In his explorations of New England, Frederick Pursh (1774–1820) had to endure difficult weather conditions, lack of adequate food, and frequent illness. In July 1807 he botanized near Oswego, New York:
"This morning, after breakfast, I went down the river on board a boat. This River, though deep & large, having all the body of water in it, which is discharged by all the small lakes, is very much impeded by rigids or ledges of rock, which go across it, sometimes for a considerable distance. The bottom is, in deep & shallow water, covered with aquatic plants; some of them, chiefly Potamogetons, grow to an exceeding length in deep water.—Eels & Water snakes, both of a most enormous size, are the chief inhabitants of it. I thought to have observed some leaves of Valisneria floating on the water. The banks of the river are very romantick; in showing the woods & River in its primitive state, exactly as much so as when it was not known to white people. Here is no house or any sign of cultivation to be seen until you come near Oswego . . . I had to wait till nearly sunset, before I could get anything to eat & then it was nothing but eel, which I never could eat. I had to do as well as I could, among people whose life was very rough, & who think about nothing but making some money, but the little trade they have here which is chiefly salt. It is a place I dislike the most of all I have ever been at, in the United States. I was not able to get one civil man by whom I could get some information."