Erie Canal Who's Who

Banyar, Goldsbrow, (c. 1724-1815) - Goldsbrow Banyar, director of the Bank of Albany, was a strong supporter of the Western Inland Lock Navigation Company and its mission. At the age of 68, Banyar accompanied Philip Schuyler and Elkanah Watson on the Mohawk River expedition.

Bleeker, Barent, (1760 - 1840). - President of the Bank of Albany, Barent Bleeker was an active member of the Western Inland Lock Navigation Company along with President General Schuyler, Thomas Eddy, Jeremiah Van Rensselaer, Elkanah Watson, and Robert Bowne. The Western Inland Lock Navigation Company had fifteen years to improve navigation and open communications between the Seneca Lake and Lake Ontario.

Browne, Robert - Robert Browne was an active member of the Western Inland Lock Navigation Company along with President General Schuyler, Barent Bleeker, Thomas Eddy, Jeremiah Van Rensselaer, Elkanah Watson, and Robert Bowne.

Clinton, DeWitt, (1769-1828). - Then the mayor of New York City, DeWitt Clinton, was a strong supporter of the Erie Canal and began the Canal Fund. Clinton was voted out of office in 1822 and removed from the Canal Board in 1824. He was re-elected as governor in October 1825 in time to preside over the Erie Canal's opening ceremony. During this ten day celebration Clinton traveled the length of the canal, often called "Clinton's Ditch," in a packet boat named the The Seneca Chief.

Colden, Cadwallader D. (Cadwallader David), (1769-1834). - Cadwallader Colden, former Senator and mayor of New York City, was the grandson of the first Surveyor-General of New York, Cadwallader Colden. The Committee of the Common Council of the City of New York requested that Colden document the planning and construction of the canal just days before The Seneca Chief arrived from Lake Erie. The result was the publication of the Memoir, prepared at the request of a Committee of the Common Council of the City of New York.

De Witt, Simeon, (1756-1834). - Cousin of DeWitt Clinton, Surveyor-General Simeon DeWitt surveyed a route for the canal between the Hudson River and Lake Erie in 1808. He was appointed to the Board of Canal Commissioner on March 15, 1810, along with Gouverneur Morris, Stephen Van Rensselaer, De Witt Clinton, William North, Thomas Eddy, Peter B. Porter, and William North.

Eddy, Thomas, (1758 - 1827). - Philanthropist Thomas Eddy worked with fellow canal-supporter Philip Schuyler in establishing a penitentiary system in 1796. A strong supporter of the Erie Canal, his efforts were surpassed only by DeWitt Clinton. Eddy was also one of the originators of the New York Savings Bank and the New York Bible society. Eddy was appointed to the Board of Canal Commissioners on March 15, 1810, along with Gouverneur Morris, Stephen Van Rensselaer, De Witt Clinton, Simeon DeWitt, Peter B. Porter, and William North. Eddy also served on the Western Inland Lock Navigation Company with General Schuyler, president of the company, and Barent Bleeker, Jeremiah Van Rensselaer, Elkanah Watson, and Robert Bowne.

Fulton, Robert, (1765-1815). - Robert Fulton joined the Canal Commission in 1811 along with Robert R. Livingston. Together, Fulton and Livingston built the first steamboat. Fulton was also responsible for many of the Erie Canal's improvements. These amendments to the canal are documented in a collection of letters to President Washington.

Geddes, James, (1763-1838). - In 1808 engineer James Geddes was appointed to make the preliminary surveys of a route between Lake Erie and the Hudson River. He was appointed engineer of the Erie Canal in 1816. He also served as chief engineer of the Champlain canal in 1818, surveyed the Ohio River to Lake Erie, and the Chesapeake and Ohio canal, and was engineer for the construction of the canals of Pennsylvania.

Livingston, Brockholst, (1757-1823). - Henry Brockholst Livingston served as Supreme Court Justice from 1806 to 1823 and was appointed Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1806. Livingston was also one of the justices on the Lake Canal Policy.

Madison, James, (1749-1812). - James Madison was elected as the fourth president of the United States in 1808. On June 18, 1812, Madison signed a declaration of war against Great Britain. This marked the beginning of the War of 1812 and caused the construction of the canal to be postponed until 1817. That same year, Madison vetoed the Bonus Bill, which would have provided $1,500,000 in federal funds to New York State to help build the canal.

