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Fort Amsterdam and Village, New York, p. 10. 

Dutch Fort and English Church, Albany, p. 14. 

















*« Oh ! dear is a tale of the olden time !" > t t, » * . ■< 
Sequari vestigia rerum. ', ,* I *'? J »,* 






Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1846, by 


in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Eastern District 

of Pennsylvania. 

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> XO. 



It is impossible to contemplate the wonderful progress 
o^ New York City and State, in its actual advance to 
greatness, without feeling our hearts stirred with deep 
emotion, inciting us to gratitude and praise. * * * * 
But two centuries ago, it began its career as a little Dorp, 
or village, and now it is the great Commercial Emporium 
of the Union ! 

It should be the just pride and exultation of aw Ameri- 
can to belong to such a country ; — and if so, what should 
offer him more interesting and edifying reading than the 
history of the infancy and progress to manhood, of such a 
people ? Embued with such thoughts, we have supposed 
it might prove profitable to awaken in the breasts of the 
present generation, a fond regard for the Annals of their 
Forefathers, — to whose enterprise, skill and industry 
(under God,) they owe so much of their present enjoy- 
ments and distinction, as a new people. 

Man has by nature an ardent desire, and an earnest 
curiosity, to learn the causes of things around him ; — and 
it is equally the dictate of Parental indulgence, and of 
Bible instruction, that, "when your children shall ask you, 
wherefore are these things so, then shall ye answer them." 
From views and feelings hke these, we have been induced 
to prepare the present pages illustrative of the early events 
of the City and Coun^ — of their inhabitants, their man- 
ners and customs ; — such as things were in the days of 
rusticity and simplicity, when so wholly unlike the present 
display of fashion, pomp, and splendour. We aim, there- 



fore, to lay before our readers such a picture of the past, 
as may present to their contemplation the most prominent 
and striking doings and things of the Founders and Set- 
tlers of the City and State, — intending herein, to restrict 
our exhibition to those incidents which could most sur- 
prise, amuse, or interest their mind, — while at the same 
time, it may increase their store of knowledge concerning 
Country and Home, — by dehneating those early times, and 
by-gone days, when New York was but a Provincial 
town, and the Country a rirgged, woody region, with 
only here and there an humble village — " few and far be- 

It is by multiplying these local associations of idea, 
concerning our country, that we can hope to generate 
Patriotism, binding the heart by forcible ties to the 
parental soil. 

" Go call thy sons, instruct them what a debt 
They owe their Ancestors, and make them vow 
To pay it, — by transmitting down entire 
Those sacred rights to which themselves were born." 

Philadelphia County, July, 1843. 

The reader is advertised that all references in these 
pages to occurrences said to have happened some 30, 40, 
or 50 years ago, are to be regarded as so many years 
preceding the year 1843, that being the time of finishing 
the present work. 






Preface, of General Facts, - - - - - - ^ 

First settlement of the City of New York, and its Incidents, 

First Settlement of Albany, and Notices of Dutch Settlers, 

First Settlement of Schenectady, ------ 

Early Settlement of Brooklyn and Long Island, - , * - 

Original Exploration of the Country, how conducted, - - 

The First Colonists, Incidents concerning them, 
Early Inland Settlements ; Their Earliest History and Origin, including Johns- 
town, Schoharie, Canojoharie, Cherry "Valley, German Flats, and Fort Schuy 
ler, at Rome, -------- 

General Views of New York, Inland, beyond Utica, - - - 

Inland Settlers and Pioneers, Notices of tliem, - i, * " 

The Indians, their Residences and Wars, - - - - 

Steam Boats, Earliest Incidents of them, - - - 

Watering Places, their Earliest Resort and History, - - 

The Erie Canal, and Former State of its Route, &c, " / " , " 





New York Qity, Particulars of its Origin, . - - 

Introductory and General Views of the City, 

Primitive New York, showing things as they were, 

Memorials of the Dutch Dynasty, - - - 

Ancient Memorials, Recording Curious Facts, - - 

Notices of Early Dutch Times, - - - ~ - 

Local Changes and Local Facts, - - - - . 

Manners and Customs in the Olden Time, 

Remarkable Facts and Incidents, - - _ - 

Gardens and Farms, Earliest Notices of them, 

Apparel, and Former PecuUarities of Dress, - - - 

Furniture and Equipage, - - - - - 

Gazettes of the Olden Time, and their Notices, 

Longevity, - - - - - ■ -- 

Changes of Prices in Diet, &c., - - - ' - 

Superstitions and Popular Credulity, - - 

Miscellaneous Facts, of Curious Character, - ^ - 
Incidents of the War of the Revolution, - - - 

Residence of British Officers, and their Incidents, 
Ancient Edifices, Remarkable Characteristics, 
Reflections and Notices, of Things Present and Past, - 
Conclusion, --..-. 

Appendix, ....... 

Index, ---.--- 


:• '4 



«« The city rear'd in beauteous pride — 
And stretching street on street, 
By thousands df ew aspiring sons." 

It was in the year 1609, in the delightful month of September, 
a month always furnishing pleasant days in our climate, that the 
celebrate^ Hudson, the discoverer, first furrowed the waters of 
the present New York harbour with the keel of his adventurous 
yacht the Half Moon. Then " a still and solemn desert hung 
round his lonely bark !" How unlike was all which he could 
then see or contemplate, to what we now behold ! How little 
could his utmost reach of forethought realize the facts of present 
accomplishment — a populous and wealthy city ; and a river scene, 
crowded with numerous vessels freighted with foreign and do- 
mestic plenty ! Then the site of New York presented only a 
wild and rough aspect : covered with a thick forest, its beach 
broken and sandy, or rocky and full of inlets forming water 
marshes — the natives, there, were more repulsive than their 
neighbours, being gruff and indisposed to trade. We proceed to 

Whether Hudson actually landed upon New York Island is a 
little dubious, since he does not expressly mention it in his jour- 
nal, but speaks of the reserve and gruffness of its inhabitants ; 
and contrasting their unfriendliness, so unlike all the other natives, 
who were every where warm-hearted and generous. Of the 
Wappingi, the people on the western shore of the harbour, he 
speaks with warm regard ; they were daily visiters and dealers, 
bringing with them for trade and barter, furs, oysters, corn, beans, 
pumpkins, squashes, grapes, and some apples. Among these 
Indians, say at Commimipa and neighbourhood, Hudson landed. 

But although Hudson has not himself mentioned any thing 
special of his landing in the harbour of New York, we possess a 
very striking tradition of the event, as told by the Delawares, 
and preserved for posterity by Heckewelder, the Indian historian. 
They described themselves as greatly perplexed and terrified 

10 •; { '• Firat $etthment of the City of New York. 

"W-^^n l}ieyj^eh0id the approach of the strange object — the ship 
in the offing. They deemed it a visit from the Manitto, coming 
in his big house or canoe, and began to prepare an entertainment 
for his reception. By and by, tlie chief, in red clothes and a 
glitter of metal, with others, came ashore in a smaller canoe ; 
mutual salutations and signs of friendship were exchanged; and 
after a while, strong drink was offered, which made all gay and 
happy. In time, as their mutual acquaintance progressed, the 
white skins told them they would stay with them, if they allowed 
them as much land for cultivation as the hide of a bullock, spread 
before them, could cover or encompass. The request was granted ; 
and the pale men thereupon, beginning at a starting point on the 
hide, with a knife, cut it up into one long extended narrow strip 
or thong, sufficient to encompass a large place ! Their cunning 
equally surprised and amused the confiding and simple Indians, 
who willingly allowed the success of theiV artifice, and backed 
it with a cordial welcome. Such was the origin of the site of 
New York, on the place called Manhattan, (i. e. Manahachta- 
nienks,) a revelling name, importing " the place where they all 
got drunk !" and a name then bestowed by the Indians as com- 
memorative of that first great meeting. The natives then there, 
descendants of the once warlike Minsi tribe of the Lenni Lenape, 
were the same class of people called by Heckewelder the Dela- 
wares or Munseys. The Indians, in their address afterwards 
to Gov. Keift, said, " When you first arrived on our shores you 
were sometimes in want of food. Then we gave you our beans 
and corn, and let you eat our oysters and fish. We treated you 
as we should ourselves, and gave you our daughters as wives." 

The first concern of the discoverer was to proceed up the 
" Groot Rivier," — the great North River ; the facts of which 
will be told in another chapter. After Hudson had occupied 
himself in exploring and returning, twenty -two days, he set sail 
for Europe ; and his favourable reports gave rise to an expedi- 
tion of two ships in 1614, under Captains Adrian Blok and 
Hendrick Christiaanse. 'Twas under their auspices that the 
first actual settlement was begun upon the site of the present 
New York, consisting in the first year oi four houses, and in the 
next year (1615), of a redoubt on the site of the Macomb houses, 
now on Broadway. To this small Doty or village, they gave 
the stately name of New Amsterdam. The settlement was wholly 
of a commercial and military character, having solely for its object 
the traffic in the fur trade. At the same time another similar 
settlement was formed at Albany. Colonization and land culture 
was an after-concern. 

At the time Holland projected this scheme of commercial set- 
tlement, it was in full wealth and vigour, building annually 1000 
ships; having 20,000 vessels, and 100,000 mariners. The City 
of Amsterdam was at the head of the enterprise. Its merchants 

First Settlement of the City of New York, ll 

projected the scheme of sending out Capt. Henry Hudson (an 
Englishman) to discover a northern passage to the East Indies. 
In this attempt he of course failed ; but as some reparation for 
the consequent disappointment of his employers — ^' the Directors 
of the East India Company," he fell upon the expedient of sail- 
ing southward to Virginia, to make something there by traffic, &c. 
In so doing he fell upon the eventual and memorable discovery of 
the Delaware and Hudson rivers. This was in the year 1609. 

In March 1614, the States General gave out their grant, for 
the purpose of the fur trade, of this new country to "the 
Amsterdam licensed trading West India Company," intending 
New York as a part of their fancied West Indies ! Although 
the Dutch thought little or nothing of colonization, the English 
then in Holland, exiles for conscience sake, early desired to form 
a colony at New York, and actually embarked for that purpose 
in 1620, but were prevented by the fraud of the Dutch captain, 
as it was alleged, and were actually landed at Plymouth ; forming 
there the memorable " Pilgrims of Plymouth " — the forefathers 
of New England. 

In the year 1623, ."the Privileged West India Company," 
under its new charter of 1621, began its operations along the 
Hudson, for the first time, with a direct view of colonization. In 
1623, colonists and supplies were sent out with Capt. Kornelis 
Jacobse Mey, and were most heartily welcomed by the few 
previous inhabitants. Before these arrived, they had been two 
years without supplies and destitute ; so that some of the Staten 
Islanders had cut up the sails of their boats for necessary clothing. 
In compliment to Capt. Mey, and in memory of his welcome 
arrival in the bay of Manhattan, they named the bay Port May, 
At this time they commenced their Fort Amsterdam, on the 
Battery Point, southward of their former redoubt ; and finished 
it, under Gov. Wouter Van Twiller, in 1635. 

It might serve to show the state of the fur trade about this 
time, to state, that in the first year of Governor Minuit's admin- 
istration, they collected and exported 4,700 beaver and otter 
skins, valued at 27,125 guilders, or 11,300 dollars; and that in 
ten years afterwards, they shipped in one year 13,513 beavers 
and 1661 otters. 

The settlement and fort continued to bear the name of Nieuw 
Amsterdam, by the Dutch, down to the time of the surrender by 
Governor Stuyvesant to the English, in 1664. Then for ten 
years under the rule of Cols. Nicolls and Lovelace, acting for 
the Duke of York, it was called New York ; but in August, 1673, 
a Dutch fleet, in time of war, recaptured it from the British, and 
while exercising their rule for their High Mightinesses of Holland, 
to the time of the peace in 1674, they called the place New 
Orange, in compliment to the Prince of Orange, and the fort they 
called Willem Hendrick. 

12 First Settlement of the City of New York. 

The city being restored to the British by the treaty, was rede- 
Uvered to the British in October, 1674. The fort then took the 
name of Fort James, being built of quadrangular form, having 
four bastions, two gates, and 42 cannon. The city again took 
the name of New York, once and forever. 

The city was laid out in streets, some of them crooked enough, 
in 1656. It then contained by enumeration " 120 houses, with 
extensive garden lots," and 1000 inhabitants. In 1677 another 
estimate of the city was made, and ascertained to contain 36S 
houses. In the* year 1674, an assessment of " the most wealthy 
inhabitants" having been made, it was found that the sum total 
of 1 34 estates amounted to 95,000/. / 

During the military rule Governor Colve, who held the city for 
one year under the above-mentioned capture, for the States of 
Holland, every thing partook of a military character, and the 
laws still in preservation at Albany show the energy of a rigorous 
discipline. Then the Dutch mayor, at the head of the city militia, 
held his daily parades before the City Hall (Stadt Huys), then at 
Coenties Slip ; and every evening at sunset, he received from 
the principal guard of the fort called hoofd tvagt, the keys of the 
city, and thereupon proceeded with a guard of six to lock the city 
gates ; then to place a Burger-wagt — a citizen-guard, as night- 
watches at assigned places. The same mayors also went the 
rounds at sunrise to open the gates, and to restore the keys to 
the officer of the fort. All this was surely a toilsome service for 
the domestic habits of the peaceful citizens of that day, and must 
have presented an irksome honour to any mayor who loved his 
comfort and repose. 

This sunrise parade of the mayor and his suite, elicited the 
poetic and graphic effusion of Mrs. Sigourney, and which as a- 
tribute to the author, and not having been put in print, is now 
inserted here. 

Lo with the sun, came forth a goodly train, 

The portly Mayor with his full guard of state : 
Hath ought of evil vex'd their fair domain. 

That thus its limits they perambulate. 
With heavy, measured steps, and brows of care. 
Counting its scatter'd roofs with fixed portentous stare ? 

Behold the keys with solemn pomp restor'd 

To one in warlike costume stoutly brac'd. 
He, of yon Fort, the undisputed lord. 

Deep lines of thought are on his forehead trac'd. 
As though of Babylon, the proud command. 
Or hundred-gated Thebes were yielded to his hand. 

See, here and there, the buildings cluster round. 
All, to the street, their cumbrous gables stretching. 

With square-clipt trees, and snug enclosures bound, 
(A most uncouth material for sketching) — 


First Settlement of the City of New York. 13 

Each with its stoop, from whose sequester'd shade, 

The Dutchman's evening pipe, in cloudy volumes play'd. 

Oh, had these ancient dames of high renown, — 

The Knickerbockers and the Rapaeljes, 
With high-heel 'd shoe, and ample tenfold gown. 

Green worsted hose, with clocks of crimson rays, — 
Had they thro' time's dim vista stretch'd their gaze. 
Spying their daughters fair in these degenerate days, 

With muslin robe, and satin slipper white. 

Thronging to routes, with Farenheit at zero, 
Their sylphlike form, for household toils too slight. 

But yet to winter's piercing blast, a hero. 
Here had they marvell'd at such wonderous lot. 
And scrubbing-brush and broom for one short space forgot. 

Yet deem them not for ridicule a theme. 

Those worthy burghers, with their spouses kind, 

Scorning of heartless pomp, the gilded dream, 
To deeds of peaceful industry inclin'd. 

In hospitality sincere and grave. 

Inflexible in truths in simple virtue brave. 

Hail mighty City, — ^high must be his fame 
Who round thy bounds, at sunrise now should walk ; 

Still wert thou lovely, — whatsoe'er thy name. 
New Amsterdam, — New Orange, or New York, 

Whether in cradle sleep on sea-weed laid. 

Or on thine island throne, in queenly power array'd. 

It may amuse some of the present generation so little used to 
Dutch names, to learn some of the titles, once so familiar in New 
York, and now so little understood. Such as, — 

De Heer officier or Hoofd-Schout — High Sheriff. 
De Fiscael, or Procureur Gen. — Attorney Gen. 
Wees-Meesters — Guardians of orphans. 
Roy-Meesters — Regulator of fences. 
Groot-Burgerrecht and Klein-Burgerrecht — The great and small 

citizenship, which then marked the two orders of society. 
Eyck-Meester — The Weigh-Master. 
The Schout, (the Sheriff,) Burgomasters and Schepens — then 

ruled the city, " as in all cities of the Father land." 
Geheim Schryver — Recorder of secrets. 




" But times are alter'd — trade has changed the scene, 
A city rears its form where only huts were seen." 

This city began its career cotemporary with New York, having 
been visited and explored, as the head of navigation, by the dis- 
coverer, Capt. Hudson, on the 19 th September, 1609; a day 
long to be remembered and respected as their natal day, as a 
people, by the present Albanians. In this vicinity he remained 
with his little ship the Half Moon four days, cultivating friend- 
ship and trade with the natives, by whom his ship and people 
were much visited. The Mohawks — Maquas, were dwelling 
on the western side of the river, and the Mohiccans on the eastern 
side. The frank and generous natives made them every where 
welcome, and they in turn offered to make their hearts gay " with 
wine and aqua vitae ;" so much so, that one of them became 
much intoxicated, and so astonished the others, " that they knew 
not how to take it, and made ashore quickly in their canoes." 
The story of this drunken revel became a memorable tradition, 
long retained among all the Indian tribes ; and this incident, con- 
nected with a similar one remembered at New York island, gave 
rise to the name of Manhattan; i. e. "the place where they all^ 
got drunk." The descendants of the Delawares often spoke to 
Hecke welder of the manner in which the white skins first dealt 
out strong drink from a large hock-hack, (a gourd or bottle,) 
which produced staggering and happy feelings. 

It was under the visit of Schippers (captains) Blok and Chris- 
tiaanse in 1614, that it got its first redoubt and first settlement 
on the island below Albany ferry. To this they gave the name 
of Casteel Eylandt, (Castle Island,) in allusion to its defence ; 
having mounted there two brass and eleven stone guns, (these, 
"stien gustuckers" pieces of arms, meant iron guns, which were 
to discharge stone shot :) with a little garrison of a dozen soldiers, 
commanded by an opper-hoofdt or chief: the whole making just 
as many men as big guns ! This little castle fort was abandoned 
in 1617, having encountered there an unexpected enemy in the 
annual flood. They went thence four miles southward, to the 
shore of a creek called Nordtman's Kill, where they erected ano- 
ther defence, and there held a memorable treaty with the Indians, 
which they long remembered and often referred to. 

In 1623 they laid the proper commencement of the present 
Albany, in the construction there of Fort Orange, and giving to 
the little village the name of Jiurania — names in compliment 

First Settlement of Albany. 15 

and respect to their Prince of Orange. This first fort in Albany 
was on the river side near to the present Fort Orange Hotel in 
South Market street. — It seems to have been slightly constructed, 
for in 1639 it is complained of as in decay ; and as being injured 
by the action of the hogs. 

Albany was always fruitful in names, sometimes bearing sev- 
eral at the same time. They might be noticed generally thus, to 
wit: It was called Beverwyck until 1623; then Fort Orange 
until 1647; then Williamstadt until 1664; when it first received, 
by reason of the British conquest, the name of Albany or Alba- 
nia after the duke. During all the preceding period it bore also 
the popular nickname of Fuyck, which means hoop-net, in refer- 
ence to their use of it in fishing. The Indians of the Munsey tribe 
had given it another name, calling it Laaphawachking, which 
meant the place of stringing wampum beads, for which the 
Dutch of Albany were prized. It had also other names among 
other tribes; thus it was called Skaghneghtady, or Schenectadea, 
a term signifying " the other side of the river.'' The Mohiccans 
called it Gaschtenick ; the Dela wares called it Mahicawaittuck ; 
and the Iroquois, Chohotatia. 

It having been the advanced post for the fur trade, it was of 
course, for numerous years, the proper Bever wyck for the beaver 
and otter sales of the Indians. It was the proper market for all 
which *' the great five nations" could gather from their proper 
hunting grounds — their Couxsachraga — importing the dismal 
wilderness. From this cause Albany was, more than a century, 
a place almost as common to Indian visiters as to whites. 

The second fort, a great building of stone, was constructed on 
a high steep hill at the west end of State street, having around it 
a high and thick wall, where they now have a state-house and 
a fine commanding view over the town below. The English 
church was just below it, at the west end of a market : and the 
original old Dutch church, now down, of Gothic appearance, 
stood in the middle of State street at the eastern end — of which 
see a picture. 

The original Dutch church, founded in 1 Q5Q, was supplied in 
1657 by the Rev. Gideon Schoats from Amsterdam, to whom 
there was soon after sent out a bell and pulpit, for what they 
then called the little church. When they enlarged this church in 
1715, they did it (as has been said to have been done with the first 
Christ Church in Phladelphia,) by building outside of it a new 
wall — enclosing the whole, and roofing it in before taking down 
the inner church, so as to lose only three sabbaths of worship in 
effecting the change. The windows of this new church were 
richly ornamented with coats of arms. This church, after standing 
upwards of 90 years at the intersecting angle of State, Market 
and Court streets, was taken down in 1806, and the stone of it, — ■ 

16 " First Settlement of Albany. 

to preserve its remains, was used in the construction of the South 
Dutch Church, between Hudson and Beaver streets. 

It does not appear that any stone or brick buildings were 
erected, for many of the earUest years of the settlement — say till 
1647, when the first stone house was built, near to the Fori, and 
upon this occasion we are informed that they celebrated the 
occurrence with an extreme regale of one hundred and twenty- 
eight gallons of liquor ! Log houses were those in common use. 

Albany was originally surrounded by palisades, as a means 6f 
defence — some of their remains have been occasionally found, in 
digging in places, within the last forty or fifty years. 

The town being under the military government of three com- 
missaries appointed by the governors from year to year, made it 
in some cases too rigorous for some of the Indian traders, and 
they, to get from such surveillance, went on to Schenectady JFlats, 
where they succeeded to intercept considerable of the fur trade 
intended for Albany. This became a vexatious annoyance to 
the Albanians, and produced much of ill-will and bickerings 
between the two settlements. It was a part of the ordinances 
of the commissaries, that no one could build houses, buy or sell, 
or keep stores or taverns, without their grant and permission. — 
This may have seemed a restraint of undue severity ; — but it 
was doubtless founded upon the necessary precaution of ex- 
cluding unsuitable settlers. 

Albany was incorporated as a city in 1686, under the adminis- 
tration of Governor Dongan. 

In 1842, in making some excavations in the street near Fort 
Orange, they dug out a dozen cannon balls, some of them weigh- 
ing from twelve to fourteen pounds. They had of course many 
years of peaceful and harmless slumber, and have now none to 
tell their tale of former doings. 

Professor Kalm, who visited Albany in 1749, has left us- some 
facts. All the people then understood Dutch. All th^ houses 
stood gable-end to the street ; the ends were of brick and the side 
walls of planks or logs; the gutters on the roofs went out almost 
to the middle of the street, greatly annoying travellers in their 
discharge. At the stoopes (porches) the people spent much of 
their time, especially on the shady side ; and in the evenings 
they were filled with people of both sexes. The streets were 
dirty, by reason of the cattle possessing their free use during the 
summer nights. They had no knowledge of stoves, and their 
chiimieys were so wide that one could drive through them with 
a cart and horses. Many people still made wampum to sell* to 
the Indians and traders. Dutch manners every where prevailed ; 
but their dress in general was after the English form. They were 
regarded as close . in traffic ; were very frugal in their house 
economy and diet. Their women were over-nice in cleanliness, 

First Settlement of Albany, 17 

scouring floors and kitchen utensils several times a week ; rising 
very early and going to sleep very late. Their servants were 
chiefly negroes. Their breakfast was tea without milk, using 
sugar by putting a small bit into the mouth. Their dinner was 
buttennilk and bread ; and if to that they added sugar, it was 
deemed delicious. Sometimes they had bread and milk, and 
sometimes roasted or boiled meats. The New Englanders 
thought the Albanians much too close, and there was no good 
will to them in turn. 

State of society, manners, customs, fyc, as they existed at and 
about Jilbany before the Revolution, as told by Mrs. Grant 
in her Memoirs of Mrs. Schuyler. 

Herein we aim to bring up " the very age and picture of the 
past." To wit :* 

The Van Rensselaer family held a manor beginning at the 
Church and extending twelve miles in every direction. He was 
called the Patroon of Albany. 

On the Mohawk river, forty miles from Albany, was the confed- 
eracy of the Five Nations, who cultivated rich fields, built castles, 
and planted maize and beans, &c. They were possessed of elo- 
quence, and generous and elevated sentiments, heroic fortitude, 
and unstained probity. 

At Albany, was a palisadoed fort, occupied by one company, 
who were however scattered through the towri, working at vari- 
ous trades, for their own profit. 

The Flats, (the Watervliet,) upon which the first Col. Philip 
Schuyler lived, fourteen miles north of Albany, was a frontier 
position, and would have been considered dangerous but for his 
high character and just interests with' the Indians. In the time 
of Queen Anne, he took with him four of the sachems to visit 
England, about the year 1709. They were gone a year, and 
were much pleased with all they saw and considered. 

Education then was difiicult to attain, especially for girls. They 
were taught to read Dutch in their Bible ; very few could read 
English, all however could talk it imperfectly. 

Fashion had no influence there. All was simple and unpre- 
tending, hospitable and kind. They had a universal respect for 
Religion and morals. 

The women were great gardeners. You could see them going 
out to their garden labours with a great calash, a little basket of 
seedg, and the rake on the shoulder. Women in very easy circum- 
stances, would so work incessantly ; they were also great florists. 

•Mrs. Grant, once Miss Anne Mac Vicar, was born in 1754— became acquaint-' 
ed with Mrs. Schuyler in 1762, (at eight years of age,) and died in Scotland 
in 1838. She was the danghter of an officer in the 55th Regiment, on the Indian 
frontier, and married in Scotland to Mr. Grant, a Clergyman. 
3 b2 

18 First Settlement of Albany, 

The city was a kind of semi-rural establishment. Every house 
had its garden, well, and green plot behind. Before every door 
a tree was planted, many of them of prodigious size and beauty. 
At every house was an open portico, surrounded by seats, and 
ascended by a few steps. 

Every family had a cow, fed in a common pasture at the end 
of the town. In the evening they returned all together of their 
own accord, with their tinkling bells, hung at their necks, along 
the wide and grassy street, to their wonted sheltering trees, to be 
milked at their masters' doors. 

Nothing could be more pleasant to a simple and benevolent 
mind, than to see thus at one view, all the inhabitants of a town 
which contained not one very rich or very poor, very knowing 
or very ignorant, very rude or very polished individual ; — to see 
all these children of nature, enjoying in easy indolence, a social 
intercourse, clothed in the plainest habits, and with minds as un- 
disguised and artless. 

These primitive beings were dispersed in porches, grouped 
according to similarity of years and incHnations. At one door 
matrons ; at another the elders of the people ; at a third the 
youths and maidens, gaily chatting or singing together ; while 
the still younger, — the children, played round the trees, or waited 
by the cows, for their share of milk, which they generally took 
sitting upon the steps ; making their supper of bread and milk, 
before going to bed. The cows in the meantime were treated 
with a few vegetables, and a little salt. They patiently waited 
the night to be milked again in the morning, and then they went 
off slowly in regular procession to their pasture. 

At the other end of the town was a fertile plain along the river 
of three miles in length, and near a mile broad, in which every 
inhabitant had his lot, wherein they raised sufficient of Indian 
corn for the food of two or three slaves, (the number usually 
owned by families severally,) and also for the use of the horses, 
pigs and poultry. Their flour and other grain they purchased 
from country farmers. 

Then slavery was of the mildest form — their slaves were really 
happy. They seemed like Abraham's servants, who were all 
born in the house. Nothing pained them so much as the fear of 
being sent away, or to be sold for bad conduct, to the West In- 
dies. All children so born in the house, were solemnly presented 
when three years old to a son or daughter of the same sex and 
family; and from that day the strongest attachment subsisted 
between the black and the destined owner. They were, in fact 
brought up together. The blacks were indulged in great freedom 
.of speech, in giving their opinion and advice, &c. It was indeed 
wonderful to see so little of servility and fear on the one side, 
and so little harshness or authority, on the other. They were the 
most devoted and afiectionate and honest servants imaginable. 

First Settlement of Albany. 19 

The owners had no idea, then, that slavery was wrong, and still 
less did the servants themselves think of it. All thought that 
they saw slavery in their Bibles, and thought that all that could 
be required of Christians, was to lighten and soften the chains of 
servitude. Free and civil as was the intercourse between black 
and white, no case had ever occurred of " amalgamation ;" and 
no instance of mixed colour had been seen until produced by 
some in the British army, coming among them. The first in- 
stance of the kind produced emotions of surprise and dislike. 

They had a custom after the manner of Geneva, of dividing 
the children of the town into companies : beginning at about five 
to six years of age, and continuing till they were marriageable. 
Every company contained as many boys as girls. They kept 
annual festivals, and every child was permitted to entertain his 
whole company on his birth-day, at which time the parents were 
to leave home, and let them have full range of the house and their 

The girls showed early industry ; being fully employed in 
knitting stockings, or making clothes for the family and slaves ; 
they even made all the boys^ clothes. Their dress was slight and 
cheap in summer, and warm in winter. Their dress of ceremony, 
was only used, when company was assembled. 

The wild pigeons in April used to be very numerous. They 
begin to fly in the dawn, and are never seen after 9 or 10 o'clock 
in the morning. They go to the banks of the lakes, where they 
eat the seed all summer of a plant like the wild carrot. They 
are then breeding and rearing their young. While they were 
passing over Albany, every body kept holiday, to shoot them 
down in vast numbers. After them came the feasting upon the 
emigrating wild geese and ducks, all coming with the pigeons 
from the South. 

Contracts for marriage were early and easily formed. Youths 
married by nineteen years of age. A new married man soon set 
out upon a trading adventure with the Indians, going up the Mo- 
hawk with his black assistant in their canoes, enduring much 
hardship cheerfully, and making money readily by it. In travel- 
ling inland, they were obliged to depend much upon their skill 
in hunting and fishing for their supply of provisions. At night 
they had to go ashore and light their fires, to drive off musquitoes, 
and to scare the wolves and bears away, of which there was no 
Jack, " rendering night hideous" by their dismal howls. 

The Albanians were exceedingly social, and visited each other 
very frequently, besides the regular assembling together in their 
porches. Dinner, which was very early, was always without 
ceremony, and in a family way. They loved each other ; but 
of strangers they were shy, but came to be kind and civil if you 
did not act intrusively or insolently. Their tea was a perfect re- 
gale, having many sorts of cakes, sweetmeats, confectionary and 

20 First Settlement of Albany. 

pastry. They received many sweetmeats from the West Indies 
in return for their shipments of lumber. 

They were extremely fond of sleighing in Winter. The young 
people went out in parties, stopping at any or every house along 
the road, whether by night or day. They were always well re- 
ceived though not personally acquainted. They shared their ban- 
quet wherever they stopped. 

In town, the hoys were all extravagantly fond of sledding 
down hill on the snow ; descending from the Fort hill in State 
street, afforded them a long run of a quarter of a mile. All the 
youth from eight to eighteen, had each a sled. Down such a hill 
one hundred could be seen at once descending rapidly. The 
exercise brought out all the young people to their porticos to 
see the sport, where they would continue to sit, wrapt in furs, 
till ten or eleven at night. 

They had a practice among the young men to steal a turkey, 
or a pig, and to have a supper therefrom at some inn. It was 
necessary to be done with Spartan dexterity, so as not to be dis- 
covered, and not to commit any other injury. Cases have oc- 
curred where they have been caught, and they then have made 
interest with the owner, to join their party, and perhaps to go and 
prey upon some other. But all this had to be abandoned, when 
they arrived at matrimony. 

When houses were located in the country, great care was taken 
to preserve one stately tree in the back yard, on purpose to make 
shelter for the birds. There the limbs were pollarded (cut), in 
midsummer, so as when they decayed to leave a little hole for 
nests. Such a tree was at Col. Schuyler's. They also saved all 
the horse and ox heads, so as to place them on the tops of the 
posts of the fences near the house to afford nesting places for the 
birds. Thus hundreds of birds were domesticated near the houses, 
to kill off the flies, musquitoes, crickets, &c. Old hats too, were 
nailed about the negro houses, for nests. 

The barn was an immense building at the Flats. All were 
built upon the plan of four sides, and the roof highest at the cen- 
tre. The roofs above were filled with swallows. 

