Middlesex Canal Association P.O. Box 333 Billerica, Massachusetts 01821
Volume 33, No. 1        September 1974

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22, 1994 at 2 P.M.
(Rain date: Sunday, October 23)
Jointly sponsored by MCA and AMC

The Fall 1994 walk will follow the North Branch of the Middlesex Canal in three segments: from the Concord River Guard Lock in Billerica to Riverneck Road in Chelmsford; through the Pleasant View Golf Course in Lowell; and through Middlesex Village to the Locks at the Merrimack River. Informal talks will be provided at various points along the Canal by members of the MCA.

Meet at 2 p.m. at the parking lot by the commercial building at the corner of Riverneck Road and Canal Street in Chelmsford. Directions: From Rte. 3 north (toward Nashua) take Exit 29 onto Rte. 129 heading toward Chelmsford. Proceed 1.6 mi. to the Pine Ridge Cemetery and turn right onto Riverneck Road. Proceed 1.2 mi. to the parking lot meeting place.

From the meeting place, we will load all the people in half the cars and drive to the vicinity of the Talbot and Faulkner Mills in Billerica, where the walk will begin. Upon reaching the end of the first segment of the walk, at the Riverneck Road and Canal Street meeting place, we will use the cars that we left there to take all the people back to the starting point in Billerica. For those interested in exploring a second part of the Canal, we will proceed by car to the Pleasant View Golf Club in Middlesex Village, Lowell, and walk the Great Bend segment of the Canal that passes through the Golf Course. And finally, for those still with us at that point, we will proceed by car along the route of the Canal in Middlesex Village.

Trip leaders: Bill Gerber (508/251-4071) and Roger Hagopian


An important event occurred on the shore of the Concord River Millpond in North Billerica exactly 200 years ago in September 1794. There, a ground breaking ceremony took place to initiate construction of the first section of the Middlesex Canal, which would run northward 5 miles to the Merrimack River. Nine years later the entire 27-mile long Canal was completed all the way from Lowell to Boston.

Since the Canal played such a vital part in Billerica history, it seemed appropriate for the Billerica Historical Society and the Middlesex Canal Association to join forces in marking this historic event.

The bicentennial festivities will take place on September 24 as part of the town of Billerica's annual Yankee Doodle Homecoming weekend. Included will be a reenactment of the ground breaking ceremony beginning at 2 p.m. in the parking area on the west shore of the Concord River Millpond directly across Faulkner Street from Talbot Mills. Original Middlesex Canal Company officials, including Loammi Baldwin, James Winthrop, Samuel Jaques, and Thomas Richardson, in period costumes, will arrive in a horse-drawn carriage to turn the first shovels full of dirt, and will repeat the same pronouncements they made 200 years ago. Short speeches by an historian and by local dignitaries and a performance by Colonial Minutemen will round out the occasion.

In the morning, the two organizations will participate in the Yankee Doodle Day parade in Billerica. It will start from the K-Mart shopping center parking lot at 10 a.m. and will pass northward along Rte. 3A for about 1 mile to the Marshall School. The Historical Society's entry will be a float with a 6 ft. long model of a canal boat made for the occasion by Phil Farmer and son Nick of Billerica. The Canal Association's entry will be the previously mentioned carriage with the Canal official passengers on their way to the ground breaking ceremony.

Both organizations will have booths at the Town Hall/High School area for displaying and selling their historical books and maps. The booth of the Middlesex Canal Association will be moved to the ground breaking site in the afternoon.

To avoid parking problems, those wishing to attend the Middlesex Canal ground breaking ceremony may take a shuttle bus from the Town Hall area to the millpond in North Billerica.

Join us in Billerica on September 24 with your family and friends to enjoy Yankee Doodle Day and to help celebrate the Middlesex Canal Bicentennial!

1994 September 7


In his last message, Burt VerPlanck suggested that it was time for a new president, full of fresh ideas, enthusiasm, and energy. The level of activity and involvement in the Association is much higher than when I was president ten years ago, although the number of members is about the same. We will give it the old college try and hope that we measure up.

