Voyage of The Paper Canoe
N. H. Bishop

Part 6 out of 6

If the wind continued to blow from the same
quarter, the canoe could not cross Buttermilk
Sound that night; so I went ashore to inquire if
there were any hammocks in the marshes by the
river-banks between the plantation and the sound.

The bachelor proprietor of Broughton Island,
Captain Richard A. Akin, posted me as to the
route to St. Simon's Island, but insisted that the
canoe traveller should share his comfortable
quarters until the next day; and when the next
day came round, and the warm sun and smooth
current of the wide Altamaha invited me to
continue the voyage, the hospitable rice-planter
thought the weather not settled enough for me
to venture down to the sound. In fact, he held
me a rather willing captive for several days, and
then let me off on the condition that I should
return at some future time, and spend a month
with him in examining the sea islands and game
resources of the vicinity.

Captain Akin was a successful rice-planter on
the new system of employing freedmen on
wages, but while he protected the ignorant blacks
in all their newly-found rights, he was a
thorough disciplinarian. The negroes seemed to
like their employer, and stuck to him with
greater tenacity than they did to those planters
who allowed them to do as they pleased. The
result of lax treatment with these people is
always a failure of crops. The rivers and swamps
near Broughton Island abound in fine fishes and
terrapin, while the marshes and flats of the sea
islands afford excellent opportunities for the
sportsman to try his skill upon the feathered

On Monday, March 9th, the Maria Theresa
left Broughton Island well provisioned with the
stores the generous captain had pressed upon
my acceptance. The atmosphere was softened
by balmy breezes, and the bright sunlight played
with the shadows of the clouds upon the wide
marshes, which were now growing green with
the warmth of returning spring. The fish
sprang from the water as I touched it with my
light oars.

St. Simon's Island, -- where Mr. Pierce Butler
once cultivated sea-island cotton, and to which
he took his English bride, Miss Kemble, -- with
its almost abandoned plantation, was reached
before ten o'clock. Frederica River carried me
along the whole length of the island to St.
Simon's Sound. When midway the island, I
paused to survey what remains of the old town
of Frederica, of which but few vestiges can be
discovered. History informs us that Frederica
was the first town built by the English in
Georgia, and was founded by General
Oglethorpe, who began and established the colony.

The fortress was regular and beautiful, and was
the largest, most regular, and perhaps most
costly of any in North America of British
construction. Pursuing my journey southward, the
canoe entered the exposed area of St. Simon's
Sound, which, with its ocean inlet, was easily
crossed to the wild and picturesque Jekyl Island,
upon which the two bachelor brothers Dubignon
live and hunt the deer, enjoying the free life of
lords of the forest. Their old family mansion,
once a haven of hospitality, where the northern
tourist and shipwrecked sailor shared alike the
good things of this life with the kind host, was
used for a target by a gunboat during the late
war, and is now in ruins.

Here, twenty years ago, at midnight, the
slave-yacht "Wanderer" landed her cargo of African
negroes, the capital for the enterprise being
supplied by three southern gentlemen, and the
execution of the work being intrusted, under
carefully drawn contracts, to Boston parties.

The calm weather greatly facilitated my
progress, and had I not missed Jekyl Creek, which is
the steamboat thoroughfare through the marshes
to Jekyl and St. Andrew's Sound, that whole
day's experience would have been a most happy
one. The mouth of Jekyl Creek was a narrow
entrance, and being off in the sound, I passed it
as I approached the lowlands, which were
skirted until a passage at Cedar Hammock
through the marsh was found, some distance
from the one I was seeking. Into this I entered,
and winding about for some time over its
tortuous course, at a late hour in the afternoon the
canoe emerged into a broad watercourse, down
which I could look across Jekyl Sound to the

This broad stream was Jointer Creek, and I
ascended it to find a spot of high ground upon
which to camp. It was now low water, and the
surface of the marshes was three or four feet
above my head. After much anxious searching,
and a great deal of rowing against the last of the
ebb, a forest of pines and palmetto-trees was
reached on Colonel's Island, at a point about four
miles -- across the marshes and Brunswick River
-- from the interesting old town of Brunswick,

Home of the Alligator (101K)

The soft, muddy shores of the hammock were
in one place enveloped in a thicket of reeds, and
here I rested upon my oars to select a
convenient landing-place. The rustling of the reeds
suddenly attracted my attention. Some animal
was crawling through the thicket in the direction
of the boat. My eyes became fixed upon the
mysterious shaking and waving of the tops of the
reeds, and my hearing was strained to detect the
cause of the crackling of the dry rushes over
which this unseen creature was moving. A
moment later my curiosity was satisfied, for there
emerged slowly from the covert an alligator
nearly as large as my canoe. The brute's head
was as long as a barrel; his rough coat of mail
was besmeared with mud, and his dull eyes were
fixed steadily upon me. I was so surprised and
fascinated by the appearance of this huge reptile
that I remained immovable in my boat, while he
in a deliberate manner entered the water within
a few feet of me. The hammock suddenly lost
all its inviting aspect, and I pulled away from
it faster than I had approached. In the gloom I
observed two little hammocks, between Colonel's
Island and the Brunswick River, which seemed
to be near Jointer's Creek, so I followed the
tortuous thoroughfares until I was within a quarter
of a mile of one of them.

Pulling my canoe up a narrow creek towards
the largest hammock, until the creek ended in
the lowland, I was cheered by the sight of a
small house in a grove of live-oaks, to reach
which I was obliged to abandon my canoe and
attempt to cross the soft marsh. The tide was
now rising rapidly, and it might be necessary for
me to swim some inland creek before I could
arrive at the upland.

An oar was driven into the soft mud of the
marsh and the canoe tied to it, for I knew that
the whole country, with the exception of the
hammock near by, would be under water at
flood-tide. Floundering through mud and
pressing aside the tall, wire-like grass of the lowland,
which entangled my feet, frequently leaping
natural ditches, and going down with a thud in
the mud on the other side, I finally struck the
firm ground of the largest Jointer Hammock,
when the voice of its owner, Mr. R. F. Williams,
sounded most cheerfully in my ears as he
exclaimed: "Where did you come from? How
did you get across the marsh?"

The unfortunate position of my boat was
explained while the family gathered round me,
after which we sat down to supper. Mr.
Wilhams felt anxious about the cargo of my boat.
The coons, he said, "will scent your
provisions, and tear everything to pieces in the
boat. We must go look after it immediately."
To go to the canoe we were obliged to follow a
creek which swept past the side of the hammock,
opposite to my landing-place, and row two or
three miles on Jointer Creek. At nine o'clock
we reached the locality where I had abandoned
the paper canoe. Everything had changed in
appearance; the land was under water; not a
landmark remained except the top of the oar,
which rose out of the lake-like expanse of
water, while near it gracefully floated my little
companion. We towed her to the hammock;
and after the tedious labor of divesting myself
of the marsh mud, which clung to my clothes,
had been crowned with success, the comfortable
bed furnished by my host gave rest to limbs and
nerves which had been severely overtaxed since
sun set.

