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Epinetus felt tired. He sat still in his chair. George noticed that his eyes closed as his head tilted forward. Epinetus’ breathing became less labored and steady. George let him sleep.

 

After a few minutes Epinetus awoke. He acted as though nothing had happened.

 

“Oh, yes, where was I? Yes, yes, now I remember. The Birdsall family was just getting underway on the ship out of Peekskill. The square sails on the brig made that ship powerful and steady. They caught enough wind to not only fight the current of the Hudson but also to keep a steady pace northward.”

 

Square Sailed Brig

 

“The wind off the cold April waters was brisk and invigorating. However, it was a miserable and bitter first night on the river. Each person had wrapped themself in a blanket and the cast iron stove was stoked and hot with burning coal. It was the first time that many of the passengers had ever seen the black rocks that burned.”

 

Old Coal Stove

 

“During the day the passengers would wave to other people on passing ships. There were also rafts made of lumber and manned by one or two people working a rudder resting on a forked tree branch. There was not much control over the rafts as the current carried them toward New York City. Captain Tanner informed my father that the rafts were actually timber logs being floated downstream were they would be sold. Some of the rafts had small cabins built on them; others simply had cargo in wooden barrels or casks.”

 

Old log raft

 

 

 

© wtomosky

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