January 20, 2001

In June 1818, Robert Fulton's steamship Fulton I was temporarily taken out of mothballs and its brasswork was buffed up. The occasion was a New York City visit by President Madison with ceremonies including a harbor excursion to Staten Island. New York State waterways were as busy as ever this year. At the other end of the state surveyor William Peacock began a survey of Buffalo's harbor, while construction got under way on the city's South Pier. On August 23rd, the first steamboat on the Great Lakes, Walk-in-the-Water, left the city on its maiden voyage, stopping at Dunkirk, and continuing on west to Cleveland and Detroit. Peacock's conclusions would soon put an end to the rivalry between Black Rock and Buffalo for location of the port. His boss, Joseph Ellicott, was able to report to his superiors at the Holland Land Company that all of their best land had now been sold. The city spawned its first suburb, as Amherst became a Town in its own right.

The settlement at the Falls of the Genesee gained a new permanent resident, as Nathaniel Rochester moved up from West Bloomfield and settled at the corner of today's Exchange and Spring streets. This growing community annexed the village of Frankfort, becoming a village in its own right and adopting Nathanel's last name to become Rochesterville, with a population of one thousand. On April 18th the Great Lakes shipping season on the Genesee opened. In the next four months 1158 bushels of pearl ash, 26,000 barrels of flour and 120,000 barrel staves, with a total value for the season of $300,000, passed through. Business was growing so rapidly that when the Harford Mill burned to the ground this year, owners Matthew and Francis Brown immediately rebuilt, appropriately naming the new structure the Phoenix Mill. Maritime trade by way of the Genesee was indeed healthy. Trade would become more so in a few years, as components of Clinton's Ditch began taking shape off to the east. Construction began this year on a new aqueduct to carry the canal's water across the Irondequoit Valley. Further east, on June 14th, the first loaded boat passed through the newly completed locks of the Seneca and Cayuga Canal at Seneca Falls. Tolls were 50 cents. The Seneca fell no longer.

Rochesterville was getting religion, much-needed in some people's opinion, considering that once this year the village band had become too drunk to rehearse. Baptists begin meeting, informally. The Reverend Comfort Williams of Ogdensburg was installed as the city's first pastor, for the Presbyterian Society,.and Saint Luke's Episcopal Church was formed. Clerical disapproval didn't stop one entrepreneur; Azel Ensworth built a tavern over at the Four Corners this year. Another businessman, freed black Austin Steward, opened a general store.

Other communities also saw growth in 1818. West of Rochester in Le Roy, five businesses opened between South Street and the Public Square. Down toward New York City another village, Cold Spring, was born, mainly to service a new foundry built to supply the West Point military academy across the Hudson. A 30-man operation this year, by the opening of the Civil War the complex would sprawl over a 100-acre site, and employ 1,400 workers.

More 1818 next week. For Classical 91.5 and 90-point-3, this is David Minor

© 2000 David Minor / Eagles Byte



Ten-hut! Steal a march, so to speak, on the year 2002, which will mark the 200th anniversary of the founding of the United States Military Academy at West Point, on New York's Hudson River. The Bicentennial Site, at
will take you on a journey back in time to watch today's proud tradtions grow. Read excerpts from letters written by students, learn the Point's terminology of the past; explore Cadet Lore, Flirtation Walk, Statues and Superstitions, Legends and Mysteries (including a ghost or two). Check out some of the other options for a West Point Trivia quiz, the Bicentennial celebration schedule and even a section (construction ongoing) for those considering attending the academy. And while you explore the site there are plenty of sound files to transport you off to the parade ground for a little close order drill. Dis! Smissed!!

The Game's Afoot !


© 2001 David Minor / Eagles Byte