NYNY 1837 - 1840


Feb 13
Rioters protest high food prices in New York City, storm the wheat-and-flour store of Eli Hart & Company. Several people die and much grain is destroyed. The prices soon rise again.

Feb 18
Charlatan William Rockefeller marries Eliza Davison, against her family's wishes, at Richford.

Mar 18
Future Buffalo mayor and U. S. President Stephen Grover Cleveland is born in Caldwell, New Jersey, to Congregationalist minister the Reverend Richard Falen Cleveland and Anne Neal Cleveland.

Apr 3
Naturalist John Burroughs is born near Roxbury.

Apr 27
The Seneca Falls Academy is incorporated by the state legislature.

The first locomotive for the Rochester & Tonawanda Railroad Company arrives by boat on the Erie Canal.

May 2
William B. Ogden, brother-in-law of New York investor Charles Butler, is elected Mayor of Chicago.

May 3
The first regular passenger train on Rochester & Tonawanda Railroad begins service.

May 10
New York banks suspend specie payment, precipitating a financial panic in the U. S. and seven years of a depression.

May 11
The first train leaves Rochester for Churchville, Bergen, Byron and finally Batavia, where its passengers are treated to a dinner at the Eagle Hotel, before making the return rail trip to Rochester. ** Rochester's Daily Democrat publishes its first story delivered by carrier pigeon.

Jun 27
New York State makes the first payment on Erie Canal Enlarged Lock 18 at Cohoes.

The reported date U. S. Indian agent James Stryker signs a bond over to Henry P. Wilcox for $7143, previously used to pay the Seneca Nation an annuity per the Phelps Gorham land transaction of 1788. The tribe had not been told of or consented to the transferral and further payments cease.

Former Batavia newspaper editor Frederick Follett returns from Texas to resume the editorship of the Spirit of the Times. ** William C. Redfield's account of the Mount Marcy climb begins appearing in the New York Journal of Commerce.

Sep 2
Alfred Vail observes a demonstration of the telegraph by Samuel F. B. Morse at the University of the City of New York.

Sep 23
Morse and Vail sign a contract - Vail will secure foreign and domestic patents for the telegraph at his own expense, in return for a quarter interest in U. S. rights and a half interest in foreign rights.

Dec 29
The lake steamer Caroline stops in Buffalo to take on volunteers for McKenzie's rebellion. Canadian militia forces destroy the Caroline, used to transport arms to Canadian rebels. U. S. citizen Amos Durfee is killed. One rebel is killed, the ship set on fire, blown up and sent over the Falls.

Population: 300,000. ** The Sandy Hook Bar, stretching from Sandy Hook, New Jersey, to Rockaway, Long Island, is dredged to a depth of twenty-three feet. ** Whig alderman Aaron Clark is elected mayor for the next two one-year terms. ** The city is granted jurisdiction over underwater land on the North (Hudson) River as far north as 13th Avenue. ** The U. S. Navy's first steam warship Fulton is launched from the Brooklyn Navy Yard. ** Jakob Uhl of the New Yorker Staats Zeitung newspaper marries Anna Behr. ** J. M. Church begins publishing The Word. ** The approximate date the Open Board of Brokers is formed.

The Le Roy Female Seminary (later Ingham University), the first woman's college in the U. S., is founded in Le Roy, by sisters and former Attica schoolteachers Mariette and Emily Bingham. ** Brockport's Baptist Institute closes due to financial problems of the New York Baptist Convention. ** The Ellenville Glassworks opens. ** Contracts are let for construction of the Genesee Valley Canal. ** T. A. Conrad is given the task of compiling a paleontological survey of the state. ** Work on the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) line between Mineola and Hempstead is halted for the next four years by the financial panic. ** Batavia's Holland Land Office sells its remaining land and ceases operations. ** Troy's Carr Mansion is built. ** William Henry Bartlett paints a view of the Hudson River from Hyde Park. ** The Genesee and Wyoming Seminary opens in a cobblestone building in Alexander. ** Last year's climbing party succeeds in reaching the top of Mount Marcy, the first recorded ascent. ** Early Connewango settler-farmer John Fairbanks dies. ** The Chenango Canal goes into operation. ** Former New York Supreme Court justice and governor Joseph Christopher Yates dies in Schenectady in his late sixties. ** Farmer Village (Interlaken) minister Winfield Scott is born in Michigan to James B. and Margaret Scott. ** A lead mine is opened near Martinsburgh Village in Lewis County. ** The current East Penfield Baptist Church building is completed at a cost of $1250. ** The Chemung Canal, connecting Binghamton and the Erie Canal at Utica, is completed. ** Moses Hale, MD, first Secretary of the Renssalaer School, dies, in his late fifties. ** Publication of Livingston County's Livingston Register is suspended for a brief time.

