1795

( Updated 4 / 4 / 2004 )

January
Charles Williamson purchases the slave Hans, the first black in Bath, from Rensselaer Schuyler for $250. ** Connecticut investor William Wadsworth drives three ox teams from New York City to Big Tree (Geneseo) escorting six families to settle there.

Jan 11
A daughter, Dorothea Astor, is born to John Jacob and Sarah Todd Astor.

Jan 21
Last November's Canandaigua Treaty between the U. S. and the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Nation) is ratified by Congress.

Mar 5
The Madison County town of Brookfield is formed from the Oneida County town of Paris.

Mar 7
Indian agent General Israel Chapin dies at Buffalo Creek.

Mar 14
John Jacob Astor writes to London pianoforte manufacturer Tschudi & Broadwood, orders an instrument to be shipped to his family back in New York.

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.

May 12
Columbia College professor Dr. Samuel Latham Mitchill addresses the Tammany Society of New York City on its designated anniversary, describes a highly imaginary history of Chief Tammany.

May 24
Governor Silas Wright is born to Samuel Silas and Eleanor Goodale Wright in Amherst, Massachusetts.

June
The Cayuga sell their 64,000-acre reservation to New York, setting aside 4 lots of about 3200 acres, for $1,800, first of annual payments of that amount, but with no federal official on the scene.

Jun 23
Early Rochester settler Nathaniel Hayward is born in Vermont.

July
James Wadsworth writes his uncle Jeremiah that Genesee Valley lands are high in demand now that the Iroquois have relinquished their title to the eastern part of the Phelps-Gorham Purchase. Lands are going for 20-23 shillings an acre (about $2.40-3.80).

Jul 1
William Wadsworth buys 345 acres of Genesee Valley lands for $100.

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

Sep 1
New York Herald publisher James Gordon Bennett, Sr. is born in Keith, Scotland.

Sep 8
East Bloomfield's Congregational Church, the first church in the village, is formed by the Reverend Zadock Hunn.

Nov 15
East Bloomfield's Congregational Church is officially organized.

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.

City
John Fitch experiments with a steam-driven craft using a screw propeller, on the Collect Pond. ** Astor, back in the U. S. and finding himself short of funds, hurries off to Montréal, writes to Peter Smith at Utica to obtain credit. ** Yellow fever kills close to 750 people. Half the population leaves the city. ** For the third time since 1788, a grand jury indicts the city for its filthy streets. Again nothing is done. ** Further proposals for the city's water supply are made, and ignored. ** Federalist flour merchant John Coles, having purchased rights to build a bridge across the lower Harlem River from a discouraged Lewis Morgan, is granted the right to build a stone dam at the site. ** The Tammany Museum is sold to its director Gardiner Baker. He also purchases Daniel Bowen's New York and Philadelphia waxworks and Bowen's paintings by Robert Edge Pine. ** The American Bank Note Company is founded.

