Thus began the foundation leading to my novella – “The Way of a Child” in The Erie Canal Brides Collection. The setting of my book is in a particularly beautiful region of the Mohawk River of New York State called Little Falls. The many hazards in large rocks in the river prompted the building of a canal in Little Falls as far back as the times of George Washington. It then led to further construction and improvements of the Erie Canal in the 1800’s. Gazing upon the humble farms in this region, I thought it would be interesting to talk about those who had to part with their land for the canal system to be built. It reminded me also of my childhood home near the Ashokan Reservoir and the many families that gave up their lands for progress so a reservoir could be built and supply New York City with water.
This is a story of conflict between David Marshall, whose prosperous farm exits in the very land agent Roy O’Neil must have to fulfill the land acquisitions for the canal. His daughter Melanie acts as the liaison between her father and David, of which she has some unlikely help in the venture – David’s children who come to adore her. This sets up an interesting challenge among them that carries the reader through many twists and turns.
In researching the novella set in Little Falls, I was blessed to have the historian from the Little Falls Historical Society give me a thorough tour of the falls area, thus strengthening the novella’s authenticity. He shared stories and river views, including the rocky areas of the river which the canal now bypasses, and the lay of the land. All this added flavor and depth, allowing me to paint a portrait of the area for the reader.
So why set stories on the Erie Canal? I believe the reason can be summed up in this quote from an exhibit at the New York Sate Museum in Albany New York, devoted to the Erie Canal:
“No single act – no public measure- except the Declaration of Independence and the formation of the United States Constitution has done so much to promote the public prosperity and produce a new era in the history of our country as the construction of the Erie Canal.” – Jesse Hawley, 1840, a flour merchant and assemblyman
I hope you enjoy the collection.
Buy links: CBD https://bit.ly/2tIBCs1
Rose here again. I had never thought of the Erie Canal as being as important as the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution in promoting our nations’s prosperity. I don’t think most schools even teach about it any more. What do you think?
And a special thank you to Lauralee Bliss for sharing her photos with us. They truly give us a bird’s eye view of the places she wrote about! She is a very prolific writer and a wonderful photographer and an avid hiker!