(Updated 2/22/2004)

Of the twenty-five prisoners in New York City's Tombs prison for murder or manslaughter, twenty-three are clients of attorney William F. Howe.

Jan 1
New York's Fifth Avenue Theatre on West 24th Street, home of Augustin Daly's troupe, is destroyed by fire.

Jan 5
Buffalo lumber dealer and councilman James W. Parsons dies at Erie, Pennsylvania.

Jan 29
Temperatures in New York City drop to 1 degree below 0 F, lowest here for this date.

Jan 31
The Reverend Bishop Ryan of Buffalo visits condemned murderer John Gaffney, administers the rite of confirmation. Gaffney's wife and children visit him.

Feb 8
Edwin Austin Abbey's illustrations for Fire, Fire: A New Yorker's Nightmare, appear in Harper's Weekly.

Feb 10
Rochester businessman and politician Thomas Parsons, 59, father of the late James W. Parsons, dies.

Feb 24
Temperatures in New York City drop to 1 degree below 0 F, lowest here for this date.

Mar 23
Rochester's Free Academy holds its first classes.

Rochester's Genesee River floods, inundating downtown's Crossroads area, undermining a city building under construction and killing two people. Several other people fall into the river.

May 9
An anonymous letter to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle notes the formation of an American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Buffalo. The writer wonders what's being done for the cause in Rochester.

May 19
Variety founder-publisher Sime Silverman is born to banker Louis Silverman, in Cortland.

May 21
Brooklyn physician, writer and lecturer Rizq [Risq, Rizk] (Georger) Haddad is born in Judeida, Marjayoun, Syria (now Lebanon).

May 28
The cornerstone of Rochester's City Hall is laid. Millstones from Nathaniel Rochester's site will be used as foundations for lamp posts.

Jun 17
Susan B. Anthony is convicted of illegal voting, in Canandaigua. She refuses to pay the $100 fine. Her attorney pays it without telling her.

Jun 21
Tammany district leader William J. Sharkey is found guilty of the 1872 murder of Robert S. Dunn.

The Sun carries an expose of the Credit Mobilier.

Jul 3
After several delays and the denial of a new trial Sharkey is sentenced to be hanged at the Tombs on August 15th.

Aug 1
Broadway librettist Otto Hauerbach (Harbach) is born in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Aug 11
Broadway bass and composer John Rosmaond Johnson is born in Jacksonville, Florida.

Jell-O inventor Pearl B. Wait is born in Le Roy.

Sep 8
The New York Warehouse and Security Company goes bankrupt.

Sep 18
The brokerage house of Jay Cooke and Company fails.

Sep 20
Wall Street trading shuts down.

Sep 30
The New York Stock Exchange reopens.

Oct 11
Rochester businessman and former village treasurer Ebenezer Watts, Jr. dies at the age of 91.

Nov 4
John-Baptiste Weber is elected Sheriff of Erie County.

Nov 5
The steam-powered canal boat William Newman sets a record on the Erie Canal - Troy to Buffalo, in four days and 22 hours.

Nov 15
Lawyer Alice Day (Gardner) is born in Batavia, to W. Harris and Fanny Day.

Nov 19
William Sharkey, his execution stayed, switches places and costume with regular daily visitor Maggie Jourdan, and escapes after receiving a pass from another visitor, Sarah Allen. More than likely he changes clothes at the law offices of Howe & Hummel, counsel for Sarah Allen. He will eventually go to Ireland.

Nov 20
Temperatures in New York City drop to 20 degrees F, the lowest temperature on record here for this date.

Nov 24
Binghamton begins horsecar service.

Dec 3
Stephen Decatur Hatch's Fifth Avenue Theatre opens at 27-31 West 28th Street in New York, replacing the West 24th Street theater of the same name, destroyed by fire in January. The new facility had formerly been Apollo Hall, owned by the next-door Gilsey Hotel family, who sponsored the remodeling.

Dec 22
Temperatures in New York City drop to 3 degrees F, the lowest here for this date.


