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Thursday, April 26, 2012


Continued from March 23, 2012

After leaving Fishkill, New York, the Stuarts and their driver headed north again. Stuart found that the hilly road to Poughkeepsie reminded him of his home country. With some differences. "Many of the passes are narrow, and remind a traveller of defiles of the same kind in the Highlands of Scotland. The mountains of Scotland are far more magnificent, for there is no elevation here above 1500 or 1600 feet in height; but there is no such river in the Highlands of Scotland as the Hudson."

They halted their journey in Poughkeepsie at the end of the morning, eating at Swift's Hotel, "as handsomely furnished as any country hotel I have seen anywhere. A piano-forte is in the parlour." By this time the village had a population of close to 7,000 people. There were three weekly newspapers in town, but in order to save on the cost of delivery all three came out on Wednesdays. Which kept carrier John Cornish busy just once a week. It would be a while before the publishers would catch on to the fact that they could collectively sell more papers each week if they didn't all three carry the same news. Cornish and his successors would do better financially as well. The Stuarts were probably unaware of all this; they moved on right after their midday meal.

As they passed Hyde Park on their way towards Rhinebeck, Stuart apparently knew that his recent acquaintance, Dr. David Hosack, was not just then in residence, for he mentions no effort to accept Hosack's offer of hospitality. He does comment on the site's beauty and mentions, "views, ending with the Catskill mountains in the distance, that can hardly be surpassed." He notes that, "A great number of workmen are at present employed by him in extensive improvements upon the grounds, and the enlargement of his mansion-house." A later tourist named Harriet Martineau, who traveled through the state in the mid-1830s, comments on the Hosack mansion. "Dr. Hosack's good taste led him to leave it alone, and to spend his pains on the gardens and conservatory behind." Martineau, by the way, seems to be a soul-mate of James Stuart, also very interested in Auburn Prison.

With September giving way to October (Stuart doesn't give exact dates) the nights were quite bit cooler, especially here in the upper elevations, and the air was cold as they arrived at Jacob's Hotel at Rhinebeck, in time for dinner. Reading that in Stuart's published journal and being a curious person (put your own interpretation on THAT), I started poking around in some old Rhinebeck histories to see if I could find who this Jacob was. I didn't find anything which, of course, proves nothing. However. If you know Rhinebeck at all, you're familiar with the Beekman Arms. In 1766, Arent Traphagen moved his father's inn from the fringes of Ryn Beck to the main intersection, several miles uphill from the river. The southwest corner. At the time of the Revolution it was run by a man with the rather rhythmic name of Everadus Bogardus and called the Bogardus Inn. In the early 1800s it was run by a couple with the last name of Jacques. Today it's still in operation as the Beekman Arms and claims to be the oldest, continually operating tavern in the United States. Fans of the Wayside Inn of Massachusetts strenuously believe otherwise, and bar bets over that question will never be settled to everyone's satisfaction. What I'm wondering is this. When Stuart sat down to publish his travels four years after his stay here, did he perhaps rely on an only-human memory, and Scot-icize (or his equivalent of Anglicize) the name Jacques into Jacob? We may never know.

© 2012 David Minor / Eagles Byte

Tuesday, April 10, 2012



Feb 22                       
Loyalist soldier Anthony Allaire is born in New Rochelle.

William Johnson is given command of British forces in northern New York.

May 1                       
Johnson writes to governor William Shirley, recommending the construction of a series of forts at strategic points, beginning with one at the former site of Fort Nicholson, at the Great Carrying Place.

May 27           
The 24,000-acre Stewart’s Patent in Hamilton County, is granted to James Stewart and others.

May 30           
The 3,000-acre Timberman’s Patent, in Herkimer County, is granted to Jacob Timberman and others.

Johnson assembles a provincial army of 5,000 at Albany, including King Hendrick and other Mohawks, to open a fortified road to Lake George.

Jun 3                       
The 43,000-acre fourth Schuyler Patent, in Otsego County, is granted to David Schuyler and others.

Jun 14
The 34,000-acre Staley’s Patent, in Herkimer County, is granted to Rudolph Staley and others.

Jun 21                       
Johnson opens a conference with over a thousand Iroquois at Mount Johnson.

