The Tumble January 2022


1. Water Power At The Edsall Mill 7. Huntington’s Canal Structures
2. W & E Canal Sale At Terre Haute 8. Welcome New Members
3. Jonathan K. Gapen 9. In Memoriam: Annadell Lamb
4. Canal Notes 1 – Washington’s Vision 10. CSI Year End Report 2021
5. St. Joe Feeder Canal Revealed 11. Canal Clippings From Old Newspapers
6. Canal Cleared of Vegetation

Water Power At The Edsall Mill

By Bob Schmidt

On February 22, 1832, ground was broken for the Wabash & Erie Canal.  This event occurred west of the St. Marys River at the point where the St. Joseph Feeder Canal was to enter the main canal just north of Lindenwood Cemetery (Rumsey and Wheeler streets).  Most of the early canal contracts in 1832 were to build the feeder dam and canal and the main canal westward toward Huntington, which was reached in 1835. Contracts for the main line to the east and the St. Mary’s aqueduct were issued in 1834.  Henry Lotz built the St. Mary’s aqueduct. Water reached into downtown Fort Wayne by 1836.

William Rockhill and Samuel Edsall both had arrived in the Fort Wayne area around 1823/1824. They, along with others, realized the value of building a canal for transportation and also for the water power needed for saw and grist mills.  Much of the land used by the canal west of the city was owned by Rockhill.  In exchange for the canal right-of-way at this location, he was given the first water lease by the canal officials.

Once the canal became a reality Rockhill formed a partnership with Samuel Edsall and together they received a lease of water rights effective on November 1, 1837.  The term of the lease was for 50 years and they were contracted for the quantity of water that was necessary to run 2 saws on 2 overshot wheels.  These water rights were always to be secondary to the needs of canal navigation but their contract was given priority over any other future water rights that were issued.  The mill location was specified to be located east of the St. Mary’s river, south of the aqueduct and just north of the Main Street bridge.  This 2-saw mill was finally built and operated 1842-43.

A subsequent agreement, after 1837 but before the mill was built, was made with the Canal officials. By this modification Rockhill & Edsall were allowed the quantity of water to power 2 “Parker” reaction wheels for 2 saws.  This 50 year lease provided for an annual lease rate of $149.29 per saw x 2 = $294.58.  Why did they make this change from overshot to reaction wheels?

1923 Illustration of the mill site called Edsall, Stone, Empire, Aqueduct or Orff  Mill

Earlier in 1825 two brothers, Zebulon & Austin Parker, were erecting mills in Coshocton County, Ohio, and were experimenting with a different type of mill wheel.  They found that the traditional saw mill wheel would not be functional when the stream waters rose in a freshet, often flooding out the mill wheel.  After a series of failures they eventually developed a percussion reaction water wheel similar to a tub wheel. The wheel was turned by the impact of a stream of falling water striking its paddles and its efficiency was increased somewhat by building a bottomless wooden tub around it. This tub harnessed more of the potential energy of the water before the water fell below the wheel. The tub wheel was easy to build and maintain, and was fairly dependable. While it was not very efficient and did not generate a great deal of power, its relatively small diameter (usually less than six feet) allowed it to operate at moderately high speeds, often eliminating the need for gearing. Sometimes it could be directly connected to the machinery it was to run. Small neighborhood mills often made use of tub wheels in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Perhaps because of the flooding conditions that occur on the St. Mary’s river it was decided that the Parker wheel would operate best for the saw mill at that location. However, when this mill was constructed they ended up using a Parker wheel for 1 saw and a “flutter wheel” for the 2nd saw. Perhaps it was difficult obtaining two Parker wheels so they decided to use the old flutter wheel method.  These wheels were using the full amount of water allotted to the mill.  As shown in this illustration both of these type of wheels were internal to the mill versus an overshot wheel, which would be mounted externally.

The flutter wheel was used when there was a large supply of water. It was small, low and wide—about three feet in diameter and up to eight feet wide. It got its attractive name from the sound it made. As the wheel went around, the blades cut through the entering water, making a noise like the fluttering wings of a bird. It was used almost entirely to power early sawmills.

Diagram of a Flutter Wheel

The words in the lease clearly indicate that the logs were to be floated in water to the mill and hoisted into the mill using the water power of the mill.  Look at the basin on the left side of the Edsall Mill on the earlier illustration and you will see a large raft of logs.  Obviously here those logs would not fit into this mill as illustrated.  So how did they plan for the original saw mill to get its timber?

The 6½ mile feeder canal brought water from the St. Joseph River to the main canal at the summit level that stretched from Taylor/Moot’s Lock east of the city all the way to the Dickey Lock in Roanoke. The current in this level ran both ways east and west. Logs could not be just floated from the southwest because of the current and the canal was flowing through a wet prairie not a woodland.  Logs couldn’t be floated from the east either because current from Taylor’s Lock was to the east away from the city. There was plenty of timber in the Black Swamp east of Ft. Wayne, but the water flow made this impossible. Timber would have had to go through 2 locks and through the center of Fort Wayne.  Therefore Rockhill and Edsall were planning to bring timber down the Feeder into the wide basin west of the St. Mary’s Aqueduct, then into their mill pond and then winched up into the mill.  On this route there would only be the guard lock just above the dam on the St Joseph River to negotiate. Also, there was timber along the route of the feeder and no lock would need to be used.  Building a saw mill near downtown Fort Wayne was not a very practical situation.

The Wabash & Erie Canal was finally opened between Lafayette and Toledo in July 1843, which was the time of the Grand Celebration in Fort Wayne on July 4th near the Swinney homestead. This same July, William Rockhill withdrew from the partnership. Edsall had second thoughts about a saw mill at this location. Before 1843 timber could be floated down the feeder, but now there was more boat traffic to contend with and potential congestion at the aqueduct site.  After a couple years of operating the saw mill, Edsall decided grain processing would be better for his location and more profitable.

Example of an Overshot Wheel

Edsall now began construction of his stone mill  and began operating it in 1845. Since one overshot wheel could run 3 stone milling sets, Edsall decided to replace the “flutter wheel” with a 16 foot overshot wheel. He petitioned the Indiana legislature in 1843 to make this change. The overshot wheel used much less water than the Parker wheel and would generate more milling power. He also wanted the option to retain the Parker wheel for 1 saw or to convert it to strictly grain processing. The questions arose in the legislature as to how much water he was allowed and how much he should pay for that lease?  Based on the evidence of an advertisement dated February 3, 1844, he still retained the Parker wheel for sawing.  It is unknown if he ever changed strictly to milling or added more than the 3 stones on the overshot wheel.

Since the overshot wheel used less water, Edsall wanted to pay the same lease amount of $294.58 as before even though the overshot wheel gave him more mill power. With some objections over the annual lease costs and the quantity of water allowed him the legislature did approve the Edsall request for changing the mill wheel. However, the board felt the lease rate should be at least about $100 per stone x 3 = $300. At this time Hamilton & Williams in their mill at Clinton Street were being charged $210 per stone x 3 stones = $620 per year. The Legislature Board Resolved:  “That the assent of this board is given to Samuel Edsall to apply all or any portion of the power necessary to propel two saws upon the overshot wheel specified in his lease, to the purpose of grinding grain on a wheel of like dimensions.”   December 19, 1843

[See April 2008 Hoosier Packet for more details on types and locations of mills along the canal.]

On January 19, 1946, the legislature authorized Stearns Fisher “to examine and gage to each lessee or leases of water power on said canal, and determine the quantity granted to him or them by the strict terms of their leases.”   Superintendent Fisher appointed Engineer, Francis Cleveland, to complete an analysis of the various types of wheels for saw versus grain mill applications.

Francis Cleveland was a resident engineer on the Ohio & Erie Canal from Waverly to Portsmouth, Ohio.  He had also done work on engineering the Central Canal south of Indianapolis.  As a matter of interest he had come from New York’s Erie Canal and was an uncle of the future U.S. President, Stephen Grover Cleveland.

Cleveland went on to evaluate each of the lease agreements for water rights from Fort Wayne to Lafayette. For the Edsall Mill he made the following suggestions on what the annual rent should be:

The original lease provided that each Parker wheel was to be $147.29  x 2 = $294.58 in annual rent.  Cleveland concluded that if one overshot wheel replaced the Parker wheel for sawing, the cubic feet of water per minute would be 913 for the Parker wheel + 533 for the overshot wheel = 1,446 cubic feet per minute. Based on a 16 foot wheel, both at the Edsall Mill and the nearby Hamilton & Williams mill, about 330 feet per minute per mill stone was being used. This gave a ratio of 4.38 equivalent units.  Per the original lease each Parker wheel was $147.29 x 4.38 equivalent units = $645.13 – annual adjusted lease cost for 1 overshot wheel’s grinding 3 stones plus 1 saw wheel. These are just the rates calculated by Cleveland and what the actual lease rates charged and the wheels used is unclear.