When the Middlesex Canal Association was organized about thirty years ago, there was strong participation by people from Billerica and only a few from the southern end of the Canal. Now the distribution is reversed and the representation from the north is low. I would like to improve the balance by recruiting a few more active people from Billerica and Lowell.

There are problems with trash on the remnants of the Canal that we own and the public parts. It would be helpful if one or more members could take on monitoring the Canal on a regular basis. The C&O Canal Association has what they call "Level Walkers" who visit their assigned pieces of canal and report the status.

It would be good if we could figure out some way to increase public awareness of the Canal and gain new members in the whole area. I am always amazed when I meet someone who has lived within a short distance of the Canal and who does not know about the Canal. Participation in public events, such as the forthcoming Billerica celebrations on September 24, should help our publicity.

I am looking forward to working with the Board of Directors in the near future.

Nolan Jones

[One of the most dynamic Directors of our Middlesex Canal Association is Betty Bigwood of Wilmington. Recently she was recipient of the Wilmington Advertiser's Bouquet of the Week "in recognition of the contributory role she has played in keeping a small but important portion of Wilmington's history alive." The following is based largely on an article that appeared in the June 9,1994, Wilmington Advertiser.]

by William R. Grasso

In every town, there are people who find one thing important enough to be worthy of their spare time. They may not be a part of every group, and they may not be the most important person in any group, but taken together their efforts make up the bulk of the activities in town.

Betty Bigwood is such a person. She has been for 15 years the Wilmington representative on the Middlesex Canal Commission as well as a director of the Middlesex Canal Association, working to preserve what little remains of a link to our past and helping to spread its historic story.
"Each of the nine cities and towns which has a portion of the canal has a representative on the Canal Commission," Bigwood explains. "I'm the representative more by default than by acclamation. But my interest was to have several miles of walk available for the public to see."

For her volunteer efforts to preserve a particular portion of the history of Wilmington, Bigwood is the recipient of the Bouquet of the Week.

The canal ran from Boston to Lowell, and in the early 1800s was the fastest transportation route available for cargo and passengers. It helped make towns like Wilmington prosperous before the railroads took over. Ironically, the canal transported much of the materials for construction of the railroad that put the canal out of business.

"Probably what got me interested was Mary Stetson Clarke's book, The Old Middlesex Canal, " Bigwood said. "It made the canal come alive and was simply written."

Bigwood's interest in local history can be traced back to when she moved to Wilmington 22 years ago. She and her husband, Gerald, bought the Bell farm, an 1830 federal-colonial house. They have been restoring it in steps ever since.

Bigwood has been a tour guide for many of the walks along the canal, pointing out features, explaining building and usage techniques and generally helping people become aware of the history that's been right under their noses.

"I like to highlight the fact that the canal is the oldest transportation canal in the U.S., and it was the first major corporation in this country," Bigwood said. "This was a relatively poor area, and people were looking forward to having a source of income and traffic through the town."

The canal has played a larger role in the development of the area than people may realize. The dump truck we know today supposedly had its start as a dump cart on this canal. But most important was the canal's boost to local economies, turning marginal fanning communities into thriving industrial centers.

As representatives of the Canal Association, the Bigwoods have been the hosts for visitors from abroad who were interested in the canal. They have opened up their home to allow visitors a place to stay, and hosted meetings and lectures as well. "One young man from England stayed with us for several weeks," Bigwood said. "He had five canal locks in his front yard and had come to see what our canal was all about." She also remembers helping to host over 100 members of the Thoreau Society when they came to see the canal.

Bigwood said that Wilmington is fortunate in having some of the best remaining sections of the canal and one of these, in the Butters Row area and approximately 0.7 miles long, was given to the Association by the late Stanley Webber and his daughter Julia Fielding. Bigwood also said, "Developer Jay Tighe gave a public right of way from Wedgewood Avenue for access to a lovely piece of canal south to Lubber Brook and the Fred F. Cain Park. " She said that the Wilmington Conservation Commission and the Planning Board have been very helpful in efforts to preserve the canal.

