Wednesday, February 3, 2010

CENTRAL / WESTERN NEW YORK timeline / 1791

Jan 27
Dr. Asa Fitch, father of future scientist Asa Fitch, marries Abigail Martin at Martinsburg.

Early in the month English promoter Patrick Colquhoun begins conferring with capitalist William Johnstone Pulteney, MP, in London over real estate opportunities in the Genesee region of New York State. Pulteney also confers with William T. Franklin, grandson of Benjamin Franklin and a Federalist sales agent for New York lands.

Feb 15
Pulteney, former governor of Bombay William Hornby, and Colquhoun meet, authorize the latter to enter into an agreement with William Franklin for the purchase of land in New York State.

Mar 4
Former commissioner of Revolutionary War claims Aaron Burr is sworn in as a Democratic U. S. Senator from New York.

Mar 17
Colonel William S. Smith, U. S. Secretary to John Adams’ legation, brokers a deal with Pulteney and Hornby to purchase 1,000,000 acres of New York lands from Robert Morris, at 26¢ an acre.

Apr 5
The Genesee (Geneseo) District of Ontario County holds its first town meeting, at Canawaugus (between Avon and Caledonia)

Apr 9
The first session of the courts for Geneseo District is held at Canawaugus.

Apr 26
The Association formed by Pulteney, Hornby, and Colquhoun meets in London and chooses Scottish officer Captain Charles Williamson as its agent in the U. S.

May 3
William Wickham and his family, having left Tioga Point (Athens) and proceeded to the Finger Lakes by way of boat, foot and canoe, arrive in Hector to become the first permanent settlers. They quickly build the first house in Hector.

May 5
Williamson writes to his father, Alexander, back in Scotland to tell him of his new position.

May 11
Massachusetts officially transfers 1,185,570 acres of its Hartford Convention lands to
the following tracts – Morris Reserve, Triangular Tract, Connecticut Tract, Cragie Tract,
Ogden Tract, Cottinger Tract, 40,000-acre Tract, Sterrit Tract, Church Tract, Morris
Honorary Creditors’ Tract, and the Holland Company Purchase – which includes lands in Allegany, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Orleans, and Wyoming counties.

May 27
Williamson meets with his new employers to announce he’s made a deal to sell 300,000 acres of New York State land to Archibald Boyd of Maryland, pending their approval. They authorize the sale, for close to £75,000.

May 29
Williamson receives his formal authorization from the Associates.

May 30
The Pulteney Associates meet. Williamson announces the closing of the Boyd deal. Colquhoun announces that William Franklin is demanding more money for their New York acreage and that he and his employer Robert Morris also want to liquidate their holdings in the Association. Williamson is given his instructions, containing few restrictions.

Colonel Timothy Pickering and Canandaigua lawyer Thomas Morris spend most of the next two months negotiating with Indian chief Cornplanter and local tribes at Newtown (Elmira).

Jun 26

Rochester ransportation pioneer and road builder Gideon Cobb is born in Pawlet, Vermont.

Jul 1
The bark Robinson arrives at Annan, Solway Firth, Scotland, to receive Charles Williamson, his family and their goods, for passage to New York.

Jul 4
The new Bank of the United States opens its subscription books, sells all stock within two hours. Among the purchasers are Colonel Smith, backed by the Pulteney interests.

Jul 8
Charles Williamson and his family board the Robinson for America and wait for favorable wind conditions.

Jul 12
With winds strengthening, the Robinson sets sail.

Jul 21
Colquhoun arranges with the German Baron Frederick de Damar (Diemar) to act as a land agent for the Pulteney Associates and the two men employ another German, William Berczy, to sell New York State lands in Germany and recruit German immigrants.

Jul 22
De Damar sails for Hamburg to have the recruiting materials published.

The Pulteney Associates meet, appoint Donald Stewart to recruit Highland Scots emigrants.

Aug 4
The Robinson, delayed in Solway Firth by heavy weather, attempts to depart, soon springs a leak.

Aug 7
The leak aboard the Robinson forces a layover at the Isle of Man.

Stephen Bayard, General Philip Van Cortlandt, Jeremiah Van Rensselaer, and Elkanah Watson travel out of Albany to the Finger Lakes and from Cayuga Lake to Geneva along New York’s Seneca River.

Sep 7
Colquhoun signs an agreement with Berczy.

Sep 8
The Pulteney Associates meet for the final time, approve the agreement with Berczy.

Sep 20
Lebanon, Connecticut, native Timothy Allyn arrives in western New York, purchases 156 acres in the future Penfield from Jonathan Fassett for 31 pounds (around $80). He also buys an additional 350 acres in Brighton. He will erect a cabin on a creek that takes his name.

