2014 James River Batteau Festival Map and Brochure available for download.


Click the above photo of the map to download a pdf file that you can print out as you wish. (Note: Legal size paper fits this document without reducing the print size.)


Click the above photo of the brochure to download a pdf file that you can print out as you wish. (Note: when printing on legal size paper, choose the “fit to printable area” option before printing, which will reduce the image size slightly but allow you to print on most printers).

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    Annual Meeting a Success!

    The Annual Meeting turned out real nice. The tours and meetings and meals and fellowship were great.

    And The Tiller is off to the printer. It’s going to be great!

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      Members of the VC&NS were mailed proxy and registration forms last week.
      Anyone can attend the event, while only members may vote via proxy.

      Click here to download Proxy Voting form.

      Click here to download 2014 VC&NS Conference Registration Form.

      Please note that a registration form must be mailed to Philip de Vos at the address on the registration form whether you pay via check or online via PayPal, Credit or Debit card.

      Click here to go to the VC&NS online store for payment options.


      The Paxton House, located in Buena Vista, Virginia.

      The Paxton House, located in, Buena Vista, Virginia.

      The 2014  VC&NS Annual Meeting & Canal Conference
      is scheduled for April 25-27, 2014 at the Glen Maury Park
      In Buena Vista, Virginia at the Paxton House.

      The batteau "Slate River" passes by a beautiful stone lock on the Maury River, Spring 2013.

      The batteau “Slate River” passes beautiful Spiller Guard Lock on the Maury River, Spring 2013.


      Virginia’s canal preservation organization, the Virginia Canals & Navigations society sets Annual Conference, an exciting weekend on the Maury River with a wide variety of activities open to the public

      A very memorable conference is just ahead April 25-27 2014.  Don’t miss this opportunity to visit the most concentrated display of  “canal works of art” in the Old Dominion.

      We’ll begin with an archaeological dig on VMI Island conducted by W&L.  This was a busy port beginning with the batteau era, known as Jordan’s Point.  Students will be uncovering artifacts from the nineteenth century industry foundations there.  Later eat hearty at a nearby restaurant, then attend our informative discussion on Virginia’s Scenic Rivers and Water Trails Friday evening.

      Saturday We’ll raft the Maury below Lexington on our way to Buena Vista, stopping to study the impressive locks of the “North River Navigation” along the way.   That night the exquisite Paxton House hosts our banquet and related activities.  Built by farmer, businessman and batteau captain Elisha Paxton;  and boyhood home of General Elisha F. “Bull” Paxton it has great historic significance.   We’re also fortunate to have the convenient camping facilities of Glen Maury Park.

      The Batteau "Slate River" running a rapid on the Maury River, Spring 2013.

      The Batteau “Slate River” passes Goose Neck Dam on the Maury River, Spring 2013.

      On Sunday, river permitting, we hope to follow the progress of batteau “Slate River” on the white waters below Buena Vista; enjoying the splendid locks along River road.  Otherwise we’ll have a more leisurely tour of canal treasures with a stop in Glasgow for the Frank Padget monument, Glasgow’s new park and the overlook of Balcony Falls.

      Planning continues, with updates to be posted here.   Don’t miss the Maury in 2014!

      And yes, your assistance will be appreciated,  Contact Philip de Vos at <phipfox@mail.com>.

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        VC&NS Annual Meeting a big success.

        The Annual Meeting of the VC&NS was held April 27th, 2013. The photos above are from Sat. Night.

        More information to come on this event.

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          Marshall Expedition DVD available on the VC&NS online store

          The Marshall Expedition DVD

          The Marshall Expedition DVD

          The Marshall Expedition DVD is now available on our online store. The price is $20 plus tax and shipping. This is a must have. We have a limited quantity of 10 copies to start and will order more if we run out.

          Members don’t forget to ask for your 20% off discount code. If you just got your Tiller in the mail it is printed on the green paper for the Member bring in a Member special.

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            Canal Walk Trail video from Richmond Downtown to Maymont

            I found a nice video online of someone jogging from downtown Richmond up to Maymont  Park. The video is a little choppy but it’s worth taking a look at. Enjoy.


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              Posted in Canal in Danger, Richmond, Richmond, Save our Canal!, Virginia | Leave a comment

              VC&NS “Home Fund” Established

              After 35 successful years as a nonprofit organization researching, educating, and advocating for Virginia canals, batteaux and other historic watercraft, the Virginia Canals and Navigations Society is ready to settle down and display Virginia’s rich cultural waterway heritage. As the only nonprofit organization in Virginia specializing specifically in the historic river highways that helped found our great nation,  (a once forgotten segment of history), VC&NS is uniquely positioned to create a museum of cultural waterway heritage of commonwealth and national interest. Throughout our 35 years, members have been collecting archives, artifacts and memorabilia of canal and river heritage and building navigable reproductions. It’s time to gather and share them with the public while also creating a much overdue VC&NS work place.

              The VC&NS Board of Governors at their December 1, 2012 meeting launched a fund drive for the purpose of establishing a VC&NS home with space for meetings, workshops, archives, library and museum.  We have begun the work of creating a funding plan, and needs assessment and exploring location possibilities.  Already we are receiving offers from communities that are interested in working with us! If you would like to assist our “Home” committee, please contact Ellen Neal, (434) 263-4745 or Philip deVos, (434) 299-5249.