The following day opened cloudy and windy.
The ocean inlet of Jekyl and St. Andrew's sounds
is three miles wide. From the mouth of Jointer
Creek, across these unprotected sounds, to
High Point of Cumberland Island, is eight
miles. The route from the creek to Cumberland
Island was a risky one for so small a boat as the
paper canoe while the weather continued
unpropitious. After entering the sounds there was
but one spot of upland, near the mouth of the
Satilla River, that could be used for camping
purposes on the vast area of marshes.

During the month of March rainy and windy
weather prevail on this coast. I could ill afford
to lose any time shut up in Jointer's Hammock
by bad weather, as the low regions of
Okefenokee Swamp were to be penetrated before the
warm season could make the task a disagreeable
one. After holding a consultation with Mr.
Williams, he contracted to take the canoe and
its captain across St. Andrew's Sound to High
Point of Cumberland Island that day. His little
sloop was soon under way, and though the short,
breaking waves of the sound, and the furious
blasts of wind, made the navigation of the shoals
disagreeable, we landed quietly at Mr. Chubbs'
Oriental Hotel, at High Point, soon after noon.

Mr. Martin, the surveyor of the island,
welcomed me to Cumberland, and gave me much
information pertaining to local matters. The
next morning the canoe left the high bluffs of
this beautiful sea island so filled with historic
associations, and threaded the marshy
thoroughfare of Cumberland and Brickhill River to
Cumberland Sound. As I approached the mouth of
the St. Mary's River, the picturesque ruins of
Dungeness towered above the live-oak forest
of the southern end of Cumberland Island.
It was with regret I turned my back upon that
sea, the sounds of which had so long struck
upon my ear with their sweet melody. It
seemed almost a moan that was borne to me
now as the soft waves laved the sides of my
graceful craft, as though to give her a last,
loving farewell.



I now ascended the beautiful St. Mary's River,
which flows from the great Okefenokee
Swamp. The state of Georgia was on my right
hand, and Florida on my left. Pretty hammocks
dotted the marshes, while the country presented
peculiar and interesting characteristics. When
four miles from Cumberland Sound, the little city
of St. Mary's, situated on the Georgia side of
the river, was before me; and I went ashore to
make inquiries concerning the route to
Okefenokee Swamp.

My object was to get information about the
upper St. Mary's River, from which I proposed
to make a portage of thirty-five or forty miles in
a westerly direction to the Suwanee River,
upon arriving at which I would descend to the
Gulf of Mexico. My efforts, both at St. Mary's
and Fernandina, on the Florida side of
Cumberland Sound, to obtain any reliable information
upon this matter, were unsuccessful. A
settlement at Trader's Hill, about seventy-five miles
up the St. Mary's River, was the geographical
limit of local knowledge, while I wished to
ascend the river at least one hundred miles
beyond that point.

Believing that if I explored the uninhabited
sources of the St. Mary's, I should be compelled
to return without finding any settler upon its
banks at the proper point of departure for a
portage to the Suwanee, it became necessary to
abandon all idea of ascending this river. I could
not, however, give up the exploration of the
route. In this dilemma, a kindly written letter
seemed to solve the difficulties. Messrs. Dutton
& Rixford, northern gentlemen, who possessed
large facilities for the manufacture of resin and
turpentine at their new settlements of Dutton,
six miles from the St. Mary's River, and at
Rixford, near the Suwanee, kindly proposed that I
should take my canoe by railroad from
Cumberland Sound to Dutton. From that station Mr.
Dutton offered to transport the boat through the
wilderness to the St. Mary's River, which could
be from that point easily descended to the sea.
The Suwanee River, at Rixford, could be
reached by rail, and the voyage would end at
its debouchure on the marshy coast of the Gulf
of Mexico.

Hon. David Yulee, president and one-third
owner of the A. G. & W. I. T. C. Railroad, which
connects the Atlantic coast at Fernandina with
the Gulf coast at Cedar Keys, offered me the
free use of his long railroad, for any purpose of
exploration, &c., while his son, Mr. C.
Wickliffe Yulee, exerted himself to remove all
impediments to delay.

These gentlemen, being native Floridians,
have done much towards encouraging all
legitimate exploration of the peninsula, and have
also done something towards putting a check on
the outrageous impositions practised on northern
agricultural emigrants to Florida, by encouraging
the organization of a railroad land-company,
which offers a forty-acre homestead for fifty
dollars, to be selected out of nearly six hundred
thousand acres of land along their highway
across the state. A man of comparatively
small means can now try the experiment of
making a home in the mild climate of Florida,
and if he afterwards abandons the enterprise
there will have been but a small investment of
capital, and consequently little loss.

The turpentine distillery of Dutton was situated
in a heavy forest of lofty pines. Major C. K.
Dutton furnished a team of mules to haul the
Maria Theresa to the St. Mary's River, the
morning after my arrival by rail at Dutton
Station. The warm sunshine shot aslant the tall
pines as the teamster followed a faintly
developed trail towards the swamps. Before noon the
flashing waters of the stream were discernible,
and a little later, with paddle in hand, I was
urging the canoe towards the Atlantic coast. A
luxurious growth of trees and shrubs fringed
the low, and in some places submerged, river
shores. Back, on the higher, sandy soils, the
yellow pine forests, in almost primeval grandeur,
arose, shutting out all view of the horizon. Low
bluffs, with white, sandy beaches of a few rods
in extent, offered excellent camping-grounds.

When the Cracker of Okefenokee Swamp is
asked why he lives in so desolate a region, with
only a few Cattle and hogs for companions, with
mosquitoes, fleas, and vermin about him, with
alligators, catamounts, and owls on all sides,
making night hideous, he usually replies, "Wal,
stranger, wood and water is so powerful handy.
Sich privileges ain't met with everywhar."


As I glided swiftly down the dark current I
peered into the dense woods, hoping to be
cheered by the sight of a settler's cabin; but in
all that day's search not a clearing could be
found, nor could I discern rising from the
treetops of the solitary forest a little cloud of smoke
issuing from the chimney of civilized man. I
was alone in the vast wilds through which the
beautiful river flowed noiselessly but swiftly to
the sea. Thoreau loved a swamp, and so do all
lovers of nature, for nowhere else does she so
bountifully show her vigorous powers of growth,
her varied wealth of botanical wonders. Here
the birds resort in flocks when weary of the hot,
sandy uplands, for here they find pure water,
cool shade, and many a curious glossy berry for
their dainty appetites.

As the little Maria Theresa sped onward
through the open forest and tangled wild-wood,
through wet morass and piny upland, my
thoughts dwelt upon the humble life of the
Concord naturalist and philosopher. How he
would have enjoyed the descent of this wild
river from the swamp to the sea! He had left
us for purer delights; but I could enjoy his
"Walden" as though he still lived, and read of his
studies of nature with ever-increasing interest.

