The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Detroit Gazette (Detroit, MI), 29 Aug. 1826, page 2

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The Schooner St. Clair.--Capt. Ward arrived here last Sunday in his schooner, from the city of New-York. His lading consisted of Goods, Groceries, Crockery, Pitch, salt &c. he met with frequent detentions which were unexpected, and which consumed much time; but the experiment has convinced him that he can make profitable trips to New-York. We yesterday had the curiosity to examine the lading. We there saw salt in bulk, a sight never before seen in this port--and we were forcibly reminded of our immense distance from the city of Gotham, by seeing boxes and barrels marked "C. Ward, River St. Clair, Ohio," which was a convincing proof that the wise merchants of the great city, altho', upon an average, possessed of a tolerable geographical knowledge, had not yet found leisure to make themselves acquainted with the localities of this distant region. We trust that the enterprise of Capt. Ward will have a tendency to attract some of their attention to the North-West.


Green Bay, June 30.

We were detained by adverse winds in the Strait of St. Clair, during the whole of the third day of our passage. But we had little cause to regret this delay, inasmuch as it gave us an opportunity of landing, and taking a survey of a country which is far from being devoid of interest. A view of the ruins of Fort Gratiot alone might occupy the attention for some hours; but the reflections which would naturally arise from it must be very unsatisfactory, and calculated to produce any other sentiment rather than admiration for the military policy of the government.

...About ten o'clock on Tuesday, the fourth day of our passage, we ascended the Rapids, which commence a little below the ruins of the Fort, and extend, a considerable distance above the Light-House. The current is very powerful and requires quite a fresh breeze to carry a vessel through with the assistance only of her sails. Unfortunately for us, we derived no aid from the wind; and the vessel being deeply laden, it was found impossible for the power of the machinery to propel her against the force of the stream. For some time there was a well contested strife between the powers of steam and water, and the rude force of the latter would inevitably have triumphed over the better discipline of the former, had it not been assisted by some twenty or thirty men, who went ashore with hawsers, and in a few minutes warped the vessel beyond the most difficult part of the rapids. This process of dragging vessels against the stream by the means of ropes, is called cordelling, on the Mississippi and its tributaries, and was much used on those waters previous to the introduction of steam-boats. It must have been a very slow and laborious operation, and the cause of a great waste of human life and health, in coursing along unhealthy shores in a hot and humid climate. The genius of Fulton has rendered it unnecessary, except occasionally. it is supposed that if the Superior had not been too much "loaded by the head," as the sailors say of a vessel when overloaded in the bow, she would have made her way through the rapids without the aid of any power but that of her engine.

The sea of Huron after you leave the strait of St. Clair, immediately widens, and presents to the view a boundless and trackless horizon of water, sometimes agitated with waves rising mountain-high, and at other times as smooth as a mirror. It is a subject of regret that these immense bodies of water were at first "Nicodemused into nothing" by the diminutive appellation of "lakes." Their extent as well as importance deserve a more magnanimous name.

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Column 5-p. 3, column 1
Date of Original:
29 Aug. 1826
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Dave Swayze
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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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Detroit Gazette (Detroit, MI), 29 Aug. 1826, page 2