Thursday, December 31, 2009


As we get ready to toot and toast our way into 2010 you should be aware
that when a comment is made directly to the blog web site for posting
your contact information is not included.

You can either include your e-mail address within the comment or forward it directly to me at . That way I'll know how to contact you directly.

Until 2010,


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

Wayne County Historical Society Map Club - December Meeting

The next meeting of the Map Club will be Wed. Nov. 16th at 7pm.

The club will be looking at atlases of Wayne County and an index of maps of the Genesee Valley.
At the last meeting members viewed many different kinds of maps from the Museum's collection.

Anyone interested in any aspect of maps is invited to come.
If you have any maps or atlases for a show-and-tell session feel free to bring them along.

For more information about this event, call the Museum of Wayne County History
at 315-946-4943 or look at the website,
The Museum is located at 21 Butternut Street, Lyons NY.

Also it will be just about your last chance to see:

"Intriguing Architecture"
High School Photo Exhibit

This exhibit was conceptualized to go hand in hand with the summer/fall exhibit,
"Legends and Haunts of Wayne County".
Three schools participated, Clyde-Savannah, Lyons and North Rose Wolcott", said
executive director, Larry Ann Evans, "and the photographs are out of this world!"

Friday, December 11, 2009

CENTRAL / WESTERN New York timeline / 1789


The future Livingston County town of Hartford (now Avon), is formed.

Jan 27
Canandaigua becomes the seat of Ontario County, newly formed from Montgomery County, and comprising the entire Phelps and Gorham Purchase; the town of Canadice is founded (Whitestown will continue to hold elections in Montgomery County for another two years). The Cayuga County towns of Aurelius and Milton (later Genoa) are founded. The Ontario County town of Bloomfield (later East Bloomfield) is formed, as settlement begins.

Jan 29
Politician and judge William B. Rochester is born to Nathaniel and Sophia Rochester, in Hagerstown, Maryland.

Feb 25
The Cayuga Indians sign a treaty with New York, selling close to 3,000,000 acres of their land, receiving $500, with the same amount to be paid annually, and a further payment in June.

Feb 28
The Tioga (later Chemung) County town of Chemung is formed.

Mar 4
The First Constitutional Congress meets in New York City, without a quorum. The U. S. Constitution is declared to be in effect. A public celebration is held.

Apr 23
Washington arrives in New York.

Apr 30
Washington is sworn in as the first President of the United States, on the front steps of Federal Hall.

Moses DeWitt and Abraham Hardebegh lead a party of surveyors from the Hudson Valley to the western shore of the Oswego River, begin surveying the New Military Tract, over 1,500,000 acres of former Iroquois land.

Speculator Oliver Phelps first visits his lands on the Genesee River. ** New York pays the Cayuga an additional $1,625. ** Nathaniel Gorham notifies the Council of Massachusetts that he and Phelps will be unable to pay the first bond before the second one comes due; offers to relinquish the bargain if they are compensated for expenses. The legislature will postpone payment of the first bond until next April.

Jul 4
Oliver Phelps convenes a council of Seneca chiefs at Buffalo Creek to inform them their lands were been surrendered in the peace treaty of 1783 and they retain their lands only on the sufferance of the U. S.

Jul 8
Phelps begins the final conference with the Seneca. It goes on past midnight.

Jul 9
The chiefs decide the payments promised by the Genesee Company are fair and since a portion of the lease is now surrendered, Phelps should pay part of the total sums promised by the lessees. The task of writing down the terms of the agreement are delegated to three white interpreters. The chiefs sign later in the day.

Oliver Phelps returns to Canandaigua to make the second and final payment to the Seneca. He brings $5,000 instead of the $10,000 promised. (The discrepancy is probably due to greatly differing exchange rates for the pound in New York and Canada). The only sign-off Phelps can get is from four chiefs not directly involved with the sale lands. The tribe will eventually sign away the lands but will remain embittered. ** Captain Simon Stone and Lieutenant Israel Stone, cousins and Revolutionary War veterans from Salem, New York, purchase a Phelps and Gorham tract at Big Spring (the future site of Northfield, later Pittsford) containing 13,296 acres, for $4,786.56. They make a $30 down payment. They go back to Salem for the winter after building themselves log homes.

Aug 22
Phelps writes to Samuel Street indicating that Phelps and Gorham will permit Allan to continue milling even though he did not complete his construction by the June 1st deadline.

An Indian delegation from the Western Confederacy travels from Ohio to Buffalo Creek, where Joseph Brant advises them to go ahead and negotiate a settlement with the Americans.

Ebenezer "Indian" Allan, sells his Scottsville farm for $2.50 an acre, moves to a site at the Genesee River falls, a location that will become the city of Rochester.

Nov 12
The approximate date Ebenezer Allen, using a crew of fifteen whites recruited from the Genesee Valley and a schooner's crew, erects a grist mill on the Genesee's upper falls, on behalf of Oliver Phelps. He also erects a sawmill.

Peter Sheffer and his two sons settle near the future site of Scottsville.

Oliver Phelps and Nathaniel Gorham take possession of the land purchased from the Seneca. Phelps opens the first U. S. land office, in Canandaigua. Sales begin. Land agent William Walker and General Israel Chapin begin surveying the area. Arthur Erwin buys land that will become the sites of Erwin and Corning. Blacksmith Samuel Miller buys land later known as Millers Corners, then Ionia, arrives in Canandaigua with his wife Zelpha Hayes to stay for the winter while his 11- and 13-year-old sons Salmon and Samuel begin clearing the property. ** Corning is founded. ** Nathaniel Loomis comes to Salt Point on Lake Onondaga, in the fall, and begins producing salt, turning out between 500 and 600 bushels over the next winter, which he sells for a dollar a bushel. ** Elnathan Gooding’s brother rejoins him at Bristol in the spring, following a visit back to New England. ** The Seneca learn that the New York pound is worth only half of the Canadian pound. They refuse to sign an endorsement of last year’s sale of their land as a protest, but accept the final payment. ** Connecticut-born surveyor Judah Colt comes down with Genesee Fever. ** George Washington hires surveyor Andrew Ellicott to help fix the southwestern boundary of the state, to settle ownership of the city of Erie. Andrew is helped by his brothers Joseph and Benjamin. ** The state puts aside 50,000 acres of land to be allotted to those opening new roads. ** Gilbert R. Berry opens an inn at Hartford (now Avon) on the trail between the Genesee Valley and Fort Niagara. ** The Markham-White party renews its journey from the Susquehanna in the spring. Reaching the head of Seneca Lake, one of the men herds the animals to the northern end while the others raft their belongings up to Geneva. Then they all continue on to Canandaigua. Phoebe Markham and her baby boy remain there as a housekeeper for Oliver Phelps while the rest of the party continues on to the Genesee River. ** Ebenezer Curtis, Amos Hall, Nathan Marvin and Robert Taft settle West Bloomfield. ** Benjamin Patterson scouts for surveyors Saxton and Porter. He also takes the first raft of lumber out of Bradford, down the Conhocton, Chemung and Susquehanna rivers. ** Richard Smith begins construction of a grist mill on the Keuka Lake outlet. ** The state legislature passes an act for the use of certain public lands for religious and educational purposes. ** Jacob Yaple, Isaac Dumond and Peter Hinepaw settle the area that will become Ithaca. ** The first European settlers arrive in Palmyra from Connecticut, brought in by General John Swift. ** Volume I of Thomas Anburey's Travels through the Interior Parts of America is published in London. One of the maps shows just unlabeled land west of 'Oneyda Lake'. ** Lawrence Van Cleef, a soldier with the Sullivan Campaign, becomes an early permanent settler at the future Seneca Falls site, erects a mill. ** Twelve members of the John Featherly, Nicholas Stansell, and William Stansell families are to first to settle in Wayne County, making their homes south of present-day Lyons. ** Township size in the "Old" Military Tract is decreased from 10 to 9.7 square miles and from 640 to 600 acres in the "New" Military Tract. ** Horatio and John H. Jones settle at Big Tree (Geneseo). ** Settlers begin arriving at the head of Cayuga Lake. ** Pioneer John Lusk of Berkshire, Massachusetts, and his party, after traveling by Mohawk River, Oneida Carry, Oswego River and Lake Ontario, cut a road from Irondequoit Bay to Canandaigua. His 15-year-old son Stephen and a hired hand come overland with the cattle and supplies and goods for home and business. ** Land speculator Oliver Phelps is elected First Judge of Ontario county. ** John Harris moves from Harris Ferry (Harrisburg), Pennsylvania, to Aurelius.

Seneca County
Andrew Dunlap arrives in the future county by way of the Chemung River, settles Ovid. ** Rhode Islander John Greene settles Waterloo.

Yates County
The Town of Augusta (later Middlesex) is formed. ** Quakers harvest their first winter wheat planted near the future site of the village of West Dresden. ** Religious leader Jemima Wilkinson founds a colony on Keuka Lake in what will be the town of Jerusalem. The first harvest of local wheat is processed at a new mill site.

Yale graduate James Wadsworth visits his cousin, land speculator Jeremiah Wadsworth, makes a good impression.

© 2009 David Minor / Eagles Byte

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Request for Information

Received the following request from a CLRblog viewer -

I read in your article about Roseland Park by Richard Palmer that there is a video of the last day of Roseland Park’s (Canandaigua) operations. I tried to find a telephone listing for WEX Studio at 58 Wex Avenue or Timothy Wagner but without success. Can you help?

