Script No. 73

Things were volatile in New York in 1792, at least as far as the printing and the real estate businesses went. First off, in January, Rensselaer County publisher Silvester Tiffany sold his Tiffany Recorder to George Gardner and James Hill, who removed his name from the masthead and called it the Lansingburgh Recorder. Tiffany then took on William W. Wands as a partner in August, turning the operation of the business over to him by the end of the year, presumably retiring shortly afterwards.

Huge tracts of land continued to change hands in the western part of the state. One year after buying most of western New York from Phelps & Gorham, financier Robert Morris sold the portion east of the Genesee River to William Pultney and his associates, reaping a quick return on his investment. Another agent, named Theophile Cazenove began buying most of the l;and west of the river. His principles were a group of Dutch investors with the ringing names of P. & C. van Eeghen, Schimmelpennick, Stadnitski, Van Staphorst, Vollenhoven, and W. & J. Willink, who had organized themselves as the Holland Land Company.

The Genesee itself was seeing a bit of action. Scotsman Patrick Campbell came to scout the valley for his countrymen, soon publishing a favorable account of his travels. At the northern end, above the upper falls, Ebenezer Allan's mill site was sold to a Benjamin Barton. Elsewhere new towns were being formed this year. Chili in the west, Fairfield in the north and Cortlandt in the lower Hudson Valley, near the Croton River. Attempts were also being made to link the various parts of the state. General Philip Schuyler, hero of the Revolution, formed The Western Inland Lock Navigation Company, to build a three-mile canal bypassing the cataract at Little Falls. Another canal was to link the Mohawk River with Wood Creek and thus to a branch of the Black River, to the north of the future the city of Rome.

Valentine's Day saw the founding of the Albany Library. But it was the metropolis to the south that was really beginning to come to life. While work on filling the Collect Pond continued, new streets were being laid out in the lands north of the old wall site. Boston businessman Abijah Hammond had donated a device for drilling for water to the city government, which ordered experiments to begin on a vacant lot adjoining city hall.

October 12th saw another first with a major celebration of Columbus's discovery of America. One other innovation appeared earlier. If you waited to see what the Dow Jones Industrial Averages closed at last night it all started with a meeting of city businessmen. It was a warm May morning and they met outdoors, in the shade of a buttonwood tree - on Wall Street.

© 1998 David Minor / Eagles Byte