About the year 1750, there came to Albany a regiment of 
British soldiery, having many gay and licentious young officers. 
They excited much fear and distrust among the graver people. 
Even the mass of the young did not like their free and confident 
deportment. The Dutch minister, Domine Freylinghausen, was 
much concerned for his moral and quiet people. He preached 
and spoke against innovations, vain-glory, and pride. Some of 
the officers however managed to get billeted in sundry families of 
the lighter and more frivolous sort. In time they succeeded to 
get up plays and dances in a barn. With this came in an anglo- 
mania, forming a sect among the young people, who affected 
a lighter style of dress and manners. From all this however, 

First Settlement of Albany. 21 

Madame and the Colonel kept wholly aloof, nor would they wel- 
come any of the free officers to their mansion. In time, the young 
colonel of the regiment got into a dilemma with the young lady 
of the house where he resided, which produced great scandal 
and much affliction to her distressed and unsuspecting parents. 
It was a new thing — an unheard of deception. Before this time, 
there was not a single family that even knew what was meant 
by a play. 

I here give some incidents in the life of Madame Catalina 
Schuyler, much of which is much like facts and traits in the 
life of the distinguished Mrs. Deborah Logan, of Germantown, 
here preserved as some of the characteristics of society, in the 
olden time. To wit : — 

Catalina Schuyler, born in 1702, at Albany, was the niece of 
the first Col. Philip Schuyler, and was married in 1719 to her 
cousin Col. Phihp Schuyler, son of the former. He died in 1757, 
and she in 1778-9. The first of the family known to us, was 
Col. Peter Schuyler, who in 1690, was mayor of Albany, and 
commander of the northern militia. 

She was early distinguished for a great desire of knowledge, 
and an even and pleasing temper. At that time it was very dif- 
ficult to procure education ; few girls, then read English ; and if 
they did, it was thought an accomplishment. They however 
generally spoke it ; but in an imperfect manner. Miss Schuyler 
had an early taste for reading : but her books, though choice, were 
but few. In early life, she was majestic and graceful, and her 
countenance extremely fine. In later years, she became heavy 
and corpulent ; but always dignified and benignant. She had a 
high regard for the Indians, and spoke their language, many of 
whom often came and set down in her neighbourhood in " the 
Indian field," left open for their encampment and use. 

The house was a large brick building, of two or three stories, 
for it had excellent attics, besides a sunk-story, finished with the 
exactest neatness. Through the middle of the house was a very 
v/ide passage with opposite front and back doors, which in sum- 
mer admitted a stream of air, refreshing to the languid senses. 
This was furnished with chairs and pictures like a summer parlour ; 
and here the family usually sat in hot weather, when there was 
no ceremonious stranger. 

A large portico at the door, was laticed round and furnished 
with seats ; vines run all through this portico, and in it were a 
number of litde birds domesticated. While breakfasting or drink- 
ing tea in the portico, birds were constantly gliding over the table 
with a butterfly or grasshopper for their young who were chirp- 
ing above. Nests were all around on the trees ; none were allowed 
to injure the birds, they were useful to destroy the flies, nmsqui- 
toes, &c. ; and besides they gave the chorus of their song. 

22 First Settlement of Albany. 

In summer the negroes resided in a slight outer kitchen, where 
food was dressed for the family. 

The winter rooms had carpet ; the lobby had oil-cloth ; the best 
bed room was hung with family portraits well executed. 

The house fronted the river, on the brink of which under shades 
of elm and sycamore, ran the great road towards Saratoga, Still- 
water, and the northern lakes. A little avenue of morilla cherry 
trees, led from the house to the road and river, not three hundred 
yards distant. 

^ The Indian field was the resting place of all the travelling 
Indians, and marching military. Every summer the place was 
so occupied ; sometimes there were wigwams erected there ; all 
manner of garden stuff, fruit and milk, were plentifully distri- 
buted to wanderers of all descriptions from the Colonel's hos- 
pitable store. 

Her husband. Col. Philip Schuyler, was the first who raised a 
corps in the interior of the province. This brought him much 
into intercourse with British military, and with the governor, &c. 
Mrs. S. by the good sense and good breeding with which she ac- 
commodated her numerous and various guests, without visible 
bustle or anxiety, showed herself worthy of her distinguished lot. 

Mrs. Schuyler, early in life, was delivered of a dead child ; she 
had none of her own afterwards ; but was constantly adopting 
and bringing up others. This indeed was the practice of the coun- 
try ; it was also done by the Indians. 

She was called " Aunt Schuyler'' when advanced in 3^ears, by 
all who knew her familiarly ; and " Madame Schuyler," by the 
public in general. The last soubriquet she derived from the 
French Canadian prisoners, to whom she had showed much kind- 

It was one of her singular merits, that after acting with grace 
and dignity at New York in the governor's circle, while with her 
husband making the usual annual visit to New York city, she 
could return to the homely good sense and primitive manners 
of her fellow citizens of Albany, free from fastidiousness and dis- 
gust. Few indeed without study or design, ever better understood 
the art of being happy and making others so"too. All the chil- 
dren she adopted and brought up were all married to advantage, 
as useful and refined women. 

At the liberal table of aunt Schuyler, where were always intel- 
ligence, just notions, and good breeding to be met with, both 
among the owners and their guests ; there were to be met British 
officers of rank and merit ; only such could find a welcome there ; 
and to be unwelcome there, was a sure disparagement upon any 
person of pretension and name. 

At the fiats, the self-righted boor learned civilization and sub- 
ordination ; the high-bred and high-spirited field officer, gentle- 
ness and respect for unpolished worth. 

First Settlement of %/ilbany. 23 

Neither influenced by female vanity, or female fastidiousness, 
but always taking liberal views of every thing, she might very 
truly say of popularity, as Falstaff said of Worcester's rebellion, 
" it lay in her way, and she found it :" for no one ever took less 
pains to obtain it. She had all the power of superior intellect, 
without the pride of it. But though her conversation was reserved, 
for those she preferred, her advice, compassion, and good offices, 
were always cordially given where most needed. In the large 
family she had always about her, she was the guiding star, as 
well as the informing soul, at the same time enjoying and en- 
couraging innocent cheerfulness. She was eminent in christian 
virtues and graces, and gave her time to her devotions. Her 
reading was always solid and improving ; she loved and quoted 
Milton ; she had always with her some young person " who was 
unto her as a daughter." She began the morning with reading 
the Scriptures. After arranging her orders for the day, she re- 
tired to her closet to read, where she generally remained till about 
eleven ; then she went with guests into the bower, in the garden, 
or into the portico to sit and converse on useful topics. In con- 
versation, she certainly took delight and peculiarly excelled : never 
engrossing or seeming to dictate therein. Whenever she laid 
down her book in the course of the day, she immediately took up 
her knitting. Her advice and opinion was often consulted in the 
public affairs. 

There was probably no family possessing such uncommonly well 
trained, active, and diligent slaves. There were two races of them 
of two excellent mothers, who were severally ambitious to bring 
up their children to usefulness in the family. Some of them 
could make good tradesmen, such as wheelwrights, carpenters, 
and masons on the place. Being well treated themselves, they 
were all kind and gentle to the inferior animals imder their charge. 
They all had pets of their own about the place, such as squirrels, 
raccoons, and beavers. 

Mrs. Schuyler, when her husband died in 1757, had him buried 
in a family ground near to his own house. The grave she used 
to visit often, and sit there and meditate. 

The Schuyler family, at the origin of the American war di- 
vided. Some took to the King, and some to the Independence. 
Those who adhered to the crown, were rewarded with grants of 
land in Upper Canada. Madame Schuyler, however, remained 
in Albany, and with much prudence avoided to take part on 
either side,* though her bias was for the crown. She died 1778-9. 

Mrs. Schuyler, after the conflagration of her mansion, at the 
Flats, went to live permanently at her house in town ; and it so 

• Maj. Gen. Philip Schuyler, and his services in the Revolution, are well 
known in our history. Burgoyne destroyed his property at Saratoga, to the 
amount of £10,000, and was then generously banqueted at his house in Albany 
while a prisoner. 

24 First Settlement of Albany. 

happeAed, as to be the next door to Miss Anne Mac Vicar, the 
lady who became Mrs. Grant, she then being a child, when their 
acquaintance began. At that time her leading negresses had 
become old, and laid by ; sitting up in the kitchen, and chiefly 
employing themselves in talking and smoking. Madame too had 
become aged, and had lost many of her former connections. The 
future,"from the near approach of colonial opposition, was begin- 
ning to look dubious and cheerless; which was one reason probably, 
why her active mind turned mostly on retrospection. She loved 
to recount to young Miss Mac Vicar, (Mrs. Grant,) the tales of 
other times, because she found in her so good and so interested 
a listener. Her conversation generally related to the origin and 
formation of all she saw around her in this new world, and 
afforded ample food for reflection to considerate minds. 

The earliest English church in Albany, used to be held by the 
army chaplain. The same ministers used to go and serve occa- 
sionally in Schenectady. 

To myself, who so well knew the traits of Mrs. Logan^s cha- 
racter, I saw so many points of resemblance, in the foregoing 
quoted work of Mrs. Grant's "Memoirs of an" American lady,'' 
as made me pleased and surprised at almost every page. The 
foregoing extracts are only a few of the many which could be 
felt to bear their relation to the manner and habits of Mrs. Lo- 
gan. They were both superior women — both above the pride 
and vanity of the world around them — both religious — and both 
women of easy elegance and refined conversation — both of them 
owed much to their self-training and useful reading — both had 
but ordinary means of original education. They lived at a time 
when schools were only instituted for elementary objects ; and all 
the future advancement was to depend upon their own use of 
books, and intercourse with intelligent society. 

The Dutch forefathers were very religious in their views and 
feelings — always manifesting great reverence for holy things. A 
lease of 1651, now in existence and in the possession of Stephen 
Van Rensselaer, " for the old maize land at Catskill," reads thus : 
— *' The tenant is to read a sermon or portion of the Scriptures 
every Sunday and high festival, to the christians in the neigh- 
bourhood, and to sing one or more psalms before and after pray- 
ers, agreeable to the customs of the church of Holland." Cer- 
tainly such a reverent regard for the institutions of religion in a 
new settlement, showed a very considerate and commendable 
trait in " the Director of Rensselaer Wyck," the grantor of said 

In the Dutch records found in the archives at Albany, is a let- 
ter dated the 1st of January, 1680, signed by Thomas Ashton 
commander, Martin Garretse, Derek Wassels, and others, com- 
inissioners of Albany, directed to Captain Brockholst, then Go- 
vernor of New York, concerning the Great Comet, which had 

First Settlement of *dlbany. 25 

filled them with superstitious dread, wherein they thus set forth 
their excited alarms, to wit : " Hou'd Sir, According to former 
practice in this season of ye year, wee have sent this post to 
acquaint you how all affares are here with us, which is (thanks 
be to God) all in peace and quietnesse. The Lord continue ye 
same through ye whole government. Wee doubt not but you 
have seen ye Dreadful Comet Star, which appeared in ye 
southwest on ye 9th December last, about two o'clock in ye after- 
noon, fair sunshine weather, and which takes its course more 
northerly, and was seen the Sunday night after, about twy-light, 
with a fiery tale or streamer in ye ivest to ye great astonishm.ent 
of all spectators, and is now seen every night in clear weather. 
Undoubtedly God threatens us with dreadful punishments if 
we do not repent. We would have caused ye Domine to pro- 
claim a fast — a day oi fasting and humiliation to-morrow, to 
be kept on Wednesday, if wee thought our power and authority 
did extend so far: for all persons ought to humble themselves 
in such a time, and pray to God to withdraw his righteous judg- 
ments from us, as he did to Ninevah, Wee should be glad to 
receive your approbation in this m,atter, and to have inonthly, 
a day of fasting and humiliation, and wee pray you answer by the 

We perhaps think we are much wiser now — certainly not more 
reverent and God fearing, however better we may now under- 
stand the nature of harmless comets. Had it been " withdrawn" 
as they then prayed, who knows the greater evil which might 
have ensued ! The Pilgrim Fathers of New England were not 
less reverent when they saw only purposed judgments in their 
influenza, of that period, when it, however, afflicted almost spe- 
cially, their best saints. 

Patroon island, about a mile below Albany, was visited by an 
unprecedented flood, in May, 1833. It washed off" in some places 
the entire soil to the depth of several feet ; exposing human 
skeletons buried after the Indian manner, in a sitting posture. 
The island contained 160 acres of rich soil, occupied by a dozen 
families as cultivators of vegetables for the Albany market. 

The state of the Patroon, such as was enjoyed by Van Rens- 
selaer, was the nature of feudal prerogative. As the Lord of 
his domain, he held a supremacy in judicial and military matters. 
The courts administered justice in his name ; and the people took 
their oath of allegiance and fealty to himself alone. 

4 C 



This place was the earliest settlement inland from Albany — 
being sixteen miles distant, and was formed at that place by the 
Dutch, as the nearest proper landing at the foot of the Mohawk 
navigation. It was the proper place of the fur trade, where the 
Indians brought their skins and received their supplies in return. 
It was also for numerous years, the proper place of shipment of 
military supplies, going inland up the Mohawk. Even before 
the settlement of the whites at this place, it was the great con- 
centration of Indian population, — it having when first known as 
many as eight hundred warriors, and as many as three hundred 
of them lived within the space of what now forms only one 
farm in the neighbourhood. All of the earliest houses were 
formed like those of Albany after the manner of the Dutch con- 
struction. The first Dutch settler at Schenectady was named 
Corlaer — before 1666. Its name signifies "beyond the pine 

Being essentially a Dutch town, and far off from city popula- 
tion, and city life, they retained their primitive character unaltered 
for numerous years. They were money making and frugal in 
their habits ; familiar and hospitable in their social relations, and 
being daily in intercourse with the Indians, they were assimilated 
to them in habits and feelings. Their characteristics have been 
aptly drawn by Judge Miller, who speaking of them says, that 
the story of their lives is only by tradition and memory — we 
know that they had industrious habits, resolute minds, proverbial 
economy and signal integrity ; they were not men of learning as 
that term is now understood ; they may not have been polite men 
in the present acceptation of the word ; and very certainly were 
not fashionable men. None have ever known an old, respectable 
and sensible Dutchman that had ever been a fashionable, nor 
has any ever known a young Dutchwoman who ever made her- 
self disfigured by her costume, or injured her health, for the sake 
of display. Their raiment as well as their food was plain, ne- 
cessary and useful, and to this day, the plain, straight coat of the 
pristine Dutchman, the neat cap, and the ruddy countenance, 
smihng under the plain sun bonnet of the Dutchwoman, give 
delight in the recollection. But these men and women are seen 
now no more, — they are gone, and with them their simplicity, 
and other interesting qualities which garnished and beautified 
men and women in the olden time. To such ancestors and 
matrons, the present generation owe an everlasting debt of gra- 
titude and respect. They encountered all the difiiculties and 

Dutch House, Schenectady, p. 26. 

Dutch Church, State Street, Albany, 1656 to 1806, p. 15. 

First Settlement of Schenectady, 27 

hardships common to a new country ; they were a stalwart and 
hardy set of veterans, who made the forest fall before them. If 
our condition is now more safe and comfortable, let us remember 
that these Dutch forefathers have been the instruments and agents 
of the most of what we now enjoy. 

Schenectady as a frontier post and town had its defences of 
stockades and palisades, its gates and its block-houses. Prepared 
for war it was thus enabled to avoid it, even if hostilities had 
been apprehended. They however had no enemies until they 
became exposed to the machinations and sinister designs of the 
French in Canada. These with their Indians, becoming desirous 
of avenging the successful assault of the Iroquois on Montreal, un- 
dertook a winter surprise in the year 1690, intending, if successful 
here, to pursue their attack upon Albany itself. In managing such 
a winter expedition through the snow, a party go before in snow 
shoes, so as to beat a track for those who follow. At night, 
groups would dig holes in the snow, casting the snow excavated 
on the side next the wind — then they would collect branches of 
fir-trees for their flooring, make their fire in the centre, wrap 
themselves in their fur skins, and lay down with their feet 
towards the fire. In the dead of night of the 8th of February, 
when the ground was covered with snow, a small expedition of 
two hundred French and a number of Indians, arrived unappre- 
hended, and entering the guard gates before the inhabitants 
could be armed for defence, they forced and fired almost every 
house, butchering sixty persons of every age and sex, and bearing 
off several prisoners. The rest fled almost naked in a terrible 
storm and deep snow. Several of them lost their limbs through 
the rigour of the cold. It was an awful time ; and long, long 
was the calamity remembered and related by the few who sur- 
vived to keep alive the fearful story. Those who most felt for 
the sufferers, and sighed most for revenge, had an opportunity 
in the next year, to join an expedition under the command of 
IVIajor Peter Schuyler of Albany, " the Washington of his day." 
He conducted about three hundred men, of whom the half were 
Mohawks and Schakook Indians ; at La Praire they encoun- 
tered twelve hundred men under De Collieres, and in several 
conflicts slew thirteen officers and three hundred men, returning 
home in -safety. This was certainly executing wonders against 
so superior a force ! 

It is said to have been a fact, that just before the massacre 
occurred, Colonel Glen tried to convey inteUigence to the Sche- 
nectadians of the approach of the Frenchmen, while they were 
still on the other side of the river, and that for this purpose, 
he used the services of a squaw, who had been in the habit of 
selling brooms in the doomed village. But when she informed 
some of the villagers, they were incredulous, as deeming it im- 
possible that such an invasion, could be meditated in such an 

28 First Settlement of Schenectady. 

inclement season and from such a distance. Tradition says, that 
she paid a visit to a certain widow who was regaling the pastor 
of the place with chocolate, then a luxury. On entering the 
house, she gave some offence to the widow by shaking off the 
snow from her moccasons on the newly scrubbed floor, which 
quickly sent off the squaw, muttering as she went, " it will be 
soiled enough before to-morrow V^ The name of the pastor was 
Tassomaker, and he was the first ever settled in the place. He 
took the alarm, however, and went away saying nothing ; but 
following his own fears. He was never seen or heard of after- 
wards, which led some of the good people to apprehend that he 
was spirited away. The widow too, somehow, made her retreat, 
and left descendants who used to relate these facts to subsequent 

A curious memento of the calamity has been singularly pre- 
served in a family of Albany, being an original manuscript, 
written by Walter Wilie, one hundred and fifty years ago. It 
is a relic of the olden' time in itself; and if the poetry flows not 
in Lydian measures, it was probably equal to the poetic standard 
of the day and place. The writer designed, that it might long 
survive him, and it is certainly curious, that his wish has been so 
well fulfilled, to wit : 

" A ballad, in which is set forth the horrid cruelties practised 
by the French and Indians on the night of the 8th of last Febru- 
ary. The which I did compose last night, in the space of one 
hour, and am now writing, the morning of Friday, June 12th, 
1690. W. W." 

God prosper long our King and Queen 
Our lives and safties all, 
■ A sad misfortune once there did 
Schenectady befall. 

From forth the woods of Canada 

The Frenchmen tooke their way, 
The people of Schenectady 

To captivate and slay. 

They marched for two and twenty dales. 

All thro' the deepest snow ; 
And on a dismal winter night 

They strucke the cruel blow. 

The lightsome sun that rules the day, 

Had gone down in the West ; 
And eke the drowsie villagers 

Had sought and found their rests, 

They thought they were in safetie all, 

And dream pt not of the foe ; 
But att midnight they all awoke. 

In wonderment and woe. 

First Settlement of Schenectady. 29 

For they were in their pleasant Beddes, 

And soundelie sleeping, when 
Each Door was sudden open broke 

By six or seven Men. 

The Men and Women, younge & olde 

And eke the Girls and Boys, 
All started up in great Affright, 

Att the alarming Noise. 

They then were murthered in their Beddes, 

Without shame or remorse ; 
And soon the Floores and Streets were strew'd 

With many a bleeding corse. 

The Village soon began to Blaze 

Which shew'd the horrid sight : — 
But, O, I scarce can Beare to Tell 

The Mis'ries of that Night. 

They threw the Infants in the Fire, 

The Men they did not spare ; 
But killed All which they could find 

Tho' Aged or tho' Fair. 

O Christe ! In the still Midnight air. 

It sounded dismally. 
The Women's Prayers, and the loud screams, 

Of their great Agony. 

Methinks as if I hear them now 

All ringing in my ear ; 
The Shrieks & Groanes & Woeful Sighs, 

They utter'd in their Fear. 

But some ran off to Albany, 

And told the doleful Tale : 
Yett tho' We gave our chearful Aid, 

It did not much avail. 

And We were horribly afraid. 

And shook with Terror, when 
They told us that the Frenchmen were 

More than a Thousand Men. 

The News came on the Sabbath Morn 

Just att the Break of Day, 
And with a companie of Horse 

I galloped away. 

But soone We found the French were gone 

With all their great Bootye ; 
And then their trail We did pursue, 

As was our true Dutye. 

The Mohaques joynd our brave Partye, 

And followed in the chase 
Till We came upp with the Frenchmen, 

Att a most likelye Place. 
c 2 

30 First Settlement of Schenectady, 

Our soldiers fell upon their Reare, 

And killed twenty-five, 
Our Young Men were so much enrag'd 

They took scarce One alive. 

D'Aillebout them did commande, 
Which were but Thievish Rog-ues, 

Else why did they consent and Goe 
With Bloodye Indian Dogges] 

And Here I End the long Ballad, 
The Which you have just redde ; 

And wish that it may stay on earth 
Long after I am Dead. 

Albany, 12th of June, 1690. 


The Dutch of this land, have always been pre-eminent for their 
attachment to their church — its ordinances and their " Domines." 
It is therefore but matter of necessary consequence, that we 
should feel a satisfaction in preserving the little history of their 
origin and perpetuity. — The church records show — that their first 
pastor was the Rev^d Petrus Tasschemaker, from Holland, 
beginning his charge in the year 1684. Before that time only 
occasional service could be performed, in private houses, by 
visiters from Albany — and in the meantime the better Christians 
made their church visits to the Albany church by going and 
returning in two days. This honoured Domine, as has been told, 
disappeared mfsteriously in the time of the massacre, and was 
succeeded in 1702, by the Rev'd Thomas Brower, also from 
Holland, who continued his services till 1728, when he died. 
The Rev'd Bernardus Freeman and Rynhard Erkson, also from 
Holland, served next in order. In 1740, we find the name of 
Cornelius Van Santvoord, as the settled clergyman, — he coming 
from Staten Island. He died in 1754, and was succeeded by a 
Domine of the place named Barent Vroomer, who continued till 
his death in 1782. — His successors down to the present time were 
all Americans, to wit : the Rev'd Derick Romeyn, of New Jersey, 
the Rev'd John H. Myers, also from N. J. The Rev'd Cornelius 
Bogardus and the Rev'd Jacob Van Vechten, the jDresent pastor. 

The first church was built between the years 1684 and 1698. 
It was located at the south end of Church street near the head of 
Water street. In 1733 a more commodious one was erected in 
the centre of the street, where Union and Church streets intersect. 
— This venerable pile was, by innovation, razed in 1814 — like a 
similar church in the street in Albany. Before going down, it 
fell into secular use — such as a watch house — a school house 
and market. The bell of this church was remarkable for its 
silver tones, said to have been because of a good proportion of 
that metal in its composition. — It is at all events a fact that it 
gave out a more distant sound, than one of twice its size, since 

First Settlement of Schenectady. 31 

used in another and more modern church of another reUgious 

It is to be told to the honour and good feeUng of Mr. Jan 
Rinkhout, that he made this church a donation of that tract of 
land now called the " poor pasture/' — so called because the avails 
were formerly applied to the use of the poor of the congregation. 
He reserved to himself a small spot on which he had his hut, 
partly under ground — the remains of which are still to be seen. 
The good man himself is now underground — and his soul we 
trust is in heaven. 

The first English church, called St. George — was erected un- 
der the auspices of Mr. John W. Brown, who came from Eng- 
land sometime preceding the year 1762, — when the Episcopal 
church was founded. Its principal benefactors were Sir Wm. 
Johnson and John Duncan, Esq. Previous to the Revolution, 
this church owned a valuable library. This together with the 
organ and a greater part of the interior work was destroyed by 
some Indians and a gang of lawless whites. Strange as it may 
seem, these whites were fVhigs ! — of such as were all passion 
and little sense ! It was called and considered " the English 
Church," and as such their rage was against every thing Etig- 
lish. They of course thought it was under British influence. 
— They even meditated the destruction of the pastor's — Mr. 
Doty's property ; but they knew not his place of abode, and as 
none would inform them, he escaped their ire. Their first pastor 
was the Rev. Wm. Andrews — he was succeedechin 1773, by the 
Rev. Mr. Doty — who left his charge in 1777, probably as a Tory. 
There was no settled minister again until 1791, when the Rev. 
Ammi Rogers took the charge, and has since been succeeded by 
the Rev. Mr. Whitmore, the Rev. Cyrus Stebbins, and the Rev. 
P. A. Proal. 

We are indebted for several of the preceding facts to the indus- 
try and kindness of Giles F. Yates, Esq. 

In excavating the earth through a little hillock, for the track 
of the Utica and Schenectady railroad, in the vicinity of Fort 
Johnson, four miles west from Amsterdam, a number of human 
skulls and bones were found about two feet below the surface, 
being evidently the remains of Indians. At the head of the 
bodies was a copper kettle and a quantity of wampum, a piece 
of rich Indian blanket, and a silver breast plate. 

As late as the year 1785, a deer was shot in the town of Rot- 
terdam, by Lewis Peek. Since then none have been seen in this 
county, although they formerly abounded, as did also wolves and 
panthers. Only twenty-five years ago a wolf was seen in the 
neighbourhood of this city. Major J. J. Tonda of Glenville, 
pursued and killed it. No bear has been seen in the vicinity 
since 1770, not a single buffalo since 1783, nor a panther since 
1784. Grouse once numerous have not been seen since 1740. 

32 First Settlement of Schenectady. 

The first settler on Norman's Kill, Within the present bounds 
of Schenectady nigh Princetown, was John Hendrick Van Bale, 
who received his patent in the year 1672. The Indian name of 
the creek is To-was-sent-haw, meaning a place of" many dcad.^' 
The word haw is used as an affix to many Indian words, and 
implies place, and " Ha-ga" the inhabitants of a place, and thus 
Caugh-nawaga-haga, means the people of Caugh-nawaga. A 
Norman family of the name of De Foix, corrupted to De Fox, 
gave the name to Norman's creek, and also to Fox's creek. 
This family at a very early period owned land at both places. 

The first settler at Amsterdam, was Albert H. Vedder, who 
went there in 1 784. The Indians called the place Chuck-ta-nunda. 

Such names as Amsterdam and Rotterdam, evince their Dutch 
origin, just as the Haldeburgh, shows that of the Germans. 

Scenuscios, an Indian of the Oneida tribe, lived many years 
on the Bouwlandt. His wigwam stood on the land of Van Otto. 
He died in the year 1781, at the age of 96 years; he was the 
father of the celebrated Skenando, who lived to 110 years. 

Sechehowan, a chief of the Mohawk tribe, spent the whole of 
a long life in the Bouwlandt. He was the last of the Sachems, 
was very brave and intelligent, and was much attached and ser- 
viceable to the whites. He died in 1783, upwards of 100 years 
of age. In dying he said, now I am going ; the whites may come 
and take all ! His grave still known, is on the west of Schulen- 
berg creek, near the residence of Bartholomew Schermerhorn, Esq. 

The cone-roof 'd cabins melt away, 
And pale-fac'd strangers bear the sway ! 

" Mill creek," which now seems a creek, was originally a 
canal, dug 110 years ago. The object was to furnish a mill-site 
near the town of Schenectady, and for a long time, it sufficiently 
answered that purpose. 

At the time of the great freshet in 1832, nearly the whole of 
the Bouwlandt was overflowed, a deep hole was made in the 
Erie canal, near the city, and at the bottom, at 20 feet below the 
surface of the flats, was found a stratum of leaves, more than six 
inches thick. A similar deposit was found in digging a well for 
Judge De Graff". At a few rods distance, on the south side of 
the river, at the depth of 20 feet, trunks and bodies of trees are 
still to be seen, projecting into the water, and showing, probably, 
the shifting of the banks in ancient times. 

In the Bouwlandt, at the foot of the verge of the hills skirting 
the flats, near the residence of John J. Van Eps, Esq., a moundhdiS 
been noticed for many years. In levelling it for building in 1832, 
the workmen came across a human skeleton of great stature. It 
was seated in the centre of the mound, with his face to the east, 
(why the east ?) and by its side was an earthen vessel in fine 
preservation ; it was 18 inches high, rested upon four feet of two 

First Settlement of Schenectady, 33 

inches length, and would have been preserved as a curiosity, had 
not the foolish workmen broken it up in the hopes of , finding 
money ! 

As a proof of the entire Dutch character of Schenectady, we 
here add the names of sundry streets, as originally called. We 
feel a penchant for their preservation in this way. The reading 
of them seems to bring us back to the freshness of olden time. 
Longen gang was the ancient name of the present Maiden lane. 
It was long the place and scene of their horse and foot races. It 
was also famed as the night resort of sp hooks and spectres dire. 
Aghter straat was the name of the present Green street. Nisk- 
ayuna straat is now Union street. The " old Fort," (once the 
new Fort,) was at corner of Cherry and Church streets. Sundry 
localities or quarters, for there were not many streets, may be 
thus designated as Hoechjen, viz : ^'Maihemas'^ should be Mar- 
thamet, (i. e. aunt Martha,) " Boshe-boys^^ should be Bathsheba, 
and ^'Honsum^^ should be Hanson. Judge Tomlinson's comer 
was called Wilhelmus Vaders Hoeckjen. The Mohawk Bank 
corner, Garret Simondse Hoeckjen. Helenamet Hoeckjen was 
the quarter at the west end of Front and Washington streets. 
This last place was also called Gouden Hoeckjen, meaning the 
Golden, because the richest people generally resided there. — 
[There was a similar Golden place in New York City — such as 
Gouden berg, i. e. Golden Hill ?] The principal points of the 
city called ^' Hookey s^^ were also thus designated, viz., Honsum^s 
Hookey, at the corner of Church and State streets, where the old 
men assembled, leaning on their staves, smoking their pipes, and 
discussing the topics of the day. How different from any present 
topics ! Shuter's Hookey, corner of Washington and State streets 
— still retains its ancient appellative. Thank the moderns for this ! 
De Noord Hoek and Be Zuyd Hoek — (north and south corners,) 
and Caleb Beck's corner or Hookey, is now the corner of Union 
and Church streets. For all these illustrations of names of by- 
gone days, we are indebted to the gentleman before named, Giles 
F. Yates, Esq. 

In the year 1748, during the French and Indian war, one 
Daniel Toll, a farmer, being out three miles from Schenectady 
in search of his stray horses, was fired on and killed by Indians. 
His servant giving the alarm, there went out sixty young men 
from the town in pursuit ; but while they were viewing the 
body, the Indians in ambush, surprised them and killed half of 
the party. Their corpses were returned to their homes in the 
same evening. What a time of deep mourning it must have 
been to families to lose so many young men at once, from a town 
of small population ! 

In June 1759, a party of Indians assaulted a woman, servant, 
and child, between Fort Johnson and Schenectady, and attacked 
some men in a boat on the Mohawk. The woman was scalped, 


34 First Settlement of Brooklyn and Long Island. 

and reached Schenectady, and the child and servant were borne 
off as prisoners. 

On one occasion, of about a century ago, a young couple who 
were to have been married, and were to pass the Tomhanic creek 
to meet their parson, were prevented from joining their minister 
by the sudden flood of the creek, and they were actually married, 
by the reading of the marriage ceremony, with the parties divid- 
ed on the two sides of the creek. 


" These are Ihy annals, briefly told." 

Brooklyn, originally spelt Breucklyn, and meaning broken 
land, was first settled by George Jansen de Rapaelje, and other 
Frenchmen, who located themselves at the place called the Waal 
boght or Waloon bay. His compatriots were Le Escuyer, Du- 
regee, Le Sillier, Cershaw, Conscilleur and Musserol, members 
of the Hugonaut emigration. The earliest deed for land there 
is from Governor Keift, in 1638, to Abraham Ryckern ; ,and the 
oldest recorded grant is to Thomas Basker, in 1639. This must 
be considered as among the first of the permanent Dutch settle- 
ments on Long Island. The Dutch commenced their settlements 
on Long Island at the west end as early as 1625. The English 
about the same time at the east end. 

