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Saturday, June 23, 2012


Continued from May 23, 2012

Mr. and Mrs. James Stuart continue their exploration of 1829 Troy, New York, climbing toward the summit of Mount Ida (most locals call it Ida Hill). He commends the view of the city, river and countryside, commenting that the land, covered in pine and cedar, was considered until recently to be infertile, but similar land nearby in Kinderhook has proved to be quite productive when managed well and manured properly.

Partway to the top their climb is interrupted by a fence, so they head for a cottage to request permission to continue further. The tenants prove to be fellow Scots who, like Stuart, arrived last year, but several months earlier. The Stuarts chat for a while with the Craigs, who had found work superintending the farm on the hillside for the owner shortly after their arrival here. It can't be an easy job, since the hill is mainly formed of clay - although Stuart doesn't mention the latter fact - but the Craigs are making a go of it. Later in the century the unstable clay will result in several landslides, reducing the overall size of the hill somewhats.

Sometime before exploring the hill, excuse me, mountain, and heading north to Lansingburgh, our Scotsman has made a few real estate inquiries and discovered that a 65 x 25-foot tenement building has recently sold for $4,000. Untempted, he and his wife climb back into their carriage and, after short ride, cross the Hudson on the twenty-year-old Union Bridge, an 800-foot covered wooden affair that had originally cost $20,000. Later it would also be known as the Waterford Bridge. They head inland a few miles to view the falls at Cohoes, which they missed seeing last year during their brief ride on the Erie Canal. He mentions seven locks in three-and-a-half miles and he should know - they had convinced him then that canal travel wasn't for James Stuart.

On his visit to Albany last year Stuart found the rooms at the Eagle Hotel to be rather meagrely funished, so he decides on a change, putting up at the boarding house run by Leverett Cruttenden, further uphill on Capitol Sqaure, where Lafayette had stayed five years earlier. Good enough for a marquis it proved equally satisfying to Stuart, who mentioned, "comfortable accommodation . . . and as good a tea and supper as we had seen anywhere." Best of all, "I was asked . . . for the first time in the United States, whether we preferred to sleep on a mattrass or feather bed."

Cruttenden stops by to chat with Stuart, who describes his host as, "a frank, John Bull-looking personage, very fond of Scotch songs and of Burns's poetry." Like the good Scotsmen they are, they discuss local prices, "A goose sometimes to be had for a shilling Sterling, and a turkey for two shillings."

The next morning Stuart - probably with future publication of his travels in mind - has a quest to take up again, his current holy grail, this year's annual report on Auburn Prison. Following the Ossining bookseller's suggestion he pays call on the office of the state's secretary of state. The great man (whom Staurt neglects to identify by name) is apparently not there, but a clerk fields Stuart's request. Albany's reputation for complicating the simplest of matters is not unearned; Stuart is told that all the copies have been given away. We'll follow up on his mission next time.

© 2012  David Minor / Eagles Byte

Sunday, June 10, 2012


Oct 25
Future New York City mayor Philip Hone is born on Dutch Street.

A two-month spring drought affects the city.    **    The city council calls for the dumping of all garbage into Beekman's Swamp, on the east side, north of today's Fulton Street.

Elected New York City vestrymen advertise for a new renter for the Tea Water Pump. Documentation of the results has not been found.

Aug 21                 
Washington leads Clinton to believe that New York City will be attacked, then moves toward Philadelphia and later to Virginia. He has had fires lit at the Van Cortlandt property in the Bronx to make the British believe he’s still in that area.

Oct 1
New Hampshire officer Alexander Scammel dies in Williamsburg, Virginia, of a wound suffered yesterday at Yorktown. A street in Manhattan’s Lower East Side is named for him, but it has since disappeared.

Oct 19                 
Cornwallis and his 17,000 troops surrender at Yorktown, Virginia.

New York public records are unloaded from the British ship Duchess of Gordon, where they had been placed for safekeeping in December of 1775, at New York City. Many of them are badly damaged.

Washington tours Manhattan, discovers that, as a result of the 1780 freeze, the island has been denuded of trees, used for firewood.

Jul 2                 
In a double wedding New York lawyer Aaron Burr marries widow Theodosia Bartow Prevost at the Hermitage in Paramus, New Jersey, as her half-sister Catherine de Visme marries British-born doctor Joseph Browne.

Retreating British troops destroy Fort Number 8 at Fordham, the Bronx.   

Dec 5        
George III addresses Parliament, announces he has accepted American independence. In the audience are Admiral Richard Howe, painters Benjamin West and John Singleton Copley, and canal promoter Elkanah Watson.

Dec 16                 
The New York Commissary General advertises in Rivington's Royal Gazette of December 21st for those with claims against his office to present them in person by the end of the month.

Brooklyn’s first newspaper begins publication at Brooklyne Hall, the former Fulton Landing ferry house.

Apr 3                 
Washington Irving is born at 131 William Street to merchant and Presbyterian deacon William Irving, Sr. and Sarah Sanders Irving.

Apr 23                 
British general Sir Guy Carleton requests Congress' aid in evacuating New York City.

