The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), Aug. 29, 1859

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Traveling in Old Times. - Before the Canals were built, years and years ago; when Detroit was very far west, and "outside of creation," and Buffalo a long journey from Schenectady; when populous cities on the line were mere village or settlements, in a bowling wilderness, people had to travel, and freight required transportation.

Although the traveling public was then a very small circle of adventurous men, and the freight interest in its babyhood, yet both existed and had to be accommodated. The thing was accomplished by bateau, a primitive craft. The Schenectady News, in an article on early traveling, furnishes the following sketch of the route to the West:

"Starting from Schenectady, with a crew of from three to five men, the bateau would follow the Mohawk through the counties of Montgomery, Herkimer and Oneida, until it reached in the vicinity of Rome, when the bateau passed through a canal five miles to Wood Creek, thence down the Creek to Oneida Lake; thence the whole length of the Lake to Fort Brewerton; thence through the outlet into the Oswego River.

"On reaching Oswego Falls, pilots were necessary, and the load of the bateau had to be lightened. The falls were from six to eight feet. The vessel then proceeded down the river to Lake Ontario, through the lake to Queenstown, from which point it was carried over land to Chippewa River above Niagara Falls; thence by the way of Fort Scholosser to Tonawanda, going through Lake Erie to Detroit.

Fort Scholosser was an encampment where the French unloaded their stores. it is two miles above Niagara. The old storehouses are now all fallen into decay, and there are not probably three buildings standing. Navy Island is some brief distance above Fort Scholosser. The trade from Niagara to Montreal was principally in the hands of the British. A bateau was considered to make excellent time if it reached Niagara in sixteen days after leaving Schenectady."

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Aug. 29, 1859
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Richard Palmer
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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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Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), Aug. 29, 1859