In 1659, the inhabitants made a call of the Rev. Henry Solinias 
as their pastor, sent out from Holland. Their first church was 
built in 1666, and stood about forty years, when another was erect- 
ed on the same site, and stood till 1810, when a new one was 
built on Jerolemon street, which is again superseded by another 
of more costly character. 

Brooklyn was originally connected with Governor's Island at 
Red Hook point, so that cattle were once driven across the pre- 
sent Buttermilk channel. This channel has probably been since 
deepened by the extension of the wharves on the East River. 

The Dutch on Long Island were always careful to obtain their 
lands there, by purchases from the Indians. Several of such 
deeds are to be found recorded, and therein show, that there 
were originally on the Island, several tribes of different national 
or distinctive names. 

The redoubts at Brooklyn, formed by the Americans in 1776, 
before the British landed from Staten Island, near the present 
Fort Hamilton, formed a line of intrenchments, from a ditch near 
the late toll-house of the Bridge company, at the Navy Yard, 

First Settlement of Brooklyn and Long Island, 35 

down to Fort Green, then called Fort Putnam, and from thence 
to Freek's mill-pond. A strong work was erected on the lands 
of Johannes Deberoice and of Van Brunt ; a redoubt was thrown 
up on Boemus' hill, opposite Brown's mill ; and another was on 
the land of John Johnson, west of Fort Green. Poniesburg, now 
Fort Swift, was fortified, and a fort was built on the land of Mr. 
Hicks, on Brooklyn heights. At the same time Chevaux de frise 
was sunk in the main channel of the river below New York. In a 
short time all this expensive and toilsome preparation of defence, 
went for nothing, when yielding to the superior appointments 
and strength of the enemy ! Sucli is la fortune de la guerro ! 

While Gen. Washington was present, he occupied as his quar- 
ters a low Dutch house of 1699, on the Gowanus road, near the 
shore, and a mile and a half from the South ferry. The same 
now owned by Mr. Cortelyou. 

Brooklyn is deservedly remembered as the depository of the 
bones of 11,000 American prisoners sacrificed to the cruelties of 
war. For further particulars concerning the Prison ships moored 
at the Wallabout, and their suffering and dying inmates, see the 
Chapter concerning the Incidents of the War. 

Gravesend, was settled in 1 640 by emigrants from Massachu- 
setts, who had before gone there from England. These were 
soon joined by Lady Deborah Moody, and her son, Sir Henry 
Moody. She was a woman of wealth, who with her associates 
were obliged to leave Lynn and other places of Massachusetts, 
because of their religious sentiments, such as her discountenancing 
infant baptism, &c. After her arrival her house was several times 
assailed by the Indians. She was held in much estimation by 
Gov. Stuyvesant. The original records of this town are still pre- 
served from the year 1645. 

Smithstown, was settled by Richard Smith, from Gloucester, 
in England. He settled first at Boston, in 1630, then at Narra- 
ganzett. In 1656, he came to this town on Long Island. He 
had great interest with the Indians, and acquired large tracts of 
their land, which was afterwards confirmed to him by Governor 
Andros, in 1677. His will of 1691, on record, shows a large es- 
tate, and numerous names of legatees and relatives. They became, 
indeed, so numerous, as to take distinctive family divisions, such 
as the Bull Smiths, (from the family use of a bull for riding pur- 
poses ;) the Tangier Smiths, because once connected with Tangier. 
There were also the Rock Smiths, and the Blue Smiths. Thus 
showing even in that early day, the present perplexing difficulty 
of identifying the abounding progeny of the Smiths ! 

Gardiner^ s Island, a place of 3300 acres, was settled by Lyon 
Gardiner, in 1641. He was by birth a Scotchman, who had at- 
tached himself to Cromwell, he v/ent to Holland, there married 
a Dutch girl, then went out to Saybrook Fort, where he had com- 

36 First Settlement of Brooklyn and Long Island. 

mand, thence went to his island at Long Island. It has been 
made remarkable by having been a favourite visiting place of 
Capt. Kidd, the pirate ; there he buried and hid some of his trea- 
sure, which became known to Gardiner, and was given up by 
him to the commissioners of Governor Bellamont, after Kidd's 
arrest and imprisonment at Boston. On one occasion Kidd pre- 
sented Mrs. Gardiner with a cloth of gold, which has been pre- 
served in the family. The original receipt given to the Gardiner 
family for the treasure surrendered, is sufficiently curious at this 
day to be here copied, as it tends to show the kind of treasure for 
which the " money diggers" have been so long and so fruitlessly 
employed. To wit : — 

*d true account of all such gold, silver, jewels, and merchan- 
dize, late in the possession of Capt. fVm. Kidd, which had 
been seized and secured by us -pursuant to an order from 
his Excellency, Richard, Earl of Bellamont, bearing date 
July 7, 1699. 
Received, the 17th instant, of Mr. John Gardiner, viz. 


. . . 633 




y precious stones, 4 1 


No. 1. One bag of dust, gold, 

2. One bag of coined gold, 

and one in silver, . 

3. One bag of dust, gold, 

4. One bag of silver rings and sund 

5. One bag of unpolished stones, 

6. One piece of crystal, cornelian rings, two agates, 

two amethysts, 

7. One bag of silver buttons and lamps, 

8. One bag of broken silver, 

9. One bag of golden bars, 

10. One do. do. do. 

11. One bag of dust, gold, 

12. One bag of silver bars, 
Samuel Sewall, Nathl. Byfield, 
Jeremiah Dummer, Andw. Belcher 





If the proper owners of the foregoing certified treasure could 
but appear to tell their separate tales of woe, in their several 
losses of wealth and life, by the hands of the pirates, what an 
array of ghosts would appear. 

Flushing. — This ancient village was begun in 1644. Soon 
after it was visited by the Quakers, sundry of whom settled there. 
George Fox preached there in 1672, under the two great oaks 
still there, at the Bowne house. The Episcopal church was 
formed there in 1720, under the auspices of the Society for the 
Gospel in Foreign Parts. 

It has lately come to pass that by opening a railroad half through 

The Original Exploration of the Country. 37 

the length of Long Island, to the Babylon watering place, they 
have reached the wild pine lands, filled with " herds of tranquil 
deer." This, strange to tell in four hours move from New York, 
and we are sorry to add, with the prospect of their extermination, 
there having been as many as eight hundred of these foresters 
slain there within the last year !— all is going. 


" My soul, revolving periods past, looks back 
On all the former darings of that vent'rous race." 

The memorable landing day of the discoverer and his crew 
was on the 3^ September, 1609. On that day, so soft and genial 
as a grateful summer season, as Capt. Hudson was ranging the 
line of our Jersey sea-bound shore, in going northward from the 
mouth of the Delaware, which he had just before discovered, he 
beheld far a-head in the northwestern sky, the Highlands of 
Nave-sink, and not long after the lofty and woody lands of Staten 
Island ; both at once designating the locality and conferring the 
name of " the Great River of the Mountains." Such conspicu- 
ous objects seen far off at sea, and mounting upward into the 
calm blue sky, were too attractive and unusual not to invite a 
nearer approach and closer inspection. Their hearts beat high 
with vague and mysterious conceptions about the unknown — 
Terra Incognita. Examination alone could allay or repress the 
feverish curiosity of the mind, and to sail inward to the land, and 
to visit this new region of the west, became at once the object 
and the desire of every mariner. Little thought they, however, 
as they passed the sea-beach strand of Monmouth county, and 
looked ashore upon the rude and blank margin of Long Branch, 
of the improvement and fashionable resort to which it was des- 
tined ; and still less did they imagine they were to find and ex- 
plore a great river, which was to. take the name and confer an 
immortality of fame upon its discoverer and explorer. Thus 
events in time, sometimes trivial in themselves, become by the 
force of circumstances the counters of whole ages. 

The first land so made, on the day aforesaid, was Sandt Hook 
— Sandy Hook. There he observed the waters were swarming 
with fish, and he soon after sent his boat's crew with a net to 
procure a supply. The tradition has been that in so doing they 
first made ashore on Coney Island, (wishing perhaps to see the 
opposite side of the bay,) and that there Hudson was at first 
received by the natives, the Matouwacks. There they found 
vast numbers of plum-trees loaded with fruit, and manv of them 


38 The Original Exploration of the Country. 

surrounded and covered by grape vines. While the ship, the 
Half Moon, was at her anchorage at the Horse-shoe harbour, she 
was much visited by the natives of the Jersey shore, a race of 
Dela wares called Sanhikans ; they rejoicing greatly at the arri- 
val of the strangers, and bringing them for their acceptance green 
tobacco, dried currants or whortleberries, &c. The shores were 
lined with natives, wearing mantles of furs and feathers, and 
having copper ornaments and pipes. The crew on going ashore, 
were received with great cordiality, and were conducted ipr obser- 
vation some distance into the woods of Monmouth county. Dur- 
ing the week which was passed at this anchorage, a boat was 
sent with an exploring party to sound and examine the passage 
of the Narrows, called by them the Hoof den, or head lands ; but 
the men, in returning, were unexpectedly attacked by two passing 
canoes of 26 Indians, in which rencontre one Colman, an English- 
man, was killed, and two others wounded, by their arrows. The 
Indians were supposed to have acted in alarm, and seemed to 
have had no design of conquering, but made off as hastily as 
they could. Possibly they were of the same race who dwelt on 
York Island, and who, from their dread of reprisal, may have 
been afterwards so reluctant to free intercourse and trade. Col- 
man was buried at the Hook, at the place called Colman's 

The country thus discovered took the name of New Belgium 
(Nova Belgica) and New Netherland (Nieuw Nederlandt). The 
North River was called by Hudson, not after his own name, as 
we since should designate it, but "the Great River" — Groot 
Rivier. After the year 1623, it was sometimes named in writings 
the Mauritius, in honour of Prince Maurice; by others it was often 
called Manhattan river. But its most prevalent name in common 
acceptation was the Noordt Rivier (North River), both as a distinc- 
tion to the Delaware river, which they called their South River, 
and as discriminating it from the Oost Rivier — East River. To the 
Indians it was known as the Cohohatatea and Shatemuc, and 
Heckewelder says it bore the name of Mohicannittuck, meaning 
the River of the Mohiccans, who dwelt all along its eastern side. 

Staten Island was also called Staaten Eylandt by the Dutch, and 
Aquehonga Manacknong by the Indians residing there. They 
were Mohiccans, a tribe of the Lenni Lenape or Delawares. 
Seals were once numerous back of the Island, and in New York 
harbour, near to the Communipaw side. Robins' reef near there 
(originally spelt Robyns rift), meant the seals' place ; " Robyn" 
being the name of a seal. Governor's Island was originally 
called Nooten Eylandt, or Nut Island, in reference to its abun- 
dance of nut trees ; and was formerly nearly joined to Long Island 
by a low intervening morass and a small dividing creek. 

On the morning of the 12th SeptembeV, Capt. Hudson entered 
the mouth of the " Groot Rivier" and cast anchor, when 2S 

The Original Exploration of the Country. 39 

canoes, full of men, women, and children, came off to them ; but 
from fear of treachery they were not permitted to board. At 
noon his ship went onward two leagues higher. And now, having 
begun the memorable exploration of the river, we shall endeavour 
to mark his daily progress of ascent and descent, and carefully 
note the names of Indian tribes, and the names which they 
bestowed on localities ; for as their names were always expres- 
sive of things about the place, their preservation may some day 
serve to elucidate some dubious question in history. 

In two days more Hudson reached the high and wild regions 
of West Point, where, looking around upon the elevation of 1 500 
feet, he records that " the land grew very high and mountainous." 
These mountain regions bore the name of Mateawan ; and there 
the Indians held the traditionary tale of the fearful mammoth, 
called by them the Yagesho, which sometimes dismayed these 
highland Wabingi. The scenery was grand and sublime. " He 
perceived (says Moulton) at one time the narrow stream upon 
which he had entered, abruptly struggling with the angles of the 
hills, through broken rocks, under overhanging precipices, or 
along the base of perpendicular iron-bound summits, whose oppo- 
site sides indicated a former union which' some convulsion of nature 
had severed. Here a perpendicular presented, there a declivity ; 
here terrace rose upon terrace, there rocks upon rocks ; the whole 
a wild and magnificent scene." How their hearts must have 
throbbed with pure sublimity of emotion, seeing such rugged and 
horrific wilds, contemplating their own loneliness, so far in an 
unknown and dubious region ; fearing dangers, yet delighted 
with actual vision, with scenery so grand and picturesque ! 

By the 15th September he had passed the high mountains 
between Peekskill and Newburgh, making 50 miles in one day, 
and observing " great store of salmons in the river" (now all 
gone). He came at night to the place of the present Catskill 
Landing, where he found " a very loving people and a very old 
man, by whom he and his crew were very well used." The man- 
ner of this reception may be interesting now to contemplate. 
Hudson was taken ashore in one of their canoes with an old man, 
a chief The house he entered was neatly made of bark of trees, 
well finished within and without. He saw much of Indian corn 
and beans drying, enough to load three ships ; mats were spread 
to sit on, and eatables were immediately brought to them in 
wooden bowls. Two men were quickly sent off with bows and 
arrows for game, and soon returned with two pigeons. They 
also killed a/«/ dog, and skinned it with shells. Pumpkins, grapes, 
plums, and tobacco, grew about the place. 

The next day, the 17th, Hudson anchored in the neighbourhood 
of the present Hudson city, little dreaming then of his ever giving 
name to the place or to the river. About this place he lingered 
some time, as being near the head of navigation, and still more 

40 The Original Exploration of the Country. 

he rested near the same place on his return, by reason of head 
winds ; just as if there was some mysterious connection between 
his choice of a stopping-place and the choice made by posterity, 
in the year 1784, of a city in the same place to bear his dis- 
tinguished name ! It was in this vicinity that their eyes were 
gratified with the sublime heights of the Kaatberges, where the 
highest, the Round Top, lifted its awful form 3,800 feet. 

After making the necessary soundings, by boat, over the Over- 
slaugh, the yacht reached in safety the Castle Island just below 
Albany. She was of course of easy draft, and must have been 
a small vessel, though called a ship ; probably of the burthen of 
sixty tons. 

On the 1 9th September he again weighed anchor, and ascended 
six miles higher up ; thus making his highest point of ascension 
equal to the upper end of the present Albany. The particulars 
of his stay there are related under the article concerning that set- 

On the 23d, Hudson started on his return from Albany. In 
their descent they stopped in the neighbourhood of the present 
Red Hook, and caught within an hour " two dozen of mullets, 
breames, basses, and barbils.^^ When they anchored off the 
present Poughkeepsie, they were visited by some natives bring- 
ing with them Indian corn. 

By the 29th he had arrived at the head of the Highlands, 
called by him " the northernmost of the mountains," where he 
anchored in or near the bay of the present Newburgh ; and then 
he could not forbear to make the remark, since so obvious to 
others, that " here was a very pleasant place to build a towne.'* 
Newburgh, so beautiful in its aspect and surrounding scenery seen 
from the river, has every thing to delight the eye. At this place 
he was visited by the Wabingi. 

The next stopping-place was in the vicinity of Stony Point, 
and at the mouth of Haverstraw Bay. Here the natives, the 
proper Highlanders, came in numbers to the ship, expressing their 
admiration at what they saw of the great canoe and the white 
skins. One of them, in his eagerness to get something away 
which might gratify curiosity at home, had attempted clandes- 
tinely to enter the cabin windows, when the mate with heedless 
cruelty struck off his hand with a sabre, and the poor fellow fell 
back into the water and was drowned. 

The next day, the 2d of October, they reached the neighbour- 
hood of Fort Washington, where they were assailed with the 
arrowy of some assembled natives, who came off in canoes. 
Firearms and cannon were discharged in return, by which nine 
of the Indians were killed ; a deplorable severity. 

On the 4th October, Hudson " left the great mouth of the great 
river," and with full sail put off to sea. Thus terminated about 
one month of successful exploration, in a fine season, and with 

The Original Exploration of the Country. 41 

almost continual fine weather. He was just eleven days in ascend- 
ing and eleven more in returning. Several times he was grounded, 
but was readily got off. Such small vessels was the practice of 
the age. Vessels of from only 20 to 30 tons went out to Virginia, 
from England. A steam vessel, since, bearing the name of 
" Hudson,'^ performs now the same voyage in almost as many 
hours as Hudson then used days ! Such were the results to which 
he was so unconsciously opening his mtroductory measures. 

As a navigator, Hudson seems to have been prudent, skilful, 
dignified, and humane ; and well deserved to have lived to have 
witnessed some of the developments of his eventful discovery. 
But his noble career was soon closed. After arriving at Dart- 
mouth in England, on the 7th November, after a safe voyage, 
and acquiring great fame for his discovery, he embarked again 
in April 1610, on his favourite expedition — the discovery of the 
northwest passage to India. In the neighbourhood of Iceland 
his crew mutinied ; and on Sunday the 21st June, 1611, they 
forced Capt. Hudson and his youthful son, and seven others, adrift 
in a shallop ; and, painful to tell, they were never heard of more ! 
Whether they got to Digg's cape, which was purposed, and massa- 
cred; or whether involved in inextricable masses of driving ice 
and perished, heaven only knows. The mutineers, after much 
peril and sufferings of hunger, and a loss of more than half their 
number, reached Ireland September 6, 1611. 

None of the name of Hudson appeared to survive and to enjoy, 
as a family pre-eminence, the honours of this famed navigator, 
probably because he may have left no male issue. One of his 
family connection, Wm. Hudson, who settled at Philadelphia at 
the foundation of that city, was a distinguished man ; once a 
clergyman in Barbadoes, he became a friend, and left a respect- 
able family, now extinct in its male issue. 

Another exploration was instituted by the West India Company 
in sending out, in 1614, two ships commanded by Capt. Adrian 
Blok and Hendrick Christiaanse. The former arrived first, and 
his ship having accidentally biu:ned, he built another on the East 
River ; a first demonstration to the simple natives of the superior 
skill of the Charistooni — iron workers. With this vessel he made 
his examinations along that river to Helle-gadt. To the Sound 
he gave the name Groot Bai — great bay, and examined, as he 
proceeded, the places along its shores. At the far end he met 
with Schipper Christiaanse, and both vessels soon after proceeded 
to their investigations up the great river, the Hudson ; leaving 
behind them to perpetuate their memory Blok Island and Chris- 
tiaanse Eylandt, the same since called No Man's land or Martha's 
Vineyard. They proceeded up to Castle Island, Albany, and 
there made a settlement. 

It may be mentioned in conclusion, as to the nations and resi- 
dences of the Indians, that the Mohiccans (Mohicanni) dwelt on 
6 d2 

42 The First Colonists, 

the eastern side of the Hudson, from the Tappan sea up to its 
head. The Mohawks (spelt Maquas and Mackwaas) held all the 
western side, from the head waters to the Kaatskill mountains. 
The Wabingi, called Wappingers in later years by the English, 
together with the Sankikani, occupied from thence down to Am- 
boy bay. The Mohawks on the western side, were in general 
unfriendly to the Mohiccans on the other side, and eventually 
became their conquerors. 

The " Racks'' so called, along the river, were Dutch names for 
Reaches. Thus Martelaers rack meant the Martyr's reach or 
struggling place ; Lange rack, was Long reach ; and Klauver 
rack. Clover reach, &c. 

It might perhaps serve to show the former peaceful state of 
the Hudson waters, to state a fact recorded by Vanderdonck, as 
a fact known to himself at the time, and sufficiently strange to us 
now, that in the spring of 1647, two lohales swam up the river 
many miles : one returned and stranded about 10 or 12 miles 
from the sea-shore ; the other kept on, and stranded not far from 
Cahoe's Falls, at what is since called Whale Island, opposite the 
city of Troy. The oil was secured by the inhabitants, but the 
flesh long tainted the air of the country. Kalm, in 1749, con- 
firmed the above in saying it was then a report at Albany 
that a whale had once got up the river quite to the town ; he 
also mentioned that porpoises even then occasionally got up 


« First in the race, that won their country's fame." 

The earliest colonists who came out for professed purposes of 
permanent settlement, were those brought out in 1623, in the ship 
of Capt. Kornelis Jacobse Mey. Soon after, two ships of the 
West India Company brought out as professed agriculturists, the 
Waalons from the river Waal, and having for their first governor 
or director, Peter Minuit. They appear to have settled in 1625 
upon Long Island, at a bend of the shore at Brooklyn, called 
Wal-bocht, a word importing the fVaaloo7i bend : a place since 
noted for being, as its high river bank, the depository of eleven 
thousand of the American dead, from the prison ships in the 
time of the war of the revolution. Jan Joris Rapaelje appears to 
have been their chief man ; and his daughter Sarah, born 9th 
June, 1625, and afterwards the widow Foley, was long honoured 
as " the jirst-horn child ;" and for that cause was presented a 
tract of land by the governor, in consideration of that distinction 
and her widowhood. 

The First Colonists. 43 

The terms of encouragement to agriculturists and settlers was 
great, and especially to those who should go out to the " Groot 
Rivier" of Hudson, with the enterprise, force, and capital of 
Patroons; a name denoting something baronial and lordly in 
rank and means. They were such as should undertake to plant 
a colony of fifty souls, upwards of fifteen years old ; taking them 
out, if needful, in divisions of a fourth each in four years. To 
such the preference was given in absolute property, of such lands 
as they should choose, being four miles along the river and as far 
back as they desired ; and all goods which they should want at 
any time imported, was to be done for them at $lh a ton. The 
passengers were to have been transported in the ships of the 
company, paying only for passage and provisions six stuyvers 
daily, equal to but \2h. cents per day. Only think what an in- 
considerable sum to allure emigrants to settle a land such as New 
York is now known to be. And yet but very few so took up 
lands as virtual lords of manors ! All other individuals going out 
as settlers, were free to take up as much land " as they should 
have ability and property to improve ;" and provided also, that 
" they should satisfy the Indians for the land they should settle 
upon.^^ One of the most exceptionable features in the terms, in 
our sense of morality now, was, that the company would " use 
their endeavour to supply the colonists with as many blacks as 
they conveniently can." To this cause the hateful traffic began ; 
and the Indians who first saw them, pronounced them a race of 
devils. Killian Van Renselaer, a director and merchant of Am- 
sterdam, was among the first-named Patroons, who procured his 
location at and about the present Albany, to which lands he in 
1630 gave the name of Renselaerwyck. The Patroon himself 
settled on the first large island below the present Albany, where 
he laid out a place called Renselaerburgh. Those who can now 
pass the place in the steamboats should look out the position, and 
reflect on its change from then to now ! The same family, now 
resident in Albany, and very wealthy, bear now the name of "/Ae 
Patroon.^' Michael Pauuw, another director, took up the lands 
of "'Hohocan Hackingh, lying opposite the island Manhates," 
New York, to which he gave the name of Pavonia; but as he 
never made any settlements, his lands reverted. 

Although we are accustomed, after the early declaration of 
Vanderdonck, to regard Hudson as the first visiter at Manhattan, 
it is nevertheless, supposed to be true, that one of Verrazzano's 
vessels had before visited Sandy Hook, as early as 1524, being 
eighty-five years preceding the arrival of the Half Moon. 

The first trading house of the Dutch being surrounded by a 
palisade, took the name of the first fort — this was in 1615. Its 
site was the place now known as Bunker's Hotel, on Broadway. 
A real fort was erected in 1623-4, in a square form, on the then 
bank of the North River, along the west side of the Trinity church. 

44 The First Colonists. 

Governor's Island, so called because it was always regarded 
as a perquisite attached to their office, was originally so near to 
Red Hook, main land, that cattle crossed the channel to and fro 
at low water. Gov. Keift had a plantation on the island which 
he leased for 150 lb. of tobacco per year. His farm at Paulus 
Hook he sold to Planck for £75. 

Fort Amsterdam was finished by Van T wilier, on the then 
hluff, in 1640. The church within the fort was built under 
Gov. Keift, in 1642-3, and its first minister was the Rev'd John 
Megapolensis. He published a short description of the country. 
He says that strawberries were so plenty in the fields, that they 
were accustomed to go and lie down among them to eat them, 
and that good grapes were in much abundance. The Indians 
went nearly naked in summer, and wore bear and other skins for 
clothing in winter. 

There are several instances of the Dutch making purchases of 
lands in- given places from the Indians, sufficient to show that it 
was their general practice to make terms with the Indians, as 
proper proprietors of the soil. Staten Island was so purchased. 

The Dutch church, in Garden street, was built about the year 
1693. The middle church in 1729. 

The Trinity Church was built in 1696. The Friends in the 
same year built their meeting-house in Crown street, since Lib- 
erty street. 

Before 1700, the ordinary transactions of the country were paid 
in produce — six bushels of corn was the price for killing a wolf. 
A minister was paid £60 a year in wheat or corn, — even decrees 
in court, were sometimes paid in the same way. The minister 
at Albany had one hundred and fifty beavers. 

Gov. Petrus Stu3rvesant, arrived from Amsterdam the 27th May, 
1647. He had been before wounded in Curracoa, and lost his 
leg, and in lieu of it had a wooden one, banded with silver straps, 
called his silver leg ! He married when here, Judith Bayard, 
one of the Hugonot emigrants. 

Doctor Adrian Vanderdonck, in his account of New Nether- 
lands, where he had resided fifteen years, published in 1653, 
speaks of sundry facts, to wit : they cultivated vineyards and in- 
troduced grape of foreign stock, and sent out vine-dressers from 
Heidelberg— they had also a botanic garden, where much of the 
wild flowers of the country were gathered. They also tried 
canary seed, " which did well." The Indian hunting season is 
about Christmas — deer are then fattest. The woods were made 
open and clear by the Indian practice of burning the under brush. 
The Indians constructed long narrow wigwams, to contain many 
families in the same structure ; the roof was formed of wide bark, 
one hole in the top to let out the smoke. Their towns or castles 
were stockaded with logs and palisades. Their general remedy 
for disease was fasting or sweating. They despised falsehood^ 

Early Inland Settlements. 45 

but fell from this as they mixed more and more with the settlers. 
They went out in large parties for beavers, and staid out from 
one to two months, bringing home generally forty to eighty skins 
a man, besides other skins. They used bows and arrows and 
clubs and large shields. 

The town wall from river to river, raised as a defence along 
Wall street, was first erected of stones and earth by Gov. Stuy- 
vesant, in 1653. 

The daily meeting of the merchants was determined by the 
order of Gov. Lovelace, in 1699, to be near the Bridge, at the 
foot of Broad ' street. It afterwards became the locality of the 

In 1682, the population of New York as officially returned, 
was upwards of 2000 souls, besides slaves, and 207 houses. 

In 1686, the province contained twenty-four villages, in six 
circuits, the militia was 4000 and the inhabitants 20,000. About 
the same timie, slaves were brought from Barbadoes, and sold for 

The first case on record in the Mayor's Court, in 1672, is in 
Dutch, the others which follow are all in English. 

The word ^'Eos'^ had a meaning to the Dutch of New York a 
century ago, not since as well understood. It was originally 
written and printed Baas, and literally means Master — a name, 
howbeit, which many of our republican labourers feel disposed to 
reject, although they like well enough to acknowledge a Bos. 

Staten Island, so majestic and grand in its elevation, was the 
favourite spot of the primitive Dutch settlers. It was first bought 
from the Indians for Michael Pauw, by a deed on record, dated 
10 August, 1630. The Indians again sold it in 1638, to Heer 
Melyn, and afterwards, strange to tell, they again sold it to 
Baron Van Cappellen. But the colony of Van Cappellen being 
assaulted and massacred by the Raritan Indians, the Island was 
confirmed to Heer Melyn. 


« Bold master spirits — where they touch'd they gain'd 
Ascendance, — where they fix'd their foot, they reigned," 

For numerous years after the first settlement, Albany consti- 
tuted the ultima Thule — the remotest point of interior civilization 
and improvement. Even as late as the war of independence, the 
present flourishing towns of Troy and Lansingburghwere scarcely 
named. Saratoga Springs and Ballstown, now so famed and fash- 
ionable, were in their native barrens. 

46 Early Inland Settlements. 

Kinderhook, Esopus, Rhinebeck, were among the earliest 
Dutch settlements along the banks of the Hudson. They are 
mentioned as early as 1651 by Joost Hartgers; and in 1656 by 
Vanderdonck. Esopus having been made a place of depot for 
our military stores, was assaulted in 1777 by the British General 
Vaughan, and taken and burnt. 

Old as Kinderhook was, as an early settlement, yet it was visited 
by hostile Indians, in comparatively modern times. 

In the year 1755, as some half dozen of the inhabitants were 
working in their corn field at that place, they were fired upon by 
as many Indians ; our people ran to their arms, whereby two of 
the Indians were killed. 

Soon after, between 30 and 40 Indians again appeared and 
were pursued by Robert Livingston and 40 men. At Claverack, 
there was also a small inroad and assault of Indians. 

As late as the year 1764 the Indians attacked a family near 
Kinderhook, assaulting six persons in the field when hoeing 
corn. They had their guns with them, and used some of them. 
One Gardner fought bravely, and being wounded, was scalped 
and yet survived it all ! 

Rhinebeck, as well as Strausburgh nigh it, were at an early 
period much occupied by Germans. The former place, in 1749, 
had its separate church and German pastor, the Rev. Mr. Hartu- 
rig. The Germans were encouraged to settle in New York state 
in the time of Queen Anne. Several got dissatisfied there and 
moved into Pennsylvania, under some encouragements received 
from Gov. Sir W. Keith. 

Saratoga springs, are in what was the Mohawk's country. 
They were discovered by a party of surveyors in 1770, while the 
country was still a wilderness. Our troops at Saratoga in the 
revolutionary war used them : but the earliest regular notice of 
them was in a communication of Dr. Tanney of the army, who 
in Sept. 1783, writing to a scientific society said, " I think they 
only want a suitable introduction to the world, and some conve- 
nient houses for boarders and lodging patients, to render them of 
important service to the country.'' 

It is supposed that the Indians may have known and used them 
before the whites. 

The village of Saraghtoga near Albany, was announced in the 
Gazette of 1745, as having been destroyed by Indians, and as 
many as ninety persons were missing. A friendly Indian reported 
that he had seen as many as sixty of these prisoners going off to 
Canada. Upon this intelligence troops at New York were ordered 
oiF for Albany. 

Since then how wonderfully important has Saratoga become ! 
Once a deeply sandy place, now, macadamized and adorned with 
spreading elms. Once its pine lands were an uncultivated waste, 
now they have learned to make them into cultivated and profita- 

' Early Inland Settlements. 47 

ble farms. Almost every year some new fountain is discovered, 
and all superior in their kind. The new fountains near the Pavi- 
lion, are evidences that others of equal excellence will hereafter 
be discovered. If the consecrated springs of England, though 
much inferior, had their saints and shrines to give them counte- 
nance to exact gifts from their grateful beneficiaries, in the form 
of pilgrims and devotees, as at the pool of St. Nun, the holy well 
of St. Wenefrede, of St. George, St. ^han,St. Cheyne,St. John, 
&c., may we not with classic and mythological remembrance 
invoke Hygeia, to assign to every spring a nymph, or a minor 
deity ! Whether or not, we shall doubtless see Temples in some 
form, erected on their sites, where the infirm and the world of 
fashionables, will crowd to ofier their tributes. 

In the time of the summer visits to Saratoga and Ballstown, 
steamboats in the top season arrive at Albany, surcharged with 
gay travellers — " six hundred passengers in the North America" 
— " 450 in the Erie," &c. 

How it might astonish the former Dutch burghers to arise 
again and see such wonders as steam vessels and their passengers 
at their wharves, — canals of 300 miles in length, railroads to the 
springs, newspapers too, daily ones, every day at their tables from 
all the cities of the Union, and those of New York city at their 
tea-tables, the same day they were printed ! All these wonders 
wrought within the term of a short life ! It is something to have 
lived in such an era, it even beats the stirring incidents of the 
Revolution, which happened whilst we were no7i est. 

Lake George, &c. — This little lake and its vicinity, is full of 
historical recollections and exciting imagery of the past. Its 
original name of Horicon, being the most poetical, is thus apos- 
trophised by poetry itself, to wit : 

And here thou art sweet Horicon, the same 
As when of old thy silvery bosom bore 
Armies in bright array, in taarch of fame, 
Of conquest, glory, and of something more — 
Of Empire — aye : — and long did barb'rous war 
In blood, wheel round thee his destructive car. 

