The handful of pinpricks on the New York State map indicating new settlements
was beginning to grow by 1793. From the far south-western corner of the
state, where Joshua Patrick opened the first inn at the future Aurora, east
through the Finger Lakes, vast quantities of land were still changing hands.
Robert Morris sold 3,600,000 acres of western New York to Theophile Cazenove.
He also sold 85,000 acres to New York City capitalist Herman Le Roy and
his associates William Bayard and John McEvers, land that would be known
as the Triangle Tract. Before the year was out, Charles Wilbur moved into
the Tract and erected a cabin on the banks of the Oatka Creek in what would
become Le Roy. From Ulster County, in the lower Hudson Valley, came Colonel
John Hardenburgh, Winslow Perry, Amos Stoyell, and Jabez L. Bottom, to found
the village of Auburn.
East of Auburn, the shores of Lake Onondaga were seeing the early beginnings
of manufacturing activity. One frontier entrepreneur, James Geddes began
making salt at Geddes, while Moses De Witt and William Van Vleck joined
forces to erect a four-kettle manufactury, turning out potash to be used
by pioneer families in the making of soap. Earlier inhabitants of the area
were starting to feel the effects on encroaching civilization. A new treaty
with the Onondaga tribe reduced the size of their reservation. It would
not be the last time.
Communities established less than a half dozen years previously were slowly
growing in size and social amenities. Ephraim Wilson settled in Bristol
Center, building a home there. The village of Cato saw its first marriage
as William Allen and Betsey Watkins said their vows on June 25th.
Albany was becoming more and more metropolitan, as befitted a state capital.
The Society for the Promotion of Agriculture, Arts, and Manufactures was
incorporated. But unrest is always just beneath the surface in semi-frontier
communities. In November a group of slaves rebelled, setting fire to a number
of buildings before order was restored.
Meanwhile the city at the mouth of the Hudson was attracting the talented
and the ambitious. It was on April 3rd the city learned of Revolutionary
France's declaration of war on Britain. One fugitive of that revolution
was 24-year-old Marc Isambard Brunel. He would make his mark as an architect
and a canal designer, before rising to the post of city chief engineer.
Six years later he would recross the Atlantic, settling in England, where
he designed the first Thames tunnel. His son Isambard Kingdom Brunel would
design bridges, railroads and transatlantic steamships. Definitely an early
case of U. S. brain drain.
For Classical ninety-one five, this is David Minor.
David Minor / Eagles Byte