The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Voyage on the Lakes
Lyons Republican (Lyons, NY), 28 Jun 1820

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Voyage on the lakes

Extract of a letter from Capt. J. Rodgers, of the steam boat Walk-in-the-Water, dated Black Rock 29th ult.

"I arrived at this place from Mackinaw on the morning of the 27th inst., after a most delightful passage up and down , of 17 days, including four days we stopped at different places, and unlading our cargo at Mackinaw. We left Detroit on our way up, on the 14th, and passed through lake and river, St. Clair., and arrived at Fort Gratoit at 7 o’clock same day- As we passed the fort, we were greeted with a national salute. St. Clair is a most beautiful river of about 40 miles in length,–We ascended the rapids, which run at the rate of five knots an hour, without difficulty, and in handsome style and at day light entered Lake Huron, a very extensive sheet of water and which affords a grand prospect to the eye in a clear morning.

"From thence to the island of Mackinaw we were out of sight of and most of the way. The sight of this island was very grateful to my feelings and its wild appearance presents an interesting view to a stranger. It is situated in the straits of river Mackinaw, between Lakes Huron and Michigan. Fort Holmes and Mackinaw situated here are composed of strong stockades, are nearly built, and exhibit a beautiful appearance from the water – the former is on the summit, near 350 feet, and the latter a little below about 200 feet from the surface of the water. The town is directly on the margin of the river. What added much to the novelty of the sight, was about 1500 Indians encamped in their wigwams, and in bark canoes at the water’s edge. The island present the greatest variety of scenery I ever saw in so small a compass; and from Fort Holmes you have a complete view of lakes Huron and Michigan and the surrounding island.

"The waters of these lake are as transparent as air. We came to anchor in18 feet water, and could see our cable and anchor as plain as if it had been on deck– indeed at that depth of water in a calm time, you could see a sixpenny piece on the bottom. The trout caught here exceed any I ever saw; they weigh from 5 to 60 lbs.; I bought one for 50 cents that weighed 30lbs. They are beautiful fish, and as delicate as the best brook trout."

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Date of Publication:
28 Jun 1820
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Geographic Coverage:
  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 42.88645 Longitude: -78.87837
Richard Palmer
Copyright Statement:
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Voyage on the Lakes