Along this lake are now the quiet remains of forts and defences 
— such as Fort George and Fort William Henry. There, had been 
the gallant Montcalm with his besieging army compelling a sur- 
render which eventuated in a massacre of our people, by the 
savage Indians — on this lake. General Abercrombie in 1758, em- 
barked his 15,000 men for his attack upon Ticonderoga. In later 
years, our gallant Colonel Allen surprised and captured the same 
fortress. — Now, all the forts are demolished ; all is hushed in peace 
and silence, save when boat parties wake the echoes which strongly 
reverberate along these waters, and among the numerous islets of 

46 Early Inland Settlements. 

the narrow lake. How few now survive of our soldier defenders, 
to be witnesses of the present pleasure parties of travellers, who 
now contemplate these regions as only formed for delight. 

But we could still tell a tale of terror to many of this same re- 
gion. 'Twas only in the past year, that two men on the East 
side of the Tongue mountain, killed in the course of three days, 
eleven hundred and six rattle-snakes, found among the rocks and 
the prevailing solitudes. 

Some Scotch presbyterians went out early under the auspices 
of the Livingston family. At the first settlement of Albany, 
Livingston was secretary to the Dutch government, his family 
being at the same time, Brownists in Holland, from Scotland. I 
have seen an autograph letter of his mother to his address, written 
from Amsterdam when in the eightieth year of her age, and pro- 
viding therein for his receiving out fifty of that people at a time, 
as his working men, to serve seven years a-piece for only food 
and raiment ; all for the sake of freedom of conscience. The 
Livingston family settled near Hudson city ; and one of the Liv- 
ingstons (Robert) in later years (1752) took up 300,000 acres of 
forest land, extending from Esopus to the Delaware river, and 
proposing to rent them out forever on the condition of fifty bushels 
of wheat her one hundred acres yearly. 

Hudson city is but a modern affair, having been, till the year 
1 784 cultivated as a farm. It was then purchased by a few enter- 
prising persons of capital from the eastward, chiefly for the pur- 
pose of conducting there the whale fishery to the Pacific ocean. 
Such was its rapid progress, that in two years there were as many 
as one hundred and fifty dwelling-houses erected. During the 
snowy winter of 1786, it was visited daily, it was said, by one- 
thousand two hundred sleds, bringing in and taking out articles 
of traffic. It is deemed at the head of tide water and ship navi- 

Newburgh existed before the revolution ; and being a place 
beautifully situated, and not far from West Point, it was occasion- 
ally made a place of visit and relaxation by General Wash- 
ington, and other superior officers serving during that war at 
that post. 

The Hasbrook House, at Newburgh, acquired an eminence and 
just fame (though but of one story high,) as having been the hum- 
ble quarters of General Washington. Thoughlowin roof, itcovered 
ground enough to contain many rooms. There, was received and 
entertained by the General and his lady, many distinguished men 
and officers of the Revolution. A fine engraving has been made 
of it by Weir, with all its adjacent woodland shade. In the year 
1834, it was advertised for sale "as built in the Dutch style, and 
being the ?7io,9^ ancient anddurable building above the highlands," 
— also as having been " said by General Washington and his offi- 
cers, to surpass any other situation on the Hudson, for beauty and 

Arrival of Hudson at Sandy Hook, 1609, p. 3. 

Hasbrook House, Washington's QuartrrP, p. 4S. 


Early Inland Settlements. 49 

grandeur of prospect." Do any of the picturesque seekers and 
travellers know it now ? 

Square and rough hewn, and solid in the mass, 
And ancient, beside yon rock-ribb'd hills — 
There let me reverent tread, for 
There the spirits of the dead are still 
In memory, and in fame and name. 
Let no rash hand, attempt its 
Desecration, — for here the great Patriot 
Once had trod — trod by him. 
Who fought to make us free ! 

When General Washington was at West Point, and Newburgh, 
&c., in 1779, he wrote a facetious letter to Dr. Cochran, the Direc- 
tor General of the Hospitals, which will well serve to show the 
specimen of the homely fare of his table, and serve as a vestige 
of the Hasbrook house and its concomitants, to wit : 

"West Point, Aug. 16, 1779. 
Dear Doctor, 

I have asked Mrs. Cochran and Mrs. Livingston, to dine with 
me to-morrow ; but ought I not to apprise you of their fare ? As 
I hate deception, even when imagination is concerned, I will. ^ 

It is needless to premise that my table is large enough to hold 
the ladies — of this they had ocular demonstration yesterday. To 
say how it is usually covered, is rather more essential, and this 
shall be the purport of my letter. 

Since my arrival at this happy spot, we have had a ham, 
sometimes a shoulder of bacon to grace the head of the table. A 
piece of roast beef adorns the foot, and a small dish of green beans 
— almost imperceptible, decorates the centre. When the cook has 
a mind to cut a figure ; and this I presume he will attempt to- 
morrow, we have two beef-steak pies or dishes of crabs in addition, 
one ou'each side of the centre dish, dividing the space and reduc- 
ing the distance between dish and dish, to about six feet, which 
without them, would be nearly twelve apart. Of late, he has 
had the surprising luck to discover that apples will make pies ; 
and it is a question if, amidst the violence of his ejfforts, we do 
not get one of apples, instead of having both of beef. 

If the ladies can put up with such entertainment, and submit 
to partake of it on plates, once tin, but now iron—not become so, 
by the labour of scouring, I shall be happy to see them. 

Dear sir, yours, 

George Washington." 

Such a letter is a choice relic of the days of self-denial, self- 
devotion and peril, and presents us with a lively picture of the 
Hero and his domestic state. But above all, it is almost a solitary 
7 E 

$0 Early Inland Settlements, 

proof of his power to be playful and merry, for the adaptation of 
female society. 

What a pity if is, that we have not also a description from one 
or both of the ladies of that " feast of reason and flow of soul," 
as it really occurred, at such an eventful crisis. What a fine 
subject for a chapter, from a female witness and observer is thus 

Strange, that so many should have had chances to see such 
peculiar things, and yet never have had a thought of setting 
them down upon paper, — but allow them quietly to die with 
themselves ! But so goes the world ! " What is remembered dies, 
what is written lives ;" and therefore, so far, this record now. 

The Mohawk river, extending far westward through a narrow 
and long valley of fruitful soil, presented the earliest allurement 
for agricultural purposes inland ; and yet it was not until after 
the war of independence that it began to be sought after by white 
men. Filled as it now is with a prosperous and wealthy popula- 
tion ; planted with numerous thriving villages, traced along its 
margin with the recent grand canal, and made the line of the 
grand tour to Niagara by numerous passengers from the opulent 
sea-board cities ; yet it was not far beyond the period of that war, 
when it was still the beaver country of the aborigines or their 
wigwam locations ; and the general region of country, their hunt- 
ing ground, through which ranged bears, foxes, wolves, deer, and 
other game ; the Indians themselves calling the lands Couxsa- 
chraga — the dismal wilderness. 

Men are still alive while we write this (in 1830,) who in the 
time of the revolutionary war, were in the defence of several of 
its military redoubts as frontier posts. Mr. Parrish, Indian agent, 
now resident at Canandaigua, was with a predatory party of In- 
dians as a prisoner when they came into the neighbourhood of 
the present town of Herkimer, only eighty miles westward of 
Albany. Col. Fry of Conojohari, above ninety years of age, still 
alive, was commissary for these outposts in the " old French 
war." In his vicinity^ at the town of Mohawk, but thirty-six 
miles west of Albany, at the junction of the Schoharie creek with 
the river Mehawk, is the old Mohawk town ; and their old church, 
still there, is the same built as a missionary station in the reign of 
Queen Anne, having Fort Hunter to cover and defend it from 
predatory enemies. At this very place the Mohawks were actu- 
ally dwelling as a nation until the year 1780. 

Not far from the " Little Falls," now so romantic and picturesque 
by reason of its rocky rapids and the expensive constructions for 
the canal along its margin, once stood the advance post of Fort 
Herkimer. An old church near it, by lock No. 28, is still standing, 
which was used as a place of defence against an Indian assault, 
even in the time of the Revolution. From the village of Herki- 
mer up to Canada creek, a distance of fourteen miles, are the very 

Early Inland Settlements, 51 

lands, embracing now the present fashionable resort and elegant 
place of entertainment, called " the Trenton Falls," which were 
once given by King Hendricks, our good ally, to Gen. Sir Wm. 
Johnson, who had taken his wife from the Indian race. King 
Hendricks himself lived at " Indian Castle" on the Mohawk 
river, sixty-six miles from Albany. As late as the revolution, a 
son of Sir Wm. Johnson, coming from Canada, made a hostile 
incursion with his Indians through all these lands, once his 
father's ! 

At the present flourishing city of Utica, only ninety-five miles 
west of Albany, once the site of old Fort Schuyler, the settlement 
is so recent that in 1794 it had but two houses ; and in 1785 the 
whole region of country had but two families, dwelling in log 
houses as advance pioneers : says Judge Hugh White, after whom 
Whitestown is since named, and Moses Foot. From Utica to 
Canandaigua, they travelled for several years by "blazed paths;" 
that is, by chipping pieces out of trees, to show the traveller his 
way through boundless forests. 

Dr. Elezier Mosely, who died in 1833, at the age of seventy- 
three, was one of the earliest settlers of Whitestown, having come 
there soon after Judge White had begun the settlement. He had 
been the first appointed Postmaster at Schenectady, and wishing 
to have a post from their new place, it would not be granted un- 
less the inhabitants themselves would bear the expense. This 
was agreed to, and Judge Piatt, Thomas R. Gold and others of 
the first settlers, took it under contract for six years ; but at the 
end of three or four years, so much had the postage increased 
beyond government expectation, that it bought back the contract, 
by paying a considerable sum for the indulgence ! 

At first, the western mail was carried from Albany once a week, 
in a valise on the shoulders of a footman, — the same individual 
to whom the same route of country has since been so much 
indebted for Stage conveyances ! 

Such facts sufficiently evince the rapid progress of settlements ! 

When Utica first began its career, John Jacob Astor, and Peter 
Smith, travelled the ground from Schenectady to Utica, purchasing 
furs at the Indian settlements on the route. The Indians aided 
them in carrying them back to Schenectady. They opened a 
store in New York city for their sale — and when their stock was 
exhausted, they again penetrated the lonely forests of the frontiers 
and replenished their store. Astor continued his business many 
years, but Smith commenced the purchase of land, and died at 
Schenectady very rich. 

Summers went and came, and wave after wave of emigration, 
rolled up the long defile of the Mohawk. Mark the change — 
Judge Smith died leaving millions of acres to his heirs — but lived 
long enough, to travel from Schenectady to Utica in four hours. 
And to-day, when the smi's evening rays shall hide from the un- 

8^ Early Inland Setllements. 

dimmed eye of John Jacob Astor, behind the blue hills of Jersey, 
its vertical beams will be falling on his fur traders of our new 
ultima thule, the mouth of the Oregon. Bishop Berkely never 
dreamed of such changes, when he penned the line, — 

" Westward the star of empire takes its way." 

The name of the late Judge Peter Smith, — father of the present 
Gerritt Smith, Esq., of Peterboro', stands in an interesting con- 
nexion with the first white settlement in central New York, and 
especially with the small beginnings of the city of Utica. 

In the year 1787, Judge Smith, not yet twenty years of age, 
left his clerkship in the store of Abraham Herring, an importing 
merchant in the city of New York, to seek his fortune, inland. 
He went to Fall Hill, near the village of Little Falls, and opened 
store. The following year, he built a log store at Fort Schuyler, 
(now Utica.) The ground for it, which is now a part of that oc- 
cupied by the celebrated "Bagg's Tavern," he leased of the widow 
Daymuth, at the annual rent of a pound of bohea tea I There 
were at that time, three other log, but no frame buildings, at Fort 
Schuyler. Mr. John Post spent six weeks there the previous 
year, in selling goods to the Indians : but Judge Smith was before 
him and all others, in establishing a store at Fort Schuyler. 

Judge Smith frequently referred to "the Kanes," who had 
stores at Canojoharie and Whitestown, as his most formidable 
rivals for the trade with the Dutchmen and Indians. The late 
Elisha Kane of Philadelphia, was one of " the Kanes." Among 
the stories of olden time, with which he was wont to make him- 
self and friends merry, was that of Judge Smith's inviting him to 
dine with him on a hen which he was fattening for the occasion. 
On arriving at Utica, he found the lonely hen, tied by the leg, 
and still under the fattening process. 

It is worthy of mention, that in the early times of which we 
are speaking, while Mr. Astor was associated with his friend 
Peter Smith, in the purchase of furs from the Indians, and also in 
the purchase of various tracts of land that Mr. Astor cherishes 
lively and pleasant reminiscences of their visit to Oneida Castle, 
and other groups of Indian habitations in its vicinity. It is hardly 
probable, that it was amongst the dreams of the business-efforts 
of these young gentlemen, that one of them should acquire one 
of the largest estates, and the other the very largest estate, ever 
acquired in this country. 

Judge Smith frankly confessed, that he was indebted to the 
Oneida Indians for a large share of his wealth. He spoke their 
language fluently, and had great influence with them. The 
steady friendship for him of their distinguished chief, Skenandon, 
who died, very aged, in 1815, induced the Judge to name his 
eldest son, Skenandon; — a circumstance which added to the 
family influence with those warm-hearted sons of the forest. 

Early Inland Settlements. 53 

The good Abraham Van Eps, of Vernon, is perhaps, the only- 
survivor of the conspicuous gentleman, who, in the times which 
we are contemplating, became well acquainted with the Oneidas, 
and acquired the knowledge of their language. 

The worthy Judge Dean, of Westmoreland, was another of 
those who were ingratiated with those Indians ; and when my 
kinsman, the late Dr. Azel Backus, President of Hamilton Col- 
lege, preached the funeral sermon of Skenandon, Judge Dean, 
acted as the interpreter of the discourse, to the assembled Indians. 

At Fort Stanwix, called also New Fort Schuyler, still seen in its 
elevated embankments, — on the site where now the town of 
Rome is flourishing, at but a few miles beyond Utica, was once 
sustained a most deadly and protracted conflict with Indians, by 
the late aged Col. Marius Willet, of New York city. 

Even until now, the Oneida Indians themselves, a little beyond 
Utica, are settled in their oAvn town, the " Oneida Castle ;" dwell- 
ing in their own houses, and cultivating their own lands ; occa- 
sionally saluting the travelling tourists passing the place on the 
turnpike road, and sending out their racing children to hold up 
hands for a few pennies. The Onondagoes were settled only 20 
miles westward of them ; and it was only as late as the year 
1779, that Gen. Clinton went out with a regiment from Albany 
against them, surprised their town, killing fourteen, and bringing 
off thirty-three prisoners. 

As we leave Utica, we enter upon the " New York military 
lands," containing 28 townships, severally ten miles square ; "the 
proud and splendid monument of the gratitude of New York to 
her revolutionary heroes ; giving to each of her soldiers five-hun- 
dred and fifty acres of lands, now so valuable.'' The very gift 
of such lands, since the revolution, for services then performed, is 
itself the evidence of the recent cultivation of all those districts, 
now so essentially adding to the aggrandisement of this great 
state. Had the poor soldiers been individually benefited by this 
generosity, and their descendants have found an easy home on 
the soil, the reflection would be much more grateful ; but rapa- 
cious speculators, in most instances, were the beneficiaries ! 

Those military lands extended as far west as the Seneca lake, 
at which place begins the eastern boundary of that great purchase 
of the celebrated pioneer, Oliver Phelps, who in 1787 purchased 
the immense and unexplored wilds of the west, from the line of 
that lake to the west boundary of the state, comprising a mass 
of six millions of acres, for the inconsiderable sum, as we now 
think it, of one million of dollars. To this Cecrops, this primary 
adventurer, the people of the west owe a lasting monument of 
gratitude and praise, for his successful efforts in opening to them 
and their children, their happy Canaan. 

In the year 1788, 0. Phelps first penetrated the wilderness, 
making his departure from Plerkimer, the then most advanced 

E 2 

54 Early Inland Settlements. 

settlement. Going thence, one hundred and thirty miles, through 
wilds and Indian hunting grounds, to an Indian settlement, the 
present Canandaigua, a name then importing chosen place, where 
he held a treaty with the Six Nations, and purchasing from them, 
their grant to the same, as far as to the Genessee river. In the 
next year he opened his land office in that town, the first in 
America, for the sale of forest lands to settlers, and giving a model, 
since adopted, for selling all new lands in the United States, by 
"townships and ranges." In 1790 Phelps sold out 1:? millions 
of his grant, to Robert Morris, the celebrated financier, for only acre ; and he again sold it to Sir W. Pulteney, whose land 
office is now opened at Geneva and Bath. In 1796 Robert Mor- 
ris made a further purchase of about two thirds of the western 
part, a part of which he sold out to the " Holland Land Com- 
pany," which company in 1801 opened their land office at Batavia. 
Canandaigua and Geneva, now such elegant towns, so dehght- 
fuUy placed by their several picturesque lakes, had all their first 
houses constructed of logs. But wild as the country was, it was 
all traversed in the summer of 1792-3, by the present Philip, king 
of France, and his two brothers, all on horseback, and making 
their rest for a short time at Canandaigua, at the house of Thomas 
Morris. Finally, such was the early history of a woody waste of 
country, so little valued then, and now so populous and produc- 
tive. Through such regions, original settlers made their way, 
with families, cattle, provisions, wagons, and carts ; crossing 
waters without bridges ; sleeping and eating in forests ; and, 
finally, dwelling without shelter, until they could build a log house 
and home. The obstacles, and hazards and perils, which beset a 
pioneer family, going through a wilderness of hundreds of miles ; 
their constructing of rafts and canoes, at water courses ; their 
swimming of horses, oxen, sheep, hogs, &c. ; their occasional mis- 
haps and losses ; their hopes and fears ; altogether, might form an 
eventful tale of truth. Such a tale has been well told of Laurie 
Todd, (G. Thorburn of New York) in his " Settlers" — showing 
the operations of the Pioneers, at Genessee. 

In the very midst of those great purchases of Phelps, and where 
his earliest efforts were concentred, is now the great and wonder- 
fully prosperous town of Rochester, filled with wealth, and 
luxury and elegance : having a population in 1827 of eight thou- 
sand persons, and not one adult a native of the place / for then 
the oldest person living, born in the place, was not seventeen 
years of age ! The site was originally given to 0. Phelps by 
the Indians, as a mill seat, in allusion to which they called him 
Kauskonchicos, " waterfall." The very territory in which it was 
situated, was but forty years ago the hunting ground of such rem- 
nants of the Six Nations as survived the chastisement of Gen. 
Sullivan ; and many a veteran warrior is still alive, on the neigh- 
bouring reservations of Canawagus, Tonewanda, and Tuscarora, 

Early Inland Settlements. 55 

&c., to recount to their surviving sons the exploits of his meridian 
vigour, when not a white man's axe had been lifted in all their 
forests ! In the time of the revolution, the Six Nations were in 
alliance with Great Britain, and in hostility with us ; but in 1779 
they were entirely defeated, and their towns destroyed. 

Rochester, so remarkable in its recent creation, and in its rapid 
improvement, is already a city. Its water power, so famous, is 
capable of an exertion to the value of ten millions of dollars 
annually. It already (in 1835) has twenty-one flour mills, with 
ninety-five runs of stone, capable of making five thousand bar- 
rels of flour a day ; thus consuming the incredible quantity of 
twenty-thousand bushels of wheat. Besides all this, it has many 
large establishments, working by water power in manufactories. 
It has one very large manufactory for woolen carpets, one for 
rifles, one for edge tools. This place, published the first daily 
paper west of Albany, now it prints two ; and has besides, six 
weekly prints. The revenue of its post-office, and canal collec- 
tion office, is now greater than any place west of Albany. 

Buffalo too, now a second time a city, and aspiring to be the 
* New York of the lake,' was only a frontier fort, at which were 
assembled in 1796, for the last time, in treaty, with one thousand 
Indians, the last remains of the once mighty Six Nations. There, 
they then relinquished to us their feeble claims to their once vast 
domains ! 

Can we contemplate such wonderful transitions, in so short a 
term of years, and not exclaim with amazement, " behold, what 
a land of successful change we possess!" All these changes, 
wrought, within the lives of numerous patriarchal pioneers, still 
alive, who live to see turnpikes and canals traversing the same 
lands where they, for several years, had only "blazed paths;" and 
comfortable or splendid mansions replacing, throughout all the 
country, the former log houses, with their wooden chimnies, and 
their bark or stave roofs ! The same lands have, in the hands of 
the sons of toil, been made to rise to incalculable value; and all 
this, effected in a term so short, that the burnt stumps of the 
"cleared lands," peeping from among the luxuriant fields of grain, 
like black bears, are still every where visible along the public 

Those who may be favoured to travel through all these west- 
ern lands, on the route of- the " grand tour" to Niagara ; who 
see now good turnpike roads, first rate stages and extras, and 
splendid hotels, wherever they go ; must bear in mind, that all 
these are the erections of only a few years : that it is only since 
the peace with Great, Britain of 1816, that such accommodations 
for travellers were created ; that the roads, in that desperate 
" border war," were then terribly rude and toilsome, filled m nu- 
merous places with " cord du roy" annoyances of logs. Niagara, 
now so splendid, was still " old fort Schlosser :" and the single 

56 Early Inland Settlements. 

house of entertainment, was a log tavern, where travellers took 
every thing as rough as the rude scenery of the Niagara itself. 
Let the traveller contemplate too the splendid enterprise of the 
Grand Canal, stretching through a former woody waste of 360 
miles ; see on its bosom the numerous vehicles gliding through 
the surrounding forest foliage, bearing and scattering riches and 
plenty, to every village and hamlet along its shores ; then reflect, 
on the active commerce, now traversing every lake and inland 
sea, where was lately loneliness and solemn stillness : the heart 
must exult in the contemplation, it must apostrophise our sires, 
and say, 

" Ye who toil'd 

Through successive years, to build us up 

A prosperous plan, behold at once 

The wonder done ! 

Here cities rise amid th' illumin'd waste, 

O'er joyless deserts smiles the rural reign; — 

Far distant flood to flood is social joined. 

And navies ride on seas that never foam'd 

With darinsT keel before !" 

We proceed now to give, in specific detail, our several historical 
notices of the rise and progress of the earliest inland settlements, 
westward of Schenectady — namely: 

Johnstown, Schoharie, Cherry Valley, German Flats, Her- 
kimer, and Fort Schuyler, 


This place, near the Mohawk, was chosen as the home and 
settlement of Sir Wm. Johnson, created a baronet, with a gift of 
^5,000 sterling, in consideration of his usefulness in bringing the 
last French war to a successful termination. 

Here he built himself a beautiful residence, called Johnson Hall, 
where he lived many years, surrounded by the Mohawks, who 
regarded him with veneration and esteem, and always depending 
upon him for advice and counsel. Col. Guy Johnson had also a 
separate mansion, where both lived, essentially in the rank and 
abundance of noblemen. 

Sir Wm. Johnson was born in Ireland, and came to the Mohawk 
in 1734, in consequence of the call of his uncle, Admiral Warren, 
then residing in New York, and who from marrying an American 
lady, had become possessed of a large estate, on or near that 
river, called Warren's Bush. While settled here, he made it his 
business to become acquainted with, and to conciliate the regard, 
of the Indians : he acquired their language, carried on an exten- 
sive trade with them, was made General Superintendent of 
Indian affairs, married an Indian girl, the sister of Brant, often 
wore the Indian dress, and frequently entertained the Indians. He 
had two daughters, who were educated by a white lady, a resi- 
dent in his house. One of these was married to Col. Guy John- 

Early Inland Settlements. 57 

sou, the other to Col. Claus. His only son became afterwards Sir 
John Johnson ; and both he, and Col. Guy Johnson, joined the 
British, in the war against us, in the Revolution, and did us much 
harm, even by invading and devastating the very country, where 
they once had many friends and neighbours along the Mohawk. 
They burned upwards of twenty houses belonging to the whigs ! 
Such is the estrangement of war, and especially, as in their cases, 
when assisted by savage Indians ! 

Sir William died just before the Revolution began, but not 
until he was pained to see and hear of its approach, to wit, in 
July 1774, in the fifty-ninth year of his age. He dred suddenly, 
and was buried under the old stone church at Johnstown ; but in 
1806, his bones were redeposited. In his coffin, was found the 
ball, with which he was wounded, in his successful conflict with 
Baron Dreskaw, in 1757, at Lake George. 

Many traditionary accounts, are still given in the neighbour- 
hood, of the rustic sports encouraged by Sir William, and of the 
influence which he exerted over the Indians and white inhabitants. 
Among others, it is related, that he showed his ingenuity and tact, 
with the celebrated old king Hendrick, who, from a desire to pos- 
sess a military suit, had told Sir WilUam, that he had dreamed 
that he had been given such a suit, by him — the suit was therefore 
given. Sometime after. Sir William told to the old king, in turn, 
his dream, which was, that he had given him a tract of land, and 
describing its position : the same in the county of Herkimer, 
extending from the East to West Canada Creek, being about 
twelve miles square. The old king said he must have it, but 
also adding, significantly, *' you must not dream again !" The 
title was confirmed by the king of England, and in a double 
sense, was called the " Royal Grant !" Afterwards, these, and 
all the possessions of the Johnson family, were confiscated by the 
American Congress, because of their tory adherence, and the num- 
ber of royalists whom they won to their interest and action in 
the revolutionary struggle. They were, however, suitably re- 
warded and honoured by the British government. 

When the Revolutionary war began. Col. John Johnson, under 
pretext of keeping himself and his Indian interests from violence 
from the whigs, began to arm his tenants and dependants, to 
erect defences around Johnson Hall, and when he was urged by 
the committees of vigilance to desist, and was required by Congress 
to say explicitly whether he would not allow the enrollment and 
discipline of the militia, in his district, he coolly answered, that 
they might take all who would serve ; thus intimating, that he 
sufficiently understood their attachment to him and his family 
interests. Not long after, Sir John, was taken for the public secu- 
rity, to Albany, and held as a prisoner, under his parole. This, 
he however broke, and made his escape, with a large number of 
his tenants, to Montreal. 

58 Early Inland Settlements, 

In August 1781, Major Ross, and Walter Butler, came fronn 
Canada, by the way of Sacondaga, to Johnstown, with five hun- 
dred men, one hundred and thirty of whom were Indians. To 
encounter these. Col. Willet moved from his command at Fort 
Plain, with about three hundred levies, and sending Col. Harper, 
with a detachment of one hundred men, to gain their rear. At a 
short distance above Johnson Hall, Col. Willet encountered Ross, 
with all his force. Willet's men, at first retreated, but were stop- 
ped by him at the village, where he was joined by two hundred 
militia, just arrived. Harper now opened his fire on the rear, and 
the attack being renewed by Col. Willet, the enemy were finally 
beaten, with the loss of seventeen of their force killed ; the Ameri- 
cans losing thirteen men. 

Major Ross retreated up the north side of the Mohawk, march- 
ing all night after the battle. He was pursued by Col. Willet, but 
not overtaken. The region over which Ross retreated, after he 
had passed the settlements, lies twenty or thirty miles north of 
Fort Schuyler (now Utica), and at that time was uncultivated and 
desolate. His army therefore suffered much from hunger. In 
this retreat Walter Butler was killed, at West Canada creek, at 
the place since called Butler ford, by one of a party of pursuing 
Oneida Indians, who also succeeded, after tomahawking him, to 
bring away his scalp. This Butler, was of a very savage and cruel 
temper, far more so than his father. Col. John Butler, who as a 
tory and Indian leader, had more humanity of character, and was 
heard to speak in his calm moments, of his regrets at the cruelties 
occasionally committed, by the Indians and tories. It may be 
remarked also, that many of the British officers did not approve 
of the severities of the same classes of warriors. They some- 
times said, it was the disgrace of their army, to make such savage 
depredations, and to bear off" women and children as prisoners. 

In the winter of 1781-2, Col. Willet undertook a perilous expe- 
dition, peculiarly suited to the spirit of the man ; he marched a 
portion of his men, from Fort Plain to Oswego, passing up the 
Mohawk on the ice, and going the remainder of his way, in snow 
shoes. But on reaching that fort, he learned to his grateful sur- 
prise, that the preliminaries of the peace were signed, and an end 
thus put to the further struggles of his suffering countrymen. 

The invasion of Ross and Butler made the last incursion of 
the enemy. Indeed, there remained but little more to be destroyed. 
The inhabitants had lost nearly all but the soil ; their fields, except 
in the vicinity of the forts, had mostly become as wild as the sur- 
rounding wilderness. Famine was often threatening them, and 
especially in the winter. Their defences however, of places so 
unproductive were nevertheless of great importance to the towns 
on the Hudson, thus shielding the citizens from approaches to 
them, and thus hindering the British from opening communications 
with New York, so desirable and important. Many of these 

Johnson Hall, p. 59. 

Gen'l. Herkimer's House, p. 59. 

Early Inland Settlements. 59 

frontier settlers, fell in battles in the regular army, and in skir- 
mishes and battles with the enemy, at their homes, and many fell 
silently by the rifle, the tomahawk, and scalping knife. " Their 
ashes flew, no marble tells us whither !" 

Several of the soldiers, who at the close of the war, were with- 
out homes, and who had been stationed along the frontier, returned 
and settled upon the places of their former trials and perils. Who 
that looked upon central New York then, would have dreamed 
of its sudden growth, and the rapid displacement of the Indians, 
so that in less than fifty years, the same land should teem with a 
million of inhabitants, rich in comforts, and in beautiful embel- 
Ushments ! 

In the time of Mrs. Grant, the residences of Sir Wm. Johnson 
consisted of Johnson Castle, and Johnson Hall. The Castle was 
on an eminence, stockaded round, and slightly fortified. The Hall 
was on the side of the river, on a most fertile and delightful plain. 
This last was his summer residence ; and its two wings had loop- 
holes, like a block house, for the use of musketry. The Castle, 
contained his store of goods, for trading with the Indians. Sir 
William was tall in person, well formed, of fine countenance, and 
sedate ; the latter a very commendable quality in the estimation of 
the better class of Indians. He was indeed, wholly a man to please 
them, in all that goes to make a superior man. 

At the time of which we speak, the country was uninhabited, 
with a few exceptions, from his Fish House, to Johnstown. Near 
the bridge, at the Fish House, formerly stood a house built by Sir 
William, where he generally spent the fishing season, surrounded 
by a few of his European friends, with some of the provincial 
officers that were attached to his suite, and the head men of the 

The first inhabitants of this section, formed the guard of the 
English frontier ; and from this exposed situation, they were of 
necessity, compelled to act as farmer, hunter, or soldier, as the case 
required. The exciting incidents of such a hfe, laid the founda- 
tion of that high personal spirit and resolution, that love of adven- 
ture and liberty, that form such a distinguishing feature in the 
American character. Such a location, so early formed, very 
naturally became, as it did in time, the proper capital of Tryon 
county, and where the first court-house for the county, was built. 

It was the French war, that first brought out the military tal- 
ents of Sir William, till when, he only seemed to be the country 
gentleman, and the good liver. His prudence in planning, and 
the boldness of his execution in war, soon made his name in itself, 
a host ; and it is a curious fact, that throughout the whole war, 
wherever he had the command, he never met the enemy but to 

In 1754, there was advertised in the New York Gazette, as to 
be leased or sold, 40,000 acres of " Mohawk coimtry land," near 

60 • Early Inland SettlemenH, 

Mount Johnson, four miles from the Mohawk river, and sixteen 
from Schenectady, adjoining to Stone-Rabie,a German settlement, 
of about sixty able families, who have a Lutheran and Calvin- 
istic church, and have many Dutch settlements, on the south and 
east side thereof, and laying out of the general tract of the In- 
dians, in time of war. 

In 1768, Sir Wm. Johnson, as superintendent of Indian affairs, 
held a treaty at his residence at Johnson Hall, at which were pres- 
ent seven hundred and fifty Indians. 

