Captain Theodore D. Bartley, owner of three Lake
Champlain canal boats, kept a fascinating day-to-day journal of
his life from 1861 to 1889 on the canals and waterways of the
Northeast. His journal entries range from dramatic tales of near
sinkings during gales on Lake Champlain to descriptions of the
lives of ordinary people during the late nineteenth century; he
describes the Civil
War ironclads, the construction of the Brooklyn
Bridge, and the first electric
lights and telephones.
Theodore's great- grand- daughter-in- law Barbara Bartley has
spent countless hours transcribing these journals. This lengthy
unedited transcription is available in PDF format online.
Other excerpts and information can be found on the Purple
Mountain Press' website. The Bartley journals were edited
by Russell Bellico and published in 2004 by Purple Mountain Press
and LCMM, available for $22.50
Your Copy by Phone,
receive a 10% discount
on all purchases!
Probably a corruption of the word choke,
a chock is a wooden wedge that stabilizes cargo in a ship’s
hold and keeps it from shifting while the vessel is underway.
The expression chock-full alludes to a ship’s hold that
is filled to capacity.
From When a Loose Cannon
Flogs a Dead Horse There's the Devil to Pay,
by Olivia A. Isil.
Available at LCMM, 802-475-2022.
WHAT'S NEW AT LCMM
Curriculum Brings Canal Era to the Classroom
Educators, ahoy! The revised edition of LCMM’s
canal era curriculum is now available! Canalers
Afloat: The Champlain Waterway’s Unique Maritime
Community, 1819-1940 presents the history and
archaeology of the canal era in a dynamic, standards-
based curriculum for grades Pre-K – 8 that can
be used to teach archaeology, art, writing, music,
geography, and math skills.
The curriculum is a detailed, richly illustrated
and user-friendly two-volume set. Each of the 15 units
in the curriculum has been designed with the New York
and Vermont standards in mind, and features separate
activities suitable for Grades Pre-K – 4 and
Grades 5 – 8. A dozen appendices put resources
at your fingertips: chapter links to learning standards,
grading rubric, history and maps of the Champlain
Waterway, glossary of historical and nautical terms,
biographies, a chronology of events and inventions
from 1800- 1940, and more.
Historian Scott A. McLaughlin worked with a team
of museum staff and educators from Vermont and New
York to create the curriculum. A draft version was
field-tested by teachers and their recommendations
were integrated into the new edition together with
McLaughlin’s latest research. Development and
publication of the curriculum was made possible by
a generous grant from the Barnes Foundation.
The curriculum can be used alone, or in conjunction
with a class visit to LCMM’s replica 1862 canal
schooner Lois McClure. To see the Table of
Contents, click on the image above.
Order Your Copy by Phone,
$40 Plus Shipping and Handling
DID YOU KNOW?
Did You Know .... That a Champlain
canal boat in 1823 could carry 90 tons (180,000
pounds) of cargo? These boats were built specifically
to fit within the canal locks, which defined the boat's
length, beam (or width), and draft
(its area below the waterline). This in turn defined
a boat's carrying capacity. See the loaded and unloaded
canal boat in the above historic photograph. An overloaded
vessel that had been traveling on the open waters
of Lake Champlain or the Hudson River, could lighter
off, or move cargo to another vessel, in order
decrease its draft for travel through the locks.
In 1823, this new man-made waterway was an immediate
success, opening up commercial activity to the entire
region. Only a few years after its opening, the Champlain
Canal had paid for itself. Its success drove New
York State to enlarge the canal in 1862, thereby increasing
the carrying capacity of the boats.
By 1877 the canal had enlarged again, allowing larger
boats to travel through, able to carry 215 tons (430,000
pounds). That's the equivalent of more than five tractor
A boat's capacity was not just based upon weight,
but also volume. A full load of marble would probably
not fill a vessel's cargo hold, whereas a full load
of apples would necessitate a deck load in
addition to the load within the boat.
A canal boat captain's choice of cargo depended
on all of these factors: the capacity and size of
the vessel, the weight of the cargo, the ease of transporting
it, and the clean-up afterwards (imagine how dirty
a load of coal is!) These and many more elements of
a canal captain's daily life are expanded upon in
our new canal era curriculum. Work through the decisions
of a canaler with your students!
Sailor: Merchants and Mariners on Lake Champlain
After an introductory slide show of historical images
describing life and business on Lake Champlain in
the 19th century, teams of students form “crews”
and “operate” their own canal boat on
Lake Champlain, making decisions about where to travel
and what cargo to carry determining their economic
prosperity or bankruptcy. (1 hour 15 minutes; Grades
5+; Call for funding information.)