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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Full Steam Ahead (once again)

NOTE: The following is a continuation of a series of New York City and State essays last published in the print edition of the Crooked Lake Review in 2006. You can find the earlier essays on that site

Partway down the left side of the opening screen you’ll see the link

“Author Index”

click on my name and you’ll find the essays listed for previous years.

I’ll resume putting this series out here around once a month. When the focus changes to the part of the state west of Syracuse I’ll switch them over to the Crooked Lake Review blog.

Script No, 456

Full Steam Ahead

“The situation is most convenient, in a charming spot in the country, with the finest walks conceivable at our door, and it is in our power at any time to be in the heart of New York in twenty minutes.”

James Stuart and his wife, our Scots travelers, in mid-December of 1829, had moved from their boarding house in New Rochelle, New York; as it was closing for the winter. While they made their plans for upcoming travels they had settled temporarily in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Their boarding house is run by a Mr. and Mrs. Van Boskerck, a couple in their sixties, who live there with their two maiden daughters, who actually manage the business. Only one other boarder is in residence at the time. Leaving the operations to his daughters, Mr. Van Boskerck makes several trips a week over to Manhattan to drum up trade. Stuart will be paying a number of visits to the city as well. They most likely made their commutes on a steam ferry owned by elderly inventor and Revolutionary War veteran Colonel John Stevens, rather than aboard a rival vessel belonging to young Staten Island native Cornelius Vanderbilt. At the close of the revolution Stevens bought extensive land along three miles of lower Hudson River property confiscated from the estate of Loyalist William Bayard. Over the past ten years he’s begun making improvements to the property. The stretch of marshy New Jersey land had cost Stevens today’s equivalent of $90,000 (which will buy you almost a fifth of a condominium there today) and he’d chosen to name the site Hoboken, after the Dutch name Hoebuck, or High Bluff. Today it’s the site of the Stevens Institute of Technology.

It was at one end of this property that the Van Boskerck house stood, so his loyalties would have been to his neighbor’s fleet of steam vessels. In addition to four steamboats making runs between New York and Albany, Stevens and his four sons operate a number of other boats between here and Manhattan and to Philadelphia, as well as stage coaches across much of New Jersey. In the upcoming year Vanderbilt will become an increasingly large thorn in the sides of the five Stevenses, decreasing his fares to the point of unprofitability, eventually forcing them to buy him out at a cost of $100,000 plus ten annual payments of $5,000. The Commodore didn’t mess around.

Both Stuart and Van Boskerck had an easy commute. An eight minute walk to the Stevens dock down by the water, where the family manufactured their own vessels, and a ten-minute crossing in one of the four ferries, all of which can accommodate entire stagecoaches, which the passengers needn’t get out of. You have your choice of two landing sites, the foots of Barclay and Canal streets. All of this for a whopping sixpence sterling (only threepence during the summer months).

The Stevens family has other sources of income besides their basic transportation business. Spaces on the boats are rented out to concessionaires, who sell, “liquor, fruit, confectionaries, &c.” They also lease out their own hotel here on the New Jersey side. They charge pedestrians nothing for the privilege of strolling along public walks they laid out along the river. They do all right what with all those three- and sixpence fares to get there, thank you.

© 2006 David Minor / Eagles Byte

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Oct 16
William Bradford, a printer who set up shop in Manhattan's Hanover Square in 1693, begins publishing The New York Gazette, the city's first newspaper.
Johannes Jansen is appointed mayor. ** A race course opens on the Church Farm adjacent to Trinity Chapel.

Former New York Gazette apprentice John Peter Zenger sets up his own printing firm. ** Robert Lurting is appointed mayor; serves into 1735. ** First Presbyterian Church minister James Anderson leaves New York as a result of a feud with Doctor John Nicolls.
George II appoints New York colonial governor William Burnett as governor of New England. Burnet leaves New York, moves to Boston.

Jun 25
Historian and future Chief Justice of the Province of New York William Smith is born in New York City to lawyer William Smith and his wife Mary.
Jul 7
William Smith is baptized at New York's First and Second Presbyterian Church.
Aug 13
Augustus Van Cortland, son of Frderick and Francyntje Jay Cortland, is baptized in New York City.
The Middle Dutch Church purchases property on Nassau Street for £575. ** The city's Jews purchase property on Mill Street (South William) to build a synagogue.

Firefighters purchase the fire engine “Old Deluge” from a London firm. ** Portuguese immigrant Louis Gomez donates land on Chatham Square for a Jewish burial ground. Noe Willey of London gives property in New York, bounded by Chatham, Oliver, Henry and Catherine streets, to his three sons, merchants, to be used as a Jewish burying ground, enabling Beth Haim, the Jewish cemetary near Chatham Square, to be enlarged. ** An outbreak of measles kills some of the city's children. ** Stages begin running between New York City and Philadelphia on a fortnightly basis. ** Proposal are put forth for a foot post between New York and Albany. ** The city’s first synagogue, Shearith Israel, is built.
Abraham Lent erects additions to the ca. 1656 house in the future Jackson Heights
neighborhood, built by ancestor Abraham Rycken Van Lent.

