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I note in the book that most of the divers also were carpenters. This makes sense, since a lot of repairs to lock gates could be made underwater without having to drain the lock and disrupt traffic, as well as being very expensive.

Following up on the James Scott story, I’ve put together a table of divers/carpenters for the period 1892-1921, roughly the period that James Scott was active. The daily wage is also given: notice that it varies. This is because the “Management” was very cost-conscious and varied the wage according to the perceived degree of skill and difficulty involved in a particular job.

The table doesn’t show (except in one case) where the work was being done. Over time, the number of days worked isn’t noted, just the daily wage.

Finally, in 1908 a John Scott is shown as a diver, along with James Scott. James did have a brother John, but as yet I cannot verify that he is the “John Scott – diver” mentioned in the record.

Here is the table.

Divers Wages


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The following link will give you the story of James Scott, a diver on the Rideau Canal, along with a picture of him at work.  He was born in Brewers MIlls. His second wife, Miss Martha Brennick, was from KIlmarnock. He moved to Smiths Falls in 1901, the year of his marriage to Miss Brennick.

If you know which lock station the picture shows, let me know.

James Stephen Scott

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Long Island Locks and early lockmasters

On page 377 of “Invisible Army”, I noted that Lt. Col. By had not named a lockmaster for Long Island in 1832. More accurately, I was not able to find any record of who was in fact named, but I remarked that two possible candidates were James Fallon and John Houston. The record is OK from 1835 to the present.

Today I came across a newspaper advertisement taken out by James Fallon. It clearly sets out that he was active in the area in 1844.
It also indicates that the First Nations were still involved. This was news to me. I have no idea when Long Island was sold by them.

The ad is copied below.


THE SUBSCRIBER having leased from the Indian Chiefs of the Lake of Two Mountains, District of Montreal, on the 14th of August, 1837, all that Tract or Parcel of Land, commonly known by the name of LONG ISLAND, in the Rideau River, for a Term of Years – HE HEREBY GIVES NOTICE, That any Person or Persons found Trespassing on said property, from this date, without written permission from the Proprietor or his Agent, will be prosecuted, as the Law directs.

Squatters and Trespassers will pay particular attention to this notice.

JAMES FALLON, Proprietor,
Grenville, 27th August, 1844

Source: Bytown Gazette And Ottawa And Rideau Advertiser Vol. IX, No. 16, Thursday, October 24, 1844, page 3, column 2.

I`m sure that there are people out there who know more about this story and how it all worked out. Maybe some day we`ll find out. Maybe Parks Canada knows something about this.

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July 2013 updated Lockstation List (shaded)

Thanks to Annie Laurie of the Parks Canada staff at Smiths Falls.

I should also note that the staff list for Jones Falls in the book should include Annie Laurie as a lock staff worker in 2003. Somehow I missed it. I do have her at the Narrows for 2004/2005.

Mea culpa! (Tr: “my bad”)

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Well, they promised new plaques for the Canal to commemorate the workers who made it possible. It appears that only Irish immigrants and French Canadians were involved, according to the wording on the new plaque.

I had been invited to comment on the initial wording, and suggested that the composition of the work force should be expanded to include the Scotch masons, since every lock station required masonry.

I applauded the reference in the wording to the severe hardships – working and living conditions, cold, malaria and cholera. In fact, I suggested that the wording be broadened to include a reference to the women and children of the workers, who obviously suffered as much, apart from work-related injuries.

For reasons best known to the judges, the women and children didn’t make the cut, although there is lots of room on the plaque.

What about the masons? They didn’t make the plaque either – I guess that they weren’t unskilled enough to merit acknowledgment and weren’t skilled enough to rank with the “civil contractors and Royal Engineers”.

All is not lost, however. They DO get mentioned in the write-up giving more background on “Recognizing The Contributions Of The Rideau Canal Workers. We can only hope that the descriptive material is available whereever they eventually install the plaques.

For example, the civil contractors tried to avoid hiring Irish workers at Jones Falls, preferring French Canadians. Perhaps some Irish “slipped in”.

Too bad they couldn’t “slip in” the Scottish masons and the women and children.

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2013 Staff List

Hi, folks:

Don’t give up hope. I’m promised an up to date staff list any day now.

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Well, there seems to be some support for the notion that the push-back against the government proposal to shorten the canal season brought this partial success – make 2012 a regular season and shorten 2013 ( and beyond?) I’ve heard from a number of Corridor citizens and have talked to others.

We need to use this time to sharpen our arguments and consider how best to save the government from themselves.

All reasonable ideas (short of armed insurrection, I suppose) are worth considering and bringing them to the attention of local elected officials. Remind them that they are elected as well and serve at the pleasure of their constituents. Some tend to place party over common sense and local issues.

Always interested in ideas and suggestions. Send them along.

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