Roanoke Rapids in Halifax County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
Piloting the Batteaux
A Job for Big Strong Men
Batteauxmen were rugged, strong, and individualistic men who risked their lives daily transporting goods up and down the river. Their origins dated back to the first European settlers whose only means of transportation in the New World wilderness was by boat. As the decades progressed, the boatmen developed specialized craft such as the batteaux to increase their load capacity and improve their chances of surviving the river’s shallow waters and swift flowing rapids. The river, however, was not the only danger. Moored on the riverbanks at night, the batteauxmen had to protect their cargo from pirates and thieves. They also had to maintain the batteaux and make emergency repairs when needed. With danger lurking around every bend, Batteauxmen had interesting ways to occupy their time while floating through the occasional calm waters or after mooring for the night. Cards, dice, and other games of chance were common along with contests of strength and skill. Two of the more athletic tests were lifting large barrels to the shoulder or higher, and running sprints along the rails of the batteau.
Erected by The Roanoke Canal Museum and Trail.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce • Waterways & Vessels.
Location. 36° 28.481′ N, 77° 38.903′ W. Marker is in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, in Halifax County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Jackson Street Extension and Roanoke Avenue (State Highway 48), on the right when traveling west. Marker located on the grounds of the Roanoke Canal Museum and Trail. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 15 Jackson Street Extension, Roanoke Rapids NC 27870, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Roanoke Canal (here, next to this marker); Canal Trail Map (a few steps from this marker); A Lock in Action – Step By Step (a few steps from this marker); Bike Trail Map (a few steps from this marker); The Batteaux (a few steps from this marker); Batteaux and Batteauxmen (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named Roanoke CanalFirst Kraft Pulp in United States (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Roanoke Rapids.
Credits. This page was last revised on March 9, 2021. It was originally submitted on December 6, 2020, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. This page has been viewed 267 times since then and 154 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on December 6, 2020, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.