A Kentuckian Invented the Steamboat #kentuckypioneerscom #kyancestors
The Invention of a Steamboat by Kentuckian
By Jeannette Holland Austin
A former silversmith and clockmaker with a vigorous intellect and remarkable powers of perseverance, came to Kentucky from Connecticut in 1778. His name was John Fitch. During the Revolutionary War Fitch had served as a lieutenant from New Jersey but was captured by the Indians and held prisoner for one year. Yet, in 1780, as he gazed upon the beautiful Ohio River, he had the first conception of overcoming currents by a new mode of navigation and retired to his surveyor’s camp to ponder and recall the work of Watt with steam, concluded that boats could be propelled by the same power. For a long while he was wrought with disappointment. During 1787, 1788 and 1789, Fitch built several boats which traveled from four to seven and one half miles per hour between Philadelphia and Burlington. He petitioned the legislatures of a number of states as well as England, France, and Spain for financing. When he failed to obtain funds, he became discouraged and finally despaired; he died at Bardstown, 1798, where his remains rest. A rather pathetic circumstance …more…
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Originally published at www.georgiapioneers.com.genealogyhistory.info on August 12, 2018.