“Yankee Energy” (from Robert Merry’s Museum, September 1841; p. 95)
A few days since, a gentleman of the city of New York was standing near the canal, at Albany, when he saw a small yawl-boat approaching him, propelled by a lad about seventeen years of age. The boat contained also the boy’s mother, six sisters, and a small brother. Our friend asked him where he was from, and where bound, and was answered, in substance, as follows:
“We are from Ohio. My father died there, and as we were nearly destitute, mother thought we had better go back to Saybrook, Conn., where we used to live; so we raised money enough to get this boat, and started from Ohio last fall. We came through Lake Erie, and got into the canal, where we were stopped by the ice. During the winter we hauled our boat up by the side of the canal, where we remained till the ice broke up. Sometimes we were considerably cold, and at times were sick a little, but on the whole we all got along right smart. We shall go down the North river, and up the sound to Saybrook.”
During this conversation, our friend was walking along the margin of the canal; our noble Yankee boy, being unwilling to lose any time, kept constantly propelling his boat forward, the younger brother, a lad of only seven or eight years of age, steering the craft. It was Sunday morning, and the mother and daughters were clad in their Sabbath suits, and engaged in reading. A small furnace was standing on the deck of the boat, and a sail, snugly stowed, was lying fore and aft. The few cooking utensils, bedding, and clothing belonging to this poor family, were securely placed under the deck.
Here is an instance of industry and perseverance, which commends itself to the notice of the rising generation—ay, and the present one too. No doubt, if this boy lives, he will yet make a stir in the world; and if we knew his name, we would publish it.