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In Their Own Words

November 27, 1838

Pole Boat Operation Described

L.M. Parsons of Macon, Georgia wrote Josiah Parsons in New Hampshire describing the operation of pole boats on the Ocmulgee River:

“The boating is done by pole boats. The boats have generally from thirty to forty hands [and] are constructed with a gangway [on] each side for the hands as they push to walk the whole length of the Boat - as they are obligated to move regularly they make a beautiful appearance as they come up always singing. They have very strong Voices and their tunes are generally so arranged that two [or] three of the best will sing a line that the whole will join in chorus.”

Source: Spencer B. King, Jr., Georgia Voices: A Documentary History to 1872 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1966, reprinted 1974), p. 130.