Shortly after 1845 Edsall was joined by a new partner, Millford Smith.  Edsall & Smith operated until 1856. Then the mill was sold to a partnership of Orf, Armstrong & Lacy.  Lacy soon died. Armstrong retired in 1858 so, after only two years, the mill became the Orf Mill.  John Orf added steam power in 1872 but retained the overshot wheel.  He could then switch between power sources as the circumstances required.  Orf added a grain warehouse and office space to the milling complex.  This mill was also called the Stone Mill, Aqueduct Mill or the Empire Mill.

Samuel Edsall  (FG # 65597973) and William Rockhill (FG # 7116987)  both died in 1865. They are buried in Lindenwood Cemetery, Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Zebulon Parker (1795-1867) (FG#133763285) is buried La Harpe Cemetery, Hancock county, Illinois.


Bates, Roy M. “The Water-powered Mill of Allen County, Indiana,” Old Fort News, Ft. Wayne, IN: Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society, February 1942.

Hamilton, William. “Report of Parker’s Water Wheel,” Journal of the Franklin Institute. July 1846, Vol 42. Issue 1 Page 35.

“House Bill No. 133.”Journal of the House of Representatives, of the State of Indiana, during the Twenty-eighth Session of the General Assembly. Indianapolis, IN: Dowling and Cole, State Printers, 1843.

“Parker’s Water Wheel,” The Scientific American. July 30, 1853, Vol. 8 Issue 46, Page 365.

Parker, Z. “Sketch of the Invention of Parker’s Water Wheel. Journal of Franklin Institute. July 1851, Vol. 52, Issue 1, Page 48.

Report of the Engineer Appointed to Examine and Gauge Water Power on the Wabash & Erie Canal, December, 1846. Indianapolis, IN: J. P. Chapman, State Printer, 1846.

W & E Canal Sale At Terre Haute

By Carolyn  I. Schmidt

The bondholders of the Wabash & Erie Canal decided to auction it off as its business and upkeep had declined and it had an accumulated debt of $18 million.  An auction was held in Vigo county in 1876 beginning on November 24 and lasting several days. The Terre Haute Journal of Saturday, February 26, 1876 reported the sale of canal lands at auction.

“WHO BIDS: Sale of the Wabash and Erie Canal and Lands.

“Yesterday was the date fixed for the long expected sale of the canal lands. It began promptly at 10 o’clock a.m. in the Vigo Court room. The apartment was crowded with gentlemen interested, from all along the line, from Fort Wayne to Evansville. A large number were present also from the city.

“Judge S. B. Gookins, Master in Chancery of the canal, conducted the sale. With him was Col. Thos. Dowling, resident trustee. Mr. George C. Day was clerk of the sale, and Mr. J. B. Hager was clerk for the bondholders.

“The sale was prefaced by a statement from Judge Gookins concerning the lands to be sold, the terms and conditions, decision as to water power, etc.

“The first part offered for sale was the line of the canal from Lafayette east to the (Indiana/Ohio) State line. The first bid was one of $25,000. It was secured by Jonathan K. Gapen for the sum of $85,000.

“The conditions were also that it should be sold separately in sections. This was done, the sections being 22 miles each in extent. In this manner it brought $67,725.

“The canal was then offered as a whole, a party from Logansport and vicinity bidding against Mr. Gapen and expecting to make division afterward to suit themselves. The bids then went up to $85,000, at which price it was sold to Mr. Gapen. This is the most important part of the work done yesterday. The lands sold were mostly odd parcels of little value, and the total amount including the above did not reach more than $110,000. Of this the canal in Vigo county outside of the city brought over $1,700, by J. K. Gapen; and that in Vanderburg county outside the city of Evansville brought over $2,700. The canal bed inside those two cities is reserved for private sale.

“Citizens of Terre Haute were among the best buyers, among whom were William Mack, J. K. Gapen, R. N. Hudson, C. W. Mascourt, Josephes Collett and others.

“The sale continued from 10 o’clock to 5 p.m., with an intermission of about an hour and a half at noon.

“Today will be sold Splunge Creek Reservoir land, about 3,000 acres, which it is thought will be in good demand, and on which bidding will be as spirited as during the sale of yesterday. Besides this are to be sold lands in Clay, Green, Pike and Gibson counties.”

The Terre Haute Journal of Tuesday, February 29, 1876 reported:

“CANAL SALE: Winding up the Auction.

“Yesterday the sale of the Wabash & Erie canal lands continued in the Circuit Court room. Judge Gookins officiating.

“The reservoir lots were among those sold.

“There was quite a number of separate parcels and tracts of which sale was made mostly of little value. Bidding was good The reservoir lands were gobbled by the neighbors and residents in that township.

“Jonathan K. Gapen was by far the most prominent bidder of yesterday, as he had been on Thursday. He bought about 2000 acres of land, the greater part of which was in Vigo county. It ranged in price from $6 to $25 per acre.

“The sale was concluded about the middle of the afternoon. Being in the charge of the United States it is not a matter that concerns our county officers to a great extent.

“Thus does the old canal pass into other hands. Without regard of preference as to ownership, we may say that it is a satisfactory change; for while a great extent of land is brought into actual use, the canal bed is still sufficiently unbroken as to serve for purposes of transportation, if favorable conditions should arise.”

According to Paul Fatout’s book, Indiana Canals, published by Purdue University Press, Gapen’s price for the portion of the canal from the western boundary of Lafayette to the Indiana/Ohio state line was $85,500, which is $500 more than reported in the newspaper. Fatout also wrote that “Below Lafayette the line, knocked down by counties in eleven parcels, was bid in by Gapen, J.H. Shirk, Solomon Claypool, A. N. Dukes, H. H. Boudinot and other for $11,760.  Appurtenances like locks and quarries were sold for $11,860, an about thirty-eight hundred acres of reservoir lands brought $50,976. The total receipts of $160,096 were a meager inheritance for bondholders.”

Jonathan K. Gapen

Find-A-Grave 78284188

By Carolyn I. Schmidt

Born on December 23, 1838 in Centerville, Indiana, Jonathan K. Gapen began his early life there.  The 1850 U.S. Census shows him at age 16 living in Harrison township, Vigo county, Indiana with his mother Charlotte Gapen age 38, and siblings Mary J. Gapen age 14, Edward Gapen age 11, Robert Gapen age 8, Taylor Gapen age 4 and Augustus Gapen age 0, a baby.

According to Mike McCormick, Vigo county historian, in an article that appeared in the Terre Haute Star, Jonathan was an undertaker in Terre Haute, Indiana.  He also held stock in  the Wabash and Erie Canal. At some point he must have studied law since he was involved in several important court cases both for the canal and the railroad.

Prior to the sale of the Wabash & Erie Canal Jonathan moved to New York, New York.  His name was found in the New York City Directory with his business at 12 Wall Street and home at 208 Fifth Avenue in 1876.  He was also shown at this address in the 1878 directory.

Then in February 1876 the Wabash & Erie Canal was sold. Jonathan was a major purchaser of the canal especially in Vigo county.  But this was just the beginning of the canal controversy.

On July 18, 1877 the Ft. Wayne News Sentinel carried the following article about Jonathan and the Wabash & Erie Canal law suit:

“THE CANAL: Another Important Suit Begun

“Indianapolis Journal: The Wabash and Erie Canal has been a fruitful source of litigation for the last forty years, but it was supposed that the sale of the entire canal in the state, under a decree of the federal court, had finally disposed of the canal and ended all litigation in reference thereto. This expectation has not been realized, as appears by an intervening complaint which was recently filed in the federal curt by Buskirk & Nichol, attorneys for James Spears and the heirs of Reed Case, deceased, in the action of Jonathan K. Gapen vs. the trustees of the Wabash and Erie Canal, the lessees of the water power at Delphi, and the present owners of the canal between Lagro and Lafayette. The nature of the suit is this: In 1842 the legislature passed an act authorizing and requiring the engineer or other person in charge of such canal at Delphi to make a contract for the construction of water power at Delphi sufficient to propel thirty run of stones. It was further made the duty of such engineer, as soon as such works were completed, to lease out such water power, and it was expressly provided that the rents received therefore should be solely and exclusively appropriated to the payment of the expense of constructing such works. James Spears, of Lafayette, and Reed Case, of Delphi, obtained the contract for the construction of such works, and completed the same within six months, the time limited by such acts. In 1846 the legislature passed another act, in which it was made the duty of said engineer to make an estimate of such works and their value, and to give to the contractor a certificate showing the amount due and providing for the payment of the sum so found due out of such rents, computing interest thereon at the rate of 6 percent per annum from the completion of such works until the same was paid. The engineer made the estimate and gave a certificate showing that the sun then due was $10,354.20.