Swamps have their peculiar features. Those
of the Waccamaw were indeed desolate, while
the swamps of the St. Mary's were full of
sunshine for the traveller. Soon after the canoe
had commenced her river journey, a sharp sound,
like that produced by a man striking the water
with a broad, flat stick, reached my ears. As
this sound was frequently repeated, and always
in advance of my boat, it roused my curiosity.
It proved to come from alligators. One after
another slipped off the banks, striking the water
with their tails as they took refuge in the river
from the disturber of their peace. To observe
the movements of these reptiles I ran the canoe
within two rods of the left shore, and by rapid
paddling was enabled to arrive opposite a
creature as he entered the water. When thus
confronted, the alligator would depress his ugly
head, lash the water once with his tail, and dive
under the canoe, a most thoroughly alarmed
animal. All these alligators were mere babies,
very few being over four feet long. Had they
been as large as the one which greeted me at
Colonel's Island, I should not have investigated
their dispositions, but would have considered
discretion the better part of valor, and left them
undisturbed in their sun-baths on the banks.

In all my experience with the hundreds of
alligators I have seen in the southern rivers
and swamps of North America, every one, both
large and small, fled at the approach of man.
The experience of some of my friends in their
acquaintance with American alligators has been
of a more serious nature. It is well to exercise
care about camping at night close to the water
infested with large saurians, as one of these
strong fellows could easily seize a sleeping man
by the leg and draw him into the river. They
do not seem to fear a recumbent or bowed
figure, but, like most wild animals, flee before the
upright form of man.

Late in the afternoon I passed an island, made
by a "cut-off" through a bend of the river, and,
according to previous directions, counted
fourteen bends or reaches in the river which was to
guide me to Stewart's Ferry, the owner of which
lived back in the woods, his cabin not being
discernible from the river. Near this spot, which
is occasionally visited by lumbermen and
pinywoods settlers, I drew my canoe on to a sandy
beach one rod in length. A little bluff, five or
six feet above the water, furnished me with the
broad leaves of the saw-palmetto, a dwarfish sort
of palm, which I arranged for a bed. The
provision-basket was placed at my head. A little
fire of light-wood cheered me for a while, but its
bright flame soon attracted winged insects in
large numbers. Having made a cup of
chocolate, and eaten some of Captain Akin's chipped
beef and crackers, I continued my preparations
for the night. Feeling somewhat nervous about
large alligators, I covered myself with a piece of
painted canvas, which was stiff and strong, and
placed the little revolver, my only weapon, under
my blanket.

As I fully realized the novelty of my strange
position in this desolate region, it was some time
before I could compose myself and sleep. It
was a night of dreams. Sounds indistinct but
numerous troubled my brain, until I was fully
roused to wakefulness by horrible visions and
doleful cries. The chuck-will's-widow, which
in the south supplies the place of our
whippoorwill, repeated his oft-told tale of "
chuckwill's-widow, chuck-will's-widow," with
untiring earnestness. The owls hooted wildly, with
a chorus of cries from animals and reptiles not
recognizable by me, excepting the snarling voices
of the coons fighting in the forest. These last
were old acquaintances, however, as they
frequently gathered round my camp at night to pick
up the remains of supper.

While I listened, there rose a cry so hideous in
its character and so belligerent in its tone, that I
trembled with fear upon my palm-leaf mattress.
It resembled the bellowing of an infuriated bull,
but was louder and more penetrating in its effect.
The proximity of this animal was indeed
unpleasant, for he had planted himself on the
river's edge, near the little bluff upon which my
camp had been constructed. The loud roar was
answered by a similar bellow from the other side
of the river, and for a long time did these two
male alligators keep up their challenging cries,
without coming to combat. Numerous
wood-mice attacked my provision-basket, and even
worked their way through the leaves of my
palmetto mattress.

Thus with an endless variety of annoyances
the night wore wearily away, but the light of the
rising sun did not penetrate the thick fog which
enveloped the river until after eight o'clock,
when I embarked for a second day's journey
upon the stream, which had now attained a width
of five or six rods. Rafts of logs blocked the
river as I approached the settlement of Trader's
Hill, and upon a most insecure footing the canoe
was dragged over a quarter of a mile of logs,
and put into the water on the lower side of the
"jam." Crossing several of these log "jams,"
which covered the entire width of the St. Mary's,
I became weary of the task, and, after the last
was reached, determined to go into camp until
the next day, when suddenly the voices of men
in the woods were heard.

Soon a gentleman, with two raftsmen,
appeared and kindly greeted me. They had been
notified of my approach at Trader's Hill by a
courier sent from Dutton across the woods, and
these men, whose knowledge of wood-craft is
wonderful, had timed my movements so
correctly that they had arrived just in time to meet
me at this point. The two raftsmen rubbed the
canoe all over with their hands, and expressed
delight at its beautiful finish in their own
peculiar vernacular.

"She's the dog-gonedest thing I ever seed,
and jist as putty as a new coffin!" exclaimed one.

"Indeed, she's the handsomest trick I ever
did blink on," said the second.

The two stalwart lumbermen lifted the boat as
though she were but a feather, and carried her,
jumping from log to log, the whole length of the
raft. They then put her gently in the water, and
added to their farewell the cheering intelligence
that "there's no more jams nor rafts 'twixt here
and the sea, and you can go clar on to New
York if you like."

Trader's Hill, on a very high bluff on the left
bank, was soon passed, when the current seemed
suddenly to cease, and I felt the first tidal effect
of the sea, though many miles from the coast.
The tide was flooding. I now laid aside the
paddle, and putting the light steel outriggers in
their sockets, rapidly rowed down the now broad
river until the shadows of night fell upon forest
and stream, when the comfortable residence of
Mr. Lewis Davis, with his steam saw-mill, came
into sight upon Orange Bluff, on the Florida side
of the river. Here a kind welcome greeted me
from host and hostess, who had dwelt twenty
years in this romantic but secluded spot. There
were orange-trees forty years old on this
property, and all in fine bearing order. There was
also a fine sulphur spring near the house.

Mr. Davis stated that, during a residence of
twenty years in this charming locality, he had
experienced but one attack of chills. He
considered the St. Mary's River, on account of the
purity of its waters, one of the healthiest of
southern streams. The descent of this beautiful
river now became a holiday pastime. Though
there were but few signs of the existence of
man, the scenery was of a cheering character.
A brick-kiln, a few saw-mills, and an abandoned
rice-plantation were passed, while the low
saltmarshes, extending into the river from the forest-covered
upland, gave evidence of the proximity
to the sea. Large alligators were frequently seen
sunning themselves upon the edges of the banks.

At dusk the town of St. Mary's, in its wealth
of foliage, opened to my view from across the
lowlands, and soon after the paper canoe was
carefully stored in a building belonging to one
of its hospitable citizens, while local authority
asserted that I had traversed one hundred and
seventy-five miles of the river.