Apr 24                 
Congress appoints three commissioners to aid Carleton.

Apr 26                 
7,000 Loyalists leave New York City for Canada and Europe.

May 9                 
The first British prisoners are released, in New York City.

May 22                 
A skirmish between British and U. S. ships in New York Harbor is narrowly averted.

Loyalist Peter Berton, ancestor of 20th Century Canadian historian Pierre Berton, leaves Newtown, Long Island, outside of the town of Brooklyn, and the farm he had bought in 1776 as a refuge from patriots. In his vessel Free Briton he leads a company of fellow Loyalists out of the Port of New York, sails for New Brunswick, Canada.   

Jul 12                 
New York City museum owner Gardner Baker  marries Mary Wrighton.

Jul 21                 
The British 7th Regiment stages a ceremonial review in New York City.

Jul 28                 
New York City merchant Michael Price and others are indicted in Albany and Dutchess counties for their Loyalist sympathies and ordered  to appear before the state’s Supreme Court to defend their property rights.

Aug 21                 
The deadline for Loyalists to receive permission to evacuate New York.

Sep 3                 
Great Britain and the U. S. sign the peace treaty in Paris.

Sep 29                 
A band of arsonists is discovered trying to torch several New York City buildings.

The Peggy sails out of Staten Island for Nova Scotia, with many ex-slaves aboard.

Nov 21                 
The British complete their withdrawal from northern Manhattan.

Nov 24                 
Washington meets with General Carleton to finalize New York evacuation plans.

Nov 25                 
Evacuation Day. The final regiments of the British army leave New York, departing from such shore points as Denyse Ferry Wharf at Brooklyn’s Fort Hamilton. Among those departing are Manhattan merchant Michael Price with his wife and infant daughter. In the future the day will be celebrated as Evacuation Day. George Washington enters the city on horseback along with governor George Clinton and others, stops for a drink at the Bull’s Head Tavern in the Bowery. Thirteen guns are fired as the rebel flag is raised. The day concludes with a public dinner at Fraunces Tavern - until earlier in the year known as the Queen’s Head or Sign of the Queen Charlotte).

Nov 30                 
A small, loud earthquake measuring the equivalent of 5.3 on today’s Richter Scale strikes the area around Morris County, New Jersey, and is felt as far away as New York City.

The British arrest Ebenezer “Indian” Allen, imprisoning him first at Fort Niagara, then at Montréal and Kingston.

Dec 1
New York governor George Clinton hosts a dinner at Cape’s Tavern in honor of the French ambassador, the Chevalier de la Luzerne. Washington and his officers are in attendance.

Dec 2                 
A fireworks display is held in New York City.

Dec 4                 
Washington bids farewell to his officers at Fraunces Tavern in New York City, leaves for Mt. Vernon.    **    The British evacuate Long Island and Staten Island.

John Cape takes over Roubalet’s Tavern (the former City Tavern)  - belonging to Loyalist Charles Roubalet - at 115 Broadway, changes the name to Cape’s Tavern.    **    Jacobus Dyckman begins to rebuild the family home at Broadway and 204th Street – destroyed this year by the British before their evacuation. It will be completed by 1785.       

Silversmith Elijah Morgan, Jr. is born.

The approximate date New York City's Hardenbrook family announces they will be selling the Tea Water Pump property by April.

Jan 24
The city becomes the capital of New York State. Colonial public records will be moved here from Poughkeepsie.

New York City passes a fire prevention law. Water carriers are not mentioned in the legislation, rendering it useless.

Feb 22        
The Empress of China sails from New York City with a cargo of ginseng, seeking to open trade with China. The cargo will sell for $30,727.

Mar 15                 
The Bank of New York is organized, the first bank incorporated in the state.

The Hardenbrooks fail to find a buyer as they had originally planned.

Apr 6                 
The legislature passes a bill authorizing £200 for repairs to the Kings County courthouse/jail in Flatbush, Brooklyn, which was damaged by the British.

New York City butcher Henry Astor marries Dorothea Pessenger, daughter of a Fly Marker meat seller.

Jun 9                 
The Bank of New York opens, in New York City.

Jul 17                 
The approximate date John Jacob Astor crosses over by ferry from New Jersey to Manhattan.

Jul 30                 
Comfort and Joshua Sands purchase lands seized - from Loyalist John Rapelye (Rajaike) during the Revolution - by the Commissioner of Forfeiture in the Vinegar Hill section of Brooklyn. The brothers pay $12,000 for 160 acres.

Christopher Colles returns to New York City, claiming £450 from the common council for work on the water supply system. He will receive £300 in about two-and-a-half years.

Sep 20                 
John Jacob Astor advertises German flutes in the New York Packet.

A group of property lots between the Tea Pump and the Collect Pond is advertised for sale.

Oct 5                 
Dr. John Henry Livingston is appointed professor of theology by the Dutch Reformed Church Synod, establishing the first theological seminary in America, in New York City.

The state legislature, meeting in New York City, hears a plan by Christopher Colles for improving Mohawk River navigation. He intends to bypass the Cohoes Falls with a 4 1/2 mile-long canal with 20 locks. Nothing comes of the plan.