“Within a short time after the giving of such certificate, the general assembly, by what is known as the “Butler bill,” transferred the canal to their bondholders but the rights of the contractors, Spears & Case, were expressly reserved by such bill. The trustees of the canal recognized the rights of the contractors, and leased to two firms enough water power to propel six run of stones, and would not lease any more, under the pretext the water was needed at Lafayette. The rents received therefore have been paid over to the contractors, who down to 1875, had received about $18,000. About that time Jonathan K. Gapen, for himself and other creditors, filed their bill in the federal court against the trustees, praying for a sale of the canal within the state of Indiana.  Subsequently the court decreed the sale of such portion of said canal, and appointed Judge S. B. Gookins special master to make such sale. The decree expressly provided for the sale of the locks and dam, and all that created the water power at Delphi. Judge Gookins, under such decree, sold all that portion of the canal lying and being within the state to Jonathan K. Gapen, who afterwards sold the same to Wm. Fleming, of Fort Wayne. Fleming sold the portion lying between Lagro and Lafayette to Elbert H. Shirk, H. J. Shirk and A. N. Dukes, of Peru, and Thomas J. Immel, William Dolan, Jacob W. Dewitt, Charles B. Knowlton, of Logansport, who are the present owners. Abner R. Bowen and Enoch Rinehart are the assignees and owners of the water power at Delphi. The present owners of the canal claim that they are entitled to such rents, as under their contract there is now due them the sum of about twenty five thousand dollars. The rents received have not been sufficient to pay the interest. Owing to this controversy no rents have been paid for nearly two years. The contractors claim that as the legislature expressly set apart and appropriated the rents derived from such water power have been sold, they are entitled to a decree of court providing for the payment of their claim out of the money derived from the sale of the canal and such water power. This would secure to the purchasers all that they purchased. If this relief should be denied then they pray that the court will revoke and set aside so much of the decree as provides for the sale of such water and the sale made thereunder, and will appoint a receiver to lease out such water power and collect the rents and apply the same to the payment of their claim. The original act was brought in the circuit court of the United States, and all the orders and decrees therein have been made by Judge Drummond. Judge Gresham refuses to take any cognizance of the present action other than to grant leave to file the intervening complaint, and to order the process for the non-parties. The matter will be brought before Judge Drummond at an early day. The original plaintiffs are represented by Claypool, Newcomb & Ketchum. The trustees are represented by McDonald & Butler. The intervening petitioners are represented by Buskirk & Nichol. The present owners of the canal are represented by Ross & McGee, of Logansport. It is not known who will represent the lessees of the water power.

“Judge S. B. Gookins, of Terre Haute, receiver of the Wabash & Erie Canal, in the suit of Jonathan K. Gapen et al. vs. the trustees of the canal, has filed a report with the United States Court announcing his readiness to pay to the holders of stock a certain dividend out of the moneys in his hand, viz..:$76,292.” according to The Commercial and Financial Chronicle and Hunt’s Merchants’ Magazine, of June 1, 1878.  “The Court has ordered that $15,000 of this sum be reserved, the remainder to be divided among the stockholders as follows, being 8 4/10 percent of the principal: (The numbers as reported do not add up.)

By 1880 Jonathan had moved to 3 Broad Street, NY, NY. He was listed as secretary in the city directory. It does not report for whom he was the secretary.

On March 7, 1882, the New York Times reported a list of Supreme Court decisions.  No. 81 was French, Hanna & Company appellants vs. Jonathan K. Gapen, etc al; and No. 91 was James S. Spears et al appellants, vs. Jonathan K. Gapen, et. al. Appeals from the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Indiana — demure reversed and remanded, with direction to over rule the orders and proceed thereafter as justice may require not inconsistent with the opinon of this court. Opinion by Chief Justice Waite

In 1883 he was back at 12 Wall Street listed as treasurer.

He then moved to 82 Nassau Street, NY, NY in 1884 and was listed as lawyer.   In 1897 he was again listed as treasurer. From 1888-1899 he remained at 82 Nassau Street.

Then once again in 1900 Jonathan was back in court this time as a trustee of the South Brooklyn Railroad and Terminal Company (SBR&T,Co).  A Report from July 1, 1899-January 17, 1900, for the SBR&T, Co. stated:

“This company was organized in January,  and articles of association  were filed with the Secretary of State at Albany, N. Y., on January 13, 1900.  It purchased from Samuel C. Herriman, who had acquired the same at public sale under foreclosure on December 19, 1899, the railroad franchises and property of the late South Brooklyn Railroad and Terminal Company. The sale was ordered by the Supreme Court in Kings county as the result of an action brought by Jonathan K. Gapen, trustee, to foreclose a mortgage.”

“On December 19, 1899, the railroad assets and property, both real and personal (except as below stated); of the South Brooklyn Railroad and Terminal Company were sold at public sale by Alvin R. Johnson, referee, appointed by a judgment of foreclosure and sale, dated September 8, 1899, entered in an action then pending in the Supreme Court, Kings county, in which Jonathan K. Gapen, trustee under said company’s first mortgage, is plaintiff and others are defendants. The said property was sold for the sum of $150,000, and a deficiency judgment was entered against this company in said action amounting to $39,644.88 and execution was issued therefor, under which the cash on hand belonging to this company was levied upon by the sheriff. The sale of said referee stands confirmed by the court, and the referee’s deeds of property and possession were delivered to the purchaser on January 17, 1900. The only assets which were not sold as aforesaid on December 17, 1899, was the cash on hand belonging to the company which was levied on by the sheriff.”

In 1906 and 1907 Jonathan was boarding at 90 Circular in Sarasota Springs, New York.

Jonathan K. Gapen never married.  He passed away on April 2, 1911 at age 72 and was buried in Greenridge Cemetery, Saratoga Springs, Saratoga County, New York.

On June 24, 1911 his will was approved, which directed his sister Mary J. Gapen Adams to be the Executrix. She was sworn in.  She was married to Lyman I. Adams and was living in Chicago, Illinois. Mary and Lyman had a child named Edward Adams.

Sources:  Jonathan K. Gapen

Birth records

U.S. Passport Applications 1795-1925

Eighteenth Annual Report of the Board of Railroad Commissioners of the State of New York, for the Year 1900.  Albany, NY: James B. Lyon, State Printer. 1901.

Find-A-Grave: #78284188 Jonathan K. Gapen

New York City Directories:  New York City, Saratoga Springs  1880-1907

New York Wills & Probate Records 1869-1999.

“Supreme Court Decisions,” The New York Times, March 7, 1882.

“The Canal,” Fort Wayne News –Sentinel, July 18, 1877.

“Wabash & Erie Canal,” The Commercial and Financial Chronicle and Hunt’s Merchants’ Magazine. Vol. XXVI, New York, NY: William B. Dana & Co., 1878.

  1. S. Federal Census 1850

Canal Notes

By Tom Castaldi

With this issue of “The Tumble” we are starting a new column by Tom Castaldi.  As an introduction Tom writes:

When Indiana was admitted to the Union in 1816 there were no improved roads and river navigation was difficult with its rapids, sand bars and fallen trees. Even so, Indiana’s pork, corn, meal, flour, lard, beeswax and timber had to be floated downstream on the rivers to the Mississippi on heavily loaded flatboats to willing buyers.

With the coming of the Wabash Erie Canal in the 1830s, ports of call across landlocked Indiana were connected by an all-water route to the Eastern Seaboard. It opened markets, enhanced immigration and improved passage to the old west. When completed from Lake Erie, thru Fort Wayne on to Evansville to the Ohio River in 1853 the Wabash Erie was the longest canal in the Western Hemisphere. So from those waters, to canal boats, here an array of short stories “Canal Notes.”

Here are a few lines about the Wabash & Erie Canal that between the years 1832 and 1876 played an important part in opening up Indiana and the old west.

Very short stories, Canal Notes taken together tell of the planning, building, people, places, successes and concerns of the waterway that became the second longest in the world.

1 – Washington’s Vision

George Washington may not have slept in Indiana, but by 1784 he was dreaming of a Wabash & Erie Canal that would connect the “Father of our Country” in the East, with the “Father of Waters” in the Wild West.

