1820
Feb 1 
Canvass White receives a U. S. patent for a cement that hardens under water.

Apr 21 
Lion of the West leaves Rochester, the first canal boat from there to Utica, New York, on the Erie Canal.

May 18
Laure Balzac, the novelist's sister, marries Eugène-August-Louis Midy de la Greneraye dit Surville, at Paris' Church of Saint-Merry. The couple will move to Bayeux where Surville will be employed as a grade 2 engineer on canal projects.

Jul 1 
The first toll is collected on the Erie Canal.

Aug 20 
A meeting is held at Canandaigua's Mill's Hotel to discuss the building of a canal linking Canandaigua Lake with the Erie Canal. John C. Spencer, James D. Bemis, Asa Stanley, Dudley Marvin, William H. Adams are appointed to study a route.

December 
Fifteen men, mostly Quakers, knowing the Erie Canal will come through the area, have bought up the site of the future Lockport.

Dec 21 
The Canandaigua Lake canal committee recommends a 19 1/2-mile route that would require 23 locks and cost $68,000. The Ontario Canal Company is formed.

New York Canals
The Guard Lock, allowing the Erie to cross Schoharie Creek at Fort Hunter, is constructed. ** Improvements are completed along 1.72 miles of the Cayuga-Seneca Waterway. Towpaths are no longer needed on the slackwater portions.
Virginia takes control of the James River and Kanawha Canal. ** The first U. S. Tidewater canal, the Fox Creek Canal, is completed. ** Architect and canal engineer Benjamin Henry Latrobe dies of yellow fever in New Orleans.

1821
Mar 31
The New York State legislature incorporates the Ontario Canal Company.

May
Contracts are let for the Deep Cut portion of the Erie Canal at Lockport.

May 21 
The contract to build the five-step Erie Canal locks at Lockport is awarded to Claudius Boughton, Joseph Comstock, Oliver Culver, and John Maynard.

May 23
Ontario Canal Company commissioners N. Gorham, Z. Seymour, Asa Stanley, P. P. Bates, and William H. Adams open the books for subscriptions, at Coe's Hotel in Canandaigua.

Jun 12
Ontario Canal Company subscriptions reach $20,000.

Sep 11
A meeting is held in Philadelphia to resuscitate the Chesapeake and Delaware canal plans.

De Witt Clinton is re-elected governor of New York State. ** Construction begins on Pennsylvania's Union Canal. ** The Maine legislature grants a charter to the Cumberland-Oxford Canal Company. ** Construction begins on Canada's Lachine Canal, to connect Montréal and Ottawa, bypassing rapids on the St. Lawrence. ** Industrialist William Hamilton Merritt forms Canada's Welland Canal Company. ** Construction on the Erie Canal reaches Rochester, New York. The state signs construction contracts for the Niagara County portion of the canal. ** Canvass White recommends running the Erie on the northern side of the Mohawk River, in the Schenectady-to-Albany portion. The canal reaches Albany ** The Seneca Canal is completed. ** The Champlain Canal excavation out of Schuylerville, New York comes within ten miles of Waterford. ** The Ontario provincial legislature in York (Toronto)forms a commission to study ways to improve internal navigation. It hires civil engineer Samuel Clowes to make a detailed survey and cost analysis.


1822
February
Geneva, New York, businessmen dissatisfied with the Seneca Lock Navigation Company's plans issue a report advocating a Susquehanna and St. Lawrence Canal. Nothing comes of the plan.

Mar 20 
The U. S. government approves a canal connecting Lake Michigan with the Illinois River, but allocates no funds for the project.

Oct 29 
The first boat with a cargo of Rochester flour leaves for Little Falls, along the Erie Canal.

June 
The contract for the easternmost prism (bed) of the Erie Canal is awarded to John Merriam and Obadiah Densmore.

Nov 28
New York's Champlain Canal is extended through the village of Waterford.

