1853

( Updated 6 / 20 / 2004 )


Jan 17
Suffragist Alva Ertskin Smith, future wife of William K. Vanderbilt and Oliver Belmont, is born in Mobile, Alabama.

Feb 5
The Central Bank of Troy files articles of incorporation.

Feb 10
Louis Moreau Gottschalk gives his first New York City recital.

Mar 3
The U. S. Secretary of the Treasury directs that an assay office under the Director of the Mint be established in New York.

Mar 5
Steinweg (later Steinway) & Sons establish a piano factory on New York City's Varick Street.

Mar 9
New York City's Columbia Fire Insurance Company is issued a 30-year charter as a stock company, capitalized at $200,000.

Apr 9
The Central Bank of Brooklyn is organized. ** The state legislature passes 'An Act to authorize the formation of Companies for Ferry Purposes'.

Apr 12
New York State requires the Board Of Regents to establish general rules for the incorporation of educational institutions.

Apr 30
The Lewis County Bank at Martinsburgh is chartered, capitalized at $100,000.

May 1
The Central Bank of Troy is incorporated, capitalized at $200,000, with a charter extending through the year 2353.

May 2
Henri Franconi's Hippodrome opens in New York City.

May 14
The Massachusetts tract of Boston Corner is transferred to New York State.

Jun 4
Schuyler County annexes part of Tompkins County's Town of Newfield its own Town of Catharines.

Jun 10
Young America leaves New York City on 100 day voyage to San Francisco.

Jun 17
Hamilton's Grammar School Madison University is chartered by the state Board of Regents.

Jul 1
The approximate date the Albany Northern Rail Road goes out of business.

Jul 18
The New York City debut of Uncle Tom's Cabin, the first play in New York to not contain a curtain raiser or afterpiece.

Jul 21
New York State accepts Boston Corner from Massachusetts. ** The Wayne County Erie Canal village of Newark (later renamed Arcadia) is incorporated.

Jul 30
James Buchanan, new U. S. minister to the court of St. James, chooses New York City lawyer and politician Dan Sickles as first secretary.

Aug 1
The Central Bank of Brooklyn opens for business.

Aug 6
Buchanan sails for England aboard a vessel of the U. S. Mail Steamship Company.

Aug 7
Moses King, publisher of U. S. city guides, including those to Manhattan and Brooklyn, is born in Ringmer, England, to William and Sophia King.

Aug 19
The U. S. purchases a New York City site on Wall Street for $553,000 for its Assay Office. ** Sickles throws himself a lavish going-away party.

Aug 22
Sickles sail for England from New York aboard the steamer Arctic, accompanied by his mistress, the madame Fanny White. His wife Teresa and his young daughter come to see him off.

Sep 8
A "Convention of the Editors and Publishers of Western and Southern New York" meets at Elmira, founding the New York Press Association.

Oct 5
Philologist George Adler, coping with bouts of insanity, suffers a violent outbreak, in New York City.

Oct 7
Adler is placed in New York's Bloomingdale Insane Asylum.

Oct 12
The first regularly scheduled Bath Fair is held for two days.

Nov 25
The Ulster County town of Woodstock annexes parts of the towns of Olive and Hurley.

Dec 17
The Brooklyn Rail Road Company is formed.

Dec 20
Troy businessman Russell Sage writes to Erastus Corning, calling his fellow capitalist and rival as "one of the greatest railroad men in the country."

Dec 26
The clipper Great Republic is destroyed by fire at its New York City pier.

