In 1827, David
Leech, a trained civil engineer from
Mercer County, came to the small village
known as "Friendship."
Leech secured the
contract for construction of the big dam
lock for the new canal. He also bought
much land, some of it from Chief White
Mattock, by then the fifth owner of this
parcel. Leech, wisely envisioning future
growth in the small community, later
bought more land from Joseph
- During building
of the canal, the village was virtually
a construction camp.
- Hundreds of
immigrant workers -- many Irish -- were
employed on the big navigation project.
Some settled here and in Freeport.
- Canal laborers
were paid 50 cents daily plus board.
However, eggs cost six cents a dozen;
whole chickens sold for six cents