Updated ( 11 / 14 / 2004 )

Jan 1
Rochester's Union Grays volunteer military company begins the custom of making the rounds of New Year's holiday calls as a group, visiting homes of public officials.

Jan 30
The "Young Men's" Ball (fathers are not permitted to help with the cost) is held at New York's City Hotel.

Feb 23
An ordinance regulating cab fares in New York City is enacted and approved. Rates for one passenger are 25¢ for the first mile, with a charge of 12 1/2¢ for each additional mile. The fare to Kingsbridge in the Bronx and back costs $3.50.

Mar 4
Abolitionist and Erie Canal supervising engineer Myron Holley dies in Rochester at the age of 61.

Apr 5
The Lewis County town of Croghan is formed from Diana and Watson.

May 14
Wyoming County is created out of Genesee County. Warsaw becomes the county seat, winning out over East Orangeville and Wethersfield Springs.

Apr 10
Horace Greeley founds the New York Tribune .

Wyoming County holds its first court session.

Jun 30
The new steamer Lady of the Lake (with the Utica brass band and close to 300 excursionists aboard) enters Sackets Harbor, where the passengers are given a tour of Madison Barracks.

The Auburn & Rochester Railroad reaches Geneva, out of Rochester.

Jul 17
Hudson, New York, co-founder Ezekial Gilbert dies there at the age of 85.

Jul 25
New York City cigar stand clerk Mary Cecilia Rogers disappears.

Jul 28
The body of the strangled Mary Rogers is found in the Hudson River. The crime is never solved. Edgar Allan Poe, a customer of the cigar stand, will base The Mystery of Marie Roget on the case.

The Auburn & Rochester Railroad reaches Seneca Falls. ** Scottish geologist Sir Charles Lyell visits the Rochester area.

Aug 9
The Lake Erie steamboat Erie leaves Buffalo, headed for Chicago. It catches on fire off Silver Creek; 215 people are killed.

The Auburn & Rochester Railroad reaches Waterloo.

Sep 29
The first New York State Fair, presided over by Joel B. Nott, opens in Syracuse, runs today and tomorrow. Admission is free.

The first Seneca County Agricultural Fair is held, alternates among various county towns until permanently settling in Waterloo in 1870. ** Secretary Nicoll of the New York Life and Trust begins speculating in lottery tickets and stock.

Nov 1
Dansville, New York, holds a boisterous ceremonies to celebrate the opening of the eleven-mile branch (Side-cut) of the Genesee Valley Canal linking the village with Shaker Settlement (Sonyea).

Nov 4
The Auburn & Rochester Railroad reaches Auburn.

Nov 10
New York's Italian Opera House opens its second season, under Porto and Sacchi.

Canandaigua merchants petition the Auburn & Rochester Railroad for at least one freight train a week to pick up shipments, challenging the monopoly of canal interests.


A fire in Astoria, Queens, destroys the roofs of four buildings. ** The brig John Gilpin runs aground in the harbor during a storm. ** Democrat Robert H. Morris is elected mayor for each of the next three one-year terms. ** P. T. Barnum buys the American Museum on Astor Place. ** Due to the influence of the Erie Canal the city's exports are now three times greater than Boston's. In the period since the canal's completion, personal property increased fourfold, manufacturing threefold, and the number of businessmen fourfold. ** The Atlantic Dock Company begins building a basin in Brooklyn. ** The city Board of Education is founded. Catholic parochial schools lose state aid, only one year after obtaining it. ** Fort Wood on Bedloe's Island is completed, replacing defensive works built between 1806 and 1811.

Isaac van Anden founds the Brooklyn Eagle and Kings County Democrat, a morning newspaper. ** The U. S. Navy plans a dry dock to be built at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. ** The Atlantic Dock Company begins building a basin in Brooklyn. ** The John Street Methodist Church is completed.