Nov 24
The Willey brothers establish a trust fund for the maintenance of the Jewish cemetery on land given them last year by their father.
Dec 5
211 vessels have entered New York harbor and 222 have departed in the year since Dec 1, 1729.
The state grants the city jurisdiction over underwater land as far out from land as 400 feet, on the Hudson River between Charlton and Washington streets and Marketfield Street, and over such land on the East River between Whitehall and Houston streets. Total acreage covered is 209.5 acres. ** Former Lieutenant Governor Etienne De Lancey builds a mansion just to the north of Trinity Churchyard. ** The Mill Street Synagoue is built. ** The population reaches 8,622. Among Jewish immigrants to the city Ashkenazim slightly outnumber Sephardim. ** French Huguenout Robert Prince establishes Prince’s Linnaean Botanic Garden and Old American Nursery, in Flushing, Queens. It will be the preeminent one in the U. S. for the next century. ** Future attorney Richard Nicholls becomes a freeman of the city and a postmaster. ** John Lyne produces a map of lower Manhattan. ** The approximate date (perhaps 1731) of engraver John Carwitham’s A View of Fort George with the City of New York.
Staten Island
The approximate date a brownstone house is built for Captain Nicholas Manning (later the Scott-Edwards House) on Delafield Avenue in Port Richmond.

Firefighters purchase two Newsham hand pumper fire engines from London. ** Sanitary laws encourage the emptying of privies into dumps outside the walls and into the rivers (but only at night on Fridays and Saturdays) and imposes fines on those spilling contents in the streets. ** A smallpox epidemic kills 549 people, roughly 6% of the inhabitants. ** James Bradford publishes John Lyne’s map of lower Manhattan.

A group of English actors join with New York City amateurs to perform what may be the first dramatic performances in America. They give three performances a week for about a month, then disband.
Oct 14
New York City’s rights are confirmed by a act of the colonial legislature.
The New York City actors regroup for a few more performances, including George Farquhar's The Recruiting Officer.
The population reaches 8,624. ** An epidemic (later known to be yellow fever) strikes the city. ** With the danger of The Collect pond being over-fished, the use of nets is banned. Anthony Rutger is granted 75 acres of marshland around the main outlet of the pond, agreeing to drain and develop it within a year. ** Richard Nicolls becomes coroner. He also becomes a vestryman at Trinity Church. ** Manhattan’s Bowling Green becomes the city’s first park. ** The approximate date the Horse and Cart Tavern opens, on a street to take the Horse and Cart name (later Williams Street).

Nov 5
Opponents of Governor Cosby found the New York Weekly Journal with John Peter Zenger as its editor.
A space in lower Manhattan is leased as a bowling green by three local citizens, who will pay one peppercorn a year for its use.
The date of the earliest recorded tombstone at today’s Moore-Jackson Cemetery, in the future Woodside neighborhood, that of 17-year-old Augustine Moore.
A stage line runs between New York City and Philadelphia, through New Jersey by way of Perth Amboy and Burlington.

Nov 17
Zenger is arrested for libel of Governor Cosby.
The city's maids form the first women's labor organization. ** The city's first Bridewell prison is built, in City Hall Park.
St. James Episcopal Church (later just St. James Church) chartered by George III, is built in Elmhurst village at Broadway and 51st Avenue.
The Popular party, with Zenger's help, wins the New York City aldermanic election.
© 2011 David Minor / Eagles Byte

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

St. Lawrence River Sunset

© 2008 David Minor / Eagles Byte

Saturday, April 2, 2011

EASTERN NEW YORK Timeline - 1665-1669


Feb 6

The Dutch West India Company authorizes all their officers and colonists to war against the English.

Feb 8

New York royal governor Richard Nicolls asks each Long Island town to send two delegates to a meeting in Hempsted at the end of the month, to adopt the Duke's Laws.

Feb 9

East Hampton designates Thomas Talmage and Thomas Thomson to meet with deputies from Southold and Southampton to consider means to have legal representation at Hempsted, apart from Hartford.

Mar 1

Nicolls introduces the Duke's Laws to an assembly from Westchester and Long Island. The laws require that those who took out patents under the Dutch acknowledge the English proprietors' right to the land by taking out new patents.

Mar 10

The approximate date delegates of New York colonies meeting at Hempstead, Long Island, rubber stamp the Duke's Laws, as their new legal code.Long Island, Staten Island and parts of Westchester are divided into ridings, with an appointed sheriff in charge of each. All Protestants are granted continuing religious freedom.

Mar 13

Gysbert Schuyler, son of Philip and Margretta Schuyler, dies at the age of 12, in Albany.

