An engineering marvel that spanned 107 miles across Northern New Jersey, The Morris Canal operated from the 1820s until 1924.
The following is a list of the men, women and children who earned a living on the Morris Canal.
This list does not include the many more who benefited financially from the Canal: laborers, bars, shops and the teamsters, who without doubt, drove to and from the Morris Canal.
While this list is comprehensive, it is not yet complete! If you have information you would like to share, please email [email protected].
Jacob Allen: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1mi835. Last known residence Mt. Olive Township, 1880.
Joseph P. Allen: Boatman. Born New Jersey, c. 1842. In 1860, he is living in Roxbury. On September 3, 1862 enlisted in New Jersey’s 27th, and was discharged July 2, 1863. Date of death and his burial location are unknown.
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David Alonse: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1828. In 1850, he resides in Roxbury. David and William are brothers.
William Alonse: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1835. In 1850, he resides in Roxbury. David and William are brothers.
William Atkins: Brakeman. Also known as William Atkins. Born New Jersey, July, c. 1876. Brakeman, Canal Plane. In 1900, he is living in Montville. In 1910, he resides in Montville and is a Lock Tender.
Aaron A. Atno: Boatman. Born New Jersey, c. 1815. In 1860 and 1870, living in Roxbury.
Eugene Atno: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1847. In 1870 (referred to as Atnoe), he resides in Rockaway. Captain of his own canal boat christened Hugh Cassidy. Eugene and James Atno are brothers.
On July 16, 1873, Captain Eugene Atno was murdered on a bridge over the Hackensack River, by a canal ferry master, referred to as both Thomas Finnley and Thomas Finn.
Newspapers of the day appear to agree on one fact, Mr. Finnley struck and killed Captain Atno; perhaps with an iron pipe or with his hands.
A coroner’s inquest was held and the verdict was reported in The True Democratic Banner (Morristown, N.J. Thursday, July 24, 1873 edition) under the tag line State items, reports:
“The jury in the case of Eugene Atno…has returned a verdict, ‘that Eugene Atno came to his death from the fist of Thomas Finn.’ Finn is still held, the Coronor (sic) awaiting the advice of the Prosecuting Attorney before admitting him to bail.”
As of 2016, the fate of Mr. Finn remains a mystery.
James Atno: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1844. In 1880 (referred to as Atnoe), he is living in Rockaway. James Atno died March 21, 1900 aged 57. Eugene and James Atno are brothers.
Samuel J. Axford: Lock Tender on Canal. Born New Jersey, March, c. 1882. In 1900, he is living in Pequannock.
Charles Babcock: Boatman. Date and birthplace unknown. In the December 1, 1893 edition of The Iron Era, a report of a fire occurring in the house while Mrs. Babcock and the children were preparing to retire for the night. The reporter advises that “Mr. Babcock is a boatman and passed through town (Rockaway) about 4 o’clock that afternoon.”
The Iron Era was in the habit of announcing the beginning and closing of “Canal” season; the same issue that reported the fire of the Babcock residence reports that the Morris Canal will close on December 9th (1893).
Benjamin Badgley: Plane Tender. Born New Jersey c. 1823. In 1850, he is living in Rockaway.
Edward Baker: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1865. Last known residence Mt. Olive, 1880.
Paul R. Barton: Boatman. Born in Paterson, New Jersey May 11, 1841. In 1860, he is a boatman in Montville. Mr. Barton enlisted in New Jersey’s 26th Infantry September 3, 1862. Wounded in action in May, 1864, he was discharged on June 27, 1864 and granted a pension in May, ’64. In 1880, he lived in “Mountville” Montville. His last known residence was in Denville. Mr. Barton died August 6, 1884 and is buried in the Savage Road Cemetery, Denville.
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Richard Baxter: Plane Tender and Canal Engineer. Born Scotland, June, c. 1831; immigrated to the United States in 1850. In 1860, he lived in Roxbury, occupation Plane Tender. Lived in Mt. Olive, 1880 worked as a “Plain” Tender. In 1900, he remains in Mt. Olive, occupation is described as canal engineer. Census data indicates that Mr. Baxter spent at least 40 years working on the Morris Canal documented by census data, but his career began earlier, per recollections of his grandson, George Jr.
Mr. Baxter was the father-in-law of George W. Scripture, Sr. Lock Tender, and grandfather of George W. Scripture, Jr. Breakman on Canal.
Samuel T. Baxter: Plane Tender. Son of Richard Baxter, Plane Tender and Canal Engineer. Born New Jersey, August, c.1880. In 1900, he is living in Mt. Olive.
John P. Beam: Boatman. Born February 14, 1842 in New Jersey, the son of Henry and Elizabeth Beam and lived in the Beach Glen section of Rockaway Township in 1860. John enlisted August 12, 1862, serving as a Private with the New Jersey 15th Volunteers, Co. F. Private Beam participated in the Battle of Appomattox Court House. Returning to Morris County, Mr. Beam seems to have left the life of a Canal Boatman; by 1880, living in Rockaway Borough, John is described as a “Laborer” and 1900, he is described as “Day laborer”. Private John P. Beam died April 8, 1901 and was buried in the First Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Rockaway Borough, New Jersey.
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Jacob R. Bedell: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1829. In 1860, he was living in Roxbury.
George S. Bird: Works on Canal. Born New Jersey, c. 1855. In 1880, he resides in Randolph. By 1910, George is a Plane Tender living in Roxbury and in 1920, he remains working on the Canal. The 1930 and 40 census shows Mr. Bird has retired, after decades of working on the canal. George and Stewart are brothers.
Stewart Bird: Works on Canal. Born in New Jersey, c. 1859. In 1880, he resides in Randolph. George and Stewart are brothers.
Woodhull C. Bird: Plane Tender. Born New Jersey c. 1825. In 1850, he is a Boatman living in Roxbury. He remained in Roxbury in 1860 where he served as Plane Tender. Woodhull Bird is indicated as the Plane Tender In the 1910 Roxbury census.
The Bernardsville News, September 6, 1907
William Black: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1835. In 1880, he is living in Mt. Olive. Mr. Black served in the Civil War, with the 5th Pennsylvania Volunteers.
John H. Blowers: Plain Tender. Born Morris County, New Jersey, February of 1830. In 1860, he and his wife, Catherine and daughter Mary are living in Pequannock. 1870 finds the family in Montville, where John’s occupation is described as “Labor”, without Canal connotation. 1880, while remaining in Montville, John is now working for the Rail road. In 1910, he and Catherine are living in Montville.
James R. Bowlsby: Boating Canal. Born in New Jersey c. 1848. In 1870, he is living in Boonton Township.
John Bradervelt: Plane Tender. Born New Jersey, c. 1856, in 1880 He, his wife Virginia and two-year-old Frank M. live in Montville.
Stephen Brady: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1834. In 1850, he was living in Roxbury.
Halsey Brannon: Boatman. Born New Jersey in 1835. In 1860, he is a 16 year old laborer in Rockaway Township. On August 8, 1862, Halsey enlisted into the C 15th New Jersey Infantry (The C 15th participated in nearly all campaigns during the Civil War. The “C” men –by casual observation of A.G. Strykers Report – appear to have gained and lost and gained-more stripes than other New Jersey units.) Suffering a wound to his leg received at the Battle of Salem Heights, Private Brannon was discharged December 29, 1864. In 1880, Mt. Hope, he is a Mining Engineer. In 1890, during the Veterans and Widows Census, Mr. Halsey’s line notation reads “Canal Boatman unable to see him”. Mr. Brannon’s death date and burial location are unknown.
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Thomas Brannen: Laborer Canal. Born Ireland c. 1835. In 1870, resides in Boonton.
Ed Braxton: Birth unknown. “Canaler”. Mr. Braxton was mentioned in an article in the Dover Iron Era, May 27, 1876. In part, the article describes a “dash-board” sign painted for his boat. Described as a “disgusting mixture of patriotism and blackguardism”, Mr. Braxton commissioned a sign depicting a shield and stars, and over it the doggerel:
“Ducks and swans like their water clear; so do I my gin and beer”.
The unnamed author of the article indicates that Mr. Braxton had the sign made with “deliberate intent of shocking decent-minded people.”
Aside from Mr. Braxton’s personality, interesting items may be derived from the article. In 1876, the Centennial of the United States was very much in the newspapers of the day, laying out various celebration plans. Many examples of centennial patriotic shield images exist, so a viewer may get a better idea of how this sign might have appeared on Mr. Braxton’s boat. Further, the idea that boatmen perhaps had “dash-board” signs is intriguing, a type of 19th century “bumper sticker”. According to the Oxford Dictionary, the term “Dash-board” originated with horse-drawn conveyances. A piece of board placed in front of the driver to protect against mud kicked up or “dashed up” by horses. The term “dash-board” has transcended from wagon to other modes of transportation.
Secondly, in the 1870s, the call for “Temperance”-the abolition of alcohol- was a topic of lively discussion. While prohibition would not became the law of the land until 1920, anti-alcohol groups had been active well before prohibition.
Samuel P. Broadwell: Boatman. Born Dover, New Jersey c. 1826. In 1850, living in Rockaway. By 1860, his occupation is listed as a laborer in Rockaway. At the age of 42, he enlisted into New Jersey’s 27th on September 3, 1862 and was discharged July 2, 1863. His death date and burial location are unknown.
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Thomas Bronner: Laborer Canal. Born in Ireland c. 1835. In 1870, he is living in Boonton Township.
William H. Brown: Boatman and Lock Tender. Born New Jersey c. 1790. In 1850, he is a Boatman, at the age of around 58 years old. In 1860, living in Roxbury, Mr. Brown serves as Lock Tender.
Thomas Canar: Boatman. Born Ireland, c.1839. Immigrated to the United States c. 1859. In 1860, Mr. Canar lived in Roxbury. On September 3, 1862, he enlisted into the 27th New Jersey. Promoted Corporal September 3, 1862; Sergeant January 1, 1863. Discharged July 2, 1863. His death date and burial location are unknown.
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Supplemental information located October 6, 2017: From the Dover Iron Era, July 1, 1876 edition, reporting on Mr. John S. Riggs recent trip “out west” for several weeks: “On his way home, Mr. Riggs called on Mr. Thomas Canar, a former resident of Drakesville, who resides at Darlington, Wisconsin. Mr. Canar lost his eyesight through an injury received while in the army, and has received a pension thereafter. He removed to Darlington about eight years ago (c. 1868) and not with-standing the fact that he is entirely blind, has accumulated considerable property and is snugly situated. He was greatly pleased to receive Mr. Riggs at his home.”
Sergeant Canar died June 11, 1917 and was buried in Union Grove Cemetery, Darlington, Lafayette County, Wisconsin.