I can find nothing online; it looks like the WEX Studio no longer exists. Mr. Palmer didn't have any further information. If anyone reading this knows where a copy of the video might be found or viewed you can e-mail me at
and I'll get in touch with the person who queried us.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009


December 16, 2009

The Genesee Valley Civil War Roundtable presents
Brandon Garney speaking on
The Excavation of the Hunley

at the American Legion, through the front entrance
53 West Main Street, LeRoy at 7:30 PM

Discussion period to follow.
New members and interested parties welcome.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Passengers on Canal Freight Boats - 1823

Collected by Richard Palmer

Lyons Advertiser
April 13, 1823

The navigation of the canal has re-commenced with activity and
spirit, and the superabundant produce of the country is passing
rapidly to market. As the packets have not yet began their regular
trips, the freight boats are many of them crowded with passengers,
who have been waiting the commencement of navigation to avail
themselves of this safe cheap and not unpleasant mode of traveling.

Packet Boats

As our whole canal system is still in its infancy, it is not surprising
that various and conflicting opinions should prevail upon every
subject in any way connected with it, in the form of experiment;
and under such circumstances, no method can tend more to elicit
information, than open and free discussion.That the packet boats
are pernicious to the canal, in some degree, we believe had never
been denied; but whether the damage they cause to the banks,
bear any proportion to the high duties levied upon them in the
new tariff, seems at least problematical. If the object is to drive
passengers entirely from the canals, the price of carrying them
in freight boats would require to be much increased; and if only
the safety of the canal, and the public revenue are regarded,
we cannot but suppose the new regulations injudicious. The novelty
of the work draws strangers from distant parts to view its splendor;
and a passenger upon the "Grand Erie Canal," is often purchased
at the expense of a long circuitous digression from the right line
of the traveler’s journey. These circumstances should have their
weight, and exercise their proper influence. If the packet boats
are driven from the canals, the state revenue must sustain a serious
injury by diminution , without, so far as we can discover, our obtaining
any equivalent for the loss. We hope ere long to see such an alteration
in the relative charges on packet and freight boats, as shall be
judicious in itself, and enable the respective proprietors of each
to compete upon fair and reasonable terms. This will give satisfaction
to all parties, and enable every man to pass on the canal as he shall
please, either in a packet, simply as a man; or; in a freight boat stowed
with boxes and barrels, to be talked of by the ton, and known only by
the "mark and number, as per margin"

Buffalo Journal.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Troubling Bridge Over Waters

© 2007 David Minor / Eagles Byte

John Fowler’s tour of New York’s Auburn Prison having ended very early in the morning he was back to the American Hotel shortly after seven AM, in time for breakfast. Immediately afterwards he was off on foot for a look at the rest of this village on Owasco Creek, with its approximately 4,000 inhabitants (probably excluding the inmates of the penitentiary).

He remarks on the one principal street, running east and west, containing businesses and residences, a courthouse and another hotel, the Western Exchange. In addition to a number of new buildings going up there are, “extensive mills and manufactories.” He also mentions the canal running about seven miles to the south and the plans to construct a waterway connecting to it. We’ll hope, if that happens, the engineers employed have a little better sense of direction – the canal lies more to the west.

His coach continues on to the village of Cayuga, which does lie to the west, on the northeastern corner of the lake bearing the same name, at a spot a few miles south of where the Cayuga & Seneca Canal, completed two years earlier, enters the lake at its northern end. And here he encounters one of the recent marvels of engineering in North America – the Cayuga Bridge.

Built back in 1800 to enhance travel across the state, and to bypass the Montezuma Swamp further to the north, the mile-long-wooden bridge had collapsed four years later, then been rebuilt in 1812 and 1813. Back in 1818 another English traveler, John Duncan, described his crossing of the 132-foot wide wooden structure. “The wheels of our chariot rolled along the level platform, with a smoothness to which we had long been strangers; and so luxuriant seemed the contrast, that on getting to the farther end, some of the passengers proposed that we should turn the horses and enjoy it a second time!"

The span’s greatest enemy was the weight of the ice forming on its span during the upstate winters. By the time Mr. Fowler crossed over, the experience was not quite as salubrious as that enjoyed by Duncan.

“. . . a most barbarous structure, built upon piles, and conveying the idea, if not the reality, of great insecurity; as the planks, or logs, upon which you pass, uncovered with gravel, soil, or other material, are of all shapes and sizes, heedlessly laid across from side to side, without rails or any kind of fastening whatever. In many instances I observed them scarcely resting upon the supports on each side, and the waters of the lake every where visible below: of course, as they were acted upon by the weight and motion of the coach and horses, they were perpetually jolting up and down, so that it was a matter of astonishment to me how the animals could pass over at the rate they did, a good brisk trot, without getting their feet between them; the accompanying noise and clatter, too, was anything but agreeable. An English traveller, however, must leave all his fears and prejudices at home, and be here content to dash on, over, under, or through whatever it may please the driver and his steeds to convey him."

Guess it’s all in your timing.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Canal and Maritime News 1829 / 1846 / 1850

Collected by Richard Palmer

The Wayne Sentinel,

Friday April 24, 1829

The Canal- We hail the re-commencement of navigation on the Erie
Canal with lively emotions. The day before yesterday, a boat
belonging to the line of packets, passed this place eastward. Since
that several others have passed, and revived in our minds
sensations , which, like the channel in which they floated, had been
for so many months past locked up in seclusion and repose. We
understand the necessary repairs have been made, and the navigation
is now open from Montezuma to Buffalo.

The impulse which this circumstance afford to life and activity in
business, furnishes a gratifying relief to the dull round and
listless turpitude of a long severe and tedious winter. The sound of
the bugle, and the "busy note of preparation," give life and add much
to the sources of hope and enjoyment.

We understand that the whole line from Buffalo to Albany, will be
open and in readiness for navigation by Tuesday next.

The Wayne Sentinel
Friday July, 21 1829

Imposition upon Travellers.

Having just returned from a tour into Pennsylvania, and having been
detained on my way home, through negligence and deception, by those
concerned in the conveyance of passengers from Geneva to Newtown, and
from Newtown to Geneva, by way of the steam boat Seneca Chief on
Seneca Lake, I feel it a duty I owe to myself and the public, to
state the manner in which I was detained.

I arrived at Newtown, on my way to Geneva on Friday, at noon
intending to take the Steam Boat Seneca Chief, that plies between
Geneva and the village of Jefferson at the head of Seneca Lake, on
Saturday; but from some cause or other, was not informed that the
Boat would not make her regular trip that day, until I had taken
seats for myself and two children, paid my fare, and was about to get
into the back that ran from Newtown to Jefferson, in connection with
the Steam Boat. In consequence of this gross negligence or design on
the part of the proprietors, I lost my only opportunity of reaching
Geneva that week, and was detained until Monday morning, when I took
the stage at 8 oíclock via Pen Yan, and arrived at Geneva the same
afternoon, whereas , had I taken the Steam Boat I should not have
arrived until the next morning at 7 oíclock, instead of the same day,
as stated in their advertisements. I mention this as one among the
numerous instances of their irregularities. The proprietors have
pledged themselves to the public that they will run "regular trips up
and down Seneca Lake each day (Sundays excepted)" On leaving Geneva
they vary their time of starting from one to three hours, as best
suits their own convenience. I could specify repeated instances and
the manner, in which travelers have been deceived and imposed upon:
but this I consider unnecessary at present. Fact will and shall show
for themselves if required. My reason for publishing the above are
not only to guard travelers against similar imposition, but with the
hope that the proprietors fo the Steam Boat (Messrs. J. B and R.
Rumney of Geneva,) will be induced to perform their trips with more
regularity, and consult the convenience of the public, upon which
they are and must be dependant for patronage.

Luther Howard.

Palmyra N.Y. July 23, 1829

The Sailors Magazine- Feb. 1846

We find in the Syracuse Daily Star, the proceedings of a meeting of
the citizens of Syracuse held on the 15th inst. To consider the
condition of the orphan and destitute boys who are engaged
principally as 'Canal Drivers' during the season of navigation. Hon.
Daniel Pratt presided, and addresses were made by Rev. Messrs. J. W.
Adams, Samuel J. May and others, relative to the condition and
necessities of this much neglected class.

It appears from facts elicited on this occasion, that there are about
5,000 boys engaged upon the New York Canals, one half of whom are
orphans; and nearly all of whom are destitute of a home on the
approach of Winter. Many of these boys are under twelve years of age,
but their extreme youth and hapless, unfortunate condition, are not
sufficient to exempt them from the most wanton wrongs on the part of
their employers. Most of them are precocious, as well in vice as
intellect, and the Canal is just the place to put them through all
the gradations of crime, from stealing a six-penny loaf or a bundle of
hay up to the most daring burglary, and even murder itself. Indeed,
in some instances they are instructed in theft, &c., by the captains
of these boats, who endeavor to give to those in their employ the
same kind of an education they have themselves received. At the close
of navigation, these 'drivers' are generally destitute of money and
comfortable clothing, and congregate at such places as Utica and
Syracuse, upon the line of Canal, and practice upon the community the
evil propensities which have been nourished and exercised upon the
Canal. They seem to be regarded as outcasts. They have no home- no
friends to advise or assist them- no instruction except in vice; and
the jail is often regarded by them as an asylum. Of the sixteen
hundred convicts who have been or now are inmates of the Auburn State
Prison, four hundred and eighty had been Canal Boys.

In view of these facts, a memorial to the Legislature, drawn up by
Mr. May, setting forth in earnest and eloquent language the condition
of these boys, was adopted by the meeting. The memorial asks that the
Legislature appoint supervisors or guardians of the canal boys, in
suitable places, by whom registers shall be kept of all the youth
under 20 years of age, who may be employed within their several
sections, without whose knowledge and permission no youth shall be
employed upon the canals; and to whose satisfactions all contracts
shall be made, and all accounts settled with these boys; and
establish, at convenient distances along the canals, houses under the
care of suitable persons, where those canal boys who have no home may
go, and be made comfortable, when not employed upon the canals; and
where they may receive such mental and moral culture as they may
need. In such establishments as we propose, in the charge of men and
women who would be interested in the work, and competent to perform
it, these neglected youth may be brought under improving, saving

The memorialists ask that in addition o these 'Homes', a 'House of
Refuge,' to be established at Syracuse, for the benefit of those boys
who maybe found guilty of petty crimes.

