Friday, July 31, 2009

WESTERN / CENTRAL New York timeline / 1760-1769

May 23
Moravian missionary Christian Frederick Post passes through the future Chemung County area.

May 28
British officer Henry Gladwin, stationed in New York City, receives orders from General Jeffrey Amherst, to lead a force to Fort Pitt (Pittsburgh) report to Brigadier General Robert Monckton, and then to move along the Lake Erie forts and take command at Fort Niagara.

Sep 8
Amherst forces the surrender of Montréal, ending the French and Indian War.

Nov 1
Western New York land agent Joseph Ellicott is born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

The approximate date Abraham Scrantom settles in Durham, Connecticut. His great-great-grandson Edwin Scrantom will be a Rochester pioneer. ** Alexander Millener, George Washington's drummer boy, is born in Adams Basin. ** New York's population ranks it seventh among the colonies.


Oct 6

Rochester co-founder William Fitzhugh is born in Calvert, Maryland, to planter William Fitzhugh and his wife Ann Peregrine Frisby Fitzhugh.

Views of Upper and Lower Genesee Falls is published in London. ** Cadwallader Colden is appointed lieutenant governor. ** Politician Philip Schuyler visits England, views its canals.

Dec 8
Sir William Johnson writes from Johnson Hall to General Sir Jeffery Amherst in New York City, trying to alert the commander to the Indian dangers brewing in the northwest, gives the letter to his Mohawk messenger Oughnour (Daniel) to deliver.

Two traders are murdered near the Seneca village of Kanadasega.

The Seneca grant 500 acres of their land to a settler named Steadman.

Apr 4
Captain Henry Montour writes to his superior William Johnson from the scene, describing his destruction of Indian villages in the Big Flats area.

May 10
Johnson, accompanied by young Joseph Brant, holds an Indian congress at Niagara. Senecas turn 14 English prisoners, along with some deserters and runaway slaves, over to Johnson; promise to stop harassing the British.

The western portion of the Seneca tribe makes peace with Sir William Johnson.

A premature frost in the central part of the state will cause a poor harvest the following year.

Nov 17
Rebellious Indians submit to British forces on the Muskingum River in Ohio, ending Pontiac's War.

Early in the year the young Seneca Joseph Brant is encouraged to join the war parties
sent out by Sir William Johnson to attack the Delaware Indians rebelling in the Chemung and Susquehanna valleys.

Syracuse pioneer Comfort Tyler is born in Ashford, Connecticut. ** Indians lead by Chief Montour destroy a white settlement at Canisteo, in the future Steuben County. ** General Edward Braddock leads an expedition against the Western Indians. One of his soldiers, William Markham II, is quite impressed with lands in the mid-Genesee Valley. ** British general Edward Bradstreet sets out from Oswego to find and engage Pontiac.

Apr 17
New York surveyor and congressman Benjamin Ellicott is born in Ellicotts Mills, Maryland.

New York attorney general John Tabor Kempe informs Indian agent William Johnson that English law does not recognize aboriginal land rights. Johnson will reply that the Indians are a sovereign nation and do not fall under English jurisdiction.

Sir Henry Moore is named provincial governor. ** The Iroquois population reaches approximately 10,000. ** Oneida, chief Thomas King proposes a line be designated separating settler land from Indian land, with generous amounts allotted the settlers.

Jun 24
Rochester pioneer Dr. Matthew Brown is born in Brookfield, Massachusetts.

Oneida chiefs at Kanonwalohale empower Samuel Kirkland to appoint their fellow tribesmen to intercept liquor coming into the village.

The invasion of new forms of pests causes crop failures for the Oneida Indians.


Nov 7

Rochester co-founder Charles Carroll (of Bellevue, to distinguish himself from his cousin Charles Carroll of Carrollton) is born to Charles Carroll and his wife in Carrollsburg (his father’s estate), Maryland.

Last year’s failed harvest causes a famine among the Oneida.

U. S. Postmaster General Gideon Granger is born in Suffield.

Bucks County miller Jo Ellicott, father of the Ellicott brothers, future surveyors, inherits an estate in England. He travels there, sells the estate, and returns home 1500 pounds richer.

Apr 20
New York landowner James Wadsworth is born to justice of the peace John Noyes Wadsworth and his wife Esther Parsons Wadsworth in Durham, Connecticut.