December 
James Geddes recommends five routes for Ohio canals to the state's legislature.

Dec 19 
New York's Erie Canal Commission signs a contract with Samuel Wilkeson and Ebenezer Johnson, for building the dam at Tonawanda.

The packet Myron Holley arrives in Bushnell's Basin, south of Rochester. ** The town of Fairport is created on the site. Nathan Roberts is named to plan the Lockport section of the Erie. ** A dam is constructed on Schoharie Creek at Fort Hunter to create a slack water section where Erie Canal boats could be towed across the creek. Lock 20 is completed nearby. ** The Erie Canal's Great Embankment is built, a mile in length and seventy feet high, to carry the canal over Rochester's Irondequoit Valley. ** Construction begins on New York's Glens Falls Feeder Canal. ** Connecticut charters the Farmington Canal Company. ** The Maryland General Assembly authorizes a canal from Baltimore, Maryland, to Conewago Falls, on the Susquehanna River. ** Benjamin Wright surveys a route for Massachusetts and Rhode Island's Blackstone Canal, from Worcester, Massachusetts, to Providence, Rhode Island. ** Scotland's Caledonian Canal is completed. ** The decision is made to run the Erie Canal on the northern side of the Mohawk River, in the Schenectady-to-Albany portion. ** Construction on an Erie Canal aqueduct across the Genesee River is begun. Grimsby sandstone quarried at the nearby village of Carthage is used. Mason William Morgan arrives to work on the aqueduct. ** Promoters of a canal to reach from the Housatonic River at Sharon to New York's Hudson River offer to build a side canal to New York City. ** Illinois congressman Daniel Bell advocates a canal joining the Illnois River with Lake Michigan.


1823
Jan 14 
The Massachusetts legislature incorporates the Blackstone Canal Company.

Feb 4 
Massachusetts approves the creation of the Hampshire and Hampden Canal Company.

Mar 13 
The Pennsylvania General Assembly approves a Delaware and Hudson Canal.

Apr 23 
New York State charters the Delaware and Hudson Canal.

June 
The Baltimore-Conewago Canal commissioners leave Baltimore to meet with De Witt Clinton in New York City. They hire James Geddes as their canal director. From there they continue to Albany and take the Erie Canal route to Cayuga Lake. They take a steamboat to Ithaca and travel overland to the Susquehanna River. Their efforts are for nothing. The canal is never built.

Jul 8 
The 35-mile Bude Canal opens in Cornwall, England, with six incline planes instead of locks. 

October 
An aqueduct designed by David Stanhope Bates is completed in Rochester, to carry the Erie over the Genesee River.

Oct 1 
The first water is put into the completed portion of the Erie Canal.

Oct 8 
The first boats arrive in Albany.

November 
The canalboat Mary and Hannah arrives in New York City with a cargo of wheat, the first to arrive from Seneca Lake via the Erie Canal. The owners are presented with an engraved urn.


Rochester celebrates the opening of the Erie Canal. ** Nathan Roberts presents his Lockport plans to the Canal Board. ** Brockport becomes the temporary western terminus of the Erie. ** William Avery of Pompey, New York, tests his steam-powered canal boat on the Erie. ** Incorporators of the Cumberland Oxford Canal Company have the proposed route examined. ** John Jervis becomes construction superintendent on a fifty-mile stretch of the Erie. ** A culvert is built at Medina to carry the canal over a road. ** A 14-foot Genesee River waterfall at the site of Ebenezer "Indian" Allen's mill of the 1790s is blasted away as part of the aqueduct construction project in Rochester The first pier of the new aqueduct is carried away by spring floods. ** The New York State legislature approves the New York and Sharon (Connecticut) Canal Company, but will not back it with auction duties paid to New York City. ** Canvass White, assistant engineer on the Erie Canal, quits to seek more lucrative consulting projects, goes to work for former boss Benjamin Wright on Manhattan's water supply problems.
Virginia takes over the operation of the James River and Kanawha Canal. ** ** A triple lock is built on the Champlain Canal at Whitehall. The Champlain Canal opens. It connects to the Erie Canal, crossing the Mohawk River on a slackwater navigation below Waterford. ** James Geddes runs surveys for Ohio canals. ** Union Canal contracts are ready to be put out for bids. ** Construction begins on the Delaware and Hudson Canal. ** Illinois forms a Canal Commission and hires Justus Post and Rene Paul to run surveys. ** Genesee Valley business interests petition the state legislature for a valley canal to connect the Erie Canal with the Allegheny River near Olean.f Champlain Canal at Whitehall. ** Abutments and piers for the aqueduct at Rexford are transported to the site. ** The Cohoes flight is built.


