Great Bend, [PA]: June 8, 1825. Autograph letter in ink addressed to P[utnam] Catlin, Esq. Folio, 2 pp., approximately 350 words. Tear at middle fold, no loss. McKinney says he has heard of the appointment of a committee by the Pennsylvania legislature to "...view the Susquehanna from Harrisburg, to the York line. And report the practicability of a slackwater navigation to said line; and also, the state of New York...have authorized the survey of two routes from Utica for a canal, to connect the waters of the Grand Erie Canal with the Susquehanna at Chenango Point... for the purpose of getting the Pennsylvania...coal to Utica..." This letter gives a long description of the proposed route of these new waterways and considers that they are "of very easy digging and very few locks...." McKinney advocates for the "one great and important opening... already prepared by nature to put in execution the great object, viz. in a route from the Susquehanna river at Great Bend, a distance of 16 miles from Chenango Point...."
The Erie Canal's section of Utica to Salina was completed in 1820 and various additional sections including connections in Pennsylvania were completed in the 1830s. Item #63733
John McKinney (1791-1856) moved to Great Bend, Pennsylvania sometime around 1820. According to R. Stocker's "Centennial HIstory of Susquehanna, Pennsylvania," [Phila.: 1887], McKinney was living in a house on Main Street just south of Minna DuBois' hotel in 1821. He became a leading merchant in the town, and operated a saw mill and store there. Putnam Catlin (1764-1842), a lawyer and father of the painter George Catlin, lived nearby.
Interesting letter filled with the descriptions of planned routes in the early development of the grand canal systems.