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First coal by canal, Oct 1850

Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information


THE FIRST COAL BY CANAL.—We learn from the Cumberland Civilian that the canal boat Southampton, belonging to the transportation line of Messrs. McKaig, & Agnew, is now loading with coal from the mines of the Frostburg Coal Company at the wharf of the Maryland Mining Company, and will depart for Alexandria in a few days.


Herald of Freedom

Public domain

Karen Gray notes: The Southampton was one of five boats that left the Cumberland basin on October 10, 1850, following the ceremony for the official opening of the final fifty miles of canal. The other boats were the Elizabeth, Ohio, and Delaware—also belonging to the Cumberland firm of McKaig & Agnew, and the fifth was the Freeman Rawdon “belonging to Ward’s Cumberland Line, a New York Company.”

Of the five boats, the Elizabeth went only to Williamsport, the Southampton and the Freeman Rawdon reached Alexandria, and the Delaware and the Ohio got stuck above Dam No. 6, because of the low level of water in the canal. The latter drew 4 feet with their load, instead of 3½, which would have passed. The Freeman Rawdon won the race with the Southampton, reaching Washington about 6 p. m., on October 17. Horses and mules were requisitioned along the way to maintain the speed, and the boats arrived within a short time of each other. See Unrau, Harlan D. The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Historic Resource Study, p. 346.


Collection Location:

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (Md.); Washington County (Md.), History

Maryland, 1830-1940

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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