A Brief History of the Great Dismal Swamp

References 
(1) Trout, W. E. II.  2000.  ed.  The Great Dismal Swamp Atlas.  
	Published by the Virginia Canals and Navigations Society.
(2) Rose, Robert K.  2000.  ed.  The Natural History of the Great Dismal Swamp.  
	Izaak Walton.  League of America, Inc.  Suffolk-Nansemond Chapter.
(3) Kirk, Paul W. Jr.  1979.  ed.  The Great Dismal Swamp.  
	University Press of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va. 
- Lake Drummond = 2.3 mi (E-W) and 2.7 mi (N-S) (3)- 3000 acres avg 6' deep (1) 
- 51 major ditches = 196 miles (38 ditches, 134 miles in Va; 17 ditches, 62 miles in N.C.  (1)
- Adventurers for Draining the Great Dismal Swamp (GDS) known as the Dismal Swamp Land Co.(1) 
- George Washington 1st manager
The Ditches
Dismal Swamp Canal - 1783 - 1805 - 22 miles (1)
- to connect Deep Creek from Southern Branch of Elizabeth River to Pasquotank River to Currituck 
	Sound (Intercoastal Waterway - also see Chesapeake & Albemarle Canal)
- opened to commercial craft 1829, but, railroads soon took most of the business (3)
- originally with 9 locks, however, 1941 reduced to only 2 locks at Deep Creek & South Mills
Washington Ditch - 1760's - 5 miles (1) 
- by Adventurers for Draining the Great Dismal Swamp (GDS) later known as
	the Dismal Swamp Land Co.  (probably dissolved after Civil War)
- 1st major canal of swamp - to remove timber/shingles
- Dismal Town - was located at the car park
- possibly surveyed by George Washington between 1763 - 1768
Jericho Ditch - 1810 by Dismal Swamp Land Co.  (1)
- 9 miles, 12' wide, 4' deep - from Jericho Town to Lake Drummond
- Jericho Mill = saw wood & grind corn - Jericho Ditch to Shingle Crk to Nansemond R. to Norfolk 
- to remove timber/shingles and bring in tourists
- ditch crossed Washington St. near Cemetary across from JFK Middle School
- Gondolas - 8' x 60' towed or pushed by men
Gilmerton Cut - 4.25 miles - 1843 - abandoned in 1899 (1) 
- to by-pass Deep Creek - locks still there, only stone locks in swamp
Portsmouth Ditch - 1890's (1) 
- by Lake Drummond Canal Water Co for drinking water to Portsmouth/Norfolk, however water was 
	legally to be used for navigation only - abandoned - cost approx $90,000
Feeder Ditch - 1812 (1) 
- 3.5 miles - from Dismal Swamp Canal to Lake Drummond to supply water to canal
Riddick Ditch - 1816 - south of Lake Drummond (1) 
Cross Canal (Hamburg Ditch or White Oak Marsh Canal)- 1822 - 11 miles(1)
- GW may have planned on having Germans work on this canal, thus Hamburg Ditch
- from Daniels Rd to Dismal Swamp Canal - to connect Gates county & DSC 
Turner's Cut - 1860 - 3.5 miles(1)
- to extend DSC south around the winding portion of the Pasquotank River (Moccasin Track)
Other Canals (1)
- Gordons (aka Ebb) Canal -  1856 - never finished - intended to connect Elizabeth R. & Little Crk 
- Long Creek -  miles - 1949 to connect Lynnhaven Bay w/ Broad Bay
- Kempsville Canal - 1840's, never finished -	to run gun boats
- London Bridge Creek-West Neck Creek Canal-1930's - flood control-canoe trail - VB Scenic Waterway 
- Northwest Canal - 1830 - 7 miles - abandoned in 1860's - DSC to N. W. River 
- Albamorle & Chesapeake Canal - 1859 
	- Va. cut: Great Bridge - S. Brnch of Elizabeth R. to North Landing River - to Currituck Sound
		- Intercoastal waterway (See also Dismal Swamp Canal)
	- N. C. cut: at Coinjock

Copyright © 2003 Michael H. Mitchell All Rights Reserved