One evening, while enjoying the hospitality
of Mr. Silas Fordam, at his beautiful winter
home, "Orange Hall," situated in the heart of
St. Mary's, a note, signed by the Hon. J. M.
Arnow, mayor of the city, was handed me. Mr.
Arnow, in the name of the city government,
invited my presence at the Spencer House. Upon
arriving at the hotel, a surprise awaited me.
The citizens of the place had gathered to
welcome the paper canoe and its owner, and to
express the kindly feelings they, as southern
citizens, held towards their northern friends. The
hotel was decorated with flags and floral
emblems, one of which expressed, in its ingeniously
constructed words, wrought in flowers, "One
hundred thousand Welcomes."

The mayor and his friends received me upon
the veranda of the hotel with kind words of
welcome. Bright lights glimmered at this
moment through the long avenue of trees, and
music arose upon the night air. It was a
torchlight procession coming from the river, bearing
upon a framework structure, from which hung
Chinese lanterns and wreaths of laurel, the little
paper canoe. The Base-ball Club of the city,
dressed in their handsome uniform, carried the
"Maria Theresa," while the sailors from the
lumber fleet in the river, with the flags of several
nationalities, brought up the rear.

When the procession arrived in front of the
hotel, three hearty cheers were given by the
people, and the mayor read the city's address of
welcome to me; to which I made reply, not only
in behalf of myself, but of all those of my
countrymen who desired the establishment of a pure
and good government in every portion of our
dear land.

Mayor Arnow presented me with an engrossed
copy of his speech of welcome, in which he
invited all industrious northerners to come to his
native city, promising that city ordinances should
be passed to encourage the erection of
manufactories, &c., by northern capital and northern
labor. After the address, the wife of the mayor
presented me with two memorial banners, in the
name of the ladies of the city. These were made
for the occasion, and being the handiwork of the
ladies themselves, were highly appreciated by
the recipient. When these graceful tributes had
been received, each lady and child present
deposited a bouquet of flowers, grown in the gardens
of St. Mary's, in my little craft, till it contained
about four hundred of these refined expressions
of the good-will of these kind people. Not only
did the native population of the town vie with
each other to accord the lonely voyager a true
southern welcome, but Mr. A. Curtis, an English
gentleman, who, becoming fascinated with the
fine climate of this part of Georgia, had settled
here, did all he could to show his appreciation
of canoe-travelling, and superintended the
marine display and flag corps of the procession.

I left St. Mary's with a strange longing to
return to its interesting environs, and to study here
the climatology of southern Georgia, for, strange
to say, cases of local "fever and chills" have
never originated in the city. It is reached from
Savannah by the inside steamboat route, or by
rail, to Fernandina, with which it is connected
by a steamboat ferry eight miles in length.
Speculation not having yet affected the low valuation
placed upon property around St. Mary's, northern
men can obtain winter homes in this attractive
town at a very low cost. This city is a port of
entry. Mr. Joseph Shepard, a most faithful
government officer, has filled the position of
collector of customs for several years.

As vessels of considerable tonnage can ascend
the St. Mary's River from the sea on a full tide
to the wharves of the city, its citizens prophesy a
future growth and development for the place
when a river and canal route across the
peninsula between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of
Mexico shall have been completed. For many
years Colonel Raiford has been elaborating his
plan "for elongating the western and southern
inland system of navigation to harbors of the
Atlantic Ocean." He proposes to unite the natural
watercourses of the coast of the Gulf of Mexico
by short canals, so that barges drawing seven feet
of water, and freighted with the produce of the
Mississippi River and its tributaries, may pass
from New Orleans eastward to the southern ports
of the Atlantic States. The great peninsula of
Florida would be crossed by these vessels from
the Suwanee to the St. Mary's River by means
of a canal cut through the Okefenokee Swamp,
and this route would save several hundred miles
of navigation upon open ocean waters. The
dangerous coral reefs of the Florida and Bahama
shores would be avoided, and a land-locked
channel of thirty thousand miles of navigable
watercourses would be united in one system.

Lieutenant-Colonel Q. A. Gilmore's report on
"Water Line for Transportation from the Mouth
of the St. Mary's River, on the Atlantic Coast,
through Okefenokee Swamp and the State of
Florida to the Gulf of Mexico," in which the
able inquirer discusses this water route, has
recently been published. I traversed a portion of
this route in 1875-6, from the head of the Ohio
River to New Orleans, and along the shores of
the Gulf of Mexico to Cedar Keys, in a cedar
duck-boat; and as the results of my observations
may some day be made public, I will at this
time refer the reader, if he be interested in the
important enterprise, to the Congressional reports
which describe the feasibility of the plan.

Another portage by rail was made in order to
complete my journey to the Gulf of Mexico, and
Rixford, near the Suwanee River, was reached
via the A. G. & W. I. T. C. Railroad to Baldwin,
thence over the J. P. & M. Railroad to Live Oak,
where another railroad from the north connects,
and along which, a few miles from Live Oak,
Messrs. Dutton & Rixford had recently
established their turpentine and resin works.

At Rixford I found myself near the summit, or
backbone of Florida, from which the tributaries
of the water-shed flow on one side to the
Atlantic Ocean, and on the other to the Gulf of Mexico.
It was a high region of rolling country, heavily
wooded with magnificent pine forests, rich in
terebinthine resources. The residence of the
proprietor, the store and the distillery, with a few
log cabins inhabited by negroes and white
employees, made up the establishment of Rixford.

The Crackers and negroes came from long
distances to see the paper boat. One afternoon,
when a number of people had gathered at
Rixford to behold the little craft, I placed it on one
of those curious sheets of water of crystal purity
called in that region a sink; and though this
nameless, mirror-like lakelet did not cover over
an acre in extent, the movements of the little
craft, when propelled by the double paddle,
excited an enthusiasm which is seldom exhibited
by the piny-woods people.

As the boat was carefully lifted from the
silvery tarn, one woman called out in a loud voice,
"Lake Theresa!" and thus, by mutual consent
of every one present, did this lakelet of crystal
waters receive its name.

The blacks crowded around the canoe, and
while feeling its firm texture, and wondering at
the long distance it had traversed, expressed
themselves in their peculiar and original way.
One of their number, known as a "tonguey
nigger," volunteered to explain the wonder to the
somewhat confused intellects of his companions.
To a question from one negro as to "How did
dis yere Yankee-man cum all dis fur way in de
paper canoe, all hissef lone?" the "educated"
negro replied: "It's all de Lord. No man ken
cum so fur in paper boat ef de Lord didn't help
him. De Lord does eberyting. He puts de tings
in de Yankee-man's heads to du um, an' dey duz
um. Dar was de big Franklin up norf, dat made
de telegraf. Did ye eber bar tell ob him?"

"Neber, neber!" responded all the negroes.