Jul 4                       
The Mount Johnson conference comes to an end with the Iroquois agreeing to aid the British and 200 warriors agreeing to accompany Johnson in his attack on Crown Point.

English troops under the command of General Phineas Lymamn build Fort Lydius (later Fort Edward) on the upper Hudson River. It incorporates a house once owned by John Henry Lydius.

Aug 28                       
Johnson renames Lac St. Sacrement as Lake George, in honor of George II.

Colonial scouts begin reporting new French fortifications being built at Ticonderoga (Carillon).

Sep 3                       
Johnson joins his newly-arrived forces at Lake George. He writes to Board of Trade president the earl of Halifax and to Thomas Pownall, advocating the removal of Governor Shirley as a bad influence on the Indians.

Sep 4                       
Baron de Dieskau and a force of 1500 men from Montréal arrive at Carillon (Ticonderoga), embark by canoe for Fort Edward.

Sep 7                       
Dieskau arrives in the area near Fort Edward only to find the Indians will not attack a fortification. He gives in to their suggestion to attack Johnson's unprotected forces at Lake George. Johnson learns that enemy forces have been spotted in the area, begins strengthening his defenses.

Sep 8                       
The Bloody Morning Scout/Battle of Lake George. French commander Baron Dieskau attempts to cut off communication between Johnson and Fort Lyman. Johnson sends out an advance force under provincial commander Massachusetts colonel Ephraim Williams and the Mohawk chief Hendrick (Theyanoguin), but they are ambushed and killed, Hendrick, in his mid-seventies, by three young Caughnawagas, after being separated from his young companion Joseph Brant. Caughnawaga leader Legardeur de Sainte-Pierre is also killed. The French begin pulling back, are attacked and defeated by New Hampshire colonial troops under Captain William McGinnis arriving from Fort Edward. McGinnis is killed, Dieskau and Johnson wounded.

Sep 11                       
Johnson's forces finish finding and burying their dead.

Sep 29                       
Johnson decides to build defense works -Fort William Henry - at Lake George, under the supervision of Captain William Eyre.

Fort William Henry is built.    **    George II makes William Johnson a baronet.

Dec 31
Johnson learns of his baronetcy. He's also named Colonel, Agent and Sole Superintendent of Indian Affairs.

William Johnson establishes a headquarters near Canajoharie, on the Mohawk. The approximate date he erects fortifications on the Staley/Herkinmer property, to defend against the French.    **    The French move 12 miles closer to English settlements, build Fort Carillon at Ticonderoga.    **    Rudolph Staley, John Joost Herkimer, Nicholas Herkimer and 15 others are awarded 34,000 acres along the Mohawk River (the Staley tracts).    **     The 10,000-acre Schuyler Patent, in Herkimer and Oneida counties, is granted to David Schuyler and others.


Jan 7                       
During a British cabinet meeting the earl of Halifax, president of the Board of Trade, proposes a plan to have a new commander in chief sent to the colonies and making William Johnson Superintendent of the Six Nations.

Jan 9                       
Peter Wraxall, secretary to Indian commissioner Sir William Johnson, suggests an official clearance be required for all Indian land transfers.

Jan 21                       
The British ministers meet in London at Newcastle House. Cumberland and Fox put forth their own proposals, adapting Halifax's suggestions to replace royal governor of Massachusetts and New York William Shirley and give Johnson a new commission, but calling for the posting of two regiments of redcoats to America rather than using provincial troops, and suggesting a southern administrator for the Indians - South Carolina trader Edmund Atkin.

Parliament grants William Johnson £5,000 for his services to the nation.

Mar 17                       
Gaspard de Chassemy leads a mixed-force out of Montréal into New York’s Mohawk Valley.

Mar 25                       
Hudson, New York, co-founder Ezekial Gilbert is born in Middletown, Connecticut, to Jonathan and Prudence Harris Gilbert.

Mar 27                       
De Chassemy’s raiders destroy Fort Bull, on the Wood Creek end of the Great Carrying Place portage.­

Mar 31                       
Secretary at War Fox writes to Shirley, relieving him of his command of British forces in America and recalling him to London.

Jun 25                       
Major General James Abercromby arrives in Albany and replaces Shirley, who heads for New York.

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.

Aug 5                       
Loudon orders provincial Major General John Winslow to appear in Albany from Fort William Henry to confer. Winslow will hasten to comply.

