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December 1998


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A LISTSERV list for discussions pertaining to New York State history." <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 1 Dec 1998 19:16:37 EST
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My request was for information about travel from New York to Milwaukee in
1847.  From Walter Lewis I received the following:
"The Rip Van Winkle is an average example of the classic New York-Albany steam
packets of the mid-1840s.  There are sketches of her on pages 78 and 79 of
Stanton's American Steam Vessels."  He gave a web site that has reproeucd
pictures of this ship but I was not able to access it.

He continues: "If fairly poor in 1847 they might have taken a canal boat from
Albany to Buffalo, but the tide had turned towards the railroads.  By 1847
there were expresses from one end ot hte other of the patchwork of railroads
that would become the New York Central.  Ag Buffalo at least one, and
frequently mroe steamboats left on the arrival of the coaches.  The Empire
illustrated on pages 74&75 of Stanton is a representative of the best of the
mid-1840s Great Lakes steamers (and very similar in profile to the Hudson
River steam packets).  while your ancestors could stay in Buffalo, many chose
to sleep overnight on the lake boarts (wake up around Cleveland). In 1847 the
Michigan Central Rialroad was open, so travelers to Lake Michigan had the
choice of going around by the Straits of Mackinac or crossing Michigan by rail
and going on to Chicago ro Miwaukee by steamboat.  The year before, odds were
an immigrant would take the all water route from Buffalo; three years later
there wer relatively few through passenger vessels and people proceeded by a
variety of routes.  Ten years later and the passage was typically by rail."