Sunday, December 21, 2008

1822 Original Rochester Aqueduct

Submitted by Richard Palmer

Lyons Advertiser, Aug. 2, 1822

The Erie Canal.

Aqueduct across Genesee River. - This important work is placed
on a rapid of some length, and about twenty-four feet fall, which is
formed by one of those rolls of land, and barriers of hidden rock,
which, though at several miles distance from it, evidently mark the
course and sinuosities of the shore of Lake Ontario; and is perhaps
the most elevated ramification of land and rock which protrudes from
the natural bank known by the name of the Big Ridge.

On the lower part of this rapid, and within half a mile of the
great falls of Genesee, in the village or Rochester, is the point
selected for the erection of this structure. The bed of the river
here is solid silicious lime rock, nearly allied to that kind called
swine stone. The eastern shore is nearly precipitous; the western is
shelving; and the whole distance across is about 600 feet, over which
the aqueduct is now erecting.

Against the eastern shore the work commences with an abutment,
which will average about 20 feet in thickness, and about 6 in height;
from these the arches spring, of which there will be nine, of 50 feet
span. The first five of these are supported on piers, which, from the
shelving position of the bed of the river, will be from 8 to 4 1-2
feet high; their length is 36 feet 6 inches, including at each end a
pedestal, surmounted by a dome, out of which rises a pilaster,
connected and bound into the parapet walls of the aqueduct.

In planting these piers, extraordinary caution is used to
secure the permanency of the structure, by bolting the courses to the
rock below, and to each other; and by cramping them at the joints in
such manner as to ensure nearly as much strength as is combined in an
unbroken stone. The arches are three feet thick at their foot, and
diminish to and a half at the apex; they rise eleven feet, and their
length is twenty-six feet and six inches. The ends of each arch, or
as they are termed, 'the rings,' are cut in rustic, and projected one
inch, to prevent the superincumbent pressure from abrading the quoins
of the joints.

The materials of which this work is constructed are red
sandstone and gray silicious limestone. The sandstone is of a hard
texture, and is procured about three miles from Rochester, on the
banks of the Genesee river, in blocks of two feet and a half to three
feet and a half in thickness, and three to seven feet long; the
limestone is brought from a quarry near the head of Irondequoit bay,
also distant about three miles. These stones are cut into their
required forms at the quarries, and when transported to the aqueduct
are fit for use, without additional labor.

Above the crown of the arch, and at that point where the bottom
of the aqueduct meets the level of the canal, is a belt, or plinth,
running through the whole length of the structure, and projected
about three inches beyond the walls, above which are to rise the
parapet walls. These are to be five feet hight, five or six feet
thick at their base, and to fall back, or batter, on the inside, one
foot. All these parts of the work are to be of the best cut stones,
as well as the piers, spandrells, pilastres, and arches; they are to
be laid in the best water cement, and the interstices in every part
completely saturated with grout made of the same material.

The whole of this important work, when finished, will contain
11 or 12,000 perches, in which will be 48 or 50,000 feet of well cut
stone. In addition to the arches above described, the work will be
prolonged at each end, from the river to a certain distance, in order
to include within its extent two race-ways; one excavated on the west
side by Col. Rochester, and one on the east side, by Messrs. Johnson
and Seymour, to convey water to the numerous and very valuable
hydraulic works, with which the banks are studded, immediately below
the aqueduct, and the water for which must pass under the aqueduct,
through sunken culverts of about 25 or 30 feet span.

After passing the culvert on the east side, a wall in
continuation, extends about 120 yards, nearly at a right angle with
the aqueduct, and parallel to the race on that side, the object of
which is to secure the canal bank and water, and effectually separate
them from the afore-said race. Still lower, and parallel to the
above, is another wall, which unites with the parapet wall of the
aqueduct, at the south end of the culvert, and which it became
necessary to build, for the purpose of separating the race from the
Genesee river. The length of this wall is about 800 feet, and it
encloses an embankment for the greater security of the race.