Syracuse Daily Star

Wed. Oct 12. 1850

From the Oswego Journal

Gale on Saturday Shipwreck

On Saturday, a gale of great severity from the north west threw the
lake into a perfect foam. During the afternoon, the waves dashed with
fearful violence over the piers and as a large number of vessels were
seen running before the wind down the lake crowds of people assembled
on the docks to see them enter the harbor.

We mentioned on Saturday that the Cincinnati from Toledo dragged
her anchors and came near being wrecked upon the ledge on the
easterly side of the harbor. A large number of schooners arrived
during the afternoon and evening, and as they came in between the
piers, where the surf was running alarmingly high, the greatest
anxiety was felt. Fortunately, no disaster occurred. The steamer
Cataract came up the lake about 4 o clock. She was obliged to run up
the lake a mile or two, as a schooner was in the way, and then came
about and entered the harbor, careening almost to her wheel house as
she ran between the piers.

The U.S. Revenue Cutter, Capt. Moore, arrived yesterday from a cruise
through the lakes. We learn from him, that when near Cape Vincent on
the 28th the Cutter boarded the schooner O. V. Brainard from Oswego,
the Capt. Of which reported the loss of a schooner, supposed to be
the Neptune, of Sackets Harbor, which was capsized and sunk in the
gale of that day between this port and the Ducks. All hands suppose
to be lost, as no boat was discovered to leave the wreck, from the
mast head of the Brainard. The gale was so severe, that it is feared
other disasters may have occurred.

We learn the lost schooner had seven men on board. She left this
harbor Saturday morning, heavily loaded.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

WESTERN / CENTRAL New York timeline / 1788

Jan 8
Politician John Canfield Spencer is born in Hudson.

Jan 27
Former New York governor William Tryon dies at his Grosvenor Square, London,

Mar 31
Massachusetts votes to sell Phelps and Gorham the New York lands agreed upon at the Hartford Convention.

Against the desires of Red Jacket, but with the approval of the grand sachem Farmer’s Brother, Phelps and Gorham pay the Seneca 2100 pounds ($5000) in cash and trade goods, plus a 500 pound annual payment for 2,600,000 acres of land west of the Genesee River, which become part of the Military Tract, land set aside for veterans of the Revolution. A survey is launched to divide the land into cardinally-oriented six-mile-square townships. The survey, run by Colonel Hugh Maxwell, completed next year, will also mark off the Pre-Emption Line running from the Pennsylvania Line to Lake Ontario, setting apart New York land owned by Massachusetts. The Seneca give Phelps and Gorham an additional 84,00 acres for a mill site in exchange for providing them a sawmill and a gristmill. The two investors hire Ebenezer (Indian) Allan to start a mill at the Falls of the Genesee. The Onondaga accept a reservation of a few square miles.

Apr 1
The Phelps and Gorham purchase is concluded.

Apr 23
Massachusetts governor John Hancock issues a proclamation, finalizing the Phelps and Gorham purchase. Massachusetts sells its 2,600,000 acres of its western New York lands, at under 3 cents an acre, to Oliver Phelps, Nathaniel Gorham and other investors.

Comfort Tyler begins making salt from the salt springs on the shores of Lake Onondaga.

May 12
Colonel Hugh Maxwell sets out from Heath, Massachusetts, to met Oliver Phelps and others in New York State.

May 13
Maxwell arrives in Albany, finds he missed Phelps by two days, heads west.

May 14
Maxwell arrives in Schenectady, finds Phelps, Kirkland, and the pastor's assistant Elisha Lee are close to a day ahead of him.

May 16
Maxwell meets Phelps, Kirkland and Lee at Canajoharie. They set out for Fort Stanwix (Rome).

Jun 2
Maxwell and his companions arrive at Kanadesaga, near today's Geneva. A number of Iroquois are present, in hopes of concluding treaty.

Jun 4
Maxwell writes his wife from Kanadesaga, detailing his travels. ** Oliver Phelps writes Samuel Fowler from Kanadesaga, describing the natural surroundings and predicting a city will be built on the spot.

Jun 10
Maxwell, Lessee captain Benjamin Allen and three assistants depart from Kanadesaga, and row to the southern end of Seneca Lake.

Jun 11
Maxwell's party arrives at Catherine's Town (Montour Falls).

Jun 12
In the midst of a rainy day Maxwell arrives at Newtown.

Jun 13
Maxwell begins a trial survey.

Jun 16
Maxwell reaches the area four miles west of the northern end of Seneca Lake.

Jun 17
A New York State Convention opens at Poughkeepsie's Van Kleek House to consider the proposed U. S. Constitution. Governor George Clinton acts as chairman. Anti-federalist delegates outnumber constitutional supporters, 23-19.

Jun 19
Between now and July 2nd only Article I is discussed in Poughkeepsie.

Jun 21
Oliver Phelps, and Reverend Kirkland, accompanied by Caleb Benton, Ezekiel Gilbert, James Dean, Benjamin Barton, John Johnson, along with a number of Seneca chiefs and Mos Debarge, set out for Buffalo Creek, get to Flint Creek, about 24 miles away.

Jun 22
The party moves on, encountering rain most of the morning, arriving at their destination around noon. They are housed in the Indian settlement and called into council, where they are told by Chief Fish Carrier that some of the other chiefs have not arrived and talks will temporarily be held off.

The Constitutional debates in Poughkeepsie conclude. ** Colonel Maxwell begins his two-month survey of New York's Pre-Emption Line.

Jul 4
Oliver Phelps, Colonel John Butler, Joseph Brant, and Samuel Street arrive at Buffalo Creek.

Jul 8
Phelps and Gorham sign a treaty with the Seneca at Buffalo Creek, buying 2,600,000 acres of lands between Seneca Lake and the Genesee River, including the Mill Lot, at the falls of the Genesee.

Jul 11
Livingston tells the Poughkeepsie delegates that plans are being made to move the capital from New York City to Philadelphia. ** Major Thompson Maxwell, youngest brother of Hugh Maxwell, joins the colonel at Kanadesaga.

Jul 13
Phelps returns to Kanadesaga, instructs Maxwell to begin the re-survey.

Jul 20
Maxwell, three assistants, and New York Genesee Land Company (Lessee) surveyor William Jenkins, depart from Kanadesaga, and row to the southern end of Seneca Lake.

Jul 23
A vote is made in Poughkeepsie to ratify the Constitution without prior conditions that could seriously cripple the document.

Jul 25
Colonel Maxwell begins his journal of the surveying of New York's Pre-Emption Line.

Jul 26
New York, having become the 11th state today, upon learning of Virginia's ratification,
approves the Constitution, 30-27, over the objections of governor George Clinton.

Aug 7
The Maxwell Survey arrives at Town No. 9, First Range, about where routes 5 and 20 cross the state today. Maxwell takes a brief break from the survey.

Aug 21
Phelps, back in Massachusetts, writes to his agent William Walker, expresses his concern that Kanadesaga might not lie within the lands he and Gorham purchased

Aug 22
After a delay the Maxwell survey resumes, heads north.

Sep 12
Onondaga Indians sign the treaty of Fort Schuyler, formerly called Fort Stanwix, ceding “all their lands forever,” (with the exception of certain reserved lands) to the State of New York.

Sep 13
Congress schedules elections for the Presidency. New York City is declared the temporary capital of the U. S.

Sep 19
Phelps writes to Walker a second time, again questioning the survey's accuracy.

Sep 23
Amasa Leonard is the first child born in Binghamton.

Sep 30
William Walker, Caleb Barton and Benjamin Barton, acting for Phelps and Gorham, give title to 100 acres at the Falls of the Genesee River to Ebenezer “Indian” Allen, in return for his constructing and operating a grist mill and saw mill by next June first. The speculators reserve half of any mines and minerals on the site.

Oct 3
Phelps advises Walker to make the outlet of Kennedarqua (Canandaigua) Lake his headquarters, so as to avoid problems with the Lessees.

Oct 5
Walker writes to Phelps that he sees no use in running the line again and that he 's chosen Canandarqua Creek for a town. The site will become Canandaigua.

Nov 21
Massachusetts officially transfers 2,600,000 acres of its Hartford Convention lands to
Phelps and Gorham, including lands in Allegeny, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario,
Schuyler, Steuben, Wayne and Yates counties. The contract calls for a payment of
$1,000,000 in Consolidated Securities scrip, trading far below par. When par later
increases dramatically Phelps and Gorham are unable to fulfill the agreement.

The Onondaga accept a reservation of a few square miles. ** The Town of Cortlandt is founded. ** Jeremiah Wadsworth of Hartford travels to the western part of the state, to inspect the Genesee Valley. ** Elmira is settled. ** Major Asa Danforth, Jr. joins Comfort Tyler in the Syracuse/Liverppol area, in making salt. ** Gamaliel Wilder moves into the future South Bristol, and the Gooding Brothers pioneer Bristol. ** The town of Aurelius settlement at Cayuga is settled by John Harris of Harrisburgh, Pennsylvania. ** Future Geneva settler Phineas Prouty Sr. is born. ** 378 members of Jemima Wilkinson’s Society of Friends arrive at the middle of the west shore of Seneca Lake, found a settlement, which they name New Jerusalem. ** The Reverend Mr. Howe, a Baptist, conducts the first religious services in Binghamton. ** Future governor John Alsop King is born in New York City to Rufus and Mary Alsop King. ** New Hampshire farmer William Markham III and his brother-in-law Ransom Smith walk from Ackworth to New York's Genesee Valley and help survey the Avon/Rush area. They chose a lot on the east bank of the Genesee and return to Ackworth. There they collect William's wife Phoebe and their infant son, Ransom's wife Lettice Markham Smith and his younger brothers David and John. They all set out for the Genesee but are stopped by a lost horse on the Susquehanna River and forced to wait for spring. ** A tavern keeper named Middaugh moves to the Lewiston area. ** Oliver Phelps arrives from his home in Granville, Massachusetts, to explore his New York lands. ** Pennsylvanians Elijah Breck and Captain Daniel McDowell, along with William Wynkoop from Ulster County, found the Chemung County village of Breckville. ** A son, Seneca, is born to Ebenezer and Lucy Allan. ** The Seneca sign a treaty at Buffalo Creek, relinquishing title to lands between Seneca Lake and the Genesee River. ** Caleb Benton, one of the disenfranchised lessees of Phelps & Gorham land, donates 1,104 acres of his consolation lands near Seneca Lake to James Parker and the Society of Universal Friends. The long, narrow property will become known as the Garter. ** New Jersey trader and cattle drover Benjamin Barton settles in Geneva. ** Severe winter weather occurs. ** Procedures for apprenticing the children of the poor are put into place. ** Settler Enos Boughton buys six-square-miles of land at the future site of Victor, from the Phelps and Gorham Purchase – Township No. 11 Range No. 4.