Bigwood plans to continue her work toward preserving the canal and making it as much as possible accessible to the public. She greatly enjoys doing it and hopes more people will take an interest. "I think the nicest thing about the Middlesex Canal Association is the quality of people involved with the group - professors, engineers. They're just bright, energetic people."

Betty M. Bigwood (photo courtesy of Wilmington Advertiser)


by Thomas Raphael

It can now be stated with certainty that the canal stones in the Winchester Town Forest [see Towpath Topics Vol. 32 No. 1] came from the aqueduct that crossed over the upper Mystic Lakes bays from the point beyond Sandy Beach to the point by Edgewater Place. The verification comes from the manuscript of Lewis M. Lawrence entitled "The Middlesex Canal" on p. 111, where Lawrence quotes from the original record of the Proprietors that is located in the Engineering Office at the Middlesex County Court House in East Cambridge.

The Symmes River, now known as the Aberjona River, was just a river as it ran through the marshy meadow that is now the middle and upper bays into the upper Mystic Lake. The original "aqueduct" was laid out on April 12, 1802, and completed that same year. It was 127 feet long, supported by two stone abutments 120 feet apart and by three stone piers. The surface of the water in the aqueduct was thirty feet higher than the river.

A report of January 16, 1826, said "old aqueduct at Gardeners will need rebuilding in course of a year." The new aqueduct was built, about 100 feet long and 50 feet wide, and its construction was described in a report of January 17, 1828: "Aqueduct at Symmes River built, solid timber floors were sunk to the bottom of the river, 8 culvert walls 4 ft. in thickness, 6 ft. in height and 100 ft. in length were laid from 6 to 7 ft. apart parallel with each other and directly under the old aqueduct. These culverts were covered with stones 8 ft. in length and 18 inches in thickness resting upon the walls. A wall of about 6 ft. in height and 4 ft. in thickness was raised upon the ends of the culverts to support the banks of earth. After the stone work was completed - a bed of clay mortar 8 inches thick was laid on the covering stones. The width of the canal where it passed over the new culverts is 40 ft. at the top and 20 ft. at the bottom and 5 ft. in depth. The old aqueduct was about 14 ft. in width and caused great delay to boats. This work is nearly completed."

These dimensions for the stones of 8 ft. in length and 18 inches thick correspond exactly with the dimensions I measured for the majority of the stones in the Town Forest - as reported in the Sept. 1993 Towpath Topics, Vol. 32, No. 1, pp. 10-11.

The Canal was officially disenfranchised in 1860. In 1864 a dam was built at "The Partings" between the lakes to form a reservoir as a water supply for the Boston Waterworks Co. Water was pumped up to the reservoir at Tufts University to supply Charlestown and later Somerville. The dam raised the water level in the upper lake by nine feet and also formed the two upper bays. The abandoned aqueduct was used as a bridge for a short time and then fell into disrepair.

On February 21, 1855, there was a great flood forming a river fourteen inches deep down Main Street in the center of Winchester, due to the frozen ground and heavy snow and rainfall and the restriction caused by the old canal piers. A second flood occurred in 1865 when an ice jam was forced against the remains of the aqueduct causing the water at Bacon's Pond to rise so that cellars of homes in Winchester were flooded. The ice jam was broken by blowing up the aqueduct with dynamite. The granite blocks were scattered all over and had to be removed.

Blocks of the split granite from the ruins were used in building the walls of the Brooks farmhouse and the foundation of Shepherd Brooks' house and stable on Grove Street near Slow Pond. Other blocks were brought up to the land for future building. The Winchester Town Forest is adjacent to the Shepherd Brooks property, which is next to the Oak Grove Cemetery in Medford.

There are a few of the granite blocks still remaining in or near the water at the site of the aqueduct. However, what else might remain would be mostly submerged due to the higher level of the water.

The next question is: What use might these stones be put to rather than have them slowly sink into the ground or be covered by the forest? Any ideas?


