Water in the Canal, 1850
Herald of Freedom
Water in the Canal
An Interesting Event.
We learn from the Cumberland Civilian, that on Thursday afternoon last the ceremony of letting the waters of the Potomac, for the first time from the head of navigation, into the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, was performed by Charles B. Fisk, Esq., Chief Engineer of the work. There was a large crowd of spectators present. The Civilian says :
"As the central basin began to fill it was suggested that the passage of a Canal boat through the lock would be a desirable phenomenon, and, forthwith, several of our citizens proceeded to the boat yard of Mr. J. H. Clarke on Wills’ Creek, who readily furnished them with a large and handsome Canal boat, ninety feet in length by sixteen in width. In a short time the boat was seen descending the creek with a live freight of some hundreds of men and boys. Upon approaching the lock, Major Thomas G. Harris, that veteran in Canal matters, was requested to name the first boat that ever passed from the river into the Canal at this place, with which he promptly complied by calling her the "Cumberland," in honor of our "mountain town," which proud title she will hereafter bear. The passage through the lock was speedily accomplished, and in a few moments the boat, now laden with a living multitude, was quietly floating upon the waters of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, amidst the reiterated applauses of her delighted passengers. After proceeding down the Canal for a short distance she returned, repassed the lock, and was safely, restored to her original moorings.
The first level of eight and a half miles from this place is now covered with water. The water has also been let in on the levels near Oldtown, and we hope soon to be able to announce that the Canal is ready for navigation throughout its entire length."
Herald of Freedom
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (Md.); Washington County (Md.), History