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The Ohio & Erie Canal

A Glossary of Terms, Second Edition, Revised and Expanded

Regional Interest


The people who lived, worked on, and were alongside the Ohio & Erie Canal had a vocabulary all their own.  Originally published in 1995, this glossary was the first to list in one source the terms used to describe the boats, crews, locks, equipment, and canals.

Terry K. Woods provides a dictionary of primary terms selected from official reports as well as terms taken from interviews with former boatmen.  This new edition includes a detailed description of the canal’s route–elevation, engineering, locks, feeders and the businesses and communities along the way.

Serious students of Ohio’s canal era and canal buffs alike will find the definitions compiled in this glossary interesting and helpful in their readings and studies of the Ohio & Erie Canal system.


Terry K. Woods is past president of both the Canal Society of Ohio and the American Canal Society. He is former editor of Towpaths, the journal of the Canal Society of Ohio, and is widely recognized as an expert on the Ohio & Erie Canal. He is also the author of Ohio’s Grand Canal: A Brief History of the Ohio & Erie Canal (Kent State University Press, 2008).