I have tried to find more information about the history of the canals in the black country.
I have a Charles James in my tree who owned barges on the Canals, he came from Tewkesbury originally but moved to walsall sometime between 1856-1865. His sons Samuel and John are shown to be working with him on the 1881 census. They live on Pleck Road in Walsall.
They are still working the canals in 1901.