General Charles Graham maps lower Manhattan. ** Gustave Lening's Dark Side of New York Life is published. ** Quakers form the Young Friends' Aid Association, to help children. ** Due to the financial panic the Long Island Historical Society is unable to sell land held since 1867, decides to build on the property. ** Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper describes the boundaries of the Five Points neighborhood as the Bowery, and Canal, Chatham, Pearl, and Centre streets. ** Faced with a loss of $500,000, timber and lumber dealer Joseph W. Duryee is forced to temporarily suspend business. ** Brander Matthews marries English actress Ada Smith (Ada Harland). He graduates from Columbia Law School. His tycoon father loses most of the family fortune and the two men work at a law practice for a few years. He publishes Frank Wylde, an adaptation of a French play. ** The Board of Health is established, consisting of the President of the Board of Police, the Health Officer of the Port, and two commissioners. ** The Metropolitan Museum of Art, operating out of leased space at 681 Fifth Avenue, rents the Cruger-Douglas mansion at 126-128 West 14th Street, to exhibit its Cyprus antiquities.

The office of State Commissioner in Lunacy is created, to oversee the state's insane asylums. ** New York City expands its limits, gaining three miles of Hudson River shoreline, as well as eight miles from the Harlem River and Spuyten Duyvil Creek, and approximately 18 miles from Long Island Sound. ** The Troy Gas Light Company's Gasholder House is completed. ** Chicago industrialist John Coonley buys Wyoming's Hillside, gives it to his wife, the poetess and society leader Lydia Coonley, daughter of the previous owner. ** The U. S. House of Representatives censures Democrat James Brooks for corruption. ** Former freedman Henry Flipper is nominated to West Point. ** Samuel Jones Tilden is elected governor. ** The approximate date John Starin discontinues service by his steamboat Erastus Corning and his sidewheel towboat Blackbird between New York City and Athens, New York, after the pier at the latter burns. ** The descendants of John Jenning's sell the Patterson Inn building at Painted Post to Samuel Robertson. ** The John Granger house at 16 Gibson Street in Canandaigua is sold to Father Dennis English of next-door St. Mary's Church, for use as a convent and later, as administrative offices. A new St. Mary's Church will be built there in 1903. ** William. H. Christian's term as City Surveyor of Utica expires. He and his assistant Campbell W. Adams go into private practice together. ** Albany decides to use the Hudson River as its sole source of water. ** Businessman and widower Erastus Corning marries his second wife, Mary Parker, daughter of state Supreme Court judge Amasa J. Parker.

Elbridge Gerry Spaulding's International Bridge Company builds the first railroad bridge to Canada. ** Edward H. Butler founds the Sunday News. ** Father John Pitass founds Buffalo's St. Stanislaus Roman Catholic Church, the first Polish-American Catholic church in western New York

The John Granger house at 16 Gibson Street is sold to Father Dennis English of next door St. Mary's Church, for use as a convent and later, as administrative offices. A new St. Mary's Church will be built there in 1903. ** Mr. and Mrs. F. F. Thompson and others donate money to add a chapel to the Congregational Church.

Erie Canal
Navigation on the Erie Canal is held up at lock 6 in Watervliet for 72 hours when a weak foundation under the lock, gives way. ** 12 boats sink on Section I this year.

The Vincent Place bridge, across the Genesee River, is completed. ** The city waterworks is built at the site of the Red Bird Saw Mill, formerly the Brown's Race building. ** George G. Clarkson is elected mayor on an economy platform. Democrats capture City Council. ** German tobacconists in the city produce 7,000,000 cigars. By 1883 production will total 17,000,000. ** Thomas Leighton moves the headquarters of his Leighton Iron Bridge Company to Buffalo.




Jan 18
The Rochester fire department first uses the Holley Water Works System for fighting fires, at a blaze at the Stewart Block in North Water Street.

Jan 23
Temperatures in New York City rise to 63 degrees F, highest here for this date.

Feb 23
Temperatures in New York City rise to 72 degrees F, highest here for this date.

Mar 8
Former U. S. president Millard Fillmore dies in Buffalo at the age of 74.

Apr 4
Temperatures in New York City drop to 20 degrees F, lowest here for this date.

