Wabash River

State: Indiana, Illinois, Ohio

Lat/Long: 40.3500, -84.7500

The important Wabash River connects the Great Lakes to the Ohio and Mississippi river valleys, and settlers used it for transportation and commercial purposes. In 1822 the Illinois and Indiana legislatures appointed William Polke and Thomas S. Hinde to survey the river to help plan improvements, and Congress authorized a survey in 1828. Abraham Lincoln and his family crossed the Wabash during heavy floods when they made their way from Indiana to Illinois in 1830. In 1834, Congress provided $20,000 for improvements, but President Andrew Jackson vetoed the bill. During the 1830s and 1840s, over 1,000 flatboats navigated up and down the Wabash River despite the need for improvements. Finally, in 1849 the Wabash Navigation Company began construction on a lock and damn on the border between Indiana and Illinois, near Mount Carmel, Illinois.

Leland R. Johnson, The Falls City Engineers: A History of the Louisville District Corps of Engineers, United States Army (Louisville, KY: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1974), 138-39; The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, March 1830, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarMonth&year=1830&month=3.