"When I was 7, we moved [to the] lock, and we were very happy. My mother was so happy to have a home; she was just about wild. And we did love it here, as a locktender, you know?" —Lavenia Cross Waskey
The canal company supplied locktenders with a house next to the lock which enabled them to work the lock day and night. The house provided more than a roof over their heads: it was a stable home for their families. For children, used to the transient canal boat life, a permanent home meant a chance to attend school and make lasting friends.
In addition to the house, locktenders received a small monthly salary and an acre of land. The low pay meant that locktenders had to supplement their incomes. A garden plot helped put food on the table and any excess produce could be traded with boatmen for coal and other necessities. Women baked bread or pies for trade. Children contributed by helping in the garden at the lock, as well as by fishing or hunting muskrats for the canal company's bounty reward.