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Facts

While Shakers preached that marriage was an unnecessary distraction during the final days of human history, Mother Ann Lee's advocacy of celibacy may have been influenced by more personal reasons. The Shaker prophet was married as a teenager to an older man, never enjoyed a happy marriage, and all four of her children died before reaching adulthood.23

Irish immigrants provided much of the backbreaking labor needed to dig the Erie Canal. Called "bogtrotters," they worked 28 days a month for the grand sum of eight dollars. To sustain them as they cut through mosquito invested swamps, workers were given a "tot" of whiskey every two hours. (A tot glass is five ounces.)24

To signal the official opening of the Erie Canal a cannon was fired at Buffalo along the banks of Lake Erie. This blast was heard and then answered by a canon ten miles east on the canal. Another canon picked up and sent the news ten miles further down the line. Through this canon-relay, news traveled more than four hundred miles to New York City in 80 minutes. (Not exactly the speed of sound.)25

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