Burlington & Bristol Team Boat Ferry. Burlington, Bristol Team Boat Company.

Burlington & Bristol Team Boat Ferry.

Philadelphia: P.M. Lafourcade, Son & Co. Printers, corner of Second and Race Sts., 1829. Illustrated broadside, 10.75” x 9”.

A scarce broadside promoting a horse-powered ferry that linked Burlington, NJ and Bristol, PA via the Delaware River.

Ferries running between Burlington, NJ and Bristol, PA across the Delaware operated as early as the 17th century. Popular in the U.S. from the mid-1810s to the 1850s, team boats (AKA horse boats or horse ferries) were vessels powered by horses or mules whose power was transmitted directly to the paddle-wheels via treadmills. This broadside announces that the Burlington and Bristol Team Boat Co. has purchased the present team boat ferry (along with its fixtures and “privileges”) and have, at a “heavy expense,” put the boat in “complete order.” The company announces with satisfaction that the boat is now able to cross more regularly and quicker than heretofore. (The postscript notes that “since her repairs the Boat has crossed in eight minutes with the tide, and in fifteen minutes against it.”) Running until prevented by ice, the boat started from Bristol, PA every morning at sunrise, and crossed every half hour during the day—carrying passengers or not. It is noted that “sportsmen and others going to the grouse plains or shire, from Philadelphia, Montgomery, and the lower part of Bucks county, will find this their most eligible route.” The proprietors pledge that “no exertions shall be wanting to render this ferry every way an accommodation to the public,” and provide prices for foot-passengers (6.25 cts.), and for carriages, gigs, wagons, horses, &c. “lower than at any other Ferry between Trenton and Philadelphia.” Those crossing are instructed to pay their ferriage to the captain or at the bars of Mr. J. Bessonett or Mr. B. Shepherd. Listed are the four proprietors, which include the former two men.

In 1788 the world’s first steam-powered boat began making regular trips between Philadelphia and Burlington along the Delaware River. In 1814 animal-powered vessels were introduced into America and became a popular form of transportation for short-distance river and lake crossings until they were surpassed by the use of steam power in the mid-19th century. In 1834, the Camden and Amboy Railroad—the third railroad built in the U.S.—came to Burlington, and passenger service began in 1835. The vertical lift Burlington-Bristol Bridge opened in 1931—the first bridge to link Burlington and Bristol.

No copies recorded in Worldcat.

REFERENCES: Burlington & Transportation History at delawareriverheritagetrail.org.

CONDITION: Good, soiling and dampstaining at edges, no losses to the text.

Item #6883

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