City
The first streetcars appear in Brooklyn, with a flat fare of 5¢. ** George W. Walling becomes captain of the police precinct near the Madison Avenue and 29th Street hangout of the Honeymoon Gang. He begins a Strong Arm Squad to beat the robbers, who soon quit the area. ** The New York World's Fair is held at the Crystal Palace, featuring one of Elisha G. Otis' passenger elevators. ** City policemen are put into uniform. ** Thomas Jefferson Bryan relocates his art collection further up Broadway, near Union Square. He publishes the Catalogue of The Bryan Gallery of Christian Art from the Earliest Masters to the Present Time. ** John Andrews moves from Kentucky to New York City, where he will go into music publishing. ** Lyman Abbott graduates from New York University, joins the law firm of his brothers Austin and Vaughan. ** The Children's Aid Society is founded, with offices at 11 Clinton Hall, Astor Place. ** The New York Stock and Exchange Board moves from the Merchants' Exchange building to the top floor of the Corn Exchange Bank at Wall and Beaver. ** The Public School Society is dissolved and its schools merged with the city's ward schools. ** John Hoare establishes a glass manufactory. ** Over the next four years domestic and foreign bank deposits will grow by 70%. ** The United-States Trust Company is founded, with Joseph Lawrence as its first president.

State
George Crum, a chef at Moon's Lake House in Saratoga Springs creates the Saratoga Chip when a guest complains that the fried potatoes are too thick. ** Batavia's Dean Richmond, vice-president of the Buffalo and Rochester Railroad, consolidates short lines between New York and Albany to form the New York Central Railroad. Erastus Corning raises $23,000,000 in capital. Richmond becomes president of the new line. moving to Batavia. A spur is run to Lewiston. ** Geologist Ferdinand Hayden graduates from the Albany Medical School. ** The state Court for the Trial of Impeachments is convened for the first time in the trial of Canal Commissioner John C. Mather; acquits him. ** Abolitionist Gerrit Smith represents Madison and Oswego counties in the U. S. Congress. ** The Seneca River Towing Path of the Barge Canal is extended from Baldwinsville to Jack's Reef. ** Horatio Seymour is elected mayor of Utica. ** A Methodist Church is built in Canadice. ** The state legislature approves the establishment of Union Free Schools under certain conditions. ** Women of Oswego City raise the funds to erect and operate an orphan asylum. ** Nathaniel Bingham and Lyman Granger build a water cure health resort in Dansville. ** The first regularly scheduled Bath Fair is held. ** Construction begins on the Steuben County courthouse in Corning. The building will be completed next year at a cost of $14,000. ** William Rockefeller moves his family from Owego to Strongsville, Ohio, southwest of Cleveland. ** Justice of the state supreme court, fourth district, Daniel Cady serves as judge of the court of appeals for the year. ** Cooperstown's Otsego Hall, former home of Judge William Cooper and his son novelist James Fenimore Cooper, is destroyed by fire. ** The Canandaigua and Niagara Falls Railroad reaches Canandaigua and East Bloomfield. ** Honeoye Falls entrepreneur Benjamin Peer, Jr. is born in East Bloomfield. ** Davis and Cutler begin publishing Lansingburgh's weekly Our Paper. ** 3,401 boats use the Erie Canal this year.

Albany
Businessman Erastus Corning buys 250 acres of the Van Rennselaer estate, uses influence to locate repair shops for the New York Central in West Albany. ** Construction is begun on a new home for the New York State Library.

Batavia
A home is built on West Main Street for postmaster Arthur Brisbane. ** Mrs. W. G. Bryan buys the Holland Land Office building from the Farmers Loan and Trust Company to use for her young ladies music school, previously operated in the Ellicott Mansion across the street.

Buffalo
J. H. Colen begins selling an engraving of the Buffalo waterfront from a drawing by J. W. Hill. ** Elbridge Gerry Spaulding is named Treasurer of the State of N .Y.

Erie Canal
George M. Pullman, later a train car manufacturer, contracts to move some structures in Albion, out of the way for a widening of the Erie Canal. ** Plans are made for a lumber steamer, to travel the canal, as well as the Grand River and Chippewa Creek, connecting with the Welland Canal and eliminating transhipment of goods at Buffalo. The boat is never built.