Hagerstown businessman Colonel Nathaniel Rochester marries Sophia Beatty.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Genesee Valley Civil War Roundtable presents
Pembroke, New York, speaker/historian Greg Kinal, who will speak on
Lincoln's Assassination

at the American Legion, through the front entrance
53 West Main Street, LeRoy at 7:30 PM

Discussion period to follow.
New members and interested parties welcome.

Wayne County Historical Society Map Club - November Meeting

The next meeting of Map Club will be Thurs. Nov. 19 at 7pm.

The club will be looking at maps of Native American Settlements in Wayne County
and original Sanborn maps of Macedon.
If possible, Gary Fitzpatrick will be showing Postal Route maps.

At the last meeting Sanborn maps of Clyde, Macedon, Lyons and Newark
were projected on a screen for viewing. Members looked at how certain houses
and buildings changed throughout the years.

Anyone interested in any aspect of maps is invited to come.

For more information about this event, call the Museum of Wayne County History
at 315-946-4943 or look at the website,
The Museum is located at 21 Butternut Street, Lyons NY.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Canal Lock in Minetto Renovated

By Richard Palmer

MINETTO - Ninety-two years ago this [past] spring, the completed Barge Canal
was officially opened across New York State. Like anything that is
rapidly approaching the century mark, keeping it properly maintained
is an on-going process that takes a lot of work and millions of dollars.
To do this, several locks are chosen for a major refit, over and
above normal winter maintenance.

This [past] winter and spring, major work has focused on Locks 05 and 08 on
the Oswego Canal. Rehabilitation work on these locks is being done
by Tioga Construction Co., Inc. of Herkimer, who was awarded the
$9,926,614.50 contract last November.

The largest project, is concentrated on Lock O-5 in Minetto, which
will take two seasons to complete. Work here includes rehabilitation
of concrete surfaces, repair of concrete cracks and voids in filling
culvert; rehabilitation of mechanical components; upgrading and
rehabilitation of the electrical system; replacement of lower miter
gates; repair of upper miter gates; replacement of utility bridge;
replacement of railing, ladders and stairs; and replacement of
operator's shelter. This work is slated to be completed in July, 2010.

Work at Lock O-8 in Oswego this past winter included rehabilitation
of concrete surfaces in upper left corner; reinforcing bar drilling
and grouting; sealing of concrete cracks; and reworking and
reinstallation of miter gate, gate machinery and valve machinery.

© 2009 Richard Palmer

Friday, November 13, 2009

History Fair - Revised Schedule / Vendors

Heretics, History and Hallelujas

~ 2009 Regional History Fair ~

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. November 14th

Calvary St. Andrew's Church, 68 Ashland St., Rochester, 14620


~ 10 a.m. Alan Illig, The Life of Heretic Algernon Crapsey

~ 11 a.m. Majorie Searl, Artist George Haushalter

~ 11:30 a.m. Valerie O'Hara, History of Stained Glass Art

~ 1:30 p.m. Valerie O'Hara, CSA Stained Glass Tour

~ 3 p.m. Virtual Tour of Mount Hope Cemetery


Ad-Hoc Visions; Susan B. Anthony House; Antique Appraisals by
Yvonne Jordan; Antique Postcards; Authors: Rose O'Keefe and
Ruth Rosenberg-Naparsteck; Charlotte Genesee Lighthouse and Charlotte
Village & Transportation Museum;; Friends of Mount Hope
Cemetery; Friends of the Market; Greece Historical Society; Highland Park Neighborhood Assoc.;
Canal Society of NYS *;
Record Archive; Rochester Museum & Science Center; Rochester Public Library
local history

*Joann and I will be personing the Canal Society table. Stop and say hi.

Hearty chili, scrumptious soup & breads for sale 11 a.m.- 1 p.m.

~ Free admission ~ ~ Proceeds benefit CSA art restoration fund ~

Free parking at the Postler Jaeckle lot on South Avenue at Averill Avenue

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Valerie O'Hara will be speaking on Stained Glass Art at CSA
at Calvary St. Andrew's Church, at 11:30 AM.

Pike Stained Glass Studios is among the oldest stained glass studios in the country. We are among the leading designers and manufacturers of one of a kind stained glass windows and the most expert and informed restorers of antique windows. In 1908 William Pike, the current owner’s great uncle, moved to Rochester to start his company after working for the legendary Louis Comfort Tiffany in New York City.

In 1948, James O’Hara, Pike’s nephew, began working for his uncle and eventually purchased the business from him. Pike continued working at the studio until his death in 1958. Jim O’Hara held a master’s degree in Fine Arts from City College in New York City and had work experience in industrial design and teaching before moving to Rochester. Jim’s mother managed the studio office from 1950-1970 and his wife, Norma Lee O’Hara, assisted in the design of windows and color selection from 1948 to 1976.

In 1966, at the age of 12, Valerie O’Hara began working for her father part-time after school and during the summers. After graduation from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1976, when she began working full time designing and creating one of a kind custom commissions, as well as repairing and restoring stained glass.

The sole owner and director since 1987, when Valerie purchased the studio from her father, Valerie specializes in the art of hand painting on glass to create effects that cannot be achieved through the medium of lead and glass alone. This skill, and her knowledge of religious iconography, make her uniquely qualified to continue the work of her predecessors in stained glass.

For Regional Fair details click on the October arrow to the left of the page, then on the first item – HERETICS, HISTORY and HALLELUJAS.

More speaker bios tomorrow

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Marjorie Searl will be speaking on Artist George Haushalter at the 2009 Regional Fair this coming Saturday at Rochester’s Calvary St. Andrew’s Church, at 11 AM.

Marjorie Searl is the Curator of American Art and the Chief Curator at the Memorial Art Gallery. Her most recent publication, Seeing America: Painting and Sculpture from the Collection of the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, was the culmination of a multi-year research project funded in part by the Henry Luce Foundation and the National Endowment of the Arts. The publication accompanied the reinstallation of the 19th and 20th century American art galleries at MAG. Most recently, she curated the exhibition Maira Kalman: The Elements of Style.

In 2003, Searl organized the exhibition Leaving For the Country: George Bellows at Woodstock , a groundbreaking retrospective of the work of the last five years of Bellows’s paintings and prints that had a national tour. She also wrote for and edited the exhibition catalog. Searl has spoken on George Bellows at the Woodstock Artists Association and Hobart College. Previously, she curated the Memorial Art Gallery exhibition About Face: John Singleton Copley’s Portrait of a Colonial Silversmith, the first in a series of Masterpiece in Context exhibitions, which investigated the Gallery’s portrait of silversmith and engraver, Nathaniel Hurd. This project which was funded by grants from the Museum Loan Network, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts. In connection with this exhibition, she has written for the online publication She also edited and wrote for the Gallery’s scholarly journal Porticus: About "About Face": A New Look at an Early American Mystery.

She was the co-curator, assistant catalog editor and writer for the Memorial Art Gallery exhibition Head, Heart and Hand: Elbert Hubbard and the Roycrofters, which toured in 1994-6 under the auspices of the American Federation of Arts. Exhibitions that she has curated include: Furniture from Rochester’s Frank Lloyd Wright House; Architectural Drawings of Louis Kahn’s First Unitarian Church, Rochester; and Chaim Gross’ Song of Songs Portfolio.

Searl was formerly the Gallery’s Estelle B. Goldman curator of education, with responsibility for school and adult programs. She has lectured extensively on museum projects and American art and architecture at the Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester area colleges and universities, and at national conferences including MidAtlantic Association of Museums, the Annual Arts & Crafts Conference in Asheville, North Carolina, and regional meetings of the American Association of Museums. She is active in community initiatives, including the advisory council of the Caroline Werner Gannett project at RIT.

Searl is a graduate of Smith College, Teachers College, Columbia University, and the Cooperstown Graduate Program.

For Regional Fair details click on the October arrow to the left of the page, then on the first item – HERETICS, HISTORY and HALLELUJAS.

More speaker bios tomorrow

Monday, November 9, 2009


Alan Illig will be speaking on The Life of Heretic Algernon Crapsey at the 2009 Regional Fair this coming Saturday at Rochester’s Calvary St. Andrew’s Church, at 10 AM.

Alan Illig was born and raised in Rochester’s 19th ward. He graduated from West High School, Rutgers University and Harvard Law School. Mr. Illig is a member of Third Presbyterian Church and was the lawyer for Algernon Crapsey’s grandson Arthur Jr. and Hettie Jean Crapsey.

Mr. Illig was a lawyer with Harter, Secrest and Emery Law Office. For the past six years he has been a part-time staff with Life Span.

For Regional Fair details click on the October arrow to the left of this page, then on the first item – HERETICS, HISTORY and HALLELUJAS.