Then, with a look of supreme contempt for
the ignorance of his audience, the orator
proceeded: "Dis great Franklin, Cap'n Franklin,
he tort he'd kotch de litening and make de
telegraf, so he flies a big kite way up to de heabens,
an' he puts de string in de bottle dat hab nufing
in it. Den he holds de bottle in one hand, an' he
holds de cork in de udder hand. Down cums
de litening and fills de bottle full up, and Cap'n
Franklin he dun cork him up mighty quick, and
kotched de litening an' made de telegraf. But
it was de Lord -- de Lord, not Cap'n
Franklin dat did all dis."

It was amusing to watch the varied expression
of the negroes, as they listened to this description
of the discovery of electricity, and the origin of
the telegraph. Their eyes dilated with wonder,
and their thick lips parted till the mouth,
growing wider and wider, seemed to cover more than
its share of the face. The momentary silence was
soon broken by a deep gurgle proceeding from a
stolid-looking negro, as he exclaimed: "Did he
kotch de bottle full ob litening, and cork him
up. Golly! I tort he wud hab busted hissef!"

"So he wud! so he wud!" roared the orator,
"but ye see 'twas all de Lord -- de Lord's
a-doing it."

While in Florida I paid some attention to the
negro method of conducting praise meetings,
which they very appropriately call "de
shoutings." If I give some verbatim reports of the
negro's curious and undignified clerical efforts,
it is not done for the purpose of caricaturing
him, nor with a desire to make him appear
destitute of mental calibre; but rather with the hope
that the picture given may draw some sympathy
from the liberal churches of the north, which do
not forget the African in his native jungle, nor the
barbarous islanders of the South Seas. A
well-informed Roman Catholic priest told me that
he had been disappointed with the progress his
powerfully organized church had made in
converting the freedmen. Before going among them
I had supposed that the simple-minded black,
now no longer a slave, would be easily attracted
to the impressive ceremonies of the Church of
Rome; but after witnessing the activity of their
devotions, and observing how anxious they are
to take a conspicuous and a leading part in all
religious services, it seemed to me that the free
black of the south would take more naturally to
Methodism than to any other form of

The appointment of local preachers would be
especially acceptable to the negro, as he would
then be permitted to have ministers of his own
color, and of his own neighborhood, to lead the
meetings; while the Roman Catholic priest
would probably treat him more like a child, and
would therefore exercise a strong discipline over

In one of their places of worship, at my
request, a New York lady, well skilled in rapid
writing and familiar with the negro vernacular,
reported verbatim the negro preacher's sermon.
The text was the parable of the ten virgins; and
as the preacher went on, he said: "Five ob dem
war wise an' five of dem war foolish. De wise jes
gone an' dun git dar lamps full up ob oil and
git rite in and see de bridegoom; an' de foolish
dey sot dem rite down on de stool ob do-noting,
an' dar dey sot till de call cum; den dey run,
pick up der ole lamps and try to push door in,
but de Lord say to dem, Git out dar! you jes git
out dar!' an' shut door rite in dar face.

"My brudders and my sisters, yer must fill de
lamps wid de gospel an' de edication ob Moses,
fur Moses war a larned man, an' edication is de
mos estaminable blessin' a pusson kin hab in
dis world.

"Hole-on to de gospel! Ef you see dat de
flag am tore, get hole somewhar, keep a grabblin
until ye git hole ob de stick, an' nebah gib up de
stick, but grabble, grabble till ye die; for dough
yer sins be as black as scarlet, dey shall be whit
as snow."

The sermon over, the assembled negroes then
sung in slow measure:

"Lit-tell chil-ern, you'd bet-tar be-a-lieve -
Lit-tell chil-ern, you'd bet-tar be-a-lieve -
Lit-tell chil-ern, you'd bet-tar be-a-lieve -
I'll git home to heav-en when I die.

Sweet heav-en am-a-my-am,
Sweet heav-en am-a-my-am,
Sweet heav-en am-a-my-am,
I'll git home to heav-en when I die.

Lord wish-ed I was in heav-en,
Fur to see my mudder when she enter,
Fur to see her tri-als an' long white robes:
She'll shine like cristul in de sun.

Sweet heav-en am-a-my-am,
Sweet heav-en am-a-my-am,
Sweet heav-en am-a-my-am,
I'll git home to heav-en when I die,"

While visiting a town in Georgia, where the
negroes had made some effort to improve their
condition, I made a few notes relating to the
freedman's debating society of the place.
Affecting high-sounding words, they called their
organization, "De Lycenum," and its doings were
directed by a committee of two persons, called
respectively, "de disputaceous visitor," and "de
lachrymal visitor." What particular duties devolved
upon the "lachrymal visitor," I could
never clearly ascertain. One evening these
negroes debated upon the following theme,
"Which is de best -- when ye are out ob a ting,
or when ye hab got it?" which was another form
of expressing the old question, "Is there more
pleasure in possession than in anticipation?"
Another night the colored orators became
intensely excited over the query, "Which is de
best, Spring Water or Matches?"

The freedmen, for so unfortunate a class, seem
to be remarkably well behaved. During several
journeys through the southern states I found
them usually temperate, and very civil in their
intercourse with the whites, though it must be
confessed that but few of them can apply
themselves steadily and persistently to manual labor,
either for themselves or their employers.



Some friends, among whom were Colonel
George W. Nason, Jr., of Massachusetts,
and Major John Purviance, Commissioner of
Suwanee County, offered to escort the paper
canoe down "the river of song" to the Gulf of
Mexico, a distance, according to local authority,
of two hundred and thirty-five miles. While
the members of the party were preparing for the
journey, Colonel Nason accompanied me to the
river, which was less than three miles from
Rixford, the proprietors of which sent the canoe
after us on a wagon drawn by mules. The point
of embarkation was the Lower Mineral Springs,
the property of Judge Bryson.

The Suwanee, which was swollen by some
recent rains in Okefenokee Swamp, was a wild,
dark, turbulent current, which went coursing
through the woods on its tortuous route with
great rapidity. The luxurious foliage of the
river-banks was remarkable. Maples were in
blossom, beech-trees in bloom, while the
buckeye was covered with its heavy festoons of red
flowers. Pines, willows, cotton-wood, two kinds
of hickory, water-oak, live-oak, sweet-gum,
magnolia, the red and white bay-tree, a few
red cedars, and haw-bushes, with many species not
known to me, made up a rich wall of verdure on
either side, as I sped along with a light heart to
Columbus, where my compagnons de voyage
were to meet me. Wood-ducks and egrets, in
small flocks, inhabited the forest. The
limestone banks of the river were not visible, as the
water was eighteen feet above its low summer

