by George B. Strouse
The following story is from the ship’s log maintained by George Strouse when he took a cruise on his 34 foot powerboat, the Wawa. (Yeah, just like the convenience store chain. Wawa is an American Indian term for the Canadian goose.) It was a long cruise, beginning in Lake Champlain and ending at the far end of the Erie Canal in Tonawanda, NY by way of Quebec, Canada, and Allentown, PA.
The cruise was all the more remarkable because George was my great grandfather; my mother’s mother’s father, and he did it in the summer of 1910, more than a hundred years ago! George was accompanied by a friend, Harry, his wife, Annie, and his eldest daughter, Ella. The cruise would be difficult to duplicate today because many of the waterways he used no longer exist.
The words in his story are actually the text of the ship’s log George maintained during the cruise. As such, it is an incomplete narrative, being a set of notes that George made for his own purposes and it leaves quite a bit to the imagination. It is useful, however, as an historical document and to set the tone for what was a fairly rugged undertaking at that time.
We are fortunate to still have the actual handwritten document in the family as well as several photos of the boat and other photos taken, presumably, during the cruise. The log was carefully converted to a typed manuscript by my aunt, Ann Manning, my grandmother May’s daughter-in-law. As you read you will notice frequent notes in (red). Some of George’s writing was unclear and those notes were made by Ann in her typed copy.
Note for researchers: High resolution (approx 2,500 x 3,000 pixels) color scans are available of all 49 pages of the original log as well as of many photos used in this section of the web site.