Life Along the Canal

Life Along the Canal (HM16JN)

Location: Bristol, PA 19007 Bucks County
Country: United States of America

N 40° 6.336', W 74° 51.12'

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Inscription

Delaware Canal State Park

"We used to trade a lot along the canal, people who had vegetables and things, we'd give them coal and they'd give us cabbages, tomatoes and things like that. Then there were lock tenders whose wives made good bread. We'd give them coal for bread." Mrs. Chester Mann, Boat Captain's Daughter.

Canallers
You became a captain as young as sixteen by showing "The Company" what you could do. You demonstrated how to "snub" (slow down and brake for lock operations), keep accurate cargo records (pay base on number of miles hauled and coal tonnage delivered), and care for the mule team.

A boat's "rig" consisted of mules, harness, tow lines, feed box, night hawker (headlight), stove and bilge pump. While some captains owned their boats, most rented them from Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company. The captain hired a mule driver or used family as crew members.

The "Swampers" (Delaware Canal captains) and "Lehigh Dutchmen" (Lehigh Canal captains) ran the lengths of both canals. They loaded coal in Luzerne (1838-1862) or Carbon County, delivered it to Bristol, and returned to Seigfried (now Northampton) for their pay. Locktenders ended their day at 10:00 pm. When canallers reached the next lock, they stabled their mules for the night, made necessary repairs, and rested. At 4:00 am when locktenders began work, boats once more pressed forward.

Life on the Water
Canal boats provided primitive living conditions. The typical crew of two slept on deck or in the 8 x 10 foot cabin below. They prepared meals on a cook stove, enhancing their stored supplies with fresh food from locktenders or general stores. They enjoyed foods such as bread, flitch (bacon), coffee cured meats, eggs, fresh fruits, vegetables, an canned goods. Springs along the canal supplied drinking water kept in wooden barrels on deck.

Often, a canallers's family came along for the ride. Children as young as seven drove the mules along the towpath. Wives took over cooking operations and shared steering responsibilities. During warmer months the canals were their entire world.

Details
HM NumberHM16JN
Tags
Placed ByFriends of the Delaware Canal
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, September 10th, 2014 at 10:45pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18T E 512613 N 4439488
Decimal Degrees40.10560000, -74.85200000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 40° 6.336', W 74° 51.12'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds40° 6' 20.16" N, 74° 51' 7.20" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)215, 267
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 601-671 Jefferson Ave, Bristol PA 19007, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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