More speaker bios tomorrow

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Not So Nice Accommodations

© 2007 David Minor / Eagles Byte

English author Jeremy Bentham began proposing prison reforms in the 1780s; dying in 1832 he would not see any results. But his ideas were being discussed, even if implemented only at a glacial pace. We’ve seen James Stuart’s interest in New York’s prison at Auburn back in 1828. Now, two years later, John Fowler’s following right in his footsteps, even taking the same 25¢ tour – apparently inflation hasn’t kicked in during the intervening period. The fee is to help offset operational costs.

On August 24th Fowler was right at the front gate at 6 AM. As he passed into the facility he may have glanced up to the roof of the administration building and seen a wooden soldier in Revolutionary War uniform, that had stood guard there for the past nine years. Eighteen years in the future the weather will have done its work and he’ll need replacing. Prisoners in the foundry there will make a copper version, which soon becomes known as Copper John . If you’re sent there as a resident today it will be said by some locals that you’re, “going to work for Copper John”.

First on the tour were the cells. “These gloomy abodes are about seven or eight feet long, by four feet wide, and perhaps about seven feet in height. . . . all the furniture they contain is a hammock, which is let down in the daytime, a stool, and a Bible upon a shelf in one of the corners.”

Fowler is shown the prison’s workshops where, under contract to local stores, prisoners are engaged in various occupations. Fowler lists, “tailoring, shoemaking, weaving, machine, button, cabinet making, &c; coopering, and smiths’ work . . . “. This was the more benign aspect of what was becoming known as the Auburn System.

The other side of the coin was the strict regimentation and isolation of each prisoner. Fowler, quoting an early travel guide, describes prisoners filing in for breakfast. “. . . moving in a single file, with a slow lock step and erect posture, keeping exact time, with their faces inclined towards their keepers (that they may detect conversation, none of which is ever permitted, ) all giving to the spectator somewhat similar feelings to those excited by a military funeral.” After mentioning that the inmates are at no time allowed the opportunity to speak to each other, he goes on to observe, “Some appeared calm and resigned, or sensible of the guilt and degradation of their situation; others displayed an entire indifference to their fate; whilst in a few I noticed the black expressions of obdurate cruelty, ferocity, and revenge, demonstrating but too plainly the justice of the doom which had overtaken them.” In reporter Michael Doyle’s book The Forestport Breaks”, when he describes a prisoner entering Auburn Prison in the 1890s, he tells us, “. . . he would be keeping his eyes straight ahead during meals, eating on tin plates, submitting to the wordless orders communicated by the keepers’ rapping of a staff.” Doyle adds that whippings and cold showers kept obstinate prisoners in line. They probably hadn’t invented waterboarding yet. Might have considered it barbaric, even back then.

By the 1890s reforms were only beginning to be seriously proposed. In 1830 Fowler approves in general with the methods of discipline, “. . . a decided majority, upon leaving the prison, have become reformed and useful members of society.”

Hang in there, Bentham ! !

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Steam Boat Launch

Submitted by Dick Palmer

Lyons Republican, Friday May 19, 1820

From the American Journal

On Thursday last, a novel and interesting scene was presented to
the inhabitants of Ithaca and a concourse of strangers and citizens
of the vicinity. It had been previously announced that the Steam Boat
building on the bank of the Inlet near the village, would be launched
at one oíclock. Every thing was in readiness. The day was exceedingly
favorable. It seemed that May had assumed her brightest smiles, and
put on her fairest garments. The banks were lined with spectators;
ladies and gentlemen, young and old, the pride and strength and
beauty of Ulysses, all in anxious expectation.

The word of caution is given, the workmen proceed to remove the
fastings; when by inadvertency the bow is first started, and whiled
from its slider upon the ground near the edge of the water. But the
clouds of disappointment and regret which now shadowed every
countenance, were of short duration. The obstructions were soon
removed; the vessel was again started, gliding with ease and safety
into the water, and the name she is to bear The Enterprise of
was announced amidst the firing of cannon, and the loud;
long, and hearty cheers of the spectators:

When we look back for a few years, to the wild, uncultivated,
and unpromising state of this section of country, such a scene as
Thursday presented, is calculated to fill the mind with astonishment,
and to excite reflections which are peculiarly grateful and pleasing.
From the present scene of improvement, we are irresistibly carried
forward to future prospects; and the interesting enquiry suggests it
self what may a few years hence produce! And reverting again to the
present, we acknowledge the full force and comprehensiveness of the
substitute which was proposed for the name of the steam boat who'd
have thought if of Ithaca.

The Enterprise is acknowledged by all who have examined her, to be a
most elegantly modeled vessel. She is about 90 feet by 30 upon deck;
120 tons burthen; and her engine is of 24 horse power. She will be
completed, ready to run, by the first of next month, when we shall
take occasion to give a more just and particular description of her.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


2009 Regional History Fair

10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Nov. 14th

Calvary St. Andrew’s Church

68 Ashland St., Rochester, NY 14620

10 a.m. Alan Illig, The Life of Heretic Algernon Crapsey.

11 a.m. Marjorie Searl, Artist George Haushalter

11:30 a.m. Valerie O’Hara, Stained Glass Art at CSA

1:00 p.m. Cynthia Howk, South Wedge History & Architecture

3:00 p.m. Virtual Tour of Mt. Hope Cemetery

Unique Local Vendors & Antique Appraisals All Day

Chili, soups and breads for sale, 11 a.m.- 1 p.m.

Free Admission

Free parking at the Postler Jaeckle lot on South Avenue at Averill Avenue

Proceeds benefit CSA art restoration fund

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

WESTERN / CENTRAL New York timeline / 1785-1787


Jan 30

Rochester’s, first mayor Jonathan Child is born in Lyme, New Hampshire, to Revolutionary War veteran and farmer William Child and his wife Mary Heaton Child.

French traveler and diplomat Michel-Guillaume Jean de Crèvecoeur visits Niagara Falls accompanied by a guide named Hunter. They visit with John Burch, a Canadian farmer. He introduces them to another Loyalist, Francis Ellsworth, who acts as their guide to the falls. They may be the first Europeans to go behind the falls. Crèvecoeur and Hunter ride to the mouth of the river where they catch a ferry back to Fort Niagara.

Oct 2
Rochester businessman-postmaster Abelard Reynolds is born in Red Hook (Dutchess County).

Nov 25
Rochester congressman Timothy Childs is born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

Geneva is founded on the site of an Indian village. ** A survey of the New York-Pennsylvania state line is begun by brothers Andrew and Joseph Ellicott. ** Township size in "waste and un-appropriated lands" of the Military Tract is set at 6.1 square miles, with a lot size of 200 acres. Veterans of the Sullivan Campaign begin buying land in the central and western areas of the state. ** Mohawk chief Joseph Brant tours the western tribes of the Great Lakes seeking their support for an Indian Confederation. ** The Genesee River floods. ** The approximate date artist James Peachey depicts View of Fort Niagara from the west.


Feb 4
Geneseo schoolteacher Epaphroditus Bigelow is born in Marlborough, Connecticut.

Mar 18
The Steuben County town of Bath is formed.

Nov 30
The Hartford Convention convenes at Hartford, Connecticut, with New York State commissioners Egbert Benson, James Duane, John Haring, Robert R. Livingston, Melancthion Smith and Robert Yates, and Massachusetts commissioners Rufus King, John Lowell, Theophilus Parsons and James Sullivan present.

14 Indian tribes of the western Great Lakes, assembled at the urging of New York's Iroquois Confederation earlier in the year, meet in council near Detroit, make a pact for mutual defense in an Indian Confederation. They write to the U. S. requesting an official treaty and repudiate the treaties of Fort Stanwix, Fort McIntosh and Fort Finney.

Dec 12
New York governor William Learned Marcy is born in Sturbridge (today’s Southbridge), Massachusetts, to Jedediah and Ruth Learned Marcy.

Dec 16
The Hartford Convention votes for New York to divide the Iroquois lands with Massachusetts, which gets the land (preemptive rights – right to buy lands west of a pre-emption Line (nearly 6,000,000 acres) from the Indians), while New York gets political sovereignty. The 230,400-acre area known as the Boston Ten Towns, between the Chenango River and Owego Creek, is retained by Massachusetts. The western boundary of Montgomery County is extended to the Niagara River. It contain 15,057 people. The Town of Whitestown contains under 200 whites.

Dec 25
Buffalo merchant and philanthropist Seth Grosvenor is born in Pomfret, Connecticut, to Captain George Henry Grosvenor and his wife Abigail.

The approximate date followers of Jemima Wilkinson hire Abraham Dayton, Thomas Hathaway and Richard Smith to travel to Yates County to scout a site for a New Jerusalem. ** Gilbert Stuart paints a portrait of Mohawk Indian chief Joseph Brant (Thayendorogea). ** Future governor William C. Bouck is born to Samuel and Margaret Borst Bouck in Schoharie Valley. ** The Office of Land Commissioners is established. ** William Harris settles at the confluence of the Tioga and Conhocton rivers, the site of the future Painted Post. ** Pioneer Anna Mathilda Stewart (Church) is born in Philadelphia to General Walter Stewart and his wife. ** Township size in the "Old" Military Tract and in "waste and un-appropriated" land in the rest of the state, is increased from 6.1 to 10 square miles and from 200 to 640 acres. ** The Seneca confer with the British, arrange for refuge in Canada if relations with the U. S. sour. ** Judge and representative Moses Hayden is born in Conway, Massachusetts.

Trader-interpreter Ephraim Webster, along with Benjamin Newkirk, arrives from Schenectady and establishes a trading post among the Onondaga Indians on the east bank of Onondaga Creek, near Onondaga Lake.


Feb 14
The tenth session of the New York State Legislature passes a law appointing a coroner for each county.

Mar 6
The state's Assembly and Senate each vote to name state Supreme Court judge Robert Yates, John Lansing, Jr. and Alexander Hamilton as delegates to the U. S. Constitutional Convention.