The city ceases using Maezlandt Kill for its water supply.

Erie Canal
3,955 boats arrive in Buffalo harbor this year. 4,755 craft lock through the canal.

Construction begins on a new Erie Canal aqueduct over the Genesee River. ** The city's first murder occurs. ** A wall is built along the Genesee River through downtown. ** A public market building is erected on Market Street (formerly Mason Street), which is then renamed Front Street. ** Wealthy St. Louis fur trader Henry Shaw builds a house for his parents. ** Mayor Jonathan Child begins building a home on South Washington Street. ** Louis Seyle's fire engine manufacturing company at Brown's Race is destroyed by fire. ** U. S. Senator Daniel Webster speaks in the Court House square. ** Because of a poor national economy, the city opens a municipal soup-kitchen. ** Revival meetings are held.

The Old School Party of the Presbyterian Church meets in Philadelphia and proposes a severance of all local churches not following strict Presbyterian doctrine. When the whole Assembly of the church takes place later in the year, the Old School faction, having a small majority, proceeds to abrogate the Plan of Union between the Presbyterian and Congregationalist Churches, and to declare that the Synods of Utica, Geneva, Genesee, and Western Reserve, are not consistent parts of the Presbyterian church.



The packet boat Pennsylvania arrives in New York City, having made the voyage from Liverpool, England, in fifteen days. ** Rochester's Ever Ready Neptune Bucket Company No. 1, made up of young men between the ages of 14 and 17 years, is formed and becomes part of the Firemen's Association.

Jan 4
Rochester's first anti-slavery society is formed.

Apr 17
The Grammar School of Columbia College and the Grammar School University of City of New York are chartered by the New York Board of Regents.

Apr 18
The Allegany town of West Grove (the future Granger) is formed out of Grove. ** Fulton County is taken off of Montgomery County.

Apr 22
The British ship Sirius, the second ship to steam across the Atlantic, arrives in New York City from Liverpool, England.

Apr 23
The steamship Great Western arrives in New York after a passage of 12 days and 18 hours.

May 11
W. D. Kent and T. A. Jennings, two teenage members of Rochester's Ever Ready Neptune Bucket Company No. 1, offer their resignations, complaining it is too hard to pull the fire apparatus through the streets. Kent's resignation is accepted; Jennings is expelled.

Jun 15
The steamship Pulaski is wrecked off Cape Hatteras. 100 die, among them New York State judge and former candidate for governor William B. Rochester.

Jun 26
The first annual parade of Brooklyn Sunday schools is held. It will become the Brooklyn-Queens (Anniversary, Rally) Day celebration.

Aug 17
Italian-born librettist, professor and dramatic impresario Lorenzo Da Ponte dies in New York City at the age of 89. He will be buried in Calvary Cemetery.

Sep 4
Rochester's Ever Ready Neptune Bucket Company passes a resolution requiring that no member be allowed to resign without sufficient reason and that no member of the company make remarks derogatory to the general character of the officers, or of their abilities.

Oct 29
Isaac C. Sheldon begins publishing Cuba, New York's Cuba Advocate. It's published for several years.

Nov 7
William Henry Seward is elected governor of New York.

Dec 3
Meteorologist-astronomer Cleveland Abbe is born in New York City to Baptist merchant George Waldo Abbe and Charlotte Colgate Abbe.

Lawyers George Griffin and George Washington Strong dissolve their practice. Strong takes on Marshall S. Bidwell as his new partner. Strong's son George Templeton Strong also joins the firm as a clerk. ** Edwin H. Chapin, future pastor of the Universalist Church here, is ordained in Boston. ** Brunel's steamship Great Western makes its transatlantic voyage, inaugurating service to New York.

The Scottsville and Le Roy Railroad is built at the cost of $40,0000, using wooden rails. It only reaches from Scottsville to Caledonia. ** Rochester boat tonnage drops to 408 tons. Oswego's reaches 6,582 tons and Buffalo's is 9,615 tons. Flour and bulk wheat receipts for Buffalo surpass those of the former leader, New Orleans, Louisiana. ** The steamboat Washington burns off Silver Creek. Twelve people die. ** A bank is built in Le Roy at the corner of Market and Main streets. Market will be renamed Bank Street. ** South Bristol is split off from Bristol. ** The first church (Methodist Episcopalian) in North Hudson, Essex County is formed. ** The Monroe County Total Abstinence Society has over 2,000 members. ** A daughter, Lucy, is born to William and Eliza Rockefeller, in Richford - their first child. ** The state registry of canal boats is completed.