Aug 19                       
Winslow and his provincial forces are back at Fort William Henry.

Fort Herkimer is completed.

6,000 Troops assemble in Warren County to fight the French. Nothing comes of it.    **    Samuel Blodget's engraving of the Battle of Lake George goes on sale in Boston.    **    Fort Herkimer is built at German Flatts.


Mar 17                       
French forces attack Fort William Henry, having marched up Lake George on the ice, and are driven off after burning a few buildings and several Lake Champlain vessels.

Canadian governor Louis Joseph, Marquis de Montcalm, gathers 9,000 troops at Carillon (Ticonderoga) and marches to the head of Lake George.

Jul 31                       
Colonial major Israel Putnam discovers a French force encamped 18 miles down Lake George.

Aug 3
The French besiege New York's Fort William Henry.

Aug 9
French and Indian forces under the Marquis de Montcalm capture Fort William Henry  from Colonel George Monroe's defenders. The Indians massacre surrendered soldiers.

French and Indian forces under Captain Francois de Belétre raid Herkimer, burn the Reformed Church. Some residents seek refuge in the British fort.

A dock is built at Fort St. Frederick (later Fort Amherst, then Fort Crown Point) on Lake Champlain. **    Johnson tries to get the Mohawks to give up a tribesman suspected of treasonous speech. Not believing in capital punishment, the Indians will not cooperate.

William Smith's The History of the Province of New-York from the First Discovery to the Year M.DCC.XXXII  is published.


Jan 22                       
Banker and promoter Elkanah Watson is born in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Jul 8
Troops from Halifax, Nova Scotia, lead by James Abercromby, outnumbering French defenders under Montcalm at Fort Carillon (Ticonderoga) 5 to 1, are driven off.

Aug 27                       
Colonel John Bradstreet, having earlier assembled at Three Rivers, moves on to capture Fort Frontenac (Kingston, Ontario) from the French.

Dec 16                       
Justices and supervisors in Westchester County are directed to select a site for a courthouse in White Plains, replacing the current meeting site at East Chester. They will vote £2,000 this year for construction.

Acting under the orders of General James Abercrombie, Colonel John Stanwix erects a square fort by the headwaters of the Mohawk River near those of Mud Creek. The fort will be named for him and later become Rome, New York.    **    The British erect the Royal Blockhouse where Fish’s Creek enters the western end of Oneida Lake, as a defense against Indians and the French. Next year a fort – Fort Schuyler - will be erected on the site.    **    A particularly serious famine causes some starvation among the Oneida Indians.

The approximate year the family of New York State pioneer Moses Van Campen moves from Hunterdon County, New Jersey, to Northampton City.


Mar 19           
The 3,000-acre Starnberg’s Patent, Schoharie County, the first of two this year with the same name, is granted to Lambert Starnberg and others.

Catherine Weisenberg, mistress of New York Indian agent Sir William Johnson, dies, at the age of 37, at Fort Johnson.

Apr 21                       
Sir William Johnson, Baronet, convenes an Indian council at Canajoharie, rallies the Iroquois to attack the French at Fort Niagara. The Seneca, some of them from Ganuskago (Dansville), dependent on the British for ammunition and trade goods, agree to an alliance with them.

May 17                       
Johnson writes to the Board of Trade in London, advocating fair trade with the Indians.

Jul 2                       
16 New Jersey troops are surprised while gathering firewood near Lake George by a force of close to 240 Indians, who kill and scalp half a dozen soldiers. The natives taunt the rest of the Army before escaping in their canoes.

Jul 26                       
The French abandon Carillon (Ticonderoga) to the British.

Aug 4                       
The French at Crown Point (Fort St. Frédéric) surrender to the British under Amherst. Paul Revere is present as a lieutenant of artillery in the Massachusetts militia.

A son, Peter, is born to Sir William Johnson and Molly Brant, who had become Johnson’s mistress earlier in the year.

Skenesborough (later Whitehall) is founded.    **    The French take over Chimney Island in the St. Lawrence, which they call Isle Royale, and fortify it.    **    Construction begins on Samuel Fuller's St. George's Episcopal Church in Schenectady.    **    The British build Fort Brewerton, where the Oneida River enters Oneida Lake.

© 2012  David Minor / Eagles Byte