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Friday, September 30, 2011


NYNY 1755-1759


Jun 19

Former City of New York coroner John Burnet is appointed coroner again, after Bartholomew Crannell, his replacement, moves to Poughkeepsie.

Sep 11

John, a servant of New York City resident Daniel Obrian, falls into the East River near John Moore’s wharf while drunk and drowns. ** William Hunter and James Smith, servant to the gunner of the HMS Sphinx, falls overboard from the ship’s jollyboat or dinghy at New York City and drowns.

Sep 25

Mariner James Wilkes assaults John Christie in New York City with a hanger (cutlass).

Sep 28

Christie dies of his wounds. Wilkes is charged with murder by a coroner’s jury.

Oct 14

John Burnet, reappointed coroner, takes his oath of office.

Nov 22

Rewben Hutchins and Thomas Brooks, seamen sleeping on the snow (brig) Charming Nancy, are suffocated in New York City when a fire meant to dry out the hold gets out of control. Fellow sailor Jacob King so testifies before a coroner’s jury.

Dec 25

Britain’s Royal American (60th Foot) Regiment is formed on New York City’s Nutten

(Governors) Island.

Dec 26

New York City mariner Patrick Harper dies of, “an inflammation and mortification in his bowels”.


Hanover Square publisher and bookseller Hugh Gaine publishes a catalogue of books he has for sale. ** The approximate date Adam Vanderberg opens the Drover’s Inn (later the Bulls-Head) on the former Company Farm property on lower Broadway. In 1838 it will become the site of the Astor House Hotel.


Jan 7

New York City jail prisoner, John Tilyou, incarcerated for debt, dies of natural causes.

Mar 25

A New York City coroner’s jury affirms that a new male infant was stillborn.

May 12

Benjamin Spratt, in jail in New York City for desertion from his provincial militia company, dies of unknown causes.

Jun 1

New York City resident Maria Slyter “. . . of the visitation of God dyed.”.

Jun 13

The drowned body of an unknown male is found in New York’s East River.

Jun 22

Samuel Bull, a black man, falls from the packet ship General Wall in New York City’s East River, drowns.

Jul 8

New York City cartman (freight transporter) James Davis accidentally runs over and kills a John Crew.

Jul 22

The HMS Nightingale arrives off New Jersey's Sandy Hook carrying Lieutenant General John Campbell, earl of Loudon, for New York City, to replace governor William Shirley as commander of Britain's forces in North America.

Jul 23

Loudon arrives in lower Manhattan.

Jul 24

Loudon confers with Shirley for the first time. He will travel to Albany toward the end of the month.


A new coach service starts at John Butler’s Sign of the Death of the Fox tavern in Philadelphia’s Strawberry Alley, transporting passengers to New York City.

Nov 23

Andries Gush, slave of Nicholas Bayard of New York City, commits suicide, shooting himself.


The St. Andrews Society is founded.


Feb 11

John Williams of New York City, slips and falls in the water while trying to board the packet Earle of Halifax, drowns. ** Intoxicated New Yorker Mary Callaghan falls from a pier, drowns.

Feb 13

Intoxicated New Yorker Jane Bailey falls into her fire, is burned to death.


The approximate date an intoxicated Andrew Pearse, falls from the ship Earl of Halifax moored in New York City’s East River, drowns.

Mar 30

Francis Gray, master of the transport Mary, shots himself in New York City in the morning, dies instantly.

Apr 15

New York City resident James Sprowl, a mariner, is bayoneted by a British sergeant and three grenadiers stationed in the city.

May 4

James Sprowl dies of his wounds.

May 17

When Michael Fatt, grenadier stationed on New York City’s Nutten (Governors) Island attacks fellow grenadier Christopher Hesse with a sword, Hesse uses his own sword on Fatt, killing him.

Jun 7

New York City resident Jane Lightfoot falls from the ferry stairs on the East River, drowns.

Jun 17

James Denton, a prisoner in New York City’s jail, dies of smallpox.

Jul 7

New York City jail prisoner John Pell, held on suspicion of felony, dies of smallpox.

Sep 20

Proclaimed New York City lunatic Michael Sharpe hangs himself in the home of widow Eliza Auncly. ** An intoxicated Henry Greenfield falls into the river at New York City while going from the wharf onto the packet Earle of Leicester, drowns.

Oct 4

Pedlar John McShee goes to bed intoxicated at the home of Thomas Wall, is found dead the next morning. His goods will be impounded for his debts, the remainder being delivered to Mr. Wall at the request of McShee’s widow.

Dec 19

Ailing New York City resident Johanna Casebold collapses and dies, near Wall Street.

Dec 22

Jailed New York City militiaman John Terry drinks himself to death.

Dec 24

The New York City Assembly approves the fees of coroner John Burnet.