Erie Canal
The Jordan Level, between Montezuma and Camillus, is straightened, shortening the stretch by a mile and saving $18,323.72 in cost. ** The state floats a bond issue of $4,000,000 for enlarging the canal.

Clyde Street is renamed St. Paul Street for the local Episcopal church. River Street becomes South St. Paul.** The public cemetery is moved from the west side of town to the east bank of the Genesee River. The street and cemetery are named Mount Hope. ** The three-mile Carthage horse-car railroad is discontinued, a victim of the Panic of 1837. ** Henry O'Reilly's Sketches of Rochester. ** George Ellwanger buys the seed store of Reynolds and Bateham, and joins Patrick Barry in founding nurseries at Mount Hope. ** Abelard Reynolds is named alderman of the first ward. ** Elisha Johnson is elected the city's fifth mayor. He issues a report to the common council proving the financial savings to be made by having a public water system. The report is ignored. ** Students at Rochester High School form the Rochester Lyceum or Youths Debating Association. It will remain in existence for the next two years. ** The mayor is granted a salary for the first time, $400 a year, out of which he is to pay his office rent. ** Export trade worth between $4,000,000 and $5,000,000 passes through the Port of the Genesee at Charlotte. ** The city provides public employment breaking stone, in the spring. ** Revival meetings are held. ** Myron Holley makes a series of speeches in Monroe County advocating abolition as a political cause.



Jan 1
The Le Roy Bank of Genesee, capitalized at $100,000, is chartered.

Jan 26
Stephen Van Renssalaer, last of the Dutch patroons, dies.

Feb 5
The Seneca Falls Academy is chartered by the state board of Regents.

Feb 16
Albany Medical College is incorporated.

Rochester's Ever Ready Neptune Bucket Company No. 1 changes its name to the Avenger Company.

Mar 6
The Allegany County town of West Grove is renamed Granger.

Apr 1
The Adirondack Railroad is organized. Capitalized at $100,000, it is designed to connect the Adirondack Iron Works with Clear Pond. It is never built.

Apr 16
Members of the Avenger Company take umbrage over the way they are treated by Mr. Judson, foreman of the regular volunteer firemen, at the conclusion of a fire.

Apr 29
The Oswego and Syracuse Railroad company is formed. The route will be surveyed in the summer.

May 2
The Rochester Lyceum or Youths Debating Association goes into committee to find ways of making meetings more interesting and useful.

May 27
The immigrant ship Bowditch arrives in New York from Liverpool, England, with 231 passengers aboard.

Jun 4
The Avenger Company, angry over their treatment by the regular fire brigades and the city of Rochester, disbands, firing off a parting shot in the daily newspapers.

Jun 12
The claimed date that Abner Doubleday invents modern rules for baseball, at Cooperstown.

Jun 28
Rochester's Union Grays march to the Court House yard, escorted by Captain Loud's company of regulars and Williams Light Infantry, to receive a stand of colors from the Ladies, represented by Graham H. Chapin, Esq.

Jul 8
Industrialist John D. Rockefeller is born to William and Eliza Rockefeller, in Richford.

Jul 26
The Rochester Lyceum or Youths Debating Association argues the question, "Resolved that Henry Clay deserves the office of President of the United States of America more than Gen. Scott."

Sep 2
Corning residents meet at the home of S. B. Denton to establish a school system for the village.

Sep 28
Temperance leader Frances Elizabeth Willard is born in Churchville.

The Seneca River Towing Path of the New York State Barge Canal connects Mud Lock on the Oswego Canal to the outlet of Onondaga Lake.

Oct 1
Herman Melville arrives back in New York City on the Lawrence.

Nov 15
Abolitionists, meet in Warsaw, New York, leading to the formation of the Liberty Party. They nominate James G. Birney for President of the United States and Pennsylvania's Francis J. Lemoyne as Vice-President.

Anti-rent protestors in western Albany County disperse quietly when the governor sends forces to assist the civil authorities.

Dec 18
English-born U. S. physician - scientist John William Draper, working with inventor Samuel F. B. Morse and the new daguerreotype method Morse has brought back from France, makes the first U. S. celestial photograph, of the Moon, in New York City.

