Research


New York State Department of Audit and Control Canal Damage Awards by Canal Appraisers, Board of Claims, and Court of Claims

Held by the New York State Archives


Overview of the Records

Repository:

New York State Archives

New York State Education Department

Cultural Education Center

Albany, NY 12230

Summary:
This series consists of certified copies of awards by the Canal Appraisers (through 1883) and by the Board of Claims (1883-1897), and of judgments by the Court of Claims (1897-1953). These awards were made for damages to lands adjacent to state canals. Many such damages were sustained by private persons when their lands were appropriated temporarily or permanently for repairs or enlargement of the Erie Canal, for the so-called $9,000,000 improvement at the turn of the century, and for construction of the Barge Canal system.
Creator:
Title:
Quantity:
49.2 cubic feet
Inclusive Dates:
1835-1953
Series Number:
B0602

Arrangement

Numerical by claim number and chronological by year.

Administrative History

Appraisal of damages was first carried out by a Canal Commissioner and two canal appraisers pursuant to Laws of 1817, Chapter 262; the Revised Statutes of 1829, Part I, Chapter 9, Title 9, Article 3; and Laws of 1836, Chapter 287. The Canal Appraisers began making annual reports in 1849 according to Laws of 1849, Chapter 352. The permanent Board of Appraisers was established by Laws of 1857, Chapter 538, and its procedure clarified by Laws of 1870, Chapter 321. The Board of Canal Appraisers continued until it was replaced by the Board of Claims, set up by Laws of 1883, Chap. 205.

The Board of Claims was abolished and succeeded by the Court of Claims according to Laws of 1897, Chapter 36. Though called a court, the Court of Claims was really a quasi-judicial auditing board. In 1911 (Chapter 856) the Court of Claims was renamed the Board of Claims. Over the next ten years it was known as a board, a court, or a bureau, but its functions remained the same. The Court of Claims was officially reestablished by Laws of 1922, Chapter 922, and continued by Laws of 1939, Chapter 860.

Appeals from awards of damages were taken to the Canal Board pursuant to Laws of 1829, Chapter 368, and Laws of 1868, Chapter 579. the Revised Statutes of 1829, Part 1, Chapter 9, Article 3, Section 55, Chapter 9, Title 9, Article 3, Section 55, also permitted appeals from awards of the Canal Appraisers directly to the Supreme Court. Laws of 1840, Chapter 288, permitted Canal Appraisers' awards in certain water rights cases to be reviewed by the Supreme Court in an action brought by the Attorney General at the request of the Canal Commissioners or the Commissioners of the Canal Fund. Appeals from the Court of Claims are taken to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court.

All damage claims and supporting documentation filed with the Canal Appraisers, the Board of Claims, and the Court of Claims prior to 1911, along with the original awards, are believed to have been destroyed in the Capitol fire. Copies of damage awards for appropriated lands were recorded by the clerks of the counties where the land lay, pursuant to the Revised Statutes of 1829, Part I, Chapter 9, Article 3, Section 51, as amended and readopted in later statutes.

Scope and Content Note

This series consists of certified copies of awards by the Canal Appraisers (through 1883) and the Board of Claims (1883-1897), and of judgments of the Court of Claims (1897-1953).

These awards were made for damages to lands adjacent to state canals. Many of these damages were sustained by private persons when their lands were appropriated temporarily or permanently for repairs or enlargement of the Erie Canal, for the so-called $9,000,000 improvement at the turn of the century, and for construction of the Barge Canal system, including terminals. There are also awards for flood damages to private property and some for back wages owed to canal employees, the latter dating from the late nineteenth century.

Files before 1849 generally consist of only the claimant's receipt to the Canal Commissioners acknowledging payment for land appropriated for the Erie Canal Enlargement or for other damages to lands. The receipt states the town where the damaged property was situated but does not describe the property in detail. On the back of the receipt is the signed certificate of one of the Canal Commissioners that the land has been occupied and appropriated temporarily or permanently for enlargement or repair of the Erie or one of the branch canals. Occasionally a power of attorney or an assignment of claim accompanies the receipt. When the claimant was deceased, there are copies of his will, the proof of will, and other documents identifying his heirs. A few files include abstracts of title and maps. After 1849, the filed documents include a certified copy of the award of the Canal Appraisers.

