upload image

Ham boat yard in Honesdale

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: 1868 to 1868
Location: Honesdale, Wayne, Pennsylvania, United Statesmap
Surname/tag: Ham
This page has been accessed 61 times.

https://www.newspapers.com/clip/92340093/the-raging-canal-part-one/ - https://www.newspapers.com/clip/92340399/

An article from “Wayne County Herald”

Thomas Ham (1806-1886) William Henry Ham (abt.1835-)


Boats, Boating and Boat Building - How Coal Gets to Market - How Boats are Made - A WolK Through a Mammoth Establishment.

Most of our readers are aware that as Spring of each year approaches, the accumulation of coal on our docks assumes more and more gigantic proportions untH, by the opening of navigation-ou the Del & Hudson Canal, which, since the Superintendency of Mr. YOUNG has been two or three weeks earlier than of old, a pile of upwards of 300,000 tons awaits ship-ment ; but few of them give a thought to the process by which this immense stock reaches its final market. Still less do they reflec upon the immense carrying capacity of a line of boats which not only clears our docks of the stock brought to tliis point by the cars during the Winter, but also furniabes transportation for the steady stream of trains wluch daily bring their thousands of tons of anthracite over the Moosic mountain during the "boating season." In this article it is our design to afford a little information on this subject.

There are now, or rather have been during the past season, about one thousand boats engaged in carrying coal from Honesdale to tide-water some of them taking their cargoes to New York city and some to Albany, but the main bulk being deposited at Rondout on the Hudson. These boats make, on an average, fourteen round trips during the season, and as they carry in the neighborhood of one hundred and thirty tons at each load, it is clear that they have the capacity - providing navigation is not interrupted by " breaks," or the coal trade interfered with by " strikes," &c., -, of floating to market at least a million and a half tons yearly. The shipments this year, as shown by the official reports were, up to the close of navigation, 1,611,113 tons, and had not the recent cold snap and snow storm prematurely closed the canal, these-figures would have been materially increased.

The boats in use on the DeL & Hud. Canal are all contracted for by the Company and built at their expense. When finished they are sold to the boatmen, a deduction being made from the amount due for freighting coal each trip, until the Company has been reimbursed for their original cost. As the installments are not excessive in amount, it requires several years to " run a boat clear," by which time, as a general thing, the craft is only good for three or four seasons more. The happy possessor has then, however, the privilege of taking another new boat upon the same terms as before. As the company only bestow their new boats upon those who have paid for another as above, or to their order. a " clear boat" - or rather the privilege of exchanging it for a now one -has come to be a negotiable article ; the price for the past year or two ruling, we believe, in the neighborhood of from $300 to $500. This would seem to indicate that boating for the Del.& Hud. Canal Company is considered a profitable employment, notwithstanding the yearly complaint when tbe rates established tor freighting coal are made public.

The Company caused to be built during the season just closed, about two hundred and twenty boats. Of these, perhaps thirty were built on the West Branch of the Susquhanna. Of the balance, in the neighborhood of eighty-five were built in the yards here, and the remainder were distributed among the twenty establishments located at different points on the line of the canal. Of those built in the vicinity of Honesdale, sixty-three were launched from the yard of Mr. WILLIAM H. HAM, located at the head of the Guard Lock level, just below this borough, and on nearly the same spot on which MR. THOMAS HAM, tho father of the present proprietor, first engaged in the business about thirty-one years ago.

The changes effected in the size and consequent capacity of the boats in use on the canal that dav are worthy. of mention. In 1832, when Mr. HAM first came to iionesdale, they were of the following dimensions ; 70 feet in lengtli, 8 feet wide and 4 feet deep ; having a carrying capacity of 25 tons ! A few years later the canal was deepened, and a corresponding depth given to the boats, when they were found capable of floating 45 tons. In 1849 the canal was widened and otherwise enlarged.- The small boats then in use were " hipped" (that is, widened by having new sides built over the old ones) and their tonnage nearly doubled by the. process. Subsequently the present models were adopted ; the boats being now 91 feet in length. 14 feet in width and 9 1/2 feet in depth, and carrying 130 tons. These latter, when loaded, draw five feet of water. THOMAS HAM continued in the business uninterruptedly until about six years since, when it passed into the hands of the present proprietor, who has demonstrated his peculiar fitness for its prosecution by tho introduction of various improvements, until we believe he is to-day at the head of one of the most complete establishments of the kind to be found in the country.

The boatyard and dry dock, together with the lumber yards, and the reservoir required for the water power to drive his machinery, cover an area of about twelve acres, commencing at a point Known as the old Kimble Mill, and extending over most of the " flat" above.- Just back of the mill which is now used for storing flooring, ceiling, and other manufactured lumber, a two-story building, 100 feet in length by 30 feet in width, known as tho "Sawmill," is located. . The limits of our article will not permit us to describe this establishment as much in detail as we should like, but we cannot refrain from particularizing somewhat as to its uses.

