Tuesday, June 23, 2009

WESTERN / CENTRAL New York timeline / 1750-1754

A party of French and Indians, including Ottawa chief Pontiac, capture five English traders led by John Patton, agent to George Croghan, en route to Pickawillany, Ohio. With the exception of trader Edgar Bangen who escapes during the night, the prisoners are taken by the French to Fort Niagara.

May 10
English-Iroquois go-between William Johnson writes to New York governor George Clinton, to complain of the French governor, the Marquis de la Joinquière, who is offering rewards for the heads of traders George Croghan and Hugh Lowry.

Jun 18
De la Joinquière receives a letter from Clinton protesting the French presence at the Niagara River portage and demanding its removal.

Oswego's garrison threatens to disband over a lack of pay. ** Moravian missionaries arrive in the future Skaneateles area.

Jun 15
Abbé François Piquet leaves northern New York's Fort Présentation (Oswegatchie) for Toronto, from there heading for the western end of Lake Ontario, seeking Indian converts.

Jun 27
Piquet arrives at Niagara.

Jul 6
Piquet leaves Niagara to return to Fort Présentation.

Jul 12
Piquet visits the falls of the Genesee River.

Jul 14
Piquet reaches Sodus Bay. He will recommend building a fort at the spot.

Jul 21
Piquet writes from Fort Présentation to French governor the Marquis de la Jonquière in Montréal, describing his recent mission to the Iroquois.

Swedish scientist Peter Kalm's Travels into North America is translated into English, bringing a new interest in Niagara Falls. ** Indian agent Sir William Johnson buys land surrounding Onondaga Lake from the local tribe for $15,000.

Jan 1
Great Britain and the colonies officially adopt the Gregorian calendar, making January and February the beginning months of the year, rather than the final months.

Feb 21
Businessman Nathaniel Rochester is born in Westmoreland County, Virginia.

Apr 8
Diplomat and New York State landowner William Bingham is born to William and Mary Stamper Bingham in Philadelphia.

Seneca chief Otetiena (Red Jacket) is born in the Cayuga village of Canoga.

New Hampshire
Syracuse co-founder Ephraim Webster is born in Hampstead.

George Clinton is replaced as Royal Governor of New York, by Sir Danvers Osborne.

The French build a wagon road across the southern tier, along the future path of Route 17. ** The maximum amount of land permitted in an individual's grant is reduced from 2000 acres to 1000.


The marquis du Duquesne meets in Québec with an Iroquois delegation from Onondaga, come to repair relations with the French.

Future governor Lewis Morgan is born to Francis York Morgan and his wife Elizabeth Annesly Morgan. ** The Seneca Indians abandon the Townley-Read settlement, southwest of the future Geneva.

Surveyor Andrew Ellicott, brother of land agent Joseph Ellicott, is born to a Quaker family in Bucks County.

© 2009 David Minor / Eagles Byte

Sunday, June 21, 2009


On Saturday, June 27 the New Society will visit the Amherst Museum
at 3755 Tonawanda Creek Road, Amherst, New York
We will meet at Sean Patrick's Irish Pub for lunch at 11:30 a.m.
(arrive a little earlier). Patrick's is located at 3480 Millersport Highway
in Getzville, off Transit Road. After lunch and New Society business
we will go to the museum for a private tour at 1:00 p.m. Admission
is $4.00 per person. The Amherst Museum, www.amherstmuseum.org ,
is similar to the Genesee Country Museum with numerous historic buildings.
Thanks to Gerry Muhl for making these arrangements. Please reply to
Martha Johnstone by email bluffpoint@frontiernet.net by June 23rd
if you plan to attend.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Erie Canal - 1822 Items

Submitted by Richard Palmer

Ontario Repository, Canandaigua July 23, 1822

Erie Canal Navigation

Utica July 9

Arrived since our last. 47 boats and one raft with 4405 barrels flour
430 barrels salt 72 do. pork 64 do ashes, 1690 bushels wheat, 42229
feet boards, 6363 gallons whiskey.

