Monday, September 3, 2012


by Richard Palmer

Although boats on the Erie and Oswego canals were generally pulled by horses and mules there is evidence to show that steamboats were in use in the very early days of these waterways. The following article concerning the introduction of steam on the Oswego and Seneca rivers and adjacent canals appeared in the Oswego Free Press on Aug. 2, 1832) where several months since we noticed a very important improvement in the application of steam, discovered by our ingenious fellow citizen, Mr. Ogden Mallory. The engines, entirely of his own invention and conation, have been placed in a very neat and convenient boat, and fully answer every reasonable expectation.

Last week, Mr. Mallory took a trip on our canal. At Baldwinsville he was greeted with a public dinner, and a number of citizens of that village accompanied him to the outlet of the Onondaga lake, and returned with him. On his return the following testimonials were sent to Mr. M. which have been kindly furnished by a friend for publication.

This should be - but what has Oswego done? Many of her citizens have not even deigned to look at this piece of mechanism to ascertain if it is an improvement or not. This is not as it should be. If it is an important, (and we are confident that it is) Oswego will be benefitted by it, and Oswego should be the first to step forward and get into notice.

Messrs. O. & S. Mallory have gone on single-handed, unaided by their fellow citizens in completion of this boat, and its machinery - much time, labour and expense have been necessary - and now that the improvement is fully tested, Oswego ought not to be behind hand in the manifestations of her approbation. But "a prophet is not without honor save in his own country." We hope, however, that these gentlemen will ere long reap from the public a reward commensurate with their deserts.

The boat went on the canal at the rate of four miles per hour, without any injury to the banks, and in the river at the rate of six. We shall make further remarks hereafter.

Baldwinsville, July 27, 1832

CAPT. MALLORY - Sir - The undersigned beg leave to tender you their grateful acknowledgments, for the attentions of yourself and the gentlemen on board your superior boat, Water Witch, during their excursion from this place to the outlet of Onondaga Lake.

Also, that from what observation they had an opportunity to make, they think highly of your improvement in the steam engine.

Respectfully, your obedient servants,


CAPT. MALLORY - Dear Sir - I take great pleasure in sending you the foregoing (copy) letter, at the request of the gentlemen subscribers therein; and of adding my individual wishes for your health, and the complete success of the Water Witch. I have the honor to be your obedient servant,

Baldwinsville , July 27, 1832

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