Andrews Carey: Brakeman and Lock Tender. Born Ireland c. 1820. In 1870 he is a Brakeman; in 1880 he serves as a Lock Tender. In both census, he resides in Boonton.
Samuel Carlan: Boating Canal. Born New Jersey c. 1844. In 1870, resides in Boonton. Son of Canal Track over-seer Joseph Carlan.
Joseph Carlan: Canal Track over-seer. Born New Jersey c. 1829. In 1870, he resides in Boonton.
Frederick Chapman: Boatman. Born England c. 1822. In 1860, he resides in Pequannock, living in the house with fellow England ex-pat William Shears, who is a farmer.
Francis Clark: Boatman. Born New York, c. 1835. In 1860 he, wife Caroline, and daughters Ida and Marah (Maria) are living in Pequannock. By 1870, the family has removed to Boonton, where Francis has become a coal dealer.
George Clark: Canaler. Mr. Clark’s story was featured in the Dover Iron Era, May 20, 1892 edition. The article provides a glimpse as to the lifestyle of the Canal families:
“George Clark, a colored man who made his home in a canal boat near Peer’s lock last winter, while there lost his wife. Last week he buried his oldest son, who died while he was anchored on Jersey City on Thursday, from a disease we have been unable to ascertain. The funeral services were held in the Denville church, Rev. C. R. Snyder* officiating. Interment in the Cook cemetery.”
*Rev. Snyder was pastor of the Methodist Church in Denville during the late 1800s. Snyder Avenue in Denville was named in his honor. Street history content: thank you, Denville Historical Society. Records compiled September 2009 by Mr. Arthur Korn.
Joseph Clearwater: Boatman. Born New Jersey, c. 1816. In 1850, he resides in Roxbury.
Abner Coonrod: Boat Builder. Born New Jersey c. 1800. In 1850, he resides in Randolph.
Allston Cook: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1864. Last known residence, Denville, 1880.
Charles A. Cook: Boatman. Born New Jersey, April, c. 1865. In 1900, he is living in Rockaway Township.
Peter J. Cook: Plain Tender. Born New Jersey, c. 1814. In 1850, he resides in Pequannock, Plain Tender (1840 census, Pequannock, also indicates a Peter J. Cook, but birth year estimate, occupation are not given.) 1860 finds him still at his post, Plain Tender in Pequannock.
Francis Coonrod: Boat Builder. Born December of 1829 in New Jersey. In 1860, (spelled Conrad) he resides in Rockaway Township, practicing the boat building craft. In 1880, “Frank” resides in the Mount Hope vicinity (Rockaway Township) and lists his occupation as carpenter. By 1900, he is listed as a Carpenter, residing with his wife, Elizabeth, in Rockaway Township. Francis “Frank” Coonrod aka Conrad enlisted into the New Jersey 8th Infantry on February 26, 1865. He was discharged July 17, 1865. Private Francis Coonrod died January 2, 1903 and was buried in the Orchard Street Cemetery, Dover, Morris County, New Jersey.
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Joseph Cooper: Boatman. Born Ireland, December of 1818 and emigrated to the United Sates in 1844. In 1860, he is residing in Hanover Township. By 1870, he resides in Rockaway Township, Mr. Cooper is described a Farmer/Boatman. By 1900, Mr. Cooper is living in Rockaway Township, with no occupation. His son, Joseph, Jr. is a farmer.
William B. Cooper: Plane Tender. Born New Jersey c. 1823. In 1860 and 187, he is living in Roxbury.
Joseph Corling: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1828. In 1860, he lives in Pequannock.
Barnet Culvert: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1836. In 1880, living in Boonton.
Frank Culvert: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1861. In 1880, living in Boonton. Son of Boatman Barnet Culver.
Frank Davis: Works on Canal. Born in New Jersey c. 1858. In 1880, he resides in Dover.
Peter S. Davis: Lock Tender. Born New Jersey c. 1819. In 1860 he is living in Roxbury.
William Davis: Brakesman Plane Carr. Born New Jersey c. 1828. On September 3, 1862, Mr. Davis enlisted into New Jersey’s 27th Volunteers. Discharged July 3, 1863. In 1880, he resides in Roxbury. In 1890, he resides in the Drakesville section. Mr. Davis’ death date and burial location are unknown.
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William Decker: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1835. In 1880, he resides in Rockaway.
John Degraw: Boatman. First to testify at the Coroner’s inquest in the murder of Captain Atno, he testified “I am a boatman, and reside at Rockaway, Morris County,….”
As of 2016, it has not been ascertained when or where Mr. Degraw was born, but, in 1873, he was a Rockaway resident.
Ira Pearson Dehart: Brakesman on Plain. Born c. 1860 in New Jersey. He and his wife, Hester L., are residing in Montville, 1880.
James DeHart: Lock Tender. Born c. 1823 in New Jersey, in 1880 he resides in Hanover. In the household is his son, John L. also Tending Lock.
John L. DeHart: Lock Tender. Born c. 1863 in New Jersey. Son of Lock Tender James. In 1880, he resides in Hanover.
Charles Dell: Lock Tender. Born New Jersey c. 1824. In 1850 he is living in Randolph.
Thomas Dewire: Watchman on Canal. Born Ireland c. 1822. In 1860 he is living in Roxbury.
Peter Dougherty: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1820. In 1860, living in Roxbury.
Edward Douma: Boating Canal. Born in England c. 1823. In 1870, he is living in Boonton Township.
William Dovenport: Boating Canal. Born New Jersey c. 1839. In 1870, he resides in Boonton.
Jacob Easton: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1844, son of Joseph and Catherine. In 1860, he is living in Rockaway Township. No other record has been located regarding Jacob Easton. however, a John J (Jacob?) Easton, born c. 1844, appears in Rockaway census records for 1850; father, Joseph is a Pottery Maker. A child named Jacob is absent, but a John J. is present in the 1850 household. John J. Easton, born in Rockaway, New Jersey, served in the Civil War, enlisting twice in the United States Navy. Both terms of service give rank as Landsman, serving as a Landsman. Available records are not definitive as of 2017 to state that John J. Easton and Jacob Easton are the same person and a Civil War veteran.
Horace C. Egan: Foreman Canal. Born New York, December, c. 1851. Residence in 1900 Homes St, Boonton Town. In 1910, he remains foreman on the Canal and is residing in Montville.
Henry Emry: Boatman. Born England c. 1820. In 1850, he resides in Rockaway.
Arthur Everts: Boating Canal. Born in New Jersey c. 1839. In 1870, he is living in Boonton Township. Brother of canal boatmen Thomas M. and Marcus, Jr. No other record of Arthur has been located.
Thomas M. Everts: Boatman: Born Morris County, New Jersey c. 1839. In 1860, he resides in Pequannock. Also known as Thomas M. Evarts and Thomas M. Everettes. Mr. Everts enlisted as a Private in New Jersey’s 1st Lt. Artillery, Battery B on September 3, 1861. Private Everts contracted Dysentery and succumbed on October 17, 1862 in Fairfax, Virginia. He is buried in Alexandria National Cemetery, grave 816-27. Private Everts has an honorary marker in Boonton Avenue Cemetery, Boonton, New Jersey.
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Marcus Everts, Jr.: Boatman. Born Morris County, New Jersey, c. 1842. In 1860, he resides in Pequannock. By 1870, he has relocated to Brooklyn, New York and his occupation is Engineer. On September 3, 1870, he marries Hattie Stagg in Brooklyn. Also known as Mark Evarts, Jr., he served with the 27th New Jersey Infantry, Co. G as a Private. Private Everts death date and burial location are unknown.
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Charles Fancher: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1814. In 1850, he is living in Roxbury.
Edward L. Ferrand: Lock Tender. Born New Jersey, July, c. 1884. In 1900, he resides in Boonton Town. Son of William H. Ferrand.
William H. Ferrand: Lock Tender and Canal Collector. Born New Jersey, February c. 1859. In 1880, he resides in Boonton, working as a Lock Tender and Collector on Canal. In 1900, he resides in Boonton Town, working as a Lock Tender.
Adam Fisher: Boatman. Born Germany, c. 1844. In 1870 and 1880, he resides in Boonton.
James E. Flatt: Plane Tender. Born New Jersey, December, c. 1864. In 1900, he lived in Roxbury.
Charles Fluke: Plane Tender. Born New Jersey, April, c. 1859. In 1900, he lived in Mt. Olive.
John Fluke: Morris Canal Coll. Born Scotland, c. 1774. In 1850, Plane Tender in Roxbury. In 1860 (referred to as Flute), at 86 years old, he is perhaps working as a collector of money in Roxbury.
William N. Fluke: Lock Tender. Born New Jersey, December, c. 1851. Mr. Flukes, who had care of the first lock west of Stanhope, lost his oldest son, William, in October of 1896. The son fell between boats and was injured, eventually succumbing a few days later. In 1900, Mr. Fluke lived in Mt. Olive.
John Freeman: Boatman. Born September of 1836. In 1860, he is living in Rockaway Township. John marries Sarah A., and they live in Beach Glen area of Rockaway Township. It does not appear as if he ever left Rockaway Township, remaining in 1880, working as a Teamster and in 1900, he is a Carpenter.
George Gibson: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1824. In 1850, he resides in Roxbury.
William Gill: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1837. In 1870, he resides in Rockaway.
John Glover: Canal Boat Captain: Born in England. Last known residence Port Oram. The following was taken from a notice in a Minneapolis paper The Irish Standard, January 5, 1895:
“Perished by Fire. Newark, N.J., Jan.2-Two girls, 3 and 5, named Anne and Florence, were burned to death in their bunks in a canal boat in winter quarters on Morris canal at 9 o’clock Monday night. The captain of the boat and father of the children is John Glover, from Port Oram. Glover and his wife attended a meeting at Bethel church leaving the two children asleep in the bunks with an oil lamp burning on the table. It is supposed the lamp exploded.”
According to “New Jersey Deaths and Burials, 1720-1988” database, FamilySearch, a five year old female named Florence Glover died December 31, 1894. The notice indicates that John Glover was born in England and the girls’ mother was born in the United States. A death record for Anne Glover has not been located as of May 22, 2018.
No additional information has been located regarding Capt. Glover.
Isaac H. Gordon: Mr. Gordon, a resident of Boonton while his family lived in Montville, was an employee of the Morris Canal Company. Mr. Gordon was in the habit of returning home once a week to Montville. On October 18, 1859, after collecting $50.00 gold in wages, Mr. Gordon had stopped at the Provost Hotel in Montville. Drinking in the bar, another patron, George Aker, fell into conversation with Mr. Gordon who discussed his wages carried in his pocket. Mr. Acker followed Mr. Gordon, murdered him and stole the money. Per Mr. Acker’s statement at court, he became horrified at the “death mark” on his overalls. He took off his overalls on the towpath, weighted them down with a rock and threw them into the canal, near John Taylor’s house. Mr. Acker advised that he never located the money he stole, even after retracing his steps back to the scene of the murder hours later. Per the Dover Iron Era, April 4, 1883 edition, which recounted the murder, an unnamed boy found a $20 gold coin in a field near the body.
