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Sunday, December 30, 2012



Mar 3                 
Great Tract No. 3 - 640,000 acres of the 1787 Macomb Great Purchase of New York lands in St. Lawrence County, is subdivided to patentee Donald McCormick. It will become 15 towns.

Mar 17                 
The Albany County town of Bern is formed out of Rensselaerville, and named for first settler and mill owner Jacob Weidman’s birthplace in Switzerland.    **     The Columbia County town of Chatham is formed from Canaan and Kinderhook.

Apr 3                 
Connecticut native Elihu Phinney begins publishing Otsego County’s first newspaper, the Herald and Western Advertiser, at Cooperstown. It is the state’s second newspaper west of the Hudson River.

Apr 6                 
Schoharie County is carved out of Albany and Otsego counties.

Apr 9                 
The New York State Legislature passes “An act for the encouragement of schools". $50,000 annually is appropriated for the next five years, to establish and support common schools.

Jul 15                 
The Black River Tract, 290,376 acres of the 1787 Macomb Great Purchase of New York lands in Lewis and Jefferson counties, is sold to Richard Harrison, Josiah Ogden Hoffman, Nicholas Low and William Henderson.

Lansingburgh Recorder publishers George Gardner and James Hill move to Troy.

Oct 16                 
Albany clergyman William Buel Sprague is born to farmer Benjamin Sprague and his wife in Andover, Connecticut.

Nov 17                 
The first boats use New York’s Western Inland Navigation bypass canal at Little Falls.  

Nov 18                 
Over the past 24 hours 8 large and 120 small boats pass through the canal at Little Falls, paying a total of £80 10s in tolls.    

Dec 14                 
Engineer John Bloomfield Jervis is born in Huntington.

Dec 16                 
Schoharie County officials first meet at the village of Schoharie, decide to build the county courthouse two miles to the west.

Schenectady's Union College is founded, the first non-denominational college in America. In its honor Niskayuna Street is renamed College Street.    **    A portion of Schoharie County is created from part of Albany County.    ** Lansingburgh Recorder publishers Gardner and Hill leave the state and the paper closes by the end of the year.    **    The state assembly moves to New York City temporarily, to be near to ailing governor George Clinton. It remains there, after Clinton retires, replaced by John Jay.    **    Naturalist Amos Eaton enters Williams College, in Massachusetts.    **    Lawyer and historian Silas Wood is elected to the state legislature.    **    Judge William Cooper is elected to the Fourth Congress for the 10th district.    **     During the winter large numbers of oxen-drawn sleds make their way west from the Hudson to the Genesee lands.    **    $600 is added to the building fund for the courthouse and jail near Ballston Spa.    ** Williamson pays $43.75 to Alexander MacDonald for “Eben: Allan & Saw Mills Note of hand Given to You.”    **    Daniel Cady is admitted to the bar, opens a practice in Florida, New York.    **    Herkimer County's German Flats contains 40 homes and a Dutch Reformed Church.    **    The Iroquois population has dropped to approximately 3500.    **    Samuel Lewis's state map is published.    **    The Cooperstown Academy is founded.    **    The state donates an additional $10,000 to the Western Inland Lock Navigation Company.    **     Duanesburgh doctor Asa Fitch moves to Salem and buys a mill site and farm (Fitch's Point) from his wife's father and brother.    **     The approximate date Bagg’s Tavern is built in Utica.    **    The state has 64,017 eligible voters.    **     Judge William Cooper is elected to the Sixth Congress for the 10th district, his second, non-consecutive term.    **    Jeremiah Van Rensselaer, Jr. settles in Canajoharie, soon establishes a mercantile business with Archibald Kane under the name Kane and Van Rennselaer.

A Masonic festival, including dinner and a ball, is held in Cooperstown.

Feb 5                 
The Otsego County town of Butternuts is formed from Unadilla.    **    The Herkimer County town of Frankfort is formed from German Flats.

Mar 4
The Oneida County town of Rome is formed from Steuben.

The Inman’s Tract, 25,000 acres of the 1787 Macomb Great Purchase of lands in Lewis County’s Leyden and Lewis townships, is sold to William Inman. The Watson’s Tract, 61,433 acres in Warren County, is sold to James Watson.

Apr 1
Moses Culver and Nathan Reeves and their families leave Long Island by flatboat, heading for upstate New York. They eventually reach the site of the future Newark.

The English leave Ogdensburg, as well as forts Niagara and Oswego.

Jul 23                 
The approximate date educator and author Abraham Mills is born in Poughkeepsie to baker James Mills and Mary Waddle Mills.

Jul 29                 
Safety pin inventor Walter Hunt is born in Martinsburg

The approximate date Nathaniel Mallory settles the Essex County town of Jay.    **    Whites begin settling the Chateaugay area of Franklin County.    **    Another $600 is added to the building fund for the courthouse and jail near Ballston Spa.    **    The first church in Chester (Warren County) is formed by Baptist minister Jehiel Fox..    **    German Flats's population reaches 4194, including 684 electors.    **    Whitestown's population reaches 7,359; 1,190 qualified electors. It has five parishes, three militia companies, and one corps off "light-horse, all in uniform".    **    A Van Rennselaer Manor farm surveyed for Stewart and Cahoon is leased out to William Larkin.    **     The state donates an additional $37,500 to the Western Inland Lock Navigation Company. Boats pass through the locks for the first time.    **    When the national land speculation bubble bursts Robert Morris is thrown into debt.    **    The state legislature tables a report by Thomas Eddy and English engineer William Weston that advised building a canal from the headwaters of the Mohawk River directly to the Finger Lakes, bypassing Wood Creek and Oneida Lake.    **    The approximate date New Hampshire trapper Jonathan “Jock” Wright arrives in the Adirondack town of Norway.    **    The approximate date New York State merchant and politician Thomas Kempshall is born in England.    **    Three-year-old future canal planner William Hamilton Merritt comes to St. Catharines, Canada, from Bedford, New York, with his parents.

Payment comes due on all 1786 purchases of Judge William Cooper's Otsego region properties. Defaults on 48% of the original purchases have been offset when the lands were meanwhile snapped up by new purchasers.    **    Cooper begins building a brick home - Otsego Hall.

Long Island
A lighthouse is built on Montauk Point where England’s Royal Navy had kept signal bonfires during the American Revolution.

Robert Fulton's detailed A Treatise on the Improvement of Canals . . . is published by I. and J. Taylor.

Constantin François de Chassebœuf, comte de Voleny, travels from the mouth of the Delaware through Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and Kentucky, then north to Fort Detroit. He proceeds to Niagara by way of Lake Erie, then on to Albany, New York.   

©  David Minor / Eagles Byte

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Just Received: Unfortunate last-minute news from the Museum:

* * *

Alas!  Our lights are now not working in the main staircase leading to our exhibitions on the third and fourth floors, and we must postpone the South Street Seaport Museum's reopening and WAYZGOOSE at Bowne Printers tonight. [Dec 15th]

The electrical system was patched after Sandy, including a panel that provides light in the stairwell. Our repair has not held, and the staircase is the sole access, given that neither our elevator or our escalator is working.