Nov 5
The Iroquois sign the Treaty of Fort Stanwix, negotiated by Johnson, aided by Joseph
Brant, ceding Indian lands between the Ohio and Tennessee rivers, including western
Pennsylvania, to the crown. The new Treaty Line separates Indian-white lands. The Indians are given presents worth £10,460.7.3 sterling.

Nov 9
Future governor Joseph Christopher Yates is born in Schenectady, to Christopher and Jane Gradt Yates.

Mar 2
New York governor De Witt Clinton is born in Little Britain to James and Mary De Witt Clinton.

Mill owner and watchmaker Jo Ellicott, aided by his 15-year-old son Andrew, builds a eight-foot, four-faced astronomical and musical clock.

© 2011 David Minor / Eagles Byte

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hibernicus - Letter V

Submitted by Dick Palmer

(Extract from: "Letters on the Natural History and Internal Resources of the State of New York"
By Hibernicus (DeWitt Clinton) New York, 1822)

Page 22, Letter V.
Montezuma, July, 1820

My Dear Sir,
In my voyage on the canal I met with several loaded boats and scows, ascending as well as descending, and also rafts. The facility with which boats pass each other without interruption or delay, strikes one forcibly at the first view. This canal will make a great revolution in the internal trade of the country, and in the balance of political power.

One horse can draw as much on a canal, as 60 on a road. The expense of transportation will be consequently greatly reduced. I saw an advertisement of Mr. Henry B. Ely, of Utica, wherein he offers to forward goods on the canal for 25 cents per Cwt. for 100 miles, including toll, which is about five cents a ton per mile, at least one quarter less than by land. But this I apprehend is too high; the maximum cost ought not to exceed three cents a mile per ton. I saw a Utica a raft of 440 tons of lumber, which had been floated on the canal for 20 miles, for about 50 dollars. It was drawn by four horses at the rate of two miles an hour. The conveyance of this timber by land would have cost at least 1600 dollars. The price of wheat at Albany, is now about 87 cents a bushel, and the land transportation, at any considerable distance, costs at least 44 cents. A bushel of wheat can be conveyed on the canal, when finished, from Seneca river to Albany for six cents.

Gypsum is found all over the west; you can now buy it at Utica for $1.50 to $2 a ton. The great country lying on he Hudson can be supplied with this mineral for four or five dollars a ton. Salt will also be sold at Albany for 2s. 6d. or 3s. a bushel.

I enclose you a marine, or canal list, cut from a Utica paper. The activity of business which this communication has already created is perfectly surprising.

From the Utica Patriot.

May 22, 1820, arrived, boat Montezuma, with passengers; Engineer, Experiment, Western Trader, and a Cayuga boat, with flour.
Departed, Montezuma, passengers, and a Geneva boat with goods.
23. Arrived, Traveller, and Experiment.
Departed, boats Engineer, Newell, and Experiment.
24. Departed, boats Western Trader, and Experiment.
Arrived, Lady of the Lake, with stone, and John Van Ness Yates, with 250 barrels of flour from Seneca Lake.
25. Arrived, Experiment, passengers, Lady of the Lake, stone, Anne Maria, with salt, from Salina.
Departed, Experiment, Anne Maria.
26. Arrived, boat Montezuma, with passengers, his excellency the Governor, and Gen. Van Rensselaer.
27. Arrived, boats Traveller, Clinton and the Western Trader.
28. Arrived Engineer.
Departed, boat Montezuma, with passengers, commencing her regular trips.
29. Departed, the Experiment, passengers, for Montezuma.
30. Lady of the Lake, one scow, with stone.
31. Arrived, two Cayuga boats with flour.
Departed, Engineer, passengers.
June 1. Two boats from the Seneca Lake, do.
2. The Canastota and John Van Ness Yates, do.
Arrived, Montezuma, with passengers.
3. Arrived, one boat from Cayuga Lake, with pork.
4. Departed, one boat for Geneva, and the passage boat Experiment.
5. Departed, the Montezuma, for Seneca river, with passengers.

At Montezuma, I was regaled with most excellent fish of the esox genus; and at Syracuse and Rome, on my way up, I had fine salmon. I shall on a future occasion, speak of the fishes of the west: The fish markets of the cities on the Hudson will be greatly improved by the canal. new species will be ground down in ice in a perfect state of preservation, and the epicures of the south will be treated with new and untried dishes of the highest flavor.

