Friday, August 21, 2009

WESTERN / CENTRAL New York timeline / 1770-1774

Delaware Indians bring Onondaga salt to the father of Judge Bowker of Cayuga at Papeconck (now Colchester). ** Olcott settler James Van Horn is born in New Jersey.

The Seneca Indian Otetiani (later known as Red Jacket) tells a tribal council he dreamt three times he was a sachem. Tribal elders hesitate to make him one. ** The approximate date Robert Morris gains the Holland Land Purchase.

Otetiani again tells a council he dreamt three times he was a sachem. The elders still will not proclaim him one.

Aug 14
New York State lawyer, politician, soldier and U. S. Secretary of War Peter Buell Porter is born in Litchfield, Connecticut.

Oct 10
Rochester grocer William Carter is born in Killingworth, Connecticut.

Dec 1
Rochester pioneer Hamlet Scrantom is born in Durham, Connecticut.

The family of Syracuse pioneer Ephraim Webster moves into the colony from New Hampshire. ** Otetiani tells the Iroquois tribal council for the third year in a row that he must be made a sachem, adding that tragedy will ensue if he's refused. Nothing is done.

North Carolina
Nathaniel Rochester goes into business with his employer James Monroe of Hillsborough and Colonel John Hamilton. The partnership will break up with the outbreak of the Revolution.

Smallpox begins breaking out among the tribes of the Iroquois League.

Mar 12
Otetiani tells the elders that a recent smallpox outbreak is the Great Spirit’s punishment for their not proclaiming him a sachem. He is made one and given the name Sagoyewatha (He-Keeps-Them-Awake).

Oct 13
The Iroquois tribes hold a council at Onondaga. Joseph Brant (Thayendenegea), official representative of Colonel Guy Johnson, the late Sir William's son-in-law and successor, urges the Nation to ally itself with the British. Red Jacket, distrusting Brant’s connection with whites, urges neutrality. No decision is reached.

© 2009 David Minor / Eagles Byte

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Custom Brew Crafters / New Society

On Saturday, August 29 at 11:00 a.m. the New Society of the Genesee will meet in Honeoye Falls. We will be touring the new facility (2008) of Custom Brew Crafters. CBC makes beer for many area pubs and fine restaurants.

After the tour we will head to the Brewery Restaurant at the four corners in the beautiful village of Honeoye Falls for lunch in a private room overlooking the falls. We have arranged for an historical talk after lunch by Skeeter McDaniels, who has just published a book entitled Brewed in Rochester: A Photographic History of Beer in Rochester, New York, 1885-1975.

It should be an informative and fun time. Hope to see you there!

--Gerry Muhl

To find Custom Brew Crafters, head south on Route 65 (Clover Street) from Rochester. Pass through the traffic signal in Honeoye Falls village and drive approximately one quarter of a mile south to Village Square Boulevard (just past the Rite Aid). You will see what looks like a very large barn with a bright red roof. For more information on CBC go to The tour is free or $3 if you want six glasses of beer. Please contact Martha Johnstone by August 25 at or at (585) 473-0404 to let us know if you are coming.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


I just had notification of a comment received. Being still a bit shaky on blogging procedure I somehow seem to have deleted the comment. If you were the one sending it, please, could you repeat it to me at my e-mail address; I'd like to hear from you. Thanks.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Hibernicus - Letter VII

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)

Geneva, June, 1820.

My Dear Sir,

Just before you arrive at Syracuse, 61 miles from Utica, you meet with the two first locks on the canal. Here are three which let you down into the Salina Plain. These locks are made of lime and sand stone. Both abound with marine exuviae and organic remains. I never saw more substantial erections. The water cement made use of is derived from a mixture of sand and a meager lime stone found all over this country, and is said to be superior to any hydraulic mortar ever used. I had at Utica an account of this discovery from a Dr. Bartow, one of the agents of the Canal Board, a gentleman, who possesses a great fund of information, which he was by no mean parsimonious in imparting. I spent thee hours very pleasantly with the Doctor at the great Utica Hotel. He informs me that on a chemical analysis, it is proved that the component parts are not the same with the Septarium Lias or Aberthlaw lime of Great Britain - that he and Mr. White, one of the Canal engineers, had originated and matured the discovery and that it had been successfully tried in cisterns as well as locks, and found to unite stones as firmly and solidly as if they had been originally joined by the hand of nature.

