Bucks County History: How Mules Played a Major Role in Commerce on the Delaware Canal

Two mules walking on a canal
Image via Friends of the Delaware Canal.
The animal was regularly used for various forms of labor in early American history.

Back when Bucks County was becoming an important place in America, workers from around the area found help from a particluar animal. The Friends of the Delaware Canal wrote about the animal’s influence on local and national worklife.

The mule was regularly used for industry and labor in the formative years of the country, and the canal in Bucks County saw them used to move goods to and from towns for many years. Some even referred to them as “the workhorses moving coal from Mauch Chunk (present-day Jim Thorpe) to Bristol.”

“So, when commerce on the Delaware Canal began, mules were the logical choice,” the Friends of the Delaware Canal said online. “From the perspective of the canal boat operator, mules had several distinct advantages. They had a sturdy constitution and were not prone to health problems.”

The animal was a favorite tool of the Founding Fathers who were involved in farming. George Washington promoted the use of them for agriculture and Thomas Jefferson utlized them for his own personal use at Monticello.

Learn more about rhe impact of the mule at the Friends of the Delaware Canal.


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