Sunday, September 27, 2009

Progress of the Canal

Lyons Republican

Nov. 16, 1821

Utica November 6.

We are happy to state that the canal from this place to the Little Falls has been completed within the time contemplated and opened for the purpose of navigation. The water was let in from the termination of the Utica level to the Falls on Thursday last. On Friday morning Mr. Seymour, acting commissioner on the Eastern section Messrs. Wright and White, engineers, together with several other gentlemen, started from this village in the Chief Engineer, and followed by three other boats with passengers, performed the first trip on this interesting portion of the Erie Canal. In passing Frankfort, Herkimer and Germantown, many gentlemen came on board, and before the voyage was completed every boat was thronged with passengers and the bridges and towing path were lined with admiring spectators. At the Little falls the arrival of the boats was announced by a nation salute and the cheers of a great number of people, who had assembled to witness the scene. Here an incident took place which excited considerable interest particularly in the minds of those on board who had participated in the dangers and difficulties of the revolutionary war. There was a gentleman present who belonged to the family of Gen. Washington during the latter part of that eventful period, and who received him on board his barge after he had taken leave of the army at West Point, and conducted him to New York and from thence to Elizabethtown, whence he took his departure for Annapolis where Congress was then sitting, to resign his commission. The rudder of the Chief Engineer was surrendered to this gentleman who guided her into the first lock at the Falls, while the band of music played Washington’s march and the discharge of cannon reverberated from the surrounding hills.

On landing at the Fall a procession was formed and marched to the house of Colonel Meyers where a large number of gentlemen partook of an excellent dinner prepared for the occasion. A part of the boats return the same evening and the remainder on Saturday.

The Chief Engineer was built at Rome and was the first boat launched into the waters of the Erie Canal. It was in this boat that the Canal Commissioners, Engineers and others made the first trip from this place to Rome on the 23rd of October 1819.

Several boats arrived here last week from Schenectady, loaded with merchandize which entered the canal at German flats without unlading.

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