A-Rafting on the Mississip'

By Charles Edward Russell | Go to book overview

Chapter VII
DAYS OF THE GREAT MIGRATION

IN this swift rise of a great industry, Hanks became a man of mark and before long a man of wealth. He was now about twenty-three years old and engaged in taking contracts to deliver log rafts to the new mills down the river. He was one of those uneasy souls that hunger and thirst after work and are never filled. In the winter he went into the woods and directed the cutting of the logs, commanded the driving and raftmaking, and then got himself aboard the raft when made and piloted the thing to its destination. He was looked upon as the safest man in the business; mill owners when they knew he had a raft in charge felt that they could go to bed and sleep, because he would deliver the logs when he said he would if he had to carry them in his arms. He knew the river now so well that he could run at night. Some of his wondering crew believed he could run it with his eyes shut. For rafting lumber he received $3 a thousand feet, for logs $3.50, and twenty-five cents a thousand for the laths and shingles he carried as freight. At these rates he gathered profits.

But not without troubles and adventures. In the spring of 1847, he being then at Albany, a steamboat came along, the Amulet, bound for St. Paul, whose

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