length and not less than 9 feet nor more than 9 1/2 feet in width.
Two men—a driver and a steersman—usually made up the working force.
The boats, however, that went up the Merrimac
required three men, one to steer, and two to pole.
boats carried 20 tons of coal; 15 tons were sufficient freight for Concord
When the water in the Merrimac
was low, not more than 6 or 7 tons could be taken up the river.
About 1830 the boatmen received $15 per month.
Lumber was transported in rafts of about 75 feet long and 9 feet wide; and these rafts, not exceeding 10 in number, were often united in ‘bands.’
A band of 7 to 10 rafts required the services of five men, including the drivers.
Boats were drawn by horses, and lumber by oxen; and ‘luggage boats’ were required to make two and a half miles an hour, while ‘passage boats’ attained a speed of four miles. Boats of the same class, and going the same way, were not allowed to pass each other, thus making ‘racing’ impossible on the staid waters of the old canal.
Whenever a boat approached a lock, the conductor sounded his horn to secure the prompt attention of the lock-tender; but due regard was paid to the religious sentiment of New England
Travelling in the canal being permitted on Sundays, ‘in consideration of the distance from home at which those persons using it generally are, it may be reasonably expected that they should not disturb those places of public worship near which they pass, nor occasion any noise to interrupt the tranquillity of the day. Therefore, it is established that no Signal-Horn
shall be used or blown on Sundays.’
The tariff varied greatly from year to year.
In 1827 the rate from Lowell
was $2.00 the gross ton; but many articles were carried on much lower terms.
On account of liability of damage to the banks of the canal, all navigation ceased at dark; hence, at every lock, or series of locks, a tavern was established.
These were all owned by the corporation, and were