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Sunday, April 29, 2018

The Dugout Canoe #virginiapioneersnet #vagenealogy

The Dugout Canoe

dugoutcanoeVarious types of watercraft used in Colonial Virginia have been mentioned in the records. The dugout canoe of the Indians was found by the settlers upon arrival into the colony and was one of the chief means of transportation until the colony was firmly established. It is of great importance in the history of transportation from its use in pre-history to its use in the world today. From the dugout have come the piragua, Rose tobacco boat, and the Chesapeake Bay canoe and bugeye. Little is known about the construction of boats in the colony except for the log canoe. A long and thick tree was chosen and a fire was lit on the ground around its base and was kept burning until the tree had fallen. After the burning off the top and boughs, the trunk was raised upon poles laid crosswise on forked posts. Next, the bark was removed with shells and gum and rosin spread on the upper side to the length desired and set on fire. By alternately burning and scraping, the log was hollowed out to the desired depth and width. The ends were scraped off and rounded for smooth navigating. Some of the canoes were forty-five inches deep and forty or fifty feet in length. It carried from ten to thirty men. Captain John Smith used a dugout canoe to navigate the creeks and rivers. Paddles and sticks were used instead of oars. A story of an Indian and his canoe was told by John Pory, Secretary of Virginia, after he had visited the Eastern Shore.  Wamanato, a friendly Indian, presented me with twelve beaver skins and a canoe which I requited with such things to his content, that he promised to keep them whilst he lived, and berie them with him being dead." Source: Some Notes On Shipbuilding and Shipping In Colonial Virginia by Cerinda W. Evans.
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