Cleared same time 35 boats with 90 tons merchandise, 16 do. Mill
machinery, passengers &c


(At this time, this portion of the canal was only open between
Irondequoit and Lyons)

Western Farmer, Palmyra, N.Y., April 24, 1822

The Elegant and Superb Packet Boat MYRON HOLLEY, has commenced
running on the Canal. Parties of pleasure can be accommodated either
with a trip to Lyons, or to the Irondequoit Embankment. This work is
now in successful progression, and presents to view a scene as novel
and grand and interesting to every beholder.

The Boat can leave this place in the morning, and visit either
of the above places and return in the evening, or remain over night,
as best suits the passengers.

Palmyra, April 23, 1822.
N.B. The Boat will soon commence running on her regular trips
in connection with the passage Boats on the Middle Section, after
which time it will not be so convenient to accommodate parties.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Picky, Picky, Picky

© 2007 David Minor / Eagles Byte¬

Fowler and his Philadelphia friend disembark from their steamboat at midday and set out to procure transportation to carry them about 25 miles inland. Four dollars hires them a light wagon, a driver and a pair of horses and they set out. Fowler describes the first part of their journey. “After traveling over twelve miles of very bad road, through a barren, rocky, half cleared, uninteresting country, we arrived at Montgomery, a village with a few pretty good houses and stores, and, perhaps, about 800 inhabitants.”

The village, named for Revolutionary general Richard Montgomery, who had a home back down on the river, had at one time been called Ward’s Bridge; early settler and miller James Ward having built a bridge here over the Walkill River.

Fowler writes, “As we drove along we observed many persons cutting and carrying their hay, in the midst of stumps and stones, and where an English farmer would have deemed it utterly impracticable to have performed either operation.” Our traveler was being a bit too critical. In his 1982 book Common Landscape of America author John R. Stilgoe explains, “A husbandman needed not one but several fields, and he needed them immediately. He needed one for corn or wheat, another for meadow, and a third for pasture. He had no time to create one perfectly tilled field free of stumps, roots and rocks; he had little enough time to create three filled with girdled trees, especially if he had located far from natural grassland and needed hay for winter fodder.”

Not realizing all this, Fowler goes on to say that if he hadn’t seen decent farmland on Long Island he would have had rather less of a good opinion of agriculture in the state. He’s not terribly impressed with the Catskill-area livestock either, finding the cattle inferior, the sheep rather common and the pigs, “perfectly hideous; their heads large, legs long, sides very flat, and bristled along the back like a wild boar.”

Our disapproving friend and his Philadelphia companion finally arrive at their destination near today’s Bloomingburgh, Sullivan County’s first seat (but not to be incorporated for another three years) having encountered, “various stops and hindrances.” The friend has made visits to the area before but hasn’t mentioned any relatives in the area, so it’s a bit of surprise to Fowler, when they pull up to a farmhouse and the friend addresses the man as “uncle”. Fowler soon learns that it’s a all-purpose salutation used for male elders.

Even though most of the family has probably turned in for the night not too long before, all are soon up and making the travelers welcome. Obviously starved for diversion, everyone seems prepared to sit up half the night, discussing politics and religion. “ . . . and we had pretty much settled some abstruse points in both ere we had been half an hour in the house.” And everyone had plenty of questions about news from the outside. Fowler admits he could have continued this far into the night had he known what awaited for him when he turned in. He concludes his notes for the day, “What, the bugs again . . . Bear with me, reader, though I can hardly bear with myself - ‘tis even so.” We’ve borne with him on the subject before; I think this time we’ll leave him to suffer alone. Then pick him up the next morning - next time.

Friday, June 12, 2009


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Genesee Valley Civil War Roundtable
Presents Thomas M. McFarland on “Rivers to Cross”

Thomas McFarland will speak on his new Civil War book “Rivers to Cross” which follows Corliss,
an Irish immigrant, through the Civil War and his subsequent trip west to become a cowboy.

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. The author will have copies of the book for sale and will sign them.
New members Welcome!