After the Board of Claims took over the judicial functions of the Board of Canal Appraisers in 1883, the typical file contains a certified copy of the award (including a finding of facts), the claimant's receipt for money paid to him by the Superintendent of Public Works, the Attorney General's certificate that no court appeal will be taken, and the county treasurer's certificate that the damaged parcel has no tax lien against it. Some of the awards were made for back wages owed to canal employees. Other documents found occasionally are abstracts of title, copies of documents relating to a deceased claimant's estate, and the record and brief filed in a case appealed to the General Term of the Supreme Court.

The files after 1897 contain certified copies of the judgment of the new Court of Claims, releases of further claims against the state, and assignments of judgments to banks for collection, as well as the same documents as those filed with the predecesor Board of Claims.

The filed documents for the Erie and Barge Canals are numbered sequentially by date of award, from 1 to 12945. There are separate numbering sequences for the Champlain, Oswego, Black River, and Chenango canals. Many files are missing, and there are none present for the other branch canals.

B0602-06: This accretion consists of one volume (1917-1948) listing claims by private citizens or businesses who suffered damages in the creation of the Erie, Champlain, Oswego, Cayuga and Seneca, and Black River Canals. The volume is divided into five sections: Erie, Champlain, Oswego, Cayuga and Seneca, and Black River Canals with an index in the front of the book. Each section lists the claim number, name of person or company, cost of damages, canal name, and date.

Use of Records

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions regarding access to or use of this material.

Related Information

Related Materials

Series A1140 Petitions and Appeals to the Canal Board, 1828-1926, contains records of appeals from damage claim awards

Series B1965 Index to Canal Damage Awards by Canal Appraisers, Board of Claims, and Court of Claims, is a partial index to Series B0602.

Related Publications

Allen, S.P., comp. Digest of Claims and the Action Thereon by the Legislature and the Canal Board, Together with Awards Made by the Board of Canal Appraisers (Albany: 1858): This work covers the years 1818-1858; two supplements cover the years 1860-1865 and 1866-1870.; Hasse, Adelaide R., comp., Index of Economic Material in Documents of the States of the United States: New York, 1789-1904 (Washington: 1907): This work lists the published documents listing awards for canal claims and the annual reports of the Canal Appraisers, Board of Claims, and Court of Claims.

Processing Information

B0602-06: These records were transferred to the State Archives sometime in 1985 but became estranged from the original accession for some unknown reason until they were identified and accessioned as part of the 11th floor renovation project.

Access Terms

Corporate Name(s):
Geographic Name(s):
Subject(s):
Genre(s):
Function(s):

