RESEARCH BY Richard Palmer

Cayuga Marshes Passage

Lyons Advertiser
July, 1822

Mr. Day - Yesterday I had the satisfaction of passing of passing from Clyde through the celebrated Cayuga Marshes, on the Erie Canal, in the first boat ever borne by the waters of that part of the line. The waters had been let let into the canal from Clyde to the west end of the Marsh level, the evening before; but they did not reach the lock which separates the Marsh level from the Clyde level more than 3 hours before the arrival of the Packet in which I travelled.

The passage was pleasant, and highly enjoyed by a large number of persons. At the lock we were a little delayed, inconsequence of the paddle gates not being entirely completed. They were, however, soon put into a condition to admit us pass; and as out boat went out of the lock, we gave three cheers, which were cordially returned by a large number of persons on land.

On the marsh the water in the canal was more than five feet deep, except at four or five bars, which had not been wholly removed. The length of the marsh level is about six and a half miles, and as it is watered by the Seneca and Cayuga lakes, which lie above it to the south, the whole excavation of this level, to the depth of five feet below the surface of the water, without any possibility of draining it, - consisting as it does almost exclusively of muck, marl and quicksand, must have been a work of prodigious difficulty.

But the excavation is done, except the bars above mentioned, which it is said will all be removed in three days; - and there is now opened a free passage by the canal, from the middle section into Ontario county as far as Lyons, without the necessity of any portage or change of boats.

The canal at present is not navigable farther west than Lyons, in consequence of the extreme drought in this quarter, the streams being now more shrunk and exhausted than they have been for twenty years before. Still, a moderate rain would at once make the Canal navigable to Heartwell's basin, in Monroe county; - and without rain, there is no doubt that when the feeder from the Genesee River is brought across the Irondequot embankment, the navigation will be good and unbroken from Rochester to the Little Falls - and that embankment is intended to be completed in the middle of September next. I have been from the first a decided advocate of the canal, but being well acquainted with the character of the country through which it runs, I could not help regarding certain parts with peculiar anxiety, and even with some doubt of their practicability. Of these points the Cayuga Marsh was one.

But this part of the line is actually completed, and I have had the satisfaction of passing through it, in one of the largest and best packet boats now in use, the Myron Holley. The canal through the marsh is broad and deep, and has every appearance of being permanent. There is a good towing path through it, and if that part of the canal is most beautiful where the straight lines are the longest, and where the banks are highest and most regular, then this part of the great work will be considered as more beautiful than any portion of it hitherto completed.

The boat will start on its return through the marsh to Lyons, in a few minutes, which prevents my giving you several more particulars of this most extraordinary and interesting part of the canal.

Respectfully yours, & c.

G ---- L ----


gkoeppel said...

is there a day in july associated with this item? thanks