Nancy Landerse, widow, born in Sept. 1733, was still alive 
at one hundred years of age, in 1833, of the town of Glenn in 
Montgomery county, living on lands fifty miles from Albany, 
which she purchased in 1783, on the south side of the Mohawk 
river. She still possessed health and mental vigour. There is 
another widow, (Clute) in the same town, as old as herself 


This earliest settlement inland, in New York, began its opera 
tion as early as 1713, when sundry German Palatinates, who had 
before been encouraged to emigrate to this country, under the 
auspices of Queen Anne, went on from Albany and Schenectady, 
over the Helleberg, to Schoharie creek, where they settled the 
rich alluvial lands, bordering upon that stream. The Queen, by 
her proclamation of 1709, in Germany, had promised land gratis, 
and an exemption from all taxes. 

Afterwards, small colonies from here, and from Albany and 
Schenectady, established themselves in various places along the 
Mohawk ; and in 1722, had extended as far up as the German 
Flats, near where stands the present village of Herkimer ; but 
although these advanced pioneers knew very well, that they were 
wholly committed to the tender mercies of the Indians, when so 
remote from white population, they did not dare to venture beyond 
the neighbourhood of boatable streams, which might serve them 
in cases of emergency, for a better means of escape, when none 
had ventured out in that unbroken wilderness, which lay to the 
South and West of these settlements. 

We are indebted to an old publication, by a Mr. Brown, of 
Albany, for sundry facts in relation to these first settlers inland. 
They left their homes in Germany, in a large party, on the first of 
January 1710 ; going first to England ; a great many died on their 
passage, which seems to have been long, for they did not reach 
New York till the 14th of June 1710. About one thousand of 
them joined the army at Albany, under Col. Nicholson. Others 
were sent up the Hudson river, to East and West Camps, so called, 
because they encamped at those places. They remained there 
till the spring of 1713, when they went as far as Albany, where 
they were provided with provisions and tools, and proceeded on 

Early Inland Settlements, 61 

foot to Schoharie, as their previously determined place of destina- 
tion. On the third day, they fell into a quarrel among themselves, 
and some of them actually got to fighting, which led to the place 
being called " Fegtberg," that is, fight hill, at the place now the 
town of Berne. The next day they came in sight of the Scho- 
harie, where they all concluded to rest, and have a general wash, 
and " lost some of their vermin." In a week after their arrival 
at Schoharie, they had three children born, which as Jirst boms, 
deserve the record of their names, viz : Johannes Earhart, Wil- 
helmus Bouck, and Elizabeth Sawyer. They found the land good, 
and much of the flats clear. They went to work and planted 
corn, which they got of the natives. In working the ground 
with their hoes, they found a potato-like root, which they called 
earth beans, which they boiled or roasted, and ate as food. 

In the fall of 171 3, Lambert Sternbergh carried a spint of wheat 
along the Indian foot path, from Schenectady to Schoharie, 
where he sowed, or rather planted it, over more than an acre of 
ground, which grew well ; and the next year, he reaped and 
threshed it, and measured out of it, 83 skipple. This was the first 
wheat ever raised in Schoharie : and m forty years afterwards, it 
was reckoned that the settlers carried to Albany as much as 36,000 
skipples a year. 

With such thrift, the settlers soon began to regard themselves 
as prosperous and happy. Fertility and industry, gave them 
plenty to eat and wear ; they wore moccasins, buckskin breeches, 
and jackets of leather, which they obtained plentifully, from the 
Indians. Nine of them became the owners of one horse, the first ; 
for a time, they had no grist-mill, no team, no horses, no roads 
bigger than the Indian foot paths. They stamped, and also peeled 
their corn, by the help of ley, and then cooked it to eat. Their 
wheat they carried on men's backs to Schenectady, to grind, a dis- 
tance of twenty miles, each man carrying his skipple to his load. 
Sometimes they would go twenty in a drove, and often, men and 
women, together. This they had to do for three or four years ; 
when, thanks to William Fox, he constructed a grist-mill among 

They next thought themselves still more happy and prosper- 
ous, when they began to have stock, used horses, and made and 
used their own block sleighs, for home concerns, and their wooden 
shod sleighs, to go even to Albany, but they had no breech collars, 
(an invention of the Schenectadians) but still went to Albany and 
back, in Jive days. Their wagons for summer use, were made of 
blocks, sawed off of a thick water beach tree. All seemed to go 
on well ; when lo ! trouble of a legal nature came upon them ; 
and here, Mr. Brown, whom we have been transcribing in the 
foregoing facts, exclaims upon the stupidity of these German coun- 
trymen. The case was this : the Queen, believing that by this time, 
her German settlers might be settled m comfort, sent out her agent 


62 Early Inland Settlements. 

Nicholas Bayard, (a man of but one eye and ancestor of the 
Bayard race,) with powers to give to every man, a deed for his 
lar\ ■ \ use and possession. He had arrived at the house of Hans- 
be/ry Smith in Schoharie, and had scarcely sent out his requests, 
when the whole people ran together, in fear and anger, surround- 
ing the house of Smith, and accusing the agent, of a design to 
enslave them to tyrannic landholders ! There they were, men 
and women, some with guns, some with pitchforks, the women 
with hoes and clubs, demanding the agent, alive or dead ! On refu- 
sal, they fired sixty balls through the house, exhausting thus all 
their ammunition ! Mr. Bayard had his pistols, and showed signs 
of fight. When night came on, they left the house, and Mr. Bay- 
ard went off, and got back to Schenectady, in the course of one 
night. He sent them word from thence, that if any of them 
would come to him there, and acknowledge him as crown agent, 
and bringing the gift of one ear of corn, they should severally 
have a free deed, to all that they possessed. But none obeyed. 
Mr. Bayard feeling testy, went back to Albany and sold the whole 
land to seven partners, who afterwards went by the name of "the 
seven partners of Schoharie." Among them were, Rut Van Dam, 
Lewis Morris, Myndert Schuyler, Peter Vanburgh Livingston. 

These partners, soon began to require them to take leases, and 
pay rent, or to purchase; and on their refusal, next, to take legal pro- 
cess, by sending the sheriff, one Adams, to apprehend the chief ob- 
jectors ; but when he began with the first man, the women rose en 
masse, headed by Magdalen Zee, and knocked him down, then 
dragged him through a mud pool near, then hung him on a rail, 
and carried him four miles ; far worse this, than Shakspeare's 
merry wives of Windsor ; for these, far more outrageous, then 
plucked up a fence stake, broke two of his ribs, and struck out one 
of his eyes, as a suitable reference perhaps, to Mr. Bayard's case, 
and then left him to lie, or to get off, as he could ! Such was the 
mistaken tragedy of the primitive Schoharie ! The poor sheriff 
got on as far as Venbergh, on the third day, and from thence was 
fetched in a wagon to Albany. After this the Schoharie people 
dared not to venture to Albany, but were fain to send their wives 
only, to fetch their needed salt, and that always on the Sabbath to 
avoid the law. In time they got less fearful, and came men and wo- 
men together, when the partners had them all arrested, and clap- 
ped into jail. Upon this, the people of Schoharie resolved to send 
old Conradt Wise to England, to lay before the Crown the evils 
of which they deemed themselves the sufferers. But when he 
arrived, he found all the facts in the case had preceded him, and 
he was actually put into the Tower, and remained a year, to teach 
him and them, submission to law. When he returned, he and 
others, disappointed and disgusted as they were, resolved to leave 
the scene of contention, and to seek better feelings and another 
land, in Pennsylvania, where under the auspices of Gov. Keith, 

Early Inland Settlements. 63 

who desired to make himself popular, at the expense of the New 
York authorities, offered them sundry allurements. They then 
took up their march south-westwardly for the Susquehanna, with 
an Indian guide, together with their cattle ; having made ca- 
noes at the river, they floated down the stream, driving the cattle, 
along the shores of the same ; a terrible march, in so wild a 
country ; at length they arrived at Tulpehawken creek, where 
they settled, and where their descendants now live, the richest 
and best farmers in Pennsylvania. Wiser became a useful Indian 
agent, and interpreted for the governor, and authorities in Penn- 
sylvania, was usefully employed on numerous occasions, lived re- 
spected, and died and was buried, at the place since well known 
as Womelsdorf. 

What is sufficiently curious is, that twelve of their horses run 
off in the journey, and after eighteen months, all found their way 
back to Schoharie, a distance of from two to three hundred miles ! 

Those of the settlers that remained, submitted to buy their 
lands peaceably of the " seven partners ;" to take Indian deeds 
for purchases, and to have them confirmed by the governor; now 
their descendants have the richest farms and are the happiest men 
in the state, in point of wealth and increase, and hardly know 
anything of this brief and eventful history of their forefathers' 
troubles and harassments ! 

In the neighbourhood of this Schoharie settlement, was the 
earliest and most inland fort of the British, to wit, old Fort Hun- 
ter, situated at the mouth of Schoharie creek, where was also the 
old Mohawk town, and a missionary station, with a church for 
the Indians, founded under the auspices of Queen Anne. Here the 
Indians made considerable advances in civilization, and did not 
abandon the place till as late as 1780, when they Avent off and 
settled in Canada. 

From the preceding period down to the era of the Revolution, 
the settlers went on prosperously and contented. They then 
heartily entered into the cause of the Colonies, and appointed 
their committee of safety, &c. 

In the fall of 1777, the inhabitants began to suffer from the in- 
roads of straggling parties of Indians : aid was sought from gov- 
ernment, and three forts were erected, called the Upper, Middle, 
and Lower forts. The middle fort, was near where the village 
of Middletown now stands ; they consisted of intrenchments of 
earth and wood, thrown up in the usual form around some build- 
ing, which could serve as a shelter for the women and children ; 
the building in the middle fort, was a stone house, that in the 
lower fort, was a stone church. They were severally garrisoned 
with a few continental soldiers, and each was furnished with a 
small field piece. Many of the inhabitants repaired to the forts 
at night, and went abroad in the mornings to their employments 
on their farms, thus indicatmg, how very much a country so little 

64 Early Inland Settlements. 

in advance of Schenectady, could still be in effect an Indian coun- 
try, and exposed to their hostilities. 

During two or three years, these forts afforded protection near 
them, but in the mean time, individuals and famiUes were found 
missing in the outskirts, and the smoking ruins of their dwellings, 
and the dead bodies of men, and their domestic animals, were 
alone left to indicate their fate ; occasionally a prisoner returned 
to relate the secret of their destruction. 

The tories, who often commanded the Indians, were the most 
barbarous. This fact, to tell of the white men, is in itself some 
exculpation of the Indians. In one case, a party of Indians had 
entered a house, and killed and scalped a mother and a large fam- 
ily of children ; a smiling infant in a cradle was alone spared, 
when a party of royalists entering, one of them reproaching the 
humanity of the Indian leader, took up the infant upon the point 
of his bayonet, and while it was struggling and writhing in its 
agonies, exclaimed, 7 A25 too is a rebel! 

Seven Indians, meeting a man of the name of Sawyer, took 
him prisoner, and having gone some distance, and being laid down 
and asleep, he succeeded in loosing himself, then taking up one of 
their hatchets, killed the whole six ! The seventh escaped wound- 
ed, and Sawyer returned home ! 

In the year 1 778, McDonald, a tory of enterprise and activity, 
with a company of about three hundred Indians and tories, fell 
upon the settlement with cruel barbarity. Col. Vrooman being 
then in command, deemed himself too weak to spare any help 
from the garrison ; when a Mr. Harper, afterwards an active colo- 
nel, ordered his horse, and made his way cautiously and securely 
to Albany, going through the places occupied by the enemy. 
Having stopped at the house of a tory at Fox's creek in the night, 
his room was entered by four tories, he terrified them off with 
his sword and pistols, then fastened his door and kept awake till 
daylight, when he went off; an Indian followed him, who when- 
ever he turned upon him, also turned and fled. At Albany he 
procured a troop of horse, and appeared soon again at Schoharie. 
The garrison seeing his approach sallied forth, and joined in driv- 
ing off the enemy. 

In the year 1779, the little settlement on Cobble creek, ten miles 
west from Schoharie, was assaulted, and defended by Capt. Pat- 
rick; he was killed, and his men retreated; the inhabitants seeing 
their flight, also made their escape, although pursued by about 
three hundred of the enemy ; their escape was favoured by the des- 
perate resistance of seven of the soldiers, who having gained pos- 
session of a house, kept up such a spirited fire from the windows, 
as to check and detain the pursuers. At length thel house was 
fired, and six of the brave defenders perished in the flames, the 
seventh was afterwards found a few rods from the house, much 
burned and horribly mutilated, and having a roll of continental 

Early Inland Settlements. 65 

money stuck in his hand, placed there in derision of the cause he 
had been supporting ! Of the 45 who placed themselves under 
Capt. Patrick, 21 escaped, 22 were killed, and two were taken pri- 
soners. The Indians also suffered severely. The tory who com- 
manded them was afterwards killed by the celebrated Murphy, a 
man who had belonged to Morgan's rifle corps, and who was on 
many occasions serviceable to Schoharie. He usually directed 
their scouting parties, and being peculiarly expert in Indian war- 
fare, in his manner of firing with a double barreled rifle, a new 
thing to them, he became their peculiar terror. At one time he 
was pursued by a party, all of whom he outran save one, whom 
he turned round and killed — then seizing his rifle he killed 
another nearest, the rest now sure of their prey, thinkiHg from 
his fire that he had no other defence, rushed upon him, but he 
discharging his remaining rifle and killing another, the rest fled, 
thinking that he was assisted by some invisible spirit, and crying 
out, that he was the man who could shoot all day. 

In the fall of 1780, the perils and the evils of war, were visited 
again upon Schoharie, by a force of 800 under the command of 
Sir John Johnson, consisting of British regulars, loyalists, tories, 
and Indians. They had designed a surprise, but being timely 
discovered in their approach, they avoided the middle fort, and 
began their destruction first upon the houses, barns, and the cap- 
ture of the cattle. They next attacked the fort consisting of about 
250 men. Major Woolsey in the command was despondent, and 
thought of treating for terms, but was prevented by the courage 
of Murphy and others. The assailants withdrew, and proceed- 
ing down the creek, destroyed every thing in their progress, and 
after a faint effort against the lower fort, pursued their course to 
Fort Hunter, thence upward along the Mohawk, devastating 
wherever they went, and burning the town of Caughnawaga. 

After so general a destruction of the Schoharie settlement, the 
place was allowed to repose, and during the years 1781 and 1782, 
though often alarmed, they had no serious molestation. 

There maybe here added, as a sequel to the foregoing, some facts 
concerning the personal prowess and activity of Col. Harper before 
named. While he was in command in Schoharie in 1777, having 
occasion to visit and explore the state of Cherry Valley, and 
going alone along the Indian trail, he saw at a distance a com- 
pany of Indians advancing; not knowing how to escape, he 
promptly resolved to encounter them, and to make the best shift 
he could. Concealing his regimentals with his great coat, he 
saluted their leader, whom he had before known, with a How 
do you brother? he was answered with, where do you go — his 
reply was, on a secret expedition — and pretending to have an 
object in common with theirs, he was allowed to pass. He then 
made a circuit and found fifteen men, with whom he pursued to 
the night camp of the Indians ; these he found asleep, and with their 
9 F 2 

66 Early Inland Settlements. 

arms stacked near them ; he succeeded to fall upon every man, 
to bind them with cords, and marched them all to Albany. 

A Col. Fisher residing near Caughnawaga, at the time of the 
assault upon that settlement, after defending himself in his house 
with his two brothers, both of whom were killed, fled from it, 
and was overtaken by the Indians, who tomahawked and scalped 
him, leaving him, as they supposed, dead. The next day he 
was found by a friend, and taken to his house. He recovered, 
lived long after the war, a useful member of society, and a living 
spectacle of wonder. 

Sir John Johnson sat down for awhile at Fox's Mills, two miles 
below the upper Mohawk castle ; here he threw up a breast- 
work. General Van Rensselaer, who was joined by the Cana- 
joharie mihtia, assaulted his position, driving off" the Indians first, 
who pursued their return towards the Susquehanna. Sir John 
defended his position with spirit during the day, and in the night 
effected his retreat, destroying however, as they went, the whole 
country on the north side of the river from Caughnawaga to 
Stone Arabia and Palatine. This with the ravages of Brant on 
the south side of the river, in the previous August, completed the 
destruction of the Mohawk settlements. 

Fort Hunter, at the mouth of Schoharie creek twenty-one miles 
from Schenectady, was so named in honour of Governor Hunter, 
and was the same place also named Mohawk Castle before that 
time. At that place, was a church as a missionary station, of 
which account is given to this effect in the account of Church 
Missions, London ed. 1730 — to wit: In the year 1710 Mr. Bar- 
clay, Episcopal minister stationed at Albany, was accustomed to 
go to a village called the Mohawk Castle, then the most remote 
place of the English. There he often preached to the Indians 
coming there to traffic and to get provisions. After a time he 
set on foot a subscription for establishing and building a church, 
when the governor, Robert Hunter, contributed largely. The 
town of Albany gave ^6200, and every inhabitant of the poor 
village of Schenectady, something also. It was built and opened 
in 1716. 

There has been no settled pastor in the church since the revo- 
lutionary war. During the war the building was occupied as a 
fort. Since then it went to decay, having never been used after- 
wards as a church. Finally, in 1829-30, it was, by reason of its 
standing near the site of the canal, unceremoniously demolished. 

Mrs. Getty Vanderzee, who died lately at Greenbush, at the 
age of 86 years, (mother of S. T. V. Esq. of Troy,) was the last 
oi four sisters, who, together with other females, assisted by an 
Ensign Becker, of sixteen years of age, gallantly defended the 
middle fort at Schoharie, when surprised and assaulted, by a 
large number of British and Indians, at a time, when the troops, 
and male inhabitants, were sent to the lower fort — four miles 

Early Inland Settlements. 67 

distant. The females, with their childi*en, had gone to the fort 
for protection, and the major in command, insisting on surren- 
dering, was resisted by the young ensign, who, with the women, 
went to work to manage the guns, which they did with such suc- 
cess, as to prolong the defence, until relief arrived from the fort 
below, when the enemy was routed, and the fort, and its defend- 
ers were saved. 

Among the novelties of New York, redeemed from the olden 
time, maybe mentioned the discovery, in May 1842, of ^'How^s 
Cave^^ found by Mr. How, on his land, four miles from Schoha- 
rie court-house, wherein he has entered seven miles, when he was 
stopped from further research, by a lake, and to traverse which, 
he will build a boat, to proceed and examine further. The cave 
has abundance of great halls and chambers, of from one hun- 
dred to three hundred feet long, twenty to fifty feet wide, and 
twenty to fifty feet high : ornamented above, and on the sides, 
with numerous stalactites, of various colours, and fanciful forms, 
some of which, by the aid of the imagination, present the forms, 
of men and women, such as Washington, Venus, &c ; some also, 
resembUng in form and sound, the piano-forte, organ, pipes, &c ; 
and, to add to the picturesque scenery, there are streams of water, 
and waterfalls, with their adjuncts, of murmur and roar. One 
of the enormous stalactites, measures forty feet wide, ten feet thick, 
and thirty feet high, and one of the domes, is of three hundred 
feet in extent. It is easy to foresee, that such a cave must become 
a place of great resort, to summer tourists, and must bring a good 
revenue hereafter, to the fortunate discoverer. It was found, by 
observing at its closed entrance, occasional escapes of air ; and 
by removing sundry loose stones, an easy and safe entrance was 
made to these chambers of subterranean wonder ! 


In the spring of 1779, General CHnton, with two regiments of 
the New York line, encamped at Canajoharie — thife defending 
the valley of the Mohawk from much mischief in that year. 

In the month of August, 1780, the Indian chief, Joseph Brant, 
at the head of four or five hundred Indians and tories, broke in 
upon the settlement, at a time when the militia were absent, 
guarding a number of batteaux, transporting provisions to Fort 
Schuyler — and succeeded to lay waste the whole countrj^ around 
Canajoharie — killing sixteen of the inhabitants, and capturing 
between fifty and sixty prisoners, mostly women and children, 
twelve of whom they sent back ; of course showing some mercy 
even in their feelings of revenge and cruelty. They killed and 
drove away upwards of three hundred head of cattle and horses 
— burned fifty-three dwelling-houses— as many barns — a church 
— a grist-mill, and two small forts occupied by the Avomen. This 

as Early Inland Settlements. 

had been the previous place of residence of Brant and his parents 
— :of course he was warring against his former friends and neigh- 
bours ! He had just before married the daughter of Colonei 
Croghan, whom he had had by an Indian women. 

In the winter of 1781, requisition was made upon the justices 
of Canajoharie, for warrants of impressment for twenty sleighs, 
to be used in transporting provisions to Fort Schuyler, and to be 
attended by escorts of eighty men. They succeeded to fulfil the 
requisition ; but it ought not to be forgotten, by the present gene- 
ration, who now witness such easy conveyance along the same 
route, that such was then the impediments from the depth of the 
snow and the want of roads, that they made but two or three 
miles advance in a day, in some of the days of laborious travel. 
Such necessary duties imposed upon the inhabitants of the fron- 
tiers, were very severe and exposing — and on them essentially 
devolved the labour of transporting and guarding provisions and 
ammunition, intended for Forts Plain, Dayton and Schuyler. Be- 
sides this, in the early part of the summer of 1781, there was a 
constant warfare carried on in the vicinity of the forts — small 
parties hovered about Fort Plain, and cut olf every soldier or 
inhabitant, who was so careless or unfortunate as to stray beyond 
the walls. 

Fort Plain being remarkable as a block house of very superior 
construction, I here give a picture of it, as it once stood, on the • 
brow of a hill, above the village. It derived its name, as is sup- 
posed, from its affording di plain view of the surrounding country. 
It was made, among other purposes, as a place for the safe retreat 
of families in cases of extremity. It was made of hewn timber, 
and contained three stories — the first story was 30 feet diameter : 
the second was 40 feet, and the third was 50 feet. Besides the 
port holes seen, there were also perpendicular ones, through the 
floors, which severally projected five feet — these to fire down 
upon assailants, when under the over-reaehing and widening top. 
It had also cannon in the lower tier. At the close of the war, it 
was used for sometime, as a place of deposit for military stores. 
It was at this place, that old king Hendrick once had his resi- 

This Fort Plain (Plank fort, originally called,) was commanded 
in the summer of 1781, by the hero. Col. Marius Willett. On 
one occasion, his scouts having discovered an Indian trail, fol- 
lowed it up to the Indian camp of about three hundred men, 
under command of the tory, John Doxtader, who the day before 
had destroyed the town of Curry, only a short distance above 
Schenectady. They returned and gave the information, when 
Col. Willett and Major M^Kean went off with a force of about 
one hundred and fifty men — going through a dark night, without 
a road, to the place just at day light. Then concealing them- 
selves in the Cedar Swamp, two men were sent forward to pass 

Early Inland Settlements. 69 

over a piece of open ground, in the sight of the enemy, and in 
case of pursuit, to lead in by different courses, to the two com- 
mands, previously divided, for the purpose of better effect. The 
stratagem succeeded; and as the enemy pursued, Major M'Kean 
opened at the proper time, a galling and destructive fire, upon 
the party nearest him, and the party under Col. Willett fell upon 
the other body. The camp of the enemy, and all their plunder 
was taken. The brave Major M'Kean received two wounds, of 
which he soon after died. The Indians fled toward the Susque- 
hanna, and were pursued with considerable loss. 

Mrs. Grant tells us, in her memoirs, of her visit to king Hen- 
drick in 1761, at what was then called Fort Hendrick, ^nd Indian 
Castle, but in fact, the present Canajoharie. The home of the 
king stood on rising ground, surrounded by palisades — the mode 
then of making forts. He was, indeed, a princely figure, and was 
dressed in his mantle of blue cloth, and silver-laced. He had two 
rooms on a floor, and in the same room where he was seated, was 
a pile of maize. While there, his son, a fine lad, playfully brought 
in his colt, as his pet and plaything. When we read of Indian 
castles as the names of places, now found in New York, where 
no castles appear, they must be understood to mark places, 
where once the Indian chiefs resided, and had them palisaded, 
as above mentioned, in the case of king Hendrick. He was killed 
in our colonial service, at Fort Edward. His home above men- 
tioned, was once the principal seat of the Mohawks, and still 
abounds with apple-trees of their planting — and producing excel- 
lent cider. Near it, was Brant's church, so called after that chief, 
who is said to have left it and its associations, with great reluc- 
tance. In the same neighbourhood, the British had built a fort, 
in the French war. We saw this good looking, large church, 
surmounted with its steeple, but out of use, in 1828, then stand- 
ing within ten feet of the canal. We saw also, the site of the 
aforenamed Fort Plain, on a hill, — then a /?eac£/w/ pasture ground, 
and actually being " close cropt by nibbling sheep." 

Canajoharie derives its name, from a deep hole of foaming 
water, in the creek formed at the foot of one its falls, and signi- 
fies a pot or kettle, which washes itself. 

One of the remarkables of Canajoharie is their valuable Sulphur 
Springs at Sharon, a place, worthy to be herein named, because 
it is destined, at no distant day, to become very attractive to New 
Yorkers, and New Englanders, and even to Philadelphians, be- 
cause so much easier of access, with less of expense, than the 
heretofore famed Sulphur Springs, so much visited, in Virginia. 
These springs, from their superior quality of sulphuretted hydro- 
gen, will be deemed much more efficacious to rheumatic and cuta- 
neous diseases, than those of Virginia. Already, there is a large 
hotel on the premises, to provide entertainment for three hundred 
visiters. Its elevation, and scenery, and healthiness, will com- 
mand attention. 

70 Early Inland Settlements. 


The original patent for this place, was granted in 1738, by 
George Clark, to John Lindesay and three others. In the next 
year, it became wholly the property of those two named gentle- 
men ; and Mr. Lindesay made his settlement on the farm, called 
Lindesay's Bush, afterwards successively owned by John Wells, 
and Judge Hudson. The country, at the time, was filled with 
elk and deer, and had a full proportion of bears, wolves, beavers, 
and foxes, and for that cause, was the favourite hunting ground of 
the Mohawks, where they erected their cabins, and hunted their 
game upon the mountains — they being 1700 feet in elevation 
above the valley of the Mohawk. There, Mr. Lindesay, with 
his son-in-law, Mr. Congreve, a British lieutenant, dwelt in 
lonely solitude — they being fifteen miles from any settlement, and 
the intervening country could only be travelled by the Indian 

In the deep snow of 1740, they became wholly isolated, and 
cut off" from all possibility of supplies, and when likely to starve, 
they were visited by a friendly Indian, coming to them on his 
snow shoes, who from time to time, brought them such relief, and 
necessaries — carried on his back, as preserved the lives of these 
first settlers. 

In the next year, they were joined by sundry Scotch Irish 
families, from Londonderry, New Hampshire ; say the Rev. 
Samuel Dunlap, David Ramsay, William Gallt, James Campbell, 
William Dickson, &c., in all, about thirty persons. From these, 
their place of settlement received the name of Cherry Valley, in 
allusion to the many fine wild cherry trees, then growing there. 
For a long time, this, then far advanced settlement, became the 
distinguishing name of a large section of the country, south and 

These first settlers, under the influence of the Rev. Mr. Linde- 
say, became a strictly religious community. They made a log 
church and school-house, a grist and saw-mill. In the course of ten 
years, they were joined by John Wells, and two or three other 

In time, it occurred, that sundry disaffected Indians, of Oquago, 
began to threaten hostiUty, so that it became expedient to raise 
a defence of 800 rangers, for Tryon county, and to place a com- 
pany of them at Cherry Valley, under the command of Captain 
McKean ; to these were joined the occasional services of the few 
inhabitants. Some of these went on to join Sir Wm. Johnson, 
at Fort Edward, in 1757, and survived to come back and tell 
of their doings, in many years of after life. 

During the harassing periods of the French wars, population 
continued to increase along the rivers and valleys, and among 
the rest, sundry settlements had been made, in various positions, 

Early Inland Seltlements. 71 

around Cherry Valley — among these, came the family of the 
Harpers. These, afterwards, removed from the Valley, and es- 
tablished themselves at Harper's Field, in the present county of 
Delaware, where they became distinguished for their courage and 
ardent attachment in the cause of American liberty. At the 
period of the Revolution, the whole population of Cherry Valley, 
was short of three hundred. Then came on the tug of war, and 
then this community came to learn all the terrors and the incidents, 
from the hostile incursions and ravages of the Indians, and their 
equally savage allies, the tories — stimulated and excited by such 
loyalists, as Colonels Guy Johnson, and Claus, Sir John Johnson, 
John and Walter Butler, and Joseph Brant. All names of terror 
and affliction to the inland settlers, every where. Deeply and 
feelingly did they make their names to be feared and remembered, 
by all the inhabitants, then dwelling beyond Schenectady. 

In the summer of 1776, Capt. Robert McKean raised a com- 
pany of rangers for the defence of the Valley — a defence of logs 
and earth, was thrown up around Colonel Samuel Campbell's 
house and barn, as a place of refuge, and to these were added two 
block houses — afterwards a proper fort was erected there, at the in- 
stance of General Lafayette, then at Johnstown. To this, came in 
many of the inhabitants, from Unadilla and other towns — even 
the boys of the place, formed themselves into companies of little 
soldiers. In one of their parades without the fort, they were seen 
by Brant and his Indians, at a distance, and taking them for real 
soldiers, he went off, without attempting his intended surprise. 
They however, met with Lieutenant Wormwood, bearing a mes- 
sage, who being shot from his horse, was tomahawked by Brant, 
who was his personal friend, but did not know it was he at the 
time. In the same year. Brant came with his party, to Springfield, 
and burnt it, carrying off several prisoners. At one time Brant 
wrote a letter to Captain McKean— for he could write, having 
been educated at Wheelock's academy, in which he gave him a 
kind of challenge. 

In the fall of 1778, the garrison was increased under Colonel 
Alden, in consequence of intelligence received, that Brant and 
Waller Butler, were on their way to the place, with five hundred 
Indians, and two hundred rangers. The place, however, was 
assaulted by surprise — the advance body of them was composed 
chiefly of Senecas, at that time the wildest and most ferocious of 
the Six Nations. Colonel Alden was killed — they massacred the 
whole family of the Wells', except the late John Wells of New 
York city. He alone was saved, by being at his school in Sche- 
nectady. The Rev. Samuel Dunlap, and his daughter, were 
made prisoners, and protected by an Indian chief— his wife was 
taken and killed. A Mr. Mitchell, being in the fields, and seeing 
the Indians, hid himself in the woods, but he was obliged to see 
his house fired, and afterwards, to find his wife and four children 

72 Early Inland Settlements, 

killed. The party which surrounded the house of Colonel Camp- 
bell, took his wife and four children prisoners, their lives were 
spared, and they endured a long and painful captivity. Mr. Clyde 
escaped, with four children, to the woods, and lay concealed under 
a large log. Thirty-two of the inhabitants, principally women 
and children, were killed, and sixteen of the soldiers; the terror 
of the scene was increased, by the conflagration of all the houses 
and out-houses in the settlement — some few escaped to the 
Mohawk river, the remainder were made prisoners. They who 
should like to see the particulars of this tragic affair, may read 
the facts at large, in Mr. Campbell's interesting history of Tryon 

It is but justice to Brant, to say, that in the midst of his sever- 
ity, he remembered mercy. He earnestly inquired for his friend, 
Captain McKean, saying that if he could have captured him, he 
should have been glad, as he should have liked to prove to him, 
that he respected his valour, and should be glad to show him 
friendship and mercy. On another occasion, finding a woman 
alone in a house, he told her to feign herself sick, and get to bed, 
and that when the Senecas should come, he could say she was 
only a sick woman. They did come, and passed away, and then 
he painted the woman and children with his Mohawk paint, as 
a sign of her protection. He was always jealous of his character 
as a humane chieftain. Several attacks were made upon the fort, 
but without success, aiid yet the garrison was not strong enough 
to make a successful sortie. The Indians went off", with between 
thirty and forty prisoners, and not long after, sent back the 
women and children — certainly a merciful action for Indians. 
Mrs. Campbell, and Mrs. Moore, and their children, they retained, 
because their husbands had been active partisans against them. 
After this, all the country was abandoned by the inhabitants, and 
in the next summer, the garrison also went away, to join Gen- 
erals CUnton and Sullivan. 