Detailed Description

Dates Contents Box Folder

Accretion: B0602-85
1835-1839 Erie Canal 1-199 1 1
1839-1842 Erie Canal 200-600 1 2
1842-1845 Erie Canal 601-1126 1 3
1845-1849 Erie Canal 1127-1509 1 4
1849-1853 Erie Canal 1510-2000 1 5
1853-1855 Erie Canal 2001-2168 1 6
1856 Erie Canal 2169-2323 2 1
1856-1857 Erie Canal 2324-2396 2 2
1857-1858 Erie Canal 2397-2487 2 3
1858-1859 Erie Canal 2488-2553 2 4
1859-1861 Erie Canal 2554-2620 2 5
1859-1862 Erie Canal 2621-2697 2 6
1862 Erie Canal 2698-2786 3 1
1862 Erie Canal 2787-2888 3 2
1862 Erie Canal 2889-3002 3 3
1862 Erie Canal 3003-3091 3 4
1862 Erie Canal 3092-3170 3 5
1862-1863 Erie Canal 3171-3244 3 6
1863 Erie Canal 3245-3313 4 1
1864 Erie Canal 3314-3390 4 2
Erie Canal 3391-3453 missing 4
1864 Erie Canal 3454-3542 4 3
1864 Erie Canal 3543-3631 4 4
1864-1865 Erie Canal 3632-3704 4 5
1865 Erie Canal 3705-3782 5 1
1865 Erie Canal 3783-3854 5 2
1865-1866 Erie Canal 3855-3925 5 3
1866 Erie Canal 3926-3999 5 4
Erie Canal 4000-4073 missing 5
1868 Erie Canal 4074-4138 5 5
1868 Erie Canal 4139-4207 6 1
1868-1870 Erie Canal 4208-4250 6 2
1870 Erie Canal 4251-4303 6 3
1870 Erie Canal 4304-4363 6 4
1870-1871 Erie Canal 4364-4429 6 5
1871 Erie Canal 4421-4510 6 6
Erie Canal 4511-4593 missing 7
Erie Canal 4594-4800 missing 7
Erie Canal 4801-4896 missing 7
1884-1885 Erie Canal 4897-4963 7 1
1885-1886 Erie Canal 4964-4988 7 2
1886-1888 Erie Canal 4989-5013 7 3
1888-1889 Erie Canal 5014-5045 8 1
1889 Erie Canal 5046-5078 8 2
1889-1890 Erie Canal 5079-5104 8 3
1890 Erie Canal 5105-5145 8 4
1890-1891 Erie Canal 5146-5184 8 5
1891-1892 Erie Canal 5185-5213 8 6
1892 Erie Canal 5214-5239 9 1
1893-1894 Erie Canal 5240-5280 9 2
1894 Erie Canal 5281-5322 9 3
1894 Erie Canal 5323-5367 9 4
1895-1896 Erie Canal 5368-5403 9 5
1896-1897 Erie Canal 5404-5440 9 6
1897 Erie Canal 5441-5480 10 1
1897 Erie Canal 5481-5518 10 2
1897-1898 Erie Canal 5519-5549 10 3
1898 Erie Canal 5550-5592 10 4
1898 Erie Canal 5593-5632 10 5
1898 Erie Canal 5633-5687 10 6
1898 Erie Canal 5688-5739 11 1
1899 Erie Canal 5740-5764 11 2
1900 Erie Canal 5765-5786 11 3
1900 Erie Canal 5787-5812 11 4
1900 Erie Canal 5813-5850 11 5
1900 Erie Canal 5851-5884 11 6
1900 Erie Canal 5885-5904 12 1
1900 Erie Canal 5905-5936 12 2
1900 Erie Canal 5937-5960 12 3
1900 Erie Canal 5961-5978 12 4
Erie Canal 5979-6177 see Boxes 47,48 12
1901 Erie Canal 6178-6215 13 1
1901 Erie Canal 6216-6253 13 2
1901 Erie Canal 6254-6282 13 3
1901 Erie Canal 6283-6299 13 4
1901 Erie Canal 6300-6308 13 5
1901-1902 Erie Canal 6309-6320 13 6
1902 Erie Canal 6321-6350 14 1
1902 Erie Canal 6351-6390 14 2
1902 Erie Canal 6391-6422 14 3
1902 Erie Canal 6423-6461 14 4
1902 Erie Canal 6462-6490 14 5
1902 Erie Canal 6491-6518 14 6
1902 Erie Canal 6519-6548 15 1
1902-1903 Erie Canal 6549-6568 15 2
1903 Erie Canal 6569-6586 15 3
1903 Erie Canal 6587-6605 15 4
1903 Erie Canal 6606-6630 15 5
1903 Erie Canal 6631-6652 15 6
1903 Erie Canal 6653-6670 16 1
1903 Erie Canal 6671-6688 16 2
1903 Erie Canal 6689-6706 16 3
1903 Erie Canal 6707-6739 16 4
1903 Erie Canal 6740-6767 16 5
1903 Erie Canal 6768-6779 16 6
1903 Erie Canal 6780-6797 17 1