1824
Jan 20 
At an Ontario Canal Company meeting, at Canandaigua's Mead's Hotel, nine directors are elected. The Canal is never built.

Jan 26 
The southernmost of two routes is chosen for the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal.

Apr 1 
A board is chosen to study the feasibility of a canal from the Susquehanna River to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Apr 12 
De Witt Clinton is deposed as Erie Canal commissioner.

Apr 15 
Work resumes on the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, after a 19-year delay, under Chief Engineer Benjamin Wright.

Apr 30 
Congress appropriates funds for surveys on roads and canals.

May 28 
Naturalist Edward Hitchcock writes to Professor Benjamin Silliman at Yale, complaining that Amos Eaton of the Renssalaer School at Troy has reproduced, without authorization, a part of the geological survey conducted by Hitchcock, in Eaton's published survey of the Erie Canal route.

Jun 1 
The Erie Canal Commission signs a second, overlapping contract with Samuel Wilkeson and Ebenezer Johnson, for building the dam at Tonawanda.

Oct 26 
The cutting of the western end of the Erie Canal, Lockport to Lake Erie, breaks through.

Nov 30 
Construction begins on Canada's Welland Canal, to bypass Niagara Falls.

December 
Final engineering measurements are made at Lockport, is found found completely satisfactory.

Dec 18 
New York City mayor Philip Hone decides to back the Delaware and Hudson Canal.

Dec 31
The New Jersey legislature grants a charter to the Morris Canal and Banking Company.


The Pennsylvania state legislature appoints a canal commission - the Pennsylvania Society for the Promotion of Internal Improvements in the Commonwealth. ** The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company is formed. ** Ohio retains Judge David Stanhope Bates to survey two of Geddes' routes, which will become the Ohio and Erie Canal and the Miami and Erie Canal. ** Construction begins on New Jersey's Morris Canal, under the supervision of George P. Macculloch and James Renwick. ** Horatio Allen becomes a resident engineer on the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. ** Justus Post and Rene Paul recommend five possibilities for a canal between Lake Michigan and the Illinois River. ** The U. S. Supreme Court, in Gibbons v. Ogden, gives the Federal government control of all U. S. rivers - the first of the Rivers and Harbors acts. ** A commission to look into improving the internal navigation of Ontario makes a report and hires civil engineer Samuel Clowes to make a survey and cost analysis.
Erie Canal

The first pier of the new Genesee River aqueduct at Rochester is carried away by spring floods. ** The steamboat Erie Canal is used on the canal at Rochester. Canal construction serves as Utica's water supply aqueduct. ** Professor Amos Eaton's report on the rock formations along the route of the future canal, commissioned by Stephen Van Rennselaer, is published. ** The aqueducts at Crescent and at Rexford are completed, as is the entire canal distance between Schenectady and Albany. ** The river and guard locks at Tonawanda are completed.


1825
Jan 7 
Subscription of stock in the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company opens, sells out immediately.

Mar 3 
The Federal government give support to the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal.

Mar 8 
The Delaware and Hudson Canal Corporation is organized.

Apr 27 
Capital stock subscriptions for the Blackstone Canal go on sale in Providence, Rhode Island.

