Search This Blog

Friday, March 25, 2011



May 4

Rem Gerritsen (Remmersen), son of a pioneer New Amsterdam family, dies at Cape May, New Jersey, at the age of 48.


The approximate date the Reverend John Bartow buys land on the west side of the Hutchinson River in the Bronx, extending to Eastchester Road. For some unrecorded reason he calls the property Scabby Indian.



The Council requires all vessels engaged in the West Indies trade to pass through quarantine, on Staten Island.



By now English-born doctor John Nicolls and his family have moved to Manhattan from Boston (they had been living North America since about 1712) and settled on Hanover Square on Gold Street.

Sep 18

John Nicolls and William Smith recruit the Reverend James Anderson as the first pastor of the currently forming Presbyterian congregation.


The approximate date Deborah Dean, relative-by-cousin's-marriage of future lawyer and coroner of the City of New York John Burnet, is born in Jamaica, Queens, to Samuel and Catherine Denton Dean.


Jul 23

Thomas Grents, clerk of the British ship Victory, petitions New York council president Peter Schuyler on behalf of Spanish priest Andre Saens de Bitare out of Havana, who was captured twice and put ashore penniless by Captain Thomas Jacobs of the Diamond.

Jul 24

Schuyler orders Captain Jacobs to take the priest back aboard and allow him to continue his journey.

Aug 5

Printer William Bradford is born in New York City to William Bradford and Sytje Santvoord Bradford.


A house is built at Broad and Pearl streets for French Huguenot Etienne DeLancey. It will later become the Fraunces Tavern. ** Jacobus Van Cortlandt is appointed mayor; reappointed next year. ** A Presbyterian church is erected in a garden on the north side of Wall Street.


Apr 19

King George I appoints William Burnet as Royal governor of New York, replacing Robert Hunter.


The roof of Manhattan’s Presbyterian meetinghouse on Broadway at Wall Street is completed.

Sep 17

Adolph Philipse, Robert Walters, George Clarke, Caleb Heathcote, Francis Harison and John Barberie petition New York Council president Peter Schuyler, advocating acceptance of requests made by Gilbert Livingston and Thomas Smith, representatives of the First Presbyterian Church, to allow the church more autonomy in choice of ministers and payment of church debts.

Sep 19

New York City Presbyterian minister James Anderson, along with Patrick Macknight, John Nicoll, Joseph Ledell, John Blake and Thomas Ingels, petition New York governor William Burnett and his council for permission to incorporate.


Robert Walters is appointed mayor; reappointed annually to 1725. ** Population 7,000.


May 24

Early New Amsterdam pioneer Mary Gerritsen Remmersen dies in Gravesend, Brooklyn.

May 27

Mary Gerritsen Remmersen is buried in Gravesend Churchyard.


An official document refers to immigrant Dr. John Nicoll, founder of Manhattan's First Presbyterian Church in 1717, as being a burgess of Linlithgow, Scotland.


Feb 22

Willem Willemsen, second-generation New Amsterdam resident, dies in Greenwich Village at about the age of 70.

Feb 26

Willemsen is buried.

Staten Island

Dutch immigrant Cornelius van Santvoord builds a stone cottage on the shore road (later Richmond Terrace).



The population is 7,248; 1,362 of them slaves. ** Governor William Burnet determines that the declination of the magnetic compass measures seven degrees and twenty minutes, a change eastward since 1686 of 83 minutes.


Sep 20

The Reverend Louis Rou, minister of the French Reformed Protestant Church of New York, is arbitrarily dismissed by the church's Consistory.

Sep 24

Sixty of Rou's parishioners (male) publicly protest the action of their fellow members. The names of 25 wives and widows are appended to the petition; ten men abstain from taking sides.


Doctor and First Presbyterian Church founder Dr. John Nicoll, visiting Scotland, his birth place, for six months, issues a request for funds for the church back in the colonies. ** Doctor and First Presbyterian Church founder Dr. John Nicoll, visiting Scotland, his birth place, for six months, issues a request for funds for the church back in the colonies. He receives an honorary M.D. degree from Edinburgh University.

© 2011 David Minor / Eagles Byte

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Before Barnes Met Noble

November 17, 2001

Charles M. Barnes started a small bookstore out of his home in Wheaton, Illinois, in 1873. It would be another 44 years before would go into partnership with G. Clifford Noble, and make publishing history. In that same year of 1873, half a world away, Edward William Cole got the jump on B&N.

It was only 38 years earlier that an Australian settlement named Dootigala was founded on the banks of the Yarra River. It would soon change its name to a more euphonious Melbourne. Squatters had pushed the population up to 11,000 by 1841. After gold was discovered in Australia ten years later the place really took off. The population was well over 100,000 when prospector Cole arrived out of the Murray River goldfields in the 1850s, opening a bookstore in the city's Eastern Market in 1865. But a simple bookstore wasn't enough for E. W. Cole. He opened the first Coles Book Arcade in the city's East Market in 1873 and, six years later, turned to publishing. Like an earlier businessman from across the Pacific pond with the initials of P. T., E. W. thought big. And little. One of the first in either hemisphere to realize the potential of the children's market, he began publishing a series of books. Called Cole's Funny Picture books, they were largely patchwork albums of pictures, puzzles, poems, jokes and stories from a variety of sources (no-one took copyright terribly seriously in those days). Cole was canny enough to realize that moral uplift was important to book-buying Victorian parents. So the funny picture books were shot through with poems warning of dangerous characters like the Vulgar Little Lady, Sluttishness and The Wicked, Rude, Bad, Naughty, Cross, Nasty, Bold, Dirty-faced boy. The volumes proved so popular that new editions would still be published by the Cole family decades after E. W.'s stores closed early in 1929. While these still-cherished volumes were flying off the shelves, E. W. continued to build more shelves.

Today in Melbourne, in the early 21st century, when you finish gawking at the 550-lb giant squid recently acquired by the Melbourne Museum and have a bite to eat at one of the city's fine eateries, you might want to go down to the Bourke Street Mall to do a little shopping. Dodging the 30-ton motor trams scooting by (the locals' motto is share and beware) many shoppers are probably not aware that here once stood the first bookselling superstore.

On November 4th of 1883 crowds of horse race fans headed to the west side of the city for the running of the Melbourne Cup. Other equally large crowds headed downtown. Undaunted by the day's competition, E. W. Cole was going all out, and the police had to come in to keep order. Sensory overload ruled that day. The early summer sunlight that flowed down through the glass skylight stretching the length of the store, three floors above, past the indoor balconies around the upper stories. The smell of furniture polish and brass polish overwhelming the competing smell of potted plants. The tootling, thumping, tooting brass band on the first balcony where the second hand books were sold. And the feel of books in the hand. Three stories of floor to ceiling books. Bentwood chairs for the customer's comfort as they sampled the thousands of pages of books. Readers, it doesn't get any better than this! Just lacked a Starbucks.

Script 243

© 2001 David Minor / Eagles Byte