Brockport Collegiate Institute opens. ** Samuel C. Wilson's Angelica Reporter newspaper is bought by Horace E. Purdy and Charles Horton. ** Macedon's Erie Canal Lock 60 is built. ** The Long Island Railroad (LIRR), having resumed work early in the year after a hiatus due to the 1837 financial panic, has tracks extended to Farmingdale by the end of the year, as well as laid west from Greenport. ** Wayne County peppermint farmer Peter Hill moves his private grocery building of the way of the Erie Canal enlargement. ** Former U. S. President Martin Van Buren buys a 1797 Federal-style home in Kinderhook (his birthplace), names it Lindenwald. ** Concrete work is completed on Erie Canal Enlarged Lock 18 at Cohoes. ** Responsibility for the promotion of agriculture in New York State passes from the Board of Agriculture to State and County Agricultural Societies. Albany County will spend $205 on promotion this year. ** Franklin's Literary Institute opens. ** The Steuben County Agricultural Society sponsors a fair in Bath, at the end of Ark Street, for the next three years. ** William Gallup begins publishing the anti-rent Heldersberg Advocate, under the slogan "Banish Patroons". ** The Albany Rural Cemetery is begun. ** Construction begins on the Genesee County Court House at Batavia. ** Former Albany mayor Erastus Corning is elected a state senator. ** Artist Fritz G. Vogt is born in Germany. ** The Reverend John Todd travels through the Adirondacks.

Erie Canal
The Schoharie Creek Aqueduct is completed. ** Surveying begins for an enlargement east of Nine Mile Creek.

Craig Wharton Wadsworth is born to James Samuel and Mary Craig Wharton Wadsworth. ** William L. Stone, editor of New York City's Commercial Advertiser profiles James S. Wadsworth and his mansion.

The Smith-Perkins and Pitkin-Powers mansions are completed. ** English-born Toronto carpenter William Williams moves to town. ** Seventeen-year-old Clarissa Reynolds, daughter of businessman Abelard Reynolds, goes off to enroll at the Utica Female Academy. The homesick girl writes many letters to family and friends in Rochester during her year there. ** The city tax collector advertises a half-column list of real estate lots to be sold for arrears. Prices range up to $126.90 a lot. ** Many townspeople are upset when the enlargement of the Erie Canal necessitates twenty to fifty men laboring on Sundays. ** The Second Baptist Church (the Baptist Temple) admits blacks into the man section of the church, creating controversy.



( Updated 12 / 4 / 2004 )

Jordan resident Erastus Baker, Jr. submits a claim to Erie Canal appraisers for land lost containing a tavern and a grocery. Even though the buildings are declared to be of flimsy construction, Baker is allowed close to $4,000.

Jan 11
Philosopher-psychologist William James is born in New York City at the Astor House hotel, to Henry (who writes on philosophy and religion) and Mary Robertson Walsh James.

Jan 18
Patent medicine manufacturer Hulbert Harrington (H. H.) Warner is born in Van Buren.

Feb 14
2500 New Yorkers attend a ball at the Park Theatre given in honor of visiting novelist Charles Dickens.

Feb 15
A private New York City mail delivery company issues the first adhesive postage stamp in the U. S.

Feb 24
Editor-novelist-playwright John Habberton is born in Brooklyn.

Henry James (father of William, and later of author Henry) makes the acquaintance of Ralph Waldo Emerson, beginning a long friendship.

Mar 15
The Madison County town of Chittenango is incorporated.

Mar 30
The Sullivan County town of Callicoon (from the Dutch and the Indian for 'turkey') is formed from Liberty.

Apr 11
Part of the Steuben County town of Hornby is taken off and annexed to the Schuyler County town of Orange. ** New York grants Genesee County $92 annually, and Wyoming County $87, for the promotion of agriculture.

Apr 12
The Ulster County town of Esopus annexes part of the Town of New Paltz.

Apr 20
Water is let into Lock 18 of the Enlarged Erie Canal at Cohoes, which follows a new route. The old route will be sold to the Cohoes Company as a power canal.

Apr 21
Lock 18 is opened to general traffic.

May 10
Botanist-geologist Amos Eaton, co-founder of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, dies in Troy, a week short of his 66th birthday.

May 22
Rochester mayor Cornelius R. Parsons is born in York.

