Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Everybody Loves A Parade!

Bill West is having a parade at West in New England and I've been busy trying to find everything I need for my float and trying to decide who to invite to ride on it.

Because so much of my family history has a connection to the Erie Canal, the center piece of my float will be the packet boat currently housed in the Erie Canal Museum. I think we can get it right out of the end of the building. The float will be pull by a team of mules, led by my great-great-grandfather, Michael Camfield. Mike met his wife, Sarah Wisner, on the banks of the canal so we'll have the entire family on the float.Sarah's father, William Wisner owned land along the canal so we'll have Sarah's family too, including her grandparents, Anthony and Mary Elizabeth (Bookhout) Badgley and some of her aunts, uncles and cousins.

I picked a packet boat because they had flat tops where the passengers often rode in nice weather. So we'll all sit outside on top of the boat and take turns sitting in the rocking chair that is said to have come from the porch of a hotel in Syracuse, NY. I can't find any reference to any of my family ever being connected to a hotel in Syracuse so I think it was actually from the Clinton House in Rochester, NY. Isaac Ashley owned the Clinton house and it was located near the canal. His wife was Charlotte Carlisle. The family must have thought a lot of Mr. Ashley as Charlotte's brother, Daniel Carlisle, named one of his sons Isaac Ashley Carlisle. Ashley, as he was known, is in the one with the beard in the center of the family photo, having married Sarah Camfield. I'm not certain which members of the family worked on the construction of the canal so I'll send out a general invitation to all of those that did to come ride on the float and see who shows up!

I haven't quite worked out the construction details but we need to have water surrounding the boat. Because Bill is having the parade in winter it should freeze nicely so that we can invite my paternal grandparents, Kim and Mary Kelly Berry, to ice skate on the float as they did on the canal when they first came to Syracuse. Grandma really tried to teach me to skate.

Of course my family will all be on the float too, so that they can all meet their ancestors. Mike has has flutephone lessons in school so he'll give half of our crew a quick lesson while I teach the rest the Erie Canal song, a song I grew up with and know by heart:

I've got a mule, her name is Sal,
15 miles on the Erie Canal
She's a good old worker and a good old pal,
15 miles on the Erie Canal

We've hauled some barges in our day
filled with lumber, coal and hay
And we know every inch of the way from
Albany to Buffalo.

Low bridge, everybody down
Low bridge for we're coming to a town
And you'll always know your neighbor, you'll always know your pal
If you've ever navigated on the Erie Canal.

We better get along on our way ol'gal,
15 miles on the Erie Canal

'Cause you bet your life I'd never part with Sal,
15 miles on the Erie Canal.
Git up there mule, here comes a lock,
We'll make Rome about 6 o'clock
One more trip and back we'll go, right back home to Buffalo.


Terry Thornton said...

Apple, What a delightful float. But most of all that song --- I haven't heard "Low Bridge/15 Miles on the Erie Canal" in too many decades to count. I've been singing and humming it and remembering all those times we sang it way back when. THANKS!

Colleen said...

Great float! Can't wait to see it in the parade :)


Thanks for the parade. I liked
your extra pictures that go with it. The Erie Canal area looks like a place I'd like to visit.

Nikki - Notes of Life said...

An interesting read :) My surname is connected with boats, so it's definitely been a worth while read. Thanks for sharing the song too.

Chery Kinnick said...

I really enjoyed the sing-along. Thanks!