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Submitted by Richard Palmer

Lyons Advertiser
July 9,1823

Erie Canal
The Albany Daily Advertiser states that the navigation of the Western Canal is now open
from Schenectady to Rochester, a distance of 200 miles. On Thursday the water was let in,
to a moderate depth, as far down as Schenectady, and a light boat came thro from the
west to this city. It is reserved as a joyous ceremony and a source of felicitation on the
approaching anniversary, to let in the water to the usual depth of four feet, when loaded
boats are expected to arrive from the west.

In two years at farthest from this time the whole line of the Great Western Canal will be
completed from Buffalo to Albany; and on the 4th July, 1825, the interesting ceremony
of celebrating the junction, or as the late Mr. Granger used to say, the nuptials of
Lake Erie and the Hudson, will take place. On that day, which will be the proudest
in our annals, the banks of the Canal will be lined with cannon, and , covered with
an immense multitude, when a grand feu de joie will be fired, and the shouts of
spectators ring from the River to the Lake.- (Statesman)

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Ganiodaio (Handsome Lake), half-brother of Cornplanter, is born.

Mar 10
Governor William Cosby dies of consumption.

Apr 9
A closed council of Iroquois chiefs is called at Onondaga to decide the fate of the Delaware, who signed away Iroquois land to the Proprietors of Pennsylvania. Iroquois chief Canassatego condemns them to move from their homes immediately to Pennsylvania's Wyoming and Shamokin valleys, and to never trade land again. Some move on to the Ohio country, away from Iroquois power.


May 27

New York land speculator Nathaniel (Nathanial) Gorham is born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, to Captain Nathaniel Gorham and Mary Soley Gorham.

The approximate date two Iroquois are said to have been trapped on Goat Island at Niagara Falls when their canoe drifts near the cataract. They are rescued by soldiers after nine days on the island.

May 3
U. S. canal engineer Christopher Colles is born in Dublin.

Jul 26
Future governor George Clinton is born at Little Britain, Ulster (later Orange) County.

Jan 10
The British purchase a 20-by-30-mile tract of land on Lake Ontario’s Irondequoit Bay, but do not settle it.

The Montauk Indian population has dwindled to 32 families, about 160 people. ** Lieutenant Governor George Clarke pays the Senecas £100 (about $250) for all lands six miles east of Irondequoit Bay as well as twenty miles west and thirty miles south.

The 1741-1742 winter is a severe one.

Andrew Ellicott, grandfather of surveyor and land speculator Joseph Ellicott, dies of pleurisy, leaving behind five sons, including Jo, father of the Ellicott brothers.

Future governor John Taylor is born in New York City.

Jul 12
New York State land speculator Jeremiah Wadsworth is born to the Reverend Daniel and Abigail Talcott Wadsworth in Hartford Township, Connecticut.

Governor George Clinton takes office.

Indian Captives
The approximate date Mary Jemison is born to Thomas and Jane Erwin Jemison aboard the ship Mary William bound for Philadelphia from Ireland.

At Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the Six Nations cede their land in the Ohio Valley north of the river to commissioners from New York, Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. The Iroquois are given £800 in Pennsylvania currency, £300 in gold, control of several southern tribes and passage through the colony to attack the Catawba and the Cherokee.

The approximate date Avon co-founder Doctor Timothy Hosmer is born in Connecticut.

Sep 30
Big Flats pioneer Christian Myneer (Minier) is born in Heidelberg, Pennsylvania, to Johann Georg Myneer and Marie Elizabeth Strunk Myneer.

Daniel Joncaire Sieur de Chabert visits Indians in the Black Rock area.

Apr 11
Colonial Indian agent William Johnson, Mississaugi chief Tiyanoga, fifty volunteers and 13 Mohawks leave Mount Johnson on a 200-mile swing through Iroquois country.

Apr 23
Johnson and Tiyanoga arrive at Onondaga. In council Johnson hears Chief Red Hand’s concern that the British show no signs of an attack on Canada and that the tribes have neglected their own interests for two years while waiting for action. He promises to reply in the morning.