Tried and convicted of murder, George Acker was executed March 29, 1860.
William Groff: Supervisor. Died October 9, 1876. The following article was located in the Dover Iron Era, April 4, 1876 edition:
“Port Morris – They are taking away all the old landmarks around here to make room for modern improvements. The shanty long owned by Major Halsey has been torn down and the house built by the company for Mr. Hamilton. When the Morris & Essex Railroad was completed at Port Morris, has been demolished and all that remains of it shipped to Dover carshops on a flat car the other day. This house was occupied for many years by Mr. Rankins Brown, who by the way has been a subscriber to the True Democratic Banner since its first issue. They are filling in the basin where Mr. Brown, Theodore Burtt and a mule used to transship coal from the canal boats to the cars, in the good old times when canal boating paid; “when boatmen made money like dirt and spent it like water”. Here Mr. Groff, then and until recently “supervisor” of the canal and Mr. Harris who was a civil engineer for the railroad company met and christened the town when the railroad and the basin were completed. As most little villages along the canal was a port, they said, and the Morris & Essex railroad, we will call it Port Morris, and so it has remained to this day.”
Mr. Groff’s obituary from the Dover Iron Era October 11, 1876 edition:
“Mr. Wm. Groff, father of our townsman, Wm. Groff, Jr., and one of the best known and most respected men of this section, died at his residence in Stanhope on Monday morning. He began life in humble circumstances and worked upon the Morris Canal while it was in course of construction. His superior abilities, however, brought him forward very fast and he became section superintendent, and afterwards general supervisor of the whole line. He was a thorough-going, honest man, highly esteemed for his good qualities, and his loss is greatly deplored. The remains were interred at Hackettstown on Thursday.”
Noah C. Haggerty: Boat Builder. Born New Jersey February, 1839. In 1860, living in Randolph. On May 23, 1861, aged 22, enlisted in New Jersey’s 1st Cavalry. Discharged June 23, 1864. Mr. Haggerty died May, 1867 at age 28. He is buried the Orchard Street Cemetery, Dover, New Jersey.
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Henry H. Hall: Boatman. Born New Jersey, c. 1840. In 1860, he resides in Rockaway Township.
Albert Hart: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1830. In 1850, he resides in Roxbury. In 1860, his occupation is described as Labor.
David Hart: Boat Builder. Born in New Jersey c. 1832. In 1870, he resides in Randolph.
John W. Hart: Boat Builder. Born in New Jersey c. 1811. In 1880, he resides in Dover.
Harry Heath: Carpenter. Born New Jersey, October, 1870. In 1920, he resides in Dover and is occupied as a Carpenter on the Morris Canal. In the Rockaway Record, February 21, 1929 edition, Harry is one of the 9 employees named in the article “Old Canalers Will Hope Bill Passes.” The article details a pill that would provide pensions for canal employees. George W. Scripture, of Dover, is also mentioned.
Mr. Heath’s death date and burial location are unknown.
Other names mentioned without a Morris County connection: James Powers, 83, of Stanhope, worked on the canal 55 years; A. H. Vough, 82, of Phillipsburg, 57 years on the canal; Charles Fluke of Stanhope, 57 years on the canal; B. B. Metz, Phillipsburg; F. H. Pratt, of Phillipsburg; David Merritt, of Phillipsburg; and Edward Hummer of Mountain View.
Samuel M. Heaton: Plane Tender. Born Pennsylvania, c. 1804. In 1850, 1860, 1870 census, he is serving as Plane Tender in Roxbury. At age 75, in the 1880 census, his occupation is given as Works on Canal; at least 40 years working on the Morris Canal.
Thomas Heaton: Canal Supervisor. Born New Jersey c. 1848. In 1920, he resides in Boonton.
Jacob Herdman: Works on Canal. Born c. 1830 in New Jersey. In 1880, he resides in Rockaway Township.
Peter Hiler: Canaler. Born c. 1845, in 1960, he resides in Rockaway Township. Two men named Peter Hiler reside in Rockaway Township; “Boatman” Peter Hiler was born. c. 1845, and is in the household of Stephen. The “other” Peter Hiler is a miner, born c. 1836.
William Hixon: Superintendent of the “Plane House”. Died 1894. Mr. Hixon - or Hixson - is featured in the September 9, 1873 edition of The Weekly Bulletin, a Boonton paper:
“-A breach occurred in the Morris Canal, just above the blast furnaces, on Saturday night last. Mr. Wm. Hixon, Superintendent, and assistants, succeeded in filling it in by nine o’clock on Sunday morning.
In the same edition, a description of a supposed arson attempt upon the plane house:
“FIRE AT MONTVILLE. On Monday night, between 12 and 1 o’clock, an alarm of fire was given at Montville. Fire was discovered issuing from the lower “plane house” of the Morris Canal, and had got such headway as to make all efforts to extinguish it unavailing, and the building was totally destroyed. It is undoubtedly the work of an incendiary. It will be remembered that an effort was made a few weeks ago to destroy by fire the large barn, belonging to the company, in close proximity, but was frustrated by the watchman, who discovered the fire kindled in the center of the building and extinguished it. The probabilities are that it was the intention of the incendiary the other evening to destroy the latter building as well as the plane house, supposing that the flames would be communicated to that building; but fortunately the wind was blowing in an opposite direction, thus saving it-We are glad to announce that the machinery in the building for raising the canal boats was not injured to any great extent and business was not delayed but a short time.
Mr. William Hixson, the efficient and popular Superintendent, cannot account for the reasons prompting person to destroy the canal property, unless a discharge for bad conduct has something to do with it.
A more obliging, gentlemanly Superintendent cannot be found anywhere than Mr. Hixson, but to his credit let it be said, he will not permit men to become drunk and disorderly while in his employ and retain their situation long.
We have not learned the amount of loss by the fire, but suppose that it will not exceed five hundred dollars”.
The death of Mr. Hixon was remarked upon in the August 17, 1894 edition of the Iron Era:
“The funeral service of the late William Hixon, a former resident of Montville, but of late of Hoboken, was held in the Methodist Curch, of this place, on Friday afternoon last. Mr. Hixon for a number of years was supervisor of the Morris canal between Drakeville and Lincoln Park, but has not been connected with the canal for several years. George M. Multcher, of Boonton, now holds that position. Mr. Hixon was stricken with paralysis, so I am informed, at the home of his son in Hoboken, which caused his death. He was about 82 years of age.”
John Hoagland: Bridge tender. Per Mr. Hoagland’s obituary, published in the Iron Era, March 18, 1898, Mr. Hoagland died at age 65 (birth c. 1833). Mr. Hoagland was for many years tender at the lift bridge at the canal crossing of the Central Railroad.
Peter Hopper was born February 16, 1807, near Mountain View, also known as Mead’s Basin, Passaic County. Later relocating Morris County and living for many years “on Pompton Plains,” Township of Pequannock (spelled in his day: Pequannoc). He later married Maria Van Ness who was born January 30, 1817 and died January 24, 1911.
During the construction of early 19th century Morris Canal, he was one of the chief managers of the then world famous engineering wonder of its day. It was a unique canal with locks and incline planes that were designed to move canal boats over steep hills characterized by their high elevations as canal boats sought to move freight (particularly coal from Pennsylvania and iron ore) and people from the Hudson River to the Delaware River and back over mountainous terrain in northern New Jersey. It was created before the age of railroads. Hopper’s fame rested on his ingenuity and management in increasing the canal boat tonage with canal boats placed on a wooden cradle that could be hauled up by rope – later chains – successfully over steep incline planes, powered by water fed turbines. At first the canal boat tonage was only 16 tons – a weight that was judged to be insufficient to make the canal profitable. However, due to “Mr. Hopper’s perseverance” canal boats of 70 tons capacity would be carried over the planes.” He is noted also for superintending the building of the aqueduct at Mountain View,” in Wayne Township. He also was remembered for his ability to manage and control four or five hundred men – more than most managers could do at the time – in canal construction projects. He was characterized as a good businessman who accumulated considerable property, including the home and former farmstead that now bears his name.
Peter Hopper filled a number of local offices and was elected to the position of a Member of the Board of Chosen Freeholders of Morris County – the body of officials that governed the County of Morris County, New Jersey of which the Township of “Pequannoc” has been a part since 1740. During his life he was described as a “zealous and active member” of the First Reformed Church of Pompton Plains.
Mr. Hopper passed away on November 15, 1884, at what was characterized in his Obituary “at a ripe old age, (78 years) greatly respected in his community where he lived all his life, and throughout the county where he as so well known.” , The New York Times reported his death, the following is taken from the obituary:
HOPPER.- At Pompton Plains, N.J., Nov.15, 1884, PETER HOPPER,
in 78th year of his age.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend the funeral on Tuesday, Nov.18, at
11 o’clock from the house, and 12 o’clock at the church [the First Reformed Church of Pompton Plains].
His family gravestone, in the form of a tall stately stelae, is located in the Burying Grounds of the First Reformed Church of Pompton Plains. He rests with his wife and other family members.
Thank you, Mr. Edward G. Engelbart, Pequannock Township Town Historian and member of the Pequannock Township Historic District Commission, for this submission.
Chauncy B. Horton: Born c. 1843 in New Jersey, he resided a great portion of his life in Sussex County. Mr. Horton worked as a Boatman on the Morris Canal and as a farmer in 1860. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Mr. Horton enlisted in the service in Newton, New Jersey on April 9, 1863 into what is possibly the most well-known of the U.S.C.T.; the 54th MA Infantry, attached to Co. G..
Private Horton participated on the July 18, 1863 assault on Ft. Wagner. The 54th captured the rifle pits surrounding the fort. Reduced to hand-to-hand combat, Col. Robert Gould Shaw and many of the 54th were killed. The Confederates buried Shaw and his men in a mass grave, thinking this would insult the Union by having a white officer buried with black men. This grave back-fired, as decomposition fouled the Confederate water supply, forcing them to abandon Ft. Wagner in September.
Offers to exhume Col. Shaw and return his remains to Boston were refused by the Colonel’s parents. His father wrote,
“We would not have his body removed from where it lies surrounded by his brave & devoted soldiers, if we could accomplish it by a word. Please to bear this in mind & also, let it be known, so that, even in case there should be an opportunity, his remains may not be disturbed.”
