to find a competent person to undertake the task.
At length Samuel Thompson
, of Woburn
, was engaged to make a preliminary survey; but the directors, not wholly satisfied with his report, afterwards secured the services of Samuel Weston
, an eminent English engineer, then employed in Pennsylvania
in the Potomac canals
With good instruments at his command, he did his work well and quickly.
His report, made Aug. 2, 1794, was favorable, and it is interesting to compare his figures with those of Mr. Thompson
As calculated by the latter, the ascent from Medford bridge to the Concord river
was found to be 68 1/2 ft.
; the actual difference in level, as found by Weston
, was 104 ft.
's survey there was a further ascent of 16 1/2 ft.
to the Merrimac
, when, in fact, the water at Billerica bridge is almost 25 ft.
above the Merrimac
, who superintended the construction of the canal, removed the first turf, Sept. 10, 1794.
The progress was slow and attended with many embarrassments.
The purchase of land from more than one hundred proprietors demanded skilful diplomacy.
Most of the lands used for the canal were acquired by voluntary sale, and conveyed in fee simple to the corporation.
Sixteen lots were taken under authority of the Court of Sessions; while for thirteen neither deed nor record could be found when the corporation came to an end. Some of the land was never paid for, as the owners refused to accept the sum awarded.
The compensation ranged from about $150 an acre in Medford
to $25 in Billerica
The numerous conveyances are all in Sullivan
Labor was not easily procured, probably from the scarcity of laborers, as the wages paid, averaging $10 a month and board, which was $2 a week, were presumably as much as could be earned in manual labor elsewhere.
‘An order was sent to England
for a levelling instrument made by S. & W. Jones
, of London
, and ’