1814 -- By 1814, Madisonville had two shipyards, including a U.S. Navy facility. It never finished
the Tchifonta, a 22-gun ship, despite desperate pleas from Jackson and Gov. William Claiborne, who wanted to use it to defend
New Orleans from the British.
Because the Tchefuncte and Lake Pontchartrain have shallow drafts and were not deep enough
to handle the Navy vessels, “they were outfitted with life preservers,” says Carambat. “They actually strapped
on so-called lifter barges to the hulls of the vessels and floated them out to the Gulf.”
It was here the barge and keelboat men, who had floated down the Mississippi with their products
and then sailed across Lake Pontchartrain, began their walk to the Natchez Trace and back home to Tennessee and Kentucky.