often let to the lock-tender, who eked out his income by the accommodation of boatmen and horses.
The Bunker Hill Tavern
, in Charlestown
, situated so as to accommodate both county and canal travel, was leased, in 1830, for $350; in 1838 it let for $500. The Horn Pond House
, at Woburn
, in 1838, was leased for $700. In 1825 a two-story dwelling-house, 36 × 18, built at a cost of $1,400, for the accommodation of boatmen and raftsmen, at Charlestown
, rented, with stable attached, for $140. In all these cases, the real estate
was supposed to pay 10 per cent. Some of these canal taverns established a wide reputation for good cheer, and boatmen contrived to be overtaken by night in their vicinity.
Sometimes 15 or 20 boats would be detained at one of these favorite resorts, and a jolly crowd fraternized in the primitive bar-room.
The temperance sentiment had not yet taken a firm hold in New England
. ‘Flip’ was the high-toned beverage of those days; but ‘black-strap,’ a compound of rum and molasses, sold at 3 cents a glass, was the particular ‘vanity’ of the boatmen.
In the smaller taverns a barrel of Old Medford, surmounted by a pitcher of molasses, scorning the flimsy subterfuges of modern times, boldly invited its patrons to draw and mix at their own sweet will.
‘Plenty of drunkenness, Uncle Joe, in those days?’
we queried of an ancient boatman, who was dilating upon the good old times.
‘Bless your heart, no!’
was the answer.
didn't put up with no drunkards on the canal.
They could drink all night, sir, and be steady as an eightday clock in the morning.’
When the feverish haste born of the locomotive and telegraph had not yet infected society, a trip over the canal in the passenger-packet, the ‘Governor Sullivan
,’ must have been an enjoyable experience.
Protected by iron rules from the dangers of collision, undaunted by squalls of wind, realizing that should the craft be capsized he had nothing to do but walk