State
Two Englishmen erect a log cabin on the future site of Caledonia. ** Schenectady's Union College is founded. ** A portion of Schoharie County is created from part of Albany County. ** Ephraim Webster is granted 140 acres of land on the future site of Syracuse. ** Lansingburgh Recorder publishers Gardner and Hill leave the state and the paper closes by the end of the year. ** Miller Daniel Penfield begins buying Township 13 Range IV of the Phelps and Gorham Tract. The town will be named after him. ** Cornelius McCoy settles at the future site of Dansville, founded next year. David Sholl builds a mill there. ** Williamson is appointed an Ontario County judge. ** Aaron Hunt and mill builder Jacob Holdren settle in the Canadice Lake area. ** Williamsburgh has twelve houses by the end of the year, Whitestown 40. ** Charles Scholl completes grist and sawmills on Canaseraga Creek for Charles Williamson, at the site of today's Leicester. ** Williamson begins importing cattle from New England in the spring. ** The state assembly moves to New York City temporarily, to be near to ailing governor George Clinton. It remains there, after Clinton retires and is replaced by John Jay. ** Naturalist Amos Eaton enters Williams College, in Massachusetts. ** U. S. senator Aaron Burr, his daughter Theodosia and her husband Joseph Alston, travel to Niagara Falls. Burr leaves his party at Canawagus and travels to the falls at what will become Rochester. He stays overnight with settler Peter Shaeffer at Wheatland. ** Bloomfield's Markham family buys land in Canada, and moves there for the next four years. ** Lawyer and historian Silas Wood is elected to the state legislature. ** New York buys 62,115 acres of Cayuga Nation land on both side of northern Cayuga Lake. The Cayuga retain 1,900 acres. ** Judge William Cooper is elected to Congress. ** Merchant George C. Latta is born to Irish-born businessman Samuel Latta and Sarah Jackson Latta, in Canandaigua. ** During the winter large numbers of oxen-drawn sleds make their way west from the Hudson to the Genesee lands. ** Geneva suffers a Genesee Fever epidemic through the summer. ** Williamson records 31 deeds and 157 mortgages for the Pulteney Associates. His expenses for sundries alone runs to £790. He has sold 463,00 acres to date. ** This year and next Williamson will purchase small tracts of western New York land - four from Thomas Morris, four from Oliver Phelps, and 14,000 acres from Birdsong and Nathaniel Norton. ** Williamson tries to promote investment in Connecticut's Lake Erie lands, sending Colonel Benjamin Walker to Hartford to talk with the Connecticut Legislature. His employer Sir William Pulteney will turn down the proposal. ** Former Oneida County resident Benjamin Cleveland pioneers Chenango County's village of German. ** $600 is added to the building fund for the courthouse and jail near Ballston Spa. ** Pittsford pioneer Israel Stone dies. ** 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. ** Mendon pioneer Cornelius Treat takes 20 bushels of wheat to Canandaigua, where he trades it for a barrel of salt. His wife, Esther Park Treat, dies this year, the first death in the town. ** Herkimer County's German Flats contains 40 homes and a Dutch Reformed Church. ** The Iroquois population has dropped to approximately 3500. ** Vermonter David Rich settles in the Tompkins County town of Caroline, near Willow Bridge. ** Samuel Lewis's state map is published. ** 100,000 acres of Oneida Indian land are conveyed to the state (See 1985). ** The state appoints agents David Brooks, John Cantine, John Richardson, and Philip Schuyler to purchase the remaining Cayuga, Oneida and Onondaga Indian reservation lands for resale.

Bath
Henry and William McElwee begin clearing land for a village. ** The Duke de la Rochefoucault-Liancourt visits Charles Williamson. ** Williamson hosts a "World's Fair".

Rochesterville
Josiah Fish and his son Libbeus travel from Vermont to the mouth of the Genesee in the spring. They stay for a day or two with Frederick Hosmer, one of the two families living there (the other William Hincher's), then set up on their own.In the summer a Mr. Sprague is sent to take charge of Allan's Mill. His wife, three daughters and a son in-law named Fleming go with him, as do the Fishes. They are joined there by hunter John Parks, and his dog. Libbeus Fisher suffers with the ague and fever through the summer.

 

1796


February
English actor Joseph Jefferson makes his New York City debut in The Provoked Husband. ** New York City's council solicits bids for a municipal water system, receives two. Nothing is done. ** New York land speculator James Wadsworth arrives in Plymouth, England.

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.

Mar 18
Steuben County, named for the American Revolution soldier Baron von Steuben, is created out of Ontario County. Governor John Jay appoints William Kersey county judge, Stephen Ross surrogate, William Dunn sheriff and George Cooper county clerk. The Town of Frederickstown is renamed Wayne.

Mar 26
Matthew Clarkson, Thomas Eddy, John Murray, Jr., Isaac Sloatenburgh, and John Watts, are authorized by the state of New York to build a state prison on newly acquired property on Greenwich Street in New York City, to be known as Newgate. A prison in Albany is also authorized but never built.

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.

Apr 6
The state legislature officially adopts the corrected Pre-Emption Line.

June
The English leave forts Niagara and Oswego. ** James Wadsworth reports from England that money is as scarce in Britain's as it is in the U. S. He continues touring farms and manufactories.

July
The first visitors for Charles Williamson's fair begin arriving at Bath.

Jul 21
The Court of Common Pleas for Steuben County first sits in the Bath courthouse.

September
3,000 guests have arrived at Bath for the fair by the middle of the month and it commences. Williamson's purebred Virginia Nell looses a £1,000 race to Silk Stockings, a horse owner by New Jersey sportsman William Dunn. Southerners, who bet heavily on Virginia Nell, lose money, goods and slaves. Bath acquires a black population.

October
Williamson's fair draws to a close. The promotion will end up making a £50,000 profit. ** Over the last six months Williamson spent £1,252:4 in wages on a scheme to make the village of Hopetoun a wheat distribution center. By the end of the year he will spend another £1,524:4:2 more. The experiment will be a failure due to declining levels of the water in the Seneca Lake outlet.

November
The New York City owner of a Barclay Street building destroyed by fire this month starts a public subscription drive for financial aid in recouping his losses. ** After conducting a survey of the Cayuga Reservation, New York auctions off the land for $279,000 in contracts.

