Eighty Beeves Driven in Close Gang & a Wish

An interesting find sparks one more Long post before we move on…

The Colonel in his own words, describing the construction of the Jackson Bridge in a letter accompanying the publication of his letters patent in the 1830 Journal of the Franklin Institute, Vol 5 It’s particularly interesting because it defines a timeline for us, and tells us the Jackson was the only existing example at the time of patent. This is curious because the short-line B&S RR and its three bridges are known to have been built between ’28 and ’31 – So we now know the three examples listed in the ad Moses’ placed, were built following or perhaps even as Stephen penned this letter, or as it sat waiting in the post, and then somewhere in the offices of the Institute for some editorial decision, and after some unknown turn of time and delay, publication.

He also describes the crew that built The Jackson, but sadly does not name even the lead…

I do wish he had put a name to at least the crew lead for the “six workmen”, I am sure these are people from whom he learned much, and used this learned information in his “Description”, and do find it regrettable that he did not share names, and this not simply out of some personal curiosity

This because I do now have some real sense of the man. He had by this point in his life, led expeditions deep into the then unknown vast western wilderness, where survival did quite literally depend on the skills and smarts of every handpicked person in your company. He had accomplished much. And he knew full well, that his own success was in part attributable to the accomplishment and abilities of those under his command.


About Will Truax

I'm a timberframer and preservation carpenter, and regularly work on Covered Bridge restoration projects. Bridgewrighting can be a tough row to hoe, for a myriad of reasons. From scheduling issues to differing opinions and philosophies on what is appropriate in methods and materials, to multiple jurisdictions still not sufficiently vetting bidders resumes - Which is to say, just because a company is on that state approved list and capable of building that seven figure overpass, this does not mean they are capable of restoring a wooden bridge... So, I have much to say about all this and more - And despite my tough row observation, I promise not to whine. View all posts by Will Truax

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