This is the story of an everyday family who fled the depression of 1817 by moving westward. Rafts and flatboats and Conestoga wagons moved slowly into the new territory beyond the Alleghenies, but the Doak family made the journey down the Ohio river from Pittsburgh to Cincinnati on a boat fitted out as a store, peddling pots and pans, hardware, bonnets, dry goods and Yankee notions. Responding to the call of “Hello, the boat!” from settlers along the banks, Mother, Father, the children, Old Pappy and his fiddle all helped to make the trip as profitable as it was adventurous.
Combining accurate information about those days of tall tales and tall language with a truly spontaneous story, “Hello, the Boat!” recreates the life of young people of another day in a humorously realistic fashion. Remote from great national events, the narrative is extremely simple yet vivid, absorbing because of its truth.