Jun 29
The Lake Ontario steamer Lady of the Lake departs from Oswego on a overnight excursion to Kingston, Ontario.

Jun 30
The Lady of the Lake returns from Kingston in record time.

Jun 31
The Lady of the Lake visits Sackets Harbor, carrying owners Monson and Faxton, the Utica Brass Band, and close to 300 passengers, who disembark and tour the village.

Jul 4
The Croton Aqueduct System is completed. Croton water first reaches New York; the city is no longer dependent on well water.

Jul 11
Poet Henry Abbey is born to Stephen and Caroline Vail Abbey, in Rondout (Kingston), where he will live most of his life.

Aug 9
The Webster-Ashburton Treaty settles British-U. S. boundary disputes over Maine, Minnesota and New York. The 1774 Canada-New York boundary is restored and Albert Smith (U. S.) and J. B. B. Estcourt (Britain) are assigned to a new survey.

Sep 21
Soldier-politician John Baptiste Weber is born on Oak Street in Buffalo.

Election riots break out in New York City's Five Points neighborhood.

Nov 2
A public meeting is held at Cuba, New York, to discuss the state's Stop and Tax Law.

Nov 1
Tammany politician Mike Walsh uses physical intimidation to get on the ballot for the New York legislature during a nominating session in New York City .

Nov 14
The New York City coroner rules the death of Westchester County Irish immigrant Robert Davis, found with his throat slit, a suicide.

Nov 18
A fire breaks out at New York City's Tombs Prison. The body of condemned murderer John C. Colt, brother of inventor Samuel Colt, is found with a knife in his heart. Rumors persist that the "suicide" was faked and that Colt had escaped.

Dec 7
The New York Philharmonic gives its first concert.

Dec 17
The New York coroner rules the death of 50-year-old Elizabeth Becket as due to typhus fever.

Isaiah Roger's Merchants' Exchange is erected on the Wall Street site of the First Merchants' Exchange, destroyed in the 1834 fire. The New York Stock and Exchange Board moves here from its Jauncey Court location. ** The price of a seat on the New York Stock Exchange rises from $150 to $350. ** Town, Davis and Frazee's Customs House is erected on the site of the old City Hall, on Wall Street. ** Phineas Taylor Barnum opens the American Museum, features midget Charles S. Stratton (Tom Thumb). ** Sweets Restaurant opens in lower Manhattan. ** A stove fire destroys the building at 231 Water Street. ** Charles Dickens tours the U. S., visits the city. ** The New York Democrat begins publication. ** 92,000 Irish arrive in the U. S. ** Editor Rufus Wilmot Griswold becomes editor of "Graham's Monthly", moves to Philadelphia. ** Dry goods merchant Aaron Arnold takes on James M. Constable a partner.

The first U. S. grain elevator is built at Buffalo by Joseph Dart, utilizing his Evans Elevator. ** Henry Wells organizes Wells and Company, a freight express outfit. ** The steamboat Lady of the Lake is launched. ** Reports of the state geological survey are published: the Second District (Adirondacks counties) by Dr. Ebenezer Emmons, Ebenezer Emmons, Jr. and James Hall; and the Third District (central New York counties) by Lardner Van Uxem, James Eights and S. Can. ** Dr. Lewis C. Beck, William Horton and L. D. Gale issue the report of the New York State Mineralogical Department. ** Dr. James E. DeKay and John W. Hill begin publishing the report of the Zoological Department. It will come out in five volumes over the next year. ** Erastus S. Palmer begins publishing Angelica's Allegany Co. Advocate. ** The New Style Presbyterian Synod of Genesee begins stewardship over the Le Roy Female Seminary (later Ingham University). ** Rensselaerville's Presbyterian Church is built. ** Stephen Olmsted opens a plaster plant in Oakfield. ** The state runs out of money as a result of the 1837 Panic. A Stop and Tax Law halts all canal construction for the next five years. ** Agents of the Society of True Inspiration arrive from Europe to locate a new home. They settle in Erie County and form several towns, including Ebenezer. They will later move on to Iowa and found the Amana communities. ** Commercial traffic begins on the Dansville branch of the Genesee Valley Canal. ** The Catskill & Canajoharie Rail Road is abandoned. Its track is sold for $11,000. ** 17-year-old Fultonville native John Starin moves to Albany to study medicine. ** Church leaders in the western part of the state deliberate on methods for keeping Sundays strictly religious. ** A cobblestone house is built near Victor. It will later become a home to quiltmaker Sarah Hall Bonesteele. ** Authorization is granted to construct a waste weir at the north end of the Tonawanda dam, despite the 1842 Stop and Tax Act. ** Unsold state land in Cattaraugus County reverts to the Holland Land Company. ** Construction begins on Fort Porter where the Niagara River emerges from Lake Erie. ** Batavia's Genesee County Court House at Main and State Streets is completed. Total cost: $17,000. ** Congressman Fernando Wood fails in his re-election bid. ** The state can now be crossed by rail.