1903-1904 Erie Canal 6798-6805 17 2
1904 Erie Canal 6806-6828 17 3
1904 Erie Canal 6829-6848 17 4
1904 Erie Canal 6849-6856 17 5
1904 Erie Canal 6857-6878 17 6
1904 Erie Canal 6879-6906 18 1
1904 Erie Canal 6907-6929 18 2
1904 Erie Canal 6930-6961 18 3
1905 Erie Canal 6962-6972 18 4
1905 Erie Canal 6973-6977 18 5
1905 Erie Canal 6978-6984 18 6
1905 Erie Canal 6985-7010 19 1
1905 Erie Canal 7011-7043 19 2
1905 Erie Canal 7044-7075 19 3
1905 Erie Canal 7076-7107 19 4
1905 Erie Canal 7108-7137 19 5
1905-1906 Erie Canal 7138-7141 19 6
1906 Erie Canal 7142-7160 20 1
1906 Erie Canal 7161-7186 20 2
1906 Erie Canal 7187-7211 20 3
1906 Erie Canal 7212-7234 20 4
1906 Erie Canal 7235-7258 20 5
1906 Erie Canal 7259-7269 20 6
1906-1907 Erie Canal 7270-7290 21 1
1907 Erie Canal 7291-7318 21 2
1907 Erie Canal 7319-7348 21 3
1907 Erie Canal 7349-7377 21 4
1907 Erie Canal 7378-7410 21 5
1907 Erie Canal 7411-7441 21 6
1907 Erie Canal 7442-7473 22 1
1907 Erie Canal 7474-7504 22 2
1907 Erie Canal 7505-7536 22 3
1907 Erie Canal 7537-7566 22 4
1907-1908 Erie Canal 7567-7597 22 5
1908 Erie Canal 7598-7618 22 6
1908 Erie Canal 7619-7640 23 1
1908 Erie Canal 7641-7669 23 2
1908 Erie Canal 7670-7692 23 3
1908 Erie Canal 7693-7711 23 4
1908 Erie Canal 7712-7734 23 5
1908 Erie Canal 7735-7758 23 6
1908 Erie Canal 7759-7782 24 1
1908 Erie Canal 7783-7808 24 2
1909 Erie Canal 7809-7839 24 3
1909 Erie Canal 7840-7869 24 4
1909 Erie Canal 7870-7895 24 5
1909 Erie Canal 7896-7926 24 6
Erie Canal 7927-8342 see Boxes 48,49 25
1912 Erie Canal 8343-8366 25 1
1912 Erie Canal 8367-8447 25 2
Erie Canal 8448-8668 missing 25
1913 Erie Canal 8669-8699 25 3
1913 Erie Canal 8700-8729 25 4
1913 Erie Canal 8730-8750 25 5
1913 Erie Canal 8751-8775 25 6
1913 Erie Canal 8776-8803 26 1
Erie Canal 8804-9012 missing in 1934 26
1914 Erie Canal 9013-9040 26 2
1914 Erie Canal 9041-9070 26 3
1914 Erie Canal 9071-9100 26 4
1915 Erie Canal 9101-9129 26 5
Erie Canal 9130-9137 missing in 1934 26
1915 Erie Canal 9138-9177 26 6
1915-1916 Erie Canal 9178-9441 27 1
Erie Canal 9442-9449 missing in 1934 27
1916 Erie Canal 9450-9598 (sic) 27 2
1916 Erie Canal 9391-9406 (sic) 27 3
1916 Erie Canal 9475-9494 (sic) 27 4
1916 Erie Canal 9599-9803 (sic) 27 5
1917 Erie Canal 9808-9922 27 6
1917-1918 Erie Canal 9923-10039 28 1
1918 Erie Canal 10040-10164 28 2
Erie Canal 10165-10183 missing in 1934 28
Erie Canal 10184-10227 28 3
Erie Canal 10228-10232 missing in 1934 28
1918 Erie Canal 10233-10277* 28 4
1918 Erie Canal 10278-10326* 28 5
Erie Canal 10327-10376* 28 6
*numbers not listed found in Barge Canal claims file (location of this file unknown) 28
1918 Erie Canal 10386-10443* 29 1
1918-1919 Erie Canal 10444-10598* 29 2
1919-1920 Erie Canal 10602-10933* 29 3
1920-1921 Erie Canal 10952-11054 29 4
1922 Erie Canal 11068-11169* 29 5
1924 Erie Canal 11175-11354* 29 6
*numbers not listed found in Barge Canal claims file (location of this file unknown) 29
1924 Erie Canal 11356-11465* 30 1
1924-1925 Erie Canal 11466-11486* 30 2
*numbers not listed found in Barge Canal claims file (location of this file unknown) 30
"Old Series" Erie Canal 1-78 30 3