Lawyer James Duane, just out of Congress, is appointed mayor for each of the next five one-year terms.    **    Christopher Colles petitions the city council for £600, for himself and contractors, for the reservoir, well and pumping engine for his waterworks.    **    The council reinstates street cleaning regulations from before the war and appoints three commissioners to oversee compliance, but the laws prove insufficient.     **    Authorities appoint a committee to lay out streets around the Collect Pond.    **    Joshua and Comfort Sands purchase 160 acres of land, west of Gold Street, in the future Vinegar Hill area of Brooklyn.    **    The legislature moves to New York City.

Staten Island
A schoolhouse opens in Castleton Corners

©  2012 David Minor / Eagles Byte

Sunday, June 3, 2012


August       British general Jeffrey Amherst leaves Oswego with his army early in the month, headed for the St. Lawrence River and Montréal.

           British Lieutenant Colonel William Haviland marches north from Crown Point along Lake Champlain with 3400 troops.
Aug 26   Amherst captures the French-held Fort Lévis (formerly La Galette) at the head of the St. Lawrence River rapids downstream of Ogdensburg.  French captain Pierre Pouchot surrenders the badly battered fort. Amherst will repair the works and rename it Fort William Augustus, in honor of the Duke of Cumberland.

Sep 8      Amherst forces the surrender of Montréal, ending the French and Indian War. His aide James Abercrombie handles the negotiations with the Marquis de Vaudreuil. New York ceases to be part of French Canada.   

Nov 8     The 4,000-acre Livingston’s Patent, in New York’s Fulton and Saratoga counties, is granted to Philip Livingston and others.

The approximate date a group of Indians from southeastern Ontario, Canada, and the Lake Ontario area of northern New York, lead by Jesuit Anthony Gordon, settle in the St. Regis area of New York's future Franklin County.    **    The approximate date settlers from Massachusetts and Connecticut settle in what will become New Lebanon, Columbia County.    **    The approximate date Sir William Johnson founds the Fulton County village of Philadelphia Bush (later Jackson Summit).    **     The battle of the Thousand Islands is fought at La Présentation (Ogdensburg).    **    The approximate date the Jug Tavern at Sing Sing (later Ossining) is built,    **    Johan Jost Herkimer transfers 500 acres on the south bank of the Mohawk River, plus a small island, to his son Nicholas.

Boston, Massachusetts
Paul Revere returns from militia duty at Crown Point, New York, and becomes an active Mason.

February        The date Mohawk Valley tavern keeper Eve Pickard reportedly presents a deed to Crown Indian agent William Johnson that she claims to have gotten from the Indians, proving her ownership of land west of

Mar 31            The 6,000-acre Magin’s Patent, in Fulton County, is granted to Sarah Magin and others.

Apr 18            The 29,000-acre Middlefield Patent, in Otsego County, is granted to Godfrey Miller and others.
Apr 22            Lutheran minister John Christopher Hartwick, with the backing of New York's provincial secretary Goldsborough Bunyar, acquires a patent for the 21,500-acre area surrounding Otsego Lake - the Hartwick Patent.   

May 27            Reverend Eleazar Wheelock writes to Indian agent Sir William Johnson promising to counteract the influence of the Jesuits in upper New York.   

June                The approximate date a New York Oneida Indian murders settler Gustavus Frank outside German Flats on the natives’ way home from an Indian wedding.   

July                Mohawk youth Joseph Brant leaves for Connecticut.   
Jul 7                Oneida chief Conoghquieson address William Johnson in an attempt to close the case on the Frank killing, with a native ceremony - including the presentation of wampum – called ‘covering the grave’.   
Jul 21              The Albany County (later Washington County) town of Cambridge is formed by patent, as the 31,500-acre plot is granted to Colden, Smith, Banyar and others.   
Jul 23              The Rensselaer County town of Pittstown is created by patent, as the 61,000-acre Shaghticoke Patent , in New York’s Washington and Rensselaer counties is granted to Cornelius Van Dyke and others.   

Aug 14            The 7,000-acre second Lawyer’s Patent, in Schoharie County, is granted to Johannes Lawyer and others.
Aug 15            The 4,000-acre McNeile’s Patent, in New York’s Herkimer County, is granted to John McNeile.    [nysgvtbsngeog]

Sep 16            The 20,000-acre Lott’s Patent, in Fulton County, is granted to Abraham Lott, Jr. and others.

American Revolution heroine Sybil Ludington is born to a militia officer in Fredericksberg.    **    Cadwallader Colden is appointed lieutenant governor.    **    Over the next four years New Englanders, Irish Protestants and Scots beginThe Oneida village of Canowaroghare (Oneida Castle) is founded.    **    Trader Alexander Henry travels down the St. Lawrence River in the spring, from Fort William Augustus (near Ogdensburg) to Montréal to find trade goods. A shortage of goods there requires him to move on to Albany. He then returns to Montréal with a good supply of trade goods. He gains reluctant approval of Governor-General Thomas Gage to trade with Michigan tribes.    **    A second serious famine causes some starvation among the Oneida Indians.

©    2012    David Minor / Eagles Byte