Private Horton survived Ft. Wagner and was promoted Corporal.
The Corporal suffered health difficulties after the war, and spent the last 10 years of his life as a resident of “Greystone”, where he died June 11, 1895.
Corporal Chauncey B. Horton is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Morristown.
Thank you for your service.
Michael Hughs: Plane Tender. Born Ireland c. 1827. In 1850 and 1860, he lived in Roxbury.
Robert Hull: Canaler. Born New Jersey, c. 1820. In 1860, living in Roxbury.
Jonas Hulse: Superintendent. Mr. Hulse was born in 1796, Orange County, New York. In 1833, per Dover’s Iron Era (October 7, 1882, obituary for Hiram Hulse), Mr. Hulse removed to McCainsville c. 1829. His jurisdiction as superintendent of the Morris Canal extended to Jersey City. By the 1860s, Mr. Hulse had taken up farming. Jonas Hulse died at the age of 75, in 1871.
Isaac Ike: Plane Tender. Born New Jersey c. 1826. In 1860, living in Roxbury.
Benjamin Peter Jackson: Boatman. Born New Jersey November 10, 1835. In 1860, he lived in Roxbury. Enlisted at Roxbury September 3, 1862 in New Jersey’s 27th Infantry. He married Susan Mariah Oliver on September 19, 1863; officiate Wm. N. Hennion, Justice of the Peace. Mr. Jackson’s last known residence was in the Drakesville section of Roxbury in 1890. Mr. Jackson spent a total of 26 years on the Morris Canal (Dover Iron Era, January 24, 1896 edition).
Benjamin died February 15, 1912 and was buried in Succasunna Cemetery.
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Daniel Jackson: Lock Tender. Born New Jersey c. 1776. At age 74 in 1850, he resides in Roxbury.
George W. Jackson: Boatman. Born in New Jersey c. 1844. In 1860, he is living in Roxbury. Son of Boatman Silas Jackson.
John G. Jackson: Boat Builder. Born in New Jersey c. 1826. In 1850, John is a Boat builder, living with his father, Charles. Charles Jackson is a carpenter, possible he tutored his son in boat building carpentry. In 1860, John is living in Roxbury. Mr. Jackson declared his real estate value at $4,000.00 and his personal wealth at $1,000.00 in 1860, a handsome sum.
Silas H. Jackson: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1821. In 1850, he is living in Roxbury. His son, future Boatman George W., is 6 years.
Tuttle Johnson: Lock Tender. Born New Jersey c. 1820. In 1850, living in Roxbury.
John Joley: Boating Canal. Born in New Jersey c. 1851 In 1870, he is living in Boonton Township.
Frank L. Kanouse: Canal Lock tender. Born July, 1874 in New Jersey. In 1900, he resides with his mother, Catharine M..
William Keiffar: Foreman Canal. Born Pennsylvania December, c. 1875. In 1900, he is living in Dover.
Peter Kelly: Boatman. aka Peter B. Kelley. Born Ireland, c. 1841, son of Christopher and Ann. In 1860, he resides in Rockaway Township. On January 26, 1863, Peter marries Mary Gorman in Rockaway. Enlisted into the 7th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry, this is the last known of Peter Kelley until the 20th century. Private Peter Kelley was living in the Denville vicinity in the early 1930s (mentioned in the newspaper Rockaway Record in the Rockaway Record May 26, 1932 edition.) Private Kelley’s death would have occurred after May 26, 1932; his civilian life after the Civil War is largely unknown, as are his death date and burial location.
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Thomas Kelly: Boatman. Born Ireland, c. 1845, son of Christopher and Ann. Boatman in 1860, Rockaway Township.
Francis King: Plane Tender. Born New Jersey c. 1803. In 1850, he is living in Roxbury.
Henry P. King: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1832. In 1850, he is living in Roxbury. Son of Plane Tender Francis King.
Thomas L. King, Jr.: Boatman. Born c. 1834 in Drakesville. In 1870, Thomas, Jr., his wife, Elmira live in Roxbury with their three sons, all under the age of 6.
The Dover Iron Era edition of October 23, 1875 provides a glimpse into a boatman’s life and the effect on the entire family:
“The following statement I have from Mr. Thomas L. King, Jr., a life long resident of Drakesville, and who has too good a reputation for honesty and truthfulness to admit of any doubt as to the genuineness of what he says. Mr. King was with his boat at New York on or about the first of last month, and while waiting to discharge his cargo, his little boy who went with him was taken alarmingly ill so that Mr. King sent a telegram to his wife to come down there at once, which she did. The little fellow was too ill to be taken home on cars and was cared for as well as circumstances would permit on the boat which as soon as unloaded was started homeward.”
Thomas had married Elmira McCain on December 24, 1863, having served as a Sergeant in the C 27th, New Jersey. Thomas died in 1925 and is buried in the First Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Succasunna.
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John M. Kinney: A veteran of The American Revolution, he enlisted May 5, 1776. Entered service as a cadet in 3rd NJ Regt, Elias Dayton Co. at Albany with Capt. Bloomfield. He received an ensign's commission signed by John Hancock in 1777; a 2nd lieutenant in Capt. Patterson's Co.; promoted 1st lieutenant until discharged after 2 years’ service.
He produced bar iron and invested in forge and slitting mills but lost them to creditors.
Mr. Kinney lived on 41 acre farm near Speedwell, Morristown for many years. He relocated to Roxbury Township after his wife Phebe's death in 1820. Mr. Kinney was an assistant engineer to explore routes for a canal through Morris and Sussex Counties. Member Society of the Cincinnati. Pension S33357.
Thank you, Ms. Patricia Sanftner and Ms. Bobbi Bailey, members of the Morristown Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Joseph Kitchell: Boatman. Born New York c. 1839. In 1860, he resides in Pequannock.
Noah Lafore: Boatman. Born New Jersey, c. 1842. In 1860, living in Roxbury.
Charles Leek: Brakeman on inclined plane. Born New Jersey November 1866. in 1900, he resides in Boonton Township.
In 1888, Charles is a witness in a murder trial, noted in the Iron Era, February 11, 1888.
John Leonard: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1841. In 1860, he lived in Roxbury.
Joseph Lester: Brake Canal Plane Car. Born England, February, c. 1844. In 1900 he is living in Montville.
The Boonton Weekly Bulletin, November 21, 1901
Allen Looker: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1838. In both 1870 and 1880, he resides in Boonton.
Frank Lozier: Labors on Canal. Born New Jersey April 1877, in 1900, he resides in Mt. Olive.
Watson Mabey: Laborer on Canal. Born Towaco, New Jersey April 22, 1893, son of Lock Tender William K., Watson appears in the census data as a child in 1900 and 1910 (referred to as Maby). On WWI Draft Registration, 1918, Watson lists his occupation as Plane Tender, employed by the Lehigh Valley RR. In 1920, he resides in Montville.
William K. Mabey: Lock Tender. Born New Jersey, April, c. 1870 (referred to as Maby). In 1900 he is living in Montville. In 1910, he remains a Lock Tender and living in Montville.
George Megie aka Magee: Boatman on Canal Born in Ireland, June, 1825. Mr. Megie immigrated to the United States in 1844. In 1880, he resides in Dover. By 1900, Mr. Megie is operating a confectioner’s shop in Dover.
An article in the June 23, 1877 Iron Era enlightens as to why Mr. Megie gave up boating: “Mrs. George Megie, of Sussex Street, is the owner of two swamp robins, the ages of which are 16 and 11 years. One of them was with the family when their boat was lost by a freshet in the Lehigh, 15 years ago, but was saved. Both are fine singers, something remarkable for that age.”
Mr. Megie would have lost his boat c. 1862.
Roswell B. Mason: Superintendent on Canal. Mr. Mason’s obituary from the Pierre Weekly Free Press (Pierre, S. D.) January 7, 1892:
“An Ex-Mayor’s Death.
Roswell B. Mason, who was mayor of Chicago at the time of the great fire, died at his residence in that city a few days ago of congestion of the brain. He was taken ill four weeks ago. Prior to this time Mr. Mason’s health was generally good, and although 86 years old he seemed hale and hearty, and was always cheerful and in the best spirits.
Mr. Mason was born in New Hartford, N.Y. in 1805. In his early life he worked as a surveyor on the Erie and Schuylkill canals, and from 1825 to 1831 was superintendent of the Morris canal in New Jersey. He afterward was connected with construction of the Housatonic, the New York and New Haven and the Vermont valley railroads.
In 1851 he came to Illinois to superintend the construction of the Illinois Central Railroad, and has remained there ever since, having been connected with the construction of several railroads and the improvements on the Illinois and Michigan canals.
Mayor Mason’s actions at the time of the great fire are historic. He superintended some of the attempts to stop the conflagration. On his order certain buildings were blown up with powder. He aided in turning loose the prisoners in jail, and then, with one of his sons, escaped from the flames after a perilous journey through the blazing streets.”
Mr. Mason died January 1, 1892. He is buried in Rosehill Cemetery, Cook County, Chicago.
The Peer family named a son born c. 1832 Roswell B. Mason Peer, undoubtedly to honor Mr. Mason.
William H. Maze: Boat Builder. Born New Jersey c. 1836. In 1860, living in Randolph.
Thomas McCain: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1837. In 1860, he lived in Roxbury.
Daniel McCalling: Boatman Canal. Born New York, November, c. 1867. In 1900, he is living in Rockaway Township. Daniel and William, are brothers.
William McCalling: Boatman. Born New York, March, c. 1866. In 1900, he is living in Rockaway Township. Daniel and William are brothers.
Amos McConniel: Lock Tender on Canal. Born New Jersey February, 1868. Residence in 1900, Randolph.
David McConnal: Boating. Born in New Jersey c. 1831. In 1850, he is living in Jefferson Township.
Dennis McConnal: Boating. Born in New Jersey c. 1834. In 1850, he is living in Jefferson Township.
Michael McConnal: Boating. Born in New Jersey c. 1836. In 1850, he is living in Jefferson Township.
Amos McConniel: Lock Tender on Canal. Born New Jersey February, 1868. Residence in 1900, Randolph. On March 9, 2021, Mr. Eskil "Skip" Danielson provided family history for this Lock Tender. Likely this is Amsie or Amsey McConnell, Mr. Danielson's great grandfather. The McConnell family had at least one child born in the Lock Tender's house: Hazel McConnell Danielson, "Skip" Danielson's grandmother.
Thank you, Mr. Eskil Danielson.
Edward McCornel: Boating Canal. Born in New Jersey c. 1837. In 1870, he is living in Boonton Township.
Patrick McCuller: Laborer Canal. Born in Ireland c. 1794. In 1870, he is living in Boonton Township.
Michael McElroy: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1821. In 1860, living in Roxbury.