A new State Hall, built to hold various government offices, including those of canal commissioners, is completed at an approximate cost of $350,000. The old State Hall is converted to a geological hall. ** The Meneely bell is cast for the main Dwelling House of the Shaker Community at Watervliet.

Erie Canal
The Jordan Level, between Montezuma and Camillus, is almost completed. Work halts because of the Stop and Tax Law.

The construction of the new Erie Canal aqueduct over the Genesee River, under the supervision of Josiah W. Bissell, is completed. ** The O'Rorke family arrives from Ireland, settles in the Irish "Dublin" section. ** Miller Charles J. Hill is elected mayor on the Democratic ticket. ** Another religious revival lead by Charles Grandison Finney finds many city lawyers seeking salvation. ** The First Presbyterian Church severely disciplines a member for hauling wood on Sunday. ** Temperance forces prevent a reduction in the price of liquor licenses. ** Asbury Church is erected at Main and Clinton. ** The Unitarian Church is built on North Fitzhugh Street. ** William B. Morse, 18, begins work in the lumber business.

The city raises its water rates. Captain Oliver Teall finally agrees to accept a 35-year franchise top provide the city's water, starts Syracuse City Waterworks Company. ** The Slocum family buys the Gridley House. ** Militia brigadier general Orrin Hutchinson of Onondaga Hill dies. His family home on the West Seneca Turnpike is acquired by Ezra Downer. ** Former politician and state salt superintendent Nehemiah Hezekiah Earll moves into a house at 211 Court Street.



Jan 2
Secretary Nicoll is discovered to have lost $2500,000 of the New York Life and Trust Company's funds in speculations. He resigns.

Jan 5
The pit of New York's Park Theatre is converted to accommodate Welsh's Olympic Circus. Some citizens consider the change a desecration of the building.

Jan 26
A land transfer is made in Lewiston for the site of the future Ways-Evans-Scovell Cemetery, passing from Judith Evans to Joseph E. Ways.

Feb 2
New York begins requiring railroad companies to report annually to the Secretary of State.

Mar 6
Welsh's Olympic Circus ends its run at the Park Theatre.

Mar 16
A late winter storm sweeps across the U. S., from the Gulf of Mexico to Maine.

Apr 10
New York's Atlas Mutual Insurance Company is chartered.

Apr 12
The St. Lawrence County town of Colton is formed from Parishville. ** The Steuben County town of Avoca is formed from Bath, Cohocton, Howard and Wheeler. ** The Oneida County town of Clinton is incorporated.

Apr 15
Novelist Henry James is born at 21 Washington Place in New York City, to Henry and Mary Robertson Walsh James.

Apr 18
The state abolishes the office of Bank Commissioner and the responsibilities are passed on to the State Comptroller.

Apr 23
Members of the Millerite sect gather on rooftops to await the end of the world.

May 13
Cabinet maker Hermann Fox is born in Savoy, Germany. He will serve in the 126th New York Infantry during the American Civil War.

Jun 1
Former slave Isabella Van Wagener hears a voice telling her to take the name Sojourner Truth and travel as a preacher. She leaves her job and follows the instructions.