December
Williamson visits Philadelphia and agrees to take over part of the Morris Reserve land sold to promoter Andrew Craigie. Pulteney refuses to finance the transaction, but Williamson goes ahead. ** A warehouse fire in lower Manhattan spreads northward from Wall Street, destroying close to 70 buildings between there and Maiden Lane, and costing $1,000,000. Water from the Tea Pump is used in fighting the blaze. ** New York City's council once again solicits bids for a municipal water system, receives two (one from Westchester doctor Joseph Browne), both of which die in committee. ** Tennessee's first congressman Andrew Jackson arrives in Philadelphia.

Dec 6
Leather dresser William Thomson, son-in-law of the Hardenbrook family, who took over the Collect property in lower Manhattan a few days ago, advertises in the New York Minerva promoting his tea water pump business on the property and countering some bad publicity.

City
Some black members of the John Street Church ask Bishop Francis Asbury to conduct separate services for them. He creates the African Chapel under the jurisdiction of the Methodist Episcopal Church. ** The council rejects a state offer to purchase the site of the former Colles Water Works for a prison, turns the land into a dump for street waste. ** Yellow fever kills several dozen people. ** John Fitch tests his screw propeller steamboat on the Collect Pond. Passengers include Robert Fulton, Chancellor R. Livingston, and young John Hutchings, who acts as steersman. John Stevens also experiments with steam on the pond. ** The city attempts to get property owners around The Collect to agree to a canal to drain the pond. Nothing happens. ** A steeple is added to St. Paul's Chapel.

State
The first printing press in Steuben County. William Kersey and James Edie begin publishing the Bath Gazette and Genesee Advertiser. ** Williamson builds a theater in Bath, holding performances every day. ** 800 settlers live in the immediate area, per Williamson's calculations. ** Williamson is elected as Steuben County judge. ** The McElwees finish clearing the Bath land, after 305 days of labor. Their bill will come to nearly $1000. ** A mineral spring bursts out of the ground at Dansville and is named The All Healing Spring. ** The Friends' Yearly Meeting (Quakers) found the Nine Partners Boarding School at Mechanic. ** The Ontario County town of Pittstown (later Honeoye, then Richmond) is formed. ** The 40-ton Seneca Lake sloop Alexander, named for Williamson's father, is launched at Geneva. ** Williamson pays John Woods $112.60 for chimneys at Mile Point in Geneva. $500 worth of furniture and groceries are brought in. ** Williamson builds a hotel in Geneva. The cost of the masonry is $770, $1,400 for lumber from James Barden, and $4,538.47 for carpentry work by David Abbey. ** Printer Lucius Carey arrives in the Genesee Valley to publish a newspaper for Williamson. ** Williamson forms a company along with Samuel Colt, Jacob Hallett, John Johnstone, Thomas Powell, Polydore Wisner, and others, to provide a piped water supply for Geneva. ** Williamson's brother John dies in Scotland. ** James Hanchett visits the Clinton County area that will become Ellenburgh, but soon moves on. ** Oliver Phelps mortgages several parcels of land near Canandaigua to Superintendent of Indian Affairs Israel Chapin and his successors, to serve as security for the regular payment of the rent due the Seneca Indians. ** The approximate date Nathaniel Mallory settles the Essex County town of Jay. ** Whites begin settling the Chateaugay area of Franklin County. ** Massachusetts sells lands abandoned by Phelps and Gorham to Robert Morris later to form the nucleus of the Holland Land Company tract. Land sales are begun. ** Another $600 is added to the building fund for the courthouse and jail near Ballston Spa. ** Richard Hooker and Joseph Blivin settle the Steuben County town of Cohocton. ** The first church in Chester (Warren County) is formed by Baptist minister Jehiel Fox.. ** Charles Williamson builds the Painted Post Tavern on the future site of Corning, to host prospective land buyers. ** 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". ** Early settler James Otto arrives in Macedon. ** Ontario County contains 1258 qualified electors. ** 100 settlers in the Genesee District (western part of Ontario County) register cattle earmarks in the town books. ** A Van Rennselaer Manor farm surveyed for Stewart and Cahoon is leased out to William Larkin. ** Payment comes due on all 1786 purchases of William Cooper's Otsego region properties. Defaults on 48% of the original purchases have been offset when the lands were snapped up by new purchasers. ** The state donates an additional $37,500 to the Western Inland Lock Navigation Company. ** 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.

Rochesterville
Mr. Sprague moves away with his wife, three daughters and son-in-law named Fleming. Josiah Fish and his son Libbeus are joined at the mill by the remainder of Fish's Vermont family - his wife and five children, including daughter Philothetta. ** Gideon King and Zadok Granger began their settlements, having surveys made on both the larger tract and the Allan's Mill plot. King's Landing (later Falltown or Upper Landing, then Hanford's Landing) at the falls is settled.