May 20
Early Cohocton settler and granddaughter of Indian captive Jemima Howe, Martha Howe (Fowler) is born in Vernon, Vermont, to Squire and Martha Field Howe.

July 25
Followers of Jemima Wilkinson, the Universal Friend, travel from Connecticut to the Mohawk River, then to Seneca Lake where they settle near today’s Dresden.

Jul 26
New York becomes the eleventh state to enter the Union.

Sep 17
The U. S. Constitution, in a final draft by Gouverneur Morris, is signed by delegates in Philadelphia, who then resolve to forward it to Congress, in New York City. New York dos not formally endorse the document.

Nov 30
The New York Genesee Land Company, an independent group of lessees, negotiates a 999-year-lease on the majority of Iroquois lands in New York State for an annual payment of 2,000 Spanish milled dollars. State governor George Clinton will declare all company transactions null and void.

Settlers, mostly from New England, found a settlement at Binghamton. It will be named for landowner William Bingham, who donated land to the village. A Mrs. Blunt is the first resident to die. ** Feudal tenure is abolished. ** A conference meeting at Hartford, Connecticut, sets the western boundary of Indian lands one mile east of the Niagara River, between lakes Ontario and Erie. Rights to the Mile Strip are reserved for the state. ** Great Lakes steamboat operator Josephus Bradner Stuart is born. ** Genesee Valley pioneer Nicholas Hetchler is born in Pennsylvania. ** Painted Post is included in the Albany County town of Whitestown. ** Job Smith, traveling north from the Chemung River, settles at the falls of the Seneca River (today's Seneca Falls), to open a mill. ** The state creates a Board of Regents to oversee schools, setting rules for the incorporation of colleges and academies (high schools), paving the way for a state university system. ** Tioga County’s Boston Ten Towns tract is sold to a company of 60 men, most of them from Massachusetts. ** The first settlement in the Genesee Country is made at the Indian village of Kanadesaga (later Geneva). ** Buffalo merchant and library benefactor Seth Grosvenor is born. ** Lieutenant John Enys of the 29th Regiment of Foot visits Niagara Falls.

© 2011 David Minor / Eagles Byte

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Rochester Museum and Science Center

Subitted by Rosemary O'Keefe

Rocheseter Museum and Science Center has a new site:
that is an astounding online library catalogue of their photos
and book collections.
The Stone photo collection is on there and they are in the process
of adding their Native American collection.

Shacksboro Schoolhouse

On the way home from a recent Canal Society of New York weekend field trip to central New York, Joann and I happened upon a Baldwinsville museum, at noontime on Sunday, which happened to opening just at that time for the afternoon. We stopped in for a visit and were shown around by docent Mary Hartigan.

Their current exhibit is entitled, “Math 101: The 3 R's + Community = School", featuring “A photographic history of Baldwinsville's schools and students with special emphasis on the rural schools that dotted the countryside until consolidation was completed in 1952.”

There’s lots more to see on their web site

including Historical Overviews of Baldwinsville, the Shacksboro Schoolhouse itself (the museum’s home), the latest newsletter, the area’s flower farms and cemeteries, and the current lecture series on “Remembering Baldwinsville”.

So, check out their web site or pay them a visit if you get a chance sometime. I sense a future New Society destination.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Submitted by Dick Palmer

Oswego Commercial Times, Monday, March 8, 1861

The largest canal boat we have ever seen, and we think the largest
afloat, was launched on Saturday from the boat yard of Samuel Miller
in this city. The new boat is called the Abraham Lincoln bears a
handsome portrait of "Old Abe" on the stern, and belongs to Alderman
George S. Alvord of this city. She is 96 feet 6 inches long, 17 feet
5 inches wide, 9 feet and 2 inches between decks. Notwithstanding
her size, she draws only about thirteen inches of water. The boat
is capable of carrying 11,500 bushels of wheat.

One gains a good idea of the progress of inland navigation as
fostered and encouraged by the State of New York by examining this
craft, which is probably twice as large as the vessel in which
Columbus crossed the ocean and discovered a new world, or one-third
larger than the Mayflower which landed at Plymouth Rock.

Altogether the boat is the handsomest canal craft we have ever
seen, and reflects much credit upon Mr. Miller's yard. Ald[erman]. Alvord
has a consort for the Lincoln on the stocks at the same yard, which
when completed is to be called the Hannibal Handin.

By visiting this yard, one may learn something of Oswego's
activity and enterprise. Mr. Miller has three canal boats now on the
stocks for repairs, and is putting the finishing touches upon a small
fleet of boats. Some fifty or sixty men are kept constantly at work,
getting craft in readiness to transport the surplus grain to tide-water.

Monday, October 19, 2009

November 14, 2009

History Fair in Rochester's South Wedge

Watch here for details as the date approaches

Nice Accommodations

© 2007 David Minor / Eagles Byte

Leaving Syracuse and passing through the outlying settlement of Salina, John Fowler’s coach heads southwest, passing through Marcellus and heading into Skaneateles, at the northern end of the lake of the same name, the town formed back in February from the aforementioned Town of Marcellus. The village itself, which Fowler calls pleasantly situated, will be incorporated three year from now. He’s impressed with its “several genteel residences” and mentions its Friends (or Quaker) boarding school. He may also have passed by a brick Baptist Church and Solomon Earll’s gristmill, both built this year. He probably also went past the Sherwood Tavern, built in 1807. It’s still there now - considerably enlarged - in the twenty-first century.

Continuing on they reach the Cayuga County village of Auburn around 8:30 in the evening. Fowler is fairly satisfied with that day’s progress, seventy miles in twelve-and-a-half hours, “which, taking into account the state of the roads, the heat of the day &c. is by no means to be complained of.” There they check into the American Hotel.

The Sherwood tavern he’d passed back in Skaneateles had been built by Isaac Sherwood. Auburn’s American Hotel where Fowler will spend the night, was completed this year by stagecoach magnate John M. Sherwood, son of Isaac. Fowler is impressed.

“ . . . an establishment upon a very extended scale . . . of freestone, five stories high, with piazzas, twenty feet or more in width, up to the third story. Many of the apartments are large and elegantly furnished, and I am informed they can, if requisite, make up 250 or 300 beds. It has been recently erected, and, excepting at New York, is quite the best inn I have seen in the State . . .” It probably should go without saying, that as passengers on the “Old Line” of coaches, also owned by Sherwood, they were expected to stay at the American.

There was competition. Directly across Genesee Street stood the Western Exchange hotel, now owned by the rival Pioneer Line. Richard F. Palmer’s [yes, our Dick Palmer] 1977 book The “Old Line Mail”: Stagecoach Days in Upstate New York”, contains illustrations of the two buildings. It’s obvious the two were attempting to one-up each other, with their multiple columns, chimneys, balconies and cupolas. The American won out as far as entrances are concerned – it had two. But the Exchange did win out on tradition. Lafayette had stayed here on his 1826 American journey.

Fowler’s certainly impressed enough with the American. “. . . so much has it pleased me, in fact, that I am tempted to forego my half resolve, not to make trial of a public dormitory again in the country. I shall adventure this once upon the credit of fair promise and will report progress in the morning.” Any bets?

You’re probably betting the bugs would once again drive him bonkers. You lose. “For once appearances have not been deceitful. I have slept undisturbed, excepting that I was aroused at a pretty early hour this morning by the loud pealing of thunder . . .” At least he can’t blame that on an innkeeper.

There was one special Auburn institution that Fowler wanted to see. Temporarily, of course. Next time.


Received the following amplification on the recent Hamilton College script - "88 in the Shade" - from listener/reader, Civil War historian, and James S. Wadsworth biographer, Wayne Mahood, a graduate of the college – long after Fowler passed through, of course.

“For what it's worth, Philopeuthian was considered by the Phoenicians the lesser of the two societies, for its members came from less wealthy and established families. But the origin of its name? Who knows?

And, for what it's worth, the college was recovering from a bitter fight between the board of trustees, including abolitionist and alumnus Gerrit Smith, and the president.

Even worse, not too long before this, when James S. Wadsworth may have been a student there, some students hauled a Revolutionary War cannon up the hill from Clinton, then up some two or three flights to fire at a detested tutor. The tutor escaped harm, but not his coat. The miscreants were dismissed, then returned after their parents protested the dismissal.

Young Wadsworth's father may have had his young son return home after this incident, though I can't prove it.”

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Canal Items - 1822

Submitted by Richard Palmer

Ontario Repository, Canandaigua, N.Y., Aug 6,1822
Lansingburgh July 30

Champlain Canal - Many exaggerated reports have been put in
circulation, respecting the injury done to the Champlain canal, and
the dam at Fort Edward, by the late freshet. The last Sandy Hill
Times, a paper published in the neighborhood of the canal, contains
the following article on the subject, which we believe to be correct:--

The Freshet: The damage done by the late freshet, to grass, corn and
other grain growing on the low lands contiguous to Woodcreek is said
to be immense. Much injury was also done to the lumber with which the
creek had been literally filled from Fort Ann to Whitehall, and
waiting a supply of water in the summit level of the canal. So great
was the rise and fury of the stream that large rafts of timber, board,
plank &c. were forced from their moorings, and carried a considerable
distance into the fields, so that when the water receded they were left
"high and dry," and in a perfect state of hotch-potch. The canal, too,
was very considerably impaired.

"Great fears were entertained for the safety of the dam which was
undergoing repairs at Fort Edward; but which was made to ride out the
storm," by the skill and unremitted exertions of the gentleman who
had it in charge. It gives us pleasure to be enabled to state that it is
now considered out of danger, and bids fair to be completed in a
short time, say three weeks."

Geneva Gazette, Aug. 14, 1822
(From the N.Y. Spectator, Aug. 1.)

