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| Vessels entered the canal near Bordentown on the Delaware River.
Traveling north through seven locks, they were lifted 58 feet to the
summit in Trenton. Seven more locks lowered the vessels to
tidewater at New Brunswick, on the Raritan River.
The canal’s main water source was the Delaware River. Water was
diverted at Bull’s Island, north of Stockton, into a 22-mile canal
feeder, which delivered water to the summit in Trenton.
In 1830 the Delaware and Raritan Canal Company was incorporated.
In 1831, by an act of the Legislature, the canal company and the
Camden & Amboy Railroad were combined as the "Joint Companies."
Digging began in 1830 under Chief Engineer Canvass White. When
White died shortly before the canal opened in 1834, Ashbel Welch,
of Lambertville, replaced him. Thousands of workmen, both local and
foreign-born, were employed to dig the canal, using picks, shovels,
and horse-drawn scoops. Twenty years later, the banks were lined
with stone, called "rip rap," to prevent erosion caused by the wake of
steam canal boats and tugs.