Wednesday, February 17, 2010

CENTRAL / WESTERN NEW YORK timeline / 1792


Toward the end of the month Charles Cameron and John Johnstone, working for Charles Williamson, take a wagon train out of Baltimore, headed for Carlisle, Pennsylvania, preparatory to moving on into central New York.

Jan 9

Newly-arrived Scottish land agent Charles Williamson is sworn in as a U. S. citizen, in Philadelphia.


Williamson meets with Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton in Philadelphia. He travels to the Genesee Valley via Albany to visit Kanadesega (Geneva).


Ebenezer “Indian” Allan sells his mill site on the Genesee River to Benjamin Barton Sr. of New Jersey for £500 ($1,250), in New York currency. Barton almost immediately resells the property to Robert Morris agent Samuel Ogden. Ogden will soon sell it to Charles Williams, agent for Williamson. Allan works with the Seneca to build a sawmill at the outlet of Silver Lake. This will produce the first boards in the Upper Genesee Valley west of the Genesee River.

Mar 14

New York State authorizes a loan of $500,000, to be apportioned amongst it's twenty counties.


Williamson visits Philadelphia, calling on Robert Morris, John Adams’ son-in-law William S. Smith and British minister George Hammond. He finds the business outlook depressed. Nevertheless he begins planning a series of innovations and improvements concerning markets, harbors, roads and the mails. He recommends centers at Bath, Williamsburgh and Geneva. ** General Israel Chapin is appointed Deputy Superintendent of the Six Nation Indians. ** Most of Berczy's German recruits switch to a new contract whereby they will sharecrop their new lands for a period of six with years with an option to buy at preferential rates afterwards. A few chose to continue under the old indentured servants contract

Apr 10

The Chemung County, New York, Town of New Town is formed from the town of Chemung.

Apr 11

Williamson officially takes title to the 1,000,000 acres purchased by the Pulteney Associates.

May 2

William Berczy and his New York settlers sail from Altona, Germany, in his brig Frau Catharina.

May 8

The Frau Catharina reaches the open Atlantic.

May 26

Prussian ambassador Ernst August Anton von Goechhausen (G├Áchhausen) alerts authorities in Hamburg and Altona of Berczy's plans to recruit thousands of settlers for the New World.


Lieutenant Governor Simcoe draws up a memorandum to guide negotiations over an Indian boundary line, suggesting Canada allow the retention of the Genesee territory by the U. S. (with no trading posts allowed) in return for a large area south of Detroit for Canada. The rest of the land south of lakes Ontario and Erie would be an Indian buffer zone, with no whites permitted. ** Charles Williamson and his family arrive in Baltimore. Williamson returns to the area on the Genesee near Big Tree (Geneseo). ** The mortgage for Benjamin Barton’s mill site at the upper falls of the Genesee is registered with Ontario County clerk Nathaniel Gorham, in Canandaigua, with payment to be made on or before July 1st of next year.

Jul 17

The Frau Catharina arrives off Newport, Rhode Island.

Jul 22

The Frau Catharina arrives in Philadelphia.


Charles Williamson contracts Genesee Fever while en route to Albany from Williamsburgh. He’s taken in by the John Dolson family of Mud Creek.

Aug 3

Berczy and the Frau Catharina passengers disembark at Philadelphia.


Williamson begins laying out a one-thousand acre farm on the Genesee, naming the site Williamsburgh, after Sir William Pulteney. ** Benjamin Patterson gathers seventy German families at Lycoming Creek, Pennsylvania, to begin work on Williamson’s roads.


Williamson works on Williamsburgh’s defenses. He travels to Pennsylvania, finds Berczy's Germans have only built five miles of road. ** New York Indians ask Canadian lieutenant governor John Graves Simcoe to mediate between them and the U. S. government.

Oct 10

Berczy's ship Heinrich and George arrives in New York, carrying the rest of his peasants but, unknown to him, some of Quaker Prophetess Jemima Wilkinson's followers as well.


This month and next Benjamin Ellicott leads James Armstrong, Augustus Porter, and Frederick Saxton in a resurvey of 1788's Pre-emption line, making adjustments to disputed boundaries.


Berczy conjoins his two groups. Patterson brings them to Painted Post for the winter, and takes thirty of them on to Williamsburgh. One hundred remain behind until spring.

Dec 15

Mrs. Marian Gorham Smith, wife of Seneca Falls settler Job Smith, dies in childbirth.

Dec 24

Robert Morris contracts with Holland Land Company agent Theophile Cazenove for 1,500,000 acres of land west of the Genesee for the same price the Pulteney Associates had paid for 1,000,000 acres.


