• Published 3rd Feb 2023
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Up The Ohio Canal - BlueBook

J.H. Wilkins is a prominent Cleveland businessman in 1850. He takes a trip on the canal boat Sylph to Akron. However, it turns out to be more than he bargained for when he catches the eye of the boat's captain... a lady pony!

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Up The Ohio Canal

Being a Diary of My Trip Between Cleveland & Akron

Aboard The Packet Boat Sylph

J. H. Wilkins

Printed by the Stanford & Lott Co.

Cleveland, O. 1850

A Note from the Author:

I dedicate this book to my dear sisters, Eloise, Grace, and Lillian, to whom I wrote the initial manuscript upon which it was based, and who found it such an engaging work that they persuaded me, in spite of my initial misgivings, to publish it.

I have endeavored to report my trip just as it happened, without the flourish of embellishments a more practiced pen might have added. My observations are at times, I hope, of an amusing nature but never with a thought towards doing malice to my fellow travelers. Still, if I should offend, I beg that the reader forgive my deficient writings. As I am a grocer, and not a novelist, if the readers' local knowledge should exceed my paltry education, I beg they write to the publishers and produce their own, more true accounts.

A Note from the Editors:

Readers might ponder as to why, when Mr. Wilkins states his journey is in the southerly direction, this volume is entitled Up the Ohio Canal. This question is easily answered, before it is even asked. Akron, its name deriving from the Greek for “summit”, is superior in elevation to Cleveland. It is this geography which allowed for the construction of the canal in the first place, and it produces the effect that, when traveling between the two points one must naturally go “up” to Akron and “down” to Cleveland. Although readers may from the force of habit and unfamiliarity with the two towns habitually think of Northwards as “up”, when one is a traveler on the canal the true lay of the land is readily apparent.


Beloved Sisters,

You wrote to ask how business in Cleveland has been. I am very sorry it has taken me so long to write you the response which you are so justly owed, but your last letter arrived just after my having departed on a trip to Akron, via the Ohio Canal. Having just now returned, by way of apology I shall relate its more entertaining details, which shall I hope satisfy your curiosity until I have more to report.

Some weeks ago, you see, I found that my grocery’s usual supplier of flour had succumbed to a most calamitous fire. Most fortunately this news reached me in tandem with my latest shipment, so I knew there was no proximate danger to my business as my present supply would satisfy demand for some time to come.

Yet, it was a matter which needed attending to; at the most immediate moment. Knowing that my last supplier was one of many millers in Akron, I decided upon traveling there personally, to enter into a new arrangement with one of the mills.

And so, on the 19th of June, I departed my shop in Cleveland, leaving it in the hands of my business partner Mr. J. Hilliard and headed for the docks to book passage on a canal boat.