Harford History

May 21, 2006

1840: CANAL COMMERCE

An article in the Baltimore American on May 16, 1840, shows the importance of the then recently opened Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal to Harford County.

"Yesterday four canal boats arrived here in Baltimore from Havre de Grace," the article states. "Their arrival constituted the coming of a new era in the commerce of our city."

The opening of the canal also constituted a new era for the growing industrial area in Harford called Stafford, located along Deer Creek. Stafford was an important milling and iron center. It was made accessible to the canal by building a dam at the mouth of Deer Creek.

Boats were able to ascend to Stafford, where grain elevators stored stocks of wheat and rye, and where forges received cargoes of ore. Iron products were shipped out to ports such as Baltimore, New York and Philadelphia.

This also gave outlet for shipment to Trenton, N.J., of ground flint, used in the manufacture of porcelain and pottery. The remains of a flint mill are visible on the banks of Deer Creek today.

[Sources: Our Harford Heritage by C. Milton Wright. Research by Harford County Public Library.]

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