Apr 24
Johnson tries to convince the chiefs to not travel to Montréal to retrieve their captives, but to let the English government exchange them for French prisoners, even though he has no authorization for such an offer. They promise him an answer the following day.

Apr 25
The reply comes from Chief Canassatego. The Iroquois will let Johnson try to exchange French prisoners for their fellow tribesmen.

Apr 26
Johnson and Tiyanoga leave Onondaga for Mount Johnson.

Aug 10
Johnson writes to governor Clinton, reports the Indians have all left Mount Johnson with the exception of the Seneca Grota Younga, who stayed behind to have an ulcerous leg tended to.

Oct 14
Governor George Clinton demands that the salaries of governors and other officers be granted for a five-year term, rather than annually.

Oct 19
The New York assembly assures Clinton they will provide for all reasonable expenses, but not a five-year lump sum.

Apr 28
William Johnson returns to Mount Johnson after a five-week tour of Iroquois villages, where he found the more western tribes wary of English promises. He dispatches a report to Governor George Clinton.

Jun 2
Antoine-Louis Rouillé, Comte de Jouy, French colonial minister, writes to Canadian governor, the Marquis de Galissonière from Versailles, backing his plan to use the natives to destroy Fort Oswego. He then writes to Galissonière’s upcoming successor Jacques Pierre de Taffanel, the Marquis de Jonquière, still in France, encouraging the future use of the Iroquois. ** Galissonière issues orders to officer Pierre-Joseph Céloron de Bienville to lead a force to the Ohio Valley, burying tin sheets carrying the French coast-of-arms along the way.

Céloron de Bienville and his party, traveling across the western part of the state, reach Fort Niagara. They will proceed to the Ohio Valley via Chautauqua Lake, depositing lead markers at each important river mouth.

Jul 25
Céloron reaches Kanaouagon (today’s Conewangeo) Creek.

Oct 17
North American land office agent Paolo Busti is born in Milan, Italy.

Oct 21
New York State land agent and politician Oliver Phelps is born in Poquonock, Connecticut.

Nov 3
Cayuga chief Sacanghtradeya brings William Johnson one of Céloron’s plates.

Nov 4
Johnson throws a feast for Sacanghtradeya, Tiyanoga, Wascaugh, Nichus and close to 300 other angry warriors. He successfully counters claims that the English and French have made an alliance against the Iroquois.

William Johnson writes to Governor George Clinton proposing a settlement on Irondequoit Bay, to shut out the French trying to buy English land. ** 193 Indian canoes bring 1,385 packs of fur to Oswego to trade with the British. In modern currency the pelts would be worth nearly $2,000,000.

© 2009 David Minor / Eagles Byte

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Rendering of mural to be created in downtown Syracuse on the First Niagara Bank building.

Canal-related mural set for downtown Syracuse
by Richard Palmer

SYRACUSE - Work on a mural depicting Clinton Square in Erie Canal days is
slated to be painted on the north wall of First Niagara Bank at 126 N. Salina St.,
across the street from the Post-Standard building.

The bank commissioned Corky Goss of Syracuse, who has done more than
25 such murals across the state, to do this one. Goss said it will not be
completed until next year as he can only work on it on weekends. This is
so not as to interfere with the daily operation of the drive-in teller window.

Goss's company is called "Art in Public Places," and his partner is Chip Miller,
a teacher at C.W. Baker High School in Baldwinsville. Financing for the mural
also comes from an organization called "Adapt Central New York," and
several other groups.

The wall has been cleaned and primed to receive the mural. The plan is to have
it completed by the summer of 2010. Goss will also be working on a series
of murals for the village of Newark. He does murals on both private
and public property.

Goss has done several murals in other canal communities including
Lyons and Clyde. "It's really taking off," he said, with plans for other
murals being made in Rochester and the nearby community of Greece.

Meanwhile, several other artists have already or are about to create
additional murals along the canal system.