Charles McWilliams: Brake Tender Canal. Born New Jersey, October, c. 1866. In 1900 he is living in Mt. Olive.
Andrew Menrock: Labor Canal. Born Austria – Hovenan c. 1872. In 1910, he is living in Montville.
Lewis Messinger: Boatman. Born Pennsylvania, c. 1832. In 1850, lived in Roxbury. Son of Boatman William.
Reuben W. Messinger: Born in New Jersey, April, c. 1865, Reuben Messinger was a third generation “canaler”, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, William, and father, Lewis.
Reuben Messinger became the first Superintendent of Hopatcong State Park after the Canal was abandoned. The former Lock tender’s House now serves as the Lake Hopatcong Historical Museum.
The New Jersey State Archives Collection Guide, under Record Group Morris Canal and Banking Company, has ledgers kept by Reuben Messinger dating from 1887-1936. From the State Archives “Content Note”:
“In 1884, Reuben W. Messinger took the position his father had held as gatekeeper, lock keeper, and collector for the Morris Canal Division of the Lehigh Valley Railroad Co. His ledgers record the weather conditions and water levels at Lake Hopatcong from 25 February 1887 to 2 August 1895 (vol. 1) and from 21 December 1895 to 7 March 1901 (vol. 2). The same information is recorded for Lake Musconetcong for 13 August 1926 to 21 February 1935 (vol. 2), with a record of the gate openings and suiger(?) levels in addition. Volumes 1 and 3 also give accounts of payroll, materials and tools purchased, and other expenses at Hopatcong Park from July 1928 to August 1933 (vol. 3) and from January 1932 to December 1936 (vol. 1). The books were referred to in Messinger’s testimony in the case in chancery against the North Jersey District Water Supply Commission in 1920.”
Reuben died in 1951, and was buried in the United Methodist Church Cemetery in Succasunna.
Thank you, Martin “Marty” Kane, of the Lake Hopatcong Historical Museum for providing Reuben Messinger’s name and connection to the Morris Canal.
William Messinger: Boatman. Born Pennsylvania, c. 1825. In 1850 and 1860, he lived in Roxbury.
Thomas E. Miller: Boss Carpenter, Morris Canal. Civil War veteran, Co K, 2nd NJ Inf.. Buried in Montville Dutch Reformed Cemetery.
The Boonton Weekly Bulletin, April 15, 1915.
Silas H. Minton: Master of Canal Boat. Born New Jersey, c. 1831. In 1860, lived in Randolph.
John Mitchel: Boatman. Born Ireland, c. 1837. In 1860, he lives in Rockaway Township in the household of William and Elizabeth Mitchel, also born in Ireland. Living in the house is also a young man named William, born Ireland c. 1842. His occupation is Boatman.
Thomas Mitchel: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1845. In 1870, he resides in Rockaway.
William Mitchel: Boatman. Born Ireland, c. 1842. In 1860, he is living in the William and Elizabeth Mitchel house in Rockaway Township.
William G. Mitchell: Boatman. Born c. 1840. Married Miss Carrie Rogers, July 4, 1865 in Rockaway by James Irvine, pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Rockaway. The marriage registration lists the groom’s occupation as “Boatman”.
George M. Mutchler: Supervisor of the Canal between Drakesville and Lincoln Park. Born in New Jersey in May, 1846 and died in Boonton in 1920, aged 74. Mr. Mutchler is mentioned as a Canal Supervisor by the Iron Era reporting on the death of the former supervisor (William Hixon) in August 17, 1894. In 1880 he is a laborer and by the 1910 census, he has no profession with the indication “has own money”.
Walter Norman: Plain Tender Morris Canal. Born New Jersey c. 1883. In 1910, he is living in Rockaway.
Firman Osborn: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1812. In 1850, he resides in Roxbury.
Charles Palmer: Boatman. Born New Jersey, c. 1839, the son of Daniel and Julia. In 1860, he is living in Rockaway Township in the household of Boatman Daniel L. Palmer. On December 23, 1869 , Charles marries Mary Ella Hodgekiss in Randolph.
Daniel Palmer: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1815. Living in 1860, Rockaway Township. A 21 year old man named Charles is in the household and he is a boatman. A 14- year- old boy named David, with no occupation provided is in the household, as well. This David Palmer is likely the David Palmer who is a Boatman in 1880. It is also likely that David was already working the Canal, however, the 1860 census stipulates that occupations are listed only for those 15 years or older.
David Palmer: Boating on Canal. Born in New Jersey c. 1845. In 1880, he and wife, Jane-also working on the canal- reside in Dover.
Jacob Palmer: Boatman Canal. Born New Jersey in May, c. 1882. In 1900, he is living in Dover.
Jane Palmer: Works on Canal. Born in Pennsylvania c. 1851. Wife of David Palmer, in 1880, the Palmers reside in Dover.
William H. Palmer: Canal Boatman. Born New Jersey March, 1836. In 1860, residing in Randolph. He married Emily Crane August 25, 1861, the officiate was Washington B. Leonard, Justice of the Peace. Served in New Jersey’s 2nd Cavalry, Enlistment and Discharge dates are unknown. In 1890, during the Widows and Veterans Census, Rockaway Township, Mr. Palmer’s line notation reads: Canal Boatman, unable to see him.” (census taker). Mr. Palmer’s death date and burial location are unknown.
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Benjamin Parker: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1815. In 1850, he resides in Roxbury.
Andrew C. Parlaman: Tending Lock. Born c. 1855 in New York. In 1870, he is Tending Lock living in Randolph. Andrew is absent from the family in 1880, when they reside in Dover.
Edward L. Parlaman: Boatman. Born c. 1825 in New York. In 1860, he is living in Pequannock. By 1870, he is a Lock Tender, living in Randolph. A 14 year old boy named Andrew C., in Edward’s household, is listed as “Tending lock”, as well. By 1880, with the surname spelled Parliment, the family is living in Dover, Edward is listed with the occupation Engineer. Edward L. Parlaman died February 6, 1884 in Randolph. His burial place is unknown.
Leander Parlaman: Boatman. Born in Orange County, New York c. 1825. In 1860, Leander is living in Pequannock. 1880 finds Leander working as a Carpenter in Patterson, New Jersey, the surname is spelled Parliment.
William Addison Parliman, Sr.: Plane Tender. Born New York c. 1850. In 1880, residing in Rockaway.
Thomas Parrish: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1824. In 1850, resides in Rockaway. Apparently, Mr. Parrish died after the 1850 census. Twenty-six year old Thomas Parrish, occupation Boatman, died in July of 1850, per the Morris County Mortality Schedule for Rockaway Township.
Thomas Patterson: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1839. In 1860, he is living in Roxbury. Thomas enlisted at Roxbury on September 3, 1862 into New Jersey’s 27th Infantry. He was killed accidentally in Newark, New Jersey. No additional information regarding accident circumstances or date are known. He is buried in Van Liew Cemetery, Middlesex County, New Jersey.
Thank you for your service.
Albert Pead: Boatman. Born New Jersey, August, c. 1886. In 1900, he is living in Rockaway Township. Son of Boatman James W. Pead.
James W. Pead: Boatman. Born New Jersey, April, c. 1847. In 1900, he is living in Rockaway Township.
John Pead: Boatman. Born New Jersey, July, c. 1882. In 1900, he is living in Rockaway Township. Son of Boatman James W. Pead.
Sidney Pead: Boatman. Born New Jersey, March, c. 1878. In 1900, he is living in Rockaway Township. Son of Boatman James W. Pead.
Hyram V. Peck: Brakesman on Plain. Born New York c. 1837. In 1860, he resides in Pequannock. By 1870, “Hiram” Peck is living in Boonton Township, Mr. Peck is a Plane Tender. Mr. Peck died in 1904 and is buried in Bloomfield Cemetery, Bloomfield, New Jersey.
Charles Munson Peer: Boatman. Born New Jersey September, c. 1866. In 1900, he lives in Dover. In 1920, he is foreman at Ice Company.
Edward C. Peer: Lock Tender and Canal Store Owner/Operator.
Eliza Jane Peer: Tow Path. Born New Jersey c. 1891. Mrs. Peer lived summer months on the Canal Boat with husband, John. She handled mules along the towpath, usually with a baby in one arm while pregnant with another, according to her son’s recollections.
Francis A. Peer: Boatman, Canal Store Owner and Operator. Born New Jersey c. 1851. In 1870, he resided in Rockaway Township.
Gabriel Peer: Lock Tender. Born New Jersey c. 1821. Last known residence, Denville, 1880.
Hudson Peer: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1851. Between 1860 and 1870, he resided in Rockaway Township.
James Walter Peer: Canal Boat Owner and Operator. Born May 29, 1841. Father of John Lester Peer.
John Lester Peer: Canal Boat Owner and Operator. Mr. John Peer was born on a Canal Boat owned by his father, James W.
John Henry Peer: Boatman. Born New Jersey October 13, 1840.
Joseph E. Peer: Boatman. Born New Jersey, November, c. 1864. In 1900, he is living in Rockaway Township. Son of Peter L. Peer.
Lemeul Peer: Lock Tender. Born in Rockaway Township, 1862. Son of Gabriel Peer. Last known residence Denville, 1880.
Marenus Peer: Boatman. Born New Jersey, c. 1844. On June 21, 1862, Marenus Peer enlisted at Washington, D.C. into the 2nd D.C. Infantry. He was discharged September 12, 1865 at Alexandria, Virginia. In 1870, he resides in Rockaway Township working as a boatman. Mr. Peer relocated to Coming, New York to work for the Rail Road (per his admission to disabled veterans home in Bath, New York.) An email received March 13, 2017 from Ms. Elizabeth Bolt (Sgt. Peer’s 3rd Great Grand-daughter) shed light on his later years and burial location. After suffering paralytic strokes a few years prior, Marenus died March 29, 1922. He was buried in Phoenix Cemetery, Tioga County, Pennsylvania.
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Peter L. Peer: Boatman. Born c. 1843. On September 3, 1862, he enlisted into New Jersey’s 27th Infantry, and was a survivor of what is the tragic loss known as “ The Cumberland River Disaster”.
Many of the fatalities were from the L 27th, comprised of Morris County men. On May 6, 1863 a ferry –the St. Igail – loaded with Union troops, attempted to cross the Cumberland River in Kentucky.
The St. Igail capsized and dozens of men perished. The Cincinnati paper “The Commercial” published first special dispatch account Friday May 7, 1863 and the story was picked up by New York Times the next day.
The Dover Iron Era, August 5, 1876 edition published the following:
Peter Peer, of Denville, a boatman, had his arm badly mangled and broken, while passing through the upper lock in this place on Wednesday, by having it caught between the boat and the side of the lock.