 

1797


January
Daniel Faulkner brings three loads of goods to the site of Dansville across the state by sleigh from Albany. He builds a one-story frame house in front of his plank shanty later in the year.

Jan 31
The Troy publishing firm of Luther Pratt and Company begins publishing the Farmers' Oracle, the town's first newspaper.

March
Williamson's militia company holds a muster in Bath wearing uniforms paid for by the Pulteney Associates.

Mar 17
The Schoharie County towns of Blenheim and Cobleskill are formed from Schoharie. Middletown (later Middleburgh) is also founded.

Mar 31
Hamilton, taken off of Montgomery County along with Herkimer County in 1791, is restored to Montgomery.

April
With a loan from Charles Williamson, Lucius Carey begins publishing the Geneva Gazette and Genesee Advertiser, using the first printing press in New York's Ontario County. He soon moves the paper to Canandaigua with the county seat.

Apr 3
Broome County, New York, Representative to Congress Judson Allen is born in Plymouth, Connecticut.

May
Williamson pays the Town of Williamson bill for the board of indigent Betsy Prehenos, one of his many charitable contributions.

May 22
Masonic Lodge Number 57 is established in Bath with the enthusiastic backing of Charles Williamson.

Jun 20
The state legislature having passed laws to regulate salt production and land leases for the purpose in the central part of the state, William Stevens is appointed the first Superintendent of Onondaga Salt Springs.

Jul 25
Holland Land Company representative Theophile Cazenove sends surveyor Joseph Ellicott an outline of the company's Genesee Valley lands to be surveyed.

Aug 31
Canadian governor-in-chief Robert Prescott writes to Robert Liston, British envoy to the U. S., alerting him to suspicious activities of a fur trader named John Oster (actually John Jacob Astor). Liston will pass the inquiry on to Secretary of State Timothy Pickering.

September
A stage line begins operating between Utica and Geneva along the Genesee Road, (later Seneca Turnpike, now Route 5). ** Augustus Porter begins working on the Holland Purchase survey.

Sep 15
The Treaty of Big Tree (near Geneseo) is signed with the Seneca. They sell their land to Robert Morris for $100,000, and are restricted to a reservation of under 200,000 acres. Former Indian captive Horatio Jones (Handsome Boy) acts as one of the interpreters. Land around the area of the future Letchworth Park is ceded to Mary Jemison, over the protests of Red Jacket.

Oct 6
Pickering passes word back to Liston after checking with collector of the port of New York Joshua Sands, that Jacob Astor is a fur trader and transports only enough gunpowder for his own business purposes. In reality Astor is now dealing in firearms.

Oct 18
Ellicott writes to Cazenove, reporting that he doesn't trust his circumferator, which depends on a magnetic needle, but that he will have his brother Benjamin build a transit.

Nov 19
Ellicott writes to Cazenove, reporting on the first season of his survey.

Nov 25
Newgate, New York's first state prison, opens on Greenwich Street in New York City.

 

City
Front Street is extended between Beekman Slip (Fulton Street) and Crane's Wharf (Beekman Street). ** John Fitch and John Stevens both experiment with steam powered vessels on the Collect Pond for the second year in a row. ** Philomath (almanac maker) Andrew Beers relocates to Albany. ** Ferry service is launched between Manhattan and the Williamsburgh section of Brooklyn, near today's Grand Street.