At first it was, dig a channel through an ancient American Indian portage, from Fort Wayne’s Saint Mary’s River and flow a stream of water the few miles it would take to reach the Wabash River west of Huntington, Indiana.

Ground breaking took place in Fort Wayne in 1832, and by 1835, Captain Asa Fairfield, on his canal boat the Indiana, took a 32-mile ride with a few of his friends from Fort Wayne to Huntington. When in 1843, Lafayette was connected, Fort Wayne was the site of a big dedication celebration.

In the end, builders had expanded Washington’s canal vision stretching it from Lake Erie at Toledo, Ohio, to Evansville, Indiana, on the Ohio River creating the longest man-made waterway in the Western Hemisphere…a veritable “Father of Canals” had been realized.

It began as a dream, succeeded in opening the State of Indiana to world commerce, and was a series of frog ponds by 1876 as railroads took over.

While Washington is remembered fondly by a grateful nation his dream of a canal connecting the far reaches of his United States is but a faded memory.

St. Joe Feeder Canal Revealed 

Mark Linehan, CSI member from Ft. Wayne, stumbled on this in his grandparent’s old neighborhood of “Hungry Hill”.  These pictures were taken in the parking lot at the corner of Osage and Richardson streets in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.  You can visually line up the long, caved-in section with the alley across Osage, which is one of the last visible remnants of the Feeder Canal route through the inner city.

Mark remembers that nothing much was done with this odd little section at the bottom of Howell and Richardson except that it had been graded and developed over the years. This 50-yard section of asphalt cave-in is the old Feeder Canal trying to re-assert itself.

Canal Cleared Of Vegetation

Sam and Jo Ligget, CSI members from Terre Haute, Indiana, visited Jay W. Dennis, CSI member  from Rosedale, Indiana, on October 27, 2021 after he called them.  Duke Energy had cleared all the vegetation from the canal bed on his property and he wanted them to see what it looked like.  Sam said that this experience gave a person the feeling of how quiet traveling on a canal boat would have been like out in the county side.

The following photos taken by Sam clearly show how the Wabash & Erie Canal was built along the hillside and did not require a berm bank.  The towpath is between the canal and the Wabash River.

Huntington’s Canal Structures

The Wabash & Erie Canal was 468 miles long with 380 miles within the state of Indiana. There were 22 miles of these miles through Huntington county.  Although other counties in the state had more canal mileage, Huntington county has the distinction of having the greatest variety of structures.


It had 14 culverts to carry water under the canal prism or bed.  Of these 12 were the typical wooden box type, 1 was a timber arch culvert at Roanoke and 1 was the stone culvert that still remains today at Silver Creek just west of Huntington.

Silver Creek Culvert —Although the face of Stone Arch #45 is missing, this stone arch culvert still remains in the county. It carried the canal and canal boats (where the vans are seen) over Silver Creek as the creek emptied into the Wabash River.


When streams were larger aqueducts were built in order to carry water over them.  Huntington county had 2 open trunk aqueducts.  One was at Bull Creek and the other at Flint Creek.


To adjust for the elevation changes between levels of the canal, locks were built. The county had 7 locks.  Six were built of timber, but the one at Washington & Cherry streets in the town of Huntington was a combination of rough stone lined with timber.

Turn Bridge

Just to the west end of town was a turn bridge at State & LaFontaine streets. It could be turned to be along the canal bank and allow canal boats to pass through before being turned back into place.

Feeder Dam

One of the county’s more unique structures was Feeder Dam # 1 at the Forks of the Wabash river.  There were only 4 feeder dams on the Wabash river. Besides the one at Huntington they were located at Lagro, Peru and Pittsburgh/Delphi.  Also there was the Summit Feeder Dam on the St Joseph river north of Fort Wayne.

Foundation timbers are all that remain of the Dam #1 built across the Wabash River to back up water and feed the Wabash & Erie Canal at the Forks of the Wabash.

Flood Gate

The completely unique structure for Huntington county was the flood gate.  The Clear Creek Flood Gate has been removed, but the other flood gate at the Huntington/Wabash county line has not been unearthed.  These gates could be lowered at times of flooding to allow a great volume of water out of the canal preventing a breach.

At Clear Creek this flood gate was removed in May 1999 during highway construction. When there was too much water in the canal this gate in the towpath would fall down and excess water would flow into the creek and then the nearby Wabash River. It could then be raised and the canal would be operational.

Clear Creek was dammed creating a slackwater crossing for canal boats. The waters from this creek could easily flow freely to the west, making the flood gates necessary.  The design of these gates was by Robert English of Lagro.  English had a patent for this style of gate. More information about Huntington canal structures and Robert English can be found on this website. (See Biography and Statistics)

The Canal Society of Indiana has been aggressively pursuing the placement of signs along all of our Hoosier canals.  Both the Huntington County Historical Society and the Forks of the Wabash have agreed to work with us in identifying potential sign locations for so many interesting sites.  Many of our members have given part of their annual membership fees for this effort.

A program entitled “Canal Building in Huntington County,” which included the above information, was attended by 55 members and friends of the Huntington Historical Society at the Huntington County Historical Museum at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, November 17, 2021.  CSI president, Bob Schmidt, was in period dress as he presented a PowerPoint program about the unique features of the Wabash & Erie Canal, which carried freight and passengers across the county in the middle part of the 19th century. Participants followed the canal on a map of Indiana’s and Ohio’s canals they received in a packet of canal information.


Welcome New Members

The Canal Society of Indiana welcomes the following new members who have joined at the single/family rate of $20 unless otherwise noted or who have been given gift memberships:

Arnold, Judy                            Lapel, IN

Beemer, Richard                      Huntington, IN

Chapman, Charles                    Huntington, IN

Elliott, Randy/Angela              Columbia City, IN   Gift of Tom/Linda Castaldi

Griffin, Margaret                      Ft. Wayne, IN

Guiff, Aaron/Jessica                 Ft. Wayne, IN         Gift of George Heilman

Ligget, Kris                              Terre Haute, IN       Gift of Sam/Jo Ligget

Ligget, Larry                            Terre Haute, IN       Gift of Sam/Jo Ligget

Mathias, Don/Jan                     Andrews, IN

Neu, Linda                                Evansville, IN         Gift of Margo Finney

Reber, Jim                                Huntington, IN        Gift of Jerry Goar

Schmitt, Tom                            Ft. Wayne, IN

Simerman, Robin/Michele       Ossian, IN               Gift of Steve/Sue Simerman

Tetrault, Mike               Delphi, IN               Gift of Dan McCain

In Memoriam: Annadell Lamb

Annadell Craig Lamb, a member of the Canal Society of Indiana, died July 12, 2021, at Grand Brook Memory Care in Fishers, Indiana. She was a long time resident of Lafayette and West Lafayette, Indiana.

Born April 11, 1925, in Delphi, Indiana to Leo Clarence Craig and Mabel Rule Craig, Annadell grew up in Delphi and was graduated from Delphi High School in 1942 and from the Indiana University School of Journalism in 1946.  She married George Winton Lamb in Delphi on April 24, 1949.

Annadell dedicated her life to helping others through community service.  She volunteered at the local and national level in support of Phi Mu, her collegiate sorority.  There she served as a chapter advisor, as the treasurer for the Delta Epsilon Building Corporation at Purdue, and as the organization’s National Historian. She authored two editions of the organization’s comprehensive history.

Annadell was a founding board member of the Carroll County Wabash and Erie Canal Association and served as its treasurer for many years. She was instrumental in the refurbishing canal contractor Reed Case’s home in Delphi’s Canal Park and was active in the park’s activities.

She was also a member of the Lafayette Symphony Guild, the Congress Street Methodist Church Circle, and Psi Iota Xi.

Annadell enjoyed global travel and exploring new parts of the world. She visited over 20 countries learning about their diverse cultures.

She was preceded in death by her parents and her husband.  She is survived by her sister, Frances J. French of Lafayette; her daughter, Claudia Schlagenhauf of Fishers, and her son, Craig Lamb (Dawn) of Concord, North Carolina.  She is also survived by her grandchildren, Michael Schlagenhauf (Meg) of Indianapolis, Chelsea Heidt (Matt) of Indianapolis and Josiah Lamb (Samantha) of Astoria Queens, New York, and great-grandchildren Adrien, Rohan and Kieran Schlagenhauf of Indianapolis.

