Washington Crossing in Bucks County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The Durham Boat
Inscription. The large flat bottom boats housed in this barn are reproductions of a mid-18th century vessel known as the Durham boat. Robert Durham, an engineer at the Durham Iron Works in nearby Reiglesville, Pennsylvania, reputedly designed a prototype for these large cargo boats as early as 1757. Durham boats hauled cargo along the entire length of the Delaware River. These long-run vessels transported ore, fir, timber, and produce down the Delaware River to Philadelphia’s thriving markets. The largest vessels (up to 65 feet long and 8 feet in the beam) could transport 20 tons of iron or 150 barrels of flour downstream.
Durham boats played an important role in Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River on December 25, 1776. General Washington wrote to Governor Livingston of New Jersey directing him to secure “Boats and Craft,…should be secured…particularly the Durham Boats…” for his anticipated crossing and planned attack on Trenton. Although designed to haul cargo, the Durham boats successfully carried Washington’s troops across the icy Delaware in the early morning hours prior to the attack.
By Don Morfe, July 19, 2015
1. The Durham Boat Marker
In addition, two of the boats on display were constructed in 1965 and 1976 by the Johnston Brothers Boat Works in Point Pleasant, New Jersey. They were restored by Chad Brenner working for the Washington Crossing Reenactors Society and
given to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in 1999. The remaining boats were constructed by Paul Rollins, boatbuilder, York, Maine in 1996 and 1997. One of these is a gift of the Friends of Washington Crossing Historic Park and the other was purchased by the PHMC. The boats are used in the Park’s annual reenactment of the Crossing on Christmas Day.
Washington Crossing Historic Park gratefully acknowledges the donations of the Washington Crossing Reenactors Society and the Friends of the Washington Crossing Historic Park.
By Don Morfe, July 19, 2015
2. The Durham Boat Marker
Erected 1999 by Washington Crossing Historic Park.
Location. 40° 17.675′ N, 74° 52.223′ W. Marker is in Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania, in Bucks County. Marker is on River Road. Touch for map. The marker is on the grounds of the Washington Crossing Historic Park. Marker is in this post office area: Washington Crossing PA 18977, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Growth of a Village (a few steps from this marker); Washington’s Crossing and March to Trenton (a few steps from this marker); A Nation's Signature Event (within shouting distance of this marker); Washington Crossing the Delaware
(about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Washington Crossed the Delaware (about 500 feet away); Washington Crossing (about 500 feet away); Washington's Crossing of Delaware (about 700 feet away); The Christmas Night Crossing (approx. 0.2 miles away in New Jersey). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Washington Crossing.
By Bill Coughlin, December 13, 2015
3. Durham Boat Crossing
General Washington and his troops cross the Delaware River on a Durham Boat.
Categories. • Colonial Era • War, US Revolutionary • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 24, 2015, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 261 times since then and 53 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on July 24, 2015, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. 3. submitted on March 15, 2016, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.