Funny game, the newspaper business. All are launched with high hopes. Some go on to lead successful lives. Others quickly flop. Several were begun in New York State in 1801. The Albany Centinel didn't make it beyond it's first year. The Hudson Balance did slightly better; it lasted seven years. But New York City's Alexander Hamilton was the most successful, in his choice of title anyway. On November 16th he founded the New York Evening Post , with William Coleman as its editor. Its line has not been unbroken; it might even be successfully argued that it's not the same newspaper, but today there still is a New York Post . One thing is certain - Hamilton would not recognize today's punchy tabloid.

The new papers had much to report. To begin with there was the national inauguration. Jefferson became president, with New Yorker Aaron Burr as his v. p. Burr was soon sitting on a committee to revise the constitution of New York State; for the first time the Federalists were out of power. The political landscape began changing rapidly. The Pulteney real estate interests were endangered and a financial overhaul resulted in Charles Williamson resigning, rather than share power with Sir William's new choice, former Board of the Congressional Treasury member Robert Troup. Williamson, the man who had perhaps done more than any other to shape the geographical landscape of western New York was gone. Other, lesser events were happening down in New York City. Doctor David Hosack founded Elgin's Garden, a botanical park bounded by the future 47th and 51st streets, and Fifth and Sixth avenues. The area was far from being the prime real estate it would one day become. A Lutheran Church was built down on Mott Street, the Church of the Transfiguration nearby. Today that area is in the heart of Chinatown.

The Finger Lake and Genesee Valley region continued growing. The area's first school was opened at Ganson's (later Le Roy). Settlers began moving into the future Bergen, Penfield, and Dunham's Grove. (We know the latter as Oakfield.) Just south of Dunham's, settler Abel Howe built a cabin on Tonawanda Creek. Joseph Ellicott moved his Holland Land Company office into Howe's cabin and named the settlement for one of his Dutch sponsors' far-off capitals, Batavia. Ellicott then moved on to Clarence and set up another sales office. Land in the western region was soon going for $2 an acre and by year's end 40 tracts would be sold.

Later western pioneers would talk mysteriously of going to "see the elephant". Naturalist Charles Willson Peale couldn't wait. When farmers near Newburgh discovered some very strange bones, Peale organized the uncovering of a prehistoric mastodon. Resurrected, it was soon the star attraction of his Philadelphia museum. Seems even mastodons would "rather be in Philadelphia." That would change.

For Classical ninety-one five, this is David Minor

©1999 David Minor / Eagles Byte