Apr 7
Geneseo schoolteacher Epaphroditus Bigelow dies in his home at the age of 88.

Apr 12
Temperatures in New York City drop to 22 degrees F, lowest here for this date.

Apr 13
Temperatures in New York City again drop to 22 degrees F, lowest here for the second day in a row.

Apr 24
The New York cold wave continues as temperatures again drop to 28 degrees, lowest for this date.

Apr 27
Phineas Taylor Barnum's Great Roman Hippodrome opens at Madison Avenue and 27th Street. The site will later become the home of the first Madison Square Garden.

Apr 28
Melinda Wheeler Bennitt, wife of a Hammondsport lawyer, and Carrie Fairchild, wife of a local printer, produce the first issue of the Hammondsport Herald.

Apr 29
Temperatures in New York City drop to 32 degrees F, lowest here for this date.

Apr 30
Temperatures in New York again drop to 32 degrees, lowest here for this date.

A Dansville farmer uncovers mastodon bones.

May 14
A balloon out of Geneva, piloted by a Professor Donaldson, appears over Hammondsport. An attempt to land it fails.

May 15
The Donaldson balloon again appears over Hammondsport, on its way back to Geneva.

May 23
The Richings-Bernard Concert troupe performs at Penn Yan. The Keuka Lake excursion steam boat Steuben picks up passengers at Hammondsport to carry them to the concert and back.

Jul 31
The New York Sun newspaper is the first to use the expression 'face a pitch', meaning to come to bat.

Aug 12
Rochester holds its first Grand Circuit horse races.

Aug 27
Twelve followers of John Wilcox leave Chicago to start a community on Lake Champlain's Valcour Island.

Sep 1
Albany, New York's Beaverwyck Rowing Club wins the National Regatta across the Hudson River at Troy, and is welcomed back home with a parade.

Democrat Samuel J. Tilden is elected governor.

Nov 18
Humorist, illustrator and essayist Clarence Day is born in New York City.

Nov 30
Three-time New York City mayor William Frederick Havemeyer dies in office. S. B. H. Vance completes his term.

Dec 14
Gerrit Smith's circular "Will the American People Never Cease to Oppress and Torture the Helpless poor?" is published.

Dec 15
Temperatures in New York City drop to 8 degrees F, lowest here for this date.

Dec 28
Philanthropist and abolitionist Gerrit Smith dies while visiting the New York City home of his nephew General John Cochrane, at the age of 77.

Democrat William H. Wickham defeats Republican Salem H. Wales and Independent Oswald Ottendorfer to become mayor, serving 1875-1876. ** The Young Men's Hebrew Association is organized, with Lewis May as president. ** The Social Democratic Workingmen's Party is organized. ** Territory west of the Bronx River (Highbridgeville, Morrisania, Tremont and Kingsbridge) is annexed to New York City. ** New York Central general manager John M. Toucey, mentor to James (later Diamond Jim) Brady, brings the Spuyten Duyvil station agent back into Manhattan and makes him a clerk in the railroad's general office. ** Using his recently acquired steamboat Thomas Collyer, John Starin begins ferry service between Manhattan and the north shore of Staten Island. ** George W. Ely is named Assistant Secretary of the New York Stock Exchange.

The Lake Ontario steamboats Abyssinian and Athenian are sold to a St. Lawrence River company. ** Painter William West Durant is summoned home from Europe by his father, railroad tycoon Thomas Clark Durant, to help in promoting the Adirondacks as a tourist attraction. ** James William Towner and twelve followers from a failed community at Berlin Heights, Ohio, join the community at Oneida. ** Macedon's Erie Canal Lock 60, is converted to a double lock. ** The Cohoes Music Hall is built. ** Dr. Annie Cheyney (-Spofford) is born in Franklinville. ** The Chautauqua Institution is founded by Lewis Miller and Bishop John H. Vincent. ** Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Post #68, named for Lieutenant-Colonel Augustus I. Root, is formed in Batavia. ** Italian stonemasons begin construction on a house at Whitehall for State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Potter. ** John Dellinger establishes the Dellinger Opera House in Batavia. ** John Wiggins builds Connewango's Elm Creek Creamery, at a cost of $3700. ** The Buffalo printing firm of Warren, Johnson & Co. publishes P. T. Barnum's Appendix IV to his autobiography, offering reviewers free passes to the circus and copies of the complete book. ** Former governor Enos Thompson Throop dies in Auburn. ** The Wyoming Historical and Pioneer Association sponsors the first Pioneer Picnic, at Silver Lake. ** A group of women in Geneva found the Village Improvement Association to rescue the area of the original settlement from further decay.