Democratic alderman Isaac I. Varian wins two one-year terms as mayor, defeating Whig candidate Aaron Clark this year and Whig J. P. Phoenix in 1840. ** William F. Harnden starts a Boston-to-New York package service, carrying them in a carpetbag. ** The second Trinity Church, weakened by heavy snows on the roof, is demolished. ** A group of city businessmen found the non-profit Apollo Association for the Promotion of the Fine Arts in the United States (later known as the American Art Union). ** The first public display here of daguerreotypes is presented.

Builder John Canfield is born in Churchville. ** The Genesee Valley Canal reaches Mount Morris. ** William Henry Seward becomes the state's first Whig governor, serving two terms - 1839-1843. ** General William Kerley Strong erects a Greek Revival mansion on Geneva's Rose Hill Farm. ** A railroad connects Corning with the Pennsylvania coal fields. ** Junius peppermint farmer Peter Hill moves to Lyons, having bought property at the future site of Erie Canal Lock E-56. ** A Stafford silkworm operation contains 6,000 mulberry trees and 72,000 worms. ** American Revolution heroine Sybil Ludington dies in her late seventies. ** The Albany Exchange Building is erected at Broadway and State Street by a joint stock company. It will hold the post office, the New York Central Railroad office and other offices. ** Geneva-born author Caroline Matilda Stansbury Kirkland publishes A New Home: Who'll Follow, an account of her life in the Detroit frontier settlements. ** Ulysses S. Grant enters West Point. ** Northern general-tactician Emory Upton is born in Batavia. ** A foundry in Perry is destroyed by fire. Townspeople pitch in to rebuild the structure, which later becomes part of the Robeson cutlery plant. ** H. and W. Clark's Cobblestone Hotel (the J. P. Hicks Building) in Liverpool is completed. ** Slave Harriett Powell is liberated while on a visit to Syracuse. ** Setauket, Long Island, historian and writer Benjamin Thompson dedicates his A History of Long Island to writer Silas Wood. He perpetuates Wood's totally incorrect list of the tribes of the island and their locations, and claims the tribes sold their lands to the whites in honest transactions. ** The route for the Oswego and Syracuse Railroad company is surveyed. ** Canandaigua leather shop owner William Blossom Hayton is born. ** New York Loyalist Anthony Allaire dies in New Brunswick, Canada, in his mid-eighties. ** A 650-foot deep salt well is drilled along the enlarged Erie Canal at Montezuma.

Company directors liquidate the Rochester Canal and Railway Company. ** Over a dozen local companies now haul passengers and freight on the Erie Canal. ** Part of Brighton is annexed by Irondequoit. ** The city's population reaches 20,000. 73% of the population is under thirty years of age, only 5 % over fifty. Catholics now compose slightly more than 20 % of the city's population. ** The city has a permanent twelve man police force. ** The annual city budget is just over $100,000 and taxes levied amount to $17,500. The salaries of the city's part-time officers amounts to under $3,000, most expenditures being for the street paving program and a limited number of other public services. ** Elder Jacob Knapp holds a very successful revival meeting. ** Close to one-third of children in the city receive no education. Of the rest, half go to private schools, half to public, fee-based, schools.



( Updated 6 / 20 / 2004 )

Jan 1
New York City's Knickerbocker Alleys holds the first recorded indoor bowling match in the U. S.

Jan 23
Schuylerville Academy is incorporated by the New York State Board of Regents.

Jan 26
A missionary returned from Syria speaks at Rochester's Brick Church.

Writer-poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, visiting New York City, is forced to return to Boston by way of coach when Long Island Sound freezes over, preventing the steamboats from operating.

Feb 13
The State legislature provides for the direct election of mayors.

Mar 3
Military officer William Wallace Gilbert is born in Rochester.

Mar 16
Western New York celebrates its semi-centennial.

Apr 1
The abolitionist Liberty Party meets in Albany to nominate James Gillespie Birney of New York and Thomas Earle of Pennsylvania for president and vice-president. Rochester's Myron Holley is one of the party's organizers.

May 6
Congressman and state senator John Raines is born in Canandaigua.

Batavia newspaper publisher Frederick Follett sells the Spirit of the Times to Lucas Seaver, and joins Peter Lawrence in publishing the new Batavia Times and Farmers and Mechanics Journal.

Aug 19
Daniel Webster speaks at Saratoga.