On Sunday, May 8, 1994, proprietors, members and guests of the Middlesex Canal Association met for the Annual Meeting at the Wilmington Arts Center. Following an affirmative vote to increase the annual dues to $14 for Proprietor and $7 for Member, officers for the year 1994-1995 were elected. Outgoing president Burt VerPlanck then presented a report on the past year's activities of the Association.

Following the business meeting, Nolan Jones presented a most interesting talk, illustrated with slides, on a recent trip he and his wife Joan took on the Canal du Midi, France, with the Canal Society of New Jersey. The Canal du Midi was designed to provide a link from the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean by cutting off the Iberian Peninsula. Some design work had been done on this by Leonardo da Vinci, but the major work was undertaken by Louis XIV. Opened in 1681, the Canal is 149 miles long. The lock chambers are oval, and the Canal includes one staircase flight of 8 locks, which Nolan's slides showed in some detail. Commercial traffic on this Canal continued until 1970, but now the use of the Canal is entirely recreational. Among the pleasures of the trip for the Joneses and others was, of course, the French cuisine, which they sampled abundantly.

by Betty M. Bigwood

It was a beautiful Saturday, April 23, although we were prepared with a Sunday rain date, should fate be unkind. That morning, the telephone started ringing. People were asking about the walk, wanting to know if it were too late to sign up and if "reservations" were necessary. Once again, Edith Choate had done a good job getting the information to various newsletters and newspapers (free publicity on which we rely heavily and which we appreciate greatly).

Fortunately, Mr. Palmer, our Wilmington Parks and Highway Supervisor, had given me a key to allow us through the gate for extra parking at the Town Park and Continental Cable TV had graciously given us permission to use their parking lot across the street for any overflow.

Fran and Burt VerPlanck, Carolyn Osterberg and Gerry Bigwood and I arrived at the Town Park about 10 a.m. The purpose of the early arrival was to set up a means of crossing Maple Meadow Brook. Burt provided his "bridge" cleverly constructed of plywood and a sturdy aluminum ladder. Gerry and Caroline proceeded to put it into place - securing both ends with rocks and tying a rope across so that people had something to grasp.

Carolyn had brought her lunch as she volunteered to stay and guard the site until the festivities began. The bridge might not have been there if we had left it unattended - such being the world in which we live today.

People started arriving 30 minutes prior to the starting time of 2 p.m. Fran and Burt arrived early carrying maps, brochures, and Clarke's book. We actually depleted our stock of some of these before the day was over and wished we had brought more.

Dave Barber, Bill Gerber, Wil Hoxie, Roger Hagopian, and Fran VerPlanck had agreed to act as guides. People kept coming. Col. Hoxie had agreed to give an introductory talk. More people kept coming; I stopped counting after I reached 100 - our largest walk ever!

Everyone gathered around Col. Hoxie, and he proceeded to set the stage. After the American Revolution people needed jobs, life was hard, money was scarce. People wanted the Canal to be dug. It offered a sense of new prosperity, a sense of hope and of better times ahead. Col. Hoxie is always at his best in this type of setting and he was never more brilliant.

First we walked around the oxbow turn, which was necessary to pass around the rocky hill, and saw the rope marks etched into stone, made by the horses pulling the boats. Then we saw the stone remnants of the Maple Meadow Brook Aqueduct and crossed over the VerPlanck "suspension" bridge where Gerry Bigwood, standing in the water with his thigh high boots halfway along the "bridge," served as a comforting helping hand. No one wanted to fall in!

We walked up the hill to the top of the Canal. Here is one of the most impressive sites - 26 feet of fill laid down on top of the marsh land to carry the Canal, truly a remarkable earth-moving feat, especially when you realize it was done with horses, oxen and carts.

As we crossed over the Maple Meadow Brook, we stepped into Middlesex Canal Association property, given by Stanley Webber and Julia Fielding. It is a lovely piece of land. We then actually walked in the middle of the dry Canal until we reached the permanent granite marker, placed there to notify people that this is an historic area. We crossed over Butters Row, now an asphalt road but once a wooden bridge under which the boats would pass. We kept on to Patches Pond, a turning pond for boats, and a resting spot along the way. We saw the old rock with the remains of a cleat in it to which boats could secure themselves. This rock is designated an historic rock so that the new house owner will leave it undisturbed. We then walked back to the Town Park.

