Wednesday, March 22, 2017

An Old Canawler on Packet Boat Luxury

   While looking into another subject, an article in The Daily Leader newspaper from October 2nd, 1897 sprang up.  The Daily Leader was a newspaper that served the Gloversville, Fulton County, NY area from 1887-1898. And while Gloversville was known globally for its fine leather and – of all things – gloves, republished articles of interest from all over are commonly seen in its pages.  The article that popped out was one such reprint; from the Rochester Post-Express.
   A reporter documents tales of the old Erie Canal from a locktender who had worked the canal for fifty years - first as a driver then as a tender.  The locktender of Lock 65 in Rochester, Daniel Hibbard, recalls the luxury of Packet Boat travel. 

(click to enlarge images for clearer reading)






Found in the Documents of the Assembly of the State of New York, Volume 6 from 1887, Hibbard was making a fine salary of $45 per month* in the decade before this article ran.







Not much else has been uncovered about this Dan Hibbard at the moment, but his recollections on Packet Boats of the Erie Canal are nonetheless pretty interesting as well as exciting!

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As a side note, Hibbard referenced the Wagner Car - another tie to local history as the former Webster Wagner House (as it was known) stood in Palatine Bridge, Montgomery County, NY. Just down Rt 5 in the Mohawk Valley from Schoharie Crossing.
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Lock No 65 north wall of the north -towpath- chamber alongside I-490 west in Rochester NY
-- Photograph by Fred Wehner August 2007:   Sourced from: www.eriecanal.org




*Estimated rate of conversion to value in 2017 dollars -   $1,105.

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