Visitation was held Sunday July 18, 2021 from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. at Soller-Baker West Lafayette Chapel, 1184 Sagamore Parkway West, West Lafayette, IN 47906 followed by a service at 3:30p.m. Burial was in Spring Vale Cemetery. Officiating was Rev. Kurt Freeman.  at

Canal Society Of Indiana Year End Report 2021


PRESIDENT                Bob Schmidt                         Ft. Wayne, IN        (260) 432-0279

VICE-PRESIDENT   Mike Morthorst         Cincinnati, OH

SECRETARY  Sue Simerman Ossian, IN

TREASURER Cynthia Powers Roanoke, IN

TUMBLE COORDINATOR Carolyn Schmidt Ft. Wayne, IN

BOARD OF DIRECTORS                                       PRESIDENT’S ADVISORY COUNCIL


Dan McCain          Delphi                                            Kreig Adkins                 Peru

Jerry Mattheis      Cambridge City                            Paul Baudendistel      Metamora

David Kurvach      Newburgh                                      Frances French           Lafayette

Carolyn Schmidt  Ft. Wayne                                       Ralph Gray                   Indianapolis

Stan Schmitt         Evansville                                      Craig Leonard             Bluffton

Frank Timmers     Carmel                                           Mike McCormick       Terre Haute

.                                                                                       Ellsworth Smith          Leo

                     2023                                                          Brian Stirm                 Delphi

Terry Bodine           Covington

John Hillman          W. Harrison

Phyllis Mattheis     Cambridge City

Cynthia Powers      Roanoke

Sue Simerman        Ossian

Preston Richardt     Elberfeld


Tom Castaldi         Ft. Wayne

Jeff Koehler           Center Point

Sam Ligget            Terre Haute

Mike Morthorst     Cincinnati

Bob Schmidt          Ft. Wayne

Steve Williams       Roanoke

2020-2021 – President’s Review

This past year, like 2020, has required new ways for our historical organization to interact with our membership and the public. Instead of visiting canal sites and gathering together with our canal friends, we have tried to find other methods to keep connected and keep our organization viable. Until May we continued the “Day in Indiana History” E-mails and word games. The assumption was that by 2021 we could resume a more normal level of activity. With COVID still lingering we made our Spring Tour a virtual tour and produced a tour guide booklet.

Since the COVID virus has continued to plague the country we have shifted our emphasis to reaching out to others outside our membership ranks. We need to let others know about our society and our website.

Our signage program was expanded to place 10-12 signs this year. As a society we have placed over 50 signs on Hoosier canal sites in the past few years. This trend will continue into 2022.  Private property owners and several trail organizations have generously agreed to post our signs on their property or along their routes. Our members have given generous financial support to this program.

We have also increased our activity on FaceBook to reach a broader public audience.  So far we are averaging about one new page every other week.  On these FaceBook pages we reference our website where additional information about canals can be found.  Our bi-monthly journal, “The Tumble,” has been published online on a regular basis with the aid of Ball State students.  This relationship will continue into 2022.

On August 28th we held a brown bag symposium at the Anderson Public Library on 19th century transportation that was offered free to the public. Andy Olson and Steve Jackson presented Power Point programs to 36 people, many of whom were local persons who knew little about the Canal Society of Indiana.  Hopefully this program will bring in some new members.

One of the best ways to increase CSI membership is for our members to actually pay the $20 dues membership for a friend or relative. This would give them a 1 year introduction to CSI.

Several of our Board members worked with Scott Roberts, a writer for Outdoor Indiana.  He is preparing an article on Indiana canals that will appear in the January/February 2022 issue of the magazine.  He was shown canal sites and some of our new signs.

As we look into 2022. CSI will be celebrating our 40th anniversary.

Despite the adversity of COVID we need the continued support of all of our CSI members to keep our organization relevant.  A special thanks should be given to those who worked this year on our virtual tours, the August Symposium and the signage program.  Even though we were unable to meet as a group, these individuals made these Society programs a success.

Bob Schmidt



    Assisted students, authors and genealogists in canal research

Board meeting October 8, 2021

On-line:  Canal Society of Indiana website:

Canal Society of Indiana Facebook page

Subscribed to

Placed signage along canal routes


    These men receive and answer numerous phone, E-mail and posted messages from persons seeking information that may involve canal business or those who built Indiana’s canals.

Allen Co.    Thomas Castaldi

Carroll Co.  Mark Smith

Clay Co.      Jeffrey Koehler

Miami Co.   Kreig Adkins


Goar, Lowell Edward   April 26, 2021

Hall, Dorothie M.       February 3, 2021

Hatch, Mary (Ricks)     October 21, 2020

Lamb, Annadell       July 12, 2021

Loomis, Linn Wilbur    December 12, 2020


Arnold, Judy – Lapel, IN

Beemer, Richard – Huntington, IN

Berndt, Craig – Ft. Wayne, IN

Chapman, Charles – Huntington, IN

Elliott, Randy & Angela – Columbia City, IN

Goedeke, Jerett – Antwerp, OH

Griffin, Margaret – Ft. Wayne, IN

Guiff, Aaron & Jessica – Ft. Wayne, IN

Ligget, Kris – Terre Haute, IN

Ligget, Larry – Terre Haute, IN

Linehan, Mark – Ft. Wayne, IN

McCandless, Brad & Brenda – Princeton, IN

Mathias, Don & Jan – Andrews, IN

Neu, Linda – Evansville, IN

Reber, Jim – Huntington, IN

Schmitt, Thomas – Ft. Wayne, IN

Simerman, Robin – Ossian, IN

Tetrault, Mike – Delphi, IN

Walter, Jamie – Covington, IN

SPEAKERS BUREAU (talking about Indiana’s canals and promoting CSI)

Date #People Event Presenter/s

10-05-2019          102 Patoka Refuge Gibson County Preston Richardt

8-??-2021       30 Clay County Historical Society Jeff Koehler

11-17-2021       55 Huntington County Historical Society Bob Schmidt

11-23-2021         28 Wabash County Historical Society Jeff Koehler


    Memorials to Lowell Goar

Judith Barnes and family

Mr. & Mrs. Neil Harrington

Carl & Carol Langston

Steve & Sue Simerman

Bob & Carolyn Schmidt

Memorials to Mary Hatch

Dick Hatch

Bob & Carolyn Schmidt

Contributions above the $20 membership level, for canal signage and gift memberships will be reported to you by E-mail in early 2022 instead of in “The Tumble” for privacy issues.


DOCENTS  OR  ACTIVITIES (Relating to or promoting Indiana’s or other canals)


Bauer, Carl – CSI representative on the Maumee Valley Heritage Corridor board of directors

I attended Six Mile Reservoir Marker Dedication.

I attended the CSI Canal Symposium in Anderson, Indiana.


Bodine, Terry – W & E Canal –  Covington –  CSI Director

I made contact with Duane Grubb about placing a canal sign south of Covington, Indiana on the Wabash & Erie Canal.

Last year I built a scale model of the Cades Covered Bridge that is located near my home in Fountain County. Carol Freeze has just discovered that the State of Indiana offered to help build the bridge in 1847 through script from the Wabash & Erie Canal. That would be the second bridge the canal had helped build. When I get more information on all this I will write up something for “The Tumble.”

Castaldi, Tom – W & E Canal – Ft. Wayne – CSI Director

Continued serving as a CSI director, Served on the sign committee

I made contacts about sign placement, worked on obtaining sites for signs and saw to the erection of CSI canal signs in Allen County: Aqueducts 1 and 2 and Purdue Fort Wayne Plex on the St. Joseph Feeder Canal; Huntington repair of the Wabash Dam 1 damaged sign; Lagro Wabash Dam 2; Peru, Wabash Dam 3 also Stone Arch 73 with the aid of Kreig Adkins; Lewisburg Road generic sign; Logansport Lock 24 and Aqueduct 5; Delphi Wabash Dam 4 with aid of Dan McCain. In process of installing two signs on Fort Wayne Trails Towpath Trail segment with aid of Bob Schmidt.

I found the speakers for CSI’s Canal Symposium at Anderson.

I wrote an article for “The Tumble” entitled “Forks of Wabash Park Towpath Trail” and submitted news clippings about the dedication of Mill Lock 24.

I took five people on a tour of canal remains in April 2021.

I was interviewed for articles in the Logansport Pharos Tribune by staff writer James Wolf on the dedication of Mill Lock 24 for the August 20 edition and also for the Pharos Tribune by Jonah Hinebaugh for the “Old Erie Canal Marker Unveiling” August 21.  I have been contacted by Outdoor Indiana staff writer Scott Roberts who is working on an article about Indiana’s Canals and encouraged him to attend our August 28 symposium.