Mrs. Campbell and her children, before named, after a captivity 
of two years, were exchanged, for Mrs. Butler and children, the 
family of Col. John Butler, which he had left behind, when he 
first went off to Canada. At Mrs. Campbell's return, she joined 
her husband, and lived a while at Troy. It was not till 1784, 
that they returned to their homes, made waste and desolate, 
at Cherry Valley. There he was afterwards visited in his log 
house, by Gen. Washington, Gov. Clinton, Gen. Hand, and many 
officers of the New York line, then making a tour up the Mohawk 
— they were all equally satisfied, to take things rough as they found 
them — all being cheered by hopes of better days to come. While 
there, they made inquiries for a brave Irishman, of the name of 
Shankland, who had made a most gallant defence of his house, 
against sundry Indians, by firing at them from his windows. At 
last, they succeeded to set it on fire, and supposing that they had 

Early Inland Settlements. 73 

been consumed with the building, they went off, but he had got 
out by a back way, through his hemp field, and now standing 
up in the midst of these distinguished guests, he went over the 
details of his perilous fight. Such a group, it has been said, 
would form a good subject for the pencil. On the occasion of 
the same visit, was shown the three guns of one Mayall, who 
when made a prisoner, a little after the peace, by two Indians, 
feigning friendship — he watched his chance, when crossing a river 
— struck down the man nearest him on the bank — fired at and 
wounded the second, then swimming the river, the third 
fired at Mayall, missed and run — when Mayall with his own, 
and the guns of the two others, came to Mr. Campbell's house, 
and deposited them as trophies — and well they were qualified to 
add to the interesting group aheady proposed in the picture. 

At the close of the war, the most of the surviving inhabitants 
of Cherry Valley, returned to their former homes — the places of 
many, however, were never re-occupied by the same owners, 
and many a tear was shed, and many a bitter remembrance was 
occasioned' by their absence, and the thought of the cause. 

It may possibly interest some, to know that this is the home 
and the birth place of Cooper, who has so well succeeded to draw 
the woodsman's life, and the Indian's character. 


This place constituted the most advanced position of white 
population, lying on the north side of the Mohawk, sixty miles 
from Schenectady. It consisted of a village called the German 
Flats, originally settled by Germans, under the auspices of Queen 
Anne. There an old Fort had been built, by Colonel Charles 
Clinton, as early as 1758, and to which was given the name, 
afterwards, of Fort Herkimer, in honour of General Herkimer, 
of the militia, who fell in the battle of Oriskany, not far beyond 
the Flats. There was also another fort on the Flats, called Fort 
Dayton, which was built in 1776, and named after Colonel Dayton. 

The people of the Flats, were called out for the defence of their 
country, in the summer of 1777, by a proclamation of General 
Herkimer, wherein he required the services of every male person, 
of from sixteen to sixty years of age ; at the same time, all above 
sixty, were to remain at home, and to gather at a call, for the 
home defence of the women and children. 

After the battle of Oriskany, in which General Herkimer lost 
his life, the whole district of the German Flats, was filled with 
grief and mourning. Almost every family had lost some relatives. 
" Rachell weeping for her children and they were not." Wives 
lamenting husbands and sons — sons too of only sixteen years 
of age, and their valued General, in whom they trusted, was also 

10 G 

74 Early Inland Settlements, 

Among the individuals who most distinguished themselves for 
personal prowess and remarkable success, was the person of 
Christian Shell, of Shell-bush, in the present county of Herkimer. > 
He had refused to go into any of the forts, but built his own 
block house, upon his farm. The first story had no windows, 
but several loop-holes, through which those within, could fire 
upon the enemy. The upper story projected over the first, two 
or three feet, in which were also apertures for fire arms. Being 
in his field, working with his two sons, he saw the Indians ap- 
proaching, and got securely in the house, where his wife was 
already prepared with his arms. As the Indians and tories, sixty 
in number, neared the house, he fired with a blunderbuss, and 
caused their recoil. One McDonald he wounded, and then 
dragged him into his house. The fight was maintained the 
whole afternoon — his wife, all the time, acting as a true heroine, 
and "meet helper," was occasionally busy, in sundry sorties, 
among the wounded, in using the chopping axe — having herself, 
spoiled five of their guns. The result finally was, that they killed 
eleven and wounded six. The whole stoiy is told, in very homely 
poetry, preserved in sixteen stanzas, in Campbell's history — con- 
cluding with the humble and devout confession. 

" But God was his assistant, his buckler and his shield, 
He dispersed this cruel enemy, and made them quit the field." 

Remarkable as the story is, it is said to be true. We are sorry 
to add, that in the succeeding year, the Indians stealthily shot 
him, while at work in his field, after which, his wife and children 
moved into one of the forts. 

When the German Flats were assaulted and burned, in 1778, 
by the Indians, the place consisted of thirty-eight dwellings, on 
the south side of the Mohawk river, and of as many on the north 
side — happily, but two persons were killed, as the inhabitants 
had a previous intimation of the approach of the enemy, and got 
off in time to save their lives — ^but it was surely an awful time, 
to be thus driven away and left houseless — a time of suffering 
indeed. Who can tell the measure of their sufferings, in such a 
state of exile. 

In 1780, a party of tories and Indians, attacked the small set- 
tlement of Little Falls, for the purpose of destroying the mills. — 
These they burned, killed one man, and took off five or six 

It was my happiness, to have had the advantage of being ac- 
companied along the valley of the Mohawk, in the year 1828, by 
Mr. Parrish, many years the Indian interpreter and agent. He had 
been captured near the Wyoming settlement, in Pennsylvania, 
by the Indians, when he was a lad of eleven years of age, and had 
been led along with the army of predatory Indians and tories, 
who destroyed the settlements along the Mohawk, in the Revolu- 

Early Inland Settlements. 75 

tionary war. Having thus seen, with his own eyes, the things 
then done, and being seven years a captive, he was quaUfied to 
give abundant information, of all the things then passing under 
our notice, in travelling on as far as Canandaigua, where he re- 
sided. He of course confirmed many of the things written in 
these pages, and also pointed out to me the big stone housej where 
Gen. Herkimer once lived. He spoke five Indian languages — 
was given up at Fort Stanwix to his liberty — was afterwards, for 
thirty years, interpreter, — and has left a fortune honourably at- 
tained. He was a fine looking, large man, of gentle manners and 
disposition. He had a ready manner of imitating all the Indian 
manners and ways. He died in the year 1836, and in the same 
year, died Mr. Jones, another interpreter, and Indian captive, 
from Pennsylvania — a man much valued and esteemed. How 
they all vanish from the things that be! 

The Col. Willett, who was conspicuous in relieving Gen. Herki- 
mer's regiment, assaulted in the battle of Oriskany, lived to be 
quite an oracle and chronicle, concerning the Indian wars along 
the Mohawk, he having died in New York, in the summer of 
1830 — say on the 22d of August, the anniversary of his battle 
with Maj. Ross, and Col. Butler, aged 90 years. It was particu- 
larly remarkable, concerning him, that the coffin in which he was 
interred, was made of pieces of wood, collected by himself, many 
years before, from difierent revolutionary battle grounds. The 
corpse, in compliance with a written request of the deceased, was 
habited in a complete suit of ancient citizen's apparel, including 
an old-fashioned three-cornered hat. Several thousand persons 
passed through the house, for the purpose of viewing the remains. 
Thus he that was wondered at in life, was also wondered at in 
death ! 


This post constituted, at the time, the most advanced military 
position inland, and was at the head of the Mohawk navigation. 
The fort was erected in 1776, by Col. Dayton, at the place now 
called Rome, upon the foundation of old Fort Stanwix, began 
in 1759, by General Broadstreet. At this time the old Fort Schuy- 
ler, once at the place now Utica, was gone down, and out of use 
since the time of the French wars. The new fort, was at the 
proper carrying place, between that river and Wood creek, 
whence the boats made their passage, to Oswego, and the lake. 

While the British were advancing, under Burgoyne, towards 
Albany with the intention to open the communication, by the 
Hudson river, to New York, other expeditions were meditating, 
for the purposes of diversion and revenge, to operate along the 
line of the Mohawk. 

Col. Claus, in Canada, (who had gone from Johnstown, as a 

76 Early Inland Settlements. 

tory chief,) was using his best exertions, to engage the assistance 
of all the Indians, endeavouring to persuade them, that with 
their assistance, he should be fully able to capture new Fort 
Schuyler. This intimation gave rise to the appointment, of Col. 
Gansevoort, in April, 1777, with the third regiment to that post. 
The command of thcBritish force, was given to Gen. St. Leger, 
who intended, after conquering that post, to pass down the Mo- 
hawk, and fortify himself at Johnstown ; he arrived before the 
place, with 1700 men, via Oswego, in August, and soon after 
began his operations. In the mean time. Gen. Herkimer, a native 
of the country, was approaching with his militia relief These 
were assailed on the way, at Oriskany, at a ravine a few miles 
from the fort, by Col. Butler, commanding the tories, and Col. 
Brant, the Indian chief, commanding the Indians; and being 
taken by surprise, they were of course, greatly cut up and dis- 
persed, and their commander. Gen. Herkimer, slain. In that 
bloody conflict, there was found the Indian, and the white man, 
born on the banks of the Mohawk, lying side by side, in the 
embrace of death. The militia fought with great desperation, 
and sold their lives in the sternest courage, fighting hand to hand 
to the last. During the deadly strife, Col. Willett, of glorious 
memory, sallied from the fort, with two hundred men, and gave 
such effective aid, as effectually dispersed the assailants. The 
siege under St. Leger, was continued, during three weeks, when, 
upon the approach of Gen. Arnold, with a rehef of nine hundred 
light troops, the British retreated, in precipitation and confusion. 
Facts stated, by Doctor Younglove, who was made a prisoner at 
this time, showed, that the Indians inflicted terrible barbarities 
upon the prisoners taken. He left a long poem, descriptive of 
his own and their sufferings, to wit : 

" There throug'h the grove their flaming fires arise, 
And loud resound the torfur^d pris'ners' cries ; 
Still as their pangs are more or less extreme 
The bitter groan is heard, or sudden scream." 

Numerous were the families along the Mohawk, who survived 
to lament the loss of relatives, of husbands and brothers, in the 
terrible fight of Oriskany. Gen. Herkimer was in fault, to have 
allowed himself to have been surprised ; but he redeemed his 
imprudence, by his courage. Early in the battle, which was 
waged for nearly five hours, the general had his leg fractured by 
a musket ball ; he sat upon a stone, giving his orders to the last; 
mortification ensued from his wound, and he died in a few days. 
A monument, to cost five hundred dollars, was ordered by Con- 
gress to his merriory, but to this day, it has not been fulfilled ! 
Will not the rich inhabitants, now along the Mohawk, think of 
this, and show their patriotic feelings, by yet effecting it ? The 
aged Col. Frey, till lately alive, at Canajoharie, was among the 

Early Inland Settlements. 77 

prisoners taken and spared, and had survived to see the same 
regions blest with plenty and repose. How he must have won- 
dered, to compare the present with the past ! 

We learn from Mrs. Grant, in her interesting memoirs, some- 
what of the importance attached to the line of military posts, 
placed along the Mohawk, and intended to preserve an open 
communication, for military supplies going from Albany, to 
Oswego and the lakes. They were erected as early as the French 
wars. Some of the engineers, she says, were Swedes ; possessed 
of polished manners and minds, and whom she often met, as 
guests, at the house of the Schuyler family, at the Fiats, above 

About the year 1761, Mrs. Grant, when a child of seven years 
of age, was started, with her mother, in a military expedition 
(her father being a British officer,) to go by the Mohawk and 
fFood creek, to reach the far distant post of Oswego. As they 
were probably the Jirst females, above the very lowest ranks, 
who had then penetrated so far into the remote wilderness, it may 
aiford some interest now, to notice some of the facts and occur- 
rences in the case. Her child-like mind was delighted with the 
expectation of seeing wonders, — such as new' woods, new rivers, 
and new animals, every day. Their military company were 
conveyed in six batteaux. The second day they arrived at Fort 
Hendrick, the home of king Hendrick, now called Canajoharie. 
The toil of lifting the boats from place to place, and of cutting off 
fallen trees, lying across Wood creek, requiring three days to 
get along only fourteen miles, was all full of interest and fun to 
her. The whole scenery was dark, thick woods. There she 
saw remains of beaver dams, and numerous black and grey squir- 
rels were mingling with her, in disputing for nuts, profusely 
scattered on the ground. At the nights they made great fires on 
the ground, both to cook, and to scare away the wolves and 
bears, and also to cause any wandering Indians to believe they 
were a great body, by their many fires. They set fire to their 
cedar brush, for starting them into flame, by trains of gunpow- 
der. At one place there seemed to be a general congress of 
wolves, howling all night, in dreadful chorus. Oswego, then, 
was wholly wild, and a real Siberia in the winter ; but abounded 
with fish and fowl, and the woods then were thick, lofty, and 
interminable. The present writer, when he made a tour by the 
military road from Oswego to Rome, even as late as 1828, found 
it then, the very wildest region of New York, and the most occu- 
pied with the rough and rude mud and mire bridges, popularly 
called Cord du roy, being logs laid tranverse of the road, in all 
boggy and wet places. There were wolves and bears still to be 
occasionally killed there. 

Mrs. Grant remarks, that expert woodmen, in her time, could 

G 2 

7S Early Inland Settlements. 

go through deep woods without guide or compass. They could 
tell the north side of timber, by its being invariably thicker in its 
bark ; and was also covered with most moss on that side. They 
knew also, the quality of the soil, by the trees or plants most 
prevalent. They could tell the approach of a swamp, and with 
equal certainty, could foresee the vicinity of a river or high 
ground. Where grew the red oaks, marked a soil of loam and 
sand; and where chesnut trees abounded, with strawberries, 
there would be the best place for wheat culture. Where the 
poplar grew, there the soil would be wet and cold. Where grew 
hickory, there the soil would be rich, and deep, and there was the 
best places to procure the plants with which the Indians made 
their dyes of blue and orange. All the country boys were then 
possessed of such useful woodland knowledge. It was long a mat- 
ter of frontier knowledge, that the leaves of the white ash tree, 
when bound about the legs and ancles, was a protection against 
rattlesnakes and other venomous serpents. They are made" sense- 
less by the touch of a branch from such a tree, besides this, the 
wearing of loose leggings was a purposed guard against their 
bites. Hogs readily devour serpents without harm. 

Judge Joshua Stow, of Middletown, Conn., who was the first 
pioneer into Ohio — bordering on the Erie lake, did me the 
favour, in 1839, — in the seventy-eighth year of his age, to furnish 
me with a brief description of his progress inland, up the Mo- 
hawk. He and his party set out in the month of May 1796, for 
the benefit of the Connecticut Land Company, owning the "West- 
ern reserve" in Ohio. The company consisted of five surveyors 
and a physician, and sundry ch-ain and axe men — in all fourteen 
persons. They started for Schenectady in four flat bottomed 
boats, of three tons each, having on board a quantity of freight for 
Indians to be met at Buffalo, in a treaty, besides their camp 
utensils, provisions, &c. Their progress was slow and arduous 
up the Mohawk ; when arrived at Fort Stanwix, they lost a man 
by falling overboard and drowning. They here used a portage 
of a mile and a half, hauling the boats and goods, by teams, over 
to Wood creek, and went thence by it to Lake Oneida, and 
Oswego river, out to Lake Ontario, and thence onward by the 
Lakes. Their rejoicings were extreme when they reached the 
Ontario, and had got thus far beyond their fatigue, and into so 
broad an expanse of waters. On the fourth of July 1796, the 
party, to their great joy, first set their feet on the virgin soil of 
Ohio, at Conneaut, — where they did not fail to celebrate the twen- 
tieth year of our national independence. In the year 1839, he 
visited the same regions, in good health, and was received by the 
citizens of Cleveland, and by the inhabitants of the Western 
Reserve, as an honoured patriarch. But the great interest, intend- 
ed to be noticed here, is, that such an individual, in his own person, 

Early Inland Settlemenls. 79 

should live to revisit, such distant regions, so utterly changed, 
from their first appearance — being all since improved, throughout 
the whole route, like enchantment. 

In the year 1768, there was held at Fort Stanwix (Rome) a 
great convention of Indians to treat and to settle affairs; they 
were met, to the number of three thousand, by Sir William John- 
son, and by Governor John Penn, and his secretary, the Rev. Mr. 
Peters, and Benjamin Chew, Esq., of Philadelphia, and others ; 
on that secular occasion, Mr. Peters preached to the Indians, and 
baptized sundry Indians. 

In further illustration of the rapid progress of the country, as 
redeemed from its recent savage state, we here purpose to 
notice, a few facts of the wild and ferocious animals occasionally 
found in what are to be considered as improved and settled dis- 
tricts — to wit : 

In 1759, an act was passed for destroying tvild cats, in the 
county of Suffolk, also an act to destroy wolves, in the county of 

In January 1754, a large bear, seventeen miles west of Scho- 
harie, encountered a squaw and her child, in the woods, and 
killed them both. After nearly eating them up, he was killed 
by a passing Indian. 

In January 1S2S, a party of hunters in the Warwick mountains, 
(seventy miles north of New York) trailed a bear to a cave 
there ; after using the usual method of trying to smoke him out, 
without avail, they sent in their dogs, which were driven out, 
they then blasted the rock so as to admit the passage of a man, 
when one John Ward, entered with a torch and made his shot at 
him, and having missed, he returned, and again entered, and shot 
him in the fore legs. The bear advanced, and drove him out. 
Ward entered again, and shot him in the eye. The bear again 
made at him, and he retreated, and gaining a rifle, shot the bear 
just as he was making his escape. He measured six feet from 
the nose to the end of the tail, and weighed three hundred and 
thirteen pounds. As late as the years 1815, to 1820, the State 
treasury expended thirty-eight thousand two-hundred and sixty 
dollars, for killing wolves, in thirty-seven of the western counties. 

In April, 1833, we had a remarkable exemplification of the 
presence of wolves, even in a settled country, like the northern 
end of New Jersey, say at Byram township, in Newtown, only 
about fifty miles from New York City ! There, Adam Drake 
received three-hundred and sixty dollars, for one day's work in 
kiUing and capturing wolves ! The case was indeed singular. 
He had been led out, from the bowlings, to go in search. He 
found their lair in the rocks — two old ones and nine young ones. 
For these nine he received five dollars a head from the county, 
five dollars also from the township of Byram, and thirty dollars 
also from the township of Green, of which Drake was an inliabi- 

8b Earvy Inland Settlements. 

tant. The old ones were shot at, but escaped, the young ones 
only were killed. 

It may be worthy of special remark, to notice some of the 
monstrous trees, which have been particularly noticed for their 
size — to wit: in Genesvsee, in Mr. Wadsworth's meadow, is an 
oak of twenty-four feet in circumference. Near the mouth of 
the Walnut creek is a black walnut tree, of twenty-seven feet in 
circumference, and is very high. In Reading, is a white oak of 
seventeen and a half feet in girth. In Mentz, there is a hollow 
buttonwood tree of thirty-three feet round, wherein Mr. Smith 
preached to thirty-five persons, and which could have held fifty 
persons. Its diameter was seventeen feet. In Oswego there is 
another, which is thirty-five and a half feet in circumference. A 
sycamore tree, which grew on the banks of the Mohawk, re- 
quired thirty-one yoke of oxen to remove the trunk, after it was 
cut down. It had been occupied as a booth, or tavern, near 
Utica, for two years, and is capable of holding forty persons. 
A similiar one, from New York state, was exhibited in Phila- 
delphia as a show. At Salina, a tree measures forty-eight feet 

In 1760, an officer, who had gone from Schenectady to Ontario 
in the month of June, thus describes the difficulties of the water 
passage, saying, " We embarked in our boats on the 24th June, 
and reached the lake on the 24th July, continuing their progress 
all the time ; the navigation was bad in the Mohawk, causing us 
often to get our batteaux over shoals, by main strength. The 
passage by Wood creek, was still worse, causing us eight days of 
hard work in that creek of but forty miles." 

The first regular settlement of Rome, was by emigrants from 
New England, and much expectation was then entertained of its 
increase and future greatness, as occupying the position of the 
carrying place between the waters of the Mohawk and Wood 
creek, leading to the Lakes. The fort was at first built ,with 
great cost — said to have been two hundred and sixty-six thousand 
dollars. It was a square fort, with four bastions, with a covert 
way and glacis. 

* Probably, the biggest tree in the United States of the Oak kind, is that of a 
Red Oak eighteen miles from Natchitoches, on the road to Apelousas, which 
measures forty-four feet in girth, at two foot from the ground, and is sixty feet 
high to its branches. There is an apple tree, still bearing, at Marshfield, Mas- 
sachusetts, which was planted by Peregrine White, the y?rs< maZc person born in 
New England. The house built by the same individual is still standing, probably 
the oldest edifice in our country. What is still stranger, is, that the house and 
farm is still owned and occupied by the lineal descendants of the same P. White ! 
In Danvers, Massachusetts, there is a pear tree, still alive, planted by George 
Endicott, in 1628. In Eastham, on Cape Cod, is another, planted in 1640, by 
Gov. Prince. Two pear trees are still living at Hartford, Connecticut, brought 
out from England and planted in 1633. The pear tree brought out from Hol- 
land, and planted by Gov. Stuyvesant, on his farm, is now bearing in New York 


7 ^ 

Nieu Amsterdam in 1659, p 146. 

Log Cottage and Block House of Inland Settlers, p. 104. 

Early Inland Settlements. 81 


The recent and rapid progress of inland settlement in Western 
New York is, and ever must be, a matter of interest and wonder, 
to many. We therefore desire to present a condensed view of 
the facts in the case ; several of which we have derived from 
Henry O'Reilly, Esq., of Rochester, assisted by Maude's Notices 
of 1800. Mr. O'Reilly is a gentleman who has been a commend- 
able observer of inland improvement ; and is therefore peculiarly 
qualified to be a useful contributor, to wit : 

The principal tracts into which Western New York was earliest 
divided, were the Holland Purchase, the Pulteney Estate, and the 
Military tract. The lands in all these tracts are generally sold 
and occupied, although some minor tracts, bought from the Hol- 
land company, by associations, are still but sparsely settled. The 
public improvements, by canals and railroads, will, however, 
soon leave but little land unimproved, in the southern tier of the 
western counties, wherein those still wild tracts are chiefly located. 

The Pulteney Estate, is of good size and immense value— com- 
prising nearly all of Steuben and Ontario counties, the east range 
of townships in Alleghany county, and the east and principal 
parts of the counties of Livingston and Munroe. To the intelli- 
gent and industrious agent, Capt. Charles Williamson, the meed 
of praise is due for the stimulus to useful improvement. Capt. 
Williamson began his enterprise in 1792, forcing his passage 
through a length of wilderness, which the oldest and most ex- 
perienced woodmen could not be tempted to assist him to explore, 
although ofiered five times the usual wages ; his only companions 
were his friend, Mr. Johnstone, a servant, and one backwoods- 
man. The same year, there was laid out the town of Bath, 
which came in eight years afterwards, to contain about forty fam- 
ilies. It was not until 1795, that the country could supply its 
inhabitants with food ; for, till then, their flour was brought from 
Northumberland, and their pork from Philadelphia; yet, so 
rapidly has improvement advanced, and so quick has been the 
change, from the dark-tangled forest, (whose death-like silence 
yielded but to the growl of bears, the howl of wolves, and the 
yell of savages,) to smiling fields, to flocks and herds, and to the 
busy hum of men, that instead of being indebted to others for 
their support, they soon came to the profitable condition of 
making large exportations of their surplus. 

On the first settlement of the country around Bath, those moun- 
tainous districts were so little regarded, in comparison with the 
rich flats, of the Genessee country, that few of the early settlers 
could be prevailed upon to establish themselves there, till Capt. 
Williamson set the example, and saying, " as nature has done so 
much for the northern plains, I will be doing something for these 

82 Early Inland Settlements, 

southern mountains." Capt. Williamson made his beginning in 
Bath, by building himself a small log cabin for his wife and 
family ; and if a stranger came to visit him, he built up a little 
nook to put his bed in. In a little time, a boarded or frame house 
was built for the Captain. His subsequent residence, is a very 
commodious, roomy house, situate to the right of where he had 
placed his first cabin, — since, consigned to the kitchen fire. In a 
few years, Williamson's mills were constructed nearby, for the 
benefit of the population on Conhocton creek. 

To the same Capt. Williamson, we are indebted, for the choice 
and beautiful site of Geneva, diX. the northwest end of Seneca lake. 
He, charmed with the peculiar beauty of the elevated plain 
which there commands so fine a view of the very picturesque 
lake, began to lay out his building lots for a town, parallel with, 
and facing the lake, and with conditions, that no buildings should 
be erected on the eastern side of the street, so as ever to obstruct 
the view of the lake. To give encouragement to this settlement, 
he built a very large and handsome hotel, which he placed under 
the management of Mr. Powell, an Englishman. 

In 1792, Geneva did not contain more than three or four fam- 
ilies; and in 1800, there was an accession of sixty families. 
Among the respectable families, then there, were Messrs. Colt, 
Johnstone, Hallet, Rees, Bogert, and Beckman ; three of these 
were lawyers. There were also two physicians, two storekeep- 
ers, and one or two of several kinds of tradesmen. A hatter 
there, then made hats entirely of beaver, at ten dollars. 

Canandaigua, near the lake of the same name, had in 1792, 
but two frame houses, and a few log cabins, and soon advanced -. 
in population ; say in 1800, to ninety families. This town, by "^ 
the inconsideration of the first settlers, was placed, unlike Geneva, 
at a little distance from its beautiful lake, and has so lost forever, 
all the charm which its superior water scenery could have 
afforded. Its earliest principal inhabitants were, Thomas Mor- 
ris, Esq., Judge Atwater, and Messrs. Phelps and Gorham; the 
two last, great land-holders in the vicinity. 

Rochester, was begun by the purchase, by Capt. Williamson, 
of the one hundred acre " Allen mill-lot," where he had intended 
to construct a much larger mill than had been used by " Indian 
Allen ;" but after holding the site a couple of years, he sold out 
in 1802, at seventeen and a half dollars per acre, to Roches- 
ter, Carroll, and Fitzhugh (Marylanders), who in 1812, laid out 
their purchase, in a village plot, under the name of the senior 
proprietor, Rochester. 

At the Big Spring, two miles from the Scotch settlement of 
Caledonia, Capt. Williamson laid out a town in acre lots, where 
only two families were resident in 1800; while at Caledonia, 
there were then eighteen families. These settlers purchased their 
lands at three dollars per acre, and received as an allurement to 

Early Inland Settlements. 83 

settle, the gift of a cow to each family, and a supply of wheat 
for the first year, to be repaid in kind. At the same time the pur- 
chase money was deferred for five years, and without interest. 
With such generous terms to settlement and improvement, in so 
fine a country, how easy was it to increase in substance and 
wealth ! 

A few persons had penetrated northward, between Avon and 
Lake Ontario, as early as 1788-90. These were, Israel and 
Simon Stone, who settled in what is now Pittsford. They were 
followed by Glover Perrin, who settled in the place which since 
bears the name of Perrinton ; and by Peter Schaeffer, who located 
on the flats of the Genessee, near to the present flourishing town 
of Scottsville, at Allen's creek, a stream named after " Indian 
Allen," who had resided there before his use of his first mill, at 
the present Rochester. 

Mr. Orange Stone settled at the place now called Brighton, in 
1790, and in 1791, Wm. Hincher took residence in the woods, 
about the junction of the river with Lake Ontario. These two 
individuals lived twelve miles apart ; and were for several years 
without any intervening neighbour. Nevertheless, such was the 
mind of Hincher, that he looked with jealousy upon newcomers, 
as those who might disturb the privileges of his lonely " neigh- 
bourhood !" 

Of Schaefier, it was remarked by Maude, who visited him in 
his lonely sovereignty, in 1800, that this individual, as " a respect- 
able farmer," was then living in his new boarded house, the 
only one of that kind, then between the present Avon, and the 
mouth of the Genessee river, twenty-five miles distant. Schaefier 
was the oldest settler, " Indian Allen" excepted, then on the 
Genessee river. When Schaeffer first settled on this river, about 
the year 1788, there were not more than four or five families 
between him and Fort Schuyler, (the present Utica,) a distance 
of one hundred and fifty miles. 

The Genessee landing (now Hanford's,) was settled in 1796, 
some years before the village of Rochester was projected ; being 
first occupied by Zadoc Granger, and Gideon King. The late 
Governor De Witt Clinton, on his western tour in 1810, made a 
short stop at this landing, at the then only public house, kept by 
Mr. Hanford, who was at the same time, carrying on considerable 
of trade with Canada, as a merchant. Much business was then 
doing with Montreal, having in six months sent there, from that 
landing, one thousand barrels of flour, one thousand of pork, one 
thousand of potash, and upwards of one hundred thousand of 

The first impulse to forming a town at Rochester, was caused 
by the public necessity of constructing a bridge across the Gen- 
essee river, some twenty miles below the earlier bridge at Avon. 
To the success of this measure Mr. Enos Stone, (the same who 

84 Early Inland Settlements, 

killed in 1811, in his cornfield in Rochester, the largest bear ever 
seen,) and who is still alive to witness the wonderful advance- 
ment of the place, was earnestly devoted, by his attendance on the 
legislature. He had visited the place from his home in Massa- 
chusetts, in 1794, but did not come to reside till 1807-8. Among 
the obstacles and demurs which he had to encounter, before the 
legislature at Albany, it was alleged, that there was then nothing 
to justify such an expense for an additional bridge. " It is, 
(said one of the speakers,) a God-forsaken place ! inhabited by 
muskrats, visited only by straggling trappers, through which 
neither man nor beast could gallop without fear of starvation, or 
fever' and ague .'" Such was the stigma cast upon Rochester, 
before it had a name, and by which its subsequent improvement 
would have been repressed, had a majority of the legislators been 
of equal hostility and distrust. Now, what do opponents and the 
public behold ; a superior city, raised as by enchantment ! A 
considerable portion of the site then, was marshy, now no longer 
such, and subject, as will hereafter be noticed, like the rest of the 
Genessee country, to fever and agues, since dispelled. The 
bridge was begun in 1810 and finished in 1812, at an expense of 
twelve thousand dollars, which was taxed upon the soliciting 
counties of Ontario and Genessee. The river had been previously 
forded, on the rocky bottom, near the present canal aqueduct. 
Before the erection of the bridge, accidents would occasionally 
happen, to those who attempted to ford while a freshet was flow- 
ing. In the spring of 1812, a farmer, with his team and wagon, 
were destroyed by being swept over the falls of one hundred feet, 
near by ; the same place at which " Sam Patch" of notoriety, 
afterwards jumped into eternity, and '^no mistake," while demon- 
strating his favorite diving maxim that, " some things can be done 
as well as others." 

At the time of the first settlements, there were numerous fam- 
ilies of Indians scattered around this place. Hot-bread, Tommy- 
Jemmy, Capt. Thompson, Blackbird, and other red men of note, 
spent part of their time there ; and, as late as 1813, one of the 
great pagan festivals, (the sacrifice of the dog,) was solemnized 
publicly at the rising ground where now the Bethel church stands. 
Then the swamps back of the Mansion-house, were filled with 
rabbits, partridges, and other game, and deer might be seen 
almost any day, by watching at the Deer-lick, where is now the 
horticultural establishment of Reynolds and Bateham. 

When John Q. Adams was visiting Western New York, in 
the summer of 1843, he so cordially expressed views and feelings, 
such as I have been endeavouring to inculcate in sundry places, 
in these pages, that I will not repress the desire I feel to connect 
some few of his remarks, so kindred with my own. " He regrets, 
deeply regrets, that he had not earlier visited those regions, so 
that he might have been better qualified thereby to contrast the 

Early Inland Settlements. 85 

present, with what it was ! Then, all was covered with forests, 
inhabited by wild beasts. Upon the lakes was no commerce, 
and they had no neighbours with whom to traffic. All was soli- 
tude; — now made by their fathers into a paradise !" "In travel- 
ling through the state, it has been impossible for him to forego 
a constant comparison, with what New York was in other days, 
and what it is now:^^ — " For (says he,) when I first set foot on 
New York soil, in 1785, the present great city of the Empire 
State, had but eighteen thousand inhabitants, and while he tar- 
ried at John Jay's, that gentleman was laying the foundation of 
a house in Broadway, at a distance of a quarter of a mile from 
any other dwelling .'" Such are the men who are best qualified 
to see the contrast of the times, and to wonder at the enchant- 
ment by which towns and villages, and rural beauties and im- 
provements, are created. 

