RAFTING

RAFTING

When traveling this week with an Oregonian friend, we came across this sign in a park beside a covered bridge.

“Daniel Skinner and Josiah Parks are credited with running the first raft down the Delaware River to Philadelphia in 1764.” Daniel failed in putting logs together for a raft in his first tries. Then “he developed a method of mortising the ends of the mast timbers, inserting a white oak spindle and pinning the ends of lumber creating a raft.” It took Skinner and Parks eight days to float his raft to Philadelphia where he was paid $29 in gold for each mast.

Rafting became a popular way to get logs to market. The Delaware River was named a public highway for log rafting. It was a dangerous job and many men lost their life.

I grew up near the village of Deposit, New York, so named because all winter logs were “deposited” on the banks of the Delaware to await the spring thaw when they could be rafted to market. Deposit’s high school teams are called the Lumberjacks. The annual Lumberjack Festival each July draws modern day lumberjacks to show their prowess at rolling logs, slicing through a log with an ax, and in other lumbering skills.

My first thought on reading the poster was that young children might like to read about these men and their adventures. My thoughts about approaching the subject haven’t gelled yet. Should it be a strictly factual story or a adventure of a young boy? Writing this makes me think both.

If you want to know more about Daniel Skinner and Josiah Parks see: History of Wayne County, [Pa.] By Phineas G. Goodrich (available on line)

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