The old saw tells us there's nothing sure but death and taxes. The first had been around in New York State since the beginning, the second was introduced in 1799. Slumping land sales that year produced the need to generate other revenue - the government in Albany began leveling its first state tax. And the assembly had other irons in the fire. They continued refining the geopolitical boundaries of the state by splitting off a portion of Onondaga County to form the new county of Cayuga.

Looking more closely at the remainder of Onondaga, they decided to regulate the burgeoning salt industry there. An act was passed requiring all salt manufactured at the springs be deposited in a public storehouse for inspection, and if necessary, sorted into two qualities. The finest quality was to be free from all dirt and the second to be free from impurities, dry, and no more than 25% inferior to the quality. Of course the lawmakers made sure a state employee inspected everything. They even decreed the type and size of container the salt was to be shipped in, and set up a series of fees and penalties (A-HA!!). The manufacturers and shippers probably began having dark thoughts about Big Government. The assembly also took the first halting steps toward ending slavery, passing a gradual emancipation act on March 29th. All children of slaves born after July 4th would become freed when they reached the age of 25; 28 if female.

In Albany the Federalist Party was beginning to lose its hold, even as the nation's chief Federalist laid fighting his last battle. Death came to George Washington on December 14th. New York City learned of it on the 17th, Schenectady not for another week. In that town the church bells tolled for two hours and the aldermen donned mourning clothes for thirty days. As the winds of political change began rising and Republicanism grew stronger, one local Federalist decided it was time to retire from the game. Congressman and judge, William Cooper, father of James Fenimore Cooper, resigned both positions.

The state continued its growth spurt, from the Mohawk to the Niagara frontier. Utica now contained fifty houses. 23 Scots immigrants from nearby, read Charles Williamson's advertisements and went off to investigate the west. They soon bought land from the Pulteney agent and settled west of the Genesee on Oatka Creek. Taking their cue from the Roman name for Scotland they called their new home Caledonia. Other settlers went a bit farther and settled on Le Roy's East Main Street. Another group pushed over toward Lake Erie. While Asa Ransom dropped off partway, to found Clarence Hollow (and much later give his name to a restaurant), others went still further. To another creek, to begin a community named New Amsterdam, a name it would not keep for long. The name of the creek was Buffalo Creek.

For Classical ninety-one five, this is David Minor

© 1999 David Minor / Eagles Byte