John G. Stuart Journal,1806

Descriptive Summary

Title
John G. Stuart Journal,1806
Creator
Stuart, John G.
Extent
1 volume
Subjects
Stuart, John G.--Diaries
Stuart, John G.--Journeys
Kentucky--Description and travel--19th century
New Orleans (La.)--Description and travel--19th century
Finding Aid Author
Staff
Repository
Kentucky Historical Society

Collection Overview

Scope and Content
This is a journal kept by John G. Stuart on a voyage down the Kentucky, Ohio, and Mississippi rivers in 1806.
Stuart left Cleveland Landing on the Kentucky River in February 1806, apparently in a flatboat. He and his companions did not travel far before being stranded by low waters due to a long drought. The first part of the journal describes their drinking bouts, flirtations, and other experiences while waiting for rain. When steady rain finally arrived in April, the boatmen were stranded again when the river became too high. Shortly thereafter, they finally resumed their journey.
Stuart described the warehouses and environs of Frankfort which he passed in late April. His boat then entered the Ohio River and passed Eighteen Mile Island and Louisville before landing a mile before the Falls of the Ohio. While his cargo was unloaded and reloaded at Shippingport, Stuart made brief reference to Louisville and the town of Jeffersonville, Indiana, across the river. He reported finding a fresh human jawbone on the beach just below the falls.
His boat left April 29 as part of eight flatboats and one keelboat in company, with another thirty boats remaining above and below the falls. Stuart reported several encounters with friendly Indians, including a pair who spoke little English, which he met seventy miles below Louisville. Stuart traded a half-gallon of whiskey for two venison hams with the natives. He did report a rumor of an imminent Spanish and Indian war repeated to his crew as they neared the Mississippi River.
Stuart's journal described their journey down the Mississippi as well, noting many wrecked boats they passed on the way. His boat arrived at Natchez, Mississippi Territory, on May 25. Stuart reached New Orleans, Louisiana Territory, June 3. He generally expressed his admiration for the city and port of New Orleans. Stuart returned to Natchez and hoped soon to begin the journey home. On June 24, he, J. Sudduth, and a man identified only as Mr. Lester set out on foot to return to Kentucky. Stuart described the long trek back and his illnesses during the trip. He averaged twenty to thirty miles a day and stayed some nights in Indian huts and camps.
An edited version of Stuart's diary was printed in the Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, v. 50 (1952).
Occupation: Boatman
County: Mercer; Franklin; Jefferson; Henderson; Livingston; Boyle