Teamsters, Dock Wallopers and Child Captains

Teamsters, Dock Wallopers and Child Captains (HM224G)

Location: Port Henry, NY 12974 Essex County
Buy New York State flags at Flagstore.com!
Country: United States of America
Buy United States of America flags at Flagstore.com!

N 44° 3.126', W 73° 27.153'

  • 0 likes
  • 0 check ins
  • 0 favorites
  • 40 views
Inscription
The first of Port Henry's many iron furnaces was erected just west of here in 1822. Throughout the 19th century new furnaces, crushers, concentrating plants, and casting houses were added to increase production.
The key to the success of Port Henry's waterborne commerce of heavy freight was that the boats arriving with holds of anthracite coal from the south could be reloaded with iron ore. Travelling with full loads in both directions allowed canal boats to remain competitive after the railroad arrived in Port Henry in 1875. The ore and the fuel for the furnaces were transported by canal boats, which often were docked here by the hundreds.
Iron ore required iron men to move it about. On the plank road from the ore beds, teamsters sweated to brake and steer their horses, who pulled 7-or-8 ton loads. "Dock wallopers" maneuvered 500-pound wheelbarrows loaded with ore up gangways to dump their load into the canal boat holds. Four men loaded two 100-ton boats a day.
Following a decades-long decline in traffic on the Champlain Canal, the State of New York tried to make it more competitive by enlarging it. The Champlain Barge Canal opened in 1916 with modern locks that necessitated larger piers for the massive steam tug-pulled barge trains of the 20th century.
Chained to the Deck for his own Good
Life on
a canal boat was part glamour, part grit. The small cabin contained the barest of amenities. There were no toilets aboard. Generally speaking, sleeping space in the cabin was at a premium, so some of the crew bunked under awnings on deck. Young children were often tied on deck to prevent them from falling into the canal or lake. Boys worked with their fathers until they were old enough to operate their own boat, and teenage captains were not unheard of. (Courtesy of the C&O Canal National Historical Park.)

Walter C. Witherbee
Successfully managing the technologically complex and financially mercurial workings of an iron business required the toughness of the canal boat captain, teamster, or dock worker. Walter C. Witherbee was one of the three generations of his family who steered the Witherbee-Sherman Company. (Courtesy of Special Collections, Feinberg Library, SUNY Plattsburgh.)
[Background photo reads]
Bay State Iron Company and Port Henry Furnaces, circa 1867, courtesy of the Moriah Historical Society.
Details
HM NumberHM224G
Tags
Placed ByNew York State Canals and Lake Champlain Basin Program
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, October 15th, 2017 at 7:01pm PDT -07:00
Pictures
Sorry, but we don't have a picture of this historical marker yet. If you have a picture, please share it with us. It's simple to do. 1) Become a member. 2) Adopt this historical marker listing. 3) Upload the picture.
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18T E 623957 N 4878823
Decimal Degrees44.05210000, -73.45255000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 44° 3.126', W 73° 27.153'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds44° 3' 7.56" N, 73° 27' 9.1799999999999" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)518
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 35 Dock St, Port Henry NY 12974, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

Is this marker missing? Are the coordinates wrong? Do you have additional information that you would like to share with us? If so, check in.

Check Ins  check in   |    all

Have you seen this marker? If so, check in and tell us about it.

Comments 0 comments

Maintenance Issues
  1. Is this marker part of a series?
  2. What historical period does the marker represent?
  3. What historical place does the marker represent?
  4. What type of marker is it?
  5. What class is the marker?
  6. What style is the marker?
  7. Does the marker have a number?
  8. What year was the marker erected?
  9. This marker needs at least one picture.
  10. Can this marker be seen from the road?
  11. Is the marker in the median?