Jun 22

Nicolls notifies the towns on eastern Long Island that war is being declared on the Dutch by the Crown. All are advised to be on the lookout for enemy warships and, if spotted, militias should travel to the western end of the island and await instructions.

Jun 24

The Assembly of Representatives sets rules for dealing with stranded whales. They are to be reported to the governor and the person finding the animal is to be given the fifteenth gallon of oil extracted.

Sep 5

East Hampton decrees that no one under the age of 18 be left to tend the cattle enclosed on the Great Plain and that those who perform the chore, remain until relieved, or face a fine.

Sep 11

East Hampton resident John Kirtland transfers the contract of his Indian apprentice Hopewell to the Reverend Thomas James.

Oct 4

Easthampton and Montauk/Shinnecock chief Quashawam come to an agreement concerning boundaries between town and Indian land; setting up rules regarding mutual use for grazing, hay cutting, land disposal, etc.

Oct 5

Governor Nicolls issues a patent to David Gardiner, making the property of the Gardiner's Island landowner accountable only to the colonial governors' office; charging an annual quit rent of £5.

Oct 12

East Hampton forbids its citizens to entertain or sell accommodations to "Scandalous person or persons".

Oct 13

The Half Moon Patent, in Saratoga County, is granted to Peterson Philip Schuyler and others.


Nicolls signs a peace treaty with the Esopus Indians. The natives agree to remain on their own lands.

New Jersey

Elizabethtown, founded by settlers from Long Island, is made the capital of East Jersey by Governor Philip Carteret.


Mar 13

The Suffolk County town of East Hampton is incorporated under patent by governor Nicolls.

Jun 15

East Hampton rules that owner of oxen must keep them off the common lands on Sundays.

Oct 16

Military governor of New France Alexandre de Prouville, the Marquis de Tracy, leading a force of 1000 regulars, 600 militia and 100 Algonkians and Hurons, torches New York Mohawk villages, including Andarague, after making peace with the Seneca and Oneida. Prouville claims Iroquois territory for Louis XIV.


Sweer Teunise Van Velsen erects the future Schenectady's first grist mill. The passing road will be named Mill Lane. ** Anti-English violence breaks out in Kingston.


De Courcelles and de Tracy's expedition limps back from New York, having reached as far as Schenectady, but accomplishing little.


Jan 4

Eleven landholders on the north side of Long Island’s Newtown Creek enclose their croplands within a single fence.

Jan 16

East Hampton's constable and overseers set fines for missing town meetings.

Jul 19

Royal governor Richard Nicolls writes to the Long Island towns, telling them to organize their militias for mutual defense.

Jul 21

The Dutch and the English sign the Treaty of Breda, ending the Second Dutch War. New Netherland is transferred to the British and Acadia is restored to France.

Nov 29

Nicolls issues a land patent for Oyster Bay, on the north shore of Long Island.


William and Sarah Teller settle on Croton Point. ** Land patents are issued for Kinderhook Landing (today’s Van Stuyvesant Landing) to the widow of settler Jan Fransen van Hoesen and to Abraham Staats.


The Iroquois treat for peace with the French.


Mar 25

English captain Sylvester Salisbury is presented with a silver bowl when his horse wins a race at Hempstead — the first sporting trophy in America.


Royal Governor Richard Nicolls is recalled and replaced by Colonel Francis Lovelace.

Jun 8

John Osborne is assigned land at Wenscot (Wainscott), the first East Hampton area settler living outside the center of that plantation.

Jun 22

Robert Livingston is granted Livingston Manor in New York’s Columbia County. The

manor has one representative in the colonial General Assembly.

Nov 3

East Hampton landowner Stephen Hand gives the town permission to build a road through his woodlot, for the passage of carts, oxen and horses, but not for cow herds.

Nov 16

Royal governor Francis Lovelace writes to East Hampton minister Thomas James, commending him for composing a catechism and asking for a translation, along with several other pieces, into the Indian tongue, which he will then forward to London for printing.


The approximate date the French settlement near Jamesville is visited by a party of Spaniards from the Mississippi by way of Olean, seeking silver. When the French and Spanish begin quarreling the Iroquois kill them all. ** The approximate date blacksmith Willem Tietsoort comes to live with the Mohawks at Skenecticut (Schenectady).

New Netherland

The English produce a map - known as the Nicolls Map - of the area, in reference to governor Nicolls.


Jun 28

Royal governor-general Francis Lovelace and his council invite East Hampton's John Mulford and minister Thomas James to report on Indian affairs in the area, examine an Indian named Aukeeanit for possible prosecution, and keep Indians out of proscribed areas. James is authorized to sell small quantities of gunpowder.

Nov 3

The Montaukett Indians of eastern Long Island recognize Lovelace as their official head sachem.

© 2011 David Minor / Eagles Byte