• A curve along the Natchez Trace Parkway with fall colors

    Natchez Trace

    Parkway AL,MS,TN

Kaintucks

Flatboats could carry heavy loads in shallow water.

Flatboats were ideal for carrying heavy loads down rivers.  Even the Ohio and Mississippi rivers could be shallow in places during dryer seasons.

NPS Image

Although they were known as "Kaintucks," these boatmen floated merchandise down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers from states throughout the Ohio River valley. Agricultural goods, coal, and livestock were among the many products that were floated to markets in Natchez and New Orleans. Once the goods on the boats were sold, the boats were often dismantled and sold as lumber. Before the age of the steamboat, Kaintucks had little use for these flatboats once they reached their destinations.

From Natchez, the boatmen would begin the long walk home. They traveled the Natchez Trace to Nashville, Tennessee. From there, they used more established roads to take them to their homes further north and east. Research indicates that more than 10,000 Kaintucks traveled the Old Trace in the year 1810 alone. The 500 mile trip on foot typically took about 35 days. Lucky travelers that rode horses could expect to cover it in 20 to 25 days.

Did You Know?

Emblem of the Daughters of the American Revolution

The Mississippi Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) played a vital role in the preservation of the Natchez Trace by placing markers in each Mississippi county the old trace passed through.