Scope and arrangement
The Robert Brooke papers relating to the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, 1796-1845 (bulk 1804-1805), comprise five volumes used by Brooke chiefly during his work on the feeder canal to the proposed main line in 1804 and 1805; papers relating to a survey of private lands near the feeder canal, 1805; and a portfolio of watercolor drawings of aqueducts by the Canal’s engineer Benjamin Henry Latrobe, 1804. Brooke’s employment on other public works is also represented.
Four volumes, consisting of a contract record book, two surveying notebooks, and a surveying record book document Brooke’s work on the Chesapeake and Delaware feeder canal, 1804-1805. They generally contain survey notes, measurements and diagrams; data, computations and billing of contracted work; and the date and location of work done.
The contract record book, 1804 November-1805, marked “Book No. 1,” documents construction work completed by Watson, Pollock, Cochran, Randle & Coxey, and others. Some undated contracts are also mentioned in the 1805 survey record book. Surveying notebooks consist of field notes in pencil for 1805 February-March, and field notes in pen and ink for 1805 February-September, incorporating information from the pencilled volume. The surveying record book, 1805 and 1817, pertains to work on the Chesapeake and Delaware feeder canal, 1805 June-December, formalizing and continuing the usual documentation. It also includes his survey notes for a proposed canal near Newtown (Elmira), New York, with related cash accounts, 1817 October-December.
A fifth volume, an account and record book, was used by Brooke for multiple purposes from 1796 to 1816. This volume, with the heading "Book of Sales No. 2," is the second volume of accounts for the Canal Lottery in Philadelphia, recording tickets sales by Brooke for treasurer William Govett, 1798-1799. The first volume is not present in the collection. Also included is a tabular list of surveys and regulations conducted in Philadelphia by Brooke, William Strickland and others, dated 1806 January-July. Copied legal documents, serving as forms for land transactions, begin from the reverse end of the volume. Their original dates span 1796 to 1816.
In addition to the volumes there are papers documenting the survey of lands belong to John Gilpin and others in the vicinity of the feeder canal, 1805.
The collection notably contains undated technical drawings executed in pencil, pen-and-ink and watercolor by Benjamin Henry Latrobe, depicting aqueducts on the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. Three sheets show the plan, south elevation, and transverse section of the aqueduct over Elk Creek, called the Elk River aqueduct; a fourth sheet contains two drawings, showing the elevation and the transverse section of the aqueduct over Cow Run. Latrobe is known to have made such drawings in the summer of 1804.
Miscellaneous documents, 1796-1845, include a brief letter from William Smith to Brooke regarding canal-related damages in Philadelphia, 1796, with surveying accounts and other items dated 1803-1818. A copied legal form, 1821, and copies of business letters written by Philadelphia surveyor Joseph H. Siddall, 1845, are also present.
A printed broadside addressed to the Stockholders of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal Company, dated 1824, is included in the collection.