Ripples on the Ohio River

Ohio River
Photo: This 1754 map from George Washington’s journal shows Log Town along the Ohio River.  

Library of Congress. 

As Meriwether Lewis and party journeyed down the Ohio in the early fall of 1804, the keelboat frequently encountered ripples or “riffles “ – short sections of the river where the autumn water level was so low the large vessel had to be lifted or dragged.

One such ripple was named Logtown Riffle, near the settlement of Logtown, a village primarily of Shawnee, Delaware, Iroquois, and other Native peoples. Established in approximately 1748, it was an important trading and conference site.

The Lewis party navigated through Logtown Riffle on September 2, 1804. It took at least four hours for the keelboat to be unloaded, pulled through the area, and reloaded. Unfortunately, it became stranded again later the same day and obtained assistance from a local farmer who had a horse and an ox.

Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail

Last updated: June 11, 2019