Alderman John Cruger, Jr., son of former mayor John Cruger, is appointed mayor for the next ten one-year terms. ** The first colonial art exhibit is held. ** Lawyer Joseph Murray – one of the founders of King’s College (later Columbia) - dies in New York in his early to mid-sixties.


Jan 20

Edward Pearse, ship’s steward of the packet Earl of Halifax, moored off Manhattan, assaults Alexander Doughlass of the packet Generall Wall, knocking him into the water, where Doughlass drowns.

Mar 20

The body of an unidentified black man is found drowned, in New York City.

Apr 5

French prisoner of war John Pignon dies in New York City, cause unknown.

May 31

A drunken Thomas Coats attempts to go aboard the ship Success in New York harbor, falls into the water and drowns.

Jun 9

Drunken sailor John Brady attempts to relieve himself out an upper window in the East Ward of New York City, slips and falls to his death.

Jul 11

Demented shipwright John Rissett strangles himself to death in New York City.

Jul 14

Eighteen-year-old New York City resident Eleanor Wright (widow of William Wright), subject to fits, is found dead by neighbors.

Jul 27

Drunken seaman Charles Scott falls off the ship Terrible in New York City, drowns.

Jul 30

A New York City coroner’s inquest rules that a found unknown person, apparently a Dutchman, had drowned.

Aug 6

Debtors’ prison inmate John Smith leaps to his death from New York ‘s City Hall.

Aug 9

When a sudden wind strikes and overturns a barge in the Hudson River off lower Manhattan, seaman Joseph Whelssley drowns.

Sep 3

A “Negro woman slave” belonging to William Hyer of New York City, is delivered of a dead baby girl.

Oct 22

Susannah Roome, wife of New York City feltmaker Cornelius Roome, makes a deposition before city coroner John Burnet, to the effect that a black slave named Phillis had been jailed approximately five week earlier for attempting to poison her owner, a tailor named Lowder. When she’s released due to severe illness, she’s confined to a small room in Lowder’s home. Phillis had subsequently starved to death. Susannah Roome, swears the slave had been given sufficient food.

Nov 4

Having received a message from New York’s lieutenant governor James DeLancey, reporting the body of a man lying under an East River hay shelter, coroner Burnet summons a15-man jury to investigate. They set out, then learn the man is still living so they all separate and go home.

Dec 9

New York City resident Jacobus Ryckman is attacked with a sword by a British soldier

of the “Royall Americn Regiment of foot” and wounded.

Dec 17

Ryckman dies of his wound.

Dec 18

A New York City coroner’s jury determines that Ryckman’s unknown attacker is guilty of murder.


The Nassau Street Theatre is converted into a German Calvinist church. ** The provincial legislature establishes a quarantine station at Bedloe's Island, in New York harbor.


Blacksmith Isaac Valentine buys property in the Norwood section, then part of Westchester County, from the Dutch Reformed Church.



A daughter, Jane, is born to British army chaplain William Haliburton and his wife Emily Tyne Haliburton, in New York City.

Mar 13

Widower Scots-born doctor William Farquhar marries botany enthusiast Jane Colden, daughter of Cadwallader Colden, in New York’s Trinity Church. She will abandon her botanical studies.

October 12

Festivities held in New York City to celebrate the fall of Québec include a bonfire, illuminations, toasts, and the discharge of over a hundred cannon.

Nov 10

New York City celebrates the birthday of George II.


Bridewell, a three-story jail is built next to the almshouse in the old City Hall Park. ** Kafeltas and Sharpe's Old Insurance Office, at the Coffee-House, and Anthony Van Dam's New York Insurance Office next door, begin offering Marine Insurance. ** British captain Henry Gladwin of the 48th Regiment of Foot is appointed temporary major. ** Frederick Philipse’s 1693 toll bridge across Spuyten Duyvil Creek, linking Manhattan to the mainland, shuts down when faced by the competing bridge built this year by Benjamin Palmer and Jacob Dyckman, to avoid Philipse’s high tolls.

© 2011 David Minor / Eagles Byte

Friday, September 23, 2011


(Continued from August 20, 2011)

Fred Niblo, son of a Civil War veteran, put his horses up on the screen. On the eve of New Year’s Eve in 1925 the fifty-year-old director’s silent adaptation of a biblical novel by another Civil War veteran, Lew Wallace, premiered at New York’s George M. Cohan Theatre, on Broadway and 43rd Street. He may have gotten a good deal on the theater, by the way; he had been Cohan’s brother-in-law, until his wife died. The spectacular set piece of all versions of “Ben Hur” has been the chariot race. Audiences watched enraptured as Ramon Novarro and Francis X. Bushman guided their plunging vehicles at breakneck speed around Rome’s Circus Maximus. The sound of thundering hoofbeats, of course were only in the viewer’s mind.

