The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Grand Canal
Hampden Federalist and Public Journal (Springfield, MA), 26 Jun 1822

Full Text

New York June 19.


We are informed by a gentleman who has just returned from a visit to Buffalo and Niagara Falls, that he traveled 160 miles in the new convenient passage boat on the Erie Canal, viz.,

from Little Falls to Utica22 miles
Utica to Montezuma, by Rome, Syracuse, and Weed’s Basin96
Crossing from Montezuma over the Seneca River and the Cayuga Marshes6 miles
and up the river Clyde6 1-2 miles
to Blockhouse- - he again takes the canal and passing the flourishing villages of Lyons and Palmyra to Hartswell’s Basin42

On this route are already seven passage boats with good accommodations, and hundreds of other boats transporting (col. 2) immense quantities of produce to Utica; and such is the stock in this state, that there are now 100,000 barrels of flour alone on the banks of the canal, that cannot be transported for want of boats- - may of which are now building that cost from $100 to $400 each, and carry from 150 to 400 barrels. These boats have taken freight from Montezuma to Utica, a distance of nearly 100 miles, at the extremely low rate of 5 cents per cwt., or one dollar per ton, which is about one tenth the former rate of transporting the same distance by wagons; in this case, the owners of the goods paid the tolls, which however are very trifling.

The passage boats are drawn by three horses tandem rigged; the other boats by one or two horses, according to the size of the boat- - a boy rides the rear horse, and travels from three to four miles per hour. Passengers leaving Utica at 8 o’clock, reach Weeds Basin 87 miles the next morning at 7 o’clock, traveling all night. The charge is only 4 cents per mile, which includes board and lodging both of which are as good if not better, than the taverns on the road. This is as rapid as the stages travel, much less expensive, no risk of life or limb, and no fatigue or dust attending.

The Grand Canal is nearly finished from Schenectady to Little Falls, 56 miles- - from Montezuma to Clyde, or Block House, 13 miles, and from Hartwell’s Basin to Genesee River, and from thence to Lockport, 70 miles- all of which it is said, will be filled, and boats allowed to pass, on or before the first day of October next making 260 or 270 miles, through one of the richest and most valuable parts of the state of New-York. Numerous emigrants from the hardy and industrious northern and eastern hive are to be seen transporting themselves and their families, at little or no expense, to settle on the lands bordering on the canal.

Merchants residing in Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Lexington and Louisville and in Michigan and Indiana, will soon get their goods transported for 1/4 the price they now pay, and save as much or more in the breakage and damage now unavoidable in wagons, besides the saving of half or two thirds in time; which, in fact, is extending the credit on their goods.

Emigrants and their families much prefer the canal to any other route on every account- - expense, time, health and comfort &c.

The amount of toll already received at the office in Utica this spring exceeds the sum paid the whole of last year, and it is supposed it will amount 50 or 60,000 dollars.

Media Type:
Item Type:
Date of Publication:
26 Jun 1822
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 43.10979 Longitude: -76.43105
Richard Palmer
Copyright Statement:
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Grand Canal