The new century brought continued activity to New York State. In Manhattan architect John McComb, Jr.'s Church of Our Lady of the Rosary, down at the south end of the island was completed. The Bank of Manhattan opened on Wall Street. Up in the country, toward the northern end of the island lawyer-politician Alexander Hamilton bought property in August for a summer home. Over in the Bronx, fellow politician Gouverneur Morris began construction of his own country home which, like Jefferson at Monticello, he was designing himself. The Morris family name would be perpetuated geographically in the names of two Bronx villages, Morrisania and Morris Heights.

Currently, other villages were springing up, especially in the recently-formed Cayuga County. This year would see the settlement of Brutus, Cato, and Conquest. Watertown, up at the eastern end of Lake Ontario, was also settled. The first round of primitive infrastructure-building continued. The bridge across the northern end of Cayuga Lake was completed as was the Mohawk Turnpike, crossing the eastern part of the state. And prospective customers visited the sparsely settled Genesee Valley. James Wadsworth sold a section of his holdings to the painter Benjamin West. Charles Williamson's publicity machine attracted three wealthy Maryland investors. Colonel W. Fitzhugh and Major Charles Carroll bought land in the Mount Morris area. Colonel Nathaniel Rochester bought at Dannsville (then spelled with two 'n's). In a few years all three investors would buy land further downriver, at a place where a series of waterfalls would provide important power for mills and other industries. One of the men would give his name to the city that grew up there. Other mills were opened this year at another creek to the east, as builder Eli Lyon constructed a flour mill on Irondequoit Creek for Daniel Penfield and Abram Bronson built a triphammer mill nearby.

Meanwhile the Ellicott brothers and their teams completed the Great Survey for the Holland Land Company, begun the previous year. A surveyors lot (pardon the expression) was not a comfortable one and the task was taking longer than originally expected. Facing waist-deep swamps, thickly-wooded mountainsides, hailstorms, fever, and distemper (for the pack animals), they also had to deal with summer drought, and storms like the one described by Benjamin Ellicott. "...the rain came in torrents, the lightening flashed, thunder roared incessantly, wind tearing from the sturdy trees their boughs, and dislocating others that had stood for many years apart . . . as if war had been declared against the forest." The men's efforts would pay off, especially for one of their leaders. In November Paolo Busti was named General Agent of the Holland Land Company. He hired Joseph Ellicott as Land Agent and, in December, sent him off to the site of the future Buffalo to begin operations.

For Classical ninety-one five, this is David Minor

© 1999 David Minor / Eagles Byte