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"1 New Three-handed Batteau"

The Mohawk River Survey of Philip Schuyler
and The Western Inland Lock Navigation Company
August 21 - September 4, 1792

Philip Lord, Jr.

New York State Museum

A 3-handed batteau. The batteau receipt.
Detail from the actual invoice and receipt for the batteau ordered by Philip Schuyler and paid for at the start of the voyage - August 21st, 1792. Click image for full document. 49K

The information presented in this publication was developed from data compiled by The Durham Project - an archeological research project at the New York State Museum dedicated to documenting, preserving and interpreting physical remains associated with the era of the Western Inland Lock Navigation Company [1792 - 1820] - New York's first canal company.

Compiled and edited by Philip Lord, Jr., Senior Scientist, New York State Museum.

Additional data compiled by Laurie Allen, Research Intern, New York State Museum.

Adapted from the pamphlet "Schuyler's Batteau", published by the Schenectady Urban Cultural Park to accompany an exhibit of the State Museum's replica 18th century batteau and associated materials in 1992.

Table of Contents


Two hundred years ago a small band of men set out from Schenectady on a journey that would change their world, and ours. That they left from this place was no fluke, no incidental location. Schenectady at that time was the western most port through which all goods and travelers set forth on their journeys into the vast interior of the fledgling nation. The breathtaking beauty and abundant wildlife of the great flats had brought the enterprising Dutch to the Mohawk River 130 years before. The river proved a valuable resource, and a shining pathway west.

In 1792, the intrepid sojourners were on a surveying trip to chart the treacherous riffs and shoals and falls that inhibited free navigation along the shallow and turbulent Mohawk River. The locks, dams and canals the Western Inland Lock Navigation Company would build by 1803 would change the national transportation system forever. It heralded the great canal era of the 19th Century.

For 80 years (1740-1820) Schenectady men built the river batteaux which plied the Mohawk, ferrying goods, troops, supplies and settlers. They were the forefathers of the men and women who produced locomotives and electricity, ideas and ingenuity to serve our nation's needs and dreams for the next two centuries.

The presentation of the Schenectady Batteau is the first major interpretive exhibit of the Schenectady Urban Cultural Park. The City of Schenectady is pleased to join with the New York State Museum and the Schenectady Museum and Planetarium as partners for this program. As with any successful endeavor, many people have joined in this presentation. The SUCP dedicates the Schenectady Batteau exhibit to the many visionary individuals and organizations who have dreamed, planned and worked to create this window into our past. Through it we all can witness the drive and determination which continues to this day.

Karen Engelke
Urban Cultural Park Coordinator
May, 1992

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