The latest book produced by the Wallenpapuack Historical Society, "The Raging Canal" republishes newspaper articles from the 19th Century that concerned the Delaware & Hudson (D&H) Canal.
"The Raging Canal" was brought together and edited by Audrey Graybill, past president of the Society, and richly illustrated by water color artist Barbara Briden. The book also contains vintage photographs of the canal operation.
A wealth of detail is found in this 277 page book, tidbits of daily life on the canal, revealing glimpses of the lives of people who worked on the canal or were impacted by it, as well as its operations, dreams and trials faced by its backers. Information found in these aged accounts offer snapshots from the time, as described through a reporter's pen. Unlike a historian reaching back in time trying to unearth the facts, faced with gaps of knowledge and separating what is known from fable, these accounts were fresh news and every day experience when they were first printed. It is also full of editorial comment.
Here's just a few items extracted from "The Raging Canal."
• Honesdale Citizen, November 2, 1876
"A heavy business in cabbages is being done by the Del & Hud Canal boatmen. They bring into port some fine cabbages from 'down the line.'"
• Honesdale Citizen, May 2, 1878
"Hawley items: The Pioneer is making four regular trips each week, but it is no very largely patronized these hard times; most people preferring to ride on the coal cars as long as they can ride free."
• Wayne Independent, March 20, 1897
"The boating season will open about the 1st of April. Fifty captains have been notified that their boats will no longer be needed. Thirty of the best boats out of the 150 taken off two years ago will be allowed to operate this season. Boatmen will receive 70 cents on coal."
Covering the period of 1870 through 1902, the book extracts stories and briefs found in local newspapers from the era, copies of which are now either brittle and yellowed, salvaged on micro-fiche or missing altogether. They came from the Wayne Citizen and Honesdale Citizen, predecessors to The News Eagle; The Wayne Independent and Wayne County Herald.
Graybill's work was inspired from the efforts of a librarian, Dorothy Hurlbut Sanderson of Ellenville, New York, who in 1927 compiled these newspaper articles for a book she planned to write. Sanderson published some of the material in a book in 1963. The present work, however, has many differences, Briden stated.
The D&H Canal, the first million dollar private enterprise in the United States, operated between 1828 and 1898, connecting Honesdale, through Hawley and Lackawaxen, PA; Port Jervis, Ellenville and ending at Rondout (Kingston), NY on the Hudson. Separate gravity rail systems ferried the mined coal to Honesdale and Hawley for the waiting canal boats.
Page 2 of 2 - "The Raging Canal" also has a generous index, allowing researchers a chance to mine items of particular interest and obtain a clearer picture of life on the D&H Canal and its patron towns, an era that helped form the bedrock on which our present has been laid.
This is Audrey's fourth book. The Paupack native also has compiled a history of the Gumble family; Historic Homes of Palmyra Township and The Hawey Flood of 1942.
The book is available for $20.00 through the Society's web site, www.wallenpaupackhistorical.org or by mail at Wallenpapuack Historical Society, PO Box 345, Paupack, PA 18451.