The west is the favorite region of the peach and the plum. And these and other kinds of fruits of the very best quality will be conveyed on the canal. I have seen in various places, a plant of fine appearance, which I am told produces excellent fruit of the size and color of a small orange. It is, if I mistake not, the podophyllum peltatum and is commonly called mandrake, or May apple. This country also contains different species of wild plums of fine quality. The opening of a market for grain will prevent its conversion into ardent spirits - the curse of morals, and the bane of domestic felicity. Whiskey now sells for eighteen cents a gallon. What a temptation to inebriety! a man may now keep constantly drunk, for three or four shillings a week. Nothing but a heavy excise can banish the use of this deleterious poison.

Cattle which are fattened for the market can be transported on the canal with less expense and with more celerity, (and without any diminution of flesh) than by driving.

In one word, new uses and striking advantages will daily present themselves to observation from this great operation. It alleged that the canal will make a good ice road in winter, but I have no faith in this opinion. The use of it for such purpose will be but short. It will be in use for vessels about ten months in a year; and what is not a little extraordinary, it freezes later, and thaws sooner, than natural waters. The philosophy of this fact I will endeavor to develop on some future occasion, but such you may rely on it is the case. When the Onondaga Lake, which lies below the canal, was closed up with ice last spring, the latter was open and navigable. By the continual passage of boats in winter, the canal can be prevented from freezing; and when frozen, a vessel may open its way by placing stampers for breaking ice at its head, as I have seen in the Forth ad Clyde canal, where they are worked by a steam engine that propels a barge.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Little This-a, a Little That-a

© 2007 David Minor / Eagles Byte¬

In 1830, when John Fowler passed Poughkeepsie on the night steamer, the town’s population had topped the 7,000 mark. A future resident was born this year, but in far off Fifeshire, Scotland. This first son, given the good old Scottish name of William Wallace Smith I, will have a brother, named Andrew, in 1836. Their father, James, had emigrated to Quebec in 1831, then entered the U. S. and settle at Poughkeepsie in 1847, going into the restaurant business. When dad buys a formula from an itinerant peddler with the rather apt name of Sly Hawkins, and advertises it for those "afflicted with hoarseness, cough or colds", he decides to “brand” it using William and Andrew. We know the bearded Smith Brothers, erroneously, as “Trade” and “Mark”.

But all that’s in the future. Very little seems to be happening this year in the Hudson River settlements between Newburgh and Albany, so Fowler isn’t missing too much. All along the river Greek Revival buildings are going up – an Episcopal parsonage here (Rhinebeck), a guest house there (Hudson). Many will survive down to our time. The former Dutch valley’s becoming homogenized; it’s this year that even the churches back up in the remote sections of the Catskill mountains stop using bilingual services, dropping the Dutch language.

Actually, remote sections may soon become fewer. It’s this year that a trans-mountain railroad is chartered, intended to connect Canajoharie, over on the Mohawk River, to Catskill, New York. Construction will begin in 1836; by the time work stops five years later its wooden rails topped with strip iron will have wound their way out of Catskill, along Catskill Creek, and reached Cairo, Leeds and Potter’s Hollow - for a grand total of twenty-six and a quarter miles. By this time trains are powered by locomotive (one in this case, aptly named Mountaineer), replacing the horses used during most of its existence. The following year, 1842, the line will be abandoned. Canajoharians will have to find some other way to reach Catskill.

In April (we’re back in 1830 again) the east-bank Town of Redhook changed the name of one of its river villages, Red Hook Landing, to Barrytown. An old tale has it that President Andrew Jackson had a strong dislike for former Kentucky Lieutenant Governor William Taylor Barry and was against the name change. But, maybe we should sic the History Detectives onto this one. Seems Jackson had just named Barry Postmaster General of the United States last year. Old Hickory couldn’t have disliked him that much!

While we’ve been poking around this section of the Hudson, John Fowler’s been waiting in Albany for the light of day so he can get his luggage off the steamboat Chief Justice John Marshall. He should have it by now, so let’s rejoin him.

He’s been pestered again, this time not by bedbugs or mosquitoes. Something probably just as persistent though. He tells us, “ . . . I was visited again and again by the agents of the two lines of western stages, each eloquent on the decided superiority of traveling by that for which he was respectively interested.” Old Line? Or Pioneer Line? Decisions, decisions ! !

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pike Stained Glass

The New Society of the Genesee will meet at 11 a.m. Saturday July 25,
at Pike Studio, 180 St. Paul St.

Since it's Saturday, there is plenty of parking on the street and
handicapped parking next to the building.

We have reservations for 12:15-12:30 at Beale Street Cafe, 693 South Ave.

