Preserved in the journals, notes and scraps of
paper created by the survey party, this remains one of the most significant expeditions in New
York State history.
The expedition of 1792 may seem small in scale by today's standards. It involved a 30 foot long boat driven upriver by 3 young boatmen, and occupied by 6 people representing what was soon to become New York's first canal company. During the fourteen days that transpired before this boat once again tied up at the waterfront on the Binnekill, a detailed survey of the Mohawk River had been completed and the lives of perhaps all nine of the participants affected in ways we can imagine, but cannot fully discover.
But more than that, this expedition changed the cultural landscape of New York, and the Nation, for decades to come. The building of the great Erie Canal, the Champlain Canal, the numerous lateral canals that spread across the State during the 1820s and 30s, and the canal age that continues to this day, all had their roots in that tiny boat and those nine men who crowded into it on a warm afternoon in August, 200 years ago.
If you would like to read the actual
report of the 1792 Schuyler
expedition, with every detail of their survey of the Mohawk River and mention
of many landmarks of the 18th century Mohawk Valley, you can purchase
a facsimile copy of this survey, as published in 1792, combined with
report of Schuyler's 1792 survey of the Upper Hudson route to Lake
Champlain, from the
State Museum Shop by mail.
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