Erie Canal – Macedon, New York

As a follow up to our look at the Erie Canal and our Turck and Clark families, I’ve been researching and writing about some other early Mequon settlers and their migrations to Mequon from Lower Canada, Nova Scotia, New England and New York. It’s taking longer than I expected.

Until those posts are ready, here’s a photo of one of the historic Erie Canal locks, near Macedon, Wayne County, New York. Peter and Rachael (Gay) Turck lived nearby from sometime around 1828 until they went west to Buffalo, New York to begin their steamship journey to Milwaukee in July or August, 1837. A large number of other early Mequon immigrants, including the Bonniwell and Woodworth families, also would have passed through this lock (or its predecessor) on their way their new homes in Wisconsin.

Historic Erie Canal Lock No. 60, near Macedon, Wayne Co., New York, looking to the west. Photo by Reed Perkins, 2011. Click to open larger image in new window.

This is the expanded, second version of this lock. When it was built in 1821, as part of the original canal, it was Lock 71. As a nearby marker explains:

The original 1825 Erie Canal (Clinton’s Ditch), proved so successful that in 1841 Lock 60 was built as a single chamber as part of a system wide enlargement. Whereas the “Ditch” was four feet deep and seventy feet wide the “Enlarged” Canal was seven feet deep and seventy feet wide. Traffic on the “Enlarged” Canal was so great that in 1874 a second chamber was constructed alongside the first to permit simultaneous lockings of east and west bound boats. The length of this second chamber was doubled in 1888 to further increase capacity. Lock 60 was abandoned around 1914 with the completion of the third version of the canal, the one still in use today.

Macedon Trails Committee

The massive wooden lock gates, machinery—and water—are long since removed or rerouted. But this place was very likely the stepping-off point for Peter Turck’s family—including 16-year-old Mary Turck—as they “went West” to Wisconsin Territory in the summer of 1837.

See you next time.

Stay safe and be well.


UPDATED, February 17, 2021, to remove a few typos and to correct the place name in the title of the post. The Peter Turck family lived in both the town of Palmyra and then the town of Macedon, Wayne Co., New York, between about 1828 and mid-1837. But historic Eric Canal Lock 60 is properly in Macedon and the title of the post has been adjusted to reflect that.