Tyler County, Virginia (Howe)

Henry Howe, Historical Collections of Virginia… (Charleston, SC: William R. Babcock, 1852), 495-496.
TYLER was formed in 1814, from Ohio, and named from John Tyler, gov. of Va. from 1808 to 1811, and father of the late President of the U. S. It is 40 miles long, with a mean breadth of 18 miles. This county declines to the west towards the Ohio, and is drained by Middle Island and Fishing creeks, both running through the county and emptying into the Ohio. The surface is exceedingly hilly and broken, but the soil is of a fair quality, and on the creek and river bottoms, excellent. About 50,000 pounds of maple sugar are annually produced. Pop. in 1840, whites 6,854, slaves 85, free colored 5; total, 6,954...

This county, being upon the Ohio River, has, in common with those counties situated upon this great artery, a facility in transporting its produce to market not possessed by the country further inland. The introduction of steamboats has greatly increased these facilities. In the infancy of the country every species of water-craft was employed in navigating this beautiful river; and that unique and hardy race that once spent their lives upon its waters have vanished. The graphic and lively picture given below from Flint's Recollections of the lives of the boatmen, is now a part of the history of our country:

The way of life which the boatmen lead, is in turn extremely indolent and extremely laborious; for days together requiring little or no effort, and attended with no danger, and then, on a sudden, laborious and hazardous beyond Atlantic navigation. The boats float by the dwellings of the inhabitants on beautiful spring mornings, when the verdant forests, the mild and delicious temperature of the air, the delightful azure of the sky, the fine bottom on one hand and the romantic bluff on the other, the broad and smooth stream rolling calmly down the forest and floating the boat gently onward — all combine to inspire the youthful imagination. The boatmen are dancing to the violin on the deck of their boat. They scalier their wit among the girls on the shore, who come down to the water's edge to see the pageant pass. The boat glides on until it disappears behind a point of wood. At this moment, perhaps, the bugle, with which all the boats are provided, strikes up its notes in the distance over the water. These scenes and these notes, echoing from the bluffs of the beautiful Ohio, have a charm for the imagination, which, although I have heard a thousand times repeated, and at all hours, is, even to me, always new and always delightful.

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