I now passed under the railroad bridge which
connects Live Oak with Savannah. After a
steady row of some hours, my progress was
checked by a great boom, stretched across the
river to catch the logs which floated down from
the upper country. I was obliged to disembark
and haul the canoe around this obstacle, when,
after passing a few clearings, the long bridge of
the J. P. & M. Railroad came into view, stretching
across the now wide river from one wilderness
to the other. On the left bank was all that
remained of the once flourishing town of
Columbus, consisting now of a store, kept by Mr.
Allen, and a few buildings. Before the railroad
was built, Columbus possessed a population of
five hundred souls, and it was reached, during
favorable stages of water, by light-draught
steamboats from Cedar Keys, on the Gulf of Mexico.
The building of railroads in the south has
diverted trade from one locality to another, and
many towns, once prosperous, have gone to

The steam saw-mills and village of Ellaville
were located on the river-bank opposite
Columbus, and this lumber establishment is the only
place of importance between it and Cedar Keys.
This far-famed river, to which the heart of the
minstrel's darky "is turning eber," is, in fact,
almost without the "one little hut among de
bushes," for it is a wild and lonely stream.
Even in the most prosperous times there were
but few plantations upon its shores. Wild
animals roam its great forests, and vile reptiles
infest the dense swamps. It is a country well
fitted for the hunter and lumberman, for the
naturalist or canoeist; but the majority of people
would, I am sure, rather hear of it poured forth
in song from the sweet lips of Christina Nilsson,
than to be themselves "way down upon the
Suwanee Ribber."

On Monday, March 22d, Messrs. Nason,
Purviance, and Henderson joined me. The party
had obtained a northern-built shad-boat, which
had been brought by rail from Savannah. It
was sloop-rigged, and was decked forward, so
that the enthusiastic tourists possessed a
weatherproof covering for their provisions and blankets.
With the strong current of the river, a pair of
long oars, and a sail to be used when favorable
winds blew, the party in the shad-boat could
make easy and rapid progress towards the Gulf,
while my lightly dancing craft needed scarcely
a touch of the oar to send her forward.

On Tuesday, the 23d, we left Columbus, while
a crowd of people assembled to see us off; many
of them seeming to consider this simple and
delightful way of travelling too dangerous to be
attempted. The smooth but swift current rolled
on its course like a sea of molten glass, as the
soft sunlight trembled through the foliage and
shimmered over its broad surface.

Our boats glided safely over the rapids, which
for a mile and a half impede the navigation of
the river during the summer months, but which
were now made safe by the great depth of water
caused by the freshet. The weather was
charming, and our little party, fully alive to all the
beautiful surroundings, woke many an echo with
sounds meant to be sweet. Of course the good
old song was not forgotten. Our best voice

"Way down up-on de Suwanee Rib-ber,
Far, far away,
Dere's whar my heart is turn-ing eb-ber,
Dere's whar de old folks stay.
All up and down de whole creation
Sadly I roam,
Still longing for de old plantation,
And for de old folks at home.

"All round de little farm I wander'd
When I was young;
Den many happy days I squan-der'd -
Many de songs I sung.
When I was playing wid my brud-der,
Hap-py was I.
O! take me to my kind old mud-der,
Dere let me live and die!

"One little hut among de bushes, -
One dat I love, -
Still sadly to my mem'ry rushes,
No matter where I rove.
When will I see de bees a-hum-ming
All round de comb?
When will I hear de ban-jo tum-ming
Down in my good old home?"

We all joined in the chorus at the end of each verse:

"All de world am sad and dreary
Eb-ry-whar I roam.
O, darkies, how my heart grows weary,
Far from do old folks at home."

We soon entered forests primeval which were
quiet, save for the sound of the axe of the log-thief;
for timber-stealing is a profession which
reaches its greatest perfection on the Florida
state lands and United States naval reserves.
Uncle Sam's territory is being constantly
plundered to supply the steam saw-mills of private
individuals in Florida. Several of the party told
interesting stories of the way in which log-thieves
managed to steal from the government legally.

"There," said one, "is X, who runs his mill
on the largest tract of pine timber Uncle Sam
has got. He once bought a few acres' claim
adjacent to a fine naval reserve. He was not,
of course, able to discover the boundary line
which separated his little tract from the rich
government reserve, so he kept a large force
of men cutting down Uncle Sam's immense
pines, and, hauling them to the Suwanee, floated
them to his mill. This thing went on for some
time, till the government agent made his
appearance and demanded a settlement.

"The wholesale timber-thief now showed a
fair face, and very frankly explained that he
supposed he had been cutting logs from his own
territory, but quite recently he had discovered
that he had really been trespassing on the
property of his much-loved country, and as he was
truly a loyal citizen, he desired to make
restitution, and was now ready to settle.

"The government agent was astonished at the
seeming candor of the man, who so worked upon
his sympathy that he promised to be as easy
upon him as the law allowed. The agent
settled upon a valuation of fifty cents an acre for
all the territory that had been cut over. 'And
now,' said he, 'how many acres of land have
you "logged" since you put your lumbermen
into the forest?'

"Mr. X declared himself unable to answer
this question, but generously offered to permit
the agent to put down any number of acres he
thought would represent a fair thing between
a kind government and one of its unfortunate
citizens. Intending to do his duty faithfully, the
officer settled upon two thousand acres as having
been trespassed upon; but to his astonishment the
incomprehensible offender stoutly affirmed that he
had logged fully five thousand acres, and at once
settled the matter in full by paying twenty-five
hundred dollars, taking a receipt for the same.

"When this enterprising business-man visited
Jacksonville, his friends rallied him upon
confessing judgment to government for three
thousand acres of timber more than had been claimed
by the agent. This true patriot winked as he

"'It is true I hold a receipt from the
government for the timber on five thousand acres at
the very low rate of fifty cents an acre. As I
have not yet cut logs from more than one-fifth
of the tract, I intend to work off the timber on
the other four thousand acres at my leisure, and
no power can stop me now I have the
government receipt to show it's paid for.'"

The sloop and the canoe had left Columbus a
little before noon, and at six P. M. we passed
Charles' Ferry, where the old St. Augustine
and Tallahassee forest road crosses the river.
At this lonely place an old man, now dead,
owned a subterranean spring, which he called
"Mediterranean passage." This spring is
powerful enough to run a rickety, "up-and-down"
saw-mill. The great height of the water
allowed me to paddle into the mill with my canoe.

At half past seven o'clock a deserted log
cabin at Barrington's Ferry offered us shelter for
the night. The whole of the next day we rowed
through the same immense forests, finding no
more cultivated land than during our first day's
voyage. We landed at a log cabin in a small
clearing to purchase eggs of a poor woman,
whose husband had shot her brother a few days
before. As the wife's brother had visited the
cabin with the intention of killing the husband,
the woman seemed to think the murdered man
had "got his desarts," and, as a coroner's jury
had returned a verdict of "justifiable homicide,"
the affair was considered settled.