Please R.S.V.P. by Thursday the 23rd to:
Rose O'Keefe at or 244-4558.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Steamboat - 1820

Submitted by Richard Palmer

Lyons Republican

Friday May 19, 1820

From the American Journal Steam Boat Launch

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 Ithaca" was announced amidst
the firing of cannon, and the loud; long, and hearty cheers of the

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 itself
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 - 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 engines 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.

Monday, July 13, 2009

WESTERN / CENTRAL New York timeline / 1755-1759

Governor William Shirley illegally promotes Captain John Bradstreet to lieutenant-colonel and orders him to organize all boat transport between Schenectady and Lake Ontario.

Apr 14
General Edward Braddock meets in Alexandria, Virginia, with the governors of Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, to plan strategy for attacks on French defenses.

New York and Massachusetts governor William Shirley learns of Braddock's defeat at the portage between the Mohawk River and Wood Creek, while Shirley's supervising troop movement to Fort Oswego.

The British build the sloops Ontario and Oswego at Fort Oswego.

Mar 31
Secretary at War Fox writes to Shirley, relieving him of his command of British forces in America and recalling him to London.

Lieutenant Colonel John Bradstreet's troops move large amounts of supplies to Oswego. The garrison is down to around half-strength from last September.

Aug 2
French and Indians blockade the harbor at Fort Oswego.

Aug 10
Soldiers at Fort Oswego spot the body of a scalped comrade outside the works.

Aug 11
Colonel Mercer orders a small armored schooner to go out on Lake Ontario to scout the area. It quickly spots a large encampment and reports back. This afternoon Indian snipers begin firing at the fort from surrounding trees.

Aug 14
The French and Indians under Montcalm capture Fort Oswego and destroy it.

Before leaving to attack Oswego, Montcalm sends an advance force under Sieur Colon de Villiers to build a observation post at the Stony Creek portage above Black River Bay, off Lake Ontario.

Jul 12
Soldier and New York State land agent Charles Williamson is born to Alexander and Christiana Robertson Williamson in Edenburg, Scotland.

The approximate date that Otetiani, given the same name as a nearby stream (Always Ready), is born at Canoga, near Waterloo; lives along the Genesee River as an adult. ** The Oneida civil chief Scarouady (Half King) dies.

William Smith's The History of the Province of New-York from the First Discovery to the Year M.DCC.XXXII is published.

Jan 22
Banker and promoter Elkanah Watson is born in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Apr 5
Mary Jemison is taken from her parents' frontier farm near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, by a Shawnee Indian raiding party. Her parents are killed; her two brothers escape. She’s taken on a forced march to the Pittsburgh area and given to two Seneca women to take the place of their dead brother.

Daniel Joncaire Sieur de Chabert settles on the south bank of the Buffalo River (Riviere aux Chevaux), site of the future Buffalo. ** Seneca chief Sa-go-ye-wath-a (Red Jacket) is born, probably somewhere in the Finger Lakes.

Apr 21
Sir William Johnson, Baronet, convenes an Indian council at Canajoharie, rallies the Iroquois to attack the French at Fort Niagara. The Seneca, some of them from Ganuskago (Dansville), dependent on the British for ammunition and trade goods, agree to an alliance with them.

Jun 30
Colonel John Prideaux and Sir William Johnson leave Fort Oswego by boat to prepare the invasion of Fort Niagara. Among the party is Mohawk Joseph Brant, Johnson’s brother-in-law.

Jul 1
American, British and Indian forces embark at Oswego under the command of General John Prideaux.

Jul 6
The British under Prideaux and Johnson land four miles from Fort Niagara. ** A hostile party of Indians approaches Fort Niagara. Twelve Canadian volunteers and a small force under French captain Selviert are sent to investigate. They are fired upon and retreat, setting up a defense force outside the fort.

Jul 7
The French in Fort Niagara spot the British forces.

Jul 10
Little Fort Niagara, an outpost, is destroyed by its French troops.

Jul 17
The British begin firing on Fort Niagara.

Jul 20
Prideaux is killed by an explosion; Sir William Johnson assumes command.

Jul 24
The British defeat French relief forces under François de Ligneris outside Fort Niagara, beat off a second party from the fort.

Jul 25
The French, under François Pouchot, surrender Fort Niagara to British and colonial forces.

Daniel Joncaire Sieur de Chabert abandons his settlement at Buffalo Creek. Local lore has it that the French burned their ships near the spot now known as Burnt Ship Creek. ** The British build Fort Brewerton, where the Oneida River enters Oneida Lake.

