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Log of the Okahumkee by Martha D. House: Home

Student Intern Project by Caitlin Logroño


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Page design, transcription, and scanning by Caitlin Logroño.

Log Book of the Okahumkee by Martha D. House (1874)


Summary Description

A woman traveler's account of an 1874 voyage on the steamboat Okahumkee of the Hart Line. The memoir appears to be the work of Martha D. (House) Allen, from Pennsylvania, although the name Martha H. Holmes is also associated with the text. Martha House Allen (1827-1900) and her husband Charles J. Allen (1822-1887), of Baring St., Philadelphia, were passengers on the Okahumkee as it traveled up the St. Johns River to the Ocklawha and on to Silver Springs. She describes daily activities, sights, and adventures on the trip, paying close attention to wildlife and local plants. Referring to herself as "the Scribe", she never uses her or any of the passengers' actual names, instead creating nicknames, according to the occupation or personality of the passenger. One of the passengers reads aloud from Harriet Beecher Stowe's Palmetto Leaves, published the previous year, as the steamboat progresses.

The Okahumkee, a rear-paddle steamer, was one of numerous steamboats operated by the Hart Line in the 1870s, others being the Osceola and the Hiawatha. It was a popular tourist attraction during the last quarter of the nineteenth century and was still afloat although derelict in the 1930s.

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