Below this cabin we came to Island No. 1,
where rapids trouble boatmen in the summer
months. Now we glided gently but swiftly over
the deep current. The few inhabitants we met
along the banks of the Suwanee seemed to carry
with them an air of repose while awake. To
rouse them from mid-day slumbers we would
call loudly as we passed a cabin in the woods,
and after considerable delay a man would appear
at the door, rubbing his eyes as though the genial
sunlight was oppressive to his vision. It was
indeed a quiet, restful region, this great
wilderness of the Suwanee.

We passed Mrs. Goodman's farm and log
buildings on the left bank, just below Island
No. 8, before noon, and about this time Major
Purviance shot at a large wild turkey (Meleagris
gallopavo), knocking it off a bank into the
water. The gobbler got back to land, and led
us a fruitless chase into the thicket of saw-palmetto.
He knew his ground better than we, for,
though wounded, he made good his escape.
We stopped a few moments at Troy, which,
though dignified in name, consists only of a
store and some half dozen buildings.

A few miles below this place, on the left
bank of the river, is an uninhabited elevation
called Rolins' Bluff, from which a line running
north 220 east, twenty-three miles and a half in
length, will strike Live Oak. A charter to
connect Live Oak with this region of the Suwanee
by means of a railroad had just passed the
Florida legislature, but had been killed by the veto
of the governor. After sunset the boats were
secured in safe positions in front of a deserted
cabin, round which a luxuriant growth of
bitter-orange trees showed what nature could do for
this neglected grove. The night air was balmy,
and tremulous with insect life, while the
alligators in the swamps kept up their bellowings till

After breakfast we descended to the mouth of
the Santa Fe River, which was on the left bank
of the Suwanee. The piny-woods people called
it the Santaffy. The wilderness below the Santa
Fe is rich in associations of the Seminole Indian
war. Many relics have been found, and, among
others, on the site of an old Indian town,
entombed in a hollow tree, the skeletons of an
Indian adult and child, decked with beads, were
discovered. Fort Fanning is on the left bank,
and Old Town Hammock on the right bank of
the Suwanee.

During the Seminole war, the hammock and
the neighboring fastnesses became the
hiding-places of the persecuted Indians, and so wild
and undisturbed is this region, even at this time,
that the bear, lynx, and panther take refuge from
man in its jungles.

Colonel J. L. F. Cottrell left his native
Virginia in 1854, and commenced the cultivation of
the virgin soil of Old Town Hammock. Each
state has its peculiar mode of dividing its land,
and here in Florida this old plantation was in
township 10, section 24, range 13. The estate
included about two thousand acres of land, of
which nearly eleven hundred were under
cultivation. The slaves whom the colonel brought
from Virginia were now his tenants, and he
leased them portions of his arable acres. He
considered this locality as healthy as any in the
Suwanee country. The old planter's home, with
its hospitable doors ever open to the stranger,
was embowered in live-oaks and other trees,
from the branches of which the graceful festoons
of Spanish moss waved in the soft air, telling of
a warm, moist atmosphere.

A large screw cotton-press and corn-cribs,
with smoke-house and other plantation buildings,
were conveniently grouped under the spreading
branches of the protecting oaks. The estate
produced cotton, corn, sweet potatoes, cattle,
hogs, and poultry. Deer sometimes approached
the enclosed fields, while the early morning call
of the wild turkey came from the thickets of the
hammock. In this retired part of Florida,
cheered by the society of a devoted wife and
four lovely daughters, lived the kind-hearted
gentleman who not only pressed on us the
comforts of his well-ordered house, but also
insisted upon accompanying the paper canoe from
his forest home to the sea.

When gathered around the firesides of the
backwoods people, the conversation generally
runs into hunting stories, Indian reminiscences,
and wild tales of what the pioneers suffered
while establishing themselves in their forest
homes. One event of startling interest had
occurred in the Suwanee country a few weeks
before the paper canoe entered its confines.
Two hunters went by night to the woods to
shoot deer by firelight. As they stalked about,
with light-wood torches held above their heads,
they came upon a herd of deer, which, being
bewildered by the glare of the lights, made no
attempt to escape. Sticking their torches in the
ground, the hunters stretched themselves flat
upon the grass, to hide their forms from the
animals they hoped to kill at their leisure. One
of the men was stationed beneath the branches
of a large tree; the other was a few yards distant.

The Panther's Leap (106K)

Before the preconcerted signal for discharging
their rifles could be given, the sound of a heavy
body falling to the ground, and an accompanying
smothered shriek, startled the hunter who was
farthest from the tree. Starting up in alarm, he
flew to the assistance of his friend, whose
prostrate form was covered by a large panther, which
had pounced upon him from the overhanging
limb of the great oak. It had been but the
work of an instant for the powerful cougar to
break with his strong jaws the neck of the poor

In this rare case of a panther (Felis concolor)
voluntarily attacking man, it will be noted by
the student of natural history that the victim was
lying upon the ground. Probably the animal
would not have left his perch among the
branches of the oak, where he was evidently
waiting for the approach of the deer, if the
upright form of the man had been seen. Go to a
southern bayou, which is rarely, if ever, visited
by man, and where its saurian inhabitants have
never been annoyed by him, -- place your body
in a recumbent position on the margin of the
lagoon, and wait until some large alligator slowly
rises to the surface of the water. He will eye
you for a moment with evident curiosity, and
will in some cases steadily approach you.
When the monster reptile is within two or three
rods of your position, rise slowly upon your feet
to your full height, and the alligator of the
southern states -- the A. Mississippiensis - will, in
nine cases out of ten, retire with precipitation.

There are but few wild animals that will
attack man willingly when face to face with him;
they quail before his erect form. In every case
of the animals of North America showing fight
to man, which has been investigated by me, the
beasts have had no opportunity to escape, or
have had their young to defend, or have been
wounded by the hunter.

It was nearly ten o'clock A. M. on Friday,
March 26th, when our merry party left Old
Town hammock. This day was to see the end
of the voyage of the paper canoe, for my tiny
craft was to arrive at the waters of the great
southern sea before midnight. The wife and
daughters of our host, like true women of the
forest, offered no forebodings at the departure of
the head of their household, but wished him, with
cheerful looks, a pleasant voyage to the Gulf.
The gulf port of Cedar Keys is but a few miles
from the mouth of the Suwanee River. The
railroad which terminates at Cedar Keys would,
with its connection with other routes, carry the
members of our party to their several homes.