Rochester
Local agitation for a new Main Street bridge begins. ** German immigrant John Jacob Bausch opens an optical goods store to sell European optical imports. His friend Henry Lomb provides backing. ** Churchville builder John Canfield moves to Rochester, goes to work for the Buell Company. ** The common council turns down mayor Elisha Johnson's recommendation to purchase stock in the Rochester Water Company. ** Massachusetts-born theologian Ezekial Gilman Robinson becomes a professor at the Rochester Theological Seminary, also heading up its Ambrose Swayse Library. ** Charlotte's first Lake United Methodist Church is built at 4409 Lake Avenue, using wood from Faman's Sawmill on River Street. ** Azariah Boody offers land along East Avenue for use for a new University of Rochester campus. ** The mayor is allowed to make police appointments without City Council approval. ** Printmaker Charles Magnus draws a bird's-eye view of the city.

 

1854


Jan 9
New York City's Astor Library (the New York Public Library) opens.

Jan 14
The state legislature passes, "An Act for the Incorporation of Companies formed to Navigate the Waters of Lake George by Steamboats".

Jan 17
Detroit and Niagara Falls are connected by Canada's Great Western Railway.

Jan 24
Salmon P. Chase's abolitionist appeal is published in the New York Daily Times.

Feb 1
Railroad passengers ride on narrow gauge tracks for the first time, between Buffalo, New York, and Erie, Pennsylvania.

Feb 23
The Stonington, Connecticut, steamboat pulls into New York City after having been frozen in the ice for three days.

Feb 24
Two men are killed when they fall from the suspension bridge at Niagara Falls.

Mar 30
New York creates the office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Apr 2
Brockport Collegiate Institute burns to the ground.

Apr 15
New York State creates a Contracting Board to appoint all canal engineers. It consists of the Canal Commission, the State Engineer, and the Auditor of the Canal Department.

Apr 16
The ship Powhatan, en route from Le Havre, France to New York, is wrecked on Long Island's Long Beach. 311 die.

Apr 17
Schuyler County is created out of Chemung, Steuben and Tompkins counties.

Apr 20
Rochester's Penny Savings Bank opens.

May
Elisha Otis demonstrates his elevator safety brake at New York's Crystal Palace. ** The Bank of Medina opens.

Jun 5
U. S. Secretary of State William L. Marcy and Canadian Governor-General Lord Elgin sign a reciprocity agreement, covering trade, fishing and navigation rights.

Jun 17
The anti-immigrant Know-Nothing Party meets in New York City under the name Order of the Star Spangled Banner.

Jun 25
Ulysses S. Grant arrives in New York from San Francisco via Nicaragua, after resigning his Army commission as of July 31.

July
650 people die of cholera in Brooklyn. ** New York's Fulton Street Ferry goes into operation, connecting Brooklyn to Washington Avenue in the Bronx.

Jul 3
The first Texas longhorn herd reaches New York City. ** Streetcars go into service in Brooklyn.

Jul 8
Albany's Lumber District contains 46 businesses, taking in over $500,000 annually. Twenty-nine of them take in over $100,000.

Jul 13
Opponents of street preachers riot in Buffalo.

August
New York City's Bowery Theatre reopens as the German-language Stadt Theater.

Aug 8
The Albany City Hospital opens for patients.

Aug 16
Cabinet maker Duncan Phyfe, 86, dies in New York City.

Aug 22
Youngstown, Erie County, is incorporated.

Aug 25
100 buildings are damaged in a Troy fire.

September
Brooklyn's Washington Avenue Ferry goes into operation, connecting Brooklyn Avenue to Washington Avenue in the Bronx. ** Trains begin running between Rochester and Avon on the Genesee Valley Railway.

Sep 4
Italian soprano Giula Grisi performs opera selections at New York City's Castle Garden.

Sep 6
Rochester, flour merchant Wickens Killick, in his late thirties, dies of cholera. Within a ten-day period the disease claims his father-in-law Mr. Watkins, two sons, 7 and 11, his mother-in-law, himself, a brother, his own wife and a family servant girl.

Oct 2
New York City's Academy of Music opens with a performance of Bellini's Norma.

Oct 17
The village of Meridian (formerly known as Cato Four Corners) is incorporated in the Cayuga County town of Cato.