"Old Series" Erie and Champlain Canals 1-124 30 4
Champlain Canal 1-127 missing; years 1847-1865 31
1866- Champlain Canal 128-187 31 1
1881- Champlain Canal 188-368 31 2
1886- Champlain Canal 369-419 31 3
1888- Champlain Canal 420-444 31 4
1888-1890 Champlain Canal 445-469 31 5
1890- Champlain Canal 470-492 32 1
1892- Champlain Canal 493-514 32 2
1892-1893 Champlain Canal 515-552 32 3
1893 Champlain Canal 553-574 32 4
1893 Champlain Canal 575-598 32 5
1893-1896 Champlain Canal 599-631 32 6
1896 Champlain Canal 632-667 33 1
1897-1898 Champlain Canal 668-714 33 2
1898-1900 Champlain Canal 715-741 33 3
1901 Champlain Canal 742-756 33 4
1901-1902 Champlain Canal 757-771 33 5
1902 Champlain Canal 772-795 33 6
1902-1903 Champlain Canal 796-812 34 1
1903 Champlain Canal 813-841 34 2
1903-1904 Champlain Canal 842-868 34 3
1904 Champlain Canal 869-895 34 4
1904-1905 Champlain Canal 896-926 34 5
1905-1906 Champlain Canal 927-950 34 6
1907 Champlain Canal 951-981 35 1
1907 Champlain Canal 982-1010 35 2
1907-1908 Champlain Canal 1011-1033 35 3
1908-1910 Champlain Canal 1034-1097 35 4
1910-1912 Champlain Canal 1098-1157 35 5
Champlain Canal 1158-1291 missing in 1934 35
1913-1914 Champlain Canal 1292-1330 35 6
36
1915-1918 Champlain Canal 1331-1425 36 1
Oswego Canal 1-137 missing; years 1830-1864 36
1865-1868 (sic) Oswego Canal 138-197 36 2
1866-1885 Oswego Canal 198-252 36 3
1886-1894 Oswego Canal 253-272 36 4
1894 Oswego Canal 273-320 36 5
1894 Oswego Canal 321-360 36 6
1894-1896 Oswego Canal 361-400 37 1
1896-1901 Oswego Canal 401-430 37 2
1901-1902 Oswego Canal 431-457 37 3
1903-1904 Oswego Canal 458-484 37 4
1904 Oswego Canal 485-516 37 5
1904-1906 Oswego Canal 517-539 37 6
1906 Oswego Canal 540-564 38 1
1906 Oswego Canal 565-587 38 2
1906-1907 Oswego Canal 588-615 38 3
1907-1909 Oswego Canal 616-644 38 4
1909 Oswego Canal 645-703 38 5
1915-1916 Oswego Canal 704-752 38 6
1840-1861 Black River Canal 1-241 39 1
Black River Canal 242-772 missing 39
1910-1920 Black River Canal 773-801* 39 2
*numbers not listed found in Barge Canal claims file (location of this file unknown) 39
1870-1872 Chenango Canal 1-47 (on box label, nos. 384-434) 39 3
1929-1931 Barge Canal 12014-12198 40
1935-1942 Barge Canal 12297-12525 41
1942-1944 Barge Canal 12526-12666 42
1944-1951 Barge Canal 12667-12796 43
1951 Barge Canal 12797-12854 44
1951 Barge Canal 12855-12904 45
1951-1953 Barge Canal 12905-12945; Unnumbered 1953 46

  

Dates Contents Box Folder
1951-1953 Barge Canal 12905-12945 46 1
1953 Barge Canal unnumbered 46 2
1900 Erie Canal 5979-6002 47 1
Erie Canal 6003-6028 47 2
1900-1901 Erie Canal 6029-6052 47 3
Erie Canal 6053-6062 47 4
Erie Canal 6063-6081 47 5
Erie Canal 6082-6106 47 6
1901 Erie Canal 6107-6134 48 1
Erie Canal 6135-6456 48 2
Erie Canal 6457-6177 48 3
1910 Erie Canal 7927-7958 48 4
Erie Canal 7959-7986 48 5
Erie Canal 7987-8012 48 6
1910 Erie Canal 8012-1/2-8038 49 1
Erie Canal 8039-8065 49 2
Erie Canal 8066-8093 49 3
Erie Canal 8094-8122 49 4
Erie Canal 8123-8200 were noted as missing when the records were inventoried in 1934. 49
1911 Erie Canal 8201-8256 49 5
Erie Canal 8265-8342 49 6