Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County, Texas. Page: 243 of 1,110
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HISTORY OF DALLAS COUNTY.
commander of Job Boat No. 1, which had
successfully navigated the Trinity; Captain
L. S. Flatau, of Pittsburg, Texas, who navigated
the Trinity for years, and Judge A. B.
Norton, the veteran editor at the Three
Forks, were invited to seats on the platform.
Captain Flatau, who at short distance looks
like a man of thirty-five, but over whose head
forty-eight summers have rolled, addressed
the meeting by invitation. He had, he said,
navigated the Trinity for a long time without
noticeable trouble, and he could not understand,
in view of the bonanza offered by
this water course, why the people of Dallas
did not take a livelier interest in opening it
up to commerce, than which nothing was
more practicable. The narrowness of the
Trinity, he proceeded, is an argument in
its favor; for whenever a steamboat gets into
a river that she fills navigation is easy; but
when the river is wide and shallow there is
trouble. This part of the Trinity river in
which you think a steamboat cannot get
along is the easiest navigation of the river.
I used to steam up to Liberty, and I believe
that I am the first man who ever navigated
down the river; and I was the first who ever
carried Buck's headlight at the jackstaff. 1
have come to Magnolia in the night and never
had any trouble. I commanded the Cage.
Once they sent Colonel Tucker from Dallas
to know if I would not bring ihe Cage up to
Dallas. I left Galveston light at the tail of
the season and came up in the neighborhood
of Bois d'Arc island (about fourteen miles
below Dallas). It was at the time of the
year when there was but little water in the
river, and if the river had stayed up I would
have come to Dallas. There is not a better
river in the south than the Trinity. If the
importance that exists for the navigation of
the Trinity from Dallas were to exist in
Illinois the river would be at once navigated.
Why, with less necessity the people of Illinois
have cut a canal 200 miles, largely
through rock. You have no bars in the
Trinity and only a few shoals, which nature
has meant as a bed for locks-Kickapoo,
White Rock and Cannon Ball shoals. You
cannot put locks in an alluvial soil, but here
is a foundation laid by nature for them.
Talk of snags! I have steamboated on the
upper Missouri, where snags look like the
bristles on a hog. Snags under the water
line cut no figure. The people of Dallas
cannot afford in these times to let such an
opportunity pass. Like all other true Texans
I would like to see Dallas grow to a great
city. To that end you must have a freight'
rate that will encourage manufactures and
that you can acquire through the agency of
the Trinity river. (Applause:) I would not
ask better fun than to start from Galveston
to Dallas with a well rigged boat if it were
not for a few railroad bridges. All the rivers
in the upper country are filled with boats, and
if you will in a measure clear away the obstruction
in the Trinity river the owners of those
boats will make an effort to trade here. The
value of timber along this river can only be
appreciated by those acquainted with it-pin
oak, ash and hickory. I have plied the Trin
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Lewis Publishing Company. Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County, Texas., book, 1892; Chicago, Illinois. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth20932/m1/243/: accessed April 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Public Library.