New York Indian scout and innkeeper Benjamin Patterson is born in the Blue Ridge country, his mother a cousin of Daniel Boone.

© 2009 David Minor / Eagles Byte

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Miscellaneous Maritime Items - 1820, 1822, 1823

Submitted by Richard Palmer

Palmyra Register, Wednesday Nov. 1 1820

(From the Niagara Patriot)

Distressing Shipwrecks
The gale of Wednesday, the 11th inst (Oct.), has proved the most
destructive of lives and property on Lake Erie, of any within our
recollection. A gentleman, from Erie Pa., who arrived in this village
a few days since, has put us in possession of the following
melancholy list of calamities, the effects of this terrible tempest:
The schr. Franklin, captain White, of Erie, of 90 tons, owned by Mr.
Peter S. V. Hamot, of Erie, with a cargo of between three and $4,000
worth of merchandise, belonging to Mr. Hamot, and 300 bbls of salt,
belonging to Mr. Bracket, of Salina, sailed from Erie and arrived at
Grand River - the captain. went on shore, but returned to his vessel
when the gale came on. The schooner now lies sunk in about 5 fathoms
water, some distance from the shore, with the tops of her masts just
above the water, 10 miles below Grand River. The crew are lost -
consisting of Captain White, and a Mr. Norton, pilot, and two others,
all of Erie, Pa. It is thought but little of the cargo can be saved.

The schr. Zephyr, Napier master, from Ashtabula to Sandusky, with a
quantity of goods and salt, was driven on shore near the Pennsylvania
and Ohio line, with the loss of every soul on board - amounting to 10
or 12 persons, the crew and passengers. The body of a female was
found upon the shore of one of the islands, which was the only
discovery that had been then made of the remains of those unfortunate
persons, who had thus suddenly been whelmed in the abyss of
destruction. Hats, bonnets, etc. had floated ashore.

Another small craft is said to be lost, but we have no particulars.

The schooner Elizabeth, of U. C.* is reported to be lost, with most of
her crew, but the report is not confirmed.
The Lake Erie Steam Boat had fortunately just arrived at Detroit, and
made fast to the wharf, as the storm commenced.

* Upper Canada

Lyons Republican (N.Y.)
Friday Sept 21 1821
Marine List
Port of Sodus
Sept. 2d. Sch. Union, Grandy, from Kingston, passengers.
3rd Schr. Richard, Boomer, from Cape Vincent, Passengers
5th Schr. Farmer's Daughter, Ingle do. From Genesee River; Schr.
Wilson, Patterson from Cape Vincent, ballast; Schr. Commodore Perry,
Davis from Ogdensburgh, ballast; schr. Wolcott, Rounds, from
Sackettís Harbor ballast.
9th Schr. Appelona, Cogswell, from Cape Vincent, ballast; schr Java,
Cushman from Ogdensburgh ballast.
11th Schr. Teazer, Pond, from Ogdensburgh, passengers; schr Richard,
Boomer from Cape Vincent. Passengers.

Aug 29 Schr. Union, Grandy for Kingston, pork.
Sept. 6. Schr Richard, Boomer, for Cape Vincent, passengers; schr
Farmer's Daughter, Ingle do; for Oswego, ballast; schr Wilson,
Patterson for 13 Mile Creek, ballast schr. Commodore Perry, Davis for
Genesee River, ballast; schr Wolcott, Rounds for Niagara ballast.

Sept. 10 Schr. Appelona, Cogswell for Genesee River ballast, schr Java,
Cushman, for Genesee River, ballast.
13 Schr. Teazer, Pond for Cape Vincent, staves and passengers; schr
Richard, Boomer, for Sackettís Harbor, with fruit and passengers.

Geneva Gazette, Wed Aug. 28,1822
Buffalo Aug 20

The Steam-Boat Superior, Capt. Rogers, returned to our harbor on
Saturday last in distress, having broken one of the pinion wheels of
her engine, while contending against a severe head wind on Wednesday
night preceding . As she left this port the day before, she had
reached no farther than Black River, where the accident happened.
Capt. R. On his return put into Cleaveland, where he chartered a
vessel to carry his passengers to Detroit; after which he made the
best of his way to this port by means of the boats sails. Capt. R.,
left this place for New York, day before yesterday, to procure a new
wheel, and will probably be ready to take the Lake again in about two
weeks. - Journal.

