Glossary

by Ruth Rosenberg Naparsteck
Heron's Bend Productions

    • Aqueduct - a bridge that carries water over another body of water or a valley.

    • Berth - a bed such as on a boat.

    • Boat yard - an area where boats are built, repaired or stored for the winter.

    • Bow - the front of a boat.

    • Bow stable - lower level in the front of the canal boat where mules or horses are kept.

    • Broadside - a large paper printed on one side like a poster. Usually it is used as an advertisement.

    • Brochure - a small pamphlet used to give information.

    • Bunkhouse - building where people, usually workers, sleep.

    • Cabin - the space set aside for use as living or sleeping quarters on the canal boat.

    • Canal bed - the area of the canal that is filled with water.

    • Canaller or canawler - a slang term for one who lives and or/works on the canal.

    • Captain - the person in charge of the boat; usually, but not always, a man.

    • Canal lock - a container on the canal made of two side walls and gates at both ends. Water is let in or let out to raise and lower a canal boat so it can continue its travel on the level of the water outside of the gate.

    • Canal slip - a narrow waterway in the canal where boats can pull out of traffic and tie up.

    • Census - a count, usually of people. The government takes this census to determine taxes.

    • Chambermaid - a woman who cleans the sleeping area once called a bed chamber.

    • Change bridge - a bridge that allows the mule or horse to cross over to the opposite side of the canal when the towpath changed sides.

    • Clinton's Ditch - the early unofficial name given to the Erie Canal by people who made fun of Gov. DeWitt Clinton for supporting the Erie Canal.

    • Commodities - a supply of goods or things to be sold.

    • Directory - a list of names, addresses and other information about people and organizations.

    • Document - a photograph, written record or official form that provides evidence or proof.

    • Drydock - the place in the boat yard where a boat is removed from the water for repair or storage for the winter.

    • Embarkation - to get on or board a boat.

    • Engraving - a print made from a wooden block or metal that has been deeply carved out with a picture or words.

    • Folio - a large sheet of paper folded to create two to four pages in a book; often used as a business record.

    • Footbridge - a bridge that allows a pedestrian, or person on foot, to cross the canal.

    • Freighter - a boat that carries heavy cargo or goods.

    • Galley - the kitchen of the boat.

    • Gunwale - the upper edge of a ship's side.

    • Helmsman - a person who steers the canal boat.

    • Hewn stone - stone that has been cut, usually for building.

    • Hoggee - person, usually a young boy, who walks along the canal towpath leading the mules or horses that are pulling the boat.

    • Journal - a book in which one writes, usually daily, weekly or monthly. Journals may record business or diary entries.

    • Knowledge box - the head of a person.

    • Lasses - young girls.

    • Lithograph - a print that has been made by rolling a sheet of marked metal over a paper treated in a way that only certain areas will be printed with ink.

    • Lumberjack - a person who cuts down trees for a lumber company to send to the saw mill for building.

    • Line boat - a canal boat operated by a particular company.

    • Packet boat - a canal boat that carries passengers.

    • Passage - the travel on the canal or the cost of travel.

    • Pike pole - a pole used on the canal boat to lift ropes over other boats, to push off the canal wall, to pull things from the water and other uses.

    • Plat map - a map showing buildings, streets and other built or planned features.

    • Pocket guide - a small book made to give travel information and maps to a traveler.

    • Portico - a gateway or porch with a roof supported by columns.

    • Provisions - supplies.

    • Roustabout - a deck or boat laborer.

    • Ship's log - a book that the Captain of a boat uses to write important information like places the boat travels, what or who it carries, repairs, expenses, weather and other remarks.

    • Steam shovel - machinery similar to today's backhoe.

    • Steersman - a person who steers the boat.

    • Stern - the rear or back of a boat.

    • Terminal building - building where passengers and cargo come and go and tickets can be purchased. On the canal, this building would be alongside the canal.

    • Temperance house - a hotel or inn that does not serve beer or other alcohol.

    • Toilet or toiletries - soaps, perfumes, brushes and other items used to keep clean, or a place to go to the bathroom.

    • Towpath - a path followed by the mules and horses pulling the canal boat. Today it is used by people hiking, walking and bicycling.

    • Tow-rope - a rope tied to one boat to be pulled or towed by another boat or horse or mule.

    • Vagabond - a tramp or homeless wanderer.

    • Vagrancy - living as a wanderer with no money or job.

    • Woodcut - a piece of wood on which a picture has been carved; usually for printing.