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Caney Creek, in South Texas, was a major thoroughfare in the glory days of steamboating. This creek provided inland communication for plantations along its banks, which were some of the wealthiest sugar cane producers in the Texas. These plantations helped provide the southern states with essential supplies (sugar cane, cotton, cattle, etc.) during the Civil War. The use of steamboats on Caney Creek was a valuable method of transporting produce out of the interior of Texas, and the necessary labor back to the plantations.
This thesis is an historical and archaeological examination of the Caney Creek steamboat wreck, archaeological site 41MG32. Although it has not been identified, its location has been known since the early 20th century. Unfortunately, due to three hurricanes that battered the Texas coast in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, little documentation exists concerning Caney Creek or its associated trade. Archaeological investigations, however, have revealed several aspects this steamer had in common with other western river steamboats. This thesis will help illustrate western river steamboat operations in Texas and provide a better understanding of Caney Creek during the 19th century.
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