Oct 27
Showman P. T. Barnum signs a contract with the New York publishing house of J. S. Redfield, calling for delivery of the manuscript the next day.

Nov 4
The Lewis County Bank at Martinsburgh fails.

December
Barnum's The Life of P. T. Barnum, Written by Himself is published, the first of many Barnum autobiographies.

Dec 11
Baseball pitcher Charles Gardner "Old Hoss" Radbourn is born in Rochester.

Dec 13
Filing articles are submitted for the Central Bank at Cherry Valley.

Dec 14
The Central Bank at Cherry Valley is incorporated.

Dec 30
The first U. S. oil refiner, the Pennsylvania Rock Oil Company, is incorporated in New York City.

 

City
Richard J. Carman's Hanover Bank (India House) is built on Hanover Square. ** Music publisher John Andrews buys a four-story building at 38 Chatham Street (Park Row). ** Former U. S. Congressman Fernando Wood defeats Know Nothing candidate James W. Barker and Reform candidate Wilson G. Hunt to become the Soft Shells-Hard Shells mayor of New York. ** While touring the South as a special correspondent of the New York Times, Frederick Law Olmsted visits a German community near Neu-Braunfels. ** City surveyor-engineer Louis Haffen is born in the Melrose section of the Bronx to brewer Mathias Haffen and his wife. ** The Free Academy (later City College) has 14 instructors and 600 students. The city has a total of 224 public schools with 133,831 students enrolled. 25 of the schools are for blacks. 11,000 students attend night classes. ** Slaughterhouses process 1,058,690 animals this year. ** W. W. Hall begins publishing the monthly journal Hall's Journal of Health. ** Alexander Hamilton's widow dies. ** Word comes to several newspapers that Daniel Sickles, first secretary to the U. S. legation in London, has introduced his mistress, New York madame Fanny White, to Queen Victoria.

State
Poughkeepsie is incorporated as a city. ** The Erie Canal is enlarged. ** A plan is devised to supply water for the Genesee Valley Canal summit level. The canal reaches its peak capacity of 158,942 tons this season. ** A steam railroad connects Rochester and Charlotte. Fishers warehouse at Charlotte is remodeled as a grain elevator. ** The western end of the state has the hottest summer on record. ** The final volume of the report of the New York State Agricultural Department is published. ** The state senate appoints a committee to look into the underwater boundaries of New York City. ** The Long Island Railroad (LIRR) opens a Hicksville-to-Syosset spur. ** Buffalo annexes Black Rock. ** Henry Larcom Abbot graduates second in his class at West Point and is posted to the Topographical Engineers. ** The New York Central railroad opens from Rochester to Syracuse. A spur is run to Charlotte. ** The Troy and Albany Freeholder newspaper is published. ** The village of Tonawanda is divided into four wards. ** Abolitionist Gerrit Smith resigns from Congress, writes a final letter to his constituents, outlining his political philosophy. ** Lewiston's Dickersonville Cemetery Association is incorporated. ** The approximate date Le Roy's Bensen Street, named for Judge Edgar Bensen, has its name changed to Cooper Street, after William Anderson's cooperage located there. It will eventually become Myrtle Street, for the shrubs in the area. ** The New York State Inebriate Asylum in Binghamton is incorporated, with a 50-year charter. ** Congressman Eliakim E. Sherrill of Geneva is named chairman of the committee on banks and banking. ** Asa Fitch is named state entomologist. ** Severe drought conditions result in poor crop yields. ** The U. S. government places lifeboats on Lake Ontario at the mouth of the Genesee and Niagara rivers, Oswego, Salmon River, Sandy Creek, Sodus, and Tibbetts Point. ** Schoharie County's Grove Cemetery receives its first recorded grave. ** This year and next the Chenango Canal carries 14% of all the coal carried on the state's canals. ** The Rogerson map of Rennselaer County is published. ** The Bath Fair is moved to East Washington Street land rented from the estate of Ten Eyck Gansevoort. ** The approximate date Berkshire's Rawson Hollow Cemetery is begun. ** Construction begins on a replacement for the Wayne County Court House at Lyons. ** The towns of Dix, Catharine, and Cayuta are detached from Chemung county to form Schuyler County. ** The Chemung County Town of Horseheads is taken off the Town of Elmira.