Onondaga Salt- We learn from the Albany Argus, that extensive
preparations are making to manufacture salt at Salina, by evaporation
in the sun, instead of boiling as has hitherto been practised. Two
companies one from New Bedford, Mass. and the other from this city,
are stated to be engaged in the enterprise. The plan is the same as
that practised by Judge Quincey, near Boston, as described in this
paper a short time since. By the process of boiling, the bitumen
which the water contains, becomes incorporated with the salt; hence
its impurities and hitherto bad reputation; indeed it could not be
relied on with safety, except for the purpose of agriculture and the use of stock.

An entire change by the new process will take place in this
business, by which instead of an impure, weak, and fine salt, which
has hitherto been made here, there will be produced a coarse salt, of
a quality equal to any in the world. There is no limit to the
quantity which may be manufactured on the proposed new plan, as long
as the sun continues to shed its genial rays on the face of this
globe, and wood can be found of which to construct an increased number of vats.

The fountain which has been pouring forth its saline stream
"since time was" is an inexhaustible as the ocean itself. We have long
been surprised that the process of evaporation by the sun, has not
been sooner adopted. The waters at Salina are five or six times strong as
the ocean, and the product must of course be in the same ratio.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Genesee Valley Civil War Roundtable
Presents Depew, New York historian and re-enacotr Peter Myhalenko
on Emory Upton and the Spotsylvania Campaign

The program takes place at the American Legion, through the front entrance, 53 West Main Street,
LeRoy at 7:30 PM.

Discussion period to follow.
New members and interested parties welcome!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Upcoming Author Talks

Batavia's Bill Kaufman
will talk on cherishing and defending hometowns
at 10 AM, October 13th, at Finger Lakes Community College at Hopwell
check or call 585 394-3522

Phyllis Pittman Kitt (see "rescheduled" note below)
will sign copies of her new book
God's Country: Churches and Chapels of the Genesee Valley
at the Pittsford Public Library on October 13th at 7 PM.

Broadcast Rescheduled

Thursday 10/15
Hr. 1 (12 Noon)
Historian and author Phyllis Pittman Kitt; how the houses of worship we built in upstate NY 100 to 200 years ago
say a lot about our history and values (tape)

Her WXXI-AM interview with Bob Smith on 1370 Connection is broadcast at
1370 on the AM radio dial and also streamed on-line at
Click on the Listen Live link in the upper left corner of the opening screen
(You'll probably want to set this up a few minutes beforehand)

Peanut Line

Submitted by Dick Palmer

Peanut Line 'Gallop' Has Goober Flavor - Ambition Realized By Railroad Fans

(On Sunday, July 21, 1946, the Buffalo Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society sponsored a special excursion over the New York Central's "Peanut Line" from North Tonawanda to Caledonia and return. Following is an article published in the Buffalo Courier Express July 28, 1946).

Buffalo railroad fans have realized a life long ambition. They have eaten peanuts on The Peanut. It happened last Sunday when an "Iron Horse Gallop" was made over this historic one-track branch of the New York Central between North Tonawanda and Caledonia.

Russell H. Shapely, 178 Box Ave., president of the local chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, which sponsored the excursion, saw to it that there was plenty of peanuts aboard the train to commemorate the occasion. They were served unshelled in paper bags and in the form of peanut butter sandwiches.

It was the second such trip of the fans in the postwar period, the first having been made last month over the New York, Ontario & Western Railroad between Oneida and Sidney. Next on the agenda are tours over the Niagara, St. Catherines & Toronto and the Arcade and Attica, scheduled for early in September.

Got Name in 1855
An excursion over a little known or used line is considered a red letter day by the railroad fans and the Peanut Branch of the New York Central proved ideal. Originally known as the Canandaigua-Niagara Falls Railroad, the name Peanut has stuck since 1857 when the Central took it over and the late Dean Richmond of Batavia, then operating vice-president, reportedly referred to the acquisition as "only a peanut of a line."
Though still an important rail link, serving among other big customers as National Gypsum Co., in Clarence Center, the Peanut has seen its heyday as a railroad. No scheduled passenger trains have run on it in more than a decade. One freight makes a round trip daily on week days. On Sundays the Peanut is a "dead duck," or was until last week.
Looking from a window as the special nosed out of North Tonawanda at the beginning of the run, one of the fans saw an elderly man apparently sunning himself in the backyard. He was sitting in an arm chair, a pipe in his mouth, his eyes closed. Aroused by the train he awakened with a start and when he saw it was not only a train, but a passenger train as well, a look of surprise spread over his face and his pipe fell to the ground.

Even Cows Surprised
Further on, the train surprised a housewife at her Sunday morning toilet. She had rushed to the doorway to see what was happening and it was apparently not until the last coach had passed and she saw herself in the exposure of several pairs of male eyes on the observation platform that she realized she was standing there in her scanties.

Elsewhere along the line, cows came up to the fence to see the excitement. On the return trip, some fishermen on a small lake near Akron Junction nearly capsized their boat when one of their number stood up to point to the train.

Usually on their "Iron Horse Gallops," the railroad fans are all over the train, in the cab of the locomotive, hanging out of the windows,etc. The older the coaches, the bumpier the roadbed and the more smoke they inhale, the better they like it. In this respect their style was somewhat cramped last Sunday as the Central gave them some of its air-conditioned coaches and you don't open the windows on them.

Ticket Dated 1853
At LeRoy, Earl E. Bloss, a carpenter of that village as well as a railroad fan, boarded the special and presented to President Shapley an unused excursion ticket on the Canandaigua-Niagara Falls Railroad from LeRoy to the Falls, dated August 24, 1853.

Among railroad fans who made last Sunday's "Iron Horse Gallop" were Edward G. Hooper of Baltimore Md., assistant secretary of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and president of the national society; L. Newton Wylder of Lima, Peru, who happened to be in Buffalo on business at the time, and Rogers E. M. Whitaker of the magazine New Yorker's staff, who came from New York City to make the trip.

Whitaker has travelled an estimated 500,000 miles on railroad fan trips, 375,000 miles since in 1936 when he started to keep a tab on mileage. It is not unusual for him to hop a plane to some distant part of the country just for the privilege of riding a few miles on some antiquated railroad.

Friday, October 9, 2009

WESTERN / CENTRAL New York timeline / 1780-1784

Sep 19
After an attempt by Cornplanter's wife Etomeh to poison The-Ship-Under-Full-Sail (adopted prisoner Eleanor Lytle) the voluntary captive is kept secluded by the Seneca, awaiting the chief's return to Oswaya (near today’s Portville).

Sep 21
Cornplanter arrives at Oswaya with his war party. Learning of Etomeh's treachery he divorces her and banishes her to a cabin at the edge of the village.

Indians settle in the area of the future Buffalo. ** The Council House at Caneadea is built for the Seneca by British troops from Fort Niagara. ** Mohawk chief Little Abraham (Tigoransera) brother of the late chief King Hendrick, dies in a British prison in Fort Niagara. (birth date unknown). ** Joseph Brant and his prisoner Captain Alexander Harper pass through the Genesee Valley on their way from Schoharie to Niagara. ** Connewango pioneer Rufus Wyllys is born in Massachusetts. ** The legislature agrees to set aside bounty lands for veterans. ** The state legislature meets for the first time in Albany. ** Ontario County's population reaches 1,075. ** Tuscarora Indians who fled O-ha-gi, their village on the Genesee River, last year at the approach of Sullivan's troops, return. ** Politician Nathaniel Allen is born in the future East Bloomfield.

Mar 1
New York presents its western lands (west of a north-south line running through the western end of Lake Ontario) to Congress, which uses them to provide Pennsylvania with a corridor to Lake Erie. Pennsylvania pays $151,640 for the land New York surrenders.

Oct 19
Cornwallis and his 17,000 troops surrender at Yorktown, Virginia.

Lawyer George Hosmer is born to Avon doctor and judge Timothy Hosmer and his wife. ** Unclaimed military lands and land between Seneca and Cayuga lakes fall under a survey grid plan of seven square -mile townships and 500 acre plots.

North Carolina
Merchant and veteran Nathaniel Rochester moves to Hagerstown, Maryland, where he sets up a nail factory, a flour mill and a ropewalk.

Scots captain Charles Williamson sells his commission and travels to America, with letters of introduction to General Cornwallis. He’s captured at sea by the Yankee ship Marquis of Salem and spends the rest of the war living with the family of Ebenezer Newell at Roxbury, Massachusetts. He will marry the daughter Abigail Newell.

Feb 24
Rochester tinsmith and village treasurer Ebenezer Watts, Jr., is born in Boston, Massachusetts.

Early Connewango settler Benjamin Darling is born in Windsor, Vermont.

A party of British and Indians arrive at Chautauqua Lake to build a dam across the outlet, create a flood and sweep down the Alleghany River to attack Fort Pitt.

The force on Chautauqua Lake leaves without attempting their attack. ** The New Military Tract is formed from Indian lands, to award to Revolutionary War veterans. A lot of 400 acres in each township is to be reserved for support of the gospel and two lots of 200 acres reserved for schools.

Oct 29
Congress accepts New York State's western lands.

Dec 5
George III addresses Parliament, announces he has accepted American independence. In the audience are Admiral Richard Howe, painters Benjamin West and John Singleton Copley, and canal promoter Elkanah Watson.

Ebenezer “Indian” Allan, former lieutenant in the British Indian Department under Sir John Johnson, leads a raiding party into Sussex County, New Jersey. He retreats to Gardeau Flats, on the Genesee River near Mount Morris, for the winter and is assigned to watch the movements of the Seneca and the settlers.

The New York legislature passes an act to aid those wishing to settle in central New York.

Mar 21
England’s Parliament naturalizes French-born, future New York State pioneer David Piffard, a bookkeeper.

Mar 22
Congress votes officer compensation.

Apr 1
Piffard, now a member of the Needlemaker’s Company guild, becomes a fee-paid freeman of London.

