Let's hang around the latter part of the 18th century for one more week. A number of firsts occured two hundred years ago, in 1797.

Naval news comes out of Philadelphia this year, where the frigate United States is launched on May 10th. John Barry takes over as the vessel's captain, to command the first vessel of the new United States Navy. Up in our neck of the woods, at the mouth of the Genesee River, Eli Granger launches the 30-ton Jemima , the first schooner built in the U. S.

Other firsts occur this year. To the east of the Genesee, newspaperman Lucius Carey begins publishing the Geneva Gazette and Genesee Advertiser, using the first printing press in Ontario County. Dr. Samuel L. Mitchell begins publishing The Medical Repository, the first American medical journal.

Innovation also flourishes in the world of business, as Swiss-born immigrant Albert Gallatin introduces an employee profit-sharing plan into his glass manufactury. Perhaps the most far-reaching innovation appears in Chauncy Lee's American Accountant, when he combines the letters p and s, short for pesos, into one symbol - today's dollar sign.

There are some cities that can evoke a smirk when we hear their names. Names like Podunk. Or Erie, Pennsylvania (Dreary Erie, the Mistake by the Lake). Cleveland, Ohio, also has a reputation for being a boring backwater, probably greatly exaggerated. But even Cleveland, newly-founded this year, can have its own private firsts. On Januray 23rd, Charles Phelps Stiles becomes the first European child born in Cleveland. And on July 4th, William Clement marries Chloe Inches, the first marriage in Cleveland. Now I just said that Cleveland's reputation for dullness is probably overdone, but William and Chloe leave on their honeymoon, and never come back.

For Classical ninety-one five, this is David Minor.

© 1997 David Minor / Eagles Byte