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LIGHTERMAN. The owner or manager of a lighter. A lighterman is considered as a common Carrier. See Lighters.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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(107) Another asked for a grant of tracts to give to "labourers on the Wharfs of the Thames." (108) RTS accounts regularly mentioned distributors who dispersed tracts "on the river," "on the Thames," "on both sides of the Thames," to lightermen, and to keelmen on the River Tyne.
That the project was about social mobilization can be seen in how the PAP was not just content to clean up the river's chemical pollution but also remove the Chinese lightermen whose lives had historically been bound up with it.
I believe it was something to do with the Thames lightermen.