Tuesday, August 8, 2017

One Man's Travels on the Erie Canal in 1836-- Part 1: A Journal

From the July 23, 2017, Chicago Tribune by Stephanie Reynolds.

As we mark the 200th anniversary of the beginning of construction on the famous Erie Canal, connecting the Hudson River with the Great Lakes, a huge step in American transportation and quite an undertaking without the equipment we have today, here is a look back.

It was 1836, the same year as the Battle of the Alamo in Texas, David Sprague Crandall left his hometown in Lockport, N.Y., to travel on the Erie Canal and the Ohio and Mississippi rivers all the way to Galveston, , Texas.

He took paddle-wheel steamers  and slow-poke line boats pulled by mules on a tow path.  Along the way, he encountered an alligator, a horse race that pitted Tennessee against Kentucky and President Andrew Jackson.

Fortunately for us, he kept a journal of his trip for his 9-year-old grandson, George Lee Thurston II.

Crandall was a journalist and eventually became the owner of the Lockport Courier.  But, on August 8, 1836, he boarded a "shovel-nosed line boat" that was propelled by two mules and a ragged boy."  He was in poor health and going west to seek a change of climate.

he was heading west to Buffalo, NY, at the western end of the canal, at a speed somewhat slower than a person walking.

But, at least he wasn't doing the walking.


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