Albany
15 feet are added to the west end of the State House. ** The State Library building, begun last year, is completed. ** The city cracks down on pigs running loose in the street, rounding up 15,000.

Brooklyn
The town of Bushwick and the city of Williamsburgh are consolidated into the city of Brooklyn. Kings County now includes the one city and five towns (Flatbush, Flatlands, Gravesend, New Lots and New Utrecht). ** Abolitionist Rev. Samuel Hansen Cox retires as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn. ** The Brooklyn Female Academy (later the Packer Collegiate Institute) is founded.

Canandaigua
The Bemis block on South Main Street is completed. ** The approximate date the Chester Coleman house at 60 Gibson Steet is built.

Rochester
Aaron Erickson buys the old market space at Front and Main, to erect a four-story brick building. ** Alexander Jackson Davis's Ellwanger & Barry office on Mount Hope Avenue is completed. ** New York Central Vice-president Dean Richmond succeeds Erastus Corning, as President, commissions a new terminal on Mill Street. ** Martin B. Anderson becomes the first president of the University of Rochester. ** The city's Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) opens, sponsors mostly prayer meetings.

 

1855

(Updated 6/6/2004)


Jan 2
Albany's new New York State Library building is opened to the public.

Jan 3
Congress confirms the transference of the Boston Corner tract from Massachusetts to New York State.

Jan 11
Warsaw's Academic Department of Union School is incorporated.

February
A steam fire-engine from Cincinnati, built by the A. B. Latta Company, is exhibited in New York's City Hall Park. An local fire company, using hand-engine No. 42, competes with the steamer. No. 42 slightly outperforms the Ohio machine but exhausts its operators.

Feb 5
The Anti-Slavery Society of New York opens its New York City convention.

Feb 6
Ralph Waldo Emerson addresses the Anti-Slavery Society, proposing the purchase of all slaves from their owners. ** Extreme cold strikes western New York. Temperatures in Rochester drop to 26° below zero, the coldest to date.

Feb 24
New York City Know-Nothing Party leader Bill "The Butcher" Poole is shot and killed in Manhattan's Stanwix Hall during a quarrel he picked with political opponent John Morrissey. His killer, Lewis Baker, is never convicted. Three trials result in hung juries.

Mar 8
The first train of the Rochester, Lockport & Suspension Bridge line crosses John Roebling's newly-constructed suspension bridge over the Niagara River.

Mar 16
Roebling's bridge is officially opened. The 825 foot long, double-deck bridge, took four years to construct, at a cost of $450,000.

Mar 18
Passenger trains begin regular runs across the Niagara bridge.

Mar 30
The State passes enabling legislation to launch a survey of New York City's underwater boundaries.

Apr 9
The Orange County village of Walden is incorporated within the Town of Montgomery. ** The Binghamton, Owego and Pennsylvania Slackwater Navigation canal company is organized; the project capitalized at $100,000.

Apr 12
The Westchester County village of Yonkers is incorporated.

Apr 13
The legislature amends the 1853 Agricultural and Horticultural Societies Act, lowering the number of required directors from 6 to 2. ** The state permits the Regents of the University to designate academies where free subsidized classes can be taught.

Apr 22
The Adams Collegiate Institute in the Jefferson County town of Adams is incorporated by the Regents of the University.

Apr 28
The Albany Museum closes.

May
The expedition lead by U. S. explorer Dr. Elisha Kent Kane abandons the Advance and starts home in open boats from the Arctic Sea.

May 9
John Langston Mercer, the first black to win elective office in the U. S. - clerkship of Ohio's Brownshelm Township - addresses the 22nd annual meeting of the American Anti-Slavery Society of New York City.

May 15
Walt Whitman registers Leaves of Grass with the United States District Court in New York.