People were given the option of a second part of the walk, and about 20 people followed in their cars. We went up Rte. 38, made a left onto Rte. 129, and then turned right into Wedgewood Circle, where developer J. Tighe has given us a right of way to another section of the Canal. The new owners of the land couldn't be more gracious. We walked along the berm as far as Lubber Brook Aqueduct. This was also known as the "Sinking Meadow Aqueduct" because so much fill was needed. The workers would dump fill all day only to return the next day to find that it had disappeared - both heart and back breaking.

At the Lubber Brook Aqueduct you can see the Fred F. Cain Bridge and that section of the Canal that was "restored" by the Commonwealth when they built the new bridge. The stone work of the Lubber Brook Aqueduct is still impressive.

Upon returning to our cars, I asked if anyone wanted to see the Shawsheen Aqueduct stone work, and about 5 cars followed me there.

This was a very energetic group, the weather conducive to walking, and a good day was had by all. But, most importantly, I hope everyone learned about the history of the Middlesex Canal.

contributed by Howard Winkler

The MIT science library has available for circulation a photocopy of a text in its rare book collection, titled

A TREATISE ON INTERNAL NAVIGATION, Explaining The Principles By Which Canals And Their Appendages Are Laid Out, Constructed And Kept In Repair, Together With Other interesting And Useful Matters Connected With The Subject; Compiled [by Joshua A. Secor,] From The Latest And Most Approved Authorities: To Which Is Annexed The Report of Albert Gallatin on Roads And Canals. Ballston Spa: Printed by U. F. Doubleday. 1817.

The Treatise, 152 pages in length, is followed by a

Report of the Secretary of the Treasury, on the Subject of Public Roads and Canals: made in pursuance of a resolution of Senate, of March 2d, 1807.

which is 116 pages in length. Pages 100 to 116 of the Report contain a communication from Robert Fulton to Albert Gallatin, Secretary of the Treasury, dated December 8, 1807.

The first four pages of this communication follows. Because of the poor quality of the MIT circulation copy, it was not possible to provide a legible copy of the original for Towpath Topics. What follows is a facsimile copy of the original, i.e., a best attempt to reproduce the style and spelling of the original. This facsimile copy was proofread, twice. Any remaining mistakes are the fault of the contributor. [Part 2 - March 2000]


Mr. Fulton's Communication.


By your letter of the 29th of July I am happy to find that the attention of congress is directing itself towards the opening of communications through the United States by means of roads and canals; and it would give me particular pleasure to aid you with useful information on such works, as I have long been contemplating their importance in many points of view.

But a year has not yet elapsed since I returned to America, and my private concerns have occupied so much of my time that as yet I have acquired but very little local information on the several canals which have been commenced.

Such information, however, is perhaps at present not the most important branch of the subject, particularly as it can be obtained in a few months at a small expense, whenever the public mind shall be impressed with a sense of the vast advantages of a general system of cheap conveyance.

I hope, indeed, that every intelligent American will, in a few years, be fully convinced of the necessity of such works to promote the national wealth and his individual interest. Such conviction must arise from that habit of reflection which accompanies the republican principle, and points out their true interest, on the subjects of political economy. From such reflections arise their love of agriculture and the useful arts, knowing them to augment the riches and happiness of the nation ; hence also their dislike to standing armies and military navies as being the means of increasing the proportion of non-productive individuals whose labour is not only lost, but who must be supported out of the produce of the industrious inhabitants, and diminish their enjoyments.

Such right thinking does great honour to our nation, and leads forward to the highest possible state of civilization by directing the powers of man from useless and destructive occupations to pursuits which multiply the productions of useful labour and create abundance.

