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Reedville in Northumberland County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Chesapeake Bay Log Canoe

 
 
Chesapeake Bay Log Canoe Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones, July 4, 2021
1. Chesapeake Bay Log Canoe Marker
Inscription.  
This artifact is a remnant of a Chesapeake Bay Log Canoe, so called because it was sharp at both ends, constructed from logs rather than planks, and was unique to the Chesapeake Bay. Such vessels, varying in length from 20 ft. to greater than 60 ft. were a standard and popular workboat for the watermen of the Chesapeake Bay through the early 20th century. The log canoe is a refinement of the dugouts used by Virginia's Native Americans. Thetown of Poquoson, Virginia became the center of log canoe construction in the lower Bay, but very few of these canoes are still intact and even fewer afloat.

The native dugout was a single log, hollowed out by the controlled use of fire, and limited in size by the girth of the trees that could be felled without manufactured tools. The later watermen, desiring larger boats, devised a way of making canoes from more than one log -3 for smaller boats when large trees were still available and up to 9 or 11 for larger boats when only smaller trees remained.

The canoe builder would go into the woods, find a straight tree for the center log and preferably slightly curved ones for the sides and cut

The Chesapeake Bay Log Canoe Display image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones, July 4, 2021
2. The Chesapeake Bay Log Canoe Display
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them down. He would proceed to round the outer sides of the logs, hollow out the inner sides and then fit them together using axes and adzes (a woodcutting tool roughly shaped and used like a hoe). This was a challenging process. When the logs had been fastened together with iron rods driven from log to log. Final shaping took place and the centerboard trunk and decks were added. Canoes were sail-driven until the advent of small gasoline engines around the beginning of the 20th century.

This particular boat was a 3-log canoe, but extensive repairs have been made in the middle of the boat by replacing the log material with planks (painted black). The log construction can best be seen at the end of the boat. The knees along either side were to support the deck planks.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Anthropology & ArchaeologyNative AmericansWaterways & Vessels.
 
Location. 37° 50.625′ N, 76° 16.541′ W. Marker is in Reedville, Virginia, in Northumberland County. Marker can be reached from Main Street just south of Reed Avenue, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 504 Main St, Reedville VA 22539, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. "The Save The Stack Committee" (a few steps from this marker); Claud W. Somers (a few steps from

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this marker); Elva C (within shouting distance of this marker); The Reedville Railway (within shouting distance of this marker); Drive Boat (within shouting distance of this marker); Chesapeake Bay's Butler Boats (within shouting distance of this marker); The Lillian-B (within shouting distance of this marker); Trap Skiff (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Reedville.
 
Additional commentary.
1. Thetown of Poquoson
The use of Thetown without the spacing was taken verbatim from the marker.

Additionally, Poquoson is now organized as a city, although it was likely organized as a town when the canoe was created. The difference between "cities" and "towns" in Virginia is important. All cities in the state are independent of any counties even when they act as a county's seat, whereas towns are jurisdictions within the county.
    — Submitted July 5, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 5, 2021. It was originally submitted on July 5, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 80 times since then and 33 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 5, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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Dec. 4, 2022