Here is an short early story of an empowered woman, Mrs. Mary Funk, who was a locktender on the Canal.
The Funks moved in 1897 to Lock 12, just west of Ottawa near Buffalo Rock, where George served as locktender. The year after, in February, George died, leaving his wife, Mary, to care for their 13 year old boy. She applied and received her husband’s position, receiving his salary of $35 a month with the locktender’s house and some land. She worked the lock until 1911, hiring a man to help for $5 a month plus board. She was a “jovial and merry hearted soul.”