Harry Warford, Jr.

Name of interviewee:  Harry Warford,  Jr.
Date of birth/age at interview:  1914/70
Interviewer:  Lance Metz, Howard Swope, Frank Swope
Interview date:  November 20, 1984
Interview location:  Warford home, Trenton , NJ
Interview length:  55 minutes
Time span discussed:  1920 through 1940

Summary:  Born in New Hope in the locktender’s house at #9 lock, Harry remembers people and incidents of his time on the canal. Insights into the Depression and the repair work to maintain the canal through the 1930s are unique insights offered by this interview.


Time markers:
00:00 – born at New Hope’s lock #9, father locktender; three children
02:45 – swam in canal; boating trip when 11 with Earl Winters; hard to steer empty boat in wind, 11-mile level (longer sections without locks) Bristol to Yardley difficult
04:55 – typical day 4 a.m. to 10 p.m., clothes; boatmen tough
08:30 – father’s experiences as locktender, gauge stick to measure boat depth; getting coal from boatmen; cable across river to the Delaware & Raritan canal; knew some boatmen by name
12:43 – his pay 30 cents an hour, walked canal checking bridges Yardley to Centre Bridge looking for muskrat holes; camelback bridge repair; carpenters
16:54 – father with Company into 1940s, moved to Allentown
21:05 – other canal workers, store
21:50 – cherry trees at lock #6, blacksmith shop there; breaking ice with hook pole, only four men doing work; state work political
27:45 – worked for New Hope’s Union Paper Mill 1940 to 1952, other jobs until retirement
29:00 – repairing camelback bridges, driving dump truck
30:59 – getting in trouble as child for locking boat through; childhood play memories
33:20 – one-legged locktender for locks #10 and #11; locktenders’ hours
36:30 – Groundhog Lock (locks 22 and 23); other locks; tourists watched boats; describing picture in Harry’s collection; maintenance scows
40:10 – no trouble with boatmen; boatmen drinking, could get rough, Johnny Winter fighter; Sheetz’s bridge
44:40 – the River House Restaurant (later Chez Odette’s) car parking issues, tragic accident there
47:09 – swing (bump) bridges
47:53 – cleaning the pipes, gates, catch basin after canal closed
50:03 – canal closing, jobs during the depression; photos and news articles in Harry’s collection

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