New York City / State Timeline
from Eagles Byte by David Minor
Year-by-year tracing the growth of the early days of the Republic
SHIPPING NEWS, THE COLD FRONT, AND SOCIETY DOINGS
1805 is a busy year in Europe, as Napoleon crowns himself king in Italy, loses his fleet to Nelson at Trafalgar five months later, then defeats the Austrians and Russians at Austerlitz at the end of the year. Back in the U. S. things are a bit quieter as President Thomas Jefferson begins his second term. His Corps of Discovery under Lewis and Clark reaches the Pacific Ocean. Michigan Territory is carved out of Indiana Territory, Daniel Webster begins practicing law in New Hampshire and Timothy Palmer builds the first covered bridge, across the Schuylkill River.
Here in New York the Federal government begins taking control of Great Lakes international trade. Ignoring last year's report from its own surveyor general, they declare Buffalo, rather than Black Rock, as an official Lake Erie port of entry. And, on Lake Ontario, at the mouth of the Genesee River, a customs agent is appointed for Charlotte. The state moves on with its own business. Oneida County gives birth to fraternal twins, Jefferson and Lewis counties.
Land sales continue briskly. 300 lots are sold in the Holland Land Purchase at the western end of the state. At the Falls of the Genesee River, Charles Carrol, William Fitzhugh and Nathaniel Rochester buy up Ebenezer Allan's One Hundred Acre Tract, and William Cole establishes a ferry. Between the Hundred Acres and the Holland lands, the Phelps and Gorham Tract begins filling up with immigrants from the Scottish highlands and a Presbyterian Kirk is established at Caledonia. Genesee developer James Wadsworth lays out a nearby town to be known as Churchville, elsewhere in the state communities are begun at Tonawanda, in the west, and Kingston along the Hudson. Up north in Antwerp an industry gets under way as entrepreneurs begin turning local rock into millstones. A hundred pairs will be produced between now and 1828.
Down at the mouth of the Hudson, John Lovett opens the City Hotel, on Broadway. And an off-Broadway star is born when Mrs. Wheatley, daughter of a British Army officer, makes her debut at the Park Theatre, beginning a long, successful stage career. Frederic Tudor, a Boston businessman, ships a cargo of 130 tons of ice out of New York City, bound for the island of Martinique. The ice industry will expand rapidly from this small beginning, becoming the subject of municipal scandal and the target of trustbusters in the 1890s.
Off in the quite larger metropolis of Philadelphia, the upper crust is treated to a wedding, as lawyer and former Army captain Philip Church marries Anna Stewart. This would fall outside our area of interest except for the fact that Captain Church is in a New York state of mind. We'll run into Philip and Anna again.
Over 500 ships docked in New York harbor in December of 1806; prospects for foreign trade were looking up. But it had been touch and go most of the year. On May 16th Great Britain, struggling with Napoleon for European domination, had declared a blockade of the European coast. Six months later the Corsican general had issued his Berlin Decree, denouncing Britain's blockade and imposing one of his own, if only on paper. In the meantime Britain had tried to spread her blockade to the coastal trade of the U.S. At one point the Royal Navy ship Leander fired at the Richard, a U. S. sloop, off New Jersey's Sandy Hook, killing the captain's brother. Wiser heads were begining to prevail however, and on December 31st. William Pinckney and James Monroe signed a trade treaty with Britain. But the Mother Country's high-handedness would arise again in the following years to sour relations between the two countries.
With a population of close to 100,000, the city at the mouth of the Hudson engaged in more peaceful pursuits throughout the year. On April 4th, the Eagle Insurance Company was incorporated, the city's first fire insurance company organized as a stock company. On the 16th of the following month the Free School Society opened the first Lancastrian school in the U. S. based on the English system created by Joseph Lancaster, making education available to the poor, an education utilizing older students as tutors.
All around the rapidly growing state new counties and towns continued to spring up. Broome and Allegany counties were formed. The town of Boyle was created southeast of the falls of the Genesee, and in a few years would give birth to the towns of Brighton, Penfield, Perinton and Pittsford, all Rochester suburbs today. Southampton was renamed Churchville. The busiest day of the year, geographically, must have been March 21st. On this date Madison County was created out of Chenango County. The Chenango County town of German became the Madison County town of De Ruyter. The Onondaga County town of Otisco was formed from Marcellus, Pompey and Tully, and the Rensselaer County town of Berlin was formed from Petersburgh, Schodack and Stephentown. Whew!
And what of our Philadelphia newlyweds, Philip and Anna Church? They had traveled to the southwestern frontier of New York State, briefly set up housekeeping and then traveled back east to New York while Anna gave her husband a first anniversary gift, a daughter named Angelica, for Philip's mother. Then back to the frontier. Their new home would lose some of it's rough edges when his parents arrived to see their new granddaughter that summer. The elder Churches brought along a number of maids, a formal dinner service and a French chef.
© 2000, David Minor
The Eagles Byte New York City / State Timeline is from David Minor's radio scripts for Simon Pontin's Salmagundy radio program on WXXI-FM (91.5). David can be heard every Saturday morning at 10:15 talking about various aspects of world history.