Delaware Diary: Episodes in the Life of a River

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Rutgers University Press, 1996 - History - 203 pages
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Everyone knows that Washington crossed the Delaware and turned the "times that try men's souls" into a triumphal victory. And today residents of and visitor to New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania enjoy canoeing and tubing, shad fishing and bed and breakfasting along the Delaware. Have you ever wondered about the life of the river in the two centuries in between? The Delaware was the scene of important events after the Revolution, too- an early and tragic experiment in steam propulsion, a notoriously lethal prison camp in the Civil War, memorable floods, hurricanes, ice storms, and even a furious battle with the U.S. army.

Frank Dale, who has lived near the Delaware all of his life, has burrowed into old newspaper files and archives and traced down eyewitnesses o the life of the Delaware. Rivers were the highways of choice in early America, and the Delaware presented much greater challenges than the nearby Hudson. Filled with rapid, falls, and inconvenient rocks, the river refused to accommodate itself easily to the needs of commerce. The rivermen who ventured down the Delaware on massive timber rafts or Durham boats filled with iron ore earned a deserved reputation for pure ornery courage. Later entrepreneurs tried steamboats, canals, and bridges to attempt to harness and exploit this most unexploitable river, with decidedly mixed results. In recent times, the Tocks Island Dam was defeated by a community that had come to admire the river's stubborn resistance to being conquered and harnesses to human ends. Canoeists and waterside strollers can now appreciate its unspoiled beauties.

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DELAWARE DIARY: Episodes in the Life of a River

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A diverting collection of Delaware River lore, from freelance writer and local historian Dale. The Delaware River never was one of the nation's great commercial waterways: too many rapids, too little ... Read full review

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My brain nearly exploded upon reading page 10 of this book. First off, the author made the painfully ignorant claim that the whales hunted by the Dutch in Delaware Bay were "probably giant finbacks"! What?! They were not finbacks, but PROBABLY right whales, while some have even suggested that some of the whales taken may have been gray whales. Fin whales?! Few attempts were made to catch this species during this time period. They mainly caught Bowhead whales (which don't occur off Delaware) and North Atlantic right whales during this period. What a moron.
Also, he stated that the Dutch had a single, large whaling station in Greenland! You mean SEVERAL whaling stations in SPITSBERGEN, right? This mistake shows his complete ignorance of whaling history.
Don't bother buy this book.


The Last Steamboat
The Pea Patch
Manunka Chunk House
The Pumpkin Freshet of 1903
The Battle for Tocks Island

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