returning from this paper-canoe voyage, the
author embarked alone, December 2, 1875, in a cedar
duck-boat twelve feet in length, from the head of
the Ohio River, at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and
followed the Ohio and Mississippi rivers over two
thousand miles to New Orleans, where he made a
portage through that city eastwardly to Lake
Pontchartrain, and rowed along the shores of the Gulf
of Mexico six or seven hundred miles, to Cedar
Keys, Florida, the terminus of his paper-canoe
While on these two voyages, the author rowed over
five thousand miles, meeting with but one accident,
the overturning of his canoe in Delaware Bay.
He returned to his home with his boats in good
condition, and his note-books, charts, &c., in an
excellent state of preservation.
At the request of the "Board on behalf of the
United States Executive Department" of the
Centennial Exhibition at Philadelphia, the paper canoe
"Maria Theresa," and the cedar duck-boat "Centennial
Republic," were deposited in the Smithsonian
Department of the United States Government
building, during the summer and fall of 1876.
The maps, which show the route followed by
the paper canoe, have been drawn and engraved
by contract at the United States Coast Survey
Bureau, and are on a scale of 1/1,500,000. As the work
is based on the results of actual surveys, the
maps may be considered, for their size, the most
complete of the United States coast ever presented
to the public.
Much credit is due to Messrs. Waud and Merrill
for the artistic results of their pencils, and to Messrs.
John Andrew & Son for their skill in engraving the
To the readers of the author's first book of
travels, "The Pampas and Andes: a Thousand Miles'
Walk across South America," which journey was
undertaken when he was but seventeen years of
age, the writer would say that their many kind and
appreciative letters have prompted him to send forth
this second book of travels - the "Voyage of the
LAKE GEORGE, WARREN COUNTY, N. Y.,
JANUARY 1, 1878.
CHAPTER I. THE APPROACHES TO THE WATER-WAY OF THE CONTINENT.
ISLAND OF ST. PAUL. - THE PORTALS OF THE GULF OF ST.