“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

East Coventry Township in Chester County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Life on the Canal

Life on the Canal Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, November 20, 2020
1. Life on the Canal Marker
Mr. James Miller, a Lock Tender for Frick's Lock
Frick's Lock is an example of one of the small communities that grew alongside the canal, to both support the canal traffic, and to serve as a hub for the merchandise that flowed along the canal. Lock tenders, traders, inns, and entertrainment were needed and helped accelerate the westward expansion of commerce.

Family Life on the Canal
Families operated some of the canal boats. The father would serve as the ship's captain, controlling the ship, and acting as the liaison with the rest of the world. Young children played on the barge, harnessed to the center so that they could not fall overboard. Older children took turns leading the mules along the towpath.

Growing up at Frick's Lock
Frick's Lock was an active community even after the canal traffic subsided. Cassell and Clyde Handwork were born at Frick's Lock, and grew up in the village. This photo was taken about 1920.

A Canal Driver and His Mules
Spending all that time on the river had its drawbacks. Canalmen were
Life on the Canal Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, November 20, 2020
2. Life on the Canal Marker
considered to be crude and uncivilized by the communities they passed. As seen in the placard to the left, citizens were both warned about the transients in their communities and asked to care for them as well.

The Canal Driver.

"Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil," Matt. vi. 13.

There is no place in the wide world where some temptation or other may not find its way, and this is one reason why our daily prayer should be, that we may be preserved from it.

Some places are much more full of temptation than others. The Theatre and Circus, the Tavern and Grog shop, and (in cities) the Hose and Engine Houses, and the street corners are such places. The tow-path is also full of them. Horses are necessary to draw the boat forward in the canal, and there is a path alongside the side of the mule for them to walk on, which is called the tow-path.

It is not strange that when there are so many idle brains, the devil should find plenty of workshops. The boys who ride these horses are very apt to fall into the worst habits. We hope those good people who know their danger will care for them, and, by Sunday schools and good books help them to resist the devil that he may flee from them." James iv. 7.

Sunday School Excerpt

Topics. This historical marker is listed in
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Location. 40° 13.457′ N, 75° 37.011′ W. Marker is in East Coventry Township, Pennsylvania, in Chester County. Marker can be reached from New Schuylkill Road (Pennsylvania Route 724) 0.2 miles east of Peterman Road, on the right when traveling west. The marker is on the grounds of Towpath Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1675 New Schuylkill Rd, Pottstown PA 19465, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Schuylkill Navigation Company (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Towpath Park Historical Trail (about 400 feet away); Canal Construction (about 800 feet away); The Grubb Mansion (approx. 1.3 miles away); Annie Wittenmyer (approx. 1˝ miles away); The Hill School (approx. 1.6 miles away); Pottstown Historical Society (approx. 1.9 miles away); Pottstown War Memorial (approx. 1.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in East Coventry Township.
Credits. This page was last revised on December 27, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 21, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 25 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 21, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.
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Mar. 5, 2021