              All donations to this temporarily restricted fund will be set aside for the express purpose of establishing a VC&NS home and if no home is established by December 1, 2017 (5 years from establishment date) then the VC&NS board of governors reserves the right to reevaluate and possibly reallocate the money towards the VC&NS general fund.

              Donate now to help VC&NS establish our “Home”. VC&NS is a 501 (c) (3) organization. Your donation to this fund is 100% tax deductible.

              Please send donations via usps to: VC&NS, c/o “Home Fund”, PO Box 62, Covesville, VA 22931-0062. Please write “Home Fund” on the for line of your check. You will be mailed a receipt for your tax deductible donation.

              We appreciate your donation via check as that saves us transactions fees that are charged by PayPal. However, if you would like to donate and use your credit card, we accept donations via PayPal. You can use your credit card or PayPal account. Select the “Donate Now” button below. Thank you.

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                Marshall Expedition – Film Showing in Lynchburg a huge success!

                Photos by Doug Berry

                The first public showing of the documentary film about the Marshall expedition was held at “Mason’s Field”, overlooking the James River in sight of Rusen’s Dam on November 10th, 2012.

                Upon arriving around 7:00 for the 7:30 showing, my friend Doug Berry and I walked over towards a huge bonfire that lit up the night sky. I saw batteau friends everwhere. The chili was very good and visiting with many people before the showing was lots of fun. Doug Berry, a photographer from Chester, VA took photos for the night which gave me a break from that for a change.

                The film was shown on a large sheet with a nice projector and sound system. Chairs were lined up before we got there and when the time came the large crowd sat down to watch the film with much anticipation.

                Andrew Shaw introduced the film and you could hear many cheers and whoa’s and laughter from the crowd. Andrew said it was his first time seeing the film. I really enjoyed every minute of the showing.

                Afterwards the crew of the Marshall Expedition stood up in front of the crowd and spoke one by one telling tales and blaming everything that happened on the trip on Isaac. Tales of funny things that happened, favorite foods and all sorts of things were discussed. All of the crew said this was a trip they would remember the rest of their lives.

                People remained and gathered around the fire to keep warm as it was starting to get kind of cold out there after a while. What a fantastic evening spent with good friends.

                Holt Messerly
                VC&NS Trustee/Webmaster/Tiller Editor

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                  Inland Waterways International supports canal in Richmond

                  To all those interested in the future of Richmond’s historic canal:

                  The attached letter is from Mr. D.J. Ballinger, president of the international canal organization Inland Waterways International, containing a resolution of support for the preservation and wise use of the remains of the James River & Kanawha Canal in Richmond. Originally known as the James River Canal, it was the first operating canal system with locks in America. It first opened in 1789 and was completed into the Great Basin in 1800. The canal company elected George Washington as its honorary president and gave him a grand tour in 1791. Today, much of the canal is still intact in Richmond.

                  The resolution was passed at the annual World Canals Conference, held this year in Yangzhou, China, on China’s Grand Canal. For 25 years these conferences have been held annually in America or Europe, and now, for the first time, in the far east. This one was held in conjunction with the Sixth World Canal Cities Expo, which has been held annually in Yangzhou. The Chinese are making the most of their canal heritage. Communities along its length are working together to nominate the Grand Canal as a World Heritage Site, and are using it to create beautiful parks and waterways much beloved by both tourists and those who live there. Efforts like this are going on all over the world.

                  Richmond rightly prides itself as a River Town and has learned much from other river cities. But Richmond is also a Canal City. The technology and philosophy of canal park development is not the same as river park development. We need to work not only with other river cities, but with other canal cities and canal parks to learn how we can put our historic canal to its best use for our city. The sweep of the canal around Oregon Hill is in danger and needs our help.

                  Bill Trout

                  Letter supporting the canal in Richmond, VA from Inland Waterways International.


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                    Posted in Canal in Danger, James River & Kanawha Canal, Richmond, Richmond, Save our Canal!, Virginia | Leave a comment

                    Richmond’s History along the canal also had a narrow gauge railroad.

                    Another aspect of the historical significance of the site of Venture Richmond’s proposed amphitheater is the narrow gauge railroad tracks that are on the towpath of the south bank of the canal.  This railroad track probably connected Tredegar Iron Works with the iron works on Belle Isle.  The stone pillars and one section of trestle for this railroad line still survive in the James River.  Since this the site of the proposed amphitheater was formerly part of the Tredegar Iron Works grounds, it is very likely that these railroad tracks were actually manufactured at Tredegar Iron Works, and they may be among the few surviving tracks made at this foundry.
                    These railroad tracks would have to be the first thing removed if the south bank of the canal were sliced as proposed by Venture Richmond, not only irreparably damaging the historic canal but this authentic Tredegar history as well.
                    Submitted by Charles Pool
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                      Posted in Canal in Danger, James River & Kanawha Canal, Narrow Gauge Railroad, Richmond, Richmond, Save our Canal!, Virginia | Leave a comment