Batavia newspaper publisher Frederick Follett is named postmaster and sells his Spirit of the Times to Lucas Seaver.

Sep 23
Brooklyn Bridge engineer's wife Emily Warren (Roebling) is born.

Clergyman-historian John Stevens Cabot Abbott joins his brother Gorham Abbott to be on the faculty of New York City's Abbott's Institute for young ladies.

The first school built by the Board of Education opens. ** William Kirkland and his wife, author Caroline Matilda Stansbury Kirkland leave Michigan after failing to make a financial success there out of the new town of Pinckney, arrive in New York. ** Immigrant German Jews form B'nai B'rith. ** P. T. Barnum fires American Museum employee John Hallett, possibly his bother-in-law. ** 8-year-old Lyman Abbott moves here with his family from Farmington, Maine, upon the death of his mother. ** Henry James, Sr. takes his family and his wife's sister Catherine Walsh on an extended trip to London and Paris.

The state geological survey is completed. The report of the First District (Hudson Valley counties), compiled by William W. Mather, Caleb Briggs, J. Lang Cassels and ______ Seymour, is published. The Fourth District report (western New York), prepared by James Hall, J. W. Boyd and E. N. Horsford, is published. ** Dr. John Torry publishes the report of the State Botanical Department. ** State Paleontologist T. A. Conrad resigns and is replaced by Professor James Hall. ** When his wife dies General William Kerley Strong sells Geneva's Rose Hill Farm. ** The state founds its first lunatic asylum, Utica State Hospital. ** New York physician Elijah J. Smith settled in DuPage County, Illinois, on an unclaimed 80 acres, the future town center of Itasca. ** Western photographer William Henry Jackson is born in Keeseville. ** Buffalo financier Benjamin Rathbun, having served a sentence for forgery, is released from, Auburn Prison. ** Perry doctor Jabez Ward, suffering from pneumonia, rides out to attend an emergency case, returns home and lapses into delirium. He dies the next day. ** Andover, Maine, carpenter Horatio N. White moves to Syracuse, soon gets a job as contractor on the Church of the Messiah. ** 2,136 boats use the Erie Canal. ** The Old School Presbyterian Church organizes the Buffalo Synod, covering 5,028 parishioners in 62 churches, for Buffalo City, Genesee River, Michigan, Ogdensburgh and Rochester City. ** The approximate date William Rockefeller, father of John D., buys property in Moravia, near Owasco Lake, moves his family there from Richford. A second daughter, Mary Ann, is born to William and Eliza. ** The Steuben County Agricultural Fair, held at Bath, will be the last for nine years. ** The Suffolk County town of The Wheelers is renamed Hauppauge.

The city acquires Mason Street property for a hay scale, and widens Bugle Alley, home of burgeoning handicraft shops, changing its name to Works Street. ** A three-story post office is erected on Works Street, next to the Reynolds Arcade. ** The city annexes part of the town of Gates, increasing its own area to 7.57 square miles. ** Dr. J. B. Beers begins the use of gold teeth in dentistry. ** Miller Charles J. Hill is appointed state commissioner of deeds by newly-elected governor William C. Bouck. ** Real estate agent Hiram Sibley is elected sheriff of Monroe County. ** Anthropologist-historian George H. Harris is born in West Greece to a lumberman and his wife.



Mar 3
George William Curtis writes from New York City to his friend John S. Dwight at the Brook Farm commune in Concord, Massachusetts, discussing his feelings about the experiment there and his past experiences with the group.

Mar 27
Curtis writes to Dwight to tell him his brother Burrill heard from Ralph Waldo Emerson that they could rent a farmhouse at Concord from Captain Nathaniel Barrett.

One of the new Erie Canal boats built at Rochester carries a 75-ton load, a record.

Apr 4
Fourierists convene in New York City's Clinton Hall and elect George Ripley as their president and Charles A. Dana, Parke Godwin and Horace Greeley as vice-presidents.

Apr 12
George Curtis and his brother Burrill leave New York for Concord, Massachusetts, to live on a farm and learn about agriculture.

