**Wabash Courier, April 18, 1833; page 4, column 2**
STEERSMEN and OARSMEN wanted,
to go on Flat Boats to New Orleans
Apply to THOMPSON & CONDIT“
In 1833, the agents Thompson and Condit were seeking steersmen and oarsmen for their flat boats. The flat boat was the major form of transportation for means of trade. Even during the time of the steamboat, the flat boat trade was “too firmly established to be entirely supplanted.” The flat boat was a “veritable ark made to float with the current, and wonderfully adapted to carrying large cargoes of corn, pork, lard and all kinds of country produce down the river to New Orleans.” By June 14, 1833, Thompson and Condit would have their anticipated captain and oarsmen in a contract to deliver 4,300 bushels of coal on two flat boats to New Orleans. The trip was grueling and the work back breaking. Besides Captain John L. Walker, the six men were: James W. Rice, Dodson D. Bass, Leroy Wilson, William Beaty, and Isaiah Redford. Further investigation shows that at least two of the men, Dodson Bass and William Beatty, were free men of color who came to Vigo County from North Carolina.
Image taken from a document in the VCPL Archives.