Though such principles actuate our citizens, they are not yet in every instance aware of their best interests, nor can it be expected that they should perceive at once the advantages of those plans of improvement which are still new in this country. Hence the most useful works have sometimes been opposed; and we are not without examples of men being elected into the State legislatures for the express purpose of preventing roads, canals, and bridges being constructed. But in such errors of judgment our countrymen have not been singular. When a bill was brought into the British Parliament 50 years ago, to establish turnpike roads throughout the kingdom, the inhabitants for forty miles round London, petitioned against such roads. Their arguments were, that good roads would enable the farmers of the interior country to bring their produce to the London market cheaper than they who lived nearer the city and paid higher rents - that the market would be overstocked, the prices diminished, and they unable to pay their rents or obtain a living. The good sense of parliament however prevailed -the roads were made, the population and commerce of London increased, the demand for produce increased, and he who lived nearest London still had a superior advantage in the market.

In like manner I hope the good sense of our legislature will prevail over the ignorance and prejudice which may still exist against canals. And here an important question occurs which it may be proper to examine with some attention in this early stage of our public improvements, whether, as a system, we should prefer canals to turnpike roads? Our habits are in favor of roads; and few of us have conceived any better method of opening communications to the various parts of the States. But in China and Holland canals are more numerous than roads; in these countries the inhabitants are accustomed to see all their productions carried either on natural or artificial canals; and they would be as much at a loss to know how we, as a civilized people, could do without such means of conveyance as we are surprised at their perseverance and ingenuity in making them.1 England, France, and the principal states of Europe, commenced their improvements with roads; but as the science of the engineer improved and civilization advanced, canals were introduced, and England and France are now making every exertion to get the whole of their heavy productions water borne, for they have become sensible of the vast superiority of canals over roads.

Our system perhaps ought to embrace them both - canals for the long carriage of the whole materials of agriculture and manufactures, and roads for travelling and the more numerous communications of the country. With these two modes in contemplation, when public money is to be expended with a view to the greatest good, we should now consider which object is entitled to our first attention. Shall we begin with canals, which will carry the farmer's produce cheap to market and return him merchandise at reduced prices? or shall we first make roads to accommodate travellers and let the produce of our farms, mines and forests, labour under such heavy expenses that they cannot come to market?

To throw some light on this interesting question, I will base my calculations on the Lanchester turnpike road. There the fair experiment has been made to penetrate from Philadelphia to the interior country, and the mode of calculation here given will serve for drawing comparisons on the utility of roads and canals for all the great leading communications of America.

From Philadelphia to the Susquehannah, at Columbia is 74 miles. That road, if I am rightly informed, cost on an average 6,000 dollars a mile, or 444,000 dollars for the whole. On it, from Columbia to Philadelphia, a barrel of flour, say 200 weight, pays one dollar carriage. A broad wheeled wagon carries 30 barrels or 3 tons, and pays for turnpike 3 dollars. Thus for each ton carried, the turnpike company receives only one dollar.

I will now suppose a canal to have been cut from Philadelphia to Columbia, and with its windings to make 100 miles, at 15,000 2 dollars a mile, or for the whole, 1,500,000 dollars. On such canal, one man, one boy, an horse, would convey 25 tons 20 miles a day,3 on which the following would be the expenses:

One man, $ 1 00
One horse, 1 00
One boy, 0 50
Tolls for repairing the canal, 1 00
Tolls for passing locks, inclined planes, tunnels, and aqueducts,    1 00
Interest on the wear of the boat, 0 50
Total, $ 5 00

This is equal to 20 cents a ton for 20 miles, and no more than one dollar a ton for 100 miles, instead of 10 dollars paid by the road. Consequently, for each ton carried from Columbia to Philadelphia, on the canal, the company might take a toll of six dollars instead of one, which is now got by the road; and then the flour would arrive at Philadelphia for 7 dollars a ton, instead of ten, which it now pays. The merchandise would also arrive at Columbia from Philadelphia, for 3 dollars a ton less than is now paid, which cheap carriage both ways would not only benefit the farmer and merchant, but would draw more commerce on the canal then now moves on the road, and hereby add to the profits of the company.

