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15ft 1901
Rushton Indian
w floor rack



Excellent Restored

You may never see another canoe like this for sale: a completely restored 1901 (or 1902?) 15ft Rushton Indian, serial #84. The Indian was the first canvas covered canoe Rushton ever made, and was made for only one year. Production on the Indian ceased when the Indian Girl was introduced the next year.

The canoe was restored in 2019. It is mostly original; the rail caps and sides and one thwart are new. The decks, seats, and thwarts are made of chestnut which is almost unobtainable today. And note the interesting flat and wide shoe keel. It weighs 67lbs. The canvas was treated with a mildewcide and filled with Kirby’s filler. The color is Epifanes Deep Green.

Since this ad is being seen in WCHA I’ll include what little history I’ve learned of it along with some interesting things I’ve learned about how it was made. I obtained the canoe from a family that had at one time lived along Keuka Lake, located south of the town of Penn Yan, NY. The family believed the canoe to be an Indian Girl and that it was purchased ‘used’ in 1918 by the family’s grandfather. I could tell by the shape of its decks and rear seat that it wasn’t an IG, and there were no ID tags or decals visible to identify it as a Rushton. Also the canoe’s birds-eye-view profile was wrong too – the rib tips behind the front seat were bulging outward caused by the canoe’s one thwart being too long or positioned incorrectly. But on the other hand the front seat did hang from the side of the ribs a-la Rushton, there were no broken ribs, the decks were intact, and it came with floor boards that looked to be original. So I took a chance and bought it.

The first thing I did was rub some paint stripper on the stem. At first I saw nothing, but by chance I caught the light just right and saw a very faint JH RUSHTON CANTON NY stamped on the rear stem. I felt like I’d won the lottery! Subsequent rubbing revealed the same marking on the front stem along with the numbers 15 and 84 – indicating the canoe length and serial #.

As to the canoe’s ‘lumpy’ profile, I got in contact with a WCHA member who also owned a Rushton Indian, and he gave me rib-to-rib measurements from his canoe which told me the canoe’s true profile as well as the lengths and locations of the Indian’s two thwarts. My canoe did indeed have bolt holes for two thwarts but their locations were different than his. Specifically, the first thwart on my canoe was positioned way too close to the front seat, and the holes for the 2nd thwart were different as well. After puzzling over this for a while I finally realized that a mistake had been made at the factory. Assuming the thwart bolt holes were drilled as soon as the canoe came off the form, what must have happened is that the positions for the front and rear seats were measured from the wrong end of the canoe. That is to say, the thwart bolt holes on my canoe matched the measurements from my WCHA friend’s Indian if I rotated the canoe 180 degrees around. Goofs do happen. And sometimes it takes 118 years to correct them. I didn’t want to relocate the seats, so I drilled new thwart holes based on this information and, voila-la, the lumpy profile was gone. As to the second thwart, I was able to obtain some old chestnut wood (I was told it came from the rafters of a house that was demolished in Ohio) and fashioned a replacement thwart identical to the measurements provided by my WCHA friend.

Also of note:

· The painter ring seen in the pics mounted on the canoe’s front stem is shown in the 1916 J. W. Rushton catalog, so it is likely original.

· The included floor boards fit into the canoe quite well and thus are likely original as well.

· And the peak vertical height by the deck tips closely match the measurements taken off my WCHA friend’s Indian.

· The decks, seats, and thwarts are made of chestnut wood – very hard to find nowadays.

· And check out that very cool shoe keel.

I’ve had the canoe in the water only a handful of times in a large nearby pond over the past 5 years. I can tell you it paddles beautifully.

Canoe Length

15 feet


Honeoye Falls, NY

Submitted By

Howie Jehan


Submitted Date

February 18, 2024 at 3:14:00 PM

Click on image to see in full.

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