Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Workday Wednesday/Of Land Deals and Canals

     I've been blogging quite a bit lately about Milo Galloway, brother of my great-great-grandfather Russell.  You may wonder why I devote so much research time to Milo since he's not a direct ancestor.  I have wondered that myself at times, although Milo's data is of course relevant to his brother Russell.  But it's also because Milo was just so fascinating.  He was one of those larger than life characters that one occasionally comes across sifting through family history. 

     Born in 1800, Milo came of age during a remarkable period in New York history.  A time when land speculation and construction of the great Erie Canal, (begun in 1817 and completed eight years later), were both important, much debated topics.  Large sums of money were available for building and maintaining the canal, and Milo took full advantage of both the profits to be made in that undertaking and in the land speculation surrounding it.  Whereas, Grandfather Russell, being seven years younger than his brother Milo, was a mere child of ten when the building of the canal commenced.

     I've already blogged about his land deals, then a few days ago,  while doing some Google searches for Milo, a hit came up linking to the manuscript collection of the Harold B. Lee Library at BYU.  There was a brief description of the library's holding, (see below), and Milo's misspelled name was mentioned, but there was no picture.
"Collection of 39 partly-printed New York State receipt forms, to verify payment of laborers and suppliers contracted to repair the Erie Canal in or near Palmyra. Each receipt is signed by the person who was paid. Each form itemizes the work or products supplied by the payee, with a total, plus the place (Palmyra, New York) and the date (January-February, 1830)."

     Of course, getting a copy of that receipt suddenly became the most important task I could imagine!  He had signed it!  I wrote to the library, noting as I did so, a fee schedule posted on their site.  Darn, I was gonna have to pay for this.  So I was surprised to find in my mail box the next afternoon, a copy of the receipt!

To "Milow" Galloway, $62.50 for 10,000 feet of timber for spiling.
     It exemplifies how involved Milo was with the canal, not just as a boat captain, which he was in his younger days, but also in the actual maintenance of the waterway even after he married and became a lumber mill owner.  The document was proof of payment for a load of timber, no doubt from his mill, to be used in spiling the canal.  There are several definitions, but from what I can gather, in this case spiling was used as a sort of retaining wall for the canal.

     Check back for this week's Friday's Photo blog when I reveal the recently discovered photo of the man himself!


  1. It's amazing the little gems 'the internet' now gifts us - looking forward to seeing a picture of the man himself.

    1. Isn't it? I never would have found that receipt in a million years without searchable databases!