State
Tryon Town is established at the site of Indian Landing, at the south end of Irondequoit Bay. ** Eli Granger builds the 30-ton Jemima at the mouth of the Genesee River, the first schooner built in the U. S. ** Charles Wilbur sells his Le Roy cabin to Sullivan Expedition veteran John Ganson. ** Efforts are made to revive Philip Schuyler's plans for a Stillwater Canal, from that village to the Hudson, but nothing comes of them. ** Approximate date of the birth of abolitionist Isabella Van Wagener (Sojourner Truth) in Ulster County. ** The office of State Auditor General is replaced by that of State Comptroller, but the change will not be completed until 1812. ** Tiffany and Wands' American Spy ceases publication. It will be continued by the new Lansingburgh Gazette next year. ** A Federal-style home is built in Kinderhook. Martin Van Buren will buy the house in 1841. ** Philanthropist and social reformer Gerrit Smith is born in Utica. ** Charles Scholl builds a grist mill, and later a distillery, on a creek in Williamsburgh. ** Charles Williamson, Thomas Morris, Joseph Annin, John Harris, and Wilhelmus Mynderse incorporate the Cayuga Bridge Company to construct a span across the northern end of Cayuga Lake. It will be built by Swartwood & Deman of New York City. ** Part of Otsego County is taken off for Delaware County. ** Part of today's Hamilton County is taken off Herkimer County and annexed to Montgomery County. ** The first settlement in Chautauqua County is formed by Amos Sottle at the mouth of Cattaraugus Creek. It will become the village of Irving. ** Residents of Bath hold their first town meeting. Provisions are made for fence inspections, with Andrew Smith named fence walker, and for bounties on wolves and panthers. ** Steuben County joins Cayuga, Onondaga, Ontario and Tioga in the Tenth Congressional District. The first town meetings are held in the spring. ** Avon innkeeper Gilbert R. Berry dies. His widow will continue the business until 1812. ** Geneva has its own water supply, using pipes made from tamarack trees with holes bored through them. ** Williamson publishes a pamphlet of five letters extolling the benefits of living in the Genesee country and of subsidies to be provided for settlers. ** The western New York land boom peaks, sales begin declining. ** Williamson obtains legislation permitting up to $45,000 to be raised for roads, by lottery. He is appointed the sole road commissioner for Ontario County. ** The New York Council of Appointments promotes Williamson from captain to lieutenant commandment of a state militia battalion. ** Williamson's land sales total £228,142:4:7. and estimated conditional sales of £1,022,231:1:9. ** Ezra Turner settles on Clinton County's Salmon River, founding Schuyler Falls. ** The Surveyor-General lays out a tract of 15,000 acres around Onondaga Lake, to be known as the Onondaga Salt Springs Reservation and used for the production of salt. ** Indian scout Benjamin Patterson, hired by Charles Williamson to operate the Painted Post Tavern, arrives from Northumberland (today's Sunbury), Pennsylvania, by way of the Susquehanna and Chemung rivers. ** The oldest headstone in the Brown Road Cemetery in Caroline, Tompkins County, dates back to this date.

Albany
Meeting at the Stadt Huys, the newly chosen state capital, the state legislature votes to erect a public building there for archival storage. It is known as the State Hall. The first commissioners are Philip Schuyler, Abraham Ten Broeck, Jeremiah Van Rensselaer, Daniel Hale and Teunis T. Van Vechten. ** The Ten Broeck Mansion is built. ** A fire burns 96 buildings, leaving 150 families homeless.

Schenectady
The first bridge is constructed across the Mohawk River here. It's blown over before completion and rebuilt in 1803. ** The village trustees place an order with a London firm for two hand fire engines.

Ohio
Cleveland's first settlers, Lorenzo Carter, Colonel Alexander Harper, Elijah Gun, Ezekial Lawley and James Kingsbury, arrive. Harper buys a township and names it Harpersfield, after his New York State home.

 

1798


( Updated 11 / 7 / 2004 )

Jan 16
The Essex County town of Jay, named for state governor John Jay, is formed from Willsborough.

February
Isaac Mann, Jr., Stillwater supplier of logs to New York City for its water system pipes during the Colles project, petitions the city for payment of the balance due. Records cannot be found for the contract and the council suggests Mann sue for his money.

Feb 23
Rockland County is taken off Orange County.

March
The survey of the Holland Land Company's new territory is begun by Joseph Ellicott and his crew (including his brother Benjamin, Amzi Atwater, George Burgess, Ebenezer Carey, George Eggleston, Augustus Porter, Warnham Shepard, John Smedley, Richard M. Stoddard and John Thompson.) They will clear a path four rods wide from the Pennsylvania border to Lake Ontario - the Transit Line.

Mar 2
The Montgomery County town of Minden is formed from the town of Canajoharie. ** A correspondent for the New York Gazette & General Advertiser estimates that the average cost of Tea Water is $15 per family, suggests an annual tax to raise money for a public waterworks. Nothing will come of the suggestion.

Mar 9
The Schuyler County town of Catharine, including the inlet of Seneca Lake, is formed from the Chemung County town of Newtown (later Elmira), New York.

Mar 15
Oneida County is formed from Herkimer County. Oneida's town of Augusta is formed from Whitestown. Rensem is formed from Norway, New York.

Mar 16
The Sullivan County town of Deerpark is formed from the town of Mamakating, later becomes part of Orange County.

Mar 26
Schenectady becomes the third chartered city in the state.

Mar 30
New state regulations go into effect for those producing salt in the Onondaga Lake region, regulating leases, rents, production levels, quantities, and packaging. They call for the establishment of a village at Salt Point at the eastern end of the lake.