The great work was contracted for and begun by Capt. William
Brittin, of Auburn, in 1821. He commenced his operations on it, but
died suddenly, while it was only in a partial state of preparation.
It has since been placed by contract in the hands of Mr. Alfred
Hovey, of Montezuma, to whose energetic exertions and intelligence,
together with those of the principal builder, Mr. John W. Hayes, the
public is looking with the most implicit confidence for the
completion of this important and interesting undertaking.

So far as the work has yet advanced, they have paid the most
careful attention to the plans and model of the structure; and their
skill in the execution of it, as well as their zeal for its
accomplishment, has not been surpassed, and I think rarely


Monday, December 15, 2008

Show Me the Money

1830. The nefarious Coney Island crew play the old shell game

Last time, our four pirates - one professional, one semi-pro, and two rank amateurs - their treasure of Mexican gold buried in the sands of Coney Island, were headed for Manhattan when one of the amateurs, John Brownrigg, cracked and told innkeeper Samuel Leonard and his nearby staff of the crime.

Thomas Wansley, the black steward who had first learned of the money aboard their former ship, bolted through the door and headed into nearby woods. Leonard and his staff seized the other two, ringleader Charles Gibbs and cook Robert Dawes, tied them up and sent for local justice John Van Dyck. Brownrigg decided he was better off on the side of the angels and stayed put.

An impromptu posse of one - Robert Greenwood - set off into the woods after Wansley. Finding him after an hour’s search Greenwood stuck a pistol in the steward’s face and told him to lie face down on the ground. Wansley was apparently too agitated to notice the gun was unloaded and he complied. At some point after the volunteer deputy had tied Wansleys’ hands behind his back and lead him back to the inn, he told his captive the weapon had neither a load or a gunlock, remarking that it was, “just as good’s as any other if you knowed how to use it.” The three prisoners were tossed into the Flatbush jail.

Brownrigg meanwhile directed the authorities to the spot on the beach where the money had been buried. “had been” is the operative phrase. The pirates’ new cohorts, the Johnson brothers had just been there and removed it. Authorities searched the Johnson residence but found nothing. But treachery trumped familial feeling. Some time later John Johnson and his wife slipped out on brother William and reburied the treasure once again, in two separate pits, marking the spots by tying small knots in nearby sedge grass. William went to the insurance authorities and informed on his brother; both of them ending up in court. Nothing was proved and the two brothers went their separate ways. When a sufficient amount of time had passed John made his way back to Pelican Beach. Surprise - no knotted grass. He found one horde, recovering three thousand dollars. The other $1600 was gone. Mr. and Mrs. John Johnson soon disappeared as well, taking the money with them into oblivion. It’s likely William Johnson never saw any of it.

We jump ahead to April 22, 1831. On an island in New York harbor where Lady Liberty would one day raise her torch (some reports say Ellis Island), Thomas Wansley and Charles Gibbs danced - briefly - suspended above the ground by their necks.

Jumping ahead again - in 1878 the Brooklyn Union Argus reported that a fisherman named Johnson, “A son of the Johnson who resided on Barren Island at the time of the mutiny”, lost his anchor off Brooklyn. He searched for it for three days before snagging . . . And here the archivist who uncovered the article reported, “rest of article is missing.” Aaaargh ! ! !

One clue is found in the headline - “RECOVERY OF BURIED MONEY”. Check your attics. If you find a copy of the January 12th, 1878 Union Argus, please get in touch.

© 2006 David Minor / Eagles Byte

Friday, December 12, 2008

Woodburners on Auburn Railroad

From Richard Palmer

Auburn Citizen, June 17, 1928

Retired Engineman Tells of Early Days of Old Wood Burners on Auburn Road

Recounting stories of railroading in days of old on the Auburn road,
John R. Burke, native Auburnian now residing in Newark, tells an
interesting tale in the New York Central Magazine.

Mr. Burke, who began his career 51 years ago, starting with the New
York Central 11 years later came unharmed through the early days of
primitive equipment and was retired as engineman on the Syracuse
Division early this year. His reminiscences follow:

Born December 11, 1857, at Auburn, N.Y., and brought up there, I
entered the service of the New York Central Railroad in November,
1872, on the old Auburn work train.

