The photo appears to depict a
family departing for an overnight outing. Boats could be rented from lodges,
and self-guided trips were common throughout the float trip era. Both paddles
and poles are evident. We wish this group, dressed for Sunday school, all the
best as they prepare to drift down the beautiful James in these odd overloaded,
probably unstable, pointed-bow skiffs, or punts, or whatever they were called.
genesis of the square-ended, flat-bottomed boats specifically adapted for
commercial floating on the James and White rivers is poorly documented. Many
theories have been advanced as to how they were developed, and how they came to
be called johnboats.
COMING IN 2017: JAMES FORK OF THE WHITE: Transformation of an Ozark River.