Apr 2
The Niagara Canal Company is chartered, to build a canal between lakes Erie and Ontario, along the Niagara River. It's never built. ** The New York Assembly, bribed by Theophile Cazenove of the Holland Land Company, passes the Alien Land Holding Act, permitting foreigners to own land in the state. The State Attorney receives $3,000, Thomas Morris $1,000 and Aaron Burr $5,500.

Apr 3
Fort Schuyler becomes a village and its name is changed to Utica.

Apr 6
The State Legislature calls for the surveying of a mile-long reservation along the Niagara River to be set aside for the Alleghany Indians.

May
French cartographers Haudeceour de Jaumeville and Alexandre Autrechy, sent by Theophile Cazenove from Philadelphia, join Joseph Ellicott's surveying party.

May 10
Surveyor Joseph Ellicott receives his official instructions from Theophile Cazenove.

Jun 14
Benjamin Ellicott is sworn in as surveyor for the Holland Purchase.

July
Eli Granger sells the schooner Jemima to Augustus Porter of Lewiston. ** Surveyor Seth Pease joins Joseph Ellicott's team. ** Surveyor Melancton Smith dies of yellow fever in New York City, the first death in a summer-long epidemic in the city that will claim 2,086 lives.

Jul 2
Westchester County, New York, doctor Joseph Browne, Aaron Burr's brother-in-law, writes that the health of a city depends more on the quality of its water than any other comestibles. He proposes supplying the city from the Bronx River.

Jul 31
The state legislature authorizes the storage of colonial records in Albany's new State Hall. Some records, damaged while sequestered on board ship during the Revolution, will be transcribed.

August
Yellow fever has claimed close to 100 New York City lives by the early part of the month. A carpenter sends around a wagon loaded with coffins to be sold in the streets. ** New York's City Council appoint a temporary health committee to aid the indigent though the epidemic. They will spend $5,000 over the next three months.

September
1,000 New Yorkers die of yellow fever, including the family of doctor Alexander Anderson. He will later turn to engraving.

Sep 2
New York doctor Elihu Smith writes that new cases of yellow fever are dwindling, due to the small number of people remaining in the city.

Sep 13
63 New Yorkers die of yellow fever, including the father of a future mayor, 17-year-old Philip Hone.

Sep 17
Doctor Elihu Smith contracts yellow fever.

Sep 18
Hone's mother dies of yellow fever.

Sep 19
Elihu Smith dies of the fever.

October
French emigre the Count de Colbert Maulevrier, touring western New York with a large party of men and women, stop at Ganson's Settlement (Le Roy) and are entertained. ** New York's yellow fever death toll tops 400. ** New York City museum owner Gardiner Baker dies in Boston in his mid-thirties. His Tammany Museum collection is sold.

Oct 6
Le Comte de Colbert Maulevrier, traveling on horseback from Canandaigua by way of Perinton, arrives at Allan's Mills. He meets the Fishes, finds two families on their way to York (today's Toronto) waiting for schooner to take them across Lake Ontario.

Oct 7
Josiah Fish shows Maulevrier the falls of the Genesee, who afterwards travels up the river and stays overnight at the farm of Peter Shaeffer near Scottsville.

November
Over 2000 New Yorkers are now dead from yellow fever. Colder weather ends the epidemic.

Nov 5
Joseph Ellicott instructs Pease on surveying the Niagara River.

Nov 6
Ellicott instructs Pease on laying out New York's reserved lands along the Niagara and making a map of the lands, and calculating the contents of the water in Chautauqua Lake for Robert Morris.

Nov 15
John Jacob Astor advertises in the New York Gazette and General Advertiser that he has 24 cannons and other military supplies for sale.

December
Nicholas Roosevelt revives his proposals for supplying water to New York City. Judge William Cooper proposes a plan to lay water pipes there.

Dec 12
New York land proprietors' representative James Rees writes to Holland Land Company surveyor Seth Pease, requesting a corrected traverse survey of the Genesee River affecting his clients, who had purchased land from Robert Morris, including properties for Watson Craigie & Greenleaf, Andrew Craigie, Samuel Ogden, Garrett Cotringer, Alexander Hamilton, Samuel Sterett, Thomas Morris, Jones and Smith, and LeRoy, Bayard and McEvers (the Triangle Tract).

Dec 17
A New York City committee chosen to evaluate water supply proposals - John Bogert, John B. Coles, Jacob de la Montagnie, and Gabriel Furman - reports that the Bronx River is the best source, but that a few alterations need to made to Joseph Browne's plans.

Dec 26
Land agent James Rees writes to Seth Pease requesting corrections to the eastern boundary line.