May 25 
The stockholders of the James River and Kanawha Canal meet for the first time.

Jun 7 
The Marquis de Lafayette, touring America, arrives in Rochester, New York, on the Governor Clinton, via the Erie Canal.

Jun 9 
Lafayette reaches Rome.

Jun 10 
Lafayette visits Whitesboro, New York.

Jul 4 
Construction begins on Connecticut's Farmington Canal, from Massachusetts to Long Island Sound, along the Connecticut River. ** De Witt Clinton and Ohio governor Jeremiah Morrow preside at the ground breaking for the Ohio and Erie Canal, at Licking Summit, Ohio.

Jul 5 
Construction begins on the Ohio and Erie Canal.

Jul 6 
New York governor De Witt Clinton breaks ground for the Miami and Erie Canal.

Jul 13 
Construction on the Delaware and Hudson Canal begins, at Wurtsboro, New York.

Jul 21 
Clinton and Morrow preside at the ground breaking for the Miami and Erie Canal, at Middletown, Ohio.

July 
Construction begins on New Jersey's Morris Canal.

Sep 27 
The Chesapeake and Delaware Canal Company fires engineer and contractor John Randel, Jr.

Oct 15 
De Witt Clinton's party leaves Albany on the Erie Canal.

Oct 25 
Clinton's party arrives in Buffalo. The first Erie Canal boat for New York City leaves Buffalo. ** The first Erie Canal boats leave Buffalo, New York, destination New York City.

Oct 26 
Clinton officially opens the 83-lock Erie Canal and departs from Buffalo aboard the Seneca Chief . A series of 32-pounder cannon from Perry's victory on Lake Erie, spaced along the entire route fire in relay. The message running from Buffalo to New York, takes an hour and twenty minutes to arrive and then is repeated in reverse.

Oct 27 
Clinton's flotilla reaches Rochester.

Nov 2
The Clinton flotilla reaches Albany.

Nov 7		
The flotilla reaches New York City.

Erie Canal
John Rutherford's Facts and observations in relation to the origin and completion of the Erie canal, is published by N. B. Holmes, in New York City. ** A canal settlement springs up at Knowlesville, New York, east of Medina. ** The Erie Canal Aqueduct at Rochester is completed. The locks at Lockport are opened to traffic. ** After citizens of Oswego lobby to have an Oswego River branch built the state authorizes $160,000 to construct the Oswego Canal. ** The poem "The Meeting of the Waters of the Hudson and Erie" is published, to the folk tune of "Old Head of Dennis". ** Artist George Catlin sketches work on the deep cut at Lockport.

The Ohio legislature authorizes the construction of the Ohio and Erie, and the Miami and Erie canals. ** David Stanhope Bates is made Chief Engineer of the Ohio River canal around the falls at Louisville. ** John Jervis accompanies Benjamin Wright as Principal Assistant Engineer on the Delaware and Hudson Canal. Horatio Allen becomes a resident engineer. ** The U. S. Congress subscribes to the stock of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. ** E. H. Gill becomes an assistant engineer on the canal, under Wright. ** William Roberts joins Sylvester Welch's engineering staff on the Union Canal. Canvass White replaces Loammi Baldwin as Chief Engineer. ** The Schuylkill Navigation is completed. The first tunnel in the U. S. is constructed on the Navigation at Auburn, Pennsylvania, primarily for promotional purposes. ** The route of the Cumberland-Oxford Canal is surveyed. ** Canada's Lachine Canal is completed. ** Construction begins on Canada's Carillon and Grenville canals, on the Ottawa River. ** The Blackstone Canal Company corporation is formed, in Worcester, Massachusetts. ** The Canal d'Aire opens, connecting the River Lys and the Canal de Neuffossé with the River Scarpe. ** Citizens of the Troy, New York, area propose a canal to Boston, through the Berkshire Mountains. ** The Seneca Lock Navigation Company petitions the New York State legislature to purchase the canal. The state will do so. ** Cadwallader Colden's Memoir, Prepared at the Request of a Committee of the Common Council of the City of New York and Presented to the Mayor of the City, at the Celebration of the Completion of the New York Canals. ** New York governor De Witt Clinton proposes a series of canals linking Long Island's bays. ** Supreme Court chief justice John Marshall rules against monopolies in water transportation.

