Abner Lacock



Occupation 1

canal builder

Occupation 2





NA/Mid-Atlantic region


Maritime Republic (1751-1815)








State and national leader and canal builder�

In February 1817 Lacock proposed that the $1.5 million bank bonus be used to finance canals and roads. That same year he supported legislation to grant pensions and land to soldiers and a bill to increase the salaries of government employees� After his departure from the Senate, Lacock played a prominent role in promoting the building of canals in Pennsylvania; he believed that a canal system linking Philadelphia to Pittsburgh would provide competition to Baltimore and New York City for trade in western regions. In April 1825 Lacock was named a commissioner to compile a survey about the construction of canals in Pennsylvania. After this report was completed, he was appointed in 1826 to the state board of canal commissioners. In February 1826 the state legislature allocated funds for the building of the Pennsylvania Canal, and Lacock became the supervisor for the construction of the canal's western division. Under Lacock's guidance the 104-mile Pittsburgh and Johnstown Canal was completed three years later.

On 1 June 1829 Lacock resigned from his position as canal commissioner. In 1831, as a result of his encouragement, the state appropriated funds for the construction of the Ohio, Beaver, and Shenango Canal, taking another important step to link Pittsburgh to Erie.

Transportational developments and politics marked the last years of Lacock's life. Serving as a Whig between 1832 and 1835 in the lower house of the Pennsylvania legislature, Lacock supported bills to fund canals and public schools. He was selected in 1836 as a commissioner to compose a plan for the building of the Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal. After the acceptance of this plan and the allocation of funds for this project in 1836, Lacock that year went to Youngstown, Ohio, to work on the "crosscut canal," which was intended to link the Erie division of the Pennsylvania Canal with the Portsmouth and Ohio Canal. While assisting in the construction of this canal, he became sick from exposure to cold weather and returned to his residence near Freedom, Pennsylvania, where he died.

Related Images

Date: 1880
Date: 1880