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Collection Captain Pearl R. Nye: Life on the Ohio and Erie Canal

Timeline

A timeline of the Ohio and Erie Canal and the life of Captain Nye.

Ohio and Erie Canal and the Life of Captain Pearl R. Nye (1872-1950)

  1. 1803

    Ohio becomes the 17th state. It is one of the poorest states in the nation, in large part because it lacks major transportation routes to major markets.
  2. 1825 February

    Ohio state legislature authorizes construction of Ohio and Erie Canal to open up transportation routes to eastern markets and promote commerce.
  3. 1825 July 4

    Ground broken on Ohio and Erie Canal at Licking Summit near Newark, Ohio.
  4. 1827 July 4

    Ohio and Erie Canal opens from Cleveland, Ohio to Akron, Ohio.
  5. 1828

    Charles Carroll (last surviving signer of Declaration of Independence) drives the first spike of Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O). B&O chartered to connect the port of Baltimore, Maryland to the Ohio River.

    Ohio and Erie Canal opens from Akron, Ohio to Massillon, Ohio. The canal is 65 miles long.
    General view of lock chamber and gates at 14 Mile Lock, circa 1968. Library of Congress, Prints and Photograph Division. Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record.'
  6. 1829

    Ohio and Erie Canal opens from Massillon, Ohio to Dover, Ohio. The canal is 93 miles long.
  7. 1830

    Ohio and Erie Canal opens from Dover, Ohio to Newark, Ohio. The canal is 177 miles long.
  8. 1831

    Ohio and Erie Canal opens from Newark, Ohio to Chillicothe, Ohio. The canal is 258 miles long.
    Cross-section of Ohio and Erie Canal. Courtesy of Cuyahoga Valley National Park Association.
  9. 1832

    Ohio and Erie Canal completed. Operates between Cleveland, Ohio and Portsmouth, Ohio. It is 308 miles long with 146 lift locks and a rise of 1,206 feet.
    The Ohio Canal System. Courtesy of Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Columbus, Ohio.
  10. 1836

    Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati Railroad chartered.
  11. 1840s

    Ohio is the 3rd most prosperous state, in large part due to the Ohio and Erie Canal.
  12. 1847

    James Garfield (who becomes the 20th president) works on the canal as a muleskinner.
  13. 1851

    Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati Railroad completed.
  14. 1852

    Baltimore and Ohio Railroad connects Baltimore, Maryland with the Ohio River at Wheeling, West Virginia.
    Nye family boats. Nye's father stands on rear of boat and his mother is seated in front holding a young child, 1884. Courtesy of Summit County Historical Society, Akron, Ohio.'
  15. 1852-55

    Traffic on the canal and revenue from operations peaks.
  16. 1860

    Canal badly flooded. State leases canal to group of private investors.
  17. 1872 February 5

    Pearl R. Nye born on canal boat Reform near Chillicothe, Ohio. He is the 15th of 18 Nye children.
  18. 1887

    William Nye, Pearl Nye's father, dies.
  19. 1911

    Most of the southern portion of the canal abandoned due to high cost of maintenance.
  20. 1913 March 13

    Ohio and Erie Canal closes due to severe storms and flooding. Nye begins his "second" life as a carpenter, performer, and chronicler of the Ohio and Erie Canal.
    Akron Beacon Journal, March 25, 1913. Courtesy of Akron Beacon Journal, Akron, Ohio.
  21. 1937 June

    John Lomax records 33 of Nye's songs in Akron, Ohio.
  22. 1937 November

    Alan Lomax records 39 of Nye's songs in Akron, Ohio.
  23. 1938

    Ivan Walton records three of Nye's songs in Akron, Ohio.
  24. 1938 May

    Nye performs at National Folklife Festival, Washington, DC.
    Silent film clip of Captain Pearl R. Nye on the roof of the Thomas Jefferson Building at the Library of Congress, 1938. Library of Congress, American Folklife Center - Archive of American Folk Song Films Collection, AFC 1990/017.
  25. 1939 April

    Nye leases abandoned lock at Roscoe Basin to build his home "Camp Charming" using materials from the old canal boat, Rosalie.
  26. 1942 April

    Nye performs at National Folklife Festival, New York City.
  27. 1950 January 4

    Pearl R. Nye dies in Hawthornden State Hospital, Akron, Ohio where he had been living for more than two years.
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