The polka is introduced to the U. S. at New York City's Chatham Theatre.

Jul 21
The inaugural season of the Italian Opera House ends, after 68 performances, with a deficit of nearly $22.500.

Jul 27
Three Long Island Railroad (LIRR) excursion trains arrive in Greenport, having made the first trip on the line from Brooklyn in 3 1/2 hours rather than the expected five.

Connewango settler Samuel Cowley falls from a hickory pole during the presidential excitement, breaks both legs.

Nov 10
The Italian Opera House opens its second season, under Porto and Sacchi.

Nov 25
Alfred Bunn and Michael William Balfes' The Bohemian Girl opens at New York City's Park Theatre.

Dec 4
James K. Polk and George M. Dallas are elected President and Vice-President of the U. S. Rochester abolitionist Myron Holley draws enough votes from Whig Henry Clay to give the state to Polk.

Dec 6
The Prison Association of New York is formed, to work for prison reform.

Dec 23
The singer Fanti, of the Porto and Sanchi company, walks out on her contract, terminating the second season of the Italian Opera House.

The first terminal of the Atlantic Dock Company is completed. ** Brooklyn's Atlantic Avenue subway tunnel is built. ** Publisher James Harper is elected Native Party mayor of the city for a one-year term, defeating Locofoco Party candidate Jonathan I. Coddington and Whig Morris Franklin. ** The New-York Gallery of Fine Arts is founded to preserve the collection of the late merchant-patron Luman Reed. ** The 1825 U. S. Navy frigate Hudson (formerly the Liberator) is broken up. ** The grandfather of photographer Alice Austen purchases the site of a 1690s Staten Island Dutch house near The Narrows. ** The Apollo Association for the Promotion of the Fine Arts in the United States changes its name to the American Art-Union. ** The first warehouse at Brooklyn's Atlantic Basin Terminal is completed. ** Rabbi Samuel Adler attends a Rabbinical Reform Conference at Brunswick, Germany. ** Philologist George Adler graduates from New York University, valedictorian of his class. ** The Presbyterian church on the north side of Wall Street is demolished. ** Two-thirds of the city's population earn about a dollar a week.

The University of Albany is founded. ** The Rochester & Tonawanda Railroad builds a spur to link its Rochester terminal with the Auburn & Rochester, several blocks away, finally linking Buffalo and Albany by rail. ** Charles Horton becomes the sole proprietor of the Angelica Reporter. Angelica's Republican Era begins publication, is published for a short time. ** Control of the State Library, containing around 10,000 volumes, is transferred from state-appointed trustees to the Regents of the University, headed by Dr. T. Romeyn Beck. ** Representative Millard Fillmore is defeated in his bid for the governorship. ** General Peter Porter, a commander during the War of 1812, dies at his Niagara Falls home at the age of 74. ** The abolitionist Liberty Party nominates James Gillespie Birney of New York for president. ** Citizens of Dansville raise $6,000 to construct a slip to extend the Genesee Valley Canal spur into the village. State-sponsored rowdies attempt to disrupt the project and are attacked and driven off. 30 citizens are indicted but never brought to trial. A nearby street is named Battle Street (now Booth Street). ** The state legislature removes all restrictions on the practice of medicine. ** Genesee Valley pioneer James Wadsworth dies, in his mid-seventies. ** New York's State Normal School is established for the training of teachers, at Howard and Lodge streets in Albany. ** Waterloo native John K. Loring begins practicing medicine in Penn Yan.

Front Street's Cottage Hotel opens. ** The first Erie Canal bridge at Exchange Street is built. ** Clarissa Street is created. ** The city annexes the west side of the Genesee River Gorge and part of the Lexington Avenue area as far north as the Ridge Road area, increasing its own area to 7.65 square miles. ** Merchant Levi W. Sibley dies of consumption. ** Miller Charles J. Hill is elected Monroe County clerk. ** 42 of the new and larger canal boats are built here. ** The first apparent Jewish name appears in the city directory.

© 2001 David Minor / EaglesByte