There was a gang of 20 to 25 men on the train. I did the same work as
the other men, and received the same wages - $1.50 for 12 hours;
work. I was not yet 15 years old, and I never was a water boy. I
flanged the track in winter with wooden shovels before there was any
such thing as a flanger car. I picked and shoveled gravel in Half-Way
Gravel Pit before there was any steam shovel, and more than one day I
had to sit in a snow bank and eat frozen food when noon-time came.

Dan Shapcott was the engineer and was also the conductor who hired
and discharged the men, kept the time of the men and supervised all
the work. His engine was the 206. Our working territory was from
Syracuse to Geneva. Hank Hall was road maser and he had two brothers
- "Ed," section foreman at Cayuga, and "O.J.," conductor of the
Canandaigua work train. Commodore Vanderbilt was president and
William H. Vanderbilt, his son, was vice president then. James
Tillinghast was general superintendent with offices at Syracuse, and
from Syracuse to Rochester was a division of on both the main line
and the Auburn road.

Twenty-five to 30 cars (with not more than 10 tons of freight in each
car) comprised a train in those days, DeWitt freight yard was not yet
thought of at that time. Henry Ward was station agent at Auburn in
those days, and I succeeded his son, Kilbourne Ward, as yardmaster at
Auburn, when he went to the M.D. T. people at Syracuse.(1)
Coupling Cars at Auburn.

In the spring of 1873 I went coupling cars in Auburn yard with the
pin and link, crooked link and chain link, and dead blocks, the most
dangerous cars that ever were built. At this time thee were passenger
car shops in Auburn for building and repairing passenger cars and
painting and varnishing them. The foreman's name was William Johnson.
There also was a blacksmith shop for mending rails, as the ends of
the rails would get battered down, and then would have to be taken
out and repaired. No steel rails in those days.

Tom Munsell was boss blacksmith. William B. Munsell, a son, was
pensioned two months ago in Buffalo as an engineman. These shops
stood where the freight house now stands, from Seymour Street to
Chapel Street, and they were built by the old Auburn & Syracuse
Railroad when John H. Chedell of Auburn was president. Afterwards
consolidation took place and the line was called the New York Central.

Early Passenger Engines.

Who is there now that remembers those passenger engineers of the
several entities that ran over the Auburn road in the days when I
worked with them? There was Hank Case on engine 194, John Kinney,
fireman; Charley Simonds, engine 26; Ed. Morriott, fireman; Bill Pike
and Dave Campbell, engines 102 and 535; R. Peters, fireman; Jack
Baker, engine 104; Charley Chapman, fireman, and Mace Gibson, engine
68; Tommy Crummy, fireman, who got killed going down around the
"Alps" one night. His engine struck a big stone that rolled onto the
track, and he got caught in the gang-way when engine and tender came

Then there was Engineer Belty, engine 154, who went down in a washout
coming into Geneva one Saturday night, going west in March, 1873.
Belty and his fireman got killed. I worked at the wreck the next day.

Some Old-Time Enginemen.

I remember Engineer Shafer on engine 327; Charley Thomas, engine 112;
Leander Wright, engine 103; Frank Dana, fireman, and Mike Lynn, extra
passenger engineer of Rochester.

Some of the freight engineers that I knew in those days and worked
with: Charley Hogan (of 999 fame) then running engine 410; Joe Lipe
and John Thompson, engine 493; Bob Shannon, 404; Emps Belden, 405;
Tom Baker, 409; Ed McGrale, (Stone Wall) 411; Lute Eldridge, 413;
Bill Cone, 415; Jimmy Gould, 330; Johnny Coffee, 323; Dick Pyles,
299; Cale Cherry, 398; Dick Bishop, 121; Harry Watkeys, 331; Jack
Mack, fireman; Ben Balbou, 357; Connie Murphy, 184; Billy Pellynze,
302; Al Pugsley, 353; Billy Owens, 377; Johnnie Cool, 363; Curley
Simpson, 344; Billy Emels, 324; Engineer Bradley, 225.