Which may have been the case ninety-five years previously with another Niblo. According to Charles H. Haswell, writing as The Octogenarian back in 1830, “In July a trotting course was opened on the ground in front of the "Kensington House" of William Niblo, on the east side of the Old Boston Road at Seventieth Street, which he had opened several years before.”

We met William “Billy” Niblo on our last visit to Manhattan, when the entrepreneur re-opened his renovated Niblo’s Garden at Broadway and Prince Street, in today’s SoHo neighborhood. If Haswell was correct Niblo’s flier on the ponies was a rip-roaring non-success. First; none of the readily-available sources make mention of the project, and there’s only a brief mention in one, of a Kensington House, described as being on the East River. No connection is made there with Niblo. Even the location is suspect. In 1830 Prince Street was considered as being practically in the country. Seventieth Street, had it existed, would have been way “out of town”. Even if the transcription misread Seventeenth Street, as I suspect, there’s no further mention of a trotting track, run by anyone, anywhere near the spot. Haswell never mentions it again in the thirty further years he kept an account of the city’s history. So we can probably score one equine success and one failure for the Niblos.

And, in case you’re wondering, no, they were not related. Fred Niblo’s real name was Frederick Liedtke. It’s most likely he took his stage name from the producer. History can be messy,

The 1830s’ sporting crowd would have to travel over to Long Island to watch racing steeds or the newly-popular trotters. But there was plenty else to do in Manhattan, especially if the theater was your pleasure. And here Haswell is a fine guide. Even though James Stuart returns from his travels at the beginning of June he mentions attending the theater only once. But diarist and former mayor Philip Hone can help us fill in some of the blanks.

About the time Stuart was heading for South Carolina, lower Manhattan’s Chatham Garden Theatre, which had failed last year, then been briefly reborn as the American Opera House (for a limited run of three months), opened once again, this time as Blanchard's Amphitheatre. “Under this style very good equestrian performances, with rope-dancing and the like, were offered.” So, if you couldn’t bet on the horses in Manhattan you could at least watch them prance around a ring.

© 2006 David Minor / Eagles Byte

Friday, September 16, 2011



Nov 1

The Caterskill (Katerskill) Patent, in New York’s Greene County – total acreage unknown - is granted by governor Fletcher, to Jacob Lockerman.

Dec 2

Kingsfield Manor, 24 miles to the north of Schenectady, is created.


All remaining Renssalaerwyck grants revert to Killian van Renssalaer, son of Jeremiah. ** The colony’s exports near 200,000 pounds sterling, just about equaling imports. ** British army chaplain John Miller draws a map of Albany.


Jun 25

The Kakiate Patent, part of the future Rockland County, is issued to Daniel Honan and Michael Hawdon.

Aug 20

The English government reports on the importance of a Five Nations (Iroquois) alliance.


Canadian governor Louis de Buande Frontenac conducts a foray out of Montréal against New York’s Onondaga Indians, camps at Isle aux Chevreuils (Carleton Island) in the St. Lawrence River. His force of 2,000 kills many Onondaga and Oneida.


Dutch Reformed Church minister the Reverend Dellius obtains a patent for 537,600 acres of land from Governor Fletcher, including the site of today’s Fort Edward.


May 9

Colonel Lewis Morris is granted Morrisania Manor, in the southern part of the town of Westchester.

May 21

Captain Thomas Chambers registers New York's Fox Hall Manor. It will be annexed to Kingston, New York, in 1787.

May 27

The Great (or Upper) Nine Partners Patent, in Dutchess County, is granted to John/Jan Aarston, William Creed, James Emott/Emmot, Hendrick ten Eyck, Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Filkin, Major Augustin Graham, Colonel Caleb Heathcoate, David Johnstone, and Jarvis Marshall. It includes a small piece of property on the Hudson (just north of the future Poughkeepsie), granted last year.


Richard Coote, the Earl of Bellomont is named to succeed Fletcher as Royal Governor of New York. He will not arrive in American until the following April.

Jun 17

Stephanus van Cortlandt is awarded Cortlandt Manor, in northern Westchester County – land he bought from the local Indians in 1683 - by a grant from England’s King William III.


Albany's population reaches 714.


A settlement is formed at Bedford, which will eventually becomes a New York State town in Westchester County.


Dec 15

Governor Bellomont, writes to the Board of Trade in London, complaining of the ethics of the legal profession in the colony.


Approximately 1230 Senecas remain in the colony, down from nearly twice the number nine year ago, due to war and disease. ** Lord Bellemont is named Royal governor.



Kingston settler Johannis Hardenbergh marries Catherine Rutsen, of Ulster County.

©2011 David Minor / Eagles Byte