Robert Morris travels to Europe, meets with the principals of the Holland Land Company. He will sell most of his land in the state east of the Genesee River, to William Pulteney and his associates, for 75,000 pounds. ** The town of Chili is settled. ** Cortland is founded. ** Oliver Phelps opens a land office complex at Canandaigua. ** Connecticut-born surveyor Judah Colt comes down with Genesee Fever. ** Joseph Morgan settles at what will become the eastern part of the Monroe County town of Chili and, along with William Hencher, Henrietta. ** George Clinton defeats John Jay to become governor. 585 Cooperstown residents vote for Jay. Judge William Cooper feels that there would have been many more but that a number of people were off looking for a child lost in the woods near the Burlington neighborhood. Irregularities in voting are used as an excuse to discount the votes from Otsego, Clinton and Tioga counties. The Board of Canvassers reject all protests. ** A group of French settlers move into the future site of Chenango County's village of Greene. Most move on when their title to the land is later invalidated. ** Mohawk chief Joseph Brant and Seneca chief Farmer's Brother visit the western tribes, obtain their approval for negotiations with the U. S. government next spring in Ohio's Sandusky area. ** A resurvey of the Pre-Emption lines reveals an error, creating a gore or triangular plot, about a third of today’s Chemung County. It also moves Geneva and Dundee out of Massachusetts land into New York. ** Joseph Wilson settles the Onondaga County village of Baldwinsville. ** PennYan physician Andrew Oliver is born in Vermont. ** The book Maude’s Travels describes John Maude’s journey through the Finger Lakes and Genesee River country. ** Robert Morris, his agent Samuel Ogden, Benjamin Barton, and others buy the township between the Genesee River and Irondequoit Bay, to establish a town at the head of the Bay, and a city, to be named Athens, on the east bank of the Genesee at the lower falls. Barton buys the One-Hundred-Acre tract on the Genesee, soon transfers it to Ogden. ** Peter Sheffers and his sons cut a road in Henrietta from Stoney (Allen's) Creek to the falls, the future West Henrietta Road. Spring flooding will wash away the house of Timothy Allyn/Allen. Discouraged, he sells part of his land to new arrivals John and Solomon Hatch, moves to Geneva, New York. ** Two families are residing on the trail between Geneva to Canandaigua, four families between Canandaigua and Avon. ** This year and next Massachusetts officially transfers 3,600,000 acres of its Hartford Convention lands to the Boston Ten Town tracts - in Broome and Tioga counties - to settlers. ** Nathaniel W. Howell, after conducting an academy in Montgomery, leaves to study law. ** Eighteen-year-old Steven Lusk opens a tannery, distillery and shoemaking business in Irondequoit. ** D. Ingraham travels from Boston to Albany, then proceeds to set out across New York to Niagara, via Schenectady, Whitestown, Clinton, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Geneva, the Jemima Wilkinson settlement, Canandaigua, the Genesee River, and ending up at Fort Niagara, then crossing over to visit the planned future site of the British fort.


James Wadsworth purchases a 27,000-acre parcel of land here from his cousin Jeremiah, begins speculating himself. Daniel Haynes buys a farm from James. ** The Reverend Samuel Kirkland convenes a council at Geneseo with the Indians, promising the aid of the U. S. in helping them adjust to white civilization. He organizes a delegation of chiefs to visit Philadelphia. One, Oneida chief Good Peter, has his portrait painted by John Trumbull, while there.


The Western Inland Lock Navigation Company is formed by General Philip Schuyler and merchant Elkanah Watson, to build a three-mile Little Falls canal and another linking the Mohawk River with Wood Creek. Financier Robert Morris is brought on board.


Irish-born New York pioneer landowner Colonel Arthur Erwin is shot by a squatter over a land and crop dispute while visiting in Luzerne County. The town of Erwin, New York, which he owned but never saw, is named for him.


The Dutch investment house of P. & C. van Eeghen, Schimmelpennick, Stadnitski, Van Staphorst, Vollenhoven, W. & J. Willink join together to form the Holland Land Company. Their U. S. agent Theophile Cazenove begins buying up land in western New York.

Charles Williamson

John Johnstone builds a barn at Williamsburgh and moves Charles Williamson’s house nearby, the two buildings to be known as the Hermitage Farm. Nathaniel Fowler builds the Starr Tavern in the new village. Total cost of the tavern - $275. The trail up from Pennsylvania is widened. ** He is given a tour by Colonel Arthur Erwin, out of Savona, to Bath, Keuka Lake and to the site of Dansville. ** He begins promoting a U. S. - Canada postal system.

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