The first engine that I coupled cars after was number 107, a wood
burner. Billy Godwin was engineer. Afterwards I worked on engines 56,
37 and 130. The road at this time was going from wood to coal in the
engines, and wood was being burned in passenger coach stoves.

On Chicago & North Western.

In 1879 I went to the Chicago & North Western as fireman on the
Wisconsin Division out of Chicago, running between Chicago and
Milwaukee, Fondu Lac, Oshkosh, Harvard Junction and Janesville. I was
firing three years and in the Spring of 1882 I was promoted to
engineer, and the first engine I ran was the 284 Mogul road engine.
On December 30, 1884, I came to the New York, West Shore & Buffalo as
engineer, running between Buffalo and Syracuse on through freight. In
the Spring of 1885 I as put on through freight between Newark and
Frankfort, a 109-mile run.

In the Summer of 1885, I was ordered to take the pusher engine at
Oneida Castle, and remained thee about 18 months. I then went drawing
through freight between DeWitt and Coeymans Junction on the Mohawk
Division. My next run was on a pick-up train between Newark and
Syracuse, and after some time I went drawing fast freight and extra
passenger between Buffalo and Syracuse. When I left this run I took
the yard job at Newark, with passenger relief work, and in 1892 was
given a regular passenger train out of Buffalo, but did not take it,
as I did not want to live in Buffalo.

Two Sons Also in Service.

In 1914 I was transferred to Lyons where I remained until I was
pensioned on Jan. 1. I was railroading 55 years and one month, 45
years as locomotive engineman. My father and three brothers besides
myself have worked for the New York Central, and I have two boys who
are enginemen at the present time - Earl and Harold Burke, running
out of DeWitt and the Syracuse Division. My father worked for the New
York Central 35 years, starting in 1848.

Engines Named and Numbered.

In my early days on the Auburn branch of the New York Central quite a
number of the engines retained their names as well as their number. I
remember the John Wilkinson was no. 100. The General Gould was the
101. The Young America was 53, and the John H. Chedell, 54. The C.C.
Dennis was the 26 and the Daniel Drew was No. 11.
I also knew Bill Gould who ran engine 125, and Jim Wood who ran
engine 110 on the main line. What two beautiful looking engines they
were! The clappers in their bells were "case-hardened" and when the
bells were ringing you would be delighted to listen to them. I would
like to hear such bells again.

Jim Wood was about the nerviest engineer in his day on the New York
Central. It was he who always drew Commodore Vanderbilt and his son,
William H. Vanderbilt, when they came over the road on the Western
Division. He made the run from Syracuse to Rochester, 81 miles, in 82
minutes one time before the days of air brakes. Nowadays it is
consoling to the engineman to know that he has a powerful and quick-
acting air brake at his left hand.

The smallest engine I ever saw on the New York Central was No. 12 at
Auburn. She was a wood-burner and had only one driving wheel on a
side, and she could only handle four or five cars at a time with only
10 tons of freight in each car. Billy Goodwin was the engineer and he
had to do his own firing. (2)

And now I come to the half-way posts on the Auburn road of the New
York Central. In my early days there were posts erected near the side
of the track halfway between stations and they were called the half-
way posts with signs on them reading "Half-Way."

The time-card rule in those days said that eastbound trains had the
right of road over westbound trains until they were 15 minutes late.
Then if a westbound train did not see the eastbound coming, it would
pull out against the other without any orders whatever, and the train
that got to the half-way post first was the best man.

The other train had to back up to the next station. Of course if the
eastbound engineer was running late he would expect the westbound
pulling against him, and I have seen the time where both engineers
would see the other one coming, but would still keep moving toward
the post, and I have seen where one would beat the other by the
length of his pilot. I have seen the engineer of the westbound send a
brakeman out on the front end of the engine, and hold a coat over the
headlight, so that the other engineer would not see him coming until
he got near the post. There were no air brakes in those days, all
hand brakes, and in a movement of this kind every man was at his
post, and I never heard of any accident happening.

Every Man to His Own Engine.

