Erie Canal Champion: DeWitt Clinton 1967 5c Stamp – First Day Cover #1325
|August 3, 2012||Posted by Lars under 1960s, Masonic, U.S. History|
Erie Canal’s Rollercoaster Ride of Development Featured in 1967 First Day Cover with Edsel Cachet
Building the Erie Canal–devised to connect the U.S. East Coast with the Midwest–was anything but clear sailing. The popularity of this eight-year project rose and fell along with the political fortunes of its chief proponent: DeWitt Clinton (1769-1828), Freemason and U.S. Senator, three-term New York City Mayor, NY Governor, and U.S. Presidential candidate (narrowly defeated by James Madison). Clinton is featured this First Day Cover cachet by Edsel.
Considered an impossible task, it had been a dream of early settlers to connect the Hudson River to Lake Erie through virtually impassible overland routes. Clinton nevertheless pushed for building the canal, basing his proposal on shared state and federal funding and relying on engineers trained in Holland and England. But it was mostly his vision and skills of pursuation that saw it through.
Detractors continued throughout the Erie Canal project, refering to it as “Clinton’s Ditch,”among other things. He was eventually voted out as NY Govenor and removed from the Canal Board. Clinton then rode the wave of growing enthusiasm as the project neared completion and was re-elected.
As a Mason, Clinton served as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New York. The New York Grand Lodge now honors Clinton’s legacy with its *DeWitt Clinton Award[LINK]*, which is given to non-Masons or non-Masonic organizations that have demonstrated exceptional voluntary service to their community. This was based also on Clinton’s civic leadership, having improved the New York public school system, promoted steam navigation, and championed reforming criminal and debtor laws.