By Linda Thompson
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Additional info for Building the Erie Canal
DeWitt, Clinton (1769–1828) - Nephew of George Clinton, New York governor; mayor of New York City (1803-1815), and chief promoter of the Erie Canal. Wright, Benjamin (1770–1842) - Chief engineer on the Erie Canal. In 1970, the American Society of Civil Engineers named him the Father of Civil Engineering. Eaton, Amos (1776–1842) - New York lawyer and scientist who surveyed the geology of the Erie Canal route (1822-1823). Bates, David S. (1777–1839) - New York engineer on the middle division of the Erie Canal.
33 Postcard showing life on the Erie Canal, Durhamville, New York. Even before its opening, more than 8,000 men with 2,000 boats and 9,000 horses or mules were employed on the Erie Canal. Almost overnight, New York City became the nation’s busiest port and the main gateway to the Northwest Territory. The canal provided thousands of people with much-needed jobs, such as operating the locks. 34 Modern aqueduct on part of the Erie Canal, Rochester, New York. The opening of the Erie Canal triggered the first great westward migration of settlers.
The opening of the Erie Canal triggered the first great westward migration of settlers. Within 10 years, the town of Rochester had become the nation’s first boom town, increasing its population from 300 to 8,000. Other towns along the canal such as Rome, Troy, Utica, Lockport, and Buffalo also grew quickly. HOW THE POPULATION CHANGED Canal and railroad construction created a huge demand for cheap labor. During the 1820s, 129,000 foreigners entered the country, increasing to 540,000 in the 1830s.