Charles Hoy Fort, writer and explorer of the paranormal, is born. ** Father Francis Maguire founds Albany's Sacred Heart Church.

Abolitionist Frederick Douglass is defeated in his attempt to gain a seat in the local assembly. ** The Ebenezer Watts house goes out of the family. ** Work begins on the Holly municipal water system. A demonstration is given in front of the Powers Building at the Four Corners , with a fire hose sending water 460 feet into the air. The system will also be used to provide hydraulic power for downtown building elevators. ** The Genesee Yacht Club is organized at Charlotte. ** North Street and North Avenue switch names. ** Andrew Jackson Warner's Broad Street City Hall building is completed. The bell from the second County Court House dome is moved here. ** The city annexes parts of the towns of Brighton, Gates, Greece and Irondequoit, bringing its total area to 16.98 square miles. ** Robert Barret closes his boatyard on the Ohio Basin. ** Cornelius R. Parsons, former member of the common council, is elected alderman from the Seventh Ward. ** Alex Ferguson starts a hardware business in Charlotte.



( Updated 11 / 21 / 2004 )

Batavia's Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Post #68 is disbanded.

Jan 5
Rochester's City Hall, built at a cost of $337,000, opens to the public.

Jan 19
Temperatures in New York City drop to 1 degree below 0 F, lowest here for this date.

Mar 6
Ann (Nancy) Smith, widow of philanthropist and abolitionist Gerrit Smith, dies.

Mar 15
Broadway producer Lee Shubert is born in Syracuse.

Mar 20
Escaped New York City murderer William J. Sharkey is reportedly arrested in Santiago de Cuba, but will die free, in Ireland.

Apr 17
Temperatures in New York City drop to 27 degrees F, lowest here for this date.

Apr 19
Temperatures in New York City drop to 22 degrees F, setting another daily record.

Apr 21
Temperatures in New York City again drop to 22 degrees F, lowest here for this date.

Apr 22
Temperatures in New York drop to 28 degrees F, setting another daily record.

Jul 3
Bath holds its celebration of the Fourth.

Jul 5
Citizens of Hammondsport celebrate Independence Day, and the opening of the Bath & Hammondsport Narrow Gauge Railroad, with a speech by orator Darius A. Ogden, military displays, sporting events, excursions on the steamboat Steuben and on the railroad, and a parachute jump from the steeple of the Presbyterian Church by Monsieur Bazine, of Montreal.

Sep 1
The first use of New York's City Hall Park Post Office.

Sep 15
New York-born meteorologist Increase Lapham suffers a heart attack while fishing alone near his home in a small boat on Wisconsin's Lake Oconomowoc, dying at the age of 64.

Sep 16
The Great Lakes schooner W. H. Rounds, out of Buffalo, visits Oswego to pick up coal for Chicago.

Oct 5
The mortgage is foreclosed on Wilcox's Valcour Island community.

Oct 12
Canadian-born actor James Stark dies in New York City at the age of 57.

Oct 29
Rochester wild animal trainer and amusement park owner Raymond Henry Staines is born to English parents Henry and Charlotte Staines, in Rawul, East Bengal.

Oct 30
Edwin Booth portrays the title role in Hamlet at New York's Fifth Avenue Theatre.

Nov 15
New York's Eagle Variety Theatre, at 102 W. 33rd Street, opens with a production of Gilbert & Sullivan's Trial by Jury.

Nov 29
Temperatures in New York City drop to 14 degrees F, the lowest temperature here for the date.

Nov 30
Temperatures in New York City plunge to 5 degrees, setting a November record.

Dec 1
Temperatures in New York City drop to 8 degrees, lowest temperature here for the date.