Apr 24
Piffard petitions London’s Court of Aldermen for permission to become a broker on the Royal Exchange, signs a £500 bond. Three weeks later it’s granted.

Apr 26
Evacuation Day. 7,000 Loyalists leave New York City for Canada and Europe.

Aug 21
The deadline for Loyalists to receive permission to evacuate New York.

Sep 3
Great Britain and the U. S. sign the peace treaty in Paris. Among other provisions France renounces all claims in Canada and the St. Lawrence watershed. Great Lakes boundary lines are set, opening western New York to settlement.

Nov 20
Eleanor Lytle is reunited with her parents Sarah and John at Oswaya.

The British arrest Ebenezer “Indian” Allen, imprisoning him first at Fort Niagara, then at Montréal and Kingston.

Future Syracuse pioneer Comfort Tyler becomes a surveyor and schoolteacher at Caughnawego, on the Mohawk. ** Ebenezer “Indian” Allen carries messages between the Iroquois and British prisoner Rev. Joseph Bull, a Moravian missionary held in Philadelphia, fostering a peace plan. Allen moves from Gardeau Flats along the Genesee River to nearby Mount Morris, where he opens a trading post. ** The Indian Committee of the Continental Congress urges that the tribes surrender part of their lands to the U. S. as part of a final peace agreement. The New York Assembly advocates expelling all Iroquois tribes that sided with the British, and moving the Oneidas and Tuscaroras to then-vacated Seneca lands in the western part of the state. **
Qualifications for veterans of the Revolution for the acquisition of lands in the New Military Tract are established. They range from 500 acres for a private to 5,500 acres for a major general.

The approximate date New York City's Hardenbrook family announces they will be selling the Tea Water Pump property by April.

Jan 24
New York City becomes the capital of New York State. Colonial public records will be moved there from Poughkeepsie.

Mar 15
The Bank of New York is organized, the first bank incorporated in the state.

May 11
The state creates Commissioners of the Land Office to control bounty lands transactions resulting from the Revolution.

Jul 25
Rochester merchant Silas O. Smith is born in New Marlboro, Massachusetts.

Lieutenant Ebenezer “Indian” Allen, freed by the British, is dismissed on half-pay from their Indian Department.

Oct 22
The Six Nations of the Iroquois sign the Treaty of Fort Stanwix (Rome), surrender all claims to the Northwest territory in exchange for protection of an Indian zone in western and central New York, western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio, from whites. To help protect local Indian lands the state constitution will forbid the sale of their lands to individuals.

Oct 25
Rochester botanist, minister and educator Chester Dewey is born in Sheffield, Massachusetts.

Simeon De Witt is named State Engineer and Surveyor. ** Future governor Enos Thompson Throop is born in Johnstown to George B. and Abiah Throop. ** Benjamin Keyes purchases land from Oliver Phelps that will soon become East Bloomfield. ** A commission is put into place to obtain title to Indian lands. ** French diplomat François Barbé de Marbois begins traveling through the U. S., spending the next five years exploring the new nation, with an emphasis on the Iroquois.

Nathaniel Rochester and Thomas Hart begin a flour milling business at Hagerstown.

Massachusetts and New York both opt for square, rather than irregular-edged, townships.

@2009 David Minor / Eagles Byte

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Wayne County Historical Society Map Club - October Meeting

The Wayne County Historical Society Map Club will hold their October
meeting at the Museum of Wayne County History. The meeting will be
held on Wed., October 14, at 7pm.

The club will be looking at original Sanborn Insurance Maps from
Macedon and also Gary Fitzpatrick will report on his recent trip to
the Library of Congress.

Anyone interested in any aspect of maps is invited to come.

For more information about this event, call the Museum of Wayne
County History at 315-946-4943 or look at the website, The Museum is located at 21 Butternut Street,
Lyons NY.

1370 Connection [10 /9 Bumped for Special on Swine Flu Virus - no reschedule announced]

For those of you in the Rochester area, this coming Friday (10/9) at noon Bob Smith's guest (on tape) will be

Author and historian Phyllis Pittman Kitt on how the churches and synagogues we built in upstate NY between 1800 and 1930 expressed the values and tastes of the community and their time

Saturday, October 3, 2009

New Society of the Genesee - October Meeting

Hello New Society members and friends:

On Saturday, October 10 we will meet at noon in Pittsford (Schoen Place near Aladdin's restaurant) for a ride on the Sam Patch. The trip will take about 1 1/2 hours, after which we will have lunch at Aladdin's. There is a charge of $10 for the boat trip. Please reply to Martha Johnstone at or (585) 473-0404 by October 6 if you are able to attend.

We hope to see you there!

photo by David Minor

Friday, October 2, 2009


posts submitted by Dick Palmer -

Recently I have seen the over-use of the term "hoagie" or
"hoggy" applied to people who drove mules on the canal. The term did
not exist during canal days and is fiction. They were "canal
drivers" and nothing else. if you want a hoagie you go to Jreck
Subs, not to the canal. It was NEVER used during the entire
existence of the Erie Canal - was a term contrived by a folklorist,
possibly Samuel Hopkins Adams.

I had a little discussion with Tom Grasso, president of the
Canal Society of New York State, regarding the blatant misuse of
mythical terms applied to the canal that never existed and he said:

"The hoagie or hoggy thing is among one of the worst offenses. I
have never come across the term in any official publication I ever
read. 'Canawler' is another. I have come across boatman and possibly
driver (even this I am not quite sure about--could have dreamt it).
The only other possibility is that the term "hoagie" was the
equivalent of today's urban street talk. But even in interviews that
I have heard and read about, I can't recall "boat people" ever using
the term."


One comment I got from this was the following, which I think
is sort of weak. It reminds me of all the people who try to define
the origin of the term "Hojack" as applied to the old New York
Central/RW&O railroad along the south shore of the lake. I suppose
it's possible "hoggy" could be derived from what he says, but the
fact it is, I can find no contemporary reference to it ever have been
applied to the Erie Canal.

"I've looked into the hoagie matter and only found one mid-20th
century reference (not specific to the canal) - I heard that the term
was Scottish in origin - so, I referenced a Scottish relation in PA
(now deceased)who understood the term immediately referring to the
trade of driving draft animals. The term combined "ha" or
"ho" (meaning left) and "gee" (meaning right) - referencing the
verbal commands to a team of draft animals. He also noted that it was
important not to switch the team positions - one was always left and
the other was always right. Anyway - perhaps this sheds some light as
to the root of the misuse of the phrase."

The main problem is that the canal parks and museum
interpretors are misleading the public - some even stating with
assurance that little girls were also "hoggies." " Hogwash" is more
like it.


I suppose the loosely used term "hoggie" or "hoagie" is no worse
than those signs "You are now entering the Erie Canal National
Heritage Corridor" posted along the Thruway and seemingly everywhere
else that's not even close to the canal. They say the canal corridor
is 15 miles wide. When was this? During the Ice Age?

I've also suggested that dinner boat cruise operators service
hoagies on their cruises in honor of those who drove the boats.


88 in the Shade

© 2007 David Minor / Eagles Byte

As he prepares to board the stage at New Hartford in 1830 John Fowler mentions a brief visit to nearby Clinton, New York. The pretty village lies at the bottom of a hill, the summit being the site of Hamilton College. As he clarifies, “or colleges, for though the buildings are united there have been three separate erections. . . . Until very lately it was ranking high among institutions of the kind in the State, but I regret to hear that in consequence of some misunderstanding have arisen between the masters and the students, it has been altogether deserted.” He mentions efforts underway to mend fences at the institution, chartered back in 1812, but doesn’t go into further details, probably having no reliable source of information.

Actually the rift was more a matter of student misunderstanding, rather than of one involving the professors as well. Until recently the college had two literary societies, the Phoenix and the Philopeuthian (if anyone knows the meaning of the second name, please let me know; Google never heard of it). In 1828 a tubercular Westmoreland, New York, minister’s son Samuel Eells, returned to Hamilton after taking time off to recover his health. The two college societies smelled fresh blood and began battling for his allegience. They only managed to repel him by their methods (although he did join the Philos) and he determined to form a third society. So, two months after Fowler’s visit a modest group was formed around Eells. Name of Alpha Delta Phi. Began to go co-ed in 1992 through a split and currently has 24 chapters and five affiliates in a number of states and two in Canada.

But Fowler’s visit proceeded the healing of the rift. And now, he was off. His coach passed through Manchester and Vernon, “neither requiring comment; the land good and seemingly well farmed nearly all the way.” Oneida Castle – the ‘castle’ referring to a former Indian defensive works – where an overweight Tuscarora woman and her children chase alongside the coach, begging for handouts. Fowler’s not impressed by them, noting that, “they are a harmless, inoffensive set of beings, but have lost much of their ancient spirit and energy.” He adds that English beggars are much more accomplished and, in similar circumstances would be turning cartwheels as they followed the coach. But, no doubt, they still put their pants on one leg at time.

The coach soon leaves their unasked for escort in the copious dust behind them and head off through Lenox and Quality Hill to Chittenango (which he misspells; don’t laugh until you try it). He mentions only the side cut here from the Erie Canal two miles to the north and admits the village, “has little to attract the attention of a stranger.” Hartsville and Fayetteville fare no better by Fowler. However the latter village this year was the site of proto-Mormon Joseph Smith’s first church. Syracuse is next on the itinerary and a rest stop is taken at a “handsome and commodious brick building”, the principal hotel, which he apparently chooses not to name. He does note, however, that the thermometer on the side of the building stands at 88°, and this at four in the afternoon, (typical August weather, as we know).

Two other Europeans arrived here in 1830, named Georg Stephens and Carl Walter, German immigrants, the beginning of a large influx who would settle and begin working in the settlement’s burgeoning salt industry. After all, their ancestors in the old country had been working in saltworks for over 1000 years.