Nov 9
The Robinson having run into violent seas near the Virginia Capes, Williamson opts to land at Norfolk, rather than submit his family to any further dangerous weather by heading for its original destination, Philadelphia. They move up to Baltimore by year’s end.

Berczy translates his recruiting pamphlets into German and publishes them. ** Canal promoter Elkanah Watson, backed by Philip Schuyler and writing as "A CITIZEN", reports to the New York state legislature that a canal could be built across the state utilizing natural waterways.

Dec 8
John H. Jones, trader and brother of Indian captive Horatio Jones, leaves settler Gilbert Berry’s inn and ferry at Canawaugus, travels down the Genesee by canoe for about four miles before being forced off the river by ice. He spends the night at the Samuel Shaffer cabin in Brighton.

Dec 9
Jones travels on to Rochester’s rapids, on the Genesee.

Dec 10
Jones arrives at the falls of the Genesee to discover that Ebenezer “Indian”Allan is no longer the proprietor of the mill there, having turned it over to his brother-in-law and partner Christopher Dugan.

Dec 11
Jones moves on up to Lake Ontario, trades with Indians there for otter, mink and muskrat pelts, in exchange for a blanket and some calico.

Dec 26
Berczy hires Johann Leopold Hohenhausen to recruit 50 colonists to go to New York.

Financier Robert Morris buys the Phelps and Gorham's land west of the Genesee River back from Massachusetts, acquiring 4,000,000 acres for $333,333.33. ** Zebulon Norton and Enos Boughton build a mill at a rapids on the Genesee. The site called Norton’s Mills, later becomes West Mendon, then Honeoye Falls. ** Connewango pioneer Jotham Metcalf is born in New Hampshire. ** Colonel Eleazer Lindley of a small settlement on the Tioga River, near the Pennsylvania border, is elected to the state legislature as representative from the sparsely settled (population 1,075) Ontario County. Although new counties have no official representation, he is accepted to serve. Land he purchased from Phelps and Gorham becomes the Steuben County town of Lindley. ** Joseph Chaplin begins building a public road from Oxford, on the Chenango River, to Ithaca. ** John Hornby buys land from Phelps and Gorham that will become the village of Savona. ** Ephraim Sanford buys 600 acres in the Steuben County town of Wayne. ** All state land west of Utica is made part of the western senate district. ** Andrew Ellicott and Connecticut surveyor Augustus Porter begin surveying the borders of Phelps and Gorham lands. ** The Cayuga tribe, having negotiated with Pickering, agree to lease most of their reservation to John Richardson for a $500 annual rent. Earlier land sales are reaffirmed and a friendship treaty made. U. S. Secretary of War Henry Knox criticizes the arrangement. The last of the Senecas in the Bog Flats region move out. ** William Hincher and his son, of Big Flats, build a cabin at the future site of Charlotte, on Lake Ontario, the first house between Fort Niagara and the Genesee River. ** The Phelps-Gorham land company's annual payments of $500 to the Seneca Indians begins, continues on through 1805, after which the record is unclear. ** Pompey's Trueworthy Cook, Salina's Jeremiah Gould, and Geneseo's James Wadsworth are elected pathmasters, in charge of wilderness trails through Northampton County, at the third annual town meeting in Whitestown. Wadsworth is allowed to practice law by Ontario County judge Oliver Pelps. ** The approximate date Richard Hooker settles Cohocton. ** "A map of the Genesee Tract, in the County of Ontario & State of New York" is published in London. The Phelps and Gorham townships and the state's forts are portrayed. ** The Genesee/Finger Lakes region has approximately 1,000 residents. ** Israel and Simon Stone settle Pittsford, sow wheat, and are joined by five former New England neighbors. Among them are Caleb Hopkins, Jonathan Fassett, Jr., and Jacobus Mabee from Vermont. Hopkins, being from Pittsford, Vermont, will give the new settlement its name. Fassett settles on his Phelps & Gorham purchase in the future Penfield. Hopkins builds a cabin above the falls of Irondequoit Creek and will build a saw mill there. ** The U. S. government establishes weekly mail service between Whitestown and Canandaigua. ** Teenaged Stephen Lusk, settled last year in Irondequoit with his family, is attacked in the Spring by a bear as he canoes in Irondequoit Creek, manages to drown it. His already disenchanted mother, upset by the incident, demands that her husband John take her back to Massachusetts, where they will remain. Stephen stays in western New York.

The Society for the Promotion of Agriculture, Arts and Manufactures is established at the Albany Academy. ** The Albany Institute of History and Art is founded.

Canandaigua Township is created. ** The Canandaigua Academy, the first educational institution in western New York, is founded.

The approximate date Christopher Dugan and family arrive at Ebenezer Allan’s mills. Allan goes back to Mt. Morris, leaving Dugan in charge. The mills will soon fall apart.

© 2010 David Minor / Eagles Byte

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