The Doctor states the constituents to be as follows: to wit.
35 parts carbonic acid, 25 lime, 15 silex, 16 alumine, (. 33) 2 water, 1 oxide of iron.

After the process of calcination, it is to be ground, and then mixed with an equal weight of clean sand, which will be twice as bulky as the lime, and it must be mixed with clear water, as little as possible.

I am told that a great limestone ridge runs through the whole of this country, east and west - that north of it a ledge of gypsum commences; also a range of salines - and that on the borders of the gypsum and salt regions, there is a tier of limestone alternating with sandstone, and full of organic remains; adjacent to which the water lime is found - and that this valuable fossil is in great abundance over a line of country of at least 100 miles extent. The most eastern salt spring as yet discovered is about 25 miles west of Utica; at the same distance gypsum commences. This affinity between salt and gypsum exists all over the world. I find the geology of this country most extraordiniry; it is sui generis.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

A Little This-a, a Little That-a

© 2007 David Minor / Eagles Byte¬

We’re going to leave our 1830 English traveler John Fowler as he goes off to visit friends in New Hartford, New York, for a few days while we stay behind in Utica for a quick look around, before he returns to continue his westward journey.

He leaves Bagg’s Hotel at 5 AM by coach. It’s here at the inn, by the way, that locals gathered back in 1798 to plan the incorporation of Utica as a village. It’s been a popular gathering place ever since. Even this year Mrs. Sophia Bagg, wife of the owner has been hosting a sewing circle. They are in the process of setting up a local orphan asylum. Thirty years from now, eventually working with a $2,000 annual budget, they will have cared for 730 orphans

Currently – 1830 that is - two years before its incorporation as a city, Utica’s population stands at 12,782, a 334% increase in the past ten years, thanks largely to the canal that travels through the flats down at the bottom of the hill just north of town. Fowler, as he passes through the city several times, mentions that the “village is regularly laid out, the streets of a good width and mostly paved. Genesee-street, in particular, is peculiarly pleasant, and for the most part adorned with elegant stores and dwellings.”

The charitably-inclined ladies of Mrs. Bragg’s sewing circle have fertile ground to work with in this town; Fowler mentions, “numerous literary, benevolent, and religious institutions . . .”. As well as the nine established churches a reformed Protestant Dutch church has just been organized this year, and Universalist Dolphus Skinner has recently begun editing the Evangelical Magazine and Gospel Advocate. An attempt to raise a new crop of minister is going on at the nearby Oneida Institute of Science and Industry where students earn their keep by spending three to four hours a day laboring on the attached 114-acre farm. The town also has a classical academy (our day’s high school), a library and a lyceum.

Commerce is not ignored either. For one thing, it’s almost impossible to look into most newspapers around this part of the state without coming across an advertisement for the D. James Shoe Manufactury. J. Ackley of Ithaca promotes the Shoemaker’s Lasts just received from Utica, “consisting of Round and Square toe, R. and L. Lasts, do [ditto]. do. Straight do., Boot Trees &c. Also, a few dozen Goat Skin Morocco for sale very cheap.” About this same time William Whitely is busy (we hope) manufacturing flutes.

Besides a variety of industries and the usual businesses, the town’s central location in the Mohawk Valley is making it a convenient location for state-wide get-togethers. While Fowler’s off visiting friends nearby, a week-long meeting of over a hundred Methodist ministers confer here with Bishop Elijah Hedding, as reported by the Little Falls Gazette. Two main pronouncements come out of the session. One to promote temperance societies; the other to curb the growing financial excesses of funerals, “ . . . to discourage, as far as may be the practice of dressing in black, and other unnecessary expenses of mourning apparel.”

