Friday, May 12, 2017

Remains of the Ancient Gayoso, Missouri Canal

Remains of the Ancient Gayoso, Missouri Canal


A straight depression with an acute bend to the Mississippi River is located to the east of Gayosa, Missouri.  The width of the depression is 50 feet wide as descrived in the following history. A canal of this width was constructe for commerce and not irrigation.


Illustrated History of Missouri, 1879
    “The pre-historic people of Missouri were not only great in populous towns, in their agriculture, in their huge piles of earth and embankments and buildings of stone, but they, too, were canal-builders. With surprising skill, they developed a system of internal navigation, so connecting the lakes and bayous of the southern interior of the State, that the products of the soil found a ready outlet in the great river. The remains of these artificial water-courses have been frequently alluded to by travelers who have seen them but never thoroughly explored. Dr. G. C. Swallow, while at the head of the Geological Survey, called attention to them, and described one which was " fifty feet wide and twelve feet deep." For the fullest description of this class of works, I am indebted to Geo. W. Carleton, Esq., of Gayoso ; who, in response to a note of inquiry, — in addition to many interesting facts concerning a great number of ancient structures in Pemiscot County, — kindly furnished the following account, which I give in his own words: "Besides our Mounds, we can boast of ancient canals. Col. John H. Walker informed me that before the earthquakes, these canals — we call them bayous now — showed very plainly their artificial origin. Since the country has become settled, the land cleared up, the embankments along those water courses have been considerably leveled down. One of these canals is just east of the town of Gayoso. It now connects the flats of Big Lake with the Mississippi river. Before the bank crumbled off, taking in Pemiscot bayou, it connected this bayou with the waters of Big Lake.