I visited New York State’s Erie Canal Lock 13.  At an adjacent rest area I donated Wabash and Erie Canal Notebooks I, II, and III, which I have written.

     I spoke at the dedication of Mill Lock 24 in Logansport.

I am working with Don Mathias at the Forks of the Wabash about possibly clearing Lock 10 and mounting a CSI sign to be visible from the Heartland Corridor during months when foliage will not block view.

I read “The Tumble” on line when looking for a specific topic.

I took the virtual tour of the Wabash & Erie Canal in Gibson county.

I would consider planning Fall 2022’s tour if it were to take place in the northern part of the state—thought of Cass County.

I will submit names for membership and their addresses as I find people who are interested.

I read The Indiana Story by Dorothy F. Lewis. In the chapter titled “Canals” she dedicates 14 lines explaining the Wabash Erie; two on Whitewater, four on the Central; and five on the Mammoth Internal Improvement Bill. The book has a nice line drawing of a packet with captain at the tiller, five people sitting atop the cabin on a park bench and two mules off in the distance. To be fair the book was likely written for grade school children.

Although probably an impossible task, I wonder what CSI could do to assist locating or replacing the Gronauer Lock State format marker?  We’ve checked with INDOT to see if it was turned in to them, have contacted the State who reported back that to replace the marker is a $3,000 or so expense.

I attended the CSI Canal Symposium in Anderson, Indiana.

I attended the CSI Board meeting.

Hillman, John – Whitewater Canal – West Harrison – CSI Director

The Whitewater Valley Railroad takes up most of my time.

I have erected the CSI aqueduct sign that marks the Whitewater Canal Crossing of the Whitewater River at Laurel.

I have received the Berlin Lock (road view) sign that replaces the one that was taken and will have it up shortly.


Koehler, Jeff – W & E Canal – Clay County – CSI Director

I attended the Canal Symposium in Anderson, Indiana.

I spoke at the August meeting of the Clay County Historical Society about the old Splunge Creek Reservoir.

I erected a CSI at the Splunge Creek Reservoir that was taken within a few days.

I worked with Worthington to place a CSI sign and it has been erected.

I spoke at the Wabash County Historical Society about canals in November.

Kurvach, David – W & E Canal – Warrick County—CSI Director

I took pictures and wrote an article for “The Tumble”

I worked with Preston Richardt in planning the CSI virtual tour for Warrick and Vanderburgh counties.

I took videos of the Wabash & Erie Canal in Warrick and Vanderburgh counties which are on the CSI website.

I have a few areas in mind for future signage…but I want to see how the two signs that have been erected have fared before marking other areas of the canal in Warrick County.


Ligget, Sam  – W & E Canal  – Terre Haute – CSI Director

I have continued to serve as a CSI Director.

I have gotten permission from Mrs. Corthum to place a canal sign on the Blue Hole south of Riley, IN. I am assisting Mr. Jay Dennis in getting a sign placed by INDOT on Highway 41 at the site of Otter Creek Aqueduct.

I took two people on a canal tour on March 9, 2021.

I read “The Tumble” and contributed 3 articles to it this past year—”Durkee and Lusk,” “The Dennis Property,” and “A Canal Role in a Movie.”

I took the virtual tour of the W & E Canal in Gibson county.

I was interviewed by Scott Roberts for as Outdoor Indiana article to be published later this year. I am to receive a copy. The interview was held at the canal timbers exhibit in Fowler Park, Vigo County, Indiana on July 13, 2021.

I was in a video about the canal timbers in Fowler Park for the Vigo County Parks Department.  It is on-line.

I attended the CSI Board meeting.


McCain, Dan – W & E Canal – Delphi – CSI Director

I am still serving as president of the Wabash & Erie Canal Association in Delphi, which involves many meetings, work with the M-W-F group, work at festivals, etc.

I spoke with Scott Roberts about Canal Park for an article he is writing for Outdoor Indiana.

I led walking tours of the trail along the canal for the 4th of July.

I wrote articles for our E-newsletter.

For the last year and a half we have been strapped with COVID restrictions to the degree that we have many fewer bookings for conference space and few wedding receptions. The Canal Boat operated this summer on weekends and Pioneer Village has had crafters on those days. We had a great outpouring of visitors at our Canal Days event in July. Groups and families have come here throughout the summer but activities are mostly outdoors. COVID has hurt our income but at the same time we have experienced a “robust business” in our popular RV Park behind the Canal Center. Income from campers this year nearly doubled over any other past year!

We added three new “old looking” log buildings that the M-W-F crew had built. One very small unit is meant for 1-2 overnight residents; one mid-sized unit will host 2-4 persons and the large cabin with a loft could host large or multi-family overnight use. Restrooms and showers are available at the RV facility nearby. No electric or water is provided and these cabins represent Irish workers living quarters. They are presented for short term rental on the web through AirBnB. So far they have been very well received by individuals and families with children mostly coming from outside Indiana.

Our future financial security was bolstered by the two million dollar “gift” we received a couple years ago from the Richard and Joan McCain estate. We get an annual income from that source plus another significant income producing legacy from Richard Funkhouser, who has passed.  Annual contributions and memberships continue to bless us  and some have been added to our Community Foundation accounts.  This has made possible of hiring an Executive Director.

Our “full-timer” Campground Host Roger Circle is a retired marketing firm owner. He has made inroads into projecting our offerings to the public through FaceBook.

We have a video that explains the origin and developing years of the Canal Association. It is on You-Tube at: https//

We did not host any grants during the COVID time but the M-W-F crew and other committee activities have been active this year. Most work has been to further develop already existing buildings and grounds. People coming here are always complementing the work by many volunteers to beautify the campus. We have big community volunteer days in Spring and Fall with a “free” lunch which always brings more workers.

I attended the CSI Board meeting.

I am on the board of the American Canal Society.


Mattheis, Jerry  & Phyllis- Whitewater Canal  – Cambridge City – CSI Directors

Over the years we have faithfully invited school children to our home to tell the Overbeck Pottery story and the Whitewater Canal Story. With COVID these school field trips have been suspended.

Jerry has placed two new CSI signs on the culvert bridge by the Vinton House on the National Road.

Jerry just painted over the old sign this week that Western Wayne Heritage put up next to the Vinton House some ten+ years ago.  It was a mess and an embarrassment. It looks clean now with nothing on it. We are still working out what to put on a new metal sign to put over the old one.  It’s still “in committee”.  Some suggested just a list of Hidden Gems and locations.  Carolyn Lafever is working on a brochure for  Main Street.

Reid Hospital still is thinking about giving the warehouse where Dr. Bertsch had his office to Western Wayne Heritage. We’ll probably get it in time to heat it.

We have the book but haven’t looked at the videos from the CSI spring video tour due to our health issues.

We attended the Canal Symposium in Anderson, Indiana.

We attended the CSI Board meeting.

Morthorst, Mike – Indiana’s Canals – Cincinnati, OH – CSI Vice-President

Besides serving as CSI’s vice-president, I have also been the president and assistant treasurer of the Canal Society of Ohio and am the editor of the Canal Society of Ohio newsletter.

I am secretary for Whitewater Canal Trails and am CSI’s representative to the organization.

I am the secretary of the American Canal Society.

I wrote an article  for “The Tumble” entitled “The Richmond Explosion of 1968” this year and ones on the Nicaragua Canal  and the Southeast USA Canals in previous years.

I have discussed signs with Whitewater Canal Trails people.

I am helping Andy Hite distribute the video he produced about Buckeye Lake for the Canal Society of Ohio

I have visited the Sandy & Beaver Canal Locks in Beaver Creek St. Park, Ohio.

I am planning the Canal Society of Ohio’s fall tour to Blackhand Gorge.

I am always reading about canals.

I attended the Canal Symposium in Anderson.


Powers, Cynthia – W & E Canal – Roanoke – CSI Treasurer

I’ve overseen the CSI checkbook when requested and written checks.

I read “The Tumble” faithfully!

I enjoyed the virtual tour of Gibson County sites.

I attended the CSI Board meeting.


Richardt, Preston – W & E Canal – Gibson County – CSI Director

In the spring of 2021 I spoke to Southern Gibson County about erecting a CSI sign.

I produced a video for the CSI Virtual Tour of Gibson County.

In the spring of 2021 I helped clear an area to aid public viewing in the Patoka River NWR near the Aqueduct.

I have read several books and articles about canals to help produce the video.

I visited the canals around the everglades in South Florida.

I constructed a model of the Patoka River Aqueduct # 17.

