Howard Swope, Leon Dreyer, and Carlton Leedom

Names of interviewees:  Howard Swope, Leon Dreyer, Carleton Leedom
Dates of birth/ages at interview:  Unknown
Interviewer:  Lance Metz
Interview date:  November 7, 1980
Interview location:  Driving in a car from Pt. Pleasant to Yardley along River Road, following the canal
Interview length: 1 hour 29 minutes
Time span discussed:  1910 to 1940s

Summary:  As a car drives along the Delaware Canal from Pt. Pleasant to Yardley the interviewer asks questions to three boatmen who recall facts and stories about the canal. While occasionally it is difficult to place where the men are talking about, the conversation is generally insightful about the boating business, the technical aspects of hauling freight and the sites along the Canal. The conversation jumps from place to place on the canal, despite where they were physically located. At 45 minutes either a new interview starts or the men stopped at a house and continued their conversation that skips here and there.


Time markers:
00:00:00 – conversation joined mid-discussion passing the Pt. Pleasant lock once tended by Lucy and Jonas White; Lucy relationship after Jonas died
00:01:58 – story of a Black man who drove mules
00:02:46 – wing dam above Lumberville in place to feed the Raritan Canal
00:03:35 – Tinsman’s lumberyard in Lumberville
00:03:47 – quarry in Lumberville, still active in 1980; stone not hauled on canal; blasting scared mules
00:05:43 – mules, cost and maintenance
00:06:45 – stop at the Cake and Beer House (1.5 miles north of Centre Bridge) to walk to the watering trough; comments and remembrances while walking to the trough
00:10:42 – easier to boat on Delaware Canal than Lehigh Canal; swimming in canal to cool off
00:13:13 – arrival at trough made of wood; getting water to drink
00:14:15 – walking at 7-mile level (longer sections without locks), north of Centre Bridge
00:15:20 – mule stories; arrival at Virginia Forrest Recreation Area above Centre Bridge
00:19:45 – problems during a strike; Company supervisors “bank bosses” who maintained stretches of the canal; maintenance problems
00:22:50 – carried few cooking utensils on boat, not much room
00:23:24 – Centre Bridge; more stories
00:24:45 – boatmen’s nick names; Bill Winter’s house in Centre Bridge
00:25:50 – Limeport oil depot, off-loading coal via a bucket and conveyer belt system; different boats
00:28:34 – camelback bridge at Rabbit Run; beer truck broke bridge at Upper Black Eddy; keeping food on the boats
00:31:57 – Johnny Winter’s house at second lock in New Hope; discussion of New Hope’s locks, one at Odette’s Restaurant, New Hope paper mill, unloading soft coal
00:33:27 – driving along 9-mile level (New Hope to Yardley); Stover’s Park; waste gate
00:35:28 – Washington Crossing; dogs on boats
00:37:07 – blasting in quarry across the river in New Jersey; county prison
00:39:13 – Tattersall’s Coal Yard; railroad siding
00:40:39 – Washington Crossing; stories of boat trips, delivering coal
00:43:25 – two coal yards in Bristol; Ice House
00:44:35 – 00:45:14 – (problem with tape)
00:45:16 – Leedom Coal Yard in Yardley; last coal in 1932
00:45:50 – appears to be a new interview; in Yardley at the home of Craig Lorenze; he mentions Stan Leedom who is knowledgeable about the canal; discussions of names and places along the canal
00:47:22 – talking with Helen Leedom; White’s lock in Yardley; mentions names of people with knowledge of the canal; maximizing trips; Mildred Maroney joins
00:59:15 – reason for the oral history program and the museum’s mission to document the Delaware and Lehigh Canals, the last two working canals in America; stories ramble
01:04:14 – snapper soup and turtle stories
01:09:52 – Swope family, boys worked on the canal in the 1920s with their father who started around 1900; Leddon stories; locks and their tenders
01:13:30 – Carleton Leedom joins interview, confirms the canal stopped in 1932; unloading took 4 hours; about 30 boats a year unloaded coal at Yardley; William Freeman last local sales person for the Lehigh Navigation Company
01:15:56 – unloading buckets and conveyer belt system; strikes; more boatmen’s names
01:17:57 – loads included lime, stone, cement
01:18:20 – looking for invoices, pictures, canal memorabilia
01:19:52 – mule whips described
01:20:25 – boat rides from the museum; information gathering; boats hauled coal dirt on the upper canal (Lehigh) until 1942; conch shell stories; searching for bill of lading
01:27:05 – hauled coal by the long ton measurement; sold by the short ton measurement; ends in mid-sentence after several coal stories

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