May 31
Lieutenant Hartstein sails from New York City to search for Dr. Kane.

Jun 12
William A. Rockefeller, father of John D. Rockefeller, bigamously marries Margaret Allen of Ontario, Canada, in Nichols, New York, begins visiting her in Canada, once a year.

Jun 13
Five Perry men report seeing a giant lake serpent while boating on Silver Lake.

Jun 25
The Great Western Railroad steamboats Canada and America begin service between Hamilton, Ontario, and Oswego.

Jun 27
Henry James's parents and the family, along with the mother's sister Catherine Walsh, sail from New York for Liverpool, England.

Jun 28
A New York City captain named Bell raises the sunken British schooner Bulrush, lost in 1854, off Connecticut's Stonington Point, recovering a cargo of copper ore estimated to be worth $75,000.

July
A receiver is appointed for the New York Union Mutual Insurance Company of Johnstown

Aug 4
New York trader Townsend Harris is appointed Consul General to Japan.

Sep 26
State Whigs and Republicans convene in Syracuse and form a coalition under Thurlow Weed. An anti-slavery stand is stressed rather than alcoholic prohibition. The Free Democratic and Liberty parties nominate Stephen A. Douglas for secretary of state and anti-slavery orator Lewis Tappan for comptroller.

Oct 11
Dr. Kane and the remaining members of his expedition return to New York City aboard the "propeller" Arctic and the bark Release.

Dec 3
The town of Binghamton is formed out of the town of Chenango.

Dec 15
The first issue of Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper is published in New York City.

Dec 27
English actress Laura Keene reopens New York City's Metropolitan Theatre as Laura Keene's Varieties.

 

City
The Knickerbocker Ice Company is founded. ** The New York State Immigration Commission leases lower Manhattan's Castle Garden for an immigrant reception center. ** George Washington Strong, co-founder of Cadwallader, Wickersham & Taft, dies. ** Robert Alexander Thompson successfully sues the owners of the brig Sauna . ** Publisher P. F. Harris releases an anonymous spoof on P. T. Barnum's autobiography titled The Autobiography of Petite Bunkum.... ** Common council member Charles Haskell is given a demonstration by the Philadelphia Fire Department of a steam fire engine. He recommends that New York acquire them but entrenched interests defeat the suggestion. ** Ophthalmologist Cornelius Agnew accepts a position at the Eye and Ear Infirmary, sails for Europe to study in Dublin, London and Paris. * Hudson's Bay Company trader James Grant resigns, leaves Labrador and arrives here to become a stockbroker. ** Lumber dealer Jacob Duryee, at 258 Cherry Street (Rutgers Slip), is succeeded by his son Joseph W. Duryee. ** The city of Williamsburg merges with the city of Brooklyn, in order to avoid going bankrupt. ** Slaughterhouses process 1,147,509 animals this year. ** 51% of the city's population is foreign-born. ** The population of the city's Five Points neighborhood reaches 25,562, up from 13,570 in 1830. 72% are foreign-born. 3% are black. ** The 1801 Zion English Lutheran Church at 25 Mott Street becomes the Roman Catholic Church of the Transfiguration. ** Po-ca-hon-tas, or the Gentle Savage, London actor manager John Brougham's burlesque of Indian dramas is produced at Wallack's Theatre. ** The Union Club opens its fourth quarters at Fifth Avenue and 21st Street.