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Hibernicus - Letter VI

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)

My Dear Sir,

Before leaving London I bought "An account of the Great Western Canal of New York, with an illustrative map," which was reprinted at that great literary mart, and when I arrived here, the great outlines of the country and of the canal were familiar to my mind. Actual inspection has exceeded the most sanguine anticipation. Sometimes I think that I am in the region of enchantment, and that the magical operations of eastern fiction are acted over again in this country. Two canals of 124 miles, uniting to a certain extent the great fresh water seas of the interior, with the ocean; and all this done without noise, and as it were without effort, in less than two years and a half, must shut the mouth of scepticism, and excite universal astonishment. The more I examine into this subject the more important consequences do I observe. The men who are the premum mobile of this scheme, appear to understand the genuine sources of national wealth, and the orthodox principles of political economy. Internal trade is the great substratum of riches. It excites all kinds of industry, sharpens the faculties, and multiplies the exertions of man; and inland navigation is the lever of Archimedes, which will set in motion this world of occupation and exertion.

Both sides of the canal are in fence. This is necessary in order to protect the bank from cattle, and the farms from depredations. I was shewn at Whitesborough, a fence, the materials of which were conveyed from Canasaraga last fall, on the canal. Twenty-two hundred cedar rails were transported with one horse, two men and a boy, and it took in going and returning, three days, at $3 per day; in the aggregate, $9; while by land it would have employed 40 wagons two days, which at $2 per day, would have cost $160.

I am of opinion that the salt of Salina can be sold at Albany, when the canal is finished, for 31 cents a bushel, and the expense will not exceed six cents. The principal cost now is the barrel, but when conveyed in bulk, this of course will be done away. I saw a salt boat building near Syracuse, which was intended to convey 1600 bushels in bulk.

In like manner gypsum can be got at Utica for $2 a ton, and delivered at Albany for $1 1/2 or $2 more. This source of fertilization will be diffused through this channel over the whole state. I have much to say on this subject, and am now considering whether it will be best to prepare it by calcination or grinding before transportation, or transport the raw material. Suppose that 100,000 farmers should each save twenty dollars a year in gypsum, and ten dollars in salt, by means of the canal, here would be an annual saving of three million dollars, a sum more than sufficient in two years to make the whole canal. And this is a very moderate calculation. Salt is essential to the health of cattle, and the consumption of this for that purpose, for the table, and for preserving fish and meats, is immense.

Gypsum rises every year in public estimation, and I am told that during the late war, the farmers of Saratoga and Dutchess counties would go to the gypsum beds of Madison and Onondaga counties for a supply, a distance of 150 or 200 miles. To shut out the foreign supply of gypsum and salt, would be a great saving to the public in every sense of the word: and this will be most effectually accomplished.

A horse can easily draw 25 tons on a canal. This would take at least 20 teams for land transportation. The conveyance of commodities by water will supersede the use of an animal for draught, which is the most voracious and wasteful of the graminivorous class of brutes. Two beneficial consequences will result, and in a most extensive manner. 1st. The diminished demand of horses for domestic accommodation, will enable exportation to foreign markets; and 2d. Their place will be supplied by neat cattle, sheep, swine, and poultry, which will be increased in proportion to the augmented stores of grain and grass for their benefit. It has long been anxiously desired by good agriculturalists to substitute the ox for the horse in farming, and though this has partially succeeded in the eastern states, yet the horse is almost exclusively used for the conveyance of commodities a distance.

Every diminution of expense in transportation, will add so much to the profits of the farmer and manufacturer. Hence manufacturers will be enabled to sell their fabrics at a low price, and to this canal I look for resurrection and form establishment of the manufacturing of the State.