Sign Update: I have the items to place the signs for Lock 71, Smith Creek and Road Bridge; I am waiting on a break in the weather and for the ground to soften so I can dig the holes for the poles. I have yet to inquire of the location for the sign in question that was destined for Wesselman Park, my contact has been out west fighting wildfires pretty much since early spring.

Map Update: I am hoping that I will be able to return to my work on the virtual maps later this fall or in the winter. My work schedule has prevented me from doing much lately.

Social Media: I sent pictures of a new sign in Gibson Co. at Pigeon Deep Cut (paid for by the county tourism board) to the page facilitator. I did help with information on the sign.

I was recently asked to be interviewed about the canal by the Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources about an article in one of their publications; I am waiting on a response back from them.

Schmidt, Bob – W & E Canal – Ft. Wayne  – CSI President

Served as CSI president; Planned CSI Board of Directors Meeting, questionnaire and voting forms that were E-mailed to board members; Kept CSI financial records and prepared financial statement; Filed not-for-profit state and federal forms; Wrote articles for “The Tumble”; Arranged to have canal signs made, picked them up in Ohio, and delivered them to the recipients or to other board members to deliver them to recipients; Worked with Ball State student for additions and corrections to CSI website; Researched and wrote “Day in Indiana History” articles that were E-mailed to members until May; Answered canal questions and mailed material to several people; Picked up CSI mail at Ft. Wayne’s downtown post office; Prepared slate of officers for American Canal Society board of directors as the nomination chairman; Viewed CSI signage at Lagro, Huntington, Peru, Ft. Wayne; Delivered CSI signs to Newburgh, Evansville, Terre Haute, Cambridge City, Ft. Wayne; Viewed CSI signs in Terre Haute, Riley, Ft. Wayne, Peru, Lewisburg, Roanoke, Logansport, Lagro; Was interviewed for Outdoor Indiana by Scott Roberts; Wrote weekly FaceBook page for CSI; Attended Delphi’s 4th of July Canal Days, Attended CSI Canal Symposium; Made reservations for board meeting; Made contact with Covered Bridge president; Conducted CSI Board meeting; Spoke to Huntington Historical Society

Schmidt, Carolyn – W & E Canal – Ft. Wayne  –  “The Tumble” Coordinator

Coordinator for “The Tumble” and wrote articles for it; Prepared CSI Board of Directors meeting year end report booklet; Created weekly canal related word puzzles that were E-mailed to members until May; Helped with research and writing daily “Day in Indiana History” articles that were E-mailed to members through May; Answered E-mailed questions about canals; Viewed CSI signage at Terre Haute, Ft. Wayne, Riley, Peru, Lewisburg, Logansport, Lagro, and Roanoke; Delivered CSI signs to: Evansville, Newburgh, Terre Haute, Ft. Wayne, Cambridge City; Sent contribution and memorial letters to those contributing to CSI; Was interviewed for Outdoor Indiana by Scott Roberts; Attended Delphi’s 4th of July Canal Days; Prepared booklets for Canal Symposium; Attended CSI Symposium; Wrote thank you letters to speakers of symposium; Prepared lunches for speakers; Prepared luncheon for Board of Directors; Attended CSI Board meeting; Prepared material for Huntington Historical Society

Schmitt, Stan -W & E Canal – Evansville – CSI Director

Made contact with Wesselman Park director about signage


Simerman, Sue – W & E Canal – Ft. Wayne – CSI Secretary

I continue to serve as CSI secretary.

I visited the following canals this past year:  Wabash & Erie in Huntington county, Soo Locks in Michigan, and Miami & Erie in Ohio.

I attended the marker dedication in Antwerp, Ohio for the Six Mile Reservoir, took pictures, and sent them to CSI headquarters.

I took the virtual tour of the Wabash & Erie Canal in Gibson county.

I read Facebook submissions about canals, sometimes comment on them and share them with friends.

I continue to send updates to CSI headquarters on the W & E Canal and trail at Lagro.

I attended the CSI Board meeting and took minutes.

Do to COVID my travels have been limited as have been my indoor dining at restaurants.


Timmers, Frank – Central Canal – Carmel – CSI Director

I submitted newspaper clippings with articles for “The Tumble.”

I attended the Canal Symposium in Anderson, Indiana.

I have spoken to the president of the Covered Bridge Society and am trying to get CSI to partner with them for a joint tour or a symposium.

I attended the CSI Board meeting.


Williams, Steve – W & E Canal – Roanoke – CSI Director

Each year the children in second grade come to the Roanoke Area Heritage Center in Roanoke, Indiana to learn about transportation where we stress our canal heritage.

We are working with our docents in getting them further educated about canals, especially the Wabash and Erie, so that they are able to answer questions.

The Canal Society of Indiana thanks all of its Directors for their service this past year.

Canal Clippings from Old Newspapers

The Western Register, Terre Haute, Indiana

March 11, 1830

Seven members of the House of Representatives in Ohio, have entered their “solemn protest against the passage of the bill to authorize the board of canal commissioners to examine into the practicability of extending the line of canal to Mad river, at or near Dayton, to Defiance, at the mouth of the Auglaize river.”

We have not room for this protest. Among the reasons set forth are those usually urged by persons opposed to the construction of canals, when a state is about to commence a second or third, before the first is completed and fairly tested; such as that the state had only contemplated the construction of one channel of communication from lake Erie to the Ohio river. The indebtedness of the state—the canals already authorized by law, and that by constructing the canal contemplated in this bill, a rival will be raised up to the Ohio canal. The bill, however, is now a law of the state of Ohio.—Ed Reg.

Indiana State Sentinel, Indianapolis, Indiana

February 6, 1845

Illinois Canal Loan.

It appears by the London papers last received, that the Illinois Commissioners, appointed to negotiate a loan from the Bondholders of Illinois, to enable the State to finish the canal, has been successful, on condition that certain enactments shall be made by the Legislature, now in ssession, necessary to the restoration of the credit of the State; or, in other words, guaranteeing the payment of the interest due on the State Debt. The London Chronicle of Jan. 3d says—

“This loan, for such, it really is made by a few houses and individuals in London, Amsterdam, and Paris, is remarkable as being the only European transactions of the kind, that has been entered upon with any of the States since Gov. McNutt, of Mississippi, first proclaimed the doctrine of “repudiation.” Col. Oakley and Mr. Ryan have done for Illinois what Mr. Robinson a few years ago was unable to effect for the government of the United States. So deep and so general is the feeling of distrust which repudiation has produced (continued as it has been by the delinquent conduct of Pennsylvania) that, great as the exertions of the Illinois commissioners have been, and advantageous as the loan—which is the result of them—is expected to prove to the interest of the lenders, it may be doubted whether the amount required could have been obtained in Europe had it not been for the presence and co-operation of Mr. Leavitt, the president of a bank at New York, the proprietors of which are considered holders of these bonds. Mr. Leavitt gave by his subscription an example of the confidence and liberality which he strongly recommended for the adoption of the European bondholders.”

Indiana American, Brookville, Indiana

February 13, 1846

Toll Collectors.—We understand that the Board of Directors of the Whitewater Valley Canal have removed the office of Collector from this place [Brookville] to Laurel. This is a very good movement to favor fraud upon the Treasury. The boats in coming up, generally leave Cincinnati in the evening, and will pass the collectors office at Harrison in the night, and will pass Laurel the next night. And although the collectors may be present, it is impossible to detect frauds in the night as well as in the day time.

Indiana American, Brookville, Indiana

February 13, 1846

The State Sentinel says—Mr. Charles Butler is now engaged in making a report to the Bondholders whom he represents, as to the recent legislation in their behalf, on the part of the late general assembly. This will occupy his time till about the middle of February, when he will depart for the East.

Evansville Daily Journal, Evansville, Indiana

February 9, 1853


The new and splendid canal packet Jo. Rowley, GLASSGOW, Master, will run the ensuing season as a regular packet from Evansville to Petersburgh, and intermediate landings. It is expected that she will be able to commence running in the fore part of January as far as the reservoir in Gibson county [Pigeon Creek Reservoir], and extend her trips to Petersburg and Washington as soon as the [Wabash & Erie] canal is completed. As her owners have used every exertion to have their boat completed and ready for business as soon as the canal was in navigable order, they hope the public will award to them a liberal patronage.

For freight or passage apply to  ROWLEY & GLASSGOW, Or the owners on board.