On the occasion of the thirty-third 27th New Jersey veterans reunion, the Dover Iron Era, May 12, 1893 edition provides the recollections of Peter Peer and surviving the Cumberland River disaster:
Peter Peer, of Denville, was one of the men that got dumped out of the boat going over the Cumberland River when the 27th was crossing. He being no swimmer when he got in the water he had presence of mind and his wits about him. He took his knife out of his pocket and cut all his belts and cartridge box loose and all his equipment and floated ashore, while strange to say, good swimmers drowned, mostly on account of the load they carried. Some of the officers made their men take off their blankets and arms and it lessened their chances of drowning in case they got overboard.
In 1870 and 1900, described as both a Boatman and a “Canaler” he is living in Rockaway. Mr. Peer died June 22, 1919 and is buried in Denville’s Savage Road Cemetery.
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Ritter Lincoln Peer: Canal Store and Operator. Born New Jersey, February 12, 1876, Ritter inherited the Diamond Spring Road Canal Store in Denville from his father, E. C. Peer. Ritter Peer’s WWI Draft Registration Card gives occupation as Grocery Business in 1917, without mention of Canal activities. Ritter Peer died in 1972.
Roswell B. Mason Peer: Boatman. Born New Jersey. C. 1832. In 1870, he is living in Rockaway Township.
Samuel Peer: Lock Tender. Born New Jersey c. 1790. In 1850, he resides in Randolph.
Stuart Righter Peer: Mule Driver. Born July 5, 1877. Began working on the Canal at age 11, his day began at 4am and ended at 10pm. By the time Stuart registered for WWI in 1918, he gives his occupation as Wireman on the DL&W RR in Hoboken, New Jersey.
Theodore Peer: Boatman. April of 1893, Captain Theodore Peer ran the first boat of the Canal season, reports the Iron Era. The first load was shipped by F.L. Dickerson of Denville. In 1900, Theodore is living in Rockaway Township.
Walter Peer: Canal Boat Owner and Operator. Began working on the Canal at age 8; rode a horse along the banks of the Canal dragging freight barges. Walter Peer’s life on the canal illustrates the day-to-day adversity and tragedy of “canalers”. The Iron Era reported in its October 27th 1893 edition that Mr. Peer’s canal boat sank in sixteen feet of water while at anchor in the Hackensack river. The paper reports that the family narrowly escaped death, and managed to raise the boat. However, in 1897, Walter’s son, Frederick, died at age 3 in 1897, drowning after falling out of his father’s boat.
William A. Peer: Lock Tender. Born May 4, 1862 in New Jersey. The oldest son of Lock Tender Edward C. Peer. William passed away at age 31 on February 24, 1893 in New York’s Roosevelt Hospital. William Peer is buried in Cook Cemetery, Denville, New Jersey.
Coincidentally, the same Iron Era paper (March 3, 1893) that announced William’s death, advised that the lock beneath the Peer Canal Store in Denville was undergoing repair; the same lock tended by both Edward and his son, William.
Abraham Pierson: Boatman. Born Morris County, c. 1832. In 1860, he and wife, Mary, are living in Pequannock.
George Pierson: Boatman. Born New Jersey, April c. 1881. In 1900, he resides in Dover. Son of Boatman Stephen Pierson.
Stephen Pierson: Boatman. Born Pennsylvania December, c. 1835. In 1900, he is living in Dover.
William Pregnall: Carpenter. Born in Portsmouth England, Mr. Pregnall was a ship builder. Mr. Pregnall left England for New York and was residing with his family there by 1815 remaining a ship-builder.
From his daughter, Mary E. Hurd’s obituary, Dover Iron Era, June 10, 1876: “In 1830, before the Morris Canal was completed, he was induced by the canal company to move to Dover, and here he built the first boats for the canal, and when the canal was opened he was the marshal of the great celebration”.
Mr. Pregnall died in 1856 and was buried in Orchard Street Cemetery, Dover.
Jason A. Plumstead: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1844. In 1860, he is living in Roxbury.
William Imla Powers: Boatman and Superintendent on Canal. Born May 26, 1844, William I. Powers (sometimes seen as William G) was born in Hackettstown, Warren County, New Jersey. At the age of 18, William enlisted into New Jersey’s 31st Infantry, Co. B on September 3, 1862. Private Powers was discharged, June 24, 1863 and appears to have embraced life in Morris County. He served as Mayor of Boonton three times and served as a Morris County Freeholder. In A History of Morris County, New Jersey: Embracing Upwards of Two Centuries, Freeholder Powers is mentioned as having served two years on the Freeholder Board. Freeholder Powers’ death date and burial location are unknown.
Thank you for your service.
Byram Pruden: Boatman. Born July 25, 1792. According to the Dover Iron Era, December 25, 1880 edition, Mr. Pruden was the first Boatman on the Canal, the captain of the boat “The Dover”. According to the article, Mr. Pruden, referred to at that time as “our aged friend”, continued as a boatman for several years after the first trip which crossed the Newark plane December 10, 1830. The article provides further detail: The carpenter of the first canal boat was William Pregnall, born 1795 and died 1856 (buried in Orchard Street Cemetery, Dover.)
The Iron Era informs readers that the boat was commissioned by Judge Freeman Wood, of Dover and his future mercantile business partner, Israel C. Losey.
First cargo-along with Judge Wood who could not resist the trip-a load of iron consigned to Jonathan Cory. The “back load” was mercantile goods, bound for Dover.
Mr. Pruden served as a private in Capt. Halliday’s company during the War of 1812. He died, aged 96, in 1888 and is buried in the Orchard Street Cemetery, Dover.
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Zenas Pruden: Born August 13, 1802. According to the Dover Area Historical Society, Mr. Pruden was a Wheel Right, Wagon Master and owned a wagon shop in the early 1820s. Mr. Pruden was also a very early Canal Boat Captain. Mr. Pruden died December 23, 1868 and was buried in Dover’s Orchard Street Cemetery.
Peter Purcell: Laborer on Canal. Born New Jersey, January, c. 1841. In 1900, he is living in Montville.
Mathew C. Rigby: Boatman. Born England c. 1839. Served in New York’s 70th Infantry; transferred to the 86th June 22, 1864. Pvt. Rigby was discharged June 27th, 1865 Last known residence was Montville, 1890. Mr. Rigby died May 6, 1891 and is buried in Montville Dutch Reformed Cemetery. Brother of Boatman William.
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William Rigby: Boatman. Born England c. 1839. In 1880, Mathew and William are Boatmen, living in Montville. At age 23 on October 18, 1861, New York City, William enlisted as a teamster in the 51st New York. Re-enlisting December 1, 1863, William was discharged July 25, 1865. After the Civil War, William became a member of the John Hill Post, no. 86 of the G.A.R. (the Grand Army of the Republic organization; the forerunner to the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts.) William Rigby’s date of death is unknown; he is buried in Montville Dutch Reformed Cemetery. Brother of Boatman Mathew.
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Albert Rose Riggs:
The store established by Mr. Riggs remains in existence. Now referred to as King's Store - the business was taken over by Albert Riggs' son-in-law, Theodore King - the store catered to the canal trade.
The King Store and Homestead(PDF, 211KB) were recipients of Morris County Historic Preservation Grants.
Edward Riley: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1834. In 1860, he was living in Roxbury. By 1880, he is a Canal collector, residing in Dover. His son, Nelden, is a Lock tender.
James Riley: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1837. In 1860, he was living in Roxbury.
Nelden Riley: Lock Tender. Born in Newark, New Jersey February 22, 1864. In 1880, he resides in Dover with his father, Canal collector Edward Riley (the surname is sometimes spelled Reiley). By 1940, living in Denville, he is in construction. According to the United States Index to Service Records, War with Spain,1898, Mr. Riley served during the Spanish American War as a Private in Co. D, 1st New Jersey Infantry. He died February 25, 1958 and is buried in the First Presbyterian Cemetery, Succasunna.
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Thomas Riley: Boatman. Born New Jersey, c. 1839. In 1860, lived in Roxbury. On September 3, 1862, at Roxbury, he enlisted into the 27th New Jersey. Date of death and burial location are unknown.
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William Riley: Boatman. Born Ireland, c. 1843. In 1860, he lived in Roxbury.
Samuel H. Rorick: Plane Tender. Born Canada c. 1816. In 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880, he is living in Roxbury. Mr. Rorick died August 18, 1895.
Allen Roberts: Boatman. Born New Jersey, February, 1829. In 1860, lived in Roxbury. By 1880 and in 1900, remaining in Roxbury, Mr. Roberts has become a grocer.
Halsey Roberts: Boatman. Born New Jersey, c. 1837. In 1860, lived in Roxbury.
John Roberts: Boatman. Born New Jersey, c. 1835. In 1860, lived in Roxbury.
Simeon Dickerson Rose: Assistant Supervisor. Simeon Dickerson Rose was born in Roseville, Sussex County New Jersey on January 4, 1824. A carpenter by trade, he served as Assistant Supervisor under Supervisor William Groff (unidentified as of 2016.) Like many other Canal associated individuals who left for other transportation employment, Mr. Rose took a position of Street Commissioner in Dover, supervising the building of the first macadam streets there. His obituary was published in Dover Iron Era, January 10, 1896. Mr. Rose is buried in Rockaway Presbyterian.
Charles W. Rugg: Boatman. Born New Jersey, December 7, 1868. In 1891, Chares married Stella Bercaw, who came from another “Canaler” family. The Rugg family was remembered in a poem written by Charles Matlock Hummer in 1959, entitled Famous Tiller Sharks. Comprised of nine stanzas, the poet describes canalers and their families in colorful nicknames (“Pug-nose Jim”, “Long fingered Lew”) or by surname. The Rugg family is referred to in stanza five:
“McLouton’s Irish Steam Boat, Stamped “Hit or Miss We Go”, The Healys and the Tuckers, The Ruggs from the overflow“.
Charles and Stella had eight known children, most of whom were raised on a canal boat: Elmer E., Lucy L., Charles B., Russel P., Florence M., Robert R., Calvin H. and Marion D. The Rugg family history relates that Charles, Sr. was a long-time canal worker; beginning as many children did as a “Mule boy”. Charles, Sr. was fatally wounded in 1915, when he was jolted on a wagon and struck his head on the handbrake. The same day he died, his son, Elmer, was married. Elmer, too, had worked as a “mule boy” on the Canal.
Thank you, Ms. Laurie Satmaria, the great, great, granddaughter of Charles and Stella Rugg, for providing the family history and sharing the Famous Tiller Sharks poem.
Andrew Rush: Boatman. Born Wurtenburgh, Germany, c. 1832. In 1860 living in Roxbury. By 1870, remaining in Roxbury, Mr. Rush has become a Rail Road laborer.