Dec 2
Temperatures in New York City drop to 11 degrees, setting records for the fourth day in a row.

Dec 24
H. C. Armstead's St. George Hotel in Avon is destroyed by fire.

Quakers form the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Henry Bergh is named president. ** Henry James winters in the city, writing A Passionate Pilgrim and Others Tales, Transatlantic Sketches, and Roderick Hudson. ** Contentious Long Island Railroad (LIRR) president Oliver Charlick is removed from office and replaced with Conrad Popenhusen. ** Sheldon and Company publishes George Armstrong Custer's My Life on the Plains, compiled from a series of articles he wrote for New York City's Galaxy magazine.

The state takes over the operation of Seth Green's fish hatchery in Caledonia. ** Former Seneca County surrogate judge J. K. Richardson dies. ** President Grant visits the Chautauqua Institute, the first U. S. president to do so. ** The American Bankers' Association is organized, at Saratoga Springs. ** The stone house at Whitehall for Justice Joseph Potter ­ Skene Manor ­ is completed. ** New York army captain Willard Glazier begins preparations for a coast-to-coast trip on horseback. ** Hammondsport Herald co-editor Melinda Wheeler Bennitt sells her half-interest in the paper to her partner Carrie Fairchild. ** Governor Samuel Tilden hosts a dinner at the executive mansion for author William Cullen Bryant. ** The Troy Bessemer plant, partially owned by Erastus Corning, turns out 270 tons of steel ingots a day. ** Samuel J. Tilden is inaugurated governor. ** Future Monroe County coroner Wallace Sibley graduates from the University of Buffalo. ** Andrew W. Young's History of Chautauqua County. ** Herkimer's Fort Dayton Hose Company is formed to operate the village's new fire engine.

One out of every six people - 14,184 out of 86,541 - is Irish. ** The Mechanics and Farmers Bank at State and James Street and the Exchange Building are demolished.

Local farmers produce 5779 tons of hay, 22,292 bushels of corn, 34,342 bushels of oats, and 16,735 bushels of potatoes. ** Pioneer Jotham Metcalf dies. ** Pioneer farmer Ralph Williams dies at the age of 97. Settler John Hammond, aged 81, dies.

The city begins getting water from Hemlock Lake. ** The city now has 30 Italian immigrants. Young Italian immigrant Antonio Pesole seeks protection of the police, claiming he is regularly beaten by his Italian sponsor (padrone) and the man's wife. ** The Rochester and Lake Ontario Navigation company is organized. ** The Genesee River Glen House-to-Charlotte excursion steamer Falling Waters burns and is replaced by the Estelle. ** Builder John Canfield moves to Alexander Street. ** A commission is named to investigate the Board of Public Works and those in charge of the construction of City Hall, resulting in the creation of an Executive Board. ** Louis A. Wiegel graduates from the University of Maryland Medical School, returns home to practice. ** G. M. Hopkins publishes a city atlas.

Isaac Uriah Doust starts a daguerreotype gallery. ** An extension is built on the eastern end of the 1867 Onondaga County Savings Bank Building on Genesee Street.

Shopkeeper Samuel Paley, father of broadcaster William S. Paley, is born in Brovary.



Jan 2
Temperatures in New York City rise to 68 degrees F, highest here for this date.

Jan 10
Temperatures in New York City reach to 60 degrees F, highest here for this date.

Jan 23
Rochester begins obtaining part of its water supply from Hemlock Lake, completing its water system.

Feb 2
William Hurlbert and Morgan G. Bulkeley form the National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs from the National Association, in New York City. The member teams are Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Hartford, Louisville, New York, Philadelphia and St. Louis.

Feb 5
Tonawanda taxpayers recommend rising $100 for remedial work on the Niagara River Burying Grounds (River Cemetery) which loses ground to the river when the water's high. Nothing will be done until 1880.

Martha Hulz Wickham, widow of Watkins peach grower William Wickham, Jr. dies. $4400 in gold and silver is found in a trunk after her death. ** Rochester's new mayor Cornelius R. Parsons addresses the city council.