City
A residence is built at 207 Front Street. ** John Stevens conducts steamboat experiments on Collect Pond for the third year in a row. ** The Park Theatre opens at 23 Park Row. ** Population: 4,000 households. ** Three health commissioners requested by the city and appointed under the state "Act to provide against infectious and pestilential Diseases" are empowered to enforce the city's health regulations. Dr. Richard Bayley is named head of the Health Office. ** Coles' bridge across the Harlem River is completed but his mill works at the site is still unfinished. ** The Tammany Society moves from its usual Barden's Tavern meeting spot at Broadway near Bowling Green to new quarters at Brom Martling's Tavern at Nassau and Spruce. The new place is nicknamed the Wigwam. ** The state legislature recognizes The Corporation for the Relief of Widows and Children of Clergymen of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the State of New York as a separate entity from a three-state umbrella organization. ** The United Insurance Company and the New-York Insurance Company for Maritime Insurance are chartered. ** Upstate land speculator James Wadsworth arrives, back from a stay in England.

State
Robert R. Livingston secures an exclusive contract from the legislature to operate a steamboat on all waters of the state for twenty years, provided he can build such a vessel within a year. ** The first printing press in Cayuga County. ** Ephraim Webster is elected Justice of the Peace and Supervisor of the town of Onondaga. ** Joseph Ellicott is hired to perform a survey of the Holland Land Company purchase, aided by his brother Benjamin and a 130-man crew. ** The approximate year pioneer William Johnston marries a Seneca Indian and is given two square miles of land at the mouth of Buffalo Creek. He is the first title holder of the Holland Land Company. He erects a sawmill and four other buildings. ** Martha Hultz, aged 4, is brought to the Hector area from Enfield, Connecticut, by her parents. ** Scots from Perthshire emigrate to the eastern part of the state. ** Philadelphia businessman James Brisbane opens a storehouse in Stafford. ** Connewango pioneer James Battles is born in Vermont. ** Elisha Alvord, Ebenezer Butler, Asa Danforth, Thomas Hart, Daniel K2­T4#ÝOlcott and J0Q0iah Sanger organize the Federal Company to manufacture salt on the shores of Lake Onondaga. ** Indians in the Mile Strip along the Niagara River grant Horatio Jones and Jasper Parrish two square miles of land north of Scajaquada Creek, near the northern city limit of today's Buffalo. ** Francis Adancourt begins publishing the Clintonian Democratic Farmer's Register, at Lansingburgh. ** General Timothy Hopkins settles at the future site of Alden. ** Part of Chenango County is taken off Herkimer County. ** Tobias Newcomb builds a windmill at Williamsburgh, at a cost of $20. ** Vincent Matthews becomes the first politician from the Steuben County area to be elected to the state senate. Charles Williamson is elected a representative. ** The state legislature declares Keuka, Lamoka, and Waneta lakes; the Canisteo and Conhocton rivers; as well as Mead and Mud Creeks, to be public highways. ** Using lottery revenues, the state launches a road-building period with a bridge over the Conhocton River at Cameron Street in Bath as well as a road from there to Hornell. ** Settler and lumber mill operator Frederick Bartles ships over a hundred thousand feet of timber from Mud Lake to Baltimore in his fleet of arks. He wins contracts for next year. ** Bronx foundry owner and inventor Jordan L. Mott is born in Manhasset, Long Island. ** Botanist, chemist and physician Lewis Caleb Beck is born in Schenectady. ** Circulation of Lucius Carey's Geneva Gazette and Genesee Advertiser, now published in Canandaigua, is reportedly close to 1,000. ** Williamson has spent $7,700 on Ontario County roads to date. His Description of the Genesee Country is published in Albany. ** Geneva's Presbyterian church is established. ** James and Robert Cravarth, John Gillett, and Elijah Mason settle the future Cortland County town of Preble. ** Henry Everts settles the Scriba area of Oswego County. ** Construction begins on the German Flats Canal. ** Batavia has three recorded inhabitants - Joseph Ellicott and his brother Benjamin, and James Brisbane. ** Freegift Patchin settles in the town of Blenheim and builds a mill on West Kill. ** When the younger Isaac Mann, Stillwater supplier of logs to New York City for its water system pipes, petitions the city for payment of the balance due him, records cannot be found for the contract. ** Albany's First Reformed Dutch Church is built. ** William Cooper builds a home, Otsego Hall, at Cooperstown. ** The Eaton's Neck lighthouse is built on Long Island Sound in Suffolk County. ** Archibald McIntyre is elected to the state assembly from Montgomery County for the first of two consecutive terms. ** Quakers in southwestern New York begin teaching the Senecas the use of the plow and animal husbandry. ** State surveyor general Simeon De Witt misinterprets Dr. William Petry's description of the villages of Herkimer and German Flatts, facing each other across the Mohawk River. The names are switched and never corrected.