A new and powerful water-wheel, put in dur-ing the Summer, gives motion to the various labor-saving machines, located in this building, which have been from time. to time introduced by Mr. HAM, at present comprising the follow-ing : Two planing machines, Woodworth patent, the smaller one for the manufacture of building lumber, and the larger one designed for heavier work and capable of planing one side and the edges of an oak plank fifty feet in length, in one and a half minutes ; two circular saws ; one belt saw ; a bolt cutter and a drilling machine. Besides these, motion is given to a fan which supplies the blast for the blacksmith shop through a pipe three hundred feet in length ; a large grindstone, &c., &c. In this building plank, decking, knees, coamings, carlings, and in fact almost everything entering into the make-up of a boat, are put through a course of sawing, trimming and planing by machinery, with an expedition which must be seen to be appreciated. The same may be said of the drill- mg of the heavy irons which are used on the bow, stern, bilges and fenders, and the cutting of the screw-bolts which are used for fastenings. The wood-working in this building is under the superintendence of FREDERICK SCHWIMBLEY, who has had many years experience in his line, and is considered a very competent workman.- When ready for the steam box, or immediate use in putting up a boat, the lumber is loaded on a car, and by means of a railroad extending irom the extreme end of the mill, directly through it, and for a distance of 1,200 feet along the yard, to the most distant shed, it is taken to any required point with very little trouble, and no loss of time. This railroad is one of tho greatest conveniences of the yard. It is provided with a light T rail, npon which a car runs with the greatest ease, and is in constant use.

Leaving the saw-mill, the visitor passes up the track, through immense piles of oak lumber, until he reaches the blacksmith shop, in which the rings, bolts, rudder irons, &c., &c., are forged. All work of this kind is done in tho yard, the bar iron used being manufactured expressly for the purpose at Tamaqua, Pa.

Just above the blacksmith shop is located the Dry-Dock, in which the work of repairing, by no means an inconsiderable branch of the busi- nesa, is done. This doek was built by the present proprietor only a few years since, the old [obliterated] having been used previ-[obliterated]

[column two]

Still north of the dry 'dock aro located the sheds, paint and oakum house, lumber piles, shops, oflice and stocks belonging to the boat-yard proper. Some idea may be obtained o! the capacity of the buildings when we state that their roofs cover nearly an acre of working space ! It is the practice to frame the bottom a boat complete in one of the sheds before,it is taken out and placed upon the stocks. This gives the men an opportunity to work advantageously in cold or rainy weather - a direct, benefit both to the employer and the employed. The carpenters' shop, tool shop, oakum house, paint shop, book-keeper's office, &c., are all commodious and conveniently located. Above them all, and adjacent to the railroad, the piles of knees, plank, timbers, &c.,, entering into the composition of boats, as well as tall stacks of unworked pins, chestnut and other building lumber, afford protection against the inclemency of the north winds at this season of the year. The lumber used in this establishment is mainly procured in Wayne and Pike counties, although a portion of the oak and pine is brought is brought from the West Branch, and Albany.

As we have before stated, nearly one-third of all the boats built for the Del. & Hud. Canal Company during the past year were launched from Mr. HAM’s yard. To fill this immense contract, amounting, to say nothing- of repairs on old work, and an extensive custom trade in manufactured lumber, such as flooring, ceiling, &c., to upwards of $100,000, a force of fifty to seventy hands has been kept in direct, employment. This force has turned out for several months past, an average of a boat and a half per week, finished and ready for the acceptance of the Company's inspector. . The following summary of the amounts of the different kinds of material used will be likely to give the reader some idea of the extent of the business done. We give round numbers which are sufficiently accurate for all practical purposes.

To build the fleet referred to 600,000feet of beech and maple, 800,000 feet of oak, and 200,000 feet of pine lumber have been made way with; also, 2,000 knees, 75 tons of iron, 80,0O0 bolts, 72,000 lbs of spikes, 1 tons of white lead, 20 barrels of linseed oil, 6 tons of oakum. 2 tons of cotton and 100 barrels of pitch.

The boats built, if placed in a straight line. would reach considerably over a mile in length, and have an aggregate tonnage for a single senson of over one hundred tliuusnd tons.

The practical management of the yard is entrusted to the following persons: General Superintendent, THOMAS HAM; Foreman, ISAAC G. PULIS; Bookkeeper, R. WALLACE HAM.

Mr. PULIS. commenced work in the establishment as an approntice, and has been connected with it upwards of twenty years..”

“Wayne County Herald” (Honesdale, Pennsylvania) 17 Dec 1868, Thu Page 2

This is an "orphaned" profile — there's no Profile Manager to watch over it. Please adopt this profile.

  • Login to edit this profile and add images.
  • Public Comments: Login to post. (Best for messages specifically directed to those editing this profile. Limit 20 per day.)


Leave a message for others who see this profile.
There are no comments yet.
Login to post a comment.