Telegraph offices in those days were not as close as at the present
time, and it would be from some station where there was no telegraph
office that such movements would take place. In the daytime the
engineer would watch for the smoke of the other fellow, and for his
headlight at night. Back in those days Skaneateles Junction, Auburn,
Cayuga, Geneva and Canandaigua were wood stations brought there by
wood contractors.

Back in those days every engineer had a regular engine, and no one
ran her but the regular assigned engineer. There were no injectors in
those days that you could depend on. Every engine had two pumps, one
on each side, to put water in the boiler when the engine was moving.
Engineers had to pack their own pistons, valve stems and pumps, also
all cocks in the cab, and take care of the headlight.

(1) Merchants Dispatch Transportation Company specialized in the
transport of refrigerated perishable goods in refrigerator cars. It
was organized in 1871 and essentially was a subsidiary of the New
York Central Railroad.

(2) This was a 4-2-0, the "Providence," built for the Auburn &
Rochester Railroad by Norris Locomotive Works of Philadelphia in
1842. Later New York Central #180. Cylinders 10" x 20" 48' drivers,
weight, 20,000 lbs.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Western / Central New York timeline - 1000-1619



The approximate date of an Algonkin village on the Genesee River at Oak Hill (later part of Rochester's southeast neighborhood).


Jan 12
Guyford Dufflo Bononieufis of Italy reportedly makes a violin. Three hundred and fifty
years later it will turn up in the possession of C. Chauncey Orsburn of St. Helena, New

French explorer Jacques Cartier hears of curative waters to be found in the future Saratoga Springs area, while exploring the St. Lawrence River. He may also hear of a great falls (Niagara) to the west.

The Rochester Family is granted the use of a family coat of arms.

The approximate date the Seneca in the western Finger Lakes begin branching off, migrating both to the northeast and the northwest.

The Huron prophet and philosopher Deganawidah, assisted by Ha-yo-went'-ha (Hiawatha), unites the Cayuga, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga and Seneca tribes into the Iroquois Confederacy.

The population of the five nations of the Iroquois is somewhere under 20,000. The Seneca account for under 10,000. ** From now on most kettles traded with the St. Lawrence area Indians are made of brass, rather than copper.

Champlain hears of a great waterfall (Niagara) at the western end of Lake Ontario.

King Henry of Navarre grants to a favorite all North American lands north of the 40th parallel (New France).

Champlain learns from the Hurons and Algonquins of a large lake to the west (Ontario).

The approximate date Etienne Brulé, sent west by Champlain with furs traded from the Huron, passes through the Genesee River area and is captured by Senecas and tortured, saved only when a thunderstorm frightens them and they release him. He winters over in western Ontario.

Samuel de Champlain, working from notes made by his scout Etienne Brulé, makes the first map of Lake Ontario, showing the Genesee River.

Oct 8
Samuel de Champlain discovers Oneida Lake.

Champlain, accompanying Etienne Brulé, traces the St. Larwence and Ottawa rivers to Lake Huron, becomes the first white to discover the Great Lakes. He reportedly meets some Ojibwe at a Huron camp. When he returns to the New York area he accompanies a band of Hurons on an attack against the Iroquois near Oneida Lake at Nichols Pond, and is wounded. He winters over with the Hurons. Brulé explores the area around present-day Toronto and then south of Lake Ontario, passes through the Chemung Valley near Big Flats, heading for the future Waverly area. ** Champlain and Joseph le Caron discover Lake Ontario, cross from the future Kingston area to the area of the future Oswego, New York.

© 2009 David Minor / Eagles Byte

Monday, December 8, 2008

1821 Lyons Republican Canal Item

Submitted by Richard Palmer

Lyons Republican, Friday, Nov. 30, 1821

On Thursday last, the citizens of this place, were gratified with a
view of the elegant Packet-Boat, Myron Holley. She arrived at the aqueduct
on Wednesday evening, having on board a large number of persons from
Palmyra and other places adjacent to the canal. This boat is well
calculated for the accommodation of passengers, and is said to surpass any
one on the whole line of the canal. It is 80 feet in length, and 13 Ω in
width. It has two convenient rooms for passengers, and will accommodate one
hundred persons. It draws but 10 inches of water when loaded, and cost two
thousand dollars.