Charles Sammis: Collector on the Canal. Born New York c. 1788. In 1850, he resides in Randolph. In 1860, remaining in Randolph his occupation is described as Laborer, aged 72.
Ezra B. Sanders: Boat Builder. Born New Jersey c. 1815. In 1850, he resides in Roxbury.
John Sanford: Boat Builder. Born New Jersey c. 1815. In 1850, he resides in Roxbury.
Joseph B. Sanford: Boat Builder. Born New Jersey c. 1831. In 1850, he resides in Roxbury. Joseph is written into the census at the very bottom of the page, residing with John.
John Scott: North Main Street was "cut" along the proposed Morris Canal route. In 1824 the Morris Canal and Banking Company was chartered with John Scott of Powerville (Boonton Township), an important commissioner. Lock numbers 9, 10, 11 were constructed on newly named Powerville Road. The Powerville Hotel, still standing, was built near Lock Number 11 to accommodate both canal and transient trade. It later gained fame as a pre-Civil War Underground Railroad station.
Excerpt from Our History by Jean Ricker.
Thank you, Mr. Douglas Cabana, Boonton Township administrator.
George M. Scripture, Sr.: Lock tender and later operated an incline plane at Ledgewood. Completed his Canal career as Superintendent. Born New Jersey, September, c. 1864. In 1900, he is living in Roxbury.
George W. Scripture, Jr.: Breakman. Born New Jersey, September 1, 1884. In an undated newspaper article(PDF, 29MB), Scripture, Jr. described his job as “..alert his father of approaching scows, grab the canal boats’ mooring lines and secure them to the plane cars, cradle-like frames which were set on railroad type wheels.” Mr. Scripture quit the canal at age 13.
The article(PDF, 29MB) also provides the historic information that Richard Baxter Plane Tender and Canal Engineer- was Scripture, Jr.’s maternal grandfather.
Mr. Scripture provides the estimate of traveling the canal from one end to the other: five days, but a good scow man could do it in 3.
The undated newspaper article(PDF, 29MB) was probably published in 1955, as Mr. Scripture is described as “Scripture, who will be 71 September 1…”.
Mr. Scripture saw the canal through until its last days of operation. From The Boonton Times and The Boonton Weekly Bulletin, July 20, 1923:
“WORKERS STILL MAINTAINED TO KEEP CANAL IN CONDITION
Although the Morris Canal is abandoned for navigation, the need of the section gang has not passed. George Scripture, foreman of the Dover section, was planking a bridge near Wharton and removing debris from the locks along the line on Monday. Scripture has been in canal service for forty-two years, the last few months in the employment of the State.
William L. Powers, who was in charge of the canal for over a half century, and employed by the canal company for a longer time, has been retired from the position, devoting part of his time to the activities of the real estate department of the Lehigh Valley Railroad in New York.
B. B. Metz, of Phillipsburg, who was formerly was chief clerk and also a veteran in service of the canal, is now in charge, with headquarters in Phillipsburg. Section gangs are located there, at Washington, Hackettstown and Netcong. The section through Dover extends to Lincoln Park, where Scripture’s gang meets one with headquarters at Bloomfield.
Mr. Scripture said he had built nearly all the bridges between Dover and Little Falls, where his section formerly terminated, and he also had the Pompton feeder under his surveillance. When the Jersey City section was abandoned the foreman in Essex County had his section extended, shortening that of Scripture.
The lock houses are kept closed and locked, the planes have not been oiled, but timber work is being cared for. Whenever possible canal employees are residing in the canal homes, near the locks and planes, in order to keep the property from depredations.
The planks placed above the locks to retain the water in levels during the winter have been kept in place this summer for the first time in the history of the canal. The gates, however, can be raised. The planks retain much debris passing along the canal, which is being removed.
Our townsman, Mr. Thomas Helion, is retained in an official capacity.”
Charles Sharer: Boatman. Birth place, year and date unknown, but in 1894, he resided in Netcong. The Iron Era reports that “Brakeman Charles Sherer and his two brothers, who were brakemen also, have gone boating. I do not know whether railroading was too slow for them or not, but I do know that some of our best railroad men graduate on the canal and preferred a locomotive to a canal mule.” A later mishap covered by the Iron Era:
Charles Sharer, of Netcong, is boating on the raging canal now and last Friday he got tangled up in the towlines somehow and was tumbled down to the bottom of his light boat, injuring him quite severely, but he pulled out on Monday morning.
July 20, 1894 edition.
William Shears, Sr.: Boatman. Born England, c. 1822, in 1870, Mr. Shears is a Boatman living with his family in Montville. Sons, William Jr. and Richard, 8 and 12 respectively, are living in Montville. By 1880, remaining in Montville, William Sr., William Jr and Richard are all Boatmen.
William Shears, Jr.: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1862, in 1880, he resides in Montville, with father William Sr. and brother, Richard fellow Boatmen. May 15, 1886, William Shears Jr. marries Adelaide “Addie” Crane in Montville. The 1930, Caldwell, Essex County census has William in the trucking, business services.
Richard R. Shears: Boatman. Born Morris County, New Jersey, June of 1858. In 1880 he resides in Montville, with father William Sr. and brother William, Jr. fellow Boatmen. Richard married Minnie Small on February 15, 1881 in the White Hall section of Montville. 1900 finds Richard and Minnie (born in Germany) living in Bloomfield, Essex County, New Jersey, where he is a Plane Tender. In his house his son, William, born in November of 1882, New Jersey, is a Plane Tender, as well. Son Ernest works at a wool mill. 1910, Richard, Minnie and son, Ernest (Ernest Richard Shears was born in Montville, December 7, 1886 and was a machinist), remain in Bloomfield. This census indicates Richard has his own carpenter’s shop. 1920, Richard and Minnie remain in Bloomfield. Richard is a Carpenter for the Lehigh Valley RR; 1930, Bloomfield, Richard is a Carpenter for the RR. By 1940, Richard is a widower, without occupation. He is lodging with Emma Yuengling in Bloomfield. This is the last known of Richard Shears.
William Sherman: Plane Tender. Born Ohio, July, c. 1835. In 1900, he lived in Roxbury.
William R. Shoars: Boatman. Born New Jersey, c. 1829, he married Emily Zeak of Rockaway on September 17, 1852 (Mr. Shoars is indicated as “of Litchfield, Conn in the Marriage Registry.) In 1860, the Shoars family is living in Rockaway Township, including an infant “not named”; it would not have been uncommon for babies to be born on canal boats. On March 16, 1864, William enlisted into the 1st New Jersey Cavalry, Co. E. Private William R. Shoars was Killed in Action, near Farmville, Virginia on April 6, 1865. He is buried in the First Presbyterian Cemetery, Rockaway Borough, New Jersey.
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Silas Riggs: Canal Boat Captain. Silas, a tanner by trade, supplied local mines with leather pouches used to transport iron ore. He oversaw construction of the Morris Canal in Roxbury and operated three canal barges. His home remains standing in Succasunna, saved from demolition in the 1960s by moving it to its present location at 213 Main Street, Ledgewood. The unique saltbox house now serves as a museum.
Abraham D. Slaght: Boatman. Born in New Jersey c. 1836. In 1860, he is living in Roxbury.
Frederick H. Slaght: Brakes on Plane Car. Son of Foreman “J.W.” Slaght, Frederick was born in New Jersey, c. 1860. By the census records, Frederick last worked on the canal in 1880. By 1930, he is a retired Railroad employee, living in Roxbury.
Jesse W. “J.W.” Slaght: Plane Tender. Born in New Jersey, c. 1833. Formerly a supervisor, according to the Iron Era, in the January 31, 1896 edition, Mr. Slaght’s long association on the canal came to an end:
W. Slaght has ceased his connection with the Morris Canal, upon which he has worked during all his long life. He was formerly a supervisor, but of late has been a plane tender. He was an expert in all matters pertaining to the machinery, construction and work of the canal. He will hereafter make his home in Port Morris.
Charles J. Smith: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1835. In 1850, he resides in Roxbury. Charles is 15, living with a 56 year old woman. It is possible that Charles is the sole support of this woman.
Thomas Smith: Boatman. Born Ireland c. 1810. In 1850, he resides in Roxbury.
Edward Snover: Boatman. Born in New Jersey c. 1833. In 1850, he is living in Roxbury. In 1860, he remains in Roxbury. On May 27, 1861, Mr. Snover enlisted at Newton, New Jersey into 2nd New Jersey. Private Snover died January 1, 1863 of Typhus Fever at Camp Parole. He is buried at Antietam National Cemetery.
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Aaron Soloman: Lock Tender. Born New Jersey, c. 1809. In 1860, he resides in Pequannock. Possibly Aaron Salmon the 3rd as noted in 1850?
Alfred Somers: Boatman. Born New Jersey, July c. 1882. In 1900, he resides in Dover. Alfred, George and John, all boatmen, are brothers.
George Somers: Boatman. Born New Jersey, February c. 1876. In 1900, he resides in Dover. Alfred, George and John, all boatmen, are brothers.
John Somers: Boatman. Born New Jersey, April c. 1871. In 1900, he resides in Dover. Alfred, George and John are brothers.
William C. Stackhouse: Boatman. Born New Jersey, c. 1830. African-American. In 1850, he resides in Roxbury.
Henry C. Stickle: Boatman. Born in New Jersey c. 1845, likely the son of Jacob P. Stickle (Henry is in Jacob’s household in 1850, 8 years old and in 1860.) In 1860, as a Boatman, he resides in Rockaway Township.
Stephen Stites: Boatman. In 1890, during the United States Census of Union Veterans and Widows of the Civil War, Rockaway Township, Mr. Stites’ enumeration reads “Canal Boatman, Unable to see him”. Mr. Stites’ served in New Jersey’s 27th during the Civil War; his enlistment, discharge, death and burial date and location are unknown.
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Peter Stones: Boatman. Born Ireland c. 1843. In 1860, living in Roxbury. On August 1, 1862, Peter enlisted into New Jersey’s 11th. Discharged as a Sergeant June 6, 1865. Death date and burial location are unknown.
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Jacob Struble: Watchman. Born in New Jersey c. 1817. The June 24, 1882 edition of Dover’s Iron Era announces that Mr. Struble has left his position at the rolling mill as watchman, and accepted one on the Morris Canal. Mr. Struble died October 16, 1894.
John Swain: Canaler. Born Ireland, c. 1815, he is a Canaler in 1850, living in Randolph. 1860, canaler, living in Rockaway Township. By 1880, John Swayne is living in Dover. His occupation is Laborer and he was suffering a broken leg. Living in the house of his son, James, it appears that “canaling” did not survive the next Swaine generation; James is a brakeman on the rail road.
