Window to the Past

Canal Stories in the News


The Lessees of the Ohio Canals propose to abandon their lease on the 1st of December next, as they claim the right to do. An organization, known as the Miami and Erie Canal Association, has been formed in the interest of that work, who propose to resist, by legal means, such action by the Lessees, for which purpose a fund of $10,000 has been raised.

From Toledo Commercial newspaper
Delphos Herald — Nov. 1, 1877

F.B. DeWitt of Paulding is circulating a petition among the voters and taxpayers of Paulding County, to be presented to the Legislature of Ohio, asking that body to vacate and abolish the Paulding reservoir, and that portion of the Wabash and Erie Canal passing through Paulding County, and turn said canal into a ditch, all of which is right, proper and Christian like, as we have too much water in Paulding County, and not enough ditches. Besides, if it is possible to drain the reservoir, about 4,000 acres of as good a land as we have in Ohio, now covered by the reservoir, will be brought into immediate cultivation; and ten times that amount of land lying south and southwest of the reservoir, will be commutable without boats, rubber boots, or the danger of loosing our life by drowning. Let everybody sign this petition and let us get rid of this canal and reservoir, and commence improvement in the right way.

Paulding Democrat — Feb. 1, 1877

The Defiance Democrat says, "Delphos people seem to think their narrow-gauge railroad will take the place of the canal and they don’t care how soon the lessees give up their contract."

The Delphos Herald replied, "Delphos people will never consent to the surrender of the canal. We have use for both."

Delphos Herald — July 12, 1877

Since the opening of the canal, March 14th, in addition to the regular packets, Capitol, Wave and G.W. Bentley, plying between Delphos, Spencerville, St. Marys and Bremen, on the south, and Ottoville, Timberville, Royal Oak, Junction and Defiance, on the north, the following line-boats have cleared at this port:

A.W. King, Arabella, Golden Era, J.G. Dantlers, Coral, Columbine, Gallant, Matilda, Lumberman, P.T. Dickey, Florence, Pocahontas, Oleander, R.B. Gordon, W.C. Keucher, Arvilla, Trader, Polar Star, F. Begue, Gleason, T.H.B. Columbia, Nora, Mary Jane, St. Andrews, Kansas, H.T. Temple, Guilderoy, City of Alton, Otto, G. Miller, Dayton, Ulazeppa, Peerless, Frank Wilson, Golden Era, Vettie Cook, F.S.H. Schraetler, Reindeer, Grand Rapids, Shanty, G. Miller, Kirk Johnston, Sed Bird, H.T. Semple, Dreadnot, Gentle Annie, Carlin.

Delphos Herald — April 19, 1877

A "break," in the canal occurred at Bloom’s lock, south of town, on Sunday, causing a temporary suspension of navigation.

Delphos Herald — July 12, 1877

The Land Sharks Again

Another movement has been started by the land sharks to gobble up lands and injure the people. This time the Paulding reservoir is the point of attack and a vigorous fight will be made over it. Stambaugh, of Toledo, the same shark who poked his nose into the land business around here last year, has brought suit in the Paulding Court to recover possession of every alternate section in the whole reservoir, which he claims he has purchased of the General Government. If he should receive judgment, the abandonment of reservoir would of necessity follow. As this end of the Miami & Erie Canal is fed to a large extent by the Paulding reservoir, the great importance of this suit of Stambaugh is readily apparent. If the sharks succeed (and Stambaugh is only a figure head) the destruction of the canal must follow. Several of the largest manufactories of Defiance would be left without motive power and the large timber interest could not recover. Hundreds of people besides our manufacturers depend on the canal for a livelihood. The people must look to their own interests. The Government gave the land in good faith and should protect the canal franchise. If by a species of robbery, a portion of the reservoir lands have been deeded to private parties, such property should be restored for the benefit of the canal.

The Defiance Democrat — Dec. 27, 1877

The Miami & Erie Canal Association met at Columbus and adopted an address to the general assembly which declares that the present unprotected and critical condition of the public works, requires the immediate care of the state, and that unless contingencies of damage are promptly provided against, great interests are liable to suffer. The people of Ohio have a deep and abiding interest in the permanent protection of the public works of the state.

Delphos Herald — Jan. 10, 1878

On Monday, Isaac Carey, stone-mason of Delphos, met with a serious accident at canal lock No. 19, twelve miles north of Delphos, where a new stone lock is being constructed. In elevating a very heavy stone, by means of a derrick, the chain broke and swinging around with great force, struck Mr. Carey in the face, cutting him in a frightful manner. He was brought home as quick as possible and placed under medical treatment. His recovery is doubtful.

Delphos Herald — Jan. 2, 1879

Messrs. Williams, Clum and Crites, Commissioners of Allen County, and Bronson and Gilliland, Commissioners of Van Wert County, were in town last Friday, and after a joint session, decided to construct two self-acting swinging bridges over the canal at this place. They will replace the present unsightly and dangerous bridges on South Main (Second St.) and North Main (Third St.) streets, and will prove the most convenient improvement that could be suggested. The contract was awarded to John Rison, of Miamisburg, who is the general agent for this state.

Delphos Herald — Jan. 2, 1879

There seems to be quite a diversity of opinion among boatman as to how the new drawbridges should be struck. Some of them commence yelling at the driver every half minute, "Whoa, slack up your line," and by the time the boat strikes the bridge it has not momentum enough to upset a kitten. Others, on the contrary, speed up their mules to see how hard they can hit the new-fangled thing. One of the latter pulled in from the south a few days ago, the Captain standing on the bow urged the driver on, while the cook sat on an empty flour barrel in the mid-ship, looking out one of the port-holes, enchanted by the beauties of nature. All at once the boat struck the bridge, and the Captain was thrown to deck, the flour barrel danced a jig in one corner, and the cook lay a helpless mass in the other corner. The Captain cursed loud but deep, the cook sprawled in a heap, while the boat sailed through the briny deep. Dishes, tin pans, pots and kettles, as well as the cook’s nice "wittles" lay promiscuously around in both the cabins. The boat now passed through the channel, the bridge returned to its position assisted by a generous bystander. Tranquility rested once more on the beautiful blue waters of the "raging canal."

Delphos Herald — May 15, 1879


Mr. Joseph Meyers, while on his way home to Hamar, attempted to lead his horse and buggy over the aqueduct about one mile north of Delphos, when they were precipitated into the creek some 15 feet below. Mr. Myers attempted to hold the horse but no help being near was unable to do so. The horse was severely bruised but no great harm resulted from the fall.

Delphos Herald — June 23, 1879

The canal bridge, four miles north of Delphos, broke down Friday, under the pressure of a wagon, loaded with a portable steam engine and boiler, and is a complete wreck. The engine was the property of Mr. Henry Worst and was driven by Mr. J.P. Edgar, and when the bridge fell, turned completely over, carrying the driver with it. Fortunately Mr. Edgar was uninjured, and the team was but slightly hurt. With the assistance of one of the steam packets the engine and wagon were taken from the canal, not as much damaged as would be expected.

Delphos Herald — Sept. 9, 1880 

Compiled by Robert Holdgreve
Delphos Historical Society

November 20, 2004 Delphos Herald Newspaper

Back to Window to the Past Home - Delphos History