The bright day animated our spirits, as we
swept swiftly down the river. The party in the
shad-boat, now called "Adventurer," rowed
merrily on with song and laughter, while I made an
attempt to examine more closely the character
of the water-moccasin -- the Trigono
cephaluspiscivorus of Lacepede, -- which I had more
cause to fear than the alligators of the river.
The water-moccasin is about two feet in length,
and has a circumference of five or six inches.
The tail possesses a horny point about half an
inch in length, which is harmless, though the
Crackers and negroes stoutly affirm that when
it strikes a tree the tree withers and dies, and
when it enters the flesh of a man he is poisoned
unto death. The color of the reptile is a dirty
brown. Never found far from water, it is
common in the swamps, and is the terror of the
rice-field negroes. The bite of the water-moccasin
is exceedingly venomous, and it is considered
more poisonous than that of the rattlesnake, which
warns man of his approach by sounding his

The moccasin does not, like the rattlesnake,
wait to be attacked, but assumes the offensive
whenever opportunity offers, striking with its
fangs at every animated object in its vicinity.
All other species of snakes flee from its presence.
It is found as far north as the Peedee River of
South Carolina, and is abundant in all low
districts of the southern states. As the Suwanee
had overflowed its banks below Old Town
Hammock, the snakes had taken to the low limbs
of the trees and to the tops of bushes, where
they seemed to be sleeping in the warmth of the
bright sunlight; but as I glided along the shore
a few feet from their aerial beds, they discovered
my presence, and dropped sluggishly into the
water. It would not be an exaggeration to say
that we passed thousands of these dangerous
reptiles while descending the Suwanee.
Raftsmen told me that when traversing lagoons in
their log canoes, if a moccasin is met some
distance from land he will frequently enter the canoe
for refuge or for rest, and instances have been
known where the occupant has been so alarmed
as to jump overboard and swim ashore in order
to escape from this malignant reptile.

The only place worthy of notice between Old
Town Hammock and the gulf marshes is Clay
Landing, on the left bank of the river, where
Mrs. Tresper formerly lived in a very
comfortable house. Clay Landing was used during the
Confederate war as a place of deposit for
blockade goods. Archer, a railroad station, is but
twenty miles distant, and to it over rough roads
the contraband imports were hauled by mule
teams, after having been landed from the fleet

As the sun was sinking to rest, and the
tree shadows grew long on the wide river's bosom,
we tasted the saltness in the air as the briny
breezes were wafted to us over the forests
from the Gulf of Mexico. After darkness had
cast its sombre mantle upon us, we left the
"East Pass" entrance to the left, and our boats
hurried on the rapidly ebbing tide down the broad
"West Pass" into the great marshes of the coast.
An hour later we emerged from the dark forest
into the smooth savannas. The freshness of the
sea-air was exhilarating The stars were shining
softly, and the ripple of the tide, the call of the
heron, or the whirr of the frightened duck, and
the leaping of fishes from the water, were the
only sounds nature offered us. It was like
entering another world. In these lowlands, near the
mouth of the river, there seemed to be but one
place above the high-tide level. It was a little
hammock, covered by a few trees, called
Bradford's Island, and rose like an oasis in the desert.
The swift tide hurried along its shores, and a
little farther on mingled the waters of the great
wilderness with that of the sea.

Our tired party landed on a shelly beach, and
burned a grassy area to destroy sand-fleas. This
done, some built a large camp-fire, while others
spread blankets upon the ground. I drew the
faithful sharer of my long voyage near a thicket
of prickly-pears, and slept beside it for the last
time, never thinking or dreaming that one year
later I should approach the mouth of the
Suwanee from the west, after a long voyage of
twenty-five hundred miles from the bead of the Ohio
River, and would again seek shelter on its banks.
It was a night of sweet repose. The camp-fire
dissipated the damps, and the long row made
rest welcome.

A glorious morning broke upon our party as
we breakfasted under the shady palms of the
island. Behind us rose the compact wall of
dark green of the heavy forests, and along the
coast, from east to west, as far as the eye could
reach, were the brownish-green savanna-like
lowlands, against which beat, in soft murmurs,
the waves of that sea I had so longed to reach.
From out the broad marshes arose low
hammocks, green with pines and feathery with
palmetto-trees. Clouds of mist were rising, and
while I watched them melt away in the warm
beams of the morning sun, I thought they were
like the dark doubts which curled themselves
about me so long ago in the cold St. Lawrence,
now all melted by the joy of success. The
snowclad north was now behind me. The Maria
Theresa danced in the shimmering waters of
the great southern sea, and my heart was light,
for my voyage was over.

[ Etext Editor: The book includes an advertisement for Bishop's previous book:
A Thousand Miles' Walk Across South America, N. H. Bishop ]

12mo. Cloth. Illustrated. Price, $1.50
Notices of the Work.

His Excellency Don Domingo F. Sarmiento, President of the Argentine
Confederation, South America, in a letter written to the author during 1877. says: "Your book of
travels possesses the merit of reality in the faithful descriptions of scenes and customs as
they existed at that time.

"It has delighted me to follow you, step by step by the side of the ancient and
picturesque carts that cross the vast plains which stretch between the Parana River and the
base of the Andes. As I have written about the same region, your book of travels
becomes a valuable reminder of those scenes; and I shall have to consult your work in the
future when I again write about those countries."
"Nathaniel H. Bishop, a mere lad of seventeen; who, prompted by a love of nature,
starts off from his New England home, reaches the La Plata River and coolly walks to
Valparaiso, across Pampa and Cordillera, a distance of more than a thousand miles! It
is not the mere fact of pedestrianism that will gain for Master Nathaniel Bishop a high
place among travellers; nor yet the fact of its having been done in the face of dangers
and difficulties, -- but that, throughout the walk, he has gone with his eyes open, and
gives us a book, written at seventeen, that will make him renowned at seventy. It is
teeming with information, both on social and natural subjects, end will take rank among
books of scientific travel -- the only ones worth inquiring for. One chapter from the
book of an educated traveller (we don't mean the education of Oxford and Cambridge) is
worth volumes of the stuff usually forming the staple of books of travels. And in this
unpretending book of the Yankee boy -- for its preface is signally of this sort - we have
scores of such chapters. The title is not altogether appropriate. It is called 'A
Thousand Miles' Walk across South America.' It is more than a mere walk. It is an
exploration into the kingdom of Nature.

"Sir Francis Head has gone over the same ground on horseback, end given us a good
account of it. But this quiet 'walk' of the American boy is worth infinitely more than
the 'Rough Rides' of the British baronet. The one is common talk and superficial
observation. The other is a study that extends beneath the surface." - Captain Mayne
"Regarded simply as a piece of adventure, this were interesting, especially when told
of in a tone of delightful modesty. But the book has other recommendations. This
boy has an admirable eye for manners, customs, costumes, &c., to say nothing of his
attention to natural history. The reader seems to travel by his side, and concludes the
book with a sense of having himself trodden the Pampas, and mingled with their
barbarous inhabitants. So far as writing goes, this is the supreme merit of a book of
travels. Let those explore who not only see for themselves, but have the rare ability to lend
their eyes to others. Mr. Bishop is one of the few who can do this; the graphic
simplicity of his narrative is above praise. Meanwhile, his personal impression is very
charming. The quiet patience with which he accepted all the hardships of his position
without the slightest parade of patience, however -- is beyond measure attractive. But
the brave youth goes on quietly enduring what was to be borne, and not ever allowing his
observation to be dulled by the infelicities of his situation." -- Boston Commonwealth


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