Military Craft and First Packet Trade
Between the hostile "Old Frontier" Indians and river pirates, the outrage by eastern investors to the frontier reached a point that something had to be done. The resulting action was known as the Northwest Indian War or the "Old War". The order was given to build a new frontier army and boats for logistics support. Keelboats, ranging from 50 to 100 tons, can be considered to have started with the efforts of Major Craig of Fort Pitt. Craig wrote to General Knox on March 11, 1792 and again in a report dated May 11, 1792 about these better-built boats and their cost.
The next year, 1793, with the upper West Virginia rivers firmly under Major Craig's control, saw the first regular packet line on the Ohio River. It was a weekly keelboat trip between Cincinnati and Pittsburgh with short stops at other West Virginia and Ohio river settlements. Cincinnati merchant Jacob Meyers saw the need in this year. His vessel was built similar to Lewis and Clark's adventure galley, another variation of a keelboat. Individual packets' round-trips had taken about a month during the hostile era and some did not survive. This inspired merchant Meyers to start his "Line".
Read more about this topic: Waterways Of West Virginia
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