The next essay will mark a shift in the blog location of
our 1829 series. The geographical locale
has entered the Finger Lakes, and Western New York, as we pass through the
Syracuse area. The next in the series will appear toward the end of September on the Crooked Lake Review blog - http://www.crookedlakereview.blogspot.com/
(continued from July 23, 2012) Despite some speculation in 1829
- mostly wishful thinking out in the hinterland - it looked like Albany would
remain New York's state capital for the foreseeable future. The place certainly
was busy enough. Besides the construction of a new city hall, this hillside
capital lit by oil lamps (586 by a recent count) was seeing construction of St.
Mary's Church (the city's second of the name), and over on Washington Street a
large frame building was being readied for the Albany Orphan Asylum, established
within days of James Stuart's visit. It would move into new quarters in another
four years. Much of the new growth, of course, had been the result of the Erie
Canal. In May the Canal Bank of Albany had been incorporated. It would have an
19-year run, failing in 1848.
Back in April, some 80 miles or
so to the north in Ausable Flats, a young, newly-arrived schoolteacher
described a more primitive existence. His friends over in New Hampshire
received a letter from him - it cost them 18-and-three-quarter cents - written on April
15th, in which he described his new life. "It is but three years since the
first house was built. Now there are two or three stores, a public house, iron
works and lumber mills
. . . Iexpect
this will soon grow to be a great business place." He mentions the
sluggish local economy, " Business is very dull in this country.
Everywhere money is scarce. Iron and lumber are low. The iron works are very
tardy in their movements on account of the scarcity of money." But there
are compensations. ". . . a fine Dutch girl where I board sweet little
bird ! -a modest little thing as ever you saw!" He writes again in August
to describe a planned new road being built in the vicinity and state that much
land nearby, of varying quality, is being bought up by local people in
Planned roads into the interior
of the Adirondacks will increase dramatically in the following decades, but for
now most of the activity is spread around the perimeter of the region. Progress
will be aided after this year as David H. Burr, an appointee of Surveyor
General Simeon DeWitt, readies his atlas of the state for publication. It's
only the second state atlas ever produced, preceded by Robert Mills' 1825 atlas
of South Carolina.
Newcomers are trickling into the
region. This year Nathan Southmayd, a veteran of the War of 1812 who had fought
at Plattsburgh, and somewhere picked up the title 'commodore', moved to Jay,
near Lake Placid, and built a handsome, two-story stone house. He, his wife and
their descendants would live there until the end of the century. It would later
serve as a maternity hospital and a nursing home; food would be raised on the
grounds for the Lake Placid Club.
Another newcomer, a visitor who'd
come over from France in 1815, took an interest in real estate in New York and
New Jersey, purchasing land this year over natural caverns over near Lake
Ontario in Jefferson County and building a mansion. Complete with tunnels, in
case he needed an escape route at some future date. His late younger brother
could certainly have used such a set-up. The Count de Surveilliers, a.k.a.
Joseph Bonaparte, former King of Naples and Spain, knew only too well you had
to be ready for emergencies.
Wednesday, August 15th: Book Talk with Teresa Carpenter
South Street Seaport Museum invites you to our upcoming program New
York Diaries, 1609-2009: A Book Talk with Teresa Carpenter from her
highly-acclaimed anthology New York Diaries, 1609-2009, a collection of
diary fragments that celebrates the cultural history of New York City and
its icons. A reception and book signing will follow.
Tickets are available on our website, and please let everyone
know that if they use the code Diaries815 at checkout, they will be able to
buy tickets for $6!
Born in Batavia, New York. Mother a concert harpist; father a photographer. BFA in Advertising Design from Syracuse University. Two–year certificate program at the American Academy of Dramatic Art. Worked for New York Telephone/NYNEX, 1970–1990, mostly in Manhattan. Earned Masters degree in Media Studies at New School for Social Research during the period. Odd film courses here and there at NYU.
Member of Canal Society of New York State (now on the board), board of Historic Pittsford, New Society of the Genesee, and Genesee Valley Civil War Roundtable.
Published in Crooked Lake Review, American Canals, Bottoming Out (Canal Society publication), New York Archives magazine, and The Encyclopedia of New York State.
Maintains an expanding 70+ Megabyte off–line chronology of World History.
Been doing TimeMaster segments over WXXI–FM – 91.5 – since 1997, until earlier this year when the program host retirted. Currently over 600 scripts. Current essays available by e–mail.
Core idea: Every person, place or object has a story. You just have to dig it out.
Also: The film version's usually much less interesting than what really happened.