Think too, that twenty thousand persons should have been 
collected at Rochester, in 1843, to celebrate the annual gathering 
of the Agricultural Society, and at thai; assemblage, there should 
have been present from Canandaigua, Mr. Abner Barlow, in 
the ninety-second year of his age, who, in his own person, was 
the farmer who sowed the first field of wheat in Western New 
York ! To be too, at a city now, which makes more flour than 
any other city in the world ! 

The earliest notice of roads and bridges, may be briefly 
summed up as follows, viz: 

In 1792, the road from Geneva to Canandaigua was only an 
Indian path, and on this road, as told by Capt. AVilliamson, there 
were only two families, then settled. Then Canandaigua, the 
county town, consisted of only two small frame houses, and a 
few cabins, surrounded by thick woods. From Canandaigua to 
the Genessee river, at Avon — twenty-six miles, only four families 
resided on the road. 

Patrick Campbell, who travelled westward in 1792, says that 
the whole distance, from the Onondaga Hollow to Cayuga, was 
in forests ; and that in Marcellus township, he met with only one 
house, and two newly erected huts. 

On the 22d of March, 1794, three commissioners were appoint- 
ed, for laying out a road, from old Fort Schuyler (the present 
Utica), to the Cayuga ferry, in Onondago county, or to the outlet 
of Cayuga lake, as they might choose ; thence to Canandaigua ; 
and thence to the settlement at Canawagus (now Avon), on 
Genessee river. 

The road from Fort Schuyler (Utica), to the Genessee, which 
in 1797, was little better than an Indian path, is stated by Capt. 
Williamson, as being in 1799, "so far improved," that a stage 
started from Fort Schuyler, in September, to arrive at Geneva on 
the third day, with four passengers. Soon as this line of road 


86 Early Inland Settlements. 

was settled by law, as many as fifty families settled along it, in 
the space of four months. In the winter of 1797, two stages ran 
from Geneva and Canandaigua, to Albany, weekly. 

Cayuga bridge, the longest in America, was commenced by the 
Manhattan Company of New Yorkj in 1799, and finished in 
September 1 800 ; being in length a mile and a quarter, with a 
width for three wagons abreast. The water which there rests 
on the lake is so clear as to permit you, when riding over the 
bridge, to see the sporting fish, and the stony and sandy bottom. 
It is, also, a glorious sight to look out upon the surface of the 
extended lake. 

In 1815, Samuel Hildreth began to run a stage, and to carry 
the mail, twice a week, between Canandaigua and Rochester, a 
distance of twenty-eight miles ; and in the same year, a private 
weekly mail route was established, between Rochester and 

The directions given to travellers, about the period of 1798, 
may present a curious contrast to the contents of the " travellers' 
guides,^' as now published. Capt. Williamson, in a note to 
Maude's travels, then said : — " You are to proceed from Geneva, 
by the state road, to the Genessee river, which you will cross at 
New Hartford (now Avon), at west of which you will find the 
country settled for about twelve miles ; and all beyond, for sixty- 
five miles, to the Niagara river, is still in its primitive wilderness 
state. This road, says he, was so much used last year (in 1797), 
by people on business, or by the curiosity of some visiting the 
Falls of Niagara, (now so well understood, by many,) that a 
station was fixed at the Big Plains, to shelter travellers. 
From that place, diverged two roads, leading to the same Niagara 
river : one by Buffalo creek, the other by Tonawanda Indian 
village, to Lewistown landing and Queenstown, in Canada. The 
road by Buffalo creek is most used, as it is better, and commands 
a view of Lake Erie; and the road from this to the Falls, is along 
the banks of the Niagara river, forming in itself a very interest- 
ing ride. Then Queenstown contained from twenty to thirty 
houses. Lewistown then had but two houses ; one of which 
was the ferry-house, used as the proper landing, and as a portage 
place, for Fort Schlosser." 

Delightfully pleasant and healthy as we now know that West- 
ern New York is, we cannot but feel some interest, in looking 
back upon its proverbial unhealthiness ; and especially upon the 
terror of its climate, as once entertained, of "the sickly Genessee." 

On the 7th June, 1792, says Dr. Coventry, I arrived with my 
family at my first residence near the village of Geneva. The 
seasons of 1793-94 were very sickly in the Genessee country. 
He remembered a time in the village of Geneva, when there was 
only a single individual who could leave her bed, and she went 
about, like a ministering angel, bestowing a drink of cold water 

Early Inland Settlements. 87 

to the afflicted. The diseases were occasional dysenteries, and 
many fevers. In the summer of 1796, he settled at Utica, and 
found dysentery prevalent there. 

Dr. Ludlow, speaking of the period of 1801, says the diseases 
of the spring and summer were principally intermittent fevers, 
partaking of the tertian type, attended with violent inflammatory 
action. None were exempt. In September and October, remit- 
tents of a mild form appeared, which continued through Novem- 
ber, growing more severe as the season advanced. All fevers, 
except fever and ague, were called by the people '^ Lake or 
Genessee fevers.''^ Diarrhoea was the prevailing disease of the 
spring. Goitre, or chronic inflammation of the thyroid gland, then 
common, has since wholly disappeared. At that time and sub- 
sequent, phthisis pulmonalis was scarcely known ; and it has 
been supposed, that it was occasioned by the prevalence of 
fever and ague, on the principle mentioned as early as Hippo- 
crates, that intermittents have the power of removing other 
diseases. So he found it in his practice, through several years, 
among the early settlers. Time has since removed the decom- 
posing vegetable matter, and man has graded, drained and paved 
the road. Since 1828, fevers have so declined, and become so 
mild, that death from that cause, has been but a rare occurrence. 
Since then, consumption, that king of terrors, has been gaining 
an ascendency ; and inland New York, like other and older 
countries, has become subject to the invasion, and consequent 

The name of the "Genessee country," says Dr. Ludlow, was 
strongly associated with ideas of sickness and death. Notwith- 
standing the glowing descriptions of the beauty and fertility of the 
land, given by the early pioneers of " Western New York," 
those who remained at home, especially in New England, could 
scarcely divest themselves of a feeling of gloom, in contemplating 
the dangers incident to health and life in the early stages of the 
settlement westward. It seemed to most of them that, after all, 
this western region was but a " valley of bones," a premature 
burying-place, for those loved friends and relations who were 
tempted to settle in this newly opening territory. And truly, like 
all new, level, and rich countries, abounding in vegetation, it 
was subject largely to the diseases of similar districts, the severe 
forms of intermittent and remittent fevers, cholera morbus, &c. 

Th^ lands, generally described in the forgoing notices, were 
severally acquired from the Indians, at various periods, as here- 
after severally mentioned, viz. 

In 1785, the Oneida and Tuscarora tribes, at a treaty held at 
Fort Herkimer, sold a portion of their territory for eleven thou- 
sand five hundred dollars, being for the land lying between the 
Unadilla and Chenango rivers; and in 1788 the Oneidas, at a 

88 Early Inland Settlements. 

treaty held at Fort Stanwix, ceded all their lands excepting a 
few reservations. 

In 1788, the Onondagas, at a treaty held at Fort Schuyler, 
sold all their territory to the state of New York, excepting a 
reservation around their village. The price was one thousand 
crowns, and two hundred pounds in clothing, and an annuity for- 
ever, of five hundred dollars. 

The same year, the Oneidas ceded all the remainder of their 
lands, for the consideration of two thousand dollars hi money, two 
thousand dollars in clothing, one thousand dollars in provisions ; 
and an annuity of six hundred dollars forever. 

The Cayugas, hy their treaty at Albany, in 1789, ceded all 
their lands, in consideration of two thousand one hundred and 
twenty-five dollars, and an annuity of five hundred dollars for- 
ever. Other similar purchases were made from the Six Nations, 
the Senecas, and Mohawks, at subsequent periods. Generally, 
" the poor Indians," reserved to themselves, but uselessly, the 
rights to fishing and hunting, forever, on the lands so alienated. 
Thus evincing in their last extremities, a fond hope of being 
allowed to linger about and use, their loved homes. Poor things, 
they have long since waked from that drekm-of hope! The 
hunting and fishing, themselves, are gone ! and population and 
improvement, have crowded out the former owners of the soil, 
never to return ! " The star of Empire urges west.^^ 

In travelling westward from Schenectady, along the Mohawk, 
and out to Niagara, as the writer did, in 1828, purposely to 
" note and observe," it was matter of wonderment to the author, 
that he should then see a country, so new and young, every where 
so wealthy in pleasant and stately houses and villages, and so 
highly cultivated in the fields of the prosperous farmers. All 
this too, wrought out in the short period elapsing since the termi- 
nation of the Revolutionary war. 

It was also much to his satisfaction, in going at that time to the 
Niagara as a looker on, to still find the country beyond Utica just 
in its act of transit, from the wild to the cultivated state. The 
fields of grain and grass were still well spotted with black and 
charred, looking like black bears set upon their haunches, 
and like himself, upon the qui vive for adventure, showing there- 
by, the places of the recent woods, burned away, to make " the 
clearings," and settlement. Every now and then we came to 
neatly finished dwellings, and often to those that were elegant, 
set along side of the still remaining log houses, from which the 
owners had but recently removed — the log houses, in the mean- 
time, serving either for kitchens or outhouses, thus denoting to 
the eye, the advancement to wealth and consequence of their 
owners. Except for the presence of the log houses and log barns, 
every thing looked new and bright and cheerful. The villages. 

Early Inland Settlements. 89 

which were frequent, showed good new mansions — fine churches 
— fine hotels and stores, in a style of grandeur and prosperity. 
Withal, the style of architecture was very often, peculiarly origi- 
nal and pleasing, as if the constructors had gone far away from 
imitation, and from the despotism of fashion prevaiUng in uniform 
sameness, in the cities, and had set up for independent inventors 
of new modes for themselves. 

Those who had gone before us, but only one dozen of short 
years, had seen the same regions, in their rough and rude state. 
The roads and accommodations had been proverbially rough, 
even as recent as the last border war, and costing for the trans- 
portation of the necessaries and munitions of war to the frontiers, 
most exorbitant prices. The inhabitants then, were busily strug- 
gling to free themselves from the wild encumbrances of the soil 
— but now all was nearly over, and the happy occupants were 
reposing on the fruits and productions of their previous toil. 
And here it behoves us to remark, that those who shall come 
after us, even in a few years, shall see few or none of these things, 
to move their special wonders. We regret to be obliged to say 
this to the wonder-seekers, but it will he so. They must go soon, 
or all the road will be artificially modernized by continuous cities 
and villages, with finished roads, like matters of every day obser- 
vation at home. The first scenes are fading and passing away, 
even while we are writing — soon they will be absolutely gone. 
The same places will look to the travellers, as if they had always 
been settled, as if always improved and wealthy — such a change 
to better, will be all the worse to those who may seek for surprise 
and sensation. And it is to preserve the recollection of things as 
they were, and to enable the beholder to compare the present 
and the past, that we feel ourselves excited to make these records 
and notitia. We know that they cannot see with our eyes, nor 
feel with our emotions, unless aided by such assistance. 

Was not wild nature in that elder time 

Clothed with a deeper power? Earth's wandering race, 

Exploring realms of solitude sublime, 

Nut as we see beheld her awful face. 

Jri had not tamed the mighty scenes which met 

Their searching eyes ; unpeopled kingdoms lay 

In savage pomp before them — all was yet 

Silent and vast — untrodden, voiceless, lone. 

Only nineteen years preceding our journey, a friend of ours 
had gone in the Jirst gig that had reached Niagara, and although 
it was drawn by two horses tandem, he was a whole day in 
going over a route of sixteen miles, much filled with " Cord du 
roy" logs. At Niagara, the only public inn, was still a log 
house. At the Falls they had no artificial steps, for descent to 
the gulf below. Iris Island, was not then accessible, and there 
was no house of entertainment on the British side, and none 
nearer than Chippewa, two or three miles ofi". 

12 H* 

90 Early Inland Settlements. 

We may appropriately add, in connection with such facts, that 
in our early life, we had had frequent intercourse with American 
officers, coming from Fort Schlosser, and the military stations 
along the Niagara river, doing all their journey slowly and 
fatiguing] y on horse-back, with their bear-skin saddle cloths, and 
strapped valises, and always in enough of their uniform, to mark 
their character, and to bespeak, as they could, some extra atten- 
tion on the road. And it was a fact, that so little had the public 
attention been called and stimulated to any of the present wonder- 
ments of the Falls, that the officers scarcely ever deigned to speak 
of them, in their ordinary conversations. It conferred no mark 
of distinction to have seen them, and none of them ever published 
any account of their travels. 

We have since made ourselves to wonder, by indulging in 
fervid imaginations, by painting poetic descriptions, and stimu- 
lating our fancies, until the multitude of pleasure-seekers, and 
picturesque-searchers, fill the country with their explorations. 
The stage owners, hotel keepers, store-keepers, and farmers, find 
their harvest in this, and through the aid of the newspaper press, 
keep up the measure of florid report and excitement, and those 
who seek sensation, pursue the path of those who come home 
and boast of marvels seen and done, by themselves. We may 
know how far much of this is artificially produced, by the fact 
of our special movings, in reading page after page, and book after 
book, of places sacred to character, poetry, and history, in Eng- 
land, when at the same time, our own disregarded, and of course, 
quiet American scenes of wood, lake, and mountain, go far before 
theirs in greatness, and in the sublime of nature. We may quote 
our warrant for this assertion in their own publications, and in 
saying, with a recent British publication, that "America certainly 
surpasses every other country in richness of the picturesque — 
every mile upon the rivers — every hollow in the landscape — every 
turn in the innumerable mountain streams, arrest the painter's eye, 
and here his labour is not, as in Europe, to embellish and idealize 
the reality, but he finds it difficult to come up to it." In Europe, 
we connect every thing with its historical or poetical associations, 
and thus magnify their intrinsic value. There all is engrossed in 
the consideration and recollection of the past, while here we em- 
phatically hang all our interests and feelings, upon the future. 

It might justly surprise many, who only see the marks of civili- 
zation and improvement, along the usual roads, to learn that 
there is still a region in this state, in all the wildness of nature, 
covered with woods, to an extent of one hundred and fifty miles 
long, and one hundred miles wide. Such a tract, in one connec- 
tion, now lies between the St. Lawrence and Lake Champlain, 
and between the Mohawk and the Hudson. It is filled with lofty 
mountains, on whose tops the clouds gather and pour down their 
rains, and scatter their snows, so that large reservoirs are neces- 

Early Inland Settlements. 91 

sary, to hold their superabundant waters. To this end, the wise 
and beneficent Creator, has hollowed out a number of large and 
beautiful lakes, interspersed with little islands, where the rivers 
find their feeders, and their supply for the country through which 
they pass to the ocean. On the margins of these lakes, reside a 
few families, wholly cut off from the world, who hold no sab- 
baths, hear no church-going bells, and who live chiefly by hunt- 
ing and fishing. Some such families make their way to the towns, 
to purchase and to barter, by footpaths of forty to fifty miles in 
extent, and when they have grain to grind, carry it on their 
backs. Such mountaineers dwell in little huts, covered with bark, 
and at their boat exercises on the lakes, some of which are twenty 
and thirty miles in length, and of proportionate breadth, the girls 
and women are often as expert and efficient as the men. To see 
such a state of society, so wholly cut off from the modes and 
forms of civilization, or even from missionary labour, might be 
worth the attention of travellers, in the search of novelty and 

In conclusion, if the travelUng of the " northern tour,^' is des- 
tined measurably to exhaust itself by its own frequency and 
familiarity of wear and tear, our travelling cits and their appur- 
tenances of marvelling dames and belles, must betake themselves 
contentedly and passively, (as summer heat requires,) to the sea- 
shore, where the ever restless sea, is still unchanged, and where 
it offers in itself, a glorious emblem, and a profitable study, of the 
enduring eternity and self-possessed duration, of the great Eternal 

New York inland, has been essentially indebted to New Eng- 
land, for its intelUgent and enterprising population. Judge White, 
from Middletown, Conn., began the first settlement in and near 
Whitestown and Utica, and Oliver Phelps offered allurements for 
Massachusetts men for Canandaigua and westward. In a word, 
the Yankees, so called, have been almost every thing for western 
New York, and well the state may glory in " the universal Yan- 
kee nation." It will not be inappropriate, in this connection, to 
set down in some extension, the chief characteristics of such a 
people, much of which we have found drawn to our hand, by 
the forcible pen of Willis. 

The character of the Yankees has influenced, and continues to 
influence that of every part of the nation, and their name, from a 
provincial designation, (probably derived from Yengees, the 
Indian name for English,) has become, among foreigners, the 
popular appellation of the whole people. Such is the predomi- 
nance of their character and civilization, that the other states are 
becoming like the Yankees, while the Yankees are keeping like 
themselves. It is in New England, that you find most original, 
operative, and distinctly marked American character. There 
should the traveller and observer, begin and end his tour; for 

92 Early Inland Settlements. 

whoever leaves the Yankees out of his " United States as they 
are/' will find he has left Hamlet out of Hamlet's tragedy. 

It is in New England, that you will find Jonathan at home. 
In the other states there is mixture, greater or less, of foreign 
population ; but in New England, the population is homogeneous 
and native — the emigrant does not choose to settle there. It is 
no lubber land, there is no getting half a dollar a day for sleeping, 
in Connecticut, Massachusetts, or Vermont. In the west, he 
may scratch the ground, throw in the seed, and leave the rest to 

Cape Cod, which is but a heap of sand, yet maintains thirty 
thousand people, and there is not a beggar among them. All the 
tariffs that could be devised, never would ruin in New England, 
were they framed ex propria motu of Georgia and South Carolina. 
While the Yankees are themselves, they will hold their own, let 
politics twist about as they will. Shut their industry out from 
one career, and it will force itself into another. They have a 
perseverance, that will never languish, while any thing remains 
to be tried, and when a Yankee says "I'll try," the thing is 

In European countries, he that is born a peasant, will be a 
peasant all his life. But on beholding the most rustical clown 
of all Yankee land, it would not be safe to affirm that he would 
not be numbered, at some future day, among the most eminent 
men of the country. There is no burying a man of genius here ; 
the humblest birth shuts out no one, either from 'the hopes or the 
facilities of rising to that station for which his native talent has 
qualified him. Rare indeed, is it to find an individual who cannot 
read and write. Every one has therefore that modicum of know- 
ledge placed within his reach, which will enable him to obtain 
more, should his wishes aspire. Clowns, properly speaking, there 
are none, among the Yankees ; a Yankee is emphatically a civil 
man, though his civility may not produce bows and grimaces, 
and unmeaning compliments — he may be too direct for all this. 

A stirring spirit, stirring deeds, a stirring life, form the common 
theme of his praise. He puts every man upon his usefulness. If 
a man be called good in his presence, then comes the question, 
Good for what ? But with this predominant inclination towards 
the useful, the Yankee is no despiser of those arts which adorn 
and embellish life. The liberal sciences and the fine arts, have no 
where in the country received such encouragement, as in New 
England. The cities, the towns, the villages, the country seats, 
the private dwellings, display more elegance and taste than those 
of any other part of the Union. No wonder then, if the western 
part of New York, should largely partake of the liberal charac- 
teristic of their fatherland. It shows the Yankee spirit every 

The Yankees, too, are distinguished above all other men, for a- 

Early Inland Settlements. 93 


certain capacity, which is called contrivance, a faculty which ena- ,y 
bles an individual to turn his hand to any occupation, or to devise ' *" A^*. 
a scheme for any sudden emergency. A Yankee farmer, is a sort 
of Jack of all trades, he not only delves the soil, and goes to mar- 
ket, but he is a carpenter, shoemaker, weaver, cooper, soap-boiler, 
and more trades than these. He turns wooden bowls, makes 
buckets, sets up shooks, weaves baskets, manufactures brooms, 
and invents various kinds of washing machines. It is a Yankee's 
main study, to be " improving" every thing ; his very language 
breathes this spirit, for among them, he who occupies a house, is 
said to "improve it." The patent office at Washington, is so loaded 
with Yankee inventions, as to prove that they would, if they 
could, improve and help the whole nation. Dr. Lardner, in his 
lectures in this country, volunteered his testimony, to this charac- 
teristic, by saying, " this fact is what strikes the attention of every 
intelligent stranger, coming from Europe. More novelties in 
mechanics and general science have been presented to me, (says 
he) in this country, within twelve months, than I have seen in 
twelve years in England." God grant us ever a full measure of 
Yankee blood, and Yankee influence, every where. 

From such " improvers," comes the verification of Campbell's 
poetic prediction : 

" Thy handmaid arts, shall every wild explore. 
Trace every wave, and culture every shore; 
On Erie's banks, where tigers steal along. 
And the dread Indian chants his dismal song. 
There, shall the flocks on thy green pastures stray, 
And shepherds dance at summer's closing day." 

Latrobe instances the quickness and facilities of making settle- 
ments which he had witnessed. An individual bought three hun- 
dred acres of new land, at one and a quarter dollars an acre. He 
went to his work in April, and by the latter end of May, he had 
girdled ten acres of his forest trees — burned the brush- wood, and 
slightly broke the surface of the ground, and planted it with one 
bushel and a half of Indian corn. In September of that year, his 
crop was five hundred bushels ; at the same time, the tops and 
leaves were equal to one thousand bundles,— being sufficient to 
winter fifteen head of cattle, which had before found their suffi- 
cient supply by browsing in the woods. Besides this, the same 
land had yielded fifty wagon loads of pumpkins, yielding food 
for man and beast. No wonder if, with such thrift, the primitive 
settlers have gone on to fortune and plenty ! 

What are we to think of such a country, and such a people, 
but that God has some special purpose, wherein to exemplify his 
providence and will, in developing his blessings on this new world, 
and this new demonstration of his favour to the Saxon race. To 
that nation of men, who have been most sedulous to preserve and 
perpetuate Christian institutions. Those of them, who outrage his 

94 tlarly Inland Settlements, 

benevolent laws, for selfish purposes, are only exceptions to the 
general rule, and serve to show in their personal aberrations, how 
gross may be the violations of truth and justice, where divine 
blessings are contemned or disregarded. As one has said, " the 
providences of God have been so pecuUar, and his interpositions 
so frequent, and so manifest, in behalf of this people, that I can- 
not doubt that he has planted this vine for some great and good 
end, an end which he will see carried out to its full accomplish- 

A few years ago, and it was thought impossible that we could 
extend our territory any further, or add any new stars to our flag, 
and yet has the feeble arm of a Republican government sur- 
passed all expectation ! We have lived to see a new development, 
by which our space is annihilated, and when we have filled our 
territory to the Rocky Mountains, we shall be more compact, and 
the extremes will be nearer together, thereby, than were the ori- 
ginal thirteen States ! What new resources and wonders are to 
arise, who can tell / 

We have sometimes said, and still oftener thought, that such 
facts as these Annals aim to preserve, should aflbrd interest 
abroad, even in Europe itself, as showing the early domestic and 
homebred history of our Anglo-Saxon race, destined perchance, 
with Britain at home, to anglify, under Providence, the other 
nations of the globe ! I see some of my thoughts, lately, well 
expressed in the London Christian Examiner, to wit : — " Trace 
the principles and institutions of the Pilgrims, in their develop- 
ment, operation, and results. Not only ^ the little one has become 
a thousand, and the small one a great one,' but those institutions, 
civil and sacred, have found throughout, a congenial soil. In 
these stand the glory of America. Under any other dynasty 
that country could never have risen to its present position and 
influence. Oii her present position we must look tvith intense 
interest ! Her whole history is interwoven with the fate of 
Europe. America holds no common place. Her conduct and 
influence, in morals and rehgion, is in unison and co-operation 
with that of Britain, and is destined to change the whole aspect 
of society every where : The superstitions and errors of ages 
are melting away. In her future progress she is destined, in 
common with Britain, to carry along with her the destiny of the 
species. The world is not only to receive a new language — a 
new philosophy — a new religion, but to take its entire type and 
impression from these two nations. In moral power and resources, 
America not only rivals, but far exceeds the European states ; 
England alone excepted. No force can crush the sympathy that 
already exists, and is continually augmenting, between Europe 
and the New World. We are deeply interested in the progress 
of her power and greatness, for, she is descended from ances- 
tors who, like the fathers of the faithful, for the sake of truth. 

Inland Settlers and Pioneers. 95 

went to a land which they knew not ; and like the children of 
Abraham, have truth in their keeping — in common with us, and 
are destined to carry it by their commerce, and British principles 
of civilization, to the end of the earth !" 

In the face of such views, are not Britons then, incidentally 
interested in examining those traces of our domestic history, 
those pictures of our rise, progress, and attainment to present 
greatness, as exhibited in the present work ? Let them examine 
and consider ! Americans too, of whatever state, and however 
distant from Philadelphia, or New York, have every where, a 
direct interest, in this our attempt to show a picture of our nation, 
in Colonial times, when we were so homogeneous, and all alike 
— simple in manners, frugal, honest, homebred, contented, and 
loyal. My two works, although specifically for those two great 
cities and their States, present a picture of North Americans, in 
general : Something for the consideration of the whole American 
people. Let us understand ourselves ! 


" Thus the pavilioned waste of oak 
Has bow'd beneath the woodman's stroke." 

The pioneers, the primitive settlers of the inland wilds, are in 
general a race of men possessing little attention or renown, and 
yet deserving our liveliest respect and gratitude. In this new 
land they have uniformly been the av ant-couriers of all our 
enrichment and prosperity. They have gone forward into the 
depths of the forest, and by subduing and cultivating the soil 
have made it to bring forth abundantly. By sending the results 
of their harvests back to the parent cities, they have added to our 
wealth and commerce. 

When we owe so much, on the score of gratitude, to the 
patient hardihood of first settlers, we should take some pains to 
preserve some memorial of their adventures and exposures. We 
have listened to some of their oral relations with lively interest 
and emotion ; and as they have no chronicler to preserve their 
little history, we shall here endeavour to preserve some traits. 

We see two or three families, consisting severally of husbands, 
wives, and children, associating, in the year 1790, in one of the 
towns of New England, to form a little community to go into 
the wilds of the west. They had heard of fruitful soils and cheap ; 
and having growing and sturdy working boys and girls about 
them, they resolve to go as far as the Indian town of Canandai- 
gua ; or if not there suited, to go still further, to the country of 
the Genessee river. They sell out their little immoveable pro- 

96 Inland Settlers and Pioneers. 

perty for the sake of the cash ; they gather about them wagons, 
carts, farming utensils ; reserve some of their roughest furniture 
and of least weight of carriage ; lay in their store of salted and 
smoked meats ; procure baked biscuits ; get Indian meal for 
"journey cakes;" gather around a whole stock of cows, pigs, 
sheep, and poultry, not forgetting their house dog and tabby cat. 
We skip over the intermediate space of travel, wherein they 
could find huts and cottages at which to stop along their route, 
to as far as the present Utica, then the place of Fort Schuyler ; 
from this point the united pioneers enter into the forest. The 
provisions, furniture, and smallest children are plated in the 
wagons and set onward. The men, women, and boys and girls 
follow near by, driving in their wake their bull and cows, pigs 
and sheep. Hung to the wagons, severally, were the poultry 
coops, containing ducks, geese, and fowls, the intended parent 
stock of the future poultry yard. 

In their onward march no road marks the direction of their 
way, but guided by the "blazing of the trees," (surveyor's marks 
cut on the sides of trees with a hatchet,) or, when at fault, by 
their pocket compass, they continue to go on their way westward. 
By and by they halt to rest, and to feed their cattle and them- 
selves. Their table, once an ironing board, is set upon four up- 
right stakes drove into the ground. Their seats are formed by 
two benches. Biscuits and cold meat form their food. At table, 
and in their mutual intercourse, they all aim to cheer and encour- 
age each other with hopes and designs of the future. Soon all 
are again set onward; water-courses and impediments in the 
way occasionally occur. Then the men and boys are the chief 
labourers ; and to manage their cattle and get them over sloughs, 
&c. is their chief difficulty. By and by they approach the Oneida 
settlement of Indians, of which they have some forethought by 
seeing a straggling hunter or two, and after a while hearing the 
shouts and noisy rejoicings of the tribe. At the sound, fears and 
apprehensions steal upon the soul. The younger members of 
the family get closer to their parents ; and the parents themselves 
are not insensible to the fact, that they have no other security for 
their safety than the general report of peace and amity. They 
enter their settlement, are surrounded, mutual wonder exists, 
civilities are interchanged, and the settlers, not willing to abide 
for a night among them, go beyond them and encamp for the 
first night. What a new epoch for a family accustomed to civili- 
zation to sit down in the gloom of the forest ! They again pre- 
pare to eat and to feed their cattle. The fire is made for tea, and 
for fresh journey cake baked before the fire. The bedding and 
beds are prepared in the wagons. Watches are set to take turns 
through the night, to preserve the cattle from straying and the 
sheep from the prowling wolf When all is prepared the whole 
company surround their homely table, eat heartily and talk 

Inland Settlers and Pioneers. 97 

cheerily. Some sing songs, some hymns ; several recount the 
incidents of the day ; all remember home, and talk of left friends 
and kindred ; and some surmise the adventures before them. 
They all retire to rest in due time, save the watch and the dogs. 
The fatigues of the day make many sleep soundly ; and only 
now and then a wakeful ear hears the bark of the fox, the distant 
growl of the wolf, or the shriek of the owl. Soon as the ruddy 
morn peeps out from the orient east, the company is again all in 
action, preparing for their morning meal and onward journey. 
In two days more of similar journey they reach the Indian 
settlement of the Onondagas — Indians which they feared more 
than the former only because they were still more in their 
power, by being still more remote from country and friends. 
They still, however, received civility and kindness in their rude 
but well-meant attentions. They brought them some of their 
game, and this, with successful shooting of their own among the 
partridges and pheasants seen in their route, gave them the means 
of a gj;p.nd repast of sylvan food for their supper. They again 
spent their night much after the manner before-mentioned, and 
not far from the ranges of those Indians. In a few days they all 
reach the Indian village of Canandaigua, at which place the great 
purchaser, Phelps, had preceded them for the sale of his land. 
In the intermediate space they had had some new adventures; 
they had seen and shot several wild turkies, and one or two of 
the party had surprised some deer, and succeeded in killing a couple. 
These were so many trophies of their woodman character, and 
gave new life and feelings to the whole. They had too been 
obliged to make many devious wanderings in search of their way. 
The route became dubious, and it was only after going off at 
sundry diverging points that they could feel any assurance that 
they were near the track they should take. To add to these 
embarrassments they had encountered wider and deeper water- 
courses ; such as they could not venture to traverse without some 
means to float over some of their articles. Here therefore they 
were obliged to fell trees and construct rafts of timber on which 
to convey what was needed to the opposite bank. Once in a 
while they came across a solitary hunter. Savage as he was, it 
was a cheering sight, because he was human. Man loves man 
of every form when found in solitude. Occasionally they came 
across tokens of encampment, known by the signs of former fires, 
the tramp of cattle, and the fragments of their feast. The very 
sight of such remains was cheering, and set all the company in 
good humour and fine spirits. But when once in a long while 
they could see in the distance the curling smoke of a log hut and 
a little clearing, their rejoiced spirits triumphed aloud. It hardly 
mattered who they were, the sight of white faces were so wel- 
come ; but if they had also gentleness and goodness to recom- 
mend them, mutual hospitalities were unbounded. 
13 I 

98. . Inland Settlers and Pioneers. 