Apr 8
Rochester receives its first shipment of foreign goods, having recently been declared a port of entry.

Apr 20
The American Chemical Society is founded to promote chemical research, in New York City.

May 15
The Fifth Avenue Conference, to reform the Republican Party, is held in New York City. Little is accomplished.

May 18
The Greenback (Independent) Party holds its first national convention, in Indianapolis and nominates New York's Peter Cooper and Ohio's Samuel F. Carey. Their platform calls for the resuming the use of paper money.

Jun 4
A Centennial Express train arrives in San Francisco, having made the trip from New York City in a record 83 hours and 39 minutes.

Jun 16
The Republicans nominate Ohio's governor Rutherford Birchard Hayes and New York's William A. Wheeler.

Jun 29
The Democrats nominate New York governor Samuel Jones Tilden and Indiana's Thomas A. Hendricks.

Jul 4
Rochester plants a centennial oak in Franklin Square.

Jul 6
The New York Herald publishes two accounts of the Custer massacre, based on yesterday's dispatches from Salt Lake City.

Jul 20
The schooner Mohawk capsizes in a sudden wind off Staten Island. Owner William T. Garner, New York Yacht Club Vice-Commodore and People's Line owner, drowns along with his wife and two guests.

Jul 29
The board of trustees of Rochester's Monroe County Savings Bank expresses their appreciation of Amon Bronson's service to the bank and community.

Aug 22
The steamboat John H. Starin arrives in Albany, receives 100 of the vessel's namesake's friends and associates, and departs for a free eleven-day pleasure cruise.

Aug 25
The first aerial crossing between towers of the uncompleted Brooklyn Bridge is accomplished.

The adultery trial of the Reverend Henry Beecher in Brooklyn ends in a hung jury.

Oct 4
Gilman H. and Caroline Perkins, Rochester parents of a deaf daughter, found the Western New York Institute for Deaf Mutes.

Juliet Corson starts the first cooking school in the U. S. in New York City.

Nov 23
New York City's William Marcy "Boss" Tweed , convicted of fraud, is returned to New York from Spain after being apprehended there.

Dec 3
The first edition of the Rochester Sunday Morning Herald is published.

Dec 5
A fire in Brooklyn's Conway Theatre claims 300 lives.

Dec 9
Temperatures in New York City drop to 7 degrees F, the lowest here for this date.

Dec 10
New York temperatures plunge to 3 degrees, setting another record here for the date.

Dec 16
Temperatures in New York City drop to 7 degrees F, lowest temperature recorded here for this date.

John Draper takes the first photograph of a solar spectrum. ** A warehouse is built at 213 Water Street. It will one day become the Museum Gallery of the South Street Seaport Museum. ** Democrat Smith Ely, Jr., a merchant, defeats Republican John Dix to become mayor, serving 1877-1878. ** Philadelphia and New York are expelled from baseball's National League for not completing their final western road trips. ** Whitman's "A Death Sonnet for Custer" appears in the New York Tribune. ** Robert Macoy's The Centennial Guide to New York City and Its Environs is published. ** The need for the graving docks at Brooklyn's Erie Basin begins to slacken. ** Lyman Abbott joins Henry Ward Beecher as co-editor of the Congregationalist periodical Christian Union.

The Wiard Plow Company moves from East Aurora to Batavia. ** Funds are raised in Warsaw to erect a Soldier's Monument, utilizing a Corinthian column from Philadelphia's Exposition. ** Townspeople of Washingtonville bury a time capsule in a bridge abutment. ** Buffalo's City Hall is built. ** Construction begins on Albany's Sacred Heart Church. ** H. C. Armstead rebuilds his St. George Hotel in Avon, destroyed by fire last year. S. H. Newman takes out a ten-year lease on the building, operates it as the Newman House. ** Le Roy's St. Mark's Episcopal Church is consecrated. ** J. S. Bliss and Company of Tonawanda begins manufacturing wood shingles.

Antonio Nucci and Paul Regali become the first Italian immigrants in the city to gain full citizenship. ** Daniel Powers adds a second mansard roof to his commercial structure at State and Main.




© 2001 David Minor / Eagles Byte