Harry Leichliter

Name of interviewee:  Harry Leichliter
Date of birth/age at interview:  1916/68
Interviewer:  Lance Metz, Howard Swope
Interview date:  October 3, 1984
Interview location:  Leichliter home
Interview length:  43 minutes
Time span discussed:  1916 to 1931

Summary:  Harry, an Upper Black Eddy resident, recalls his time on the canal from 1924 to 1931 under the eye of his boatman father and older brothers. He loved the boating life, and with the help of Howard Swope recalls many details of boating, mules, and characters along the canal. Of unique interest is an explanation of boats hauling stone from the Lumberville quarry, as opposed to coal from farther north.


Time markers:
00:00 – introduction; boated Delaware Canal from 1924 with his father William and brothers
01:32 – grandfather Aaron started the family in the boating life, Harry at 8 years old walking mules, caring for them
03:02 – boater Jimmy Brown on Leichliter boat; learning boating jobs; food along canal
05:55 – boated from Laury’s Station
06:20 – Lehigh and Delaware Canal boatmen did not get along
06:35 – Jimmy Brown story, father William saved him; drinking featured in many stories,
08:50 – wintering on the boats
10:25 – the stone line – a specialized run Lumberville quarry to Bristol or sod from Brownsburg
12:35 – bedbugs on boats, how to remove
13:56 – stone line used Hackey boats (built and owned by Hackey Sampson), longer cabin design than Company boats; bottom dropped out of one
15:40 – loading stone by mule and cart, sod by hand
17:17 – care of mules, type of equipment, pulley block or traces
19:29 – names of other boaters
21:41 – snapper turtle story, snapper soup recipe
24:08 – swinging (bump) bridge, mule afraid
25:06 – swimmer and rock thrower areas
25:59 – Morrell boys, always in trouble
27:25 – I. M. Church (company manager) memories
27:52 – leaky boats
28:30 – Lenny Stone, drowned a team of mules
29:15 – Lucy White (locktender), Mrs. Winter (wife of Bill, boatman)
31:23 – locks; Groundhog lock, the deepest on the Canal
31:57 – mule accidents
35:37 – 1930 coal miner strike, Joe Reed, wanted 10 cents more per ton; insights into the worker vs. management nature of the coal business
38:27 – John Free stories, a fun-loving person, gave people work
40:16 – broken tow lines
41:08 – murders by Calvin Gains

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