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On September 1856, a steamboat named Arabia left Kansas up the Missouri river on a routine trip, carrying two hundred tons of supplies for sixteen newly established towns on the western frontier. It was the age of exploration, and many generation of brave men and women traveled by the tens of thousands to establish new colonies in the west. Some traveled overland by foot, wagon, and horseback, while others chose to ride the river on steamboats. Arabia was only three years old and had already made many successful trips up and down the treacherous river. She was equipped with two large paddlewheels on either side that made her easy to maneuver around hazards like sandbars and snags, gaining her a reputation as a dependable vehicle. But navigating the Missouri was a difficult and dangerous business. Chugging westwards towards the setting sun, the steamboat’s pilot never saw the partially submerged trunk of a walnut tree that lied directly ahead.

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Artwork of Steamboat Arabia by an unknown artist

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© Amusing Planet, 2016.





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