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.

Copyright 1998
David Minor / Eagles Byte