Sep 1
The first boat to use the completed section of New York State's Genesee Valley Canal, traveling from Rochester to Mount Morris, stops at Cuylerville's National Hotel for a celebration.

Sep 10
The locomotive The Young Lion inaugurates New York's Auburn & Rochester Railroad.

Sep 12
The first train on the Auburn & Rochester Railroad arrives in Canandaigua.

Population: 312,710. ** The Admiral's House is built, on Governor's Island. ** Henry James marries Mary Walsh. They will be the parents of William and Henry James. ** Catholic parochial schools begin getting state aid.

The Atlantic Dock Company is established. ** The village of Williamsburg becomes a town, with a population of 5,000. ** Fernando Wood's grocery and grog shop goes out of business.

The town of Irondequoit is carved out of the town of Brighton, on the outskirts of Rochester. ** Angelica's Allegany Gazette begins publication. ** The first Orange County Fair is held. ** Population: Albany: 34,000; Rochester: 20,195; Utica: 13,000; Troy: 15,000. ** Wayne County peppermint farmer Peter Hill begins dismantling his private grocery building to move it out of the way of the Erie Canal enlargement. ** William Tecumseh Sherman graduates from West Point. ** The approximate date Elijah T. Hayden builds Syracuse's Leavenworth House hotel, at the corner of James and McBride streets. ** Le Roy storekeeper Lathrop S. Bacon opens an iron foundry that will begin manufacturing stoves. ** Henry R. Worthington invents the direct acting steam pump, installs it on his Erie Canal boat. Pressure from established boatmen forces the paddlewheeler off the canal after a few seasons. ** The Genesee Valley Canal is completed to Shakers (Sonyea). ** The wife of Connewango's first supervisor John Darling dies. ** The eighth and final edition of Amos Eaton's A Manual of Botany for the Northern States is published. ** Newspaper editor John Kempshall discontinues publishing his Livingston Register. ** Hudson River ferry service across the Tappan Zee is inaugurated, linking Nyack and Tarrytown. ** Hammondsport native Fletcher M. Hammond takes up the study of medicine in Bath. ** The approximate date Levi Hoyt opens a tavern at 200 Main Street in Penn Yan, in a building that probably had been the Heimup family home. About this time the newly formed Wesleyan Methodist Church begins meeting in the tavern's upper rooms. ** Russell Austin is elected village president of Geneseo, serves this year and next. ** Close to 100 boats steam up and down the Hudson River by this year. ** Albany businessman Erastus Corning takes his wife on a European tour. He imports a herd of Herefords, the first in the U. S. ** Legislation is passed requiring all mayors in the state be elected directly by the people. ** Troy installs a $100,000 water supply system, piping it in from Piskawin Creek. ** The Glens Falls feeder to the Champlain Canal is completed. An 900-foot 1821 dam at Fort Edward that had served that purpose, is sold to a private company and its height is reduced from 27 feet to 16 feet. ** The first timber dry dock in the country is built in Buffalo. ** $1,775,967 in tolls are collected on state canals. ** The approximate date Tompkins H. Matteson paints the 1690 Schenectady Indian massacre.

Advance crews of the New York and Erie Railroad arrive for preliminary studies. ** The village's first school house is built.

Erie Canal
The canal carries 1,400,000 tons of cargo this year. ** Wayne County peppermint farmer Peter Hill begins dismantling his private grocery building to move it out of the way of the canal enlargement.

Construction begins on East Avenue's Smith-Perkins (Woodside) and Pitkin-Powers mansions. ** The city annexes Mount Hope Cemetery, increasing its own size to 7.438 square miles. ** The city contains 22 flour mills, capitalized at almost $1,000,000, turning out close to 500,000 barrels worth over $2,000,000. ** The Phoenix Mill is destroyed by fire, rebuilt. ** Approximately 16 area companies currently build canal line boats. ** As part of the U. S. presidential campaign the city's Second Ward Tippecanoe Club (the Saucy Second) erects the first Harrison log cabin in Rochester, at Platt and State Streets, and throws a dedication ceremony. It includes a two-mile-long parade and a delegation from Greece (NY) in a wheeled canoe 60 foot long, drawn by eight horses, which proves to be too lengthy to march around corners. Over 7,000 participate. The city will go for Harrison by a small margin. ** 1,389 persons (6% of the total population) is on relief. Over this past winter it amounts to $7,191 (slightly more than $5 per person). ** George Ellwanger founds the Mt. Hope Nursery.


© 2004 David Minor / Eagles Byte