A great number of persons assembled to witness this truly interesting
scene. Between two and three hundred embarked on board, when she started
back for Palmyra, where she safely arrived the same evening. The banks were
literally lined with anxious spectators to behold this elegant specimen of
western enterprise. Owing to the unfavorableness of the weather the lock
and aqueduct were not in a situation to let the boat pass through,
otherwise she would have come down as far as this village. Mr. Seymour
Scovel, the owner of the boat, deserves great credit for his remitted
exertions in finishing and rendering her thus commodious.

This is the first boat of any magnitude, that has navigated the waters
of the Erie Canal, on this section, and we are not a little proud of having
it said, that even the forests of the west, have yielded to the
enterprising industry of man, and that boats of burden are now gently
gliding in the midst thereof. Every one present evinced a degree of
pleasure in witnessing, what they dreamed impracticable five years ago. The
boat is expected here again next week, should the weather prove favorable.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Cat's Out

The Remaining Coney Island Pirates Come Ashore

© 2006 David Minor / Eagles Byte

They reopened the Coney Island Parachute Jump tower earlier this month. Shut down since 1965, falling into disrepair and narrowly dodging the wrecker’s ball ever since, the 277-foot structure once again offers us a glimpse of the past glories of the Brooklyn amusement mecca looking out over Gravesend Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

Back in November of 1830, when the four surviving pirates of the brig Vineyard struggled to stay afloat in their longboat (and to hang on to the remaining $5,000 in Mexican gold), there were no amusement park rides to light their way to shore - no Steeplechase horse race, no Cyclone roller coaster, no Wonder Thrill Wheel, no boardwalk smelling of Nathan’s hots. The hotel built here last year would have closed for the season, and no lights winked into the darkness from the structure to guide them ashore.

The killers had little choice but to sweep in with the surf and plow into the darkened, deserted stretch of beach. They hauled their loot up onto the shore, out of reach of the treacherous Atlantic waters. Using the only implement they had, the boat’s oars, they dug a pit in the sand, grabbed enough coins to suit their needs for the immediate future, and buried the remainder.

After smoothing the sand over the money they moved further on up the beach. Suddenly a fifth figure appeared out of the night. It was William S. Nicholson of nearby Gravesend. They told him of being shipwrecked nearby and Williamson directed them to the home of brothers John Johnson, his wife, and brother William. The four drenched seamen repeated the story they’d told Williamson and the Johnsons offered the men their own beds for the night. All the sudden excitement made sleep difficult for some of the company and the two Johnson boys sat up talking to Vineyard sailor John Brownrigg, by now a full-fledged member of the conspiracy, after the rest had gone to bed. Perhaps Brownigg was playing for time, looking for a way to extricate himself from future murder charges, or perhaps it was a case of ‘it takes one to know one’ - he told the two brothers the entire story. He’d judged right - the Johnsons agreed to help their nefarious guests keep the hot gold hidden.

In the morning a meeting was held and the gang of four became a gang of six (perhaps seven, we don’t know for sure about Mrs, Johsnon). The brothers had returned to the treasure site with black Vineyard steward Thomas J. Wansley, to pick up some clothing left behind the night before. The Johnsons returned home and lead the four men to a hotel on Sheepshead Bay where they could catch a ferry into New York. Then, as pre-arranged, the brothers returned to the burial spot, dug the money up and reburied it further along the beach, afterwards walking away out in the ebbing and flowing surf, to obliterate their footprints.

Gathered at the hotel in Sheephead Bay with innkeeper Samuel Leonard, Brownrigg suddenly snapped under the pressure and, before anyone could silence him, blurted out the whole story. All hell broke out, as we’ll see next time.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Launch of the Myron Holley

Submitted by Richard Palmer

Western Farmer, Palmyra, Nov. 21, 1821

THE LAUNCH. - On the morning of the 15th inst. it was verbally
announced to the inhabitants of this village, that the new and
elegant Packet Boat built here by Seymour Scovell, Esq. would be
launched in the course of the day. This information, together with
the repeated discharge of cannon, immediately drew together a large
collection of citizens to witness this interesting transaction.

