Canal Boat to Freedom

Canalboat To Freedom is an award winning, illustrated, 215 page historical novel about a young emigrant boy named Benja, who becomes a mule driver for a cruel canalboat captain on the D&H Canal. Benja develops a special friendship with a former slave who also works on the canalboat, secretly using the boat as part of the Underground Railroad to smuggle escaped slaves from the South.

Canalboat to Freedom by Thomas Fall
Canalboat to Freedom
by Thomas Fall

While the story is fictional, the author Thomas Fall, did extensive historical research on the D&H Canal. He accurately describes the canal and many places along the canal which actually existed, including Port Jervis and Cuddebackville.

Much of the story takes place in Cuddebackville and at Lock 51, also known as “The Pie Lock”.

Copies of Canalboat To Freedom are available through the Neversink Valley Area Museum for $5.95 each. Call us at 845 754-8870. or Click Here for an easy-to-use order form for all of our local history and children’s books!



The Fourth Grade Interdisciplinary Learning Guide:

Introducing an easy to use Fourth Grade Interdisciplinary Learning Guide based on the D&H Canal and the book Canalboat To Freedom. It includes over 100 ready-to-photocopy activities for students!.

  • Complete fourth grade lesson plans for each of the twenty-six chapters in Canalboat To Freedom, including lessons on vocabulary, local history, the D&H Canal, nature studies, the Underground Railroad, map reading and more!
  • Dozens of additional activities, maps, short histories of the Underground Railroad and canal and sources for additional information.
  • All vocabulary, reading comprehension, chapter activities and supplementary reading material ready to photo copy for students.
  • Complete instructions and answer keys for all questions.

The cost of the 60 page in school learning guide is $15.95, or FREE when 12 or more copies of the book Canalboat To Freedom are purchased for your students.

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