At Canandaigua one of the families made arrangements to re- 
main and settle, but the other two families, allured to still stronger 
hopes by more distant settlement, determined to keep on to the 
Genessee river. To this they were more especially inclined by 
the descriptions and the promised guidance of some friendly Se^ 
necas. Taking leave of their former companions and the few 
other white settlers found there, they once more put forward in 
their former method of march, and, under many renewed difficul- 
ties of going up to the head of streams, or having to pass them by 
slight bridges or rafts, they at length arrived at the long sought 
lonely home, placed near the banks of the now beautiful Genes- 
see. Here began a new era of toil, enterprise, and skill. Their 
business now was to fell trees and cut their logs for their future 
dwelling, and to locate it near a spring. At the same time the 
boughs, in their leaf, were set up pointing like the pitch of a roof, 
to serve as a temporary shed and shelter for sundry articles taken 
out of the wagons. The log house of one story being constructed 
and placed north and south as their domestic sun-dial, and covered 
over with a stave roof; having a wide chimney made of stones 
and clay, into which a log of ten feet length could be rolled for 
fuel ; the doors were left purposely so wide, that the horse could 
draw in the log by a chain, and leaving his load, pass out at the 
opposite side. Such a house was destined in time to be a kitchen, 
when they could construct a better one adjoining. In the mean 
time one great room below with a ground floor, served "for 
parlour, kitchen, and hall ;" and the loft above made one general 
chamber of rest, with here and there a coverlid partition pendant 
between the different sexes. Now the family being housed, 
" the clearing," of vital importance to their future support and 
nourishment, was set upon. Along the outer margin the trees 
were cut down and rolled inward towards the centre, so as to 
break the line of communication with the adjacent woods. Then 
the whole was set into one general conflagration, so as to kill the 
trees and provide an opening for the rays of the sun upon the 
land. Smoke and the perils of fire were endured as well as they 
could. When sufficiently burnt out, the plough and the hoe 
were set into the soil to prepare for planting corn and other need- 
ful grain. The women too had their concern to make out their 
little garden spot, where they might set in their garden seed : 
such as sallad, beans, peas, onions, cabbages, &c., and their in- 
tended nursery of apple seeds, and peach, plum and cherry stones ; 
for in such a state every thing is to begin. As time advanced, 
all these primary arrangements were enlarged, and comforts 
were increased. The men and boys laboured all day, and at 
night the girls spun and the boys knit. Their evening hours 
were talked down pleasantly with fond remembrances of former 
homes, and fond hopes of future prosperity. When Sabbath 
came, they united in hearing the perusal of the family Bible, or 

Inland ScUlcrs and Pioneers. 99 

in reading family sermons ; and the hymn book Avas used for its 
remembered song of Zion. Now they had no church, no merry 
chime of bells, no pastoral guardian. They felt this the more 
keenly because of its absence. Three families then constituted 
the total of all the settlers ; but these were friendly, and mutually 
helpful when urgent occasion required. The Indians would 
come occasionally to look on, saluting always with a friendly 
"//oA," or good be to you. Often deer were started, sometimes 
shot. Bears were sometimes seen and hunted off. Smaller 
game were always at hand to shoot, and in the stream the finest 
fish abounded. 

By and by new settlers came along in families one by one. 
They were always warmly welcomed and diligently assisted to 
make their log structures. In the spring and fall was a period 
of harvest, of honied sweet from the juice of the rnaple tree. 
The sugar camp, as it was called, made an occasion of cheerful 
gathering, especially among the children, who loved to partake 
from the sugar pans. When the winter came, the fall of snow 
was deep and lasting ; abiding all the winter several feet deep, 
and requirhig occasionally the use of snow shoes. To make 
paths and roads in cases of deep snow, they had to arrange their 
cattle and drive them in lines of two a-breast to the places re* 
quired. They had then no mills to grind their grain, and made 
use of a wooden mortar formed from a hollowed log set on end, 
to which they applied a pestle attached to a sweep like the pole 
of a well. In giving a domestic picture of such a frontier family, 
we must not forget to show how the children were sometimes 
employed. They had no school, but they were not idle ; they 
had snares and traps about in the woods, where they often suc- 
ceeded to snare game. Partridges and rabbits they so caught in 
abundance. Raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries, and huckle- 
berries, grew in rich abundance, and afforded them delightful re- 
pasts. They had squirrels and rabbits which they had tamed. 
The cat, too, was diligent, and often brought in her captures, 
calling by her known cry the children around, and laying down 
ground mice, squirrels, &c. At one time the boys found a brood 
of young raccoons, which being brought home, were all domesti- 
cated by good-natured puss. By and by their joy was made 
complete by the arrival of an old soldier escaped from Indian 
captivity, who gladly made his home among them, and used to 
amuse their evenings by telling the family circle of his many hair- 
breadth 'scapes. He loved a story and loved a song ; and with 
these sweetly he beguiled the hours. Some of his tales of suffer- 
ing captives among the Indians, were full of pathos and interest, 
filling the heart and extorting a tear. 

A friend who has been conversant with frontier settlement, 
describes the same, as being originally well stocked with bears, 
wolves, deer, and turkies. The flesh of the two last, was not 

100 Inland Settlers and Pioneers. 

only a luxury, but a necessary article of food. The wolf occa- 
sionally made great havoc among the few sheep — committing 
assaults at the same time upon the wild deer. He has been 
known to attack cows. The bear confined himself to hogs, and 
sundry instances are given of his successful capture of these from 
their pens. He springs suddenly upon his victim, grasps him in 
his arms, or fore legs, with great force, erects himself upon his 
hind legs, like a man^ and makes off with his load. The piercing 
squeal of the distressed hog is the first warning to the owner. In 
such a manner, the bear will make off faster through a thick 
wood, than a man on foot can follow. The groans and struggles 
of the animal in his embrace, become weaker and weaker, and 
soon entirely cease, being literally hugged to death. 

When a settler came across any partly eaten animal, left by a 
bear, he was sure to set a trap for him, which would take him 
within the next twenty-four hours ; because it was his nature to 
return to feed on the remainder, and to show little or no sagacity 
in avoiding the snare. For this purpose, a heavy steel trap was 
used, with smooth jaws, and a long drag chain, with iron claAVS 
at the extremity. It was not fastened to the spot, because the 
great strength of the bear, would enable him to free himself, but 
as he ran, after being ensnared, the claws would catch upon the 
brush, retarding his flight, and leaving a distinct trail, by which 
he could be traced and overtaken in a couple of miles, in a state 
of much exhaustion, and killed. This was done, by first allow- 
ing the dogs to test their courage and dexterity in his assault, and 
before the finale should be produced by the ball of the sure rifle. 
In these battles, if the shackles were upon the hind legs, leaving 
the fore paws free, there were but few dogs who could venture 
upon close conflict, a second time. 

It was occasionally a winter affair, to make a gathering of all 
the male population, far and near, to make a drive, or large hunt, 
for the purpose of ridding the country of the bear and wolf. At 
other times it was done upon a smaller scale, by fewer neighbours, 
for the purpose of capturing a few deer, and turkies. A drive, 
was conducted by making a circuit of a large tract of wild land, 
placing the members on the outer circle sufficiently near, to be 
within calling distance of each other, and then with loud shout- 
ings, and blowing of tin horns, proceeding inward to a common 
centre, so as to enclose the destined prey. When within half 
a mile of the centre, to know which the trees had been pre- 
viously blazed, they called a halt, and sending round a man or 
two on horseback to see that all should be equally prepared, at 
the soimd and call of a common assault, by rushing inward to 
the centre. By this time the herd of deer might be seen occasion- 
ally driving in affright from one line to the other. If the drive 
had been a successful one, great numbers of turkies could be seen 
flying among the trees, away from the spot. Deer too, as the 

Inland Settlers and Pioneers. * lOt 

circle was closing, could be seen sweeping round the ring, pant- 
ing and terrified, under an incessant fire. Innocent and timid, 
as seemed these leathern coated, and tear dropping animals, when 
so closely pressed, they sometimes make for the line at full speed, 
and if the men there are too numerous or resolute to give way, 
they actually leap over their heads, and over all the stakes', pitch- 
forks, and guns raised to oppose them. By a concert of the 
regular hunters, gaps are sometimes purposely made, to allow 
them to escape, the better to secure the bear and the wolf. Then 
the wolf is seen skulking through the bushes, aiming to escape 
observation by concealment. The bear, at the same time, are 
seen to dash through the brush, highly enraged, and going from 
one side of the field to the other, regardless of the bullets which 
are playing upon them. After the game is mostly killed, a few 
good marksmen and dogs scour the ground, to stir up what may 
be concealed or wounded. This over, they all advance to the 
centre with a shout, dragging along the carcases which have 
fallen, for the purpose of counting the result of their exploit. 
Such exposing and exciting incidents, familiar to frontier men, 
have been fruitful in training a high spirit of soldierly and military 
prowess. Wolves were taken in steel traps, but not very readily 
in that way. The easiest means of their capture was in log pens, 
prepared hke the roof of a house, shelving inwards on all sides. 
In this was to be placed the half-devoured carcass of a sheep, 
upon which they had previously feasted. The wolf easily 
clambered up the exterior side of the log cabin, and entered at 
the top, which was left open for that purpose, and being once 
there, he could neither escape nor throw it down. 

Turkies were taken in square pens, made of lighter timber, 
and covered at the top. They entered at an open door in the 
side, which was suspended by a string that led to a catch within. 
This string and catch were covered with chaff, which induced 
them to enter, and while engaged in scratching about the chaff 
to get at the grain therein, some one among them would strike 
the catch and let the door down behind them all. Another mode 
of taking turkies, was to make them pass in by a very small door 
in which was laid corn to entice them inward, and when they 
were in and fed, they would look only upward for a way of 
escape, as if seemingly forgetting the way by which they came. 
Probably it is to this cause, that the French, who first received 
turkies in Europe, from the French of Canada, have used the 
proverb — ^to be as foolish as a turkey — ^^'un fou comme line 
dande^^ — whilst we English, say of a silly person, that he is a 
goose — probably, because a goose will foolishly stoop its head 
and \o\\%r its neck, in passing under any door, however high. 

At length population and improvement increased. Pleasant 
villages and cottage clusters were seen in the micjst of the wilder- 
ness, and houses for the worship of God, and schools for the 

I 2 

102 Inland Settlers and Piojieers. 

instruction of children, rose where, not long before, the wild beast 
had his range or his lair. What had begun as little and lonely 
dwellings, " few and far between," came in time to be the nucleus 
around which gathered other settlers and formed a town. At 
this early period of adventure came out the original settlers, — the 
two Wadsworths ; men who, from the rough beginnings above 
described, have come to possess an estate now worth two millions 
of dollars, having a farm of meadow and upland of 1700 acres, 
a flock of 8,000 sheep, 600 horned cattle, and all other things in 
great abundance. What a country, and what a change in a few 
short years !"* 

How changed the scene, since here the savage trod 
To set his otter-trap, or take wild honey, 
Where now so many turn the sod. 
Or farmers change their fields for money. 
How short the time, and how the scenes have shifted, 
Since Wadsworth explored this wild land, 
^ . And mid primeval woods, prophetic scann'd 
This rare position andits destiny . 

We shall here add some illustrations of the difficulties of 

At the first settlement of Binghamton, at Chenago Point, the 
people used to take the root of the anacum weed, and after dry- 
ing and grinding or pounding it, to make it into their bread. At 
the same place, the woods were found so clear, by the practice 
of burning the underbrush by the Indians, that deer could be seen 
in them when half a mile distant. Several of the Indians con- 
tinued to reside there after the whites had come to tl^e neighbour- 
hood in 1787. 

At the Oquago valley, when the great freshet destroyed the 
crops of the settlers in 1794, Major Stow, took his bushel of 
wheat on his shoulder, and walked forty miles, to have it ground, 
at Wattle's mill, and returned with his flour in the same weari- 
some manner. The short cakes made from it were shortened 
with bear's grease. 

In the year 1796, Mr. E. Edwards built the first saw-mill on 
the Onondaga, and he was also the first that came down the 
Chenango with a raft. The first grist-mill was built a good 
while after, by Dr. Wheeler. Previous to this, the inhabitants 
went down to Castle creek for their grinding; and in case of fail- 
ure there, they were obliged to go to Tioga Point. 

When the mile bridge across the Cayuga was begun, the shores 

• As late as the years 1810-11, there was only a weekly mail between Canan- 
daigua and Genessee river; carried on horseback, and part of the time by a wo- 
man! 'Twas only in 1815 that the settlers about Rochester made up a private 
fund for a weekly mail to Lewiston; and it was but a year before, that the road 
itself (along " the ridge") was opened by a grant of the legislature of $5,000 ; 
before that it was impassable. 

Inland Settlers and Pioneers. 103 

of that lake were still possessed by the Indians. The first 
bridge was laid on mud sills. 

The first settler at Aurora, on that lake, was Roswell Franklin : 
he with his father settled there in 1787, in a log house of twelve 
feet square. They had both been in the battle and massacre of 
Wyoming. There he had seen the butchery of his mother and one 
sister, another led away prisoner for eleven years, himself a 
prisoner at Mount Morris three years. Such a pioneer lived to 
see the door sill of his log house, and the tree stump before his 
door, which was used for the pounding of corn, preserved as 
relics, even by the generation, among whom he was still alive in 

When Messrs. Hendy, Miller and Marks, began their log house 
settlement at Elmira, in 1789, the only road existing in the coun- 
try for hundreds of miles round was what was called the Indian 
pathway, leading from Wilkesbarre to Canada. By this path- 
way the emigrants from the south were accustomed to reach 
Niagara, &c. 

At that time the Indians were all around the settlers, and 
would make free at all times to visit the cabins of the whites, and 
set themselves down unasked, or helped themselves freely of 
whatever food they saw on the table. It was not always con- 
venient to so receive them, but it was deemed most politic to 
overlook their freedom. In the year 1790, there were assembled 
at Elmira, eleven hundred Indians to negotiate a treaty with 
Col. T. Pickering. 

One who had been of the number of the western pioneers has 
well said of such pioneers, that 'they look with less complaisance 
and pleasure upon the last few years of their lives, than upon 
those in which the forests were falling beneath their axes ; or in 
their tow frocks — the insignia of their priestly office — they per- 
forming obsequies of the monarchs of the wood, at their funeral 
piles. They are indeed, now made to witness the scenes of 
more wealth and action, but not of more tranquillity and purity. 
Their affections then were warm and buoyant, and their confi- 
dence and regard was mutual. At their convivial assemblies, 
which they sometimes found time to convene, the simplicity of 
their social and rude entertainments, served up as they often 
were upon oaken slabs, supported as they were upon their 
wooden stakes or pegs, was more than compensated by the full 
flow of spirits, and the entire absence of all rivalry and envy. 

The first settlers, at Lowville and about Black river, who went 
therein 1795, from Massachusetts and Connecticut, made their 
way from Utica, and Fort Stanwix (Rome), by a line of marked 
trees, to the High falls on Black river ; and thence they floated 
down with the stream. Their families followed in the succeeding 
winter shod with snow shoes, mothers making their way with 
infants in their arms, whilst their husbands and fathers, trod 

l©4 Inland Settlers and Pioneers, 

paths through the snow for their cattle and teams. It was not 
unusual for these settlers to go forty miles to mill, and to carry 
the grist upon their shoulders. 

A party of emigrants from New England in 1790-91, made a 
road through the woods from the settlements of Whitestown out 
to Canandaigua. The winter was the season usually chosen for 
conveying families, because they were then the surest of sleigh- 
ing and sledding, and passing the streams on ice bridges. The 
first settlements along the great road from Utica to Genessee 
river, were mostly commenced by the year 1800. 

When Judge White first began his settlement at Whites- 
borough, near Utica, his nearest mill was at Palatine, forty 
miles off, and the whole of this distance was to be travelled by 
an Indian path. For lack of animal food, they used to salt down 
the breast of the wild pigeons by a barrel at a time. The first 
court for the town was held in a barn. 

When David Tripp first settled at Manlius,in 1790, his nearest 
neighbour was ten miles off, at Onondaga. At one time the only 
article of food which his family had for three months, with the 
exception of wild roots and milk, was a bushel of corn which he 
had brought from Herkimer, fifty -five miles, on his back. The 
first wedding in this place, was in July, 1794, upon a training 
day, and was celebrated in an open yard in front of the inn, 
while the soldiers formed a hollow square around the parties. 
The first frame house built in the place, had the floor boards 
brought from Palatine, and the other boards from a distant mill. 
The nails were sent for and brought thirty-three miles, from 
Oriskany, by a lad bringing* forty-six pounds on his back. 

When the canal navigation from Rome to Salina was first 
opened in 1820, a passenger describes the whole region as passing 
through a wilderness of sixty miles ; the land nearly the whole 
distance was low, marshy and cold. The most of the forest was 
an evergreen, deep and dank, such as the advancing settlers 
seemed unwilling to enter upon with any hope of cultivation. 
But now the marshes and swamps are drained by the canal, 
and its banks now are well filled up with a thrifty population. 
Salina and Syracuse have since risen like enchantment from the 
gains of the salt works. 

A gentleman, who visited the New England settlers at Canan- 
daigua, in 1797, five years after their beginning, found them con- 
tending with numerous difficulties, with light hearts and buoyant 
spirits ; while he as a looker on, thought most of the mud knee 
deep, and the musquitoes and gnats so thick as to baflie his 
breathing, they were talking of what the country would be by 
and by, as if it were history already realized ! 

When Ulysses was first settled, a Mr. George Wayburn, there, 
had a terrible conflict with a she bear, whose two whelps he had 
previously shot. She somehow tumbled with him down the preci- 

Inland Settlers and Pioneers. 105 

pice of Goodwill's falls, and happily at the bottom, the bear fell 
undermost into a crevice in the rock, which enabled him, with 
the assistance of his son, although himself much wounded, to 
dispatch the beast. 

In cutting down a white oak tree at Lyons, in 1834, of thirteen 
and a half feet girth, there was found in the body of the tree, 
three and a half feet from the ground, a large and deep cutting 
by an axe, severing the heart of the tree, and exhibiting with 
perfect distinctness the marks of the axe. The whole cavity, thus 
created by the original cutting, was found to be four hundred and 
sixty years of growth of the wood, i. e. it was concealed beneath 
four hundred and sixty layers of the timber, which had grown 
over it subsequently to the cutting. Thus evincing that the 
original cutting must have been in 1372, which is one hundred 
and eighteen years before the discovery of America by Columbus ! 
The tree was cut by James P. Bartle, a respectable informant. 
The cutting was six inches deep. 

It was in the year 1798, that the present Lord Ash burton, then 
a gentleman commoner, and the present Louis Phillipe, King of 
the French, and his brothers, then exiled princes, met unexpectedly 
in a night scene, upon the present site of Rochester, then in its wild- 
erness state. The mutual approach, as they severally heard the 
sound of the foot-treads in the bushes, gave mutual alarm, as they 
severally feared the unwelcome visitations of the neighbouring 
Indians. Now how changed the scenes ! and how different the 
relations of the several members of that rude sylvan gathering. 

It was the practice of the exploring hunters, and woodmen, 
when laying out for the night, to make a pillow of their pack, to 
lay on descending ground, so as to raise their heads and to de- 
press their feet towards their fires. At these fires they cooked 
their meals, by sticking their venison or their dough upon a 
pointed stick, staked near to the fire, and which was turned as 
occasion required, so as to present the whole to the roasting opera- 
tion. Sometimes they put the dough in the ashes, to bake it. 
The process made sweet food, even without salt, which was often 
at three dollars a bushel, before the salt licks were worked. 

So much of Western New York, having been settled by the 
people of New England, it may not be inappropriate to say a 
few words of their forefathers the Puritans, themselves : A 
name once intended for reproach by the worldlings of a licentious 
age, but when rightly considered, reflecting on the Puritans, 
and their descendants, a lasting honour ; indeed they were by the 
diffusion of their principles, the proper founders of our great 
Republic itself. They willingly forsook all the social comforts 
of country and home, and encountered all the severities and de- 
privations of a wilderness life, to gain for themselves and posterity 
freedom of thought and action. A noble purpose in itself? and 
not to be overlooked or disregarded by their sons. 


106 Inland Settlers and Pioneers. 

But why should any American suppose himself scandalized 
by the name, character, and general conduct of the Puritans ? 
The more they are understood, the better and brighter will their 
memory appear. Churchmen may have been taught to dislike 
them, for they opposed their hierarchy ; because, during the reign 
of Elizabeth, and one or two subsequent sovereigns, they main- 
tained a strenuous opposition to laws, which had for their object, 
first to make the Queen the head of the church, and the other 
requiring conformity in all things, to the established religion ; 
the Puritans in the meantime, resisting them with heroic and 
daring spirit, and requiring, as their natural right, greater 
liberty and simplicity, and more purity of worship. We may, 
with just pride, refer to their character, as written by the Hon. 
T. B. Macauley (in the Edinburgh Review), himself a Briton, 
connected with the established church : he saying, " they were 
the most remarkable body of men which the world ever produced. 
As a body they were unpopular, and were therefore abandoned 
to the attacks of the press and the stage ; but it is not from ridi- 
cule alone that the philosophy of history is to be learnt. To 
know, serve, and enjoy God, was with the Puritan, the great end 
of existence. With their minds cleared of every vulgar passion 
and prejudice, and raised above the influence of danger and cor- 
ruption, they went through life, like Sir Artegale's iron man 
Talus, with his flail crushing and trampling down every form of 
oppression, mingling with human beings, but having no part in 
human infirmities, insensible to fatigue, to pleasure, to pain. On 
the rich and the eloquent, on the priests and on nobles, they 
looked down with pity or contempt; for they regarded them- 
selves rich in more precious treasure, and eloquent in a sublimer 
language ; nobles by the right of an earUer creation, and priests 
by the imposition of a mightier hand. They therefore rejected 
with disdain the ceremonious homage which others had substi- 
tuted for the pure worship of the soul. Hence their contempt for 
all earthly distinctions. Men might sneer at them and deride ; 
but those had little reason to laugh who encountered them in the 
hall of debate, or the field of battle. In civil and military aflairs, 
they displayed a coolness of judgment, and a fixedness of purpose, 
which were the necessary effect of their zeal ; for the very inten- 
sity of their feelings on one subject, made them calm and tranquil 
on every other. The Puritan, indeed, was made up of two 
different men ; the one, all penitence, and affection, and gratitude, 
and self-abasement ; [like Cromwell, " with a heart to fear none 
but his God !"] the other, proud, calm, inflexible, sagacious. He 
prostrated himself in the dust before his Maker; but [like Crom- 
well, also,] he set his foot on the neck of his king.'' Such were 
the Puritans to the eye of the candid politician, and such they 
were substantially to the eye of the christian. " They had their 
faults, their false logic and their extravagance, the effects of the 

Inland Settlers and Pioneers, 107 

age in which they Uved," but they came to this country the 
friends oi liberty, oi education, oi religion ; and " in the learning 
of many of them, and in the wisdom and results of Xheiv plans and 
labours, they still stand forth a noble race, altogetlier superior to 
the ancestors of any other nation f No other nation has 
ever been founded from such elevated motives, and for such noble 
and benevolent ends. Oppressed and persecuted, where they 
should have been protected, and then exiled and banished, they 
resolved, for liberty^ s sake and religioii^s sake, to leave the 
homes of their fathers. They were the instinctive friends of 
freedom : twice in their native land, did they save the British 
constitution from being crushed by the usurpations of the Stuarts. 
Even Hume, who is sufficiently unfriendly, is compelled to say 
of them, " that the precious spark of liberty had been kindled 
and was preserved by the Puritans," and that to them, '' the 
English owe the whole freedom of their constitution .'" And 
it is another noble feature in their character, that ere they left 
their vessel, the May Flower, they wrote out and signed the first 
written constitution of government, that is to be found in the 
history of civilized nations ; and particularly recognizing that fun- 
damental principle of all true Republics, that all should be ruled 
by the majority ! To that cause, as a cause, they afterwards, 
repelled those who essayed to come among them to subvert the 
faith, in which they, as a whole, trusted. It indeed operated 
harshly ; but they had framed their law, and their opinions were 
fixed; they perhaps knew not, even conscientiously, how to yield. 
But yield they did, at length, in so far as religious opinion was 

A good sermon, looking at these things as they were, was de- 
livered and published at Rochester, in 1837, by the Rev. Tryon 
Edwards, who glorying in his descent from such progenitors, and 
conceiving that God in his providence, had mercifully so provided 
by them, an asylum for the Anglo-Saxon race, in this new world, 
thus designates his mercies to them and to us — saying, " on the 
first arrival of our fathers, the power of the savage was restrained, 
till by their own increase, they were adequate to the Avork of 
self-protection. Still later in our history, France coveted our 
possessions, and for more than half a century, strove to wrest 
them from us. On the west, she hemmed us in ^ by a chain of 
fortresses, and on the east, our shores were defenceless to her 
carnage.' For a time it seemed as if utter destruction awaited 
us, but George the Second was ' a father to his colonies,' and 
he that transplanted, sustained us, as is acknowledged in the well 
expressed motto oif Connecticut, ' Qui transtulit sustulit.^ 
Among other remembered mercies, as says the same preacher, 
" we must not overlook the fact of disaster to the great fleet fitted 
out by the French in 1746, to ravage and destroy along our de- 
fenceless coast. For weeks it was ^ut up in the ports of France, 

108 Inland Settlers and Pioneets. 

by what has been called, ^ an embargo from Heaven.' In cross- 
ing the ocean, too, it was so shattered by tempests, that only a 
part of it ever reached our shores; and the first and second in 
command, were so frustrated and appalled, that they put an end 
to their lives — the third had no sooner effected a landing for his 
men, than they were so afiiicted with a pestilence, that their 
camp, like that of Assyria of old, was full of dead men, and in 
the sequel, constraining them * to return by the way they came." 

Such were the Puritans, — and may not Yankees feel honoured 
in such a descent ! What if they had for a time, errors of zeal, 
and intolerance, for what they deemed certainly right, were not 
their positive virtues, connected with the lasting good which they 
conferred upon their posterity, and for the whole human race, 
sufficient to embalm their memory, in the respect and gratitude 
of their sons ? Let the public consider. 

We feel as if we cannot but love to expatiate on the character 
of the Yankee, he is so peculiar. No other man is like him. 
It has been said of him, that he is made for all situations, and can 
manage to work his way in all places. Place him on a rock in 
the midst of the ocean, and with his penknife, and a bunch of 
shingles, he would work his way on shore. He sells salmon, from 
Kennebeck, to the people of Charleston ; haddock, fresh from 
Cape Cod, to the planters of Matanzas ; raises coffee in Cuba ; 
swaps mules and horses, like Arnold, for niolasses in Porto Rico ; 
retails ice, from Fresh pond, in Cambridge, in the East Indies ; 
Takes mutton, from Brighton to New Orleans, and South Amer- 
ica ; manufactures multicaulis, for the governor of Jamaica ; be- 
comes an admiral in a foreign nation ; starts in a cockle-shell 
craft of fifteen tons, loaded with onions, mackerel, and ^'notions^^ 
for Valparaiso ; baits his trap on the Columbia river ; catches 
wild-beasts in Africa, for Macomber's caravan ; sells granite, on 
contract to rebuild St. Juan de Ulloa; is ready Uke Ledyard, to start 
for Timbuctoo, " to-morrow morning" — exiles himself for years, 
from home, to sketch in their own wilderness, the wild men of 
the woods, and astonishes refined Europe, with the seeming 
presence of the untutored savage. Introduced to Metternich, he 
asks " what's the news ?" Says, " how do you do marm ?" to 
Victoria. Prescribes Thompson's eye-water to the mandarins of 
China, and if he pleases, makes the scouting Southrons, rich with 
cotton inventions. He is found foremost among those who sway 
the elements of society — is the school-master for his country, and 
missionary for the whole heathen world*. He is unequalled in 
tact, and instead of going over round-about ways, starts across 
lots, for any desired point. If perpetual motion is ever to be dis- 
covered, he will be sure to be the lucky contriver — for he is the 
fac totum for the world. 

Surely such a people are not made to be subdued by any thing. 
They have too much courage, energy, and heart, to ever be any 

Inland Settlers and Pioneers. 109 

thing but their own masters. Such they have been, from the 
day that they landed in Plymouth; and their spirit and enterprise, 
has been growing and growing ever since. Show them the in- 
ventions and arts of any people, and they will be at trying it until 
they make it better. Look at their manufactories, as in point ! 
They canU be idle; they can't remain in self-indulgence and re- 
pose at home — their sterile and stony hills, and mountains, forbid 
it ; they, besides, ^ee/ their impulse and loco-motive powers pre- 
dominant, and must be at bettering the world and themselves. 
Such a people deserve to be welcomed every where ; and that 
welcome they will have. We have ourself, some Yankee blood, 
and scruple not thus to own it. To that cause, perhaps, we owe 
our disposition to busy ourself in many things, and to be prone 
*Ho note and observe ;" — non sibi, sed patrise et mundo. 

Log cabins and log houses, which hold so prominent a place 
among all new settlers, have of late been exalted into con- 
spicuous notice, by the fact of the late President of the United 
States, General Harrison, having himself dwelt in such a structure. 
The writer feels his personal respect and regard for them, because 
his maternal ancestors, were among those first new settlers in 
New Hampshire, at the head of Connecticut river, which has 
been so touchingly described, by Bishop Chase, concerning his 
ancestors at the same place, in 1762 ; — and also, by the eminent 
statesman, Daniel Webster. His commendation of such houses, 
and of the worthy pioneers, who went before us in the march of 
inland improvement and civilization, are sufficiently in point, to 
deserve a repetition here. His remarks are : — " It did not happen 
to me to be born in a log cabin, but my elder brothers and sisters 
were — in a log cabin, raised amid the snow drifts of New Hamp- 
shire, at a period so early, as that when the smoke first rose from 
its rude chimney, and curled over the frozen hills, there was no 
similar evidence of a white man's habitation between it and the 
settlements on the rivers of Canada. Its remains (says he), still 
exist, and I make to it an annual visit. / carry my children to 
it, to inspire like sentiments in them, and to teach them the hard- 
ships endured by the generations which have gone before them. 
Taunt and scoffing at the humble condition of early life, (says 
he), affect nobody in this country, but those who are foolish 
enough to indulge in them." "For myself, I love to dwell on 
the tender recollections, the kindred ties, the early affections, and 
the touching narratives and incidents, which mingle with all I 
know of this primitive family abode. I weep to think that none 
of those who inhabited it are now among the living ; and if ever 
I am ashamed of it, or if I ever fail in affectionate veneration for 
him who reared it, and defended it against savage violence and 
destruction, cherished by all the domestic virtues beneath its roof, 
and through the fire and blood of a seven years Revolutionary 
war, shrunk from no danger, no toil, no sacrifice, to serve hi» 


110 The Indians. 

country, and to raise his children to a condition better than his 
own, may the name of my posterity he blotted forever from the 
memory of man." Such sentiments should ennoble any man ; and 
more especially do they illustrate the character and heart of the 
man who published them — they show an enthusiasm, and holi- 
ness oi feeling, devoted to the dead and to the pioneers, which 
give character and immortality to him who cherished them. Ifeel 
their full force, and gladly record them here ! 


" A swarthy tribe 
Slipt from the secret hand of Providence, 
They come we see not how, nor know we whence ; 
Thai seem'd created on the spot — though born, 
In transatlantic climes, and thither brought, , 

By paths as covert as the birth of thought ! " 

There is in the fate of these unfortunate beings much to awake 
our sympathy, and much to disturb the sobriety of our judgment ; 
much in their character, to incite our involuntary admiration. 
What can be more melancholy than their history ? By a law of 
their nature, they seem destined to a slow but sure extinction. 
Every where at the approach of the white man they fade away : 
We hear the rustling of their footsteps, like that of the withered 
leaves of autumn ; and themselves, like " the sere and yellow 
leaf," are gone forever! 

Once the smoke of their wigwams, and the fires of their coun- 
cils, rose in every valley from the ocean to the Mississippi and 
the lakes. The shouts of victory and the war dance rung through 
the mountains and the glades. The light arrows and the deadly 
tomahawk whistled through the forest ; and the hunter's trace, 
and the dark encampment, startled the wild beasts from their 
lairs. The warriors stood forth in their glory. The young listened 
to songs of other days. The mothers played with their infants, 
and gazed on the scene with warm hopes of the future. Braver 
men never lived ; truer men never drew the bow. They had 
courage and fortitude, and sagacity and perseverance, beyond 
most of the human race. They shrunk from no dangers, and 
they feared no hardships. They were inured, and capable of 
sustaining every peril, and surmounting every obstacle for sweet 
country and home. But with all this, inveterate destiny has 
unceasingly driven them hence ! 

« Forced from the land that gave them birth, 
They dwindle from the face of earth ! " 

In our present notice of the Indians, we desire to go back to 
the period when first observed by Europeans ; such as they were 

Indian Treaty, p. 110 

City of New York, 1842, p. 143. 


The Indians. Ill 

before debauched by their contact with the baser part of