Thomas Swan: Works on Canal. Born in New Jersey, c. 1859. In 1880, he resides in Randolph.
Cyrus L. Talmage: Boatman. aka Talmadge. Born c. 1842 in New Jersey, in 1860, he resides in Rockaway Township. On August 18, 1862, Cyrus enlists as a Private in the 11th New Jersey Volunteers, Co. E. At the Battle of Gettysburg, Pvt. Talmadge was Wounded in Action and captured. Taken to the notorious Andersonville Prison in Georgia, Private Talmadge died there on September 2, 1864. He is buried in Andersonville National Cemetery and has a memorial marker in the First Presbyterian Cemetery, Rockaway Borough, New Jersey.
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Daniel Talmadge: Boat Builder. Born New Jersey, c. 1823. In 1860, living in Randolph.
Samuel Talmadge: Boat Builder. Born New Jersey, c. 1831. In 1860, living in Randolph.
David Taylor: Plain Tender. Born October 17, 1823 in New Jersey, in 1860 he resides in Pequannock with wife, “Sharlott”. On August 17, 1863, Mr. Taylor enlisted into New Jersey’s 33rd, Co. B. Discharged July 17, 1865 as a Corporal. By 1870, David is living in Boonton and working in a Nail Factory. Corporal David Taylor died September 15, 1875 and was buried in Whitehall Methodist Cemetery, Montville, New Jersey. Charlotte Taylor remained in Boonton, and was accounted for in the 1890 Veterans census. She died April 29, 1895.
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Stephen Tinsman: Works on Canal. Born in New Jersey, c. 1835. In 1880, he resides in Dover. His surname is sometimes spelled Dinsman.
George W. Tucker: Plane Tender. Born c. 1850. Residence Mountville (Montville), 1880.
Harry K. Tmug: Lock Tender. Born New Jersey, January, c. 1829. In 1900, he is living in Dover.
George H. Tmug: Lock Tender. Born New Jersey, October, c. 1871. In 1900, he is living in Dover. Son of Lock Tender Harry K..
George Todd: Boatman. Born New Jersey, c. 1844. In 1860, living in Roxbury. George, John, Joseph and William are brothers.
John Todd: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1842. In 1860, he is living in Roxbury. George, John, Joseph and William are brothers.
Joseph Todd: Boatman. Born Mt. Olive, New Jersey, April 1, 1840. In 1860, living in Roxbury. Mr. Todd enlisted in the 1st New York Engineers, Company K, September 21, 1864 (the 1st New York Engineers was comprised of mostly New Jersey men.) Private Todd died December 14, 1934 at age 94. He is buried in Succasunna Presbyterian Cemetery.
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William Todd: Boatman. Born New Jersey, c. 1834. In 1860, he was living in Roxbury. George, John, Joseph and William are brothers.
George W. Tucker: Labor on Canal. Born New Jersey c. 1849. In 1910, he is living in Montville.
John Unangst: Overseer on Canal. Born Warren County, New Jersey c. 1823. In 1850, working as a Boatman in Greenwich, Warren County, New Jersey. By 1860, he is living in Pequannock and his occupation is given as Overseer on Canal. According to A History of Morris County, New Jersey: Embracing Upwards of Two Centuries, by Henry Cooper Pitney, Lewis Historical Publishing Co., in a biographical sketch of William Gordon, the following is provided: “Mr. Gordon married Susan A. Unangst, a native of Warren County and daughter of John Unangst who was a Supervisor of the Morris Canal for a number of years…”
Alonzo Van Derhoof: On Canal. Born New Jersey c. 1864. In 1880, he resides in Rockaway. By 1910, he has found employment as a “Lamp Man, RR” in the 1910 Rockaway Township census. Typical of the time, he was another young man who gave up life on the canal for the railroad.
Lynus Vanduyne: Works on Canal. Born c. 1853 in New Jersey, his first name has a variety of spellings: Linas, Linus, etc…. In 1880, he resides in Dover.
Martin Van Duyne: Boatman. Born Morris County c. 1821. In 1860, he and wife Sarah are living in Pequannock. The Van Duyne children are William, Linus, Martha, Hannah and Ellen.
Abraham Vangilder: Lock Tender. Born New Jersey c. 1804. In 1850, he resides in Randolph.
Abraham Voorhes: Boating. Born New Jersey c. 1806. In 1850, he resides in Rockaway.
Jacob Voorhes: Boating. Born New Jersey c. 1834. In 1850, he resides in Rockaway. In the same household, Abraham, Jacob and Joseph.
Joseph Voorhes: Boating. Born New Jersey c. 1831. In 1850, he resides in Rockaway. In the same household, Abraham, Jacob and Joseph.
William C. Voorhis: Plane Tender. Born New Jersey, September, c. 1826. 73 years old in 1900, living in Randolph.
John Vreeland: Lock Tender on Canal. Born New Jersey c. 1828. In 1870, he resides in Boonton.
Brittain C. Waer: Labor Canal. Born New Jersey c. 1850. Residence in 1880, Rockaway.
Herman K. Waer: Superintendent on Canal. Born New Jersey, c. 1809, also known as Herman K. Wire. In both 1850 and 1860, he is living in living in Roxbury.
John M. Waer: Lock Tender. Born in New Jersey c. 1801. In 1880, he resides in Dover. In 1870, he is a foreman on the canal, residing in Randolph.
From the Dover Iron Era, April 16, 1881 edition:
Sudden Death of an Old Citizen.
“Mr. John Waer, one of our oldest residents, who passed his 80th birthday last Monday, died suddenly at his home on Sussex street on Thursday morning. He retired to bed in as good a health as usual the night before and arose at half-past four in the morning, but after awhile returned to his bed. A little after six his daughter went to call him and receiving no answer found that he was unable to speak. A physician was sent for but Mr. Waer died before he arrived. The deceased had been in the employ of the Morris Canal Company ever since its construction—forty-six years ago. He served as section boss till eight years ago, when by an accident he broke his leg, since which time he has been in charge of the guard lock in this place. He has always (illegible) for the upright life he led, and it is (singular?) to relate that he was the last of three brothers, all of whom died suddenly. His funeral will take place from the house at half-past two o’clock this (Saturday) afternoon.”
John Walton: Boatman. Born New Jersey c. 1858. In 1880, he resides in Rockaway.
George Weaver: “Canaler”. Residence in 1860, Rockaway Township.
John C. Weaver: Canal Lock Tender. Born in New Jersey c. 1848. In 1870, he is living in Boonton Township.
John R. Welch: Boatman. From The Boonton Times and The Boonton Weekly Bulletin, April 13, 1923:
“DEATH OF FORMER BOONTON MAN
John R. Welch, husband of the late Clara D. Welch (nee Davenport) and father of Florence D. and Russel G. Welch, passed away Tuesday at his home, 58 Littleton Avenue, Newark.
Mr. Welch was very well known in Boonton, being a brother of Mrs. William Oliver, of Harrison Street, and Miss Martha Welch, Holmes St., and was a frequent visitor here. His early life was spent in Boonton, where he had his home when a boatman on the Morris Canal in its palmiest days.
Later he moved to Newark, where he served many years as a member of its police force, where he had a fine record, remaining in service until retired.
Funeral services will be held at his late home in Newark this (Friday) afternoon at 2 o’clock. Internment will take place in Greenwood Cemetery, Boonton.”
Mr. Welch was born in New York, 1852.
Andrew J. Willets: Boatman. Born New York c. 1834. In 1860, living in Roxbury with brother, Samuel also a boatman. Andrew enlisted at Roxbury in in the 27th New Jersey Infantry, Co. C, on September 3, 1862. Private Willets drowned in a tragic accident now known as “The Cumberland River Disaster” on May 6, 1863.
Union troops attempted to cross the Cumberland River in Kentucky on a ferry named the St. Igail. Carrying full packs, animals and equipment, the St. Igail capsized. Twenty-nine northern New Jersey men lost their lives in that disaster. The Cincinnati paper “The Commercial” published first, special dispatch account Friday May 7, 1863 and was carried by the NY Times May 8, 1863.
Private Willets’ burial location is unknown.
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Samuel Willets: Boatman. Born New York c. 1824. In 1860, living in Roxbury. In 1870, Samuel is a farmer in Roxbury. His youngest child is two, named Andrew.
Patterson T. Winnery: Boatman. Born New York c. 1852. In 1880, he resides in Boonton.
Frank Wintermuth: “Canaler”. Born New Jersey, August, c. 1881. In 1900, he is living in Roxbury.
Alfred Young: Boatman. Born New Jersey, c. 1823. In 1850, he is living in Roxbury.
Daniel Young: Lock Tender. Born New Jersey c. 1830. In 1880, he resides in Boonton.
Grandain Zeliff: Boatman. Born Morris County, New Jersey c. 1833. In 1860, he resides in Pequannock. In 1870, he has moved to Manchester Township, Passaic County, where he is working as a Laborer.
- This list reflects Morris County data. It should be kept in mind that the canal spanned into other counties.
- The occupation “Brakesman” on various census, often indicating Canal or Rail Road. Brakesman without a Canal identifier have been omitted from this list.
- A review of the 1900 and 1910 Federal Census indicates the transportation resources at the turn of the last century: “Canalers”, Rail Roaders, Carriage and Harness makers reside side by side.
- Roxbury Library Roll of Honor(PDF, 22KB)
- Adjutant General William S. Stryker’s two-volume Record of Officers and Men of New Jersey in the Civil War, 1861-1865, which was originally published by the State of New Jersey in 1876.
- History Morris County New Jersey, Volume II, Lewis Publishing Co., 1914 for Civil War service and Cumberland River Disaster.
- Bridging the Years in Denville, published Sept. 1963.
- Memories of the Morris Canal, by Arlene Fowler Dempsey, 1980.
- Federal Census years 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910 and 1920.
- 1883 Morris County, New Jersey List of Pensioners.
- New Jersey, World War I Selective Service System draft registration cards, 1917-1918
- Dover Dates, 1722-1922: A Bicentennial History of Dover, New Jersey, By Charles Davis Platt
- Dover Iron Era, June 2, 1905 edition
- Dover Iron Era, December 25, 1880 edition
- United States President James Abram Garfield garnered large support in Morris County when running for the Nation’s highest office. Much of the Iron Era references his early childhood, when a young James worked as a “canaler” in Ohio, starting as a mule handler on a towpath; a shared experience with “canalers” in Morris County.
- Per the Iron Era, July 15, 1882 edition, a favorite color scheme with canal boat captains was a fiery red, with blue inscriptions. The cabin windows were decorated with “fancy” curtains, and the cooking utensils were kept in “the neatest manner possible.”