Bath
The First Baptist Church is organized.

Rochesterville
The wife of Josiah Fish dies at Allan's Mills. Their daughter Sophia marries Frederic Hosmer.

Technology
Fulton experiments with a four-bladed flywheel to propel a boat. ** Livingston rejects Nicholas Roosevelt's suggestion of using John Sevens's side-wheels on a steamboat. Roosevelt and James Smallman patent a steam engine. ** John Stevens conducts steamboat experiments on New York City's Collect Pond for the third year in a row.

 

1799


Jan 7
James Rees writes to surveyor Seth Pease, anxious to hurry along the corrected traverse survey of the Genesee River.

Mar 1
Essex County is formed from Clinton County.

Mar 8
Cayuga County is formed out of Onondaga County. ** The Onondaga County town of Camillus is formed from Marcellus.

Mar 15
The Franklin County town of Chateaugay is formed from Champlain. ** The town line between Sharon and Cobleskill, in Schoharie County, is changed.

Mar 23
The Delaware County town of Roxbury is formed from Stamford. ** Orange County's Town of Blooming Grove is formed from Cornwall.

Mar 25
The Warren County town of Chester is formed from Thurman.

Mar 29
New York State passes a gradual emancipation act.

Mar 31
The Colonie section of Albany is incorporated.

May 25
The board of supervisors of Bath meets for the first time. Canisteo's first supervisor, Uriah Stephens presides. Charles Cameron is appointed as the first Steuben County treasurer.

July
John Jacob Astor sails to London with a shipment of furs.

Aug 1
Pease's surveying party encounters a scarcity of drinking water, is forced to use some found deep in a hole punched in the ground by a fallen tree.

November
Hector pioneer William Wickham falls from his horse and drowns in the Seneca Lake inlet.

Nov 23
John Jacob and Sarah Astor's 23-month old son dies.

December
Philadelphia lawyer Philip Church meets Anna Stewart at Washington's funeral. They will marry in 1805 and move to the New York frontier.

Dec 17
The news of former president George Washington's death three days earlier reaches New York City.

Dec 22
Young Gulielama Elmore Sands disappears from her sister's Greenwich Street home in New York City. The mystery will be solved next year.

City
Attorney Marshall S. Bidwell is born. ** Merchant Peter Schermerhorn takes his son into the business and opens a store on Water Street. ** Aaron Burr smuggles a charter for the Bank of Manhattan through the legislature, disguised as one for a city water company. ** Colonel William Smith, son-in-law of John Adams, builds a carriage house on his property that will later become a day resort, then the Abigail Adams Smith Museum. ** John Jacob Astor's net worth is over $100,000.

State
Scots immigrants living in Johnstown buy land from Charles Williamson of the Pultney interests and an advance party of 23 settle Big Springs (later Caledonia). ** Williamson is named as a state representative again. ** Utica contains fifty houses. ** Joseph Ellicott plats the Buffalo Creek site. It's to be called New Amsterdam. ** A number of families settle along Le Roy's East Main Road. ** Dr. Samuel L. Mitchell is retained by the Society for Promoting Agriculture Arts, and Manufactures to publish an essay on the rocks in the state. ** Seneca sachem Handsome Lake sees visions, becomes a prophet. ** Albany's population reaches 5,000. ** Discouraged by the changing political scene, judge and U. S. Congressman William Cooper resigns both positions. ** Legislation is passed to control quality of the salt manufactured in the Onondaga area. Further packaging, inspection and shipping standards are also mandated. ** Early Connewango settler Asabel Brown is born in Grand Isle, Vermont. ** With land sales faltering the state begins a system of taxes. ** The first distance markers on the Williamson Trail are erected by Laverne Beatty, between Bath and Cohocton, at a cost of $7.00. ** Amos Eaton graduates from Williams College with a degree in law. ** Geologist Ebenezer Emmons is born. ** Holland Land Company General Agent Theophilus Cazenove is fired and returns to his native Switzerland. He will be replaced next year by Paolo Busti. ** Judge William Cooper is elected to Congress for a second term. ** Daniel Carroll of Hagerstown, Maryland, and his brother Charles of Washington, D. C. make their first trip to the Pulteney lands. ** Gouverneur Morris's agent David Ford settles the village of Brier Hill, in the St. Lawrence County Town of Morristown.

 

© 2001 David Minor / Eagles Byte

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