France
Eugene Surville, brother-in-law of novelist Honoré de Balzac, is appointed engineer in chief of the Essonne Canal.
1826
February 
The Pennsylvania legislature authorizes a Main Line Canal, between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. ** A tunnel for the is completed on the Main Line Canal west of Lebanon, Pennsylvania.

Apr 25 
Renssalaer student and future state entomologist Asa Fitch joins the school's Erie Canal expedition.

May 2 
The expedition leaves Troy aboard the Lafayette under the leadership of Professor Amos Eaton. DeWitt Clinton's son George W. Clinton is one of the participants.

May 14 
The expedition reaches Rochester. Eaton predicts the town will fail to survive.

May 25 
The expedition leaves Buffalo for the return trip.

Jul 4 
Construction begins at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on the Main Line Canal. ** The cornerstone is laid for the first lock of New York's Oswego Canal.

Erastus Bearcup is arrested in Rochester for shouting obscenities at ladies on a passing canal boat. ** The locks south of Juncta are doubled. ** Rensselaerian School (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) professor Amos Eaton leads a geological expedition through the western part of the state aboard the canal boat LaFayette. He is accompanied by physicist Joseph Henry, among others. They name the town of Gasport when they discover coal gas from a spring. ** 418 boats arrive in Buffalo harbor this year. 1,100 craft lock through the canal. ** Laomi Baldwin proposes a Boston-to-Hudson River canal through the Berkshire Range to the Massachusetts legislature. The proposed cost of $6,000,000 dooms the plan. ** The Hampshire and Hampden Canal Company merges with the Farmington Canal Company. ** William Roberts becomes a rod-man to survey a MacAdam road to connect the two halves of the Pennsylvania Canal across Allegheny Mountain. ** E. H. Gill becomes an assistant engineer on Georgia's Savannah, Ogeechee and Alatamaha Canal. ** Improvements on the Pennsylvania Main Line Canal are begun. ** Construction begins on Canada's Rideau Canal. ** William Gooding begins working on the Welland Canal. ** Construction begins on the Millville, Massachusetts, lock of the Blackstone Canal.

Pennsylvania
Isaac A. Chapman demonstrates his new Syphon Lock at Wilkes Barre. The device that consists of a tight;y-enclosed, movable lock within a fixed one, operated by water siphoned through the system.


1827
Jul 4 
The State of Ohio begins the first voyage on the Ohio and Erie Canal.

Construction begins on a covered bridge over the Main Line Canal, above Harrisburg. ** Captain William G. McNeill surveys the first all-water route over the Alleghany and Blue Ridge Mountains, for the James River and Kanawha Canal. ** Nathan Roberts becomes Chief Engineer on the Pennsylvania Main Line Canal between Pittsburgh and the Kiskiminetas River. ** William Roberts works on inclined coal-car plane improvements on Pennsylvania's Mauch Chunk Canal. ** E. H. Gill is promoted to chief engineer on the Savannah, Ogeechee and Alatamaha. ** Construction begins on Pennsylvania's Delaware Division Canal. ** The U. S. Congress passes a bill, promoted by Daniel Cook, authorizing the building of the Illinois and Michigan Canal. ** The Susquehanna Division of the Union Canal is completed, connecting it to the Schuylkill Navigation. ** The Millville, Massachusetts, lock is completed. ** The Ohio and Erie Canal reaches Akron, Ohio. ** The U. S. government hires James Geddes to examine routes for the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. ** Britain's Exeter Ship Canal is extended to a length of five miles. ** A company is formed to build a canal across the northern end of Manhattan, but the plan will be abandoned. ** Rochester has eight boat basins on the Erie Canal. ** The Sapper's Bridge is built across the Rideau Canal at Ottawa, connecting Rideau and Sparks streets. A building is erected on the west bank at the north end of the canal to serve as construction storehouse. It will later be used as a military storehouse and the Bytown Museum.


