Front Matter The Name of My City My Own Name Why We Went to London Bound for America On Board Ship Unknown Country The End of the Voyage Going Ashore Our First Shelter A Tedious Task Our Cave Home Completed How We Kept House Savages Come to Town What the Savages Wore Game in Plenty Sea Food News of the Factor Arrival of the Amity Going to Meet the Factor A Tiresome Journey Meeting Old Friends Roasting Turkeys Turning an Honest Penny A Place for the City Building the City A Bear Hunt The New Home Penn's Care for Colonists The First Baby How the Indians Live Indian Utensils and Tools Canoes of Bark Making Wampum The Beehive Huts Finishing the Cure Starting a Fire Cooking Indian Corn News of Penn's Arrival Our Humble Preparations The Welcome to Penn A Day of Festivities Penn Joins in the Sports More Serious Business What a Bake Oven Is Baking in the New Oven Penn Plans to Buy Land Penn and the Indians The Price Paid for Land Gratitude of the Indians Trapping Wild Turkeys New Arrivals Government by the People The Promise of a School Dock Creek Bridge The Nail Business Buying Iron in New York No Merrymaking after Dark Busy Days Enoch Flower's School End of Our School Days Settlement of Germantown New Laws in Our Own Town A Division of Opinion A Matter of History Boundary Lines The Governor's Following A Proud Departure The Settlement of Chester Dining in State Anchored off New Castle An Uncomfortable Night A Dull Journey In Lord Baltimore's City A Splendid Home A Question of Duty Amy of Maryland The Shops of Maryland The Result of the Visit Philadelphia Progresses Penn Goes Back to London

Stephen of Philadelphia - James Otis

Canoes of Bark

The canoes made of bark from the birch tree are wonders in the way of lightness and swiftness. Jethro and I, hoping some day to be able to buy one, have spent very much of our time learning to manage these boats, which are like to eggshells for daintiness, and it is not certain but that we may be able to build such a craft ourselves, for we have watched eagerly the Indians at their work.

One must first get a quantity of thin splints of spoon-wood, which are to be steamed and bent into the form of the bottom and sides of the canoe, until one has made the shape of the entire hull, when a narrow rail of tough wood is put on to fashion the sides and ends.

[Illustration] from Stephen of Philadelphia by James Otis

Then all, save the rail, is covered with bark from the birch trees, the builder taking good care to choose pieces which are free from such blemishes as unequal thickness, an overgrown cleft, or any show of weakness.

This bark should be stripped from a tree so large that each sheet or piece is of length sufficient to stretch from rail to rail, and is fastened in place by sewing with threads of sinew taken from deer.

When all this has been done, every seam, or hole made by the needle, is covered plentifully with pitch from the pine tree, which is not unlike soft tar, and when it has been thoroughly dried, you have a boat that will support from two to six persons, while yet so light that one may easily carry it on his shoulder.