State
Former Ontario County sheriff Myron Holley Clark is elected governor. ** The Elmira Female College is founded, the first woman's institution to grant degrees. ** The state reports that over 200,000 paupers have been treated at the public expense during the year. ** The Seneca tribe leases the right-of-way for the Erie Railway Company and for the Atlantic & Great Western Railway, both crossing their Allegany reservation. ** The state begins incurring the expense of maintaining an insane Indian at the state asylum and investigates the education of Indians. ** The Thomas Asylum for Orphan and Destitute Children is established on the Cattaraugus reservation, the first New York State institution for Indian children. ** The German-language newspaper Free Press begins publication in Buffalo. ** The Village of Yonkers is incorporated. ** Grover Cleveland leaves Clinton, New York, to study law in Buffalo. ** Charlotte import revenue peaks at $1,534,000. ** Albany's State Hall (hall of records, currently a geological hall) is demolished to make way for a Geological and Agricultural Hall. ** Rochester educator Celestia Bloss dies. ** Rochester and Toronto, Canada, shipping interests form the International Steamboat Company to run former Canadian Line steamers Maple Leaf and Highlander between Hamilton, Kingston and Toronto, Canada, and Rochester. ** Prohibition laws are adopted by Delaware, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Iowa, New Hampshire, New York and the Territory of Nebraska. ** Connewango farmer Daniel Newcomb, an early settler, dies in town. ** The steamboat Joseph Wood is built in Canandaigua by Allen and David Wood. The water in Canandaigua Lake is so low the boat is launched by dragging it across the mud. ** Experiments are made on the Erie Canal with an "expanding" paddlewheel steam driven boat. It reaches a speed of 10 mph. ** O. V. Thayer founds the Binghamton Water Cure. ** The approximate date the Schenectady dry dock on the Erie Canal is closed. ** The total Indian population of the state is 4,169. ** The new Wayne County Court House at Lyons is completed. ** The Buffalo and Niagara Falls Railroad is taken over by the New York Central. ** Geneseo's St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church is completed. ** Annual repair costs on the Chenango Canal have reached $486 per mile. ** Racket River sawmills in Washington County process an estimated 120,000 logs. ** Edwin and Elizabeth Burnham leave Henderson and move to Chicago with their nine-year-old son, future architect and World's Fair planner Daniel Hudson Burnham. Edwin starts a wholesale drug business. ** The approximate date Batavia begins using gas streetlights.

Canandaigua
The steamboat Joseph Wood is built by Allen and David Wood. The water in Canandiagua Lake is so low the boat is launched by dragging it across the mud. ** The Methodist Church on Main Street undergoes extensive remodeling.

Rochester
Alexander Jackson Davis's home for Patrick Barry is built next door to the Ellwanger & Barry offices on Mount Hope Avenue. ** Patrick O'Rorke declines a scholarship to the University of Rochester, due to his mother's mistrust of the Baptist influence in the college. ** The ten grist mills on Brown's Race are turning out 2860 barrels of flour a day. ** The local boatbuilding industry employs 261 men and produces $341,500 worth of product. ** The approximate date the Workingmen's Assembly of Rochester is formed. ** Satirist Mrs. F. M. Whitcher's The Widow Bedott's Papers is published.

 

1856
Jan 1
The Mercantile Bank of Plattsburgh, capitalized at $100,000, opens for business.

Jan 24
The Mercantile Bank of Plattsburgh files articles of incorporation.

February
A severe snowstorm blocks the New York Central tracks at Brockport. Plows fail to move the snow.

Feb 5
Lawyer and Board of Parks commission member John Ewing Durand is born in Rochester.

Feb 6
Oswego gets close to six feet of snow.

Mar 9
Vaudeville comedian-dancer Edwin Fitzgerald "Eddie" Foy is born in New York City.

April
James Buchanan makes a campaign visit to New York State.

Apr 4
The Western Union Telegraph Company is founded in Rochester.

Apr 7
The Collins Line's Adriatic is launched, in New York City.

May 15
Author L. Frank Baum is born in Chittenango.

Jun 2
An Anti-slavery splinter faction of the Know-Nothing party meets in New York City and nominates John C. Frémont and Pennsylvania's W. F. Johnston. They advocate a free Kansas.

Aug 12
Salesman and bon vivant James Buchanan "Diamond Jim" Brady is born in lower Manhattan.

Aug 25
The Rockland County Female Institute opens in Nyack.

Aug 28
Albany's Dudley Observatory opens.

Aug 31
New York Republican campaign manager Dean Richmond reports that the New England and Maryland parties have raised $180,000 to be used in Pennsylvania.

