The article transcribed below describes the 1835 trip in the Steamship Rover of Daniel Rowlett and other Fannin County pioneers from Arkansas to Red River.
The Raft - The following card, signed by the passengers on board the steam boat Rover, which recently arrived safely at Fort Towson, with provisions for the U.S. troops at that post, will give persons at a distance some idea of the immense labor and difficulty which the obstructions presented by the Raft have been surmounted by those heretofore engaged in navigating Red river. But it is a pleasing reflection now, to know, that the difficulties and obstructions are fast vanishing before the genius of Capt. Shreve, and that, in a few months, they will all be removed, and the navigation of Red river - even through that portion of it heretofore obstructed by the Raft - be made as easy and safe as that of the numerous other rivers with which our Territory is watered.
We, whose name are hereunto subscribed, Cabin passengers, on board the steam-boat Rover, now in Red river, above the Raft, think it is a tribute of respect due Capt. Benjamin Crooks, to acknowledge our gratitude to him, for the perseverance and industry with which he has overcome all the obstructions and difficulties in the way of steam-board navigation, from Coats' Bluffs to the end of the Raft - going into the 12 Mile Bayou on the 31st Dec., 1835; removing and passing rafts and logs extending entirely across it; then entering Sodo Lake, passing to the north-west over it 20 miles to Clear Lake, about 6 miles in length; then entering Black Bayou, ascending it 12 miles to the falls, which are in many places so narrow and crooked as scarcely to admit of the passage of the boards; surmounting the falls of Red Bayou from its entrance into Black Bayou to Shinicks, of at least 6 or 7 feet in 150 yards; which was accomplished by building dams; then ascending Red Bayou 15 miles to its inlet from Red river, which, in many places, is so narrow, shallow, and crooked, as to render it impossible for the boats to pass up, until the Bayou had been made wider and straightened by diffing and cutting out a number of trees and stumps that stood placed in the channel - the water being raised by building a dam. After this has been done in 41 days, and we are now under head-way in a fine river, at least three times as wide as the river is below the Raft. There are two large keels in tow, which, as well as the steam-board Rover, are loaded with Army Stores for Fort Towson, and have on board about 150 persons bound for the west. We hereby request the insertion of this in the Arkansas Gazette.
D. Rowlett [early Fannin County settler]
R. C. Harris
W. H. Smith
John Stephens [early Fannin County settler]
Dan Slack [early Fannin County settler]
J. J. McGregor
Edward Stephens [early Fannin County settler]
W/ H. Gray
Hillory B. B____
W. R. Webb
A. R. Lock__
C. T. Hilliard
R. H. Locke [early Fannin County settler]
Littleton D. Stephenson
Edward P. Stephenson
John W. Stephens
Edward Stephens __
John H. Peebles