J. H. Rushton Indian Girl #5416 - 16

Jon Bouton

Sucker for an Indian Girl
I couldn't resist and brought her home today. The plan is to be a good steward of this elegant old girl for the next 20 years or so and use her well. Long Decks; Interesting outside stem detail; Decal; Closed Gunnels; Original Canvas; Possibly original cane on bow seat. Rushton Paddle. Lateen Sail Rig. Short term plan is to consider any changes or repairs very carefully (other than replace the thwart broken by a careless worker a day before I bought her http://forums.wcha.org/images/smilies/mad.png).
I bought her from the original owner's granddaughter. Port has always been central Vermont.
From last year's articles in Wooden Canoe, I understand that this must be from near the end of the run. I gather long-decked Indian Girls are unusual. I'm thinking the raised outside stem is also unusual (possibly typical of the long-decked option).
What can you all tell me about her?
A few photos posted here. More at

J. H. Rushton Indian Girl .jpg I. G. Bow Deck.jpg J. H. Rushton Indian Girl decal.jpg I. G. Stern Detail.jpg I. G. Serial Number.jpg
Nice canoe Jon,
As you note, near the end of production. Your decal is in pretty good shape.
I wonder if I could impose on you to send me a real nice high res picture of it.
I am going to remove what little is left of mine when I bleach the decks.
I have 5452 and 5213. 5213 is also a long deck but it's a 17.
Yes, I'm very lucky and excited I found her. And the former owner is pleased that I'm going to take good care of her.

Wow, I've just been looking at some of the older posts about Rushtons, including yours. I see that metamorphosis is not just for butterflies.

I'll be glad to share a high res photo. Let me try again to get one perpendicular to the deck with no reflection. I'll send the one I posted if I don't succeed. I'll send it to you off-forum, hoping that will allow attaching a larger file.
Great find Jon! I suspect you have the 1910 Indian Girl catalog from WCHA. It shows an option on the grade A of cherry decks; if over 15 inch up to 30 inch there is a $5 extra charge. An oak external keel is $1.50, but no mention of external stem. I also have a 1915 catalog image showing the long deck version, not sure where this is from.
1915 Rushton catalog page-10.gif
Remaking decals should be a snap for most decent graphic shops, had these done up real quick for a restoration. price wasnt bad, and of course goes down if you order 100:p


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An update:
Thanks Joe, for posting the image of the 1915 catalogue. The center picture looks just right although I cannot tell if this "OI" version has closed mahogany gunnels. Mine does. Interesting that the thwarts and rear seat are set further forward with the long decks. Of course that makes sense. You cannot have the seat under the deck.

Someone, in a personal message, asked about the broken thwart. The photo of the side of the canoe was taken before the thwart was broken. I may be able to glue or epoxy the pieces together. I tried to VERY GENTLY see if I could line up the two pieces and slide the splinters / fibers back together and gave up for the time being. A couple of days later, my good wife picked them up, jammed them together perfectly and asked if I was going to try to glue them together! Guess I will now that I know they will fit together.

I am surprised at how delicate the thwarts are. They are much thinner than my Old Town's thwarts. They were certainly made to hold the boat together and to look light and graceful, but would not survive any rough carries.
No surprise, I guess, given that this was a lady's canoe.

The link to the additional photos does not seem to work(at least it doesn't work for me) so here's another attempt.


I'm also learning that she has been repaired (carefully) several times. Mostly patches to the canvas with one small patch to a plank.

I'm thinking that the (looks like white pine) supports under the decks were not original. They just look too "fresh" and are not at all rounded while everything else looks more finished. Does anyone else have a long deck IG with these supports?
Rushton Paddle

The paddle is also pretty spectacular, and I love the half-ribs. You have a treasure.

Oh yes, the paddle is sweet. What are the chances? a nearly 100 year-old canoe with a paddle that probably came with it. And the shadow of a (I Presume) Rushton decal. It is just shy of 6 ft long. I guess that either 1) paddling styles have changed some in the past century, 2) this was one very tall woman (or perhaps her husband was very tall), or 3) the paddle was bought to use as a rudder. There is something dangerously elegant and art-like about a spruce paddle with such a thin section just below the grip.
I put something tung oil on the paddle and the decal "popped". Here are some photos. Please use them freely for documentation or history of Rushton canoes / paddles.IMG_0329.jpgIMG_0324.jpg