Marryat, Frederick, (1792-1848). - An English naval officer and historical-adventure novelist, Captain Frederick Marryat toured the United States in 1838. A year later he published his travel diary in which he reflected on his disapproval of American behaviors and mannerisms. On his trip, he traveled the Erie Canal and documented his experience in his Diary in America.

Moran Brothers. - The Moran brothers were bankers in New York and well-known for managing foreign holdings in stock and bonds. Their cliental included the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne & Chicago Railroad Company and the Fort Wayne & Chicago Railroad Companies.

Morris, Gouverneur, (1752-1816). - Gouverneur Morris, a strong advocate for the Erie Canal and opponent to the War of 1812, was the founding chairman of the Erie Canal Commission. The commission was active from 1810 to 1816. Morris acted as chairman from 1810-1813.

North, William, (1755-1836). - United States Senator and General William North was appointed to the Board of Canal Commissioners on March 15, 1810 along with Gouverneur Morris, Stephen Van Renssellaer, De Witt Clinton, Thomas Eddy, Simeon DeWitt, and Peter B. Porter. North was included on the board as per request of his close friend, Mr. Stephen Van Rensselaer.

Porter, Peter B. (Peter Buell), (1773-1844). - Congressman Peter B. Porter was appointed to the Board of Canal Commissioners on March 15, 1810, along with Gouverneur Morris, Stephen Van Rensselaer, De Witt Clinton, Thomas Eddy, Simeon DeWitt, and William North. Porter contributed to the funding of the project obtained by federal aid. He disagreed with Clinton's proposed straight line route from the Hudson River to Lake Erie and instead proposed one from the Hudson to Lake Ontario and one around Niagara Falls.

Rensselaer, Stephen Van, (1764 - 1839). - Stephen Van Rensselaer appointed to the Board of Canal Commissioners on March 15, 1810, along with Gouverneur Morris, De Witt Clinton, Thomas Eddy, Simeon DeWitt, Peter B. Porter, and William North. He served as president of the Canal Commission from 1825-1839. During the War of 1812, Rensselaer acted as major general in the state militia until his defeat in Canada. Rensselaer also served on the Western Inland Lock Navigation Company along with President General Schuyler, Barent Bleeker, Thomas Eddy, Elkanah Watson, and Robert Bowne.

Schuyler, Philip John, (1733-1804). - Philip Schuyler served as president of the canal company in 1792. With his support, the Inland Navigation Act of 1792 was passed, creating the Western Inland Lock Navigation Company. Schuyler worked with fellow canal supporter Thomas Eddy in establishing a penitentiary system in 1796.

Tibbits, George, (1763-1849). - George Tibbits was responsible for creating the financial system for funding the canal. In Robert Troup's 1822 letter to Brockholst Livingston he refers to George Tibbits: " He drew up a plan of finance, establishing a distinct and permanent fund for the completion of both canals and pointed out various sources of revenue which was substantially the same with that afterward established by the legislature. "

Troup, Robert, (1757-1832). - In addition to being one of New Yorkï's prominent lawyers, Robert Troup was a leading landholder and land agent. Troup published historical pamphlets on the Erie Canal in attempts to settle the dispute over who originally proposed the idea of the canal. Troup informed Brockholst Livingston of the financial plan, drawn up by George Tibbits, that was responsible for funding the canal.

Watson, Elkanah, (1758-1842). - Elkanah Watson claimed to be the originator for the idea behind the Erie Canal after traveling from Schenectady into western New York in 1791. During the expedition, Watson purchased land to explore a possible canal route between the Hudson River and Lake Erie. Watson was involved with Goldsbrow Banyar in organizing the Bank of Albany and served on the Western Inland Lock Navigation Company along with President General Schuyler, Barent Bleeker ,Thomas Eddy, Jeremiah Van Rensselaer, and Robert Bowne.

J. Williams - Treasurer for the Transfer Office of the Bank of the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company. The Delaware and Hudson Canal Company was America�s first million-dollar private enterprise was responsible for engineering the Delaware and Hudson Canal. In 1898, the D& H dropped 'canal' from it's name and transformed into a railroad company.