But to proceed with my calculations, I will suppose that exactly the same number of tons would move on the canal that are now transported by the road. Again, let it be supposed that at one dollar a ton the turnpike company gains five per cent per annum on their capital of 444,000 dollars, or 22,200 dollars, consequently 22,200 tons must be carried, which at six dollars a ton to the canal company would have given 133,200 dollars a year, or eight and a half per cent. for their capital of 1,500,000 dollars.

The reason of this vast difference in the expense of carriage by roads or canals will be obvious to anyone who will take the trouble to reflect, that on a road of the best kind four horses, and sometimes five, are necessary to transport only three tons. On a canal one horse will draw 25 tons, and thus perform the work of 40 horses; the saving, therefore, is in the value of the horses, their feeding, shoeing, geer, wagons, and attendance. These facts should induce companies to consider well their interest when contemplating an enterprise of this sort; and what would be their profits not only in interest for their capital, but the benefit which their lands would receive by the cheap carriage of manure and of their productions.

1 The royal canal from Canton to Pekin is 825 miles long, its breadth 50 feet, its depth 9 feet.

2 On averaging the canals of America, 15,000 dollars a mile will be abundantly sufficient to construct them in the best manner, particularly if made on the inclined-plane principle, with small boats, each carrying 6 tons.

3 One horse will draw on a canal from 25 to 50 tons, 20 miles in one day. I have stated the least they ever do, and the highest rate of charges, that no deception may enter into these calculations.


It is with regret that we note the death of Mary L. Pineo on August 24, 1994. A long time resident of the Winter Hill Section of Somerville (close by the Middlesex Canal), she was a member of the Middlesex Canal Commission and a long time loyal Proprietor of the M.C.A. She often lectured on the Canal to Somerville school groups and for the Somerville Historical Museum. We counted on her to fill us in on Somerville history and to promote our cause there. A graduate of Radcliffe College in 1928 and of Tufts Graduate School in 1950, she was a teacher of Latin and French.


Middlesex Canal Association members Bruce McHenry, Martha Hazen, Nolan and Joan Jones rented an Anglo-Welsh Narrow Boat for a week of canal cruising in England and Wales this past summer. Part of the route was on the Trent and Mersey Canal. While there they met Steve Guest, a founder of the Trent and Mersey Canal Society, and Graeme Hovey, president. The trip was a very enjoyable journey through the countryside and pasturelands of the middle of the British Isles.

On the Trent & Mersey (1. to r.: Bruce McHenry, Martha Hazen, Graeme Hovey, Nolan Jones).
Photographed by Joan Jones.


Nolan T. Jones
16 Courthouse Rd.
Amherst, NH 03031
Bettina Harrison
11 Hillside Ave.
Winchester, MA 01890
Howard Winkler
10 Sleepy Hollow La.
Arlington, MA 02174
Recording Secretary
Jean Potter
82 Bartlett Ave.
Arlington, MA 02174
Corresponding Secretary
David Fitch
15 Andover Rd.
Billerica, MA 01821
William H. Drury
24 Buckman Dr.
Chelmsford, MA 01824


David Barber
16 Ballou Rd.
Hopedale, MA 01747
Betty Bigwood
300 Chestnut St.
Wilmington, MA 01887
Edith Choate
429 West St.
Reading, MA 01867
David Dettinger
3 Penn Rd.
Winchester, MA 01890
William Gerber
16 Princess Ave.
Chelmsford, MA 01863
Roger Hagopian
9 Cummings Ave.
Lexington, MA 02173
Martha Hazen
15 Chilton St.
Belmont, MA 02178
Wilbar Hoxie
31 Green St.
Reading, MA 01867
Carolyn Osterberg
79 Nichols St.
Wilmington, MA 01887
Tom Raphael
90 Grove St.
Winchester, MA 01890
Burt VerPlanck
37 Calumet Rd.
Winchester, MA 01890

Your Towpath Topics editor, Martha Hazen, welcomes comments and criticisms, and especially welcomes submissions for future editions of the newsletter.