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Past and Present of Livingston County
Volume 1. History
by Major A. J. Roof. 1913
Seventy-eight years ago Grand river was declared to be navigable by the members of the state legislature then in session. This declaration was made at a time when the volume of water in the channel was much greater than now. A small steamer called the "Bedford." actually made two trips from Brunswick to Chillicothe carrying a quantity of freight for Chillicothe merchants, returning on each trip with products of the county. The boat was known as a "Kick-be-hind" or stern wheel steamer. At the present day, however, and since the timber along the stream has been devastated under the influence of advanced civilization, the river is not considered navigable for boats operated as was the little "Bedford." It is claimed the village of Bedford was named after this Grand river steamboat, but the claim is not authenticated.
Nine years after the voyage of the "Bedford," or in the year of 1849, another steamer bearing the name of "Lake of the Woods," ascended Grand river to the forks and after discharging her cargo of merchandise was loaded with wheat by A.T. Kirtley, William Mead and James Campbell, early pioneers of this county. This cargo of wheat was carried through to St. Louis and sold to a miller in the present metropolis of the state for fifty cents a bushel.
Still another stern-wheeler, a regular Missouri river packet named "Bonita," during a season of high water reached the forks and ascended a mile or more up the west fork where her cargo was discharged, the boxes, barrels and bags bearing the names of Utica and Breckinridge merchants. Several merchants in Chillicothe also received goods from this steamer, consigned to them from St. Louis wholesale firms. It is said by one of our oldest pioneers, whose brother and sister attended, that the captain and officers of the boat gave a dance and banquet to the elite of Utica and Chillicothe while the craft was tied up at the river bank near the former village and the occasion was for many years gossiped and referred to as "simply grand." The "Bonita" made this trip in the spring of 1857 or eight years after the "Lake of the Woods" had "reached our shores." Unfortunately for the "Bonita," she ran into a sand bar on her second trip near the mouth of Grand river where she was obliged to "lay to" until a rise in the river some months later afforded her an opportunity to move on down the stream.