Tonawanda's Trouble, article (Buffalo News, 1884-05-30)

Tonawandas Troubles, boatment deadlocked, article (Buffalo News, 1884-05-30).PDF

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Tonawanda's Trouble, article (Buffalo News, 1884-05-30).PDF


Serious Dead-Lock In the Canal Traffic. The Organization of Boatmen Against Shippers-Both Sides of the Case. (P. W. Scribner Weighs in)

Depicts the stagnated upper dock, 130 idle ships, restless men. Notes resentment at county officials being called in to keep the peace despite Tonawandas' remarkable record in that area. A. Weston gives a detailed account of the matter, saying there are four or five firms involved in lumber forwarding, and showing how the boat captains get squeezed out and compelled to pay spurious "scalpage" fees, and to hire favored work gangs, or go without. "In consequence of this state of things, the boatmen in February last entered into an organization called the Erie Boatmen's Transportation company."

"P. W. Scribner, who is largely engaged in the shipping business, was referred to for a statement of the other side of the case. He said: "It amounts to this that the Erie Boatmen's Transportation company is endeavoring to boycott our business. We are and always have been willing to treat the boatmen fairly and squarely, but we ask to be allowed to conduct our business in the way we think best. We have a large number of boats engaged for loading and we prefer to use those boats in preference to others that may be thrust upon us. This organisation is simply an association formed for the purpose of dictating what shall be the price of freights on the canal."

Scribner goes on to describe how the association has been putting it out that they will bring the lumber concerns to heel, and that they will have an unfair advantage in fixing rates. He then addresses the threat of violence: "There were symptoms of disturbance before the sherif came here, but since then there has been greater quiet. Before that they went on my docks and endeavored to drive men away from my employ and in some cases threats were used. It was acts of that sort that induced me to have the sheriffs here so that we might have country protection."