Riverboat Activities

1870

The next vignette comes from a James White report of traveling on a riverboat up the Mississippi.

Riverboat Activities

We have, on our upward trip, met many, and very large, rafts of lumber drifting down the river. On them are erected board shanties in which the men cook and sleep. We observed, as we passed a large raft, in which there were probably forty men, one man swimming toward the steamer, while others were swinging their hats and crying, "Papers!" These were immediately thrown overboard and gathered up by the swimmer and taken to the raft. In a few moments these could be dried, ready to be read.

This gave Willie a new idea. He immediately went to my traveling bag for present truth books and cord, and to the fireman for stone coal. Between two pamphlets he would tie a piece of coal, and as we passed within throwing distance we would land the books quite on the rafts. They were eagerly seized by the sturdy lumbermen. God bless the truth thus distributed (RH, July 5, 1870).