About 11 o'clock A.M. a procession was formed at the Eagle
Hotel, under the direction of Col. Thomas Rogers 2d, who acted as
Marshal on the occasion, and moved, preceded by a band of music, to
the Boat, which then rested on the ways, confined only by pulleys
from its destined element. While in this situation, it was occupied
by a number of gentlemen, among whom were those who had been
requested to deliver an address and to read the toasts prepared for
the occasion.

A gun was then fired as the signal for loosening the ropes,
when the Boat gently glided into the water, amidst the reiterated
cheers of numerous spectators - the animating notes of the
instrumental and martial music, and the reverberating thunder of

The Boat's name was then announced by the proprietor, which we
think highly appropriate, and creditable not only to Mr. Scovell, but
to that section of the Canal on which it is destined to ride. - Its
name is the MYRON HOLLEY.

After the general joy had somewhat subsided, and the people
called to order, a laconic, animated, and truly appropriate address
was pronounced from the Boat, by I. J. Richardson, Esq. which was
answered with three cheers and a gun.

The following toasts were next called for, which were read,
accompanied by music and the discharge of cannon.

1. The Packet Boat Myron Holley - Destined to ride in the road
which the man whose name it bears has been preeminently engaged in
erecting - may its usefulness and public accommodations answer the
most sanguine expectations of its proprietors.

2. The Canal - Conceived in wisdom, promoted by patriotism, and
executed with ability and integrity.

3. The 15th of November 1821 - Rendered memorable by the
launch of the Myron Holley - may the inhabitants of Palmyra at future
anniversaries, remember with gratitude the individual whose exertions
have produced this event.

4. Commissioners and Engineers - Selected for their wisdom,
ability and integrity - may their faithful exertions secure the
applause and gratitude which they so richly merit.

5. The Contractors - Their industry and enterprise merit the
gratitude of, and an ample recompence from, the government.

6. The State of New-York - Pre-eminently great in its resources
and magnanimity.

7. The Governor and constituted authorities of the State of New

8. The master builder of the Boat, Mr. Hamlet Almsbury - his
skill and industry merit a further patronage.

After partaking of some refreshment, upwards of two hundred of
the company present, went on board the Myron Holley, and proceeded
west on the Canal, to the first lock, a distance of about three
miles, which, owing to the paddle gates not being hung, was then
impassable. While in this lock, built by Darius Comstock, Esq.
several volunteer toasts were given in commendation of this
gentleman's skill and industry, which the elegance and fitness of the
work so strikingly evinced.

On the way to and from the lock, the passengers were delighted,
not only with the sweet shrill notes of the bugle and other
appropriate music on board, but the novelty of the scene, with
beholding the banks of the Canal, its bridges, and the windows and
doors of every dwelling they passed, lined with admiring spectators.

On their return, about one hundred of the company on board,
repaired to the Eagle Hotel, where they partook of an elegant supper,
prepared by Maj. Wm. Rogers for the occasion.

The Myron Holley is said to be the best and most elegant boat
on the Canal. It is well calculated for the accommodation of
passengers, for which it is particularly designed. It will make daily
excursions on the Canal, Sundays excepted, as long as the weather
will permit.

We learn that the upper lock is now completed, and that the the
repairs found necessary to be made on Mr. Cluse's job about one mile
east of this village, will be in a few days be finished, which will
open a navigation of about 28 miles on this section. The Canal
through the marshes at Montezuma, owing to the uncommon wet weather
during the latter part of the season, will not be ready to receive
the water before next spring.

Monday, December 1, 2008

More Early Erie Canal Items

Submitted by Richard Palmer

Geneva Gazette. June 30, 1819

Montezuma bridge, between the village of that name, and the town
of Mentz, over the Seneca River and marshes, Onondaga county, extends
three miles! It is said to be the longest bridge in the world. This
is the third bridge over the Cayuga and Seneca river, in the space
of seven miles, and remarkably shows the progress of improvement in
this part of our country.