September
State Whig merchants begin abandoning Millard Fillmore for Buchanan.

October
Virginia senator R. M. T. Hunter defends slavery in an address in Poughkeepsie.

Oct 11
Just before leaving for abroad, Arctic explorer Dr. Elisha Kent Kane marries spiritualist Margaret Fox in a secret common-law ceremony.

Nov 10
A telephone line between Newfoundland and New York City goes into service.

Nov 16
British actor-manager Laura Keene opens her own theater in New York City.

Nov 22
A site is purchased in Plattsburgh for a U. S. Customs House.

Nov 25
Lucy Stone presides at the two-day Seventh National Woman's Rights Convention in New York City.

Nov 28
Buffalo historian Frank Hayward Severance in born in Manchester, Massachusetts.

Dec 22
The Buffalo and Lake Huron Railroad opens from Fort Erie to Stratford, Ontario.

Dec 23
The first building of the formerly burnt Brockport College is dedicated.

 

City
Land is acquired in the middle of Manhattan for a park. ** New York Herald editor James Gordon Bennett predicts a financial crash if Buchanan is elected. ** 363 shipments of ice are made to the South, Asia and South America. ** Democrat mayor Fernando Wood wins re-election, defeating American Party candidate Isaac O. Baker, Republican Anthony J. Bleeker and fellow Democrat James S. Libby. ** 300,000 Catholic immigrants arrive in the city during the year, each bringing an estimated average of $68, not paupers by the standard of the times. ** Ophthalmologist-educator Cornelius Agnew returns from a year study abroad, marries Mary Nash, daughter of merchant Lora Nash.

State
John Alsop King is elected the state's first Republican governor. ** Indian schools are placed under the jurisdiction of the superintendent of pubic instruction. ** The Madison County Journal merges with the Democratic Reflector to form the Democratic Republican. ** Niagara University is founded at Niagara Falls. ** St. Lawrence University is founded. ** Portions of Allegany County are made part of Livingston County. The town of Ward is split off of Alfred. ** William H. and C. M. Beecher sell Angelica's Advocate and Whig to Charles Horton, who merges it with the Angelica Reporter. ** The Gilbert Car Shops are built on Green Island, in the Hudson River above Watervliet, for the repair of railroad cars. ** The McIntyre Iron Works closes. ** Commissioners are appointed from New York State and Connecticut in another futile attempt to pin down an acceptable common border. ** The German immigrants' Turnverein lodge holds a convention in Buffalo, urging an end to slavery. ** A. J. Goodrich publishes the weekly Greenbush Guardian. ** The Wayne County Fair, oldest in the state, is first held, in Palmyra. ** Genesee Pure Foods Company founder Orator F. Woodward is born. ** Englishman Thomas Carr buys Seneca Falls' Clinton House hotel, renames it Carr's Hotel. ** Abolitionist Gerrit Smith makes his second failed attempt for a presidential nomination. ** The Genesee Valley Canal is completed to Olean.

Erie Canal
The canal is enlarged again. ** A canal bank break at Holley kills one person. ** An aqueduct is built at Palmyra during the renovation. ** The Montezuma Aqueduct, carrying the Enlarged Erie over the Seneca River, is completed at a cost of $150,000.

Le Roy
Abolitionist Rev. Samuel Hansen Cox becomes the first president of Ingham University for Women. ** Joshua Lathrop, the village's first mayor, dies.

Rochester
Western Union establishes offices in the Reynolds Arcade. ** Work begins on the east abutment for the Main Street Bridge, a temporary footbridge is erected and horse drawn conveyances are detoured to the Andrews Street and Court Street bridges. A temporary wood bridge is in place by October. ** The local militia is granted permission by the Common Council to cut trees, planted to prevent militia drilling, on the western end of Brown Square. Neighbors object but the trees are cut down. ** Bernard Hughes atmospheric triphammer wins a gold medal at the Fair of the American Institute at New York.

 

© 2004 David Minor / Eagles Byte

 

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