Evansville Daily Journal, Evansville, Indiana

March 5, 1855

WABASH & ERIE CANAL TRANSPORTATION TO NEW YORK, BOSTON, PHILADELPHIA and BALTIMORE.—The undersigned Agent, will receive for the delivery, THROUGH, of all kinds of Produce and Merchandise from this city, by the “Troy and Western Line” of Canal Boats, on favorable terms.  JOHN S. MITCHELL, Agent

Evansville Daily Journal, Evansville, Indiana

March 5, 1855

WABASH AND ERIE CANAL. — THE undersigned have recently built a large and substantial Warehouse on the Canal at Petersburgh, and are now prepared to transact any Produce, Commission or Forwarding business entrusted to them. Consignees will be in all cases warranted to give satisfaction.  BARR & MORGAN, Petersburgh, In.

Weekly Reveille, Vevay, Indiana

February 13, 1856

CANAL AROUND THE FALLS.—The directors of the Indiana Canal Company have concluded to contract with responsible persons, on favorable terms, for the construction of this important work.—They design commencing the work immediately.

Evansville Daily Journal, Evansville, Indiana

February 23, 1858

The ice on the canal is nearly three inches thick.  Yesterday, troops of lively youngsters took advantage of the freeze, and enjoyed the vigorous and healthful exercise of skating.

Wabash Express, Terre Haute, Indiana

February 23, 1859

Wabash and Erie Canal.

We learn from Indianapolis that there is a strong opposition to the bill introduced by Mr. Conner, of Wabash, to authorize the Trustees of the Wabash and Erie Canal to lease that work to private companies, so that the same may be worked for the advantage of the country. That bill asks no appropriation of money, and very clearly declares that the State thereby assumes no responsibility for the canal part of the debt. It is short and to the purpose, and there seems to us no just ground of opposition to it.

We further learn that this opposition is prompted by the outsiders who have been sent to the Capitol by the Wabash Valley Railroad. That corporation is deeply interested in destroying the canal, and it will accomplish the object if money and effort will do it. It is believed that many thousands have been already spent in the payment of lobby members, for these men are both numerous, active and shameless in their efforts. Two men are specially prominent there against any legislation, as we learn from good authority. Both are ex-Judges of the Supreme Court—one living at Logansport and the other in Parke county!  How this last ex-official can justify himself before the good people of Parke county, who have no other mode of transportation but the canal, passes our comprehension.

There was a good deal said about the bondholders buying up the legislature sometime ago, though it now seems there are no efforts lacking, by themselves or agents, to procure legislation of any kind.  This is now conceded at Indianapolis. The “buying up” seems to come from a very different quarter—from the Railroad and antagonist to the canal the friends of which, no doubt, raised the mad-dog cry to cover up its own treachery to the people of the Wabash Valley.

We hope some legislation will be secured to keep the canal in operation, and as Mr. Conner’s bill asks nothing but the consent of the State and bondholders to the leasing of the canal, we trust the power will be conferred upon the Trustees. If so, a large number of citizens, with ample means, stand ready to keep the same in active operation.

Greencastle Banner, Greencastle, Indiana

March 17, 1870

It is stated that General Milroy, the Republican candidate for Treasurer, will publish a card, shortly, giving his views upon the Wabash and Erie Canal question. He claims that he is in full harmony with the resolution of the platform adopted at the late Convention, and is opposed to the State’s assuming any portion of the Canal bonds. He thinks it just and proper, however, if the bondholders will surrender their bonds so that they may be destroyed, to dissolve the trust and allow the bondholders to take the Canal property and make what they can out of it. The canal has yielded no revenue for years, and doubtless never will, but has been kept up by private interests in order that the freight tariff of the Wabash Valley Railroad might be kept in check. It is understood that the bondholders, if they could obtain absolute possession of the canal, could obtain two million dollars from the Railroad Company, in order to have it closed up and out of the way.  As it now stands it is simply held in trust by the State for the bondholders and nobody has power to dispose of it. General Milroy is the present trustee of the canal on the part of the State. The bondholders have two trustees, Mr. Butler, of New York, author of the Butler bill, and Hon. Thomas Dowling of Terre Haute.—News.

Plymouth Democrat, Plymouth, Indiana

March 17, 1870

Milroy and the Wabash and Erie Canal. It is claimed by some of our radical exchanges that the nominations made and the platform adopted by the late radical state convention, are received with enthusiasm and universal satisfaction by the entire party throughout the state; but the facts do not warrant any such statement.  Some of the newspapers do not like the way things were fixed up, and are not backward about expressing their opinion of the subject.  The following extracts from two of the most influential Republican papers in the southern part of the state, will give an idea of their enthusiasm for the ticket:

We have no doubt that General Milroy, Republican candidate for treasurer of state, can readily clear himself from the charge that he is in favor of the Wabash and Erie Canal swindle. And we suggest to the general that it will be advisable for him to do so without further delay. This is, decidedly, one of those cases in which delays are dangerous. The Republican party of Indiana can not support any candidate who has not a clean record in this canal business. For our part, we shall support no man, for any office, who can not fully subscribe to the plank of our platform, nor any one whose record is inconsistent with its plain declarations.—Terre Haute Express.

That is the way to talk. The Republicans in this part of the state are in earnest in this matter. They will vote for no man who is directly or indirectly in favor of what they tersely term the Wabash Canal swindle. There is no use of Gov. Baker calling an extra session of the Legislature to pass a constitutional amendment on this subject, if the Republican party propose to put the funds of the state in charge of a man who is an avowed advocate of the swindle. General Milroy’s glorious record as a soldier cannot cancel such an inconsistency. What we ask for it, that the general immediately announce the position he has occupied with reference to this important matter. Every Republican candidate, both for state and county offices, must be above suspicion on this question. Even then the utmost watchfulness of the people will be required to prevent their being burdened with the payment of the canal scrip. We desire to hear from all the Republican papers on this point. — Evansville Journal.

Indianapolis News, Indianapolis, Indiana

March 21, 1881

Henry Seibold, who has been missing from Fort Wayne since Friday night, was found drowned in the Wabash [and Erie] canal, having fallen in while intoxicated. He was a single man, aged twenty-four.

Indianapolis News, Indianapolis, Indiana

February 8, 1889


It is Not Promising in This Locality—A Little Cutting Done.

The ice harvest in this immediate section is not promising. The first to lay in a partial supply is Budd & Co., and this firm was cutting on Saturday and Sunday last, on the [Central] Canal, above Sixth, and were content to find ice five inches in thickness. Not a great deal was harvested.

  1. Caylor is cutting to-day near Butsch’s Pond, the ice being about five and one-half inches thick and not very firm. Altogether he has harvested about three hundred tons.

The Crystal Lake Ice Company is harvesting in the northern part of the State, and report the ice nine inches thick and of good quality.

The Indianapolis Ice Company in response to a query, responded: “There is no outlook,” meaning thereby, the prospect for a good harvest is bad. The ponds in North Indianapolis are covered with ice not five inches thick, and there has been no attempt to harvest it. The company has cut a great deal of ice in the northern part of the State, but it was loaded on cars at the time for immediate shipment.

The New Independent Ice Company is cutting in the northern part of the State and is cutting pretty good ice. So far it has housed over one thousand tons. The company also owns a pond near Maywood, on which the ice is five inches thick, and if it continues cold this will be gathered this week.

William C. Behling is depending for a supply on his ponds near Schofield’s mill, and he went to-day to look over the situation. It is scarcely of sufficient thickness, as yet, to be profitably harvested.

Shover and Dickson report the ice in the northern part of the city not five inches thick, with the weather thawing. The firm has done nothing so far towards harvesting a supply.

This morning the snow was swept from Schmidt’s ponds and also Bustch’s north-west of the city and the ice was found to be five inches scant. There has been no cutting on these ponds as yet.

Indianapolis Journal, Indianapolis, Indiana

March 24, 1897


Sheriff’s Posse Forced to Open Fire on Italians and Polacks.

LOCKPORT, N.Y., March 23.—The strike on the Erie canal at Pendleton assumed a serious aspect to-day, when the stonemasons were attacked by sixty Italians because they refused to quit work. Sheriff Kinney ordered the Italians to return to their cabins, They refused and were reinforced by Polacks, whereupon the sheriff and his posse fired a volley at them. The men ran from the field. Three Italian padrones have been arrested and brought to Lockport. Twenty-five men are at work on the canal under guard of a dozen deputy sheriffs.

Indianapolis News, Indianapolis, Indiana

February 12, 1900

Roosevelt on Canal Treaty.

NEW YORK, February 12.—Governor Roosevelt issued this statement: “I most earnestly hope that the pending treaty concerning the isthmian canal will not be ratified, unless amended so as to provide that the canal when built shall be wholly under the control of the United States, alike in peace and war. This seems to me vital, no less from the standpoint or our sea power than from the standpoint of the Monroe doctrine.”