Ontario Repository, Canandaigua, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 1821

The last Palmyra paper gives us the particulars of the
proceedings at that place, on the 15th inst. in launching a new and
elegant Packet Boat, built by Mr. Seymour Scovel, for the conveyance
of passengers, and finished in a style and with accommodations
superior to any boat heretofore used on the canal.

The proceedings evince the same lively interest that is always
felt in whatever relates to this great inland communication. As she
glided into the waters of the can, the air resounded with the cheers
of numerous spectators, the animating strains of music, and the roar
of cannon.

The proprietor then announced her name, the MYRON HOLLEY. A
short and suitable address was then delivered from the boat, by
Israel J. Richardson, Esq. after which the company partook an
excursion of a few miles down the canal, in this novel mode of
conveyance. In the evening, about 100 of the party partook of a
supper prepared for the occasion by Col. Rogers.

The Canal is now navigable on this section, from the Irondquot
(cq) in Pittsford, to within a mile of Lyons - about 28 miles.

Lyons Advertiser, Friday, August 2, 1822

The Canal Completed through the Cayuga Marshes. - By the
following, from a valued correspondent at Montezuma, it will be seen
that the great work of excavating the canal through the Cayuga
Marshes, is at length completed, and that the navigation is now
uninterrupted between this village and the middle section.

Montezuma, 31st July, 1822

Mr. Day - Yesterday I had the satisfaction of passing of
passing from Clyde through the celebrated Cayuga Marshes, on the Erie
Canal, in the first boat ever borne by the waters of that part of the
line. The waters had been let let into the canal from Clyde to the
west end of the Marsh level, the evening before; but they did not
reach the lock which separates the Marsh level from the Clyde level
more than 3 hours before the arrival of the Packet in which I travelled.

The passage was pleasant, and highly enjoyed by a large number
of persons. At the lock we were a little delayed, inconsequence of
the paddle gates not being entirely completed. They were, however,
soon put into a condition to admit us pass; and as out boat went out
of the lock, we gave three cheers, which were cordially returned by a
large number of persons on land.

On the marsh the water in the canal was more than five feet
deep, except at four or five bars, which had not been wholly
removed. The length of the marsh level is about six and a half miles,
and as it is watered by the Seneca and Cayuga lakes, which lie above
it to the south, the whole excavation of this level, to the depth of
five feet below the surface of the water, without any possibility of
draining it, - consisting as it does almost exclusively of muck, marl
and quicksand, must have been a work of prodigious difficulty.

But the excavation is done, except the bars above mentioned,
which it is said will all be removed in three days; - and there is
now opened a free passage by the canal, from the middle section into
Ontario county as far as Lyons, without the necessity of any portage
or change of boats.

The canal at present is not navigable farther west than Lyons,
in consequence of the extreme drought in this quarter, the streams
being now more shrunk and exhausted than they have been for twenty
years before. Still, a moderate rain would at once make the Canal
navigable to Heartwell's basin, in Monroe county; - and without rain,
there is no doubt that when the feeder from the Genesee River is
brought across the Irondequot embankment, the navigation will be good
and unbroken from Rochester to the Little Falls - and that embankment
is intended to be completed in the middle of September next. I have
been from the first a decided advocate of the canal, but being well
acquainted with the character of the country through which it runs, I
could not help regarding certain parts with peculiar anxiety, and
even with some doubt of their practicability. Of these points the
Cayuga Marsh was one.

But this part of the line is actually completed, and I have had
the satisfaction of passing through it, in one of the largest and
best packet boats now in use, the Myron Holley. The canal through the
marsh is broad and deep, and has every appearance of being permanent.
There is a good towing path through it, and if that part of the canal
is most beautiful where the straight lines are the longest, and where
the banks are highest and most regular, then this part of the great
work will be considered as more beautiful than any portion of it
hitherto completed.

The boat will start on its return through the marsh to Lyons,
in a few minutes, which prevents my giving you several more
particulars of this most extraordinary and interesting part of the
Respectfully yours, & c.

G ---- L ----