1828
Jul 4 
John Quincy Adams breaks ground for the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal at Georgetown, District of Columbia, with Benjamin Wright as Chief Engineer. Nathan Roberts is appointed to the board of engineers. The C & O is completed 22 years later.

Oct 7 
The Blackstone Canal opens for business. One official guest falls overboard and is rescued with a boat hook.

Oct 16 
The packet Orange leaves Kingston, New York, to be the first boat on the Delaware and Hudson Canal.

Feb 1 
Canvass White receives a U. S. patent for a cement that hardens under water.

Apr 21 
Lion of the West leaves Rochester, the first canal boat from there to Utica, New York, on the Erie Canal.

Jul 1 
The first toll is collected on the Erie Canal.

Aug 20 
A meeting is held at Canandaigua's Mill's Hotel to discuss the building of a canal linking Canandaigua Lake with the Erie Canal. John C. Spencer, James D. Bemis, Asa Stanley, Dudley Marvin, William H. Adams are appointed to study a route.

December 
Fifteen men, mostly Quakers, knowing the Erie Canal will come through the area, have bought up the site of the future Lockport.

Dec 21 
The Canandaigua Lake canal committee recommends a 19 1/2-mile route that would require 23 locks and cost $68,000. The Ontario Canal Company is formed.

New York
The Oswego Canal opens, connecting that Lake Ontario port with the village of Syracuse, on the Erie Canal.


Virginia takes control of the James River and Kanawha Canal. ** The first U. S. Tidewater canal, the Fox Creek Canal, is completed. ** Architect and canal engineer Benjamin Henry Latrobe dies of yellow fever in New Orleans.


1829
Jul 1 
Water is let into the Lehigh Valley Canal.

Jul 4 
The Chesapeake and Delaware Canal is completed.

July 
The Cumberland-Oxford Canal Company borrows $30,000 from Maine's Canal Bank.

August 
The Cumberland-Oxford Canal Company borrows another $30,000 from the Canal Bank.

October 
The Cumberland-Oxford Canal Company borrows another $15,000 from the Canal Bank.

Oct 17 
The Chesapeake and Delaware Canal is opened as water is turned into the "deep cut".

Nov 27 
The schooners Annie and Jane and R. H. Broughton becomes the first ships to use Canada's new Welland Canal.

A brawl between rival canal gangs breaks out in Rochester. ** The Pioneer Line, running packet boats on the Erie on every day but the Sabbath,fails. ** Nathan Roberts runs the Chesapeake and Ohio from Point of Rocks to Harpers Ferry. ** David Stanhope Bates is made chief engineer of New York's Chenango Canal, linking Utica with Binghamton. ** The Glens Fall Feeder Canal opens. ** The Illinois legislature approves the creation of the Illinois and Michigan Canal Commission. Nineteen-year-old Charles Ellet is turned down for a position on the Illinois and Michigan Canal when it is learned he is under twenty. ** The wooden Pittsburgh Aqueduct on the Pennsylvania Main Line Canal is placed in operation. ** The Welland Canal is completed as far as Chippewa Creek thus connecting with the Upper Niagara River, linking lakes Erie and Ontario. ** The Grenville canal is completed. ** The Illinois Canal Commission is reactivated. It retains engineer James Thompson to run detailed surveys. ** The Cumberland Oxford Canal Company's funds run out and it petitions the Maine legislature for the authority to borrow money for completion. ** The New York State legislature approves funding for the Chemung Canal, linking the Chemung River to the Erie Canal.




© 2005 David Minor / Eagles Byte