Geneva Gazette, Nov.20 ,1822
We learn that a boat which left Sackettís Harbor on Thursday the
31st. Ult., bound for this port with a cargo of whiskey, ashes and
other property was lost in a gale near Grenadier Island, and every
man on board supposed to have been drowned, as there had been nothing
heard of them since the accident: the names of the captain and crew
we have not learned.- A few casks of the whiskey had been picked up
afloat, but it was said a small part of the cargo only would be
saved. The boat and cargo was the property of Mrs Jesse Smith of
Sackettís Harbor.- Ogdensburg Gaz.

Monday, July 6, 2009

End of His Line

© 2007 David Minor / Eagles Byte¬

Once again, as August 11th, 1830, draws to a close, our English visitor John Fowler has done battle with the bugs. And, once again, gone down in ignominious defeat. Gone out, actually, to a shed adjacent to his hosts’ house. He calls it a “sorry sort of retreat, since, though I have cleared the bugs, I have been pounced upon by a fine corps of mosquetos – light infantry to the others, to be sure . . . thirsting for my blood . . . either are bad enough, but united they oppose one of the most formidable barriers to a peaceable existence in the country I have yet met with.” He has one more visitor shortly before dawn. “A pig has just arisen from his berth and paid me a visit – the most agreeable living thing I have seen for hours.”

The next morning he takes a ride around the area, concluding that it turns out a fair amount of product for the downstate market – including iron ore, marble, lime, sandstone and cider, considering the lack of great farming land, “but for an English farmer I should consider it any thing but desirable.”

Since his friend plans on staying here a while; Fowler heads back for Newburgh aboard a horse-drawn mail coach, which seats nine inside and one outside next to the driver. The vehicle travels at an estimated rate between three and six miles an hour and food service consists entirely of dust. He’s a bit surprised to find that Americans drive on the right side of the road instead of the left. They reach the Hudson steamboat landing around nine in the evening, and he decides to stay overnight, putting up at the Mansion House and catch a morning boat for Albany. He’s shown to his room which seems to be neat and clean. He’s assured there will be no bugs. And it could be they’ve got a bridge for sale in Brooklyn.

He’s good and ready to depart by the time morning rolls around. He takes a dip in the river to help disperse the memory of his crawly nighttime bedmates and declares fervently, “England, with all thy faults I love thee still.”

The morning upriver steamboat Chief Justice John Marshall was to have arrived at noon, but, having encountered mechanical difficulties, doesn’t arrive until five in the afternoon. It’s a smaller boat than the Albany, that brought him this far and, with about 250 passengers aboard, is a bit crowded. It’s a peaceful ride in the evening moonlight and the vessel arrives at the Albany dock shortly after 1 AM. He’s not able to retrieve his luggage for another three hours, when the sun will begin coming up over the hills above Troy, across the river. Too much luggage gets stolen, he’s told, if the transfer’s attempted during the hours of darkness.

He mentions having passed Milton, Poughkeepsie, Hyde Park Landing, Catskill, and Hudson in the darkness. Before these had been Kingston, which he does not mention. If it had been light he might have seen a small, unassuming shanty on the banks of Rondout Creek. Beside the structure, sometime this year, a new grave receives the remains of an elderly Indian. His ancestors had lived in the Mid-Hudson Valley before the arrival of the Dutch. According to local reports of the time, he was the last of his people – the Esopus.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Submitted by Richard Palmer

Mary Simpson Smart, a lady of 92, (2009) living in the cobblestone
house in Pilgrimport, states:

"The hamlet at the first crossroads east of Lyons, where
the eastern branch of Pilgrimport Road becomes Lock Berlin Road, was
never big enough to serve as a destination for immigrants, although
it once contained a dozen buildings. The name is derived from a
religious sect called the Pilgrims, who met at this crossroads for
Sunday services -- as well as at other sites, such as Pilgrim's
Landing in Palmyra.

" Interestingly, it seems that Bishop's Road, leading up to the
big white Bishop farmhouse, once crossed this earliest Erie Canal
over a bridge which was hump-backed, to allow boats to pass beneath it."

Also, she said:

" Many owners of wetlands cut willow withes annually, for
enterprising individual basket makers who sold their work from their
farmhouses. I remember going with my mother to buy baskets at such a
home in South Sodus -- and of course Peter Durer and his wife had a
willow camp just east of Lyons where he brought workers from
Liverpool each year to live for a few weeks in the dead of winter
cutting and steaming the bark from the surrounding swamp. "