Early boat trip through Great Lakes


Date Written

Aug. 12, 1847

Joseph B Andrews was 44 years old when this was written.
The recipient, Rebecca Andrews, was 47 when it was received.

Joseph B Andrews died 21 years, 10 months, 1 day after writing this.
It was written 176 years, 1 month, 21 days ago.
It was a Thursday.

Detroit 8 Mo. 12th 1847

Dear Sister,

I was disappointed this morning when I went to the Post Office in not receiving a letter from any of you, but I received one from James Harney it is a great satisfaction to receive a letter from some, when one has been near two months from this home and travelled several thousand miles a great part of the time amongst strangers, I expected James or Pierce would have written to me for I wanted to hear how our business was getting along.

We left Chicago on 22 day morning, the lake was a little rough and the first town we stopped at was Southport in Wisconsin in 61 miles we then continued on [?] very pleasantly till near to Octer When we ran into a dense fog so thick we could hardly see from the length of this boat, we lay for about two hours, 3 or 4 miles from the shore ringing the bell, and sent the mate into the small boat to find land, for we wanted to stop at Milwaukie and the Captain thought we must be opposite but was afraid to run in as they could not see, the mate after some time returned with good news, he had found the pier at Milwaukie and knew the course of the channel. We got into the dock and stayed there about one hour. We then started down the lake expecting to have a very stormy night, but about ten o’clock the fog went away and we had a beautiful star light night. The next place we stopped at was the Manitou islands to take in wood. Here is a few huts for the woodchoppers to live in but a dreary most wild place it is. The island is covered with thick timber not a green spot to be found. We stayed a small distance into the woods and then diverted ourselves with looking at the fish in the lake. The water is so clear we could see them swim in 3 in. from 20 to 40 ft. in depth. We then passed the Fox Islands & then the Beaver Islands & entered the straits of Mackinaw and arrived at the tow about between 5 & 6 o’clock two days from Chicago stayed [?] near one house and went on the top of the hill & through the fort, which is built, on the top of the line and a beautiful prospect there is from it. The town is all frame houses along the foot of the hills and a nice place it is. I seen a brother of the late A. Biddle. He keeps store here and has been here about 30 years trading with the Indians. He married one and is said to have daughters that are fine young women, so I was told by a captain that had commanded the fort. We seen trout here 3 to 4 feet long, a most beautiful fish. The captain bought some. We then started and entered Lake Huron. We all thought we were a going to have a storm to night, but it went off very mildly and I was glad for when there is nothing but water to see in looking all around, I had no wish to be in a storm, but when the water is still it is beautiful to behold. About one o’clock we entered the St. Claire River and then Lake St. Clair & run across the lake in about two hours and then entered the Detroit River and arrived at Detroit about six o’clock making the trip in 3 days and 2 nights between 7 and 800 miles. Detroit is a much finer city than I expected to see. It contains about 12 or 13,000 inhabitants and the country is very level all around it. When even we have been near land from Mackinaw all the way down the country on both sides look very bad. We passed over the river into upper Canada a small town called Windsor and walked part of the way to [?] where the cornerstone & dais western Canada is located. We expect tomorrow if a boat comes to go to Cleveland about 130 miles I began to think I am most home when I think over the route I have been, I expect we will be home by the first of the month. It may be sooner but we can’t tell within a few days but I begin to look that way with pleasure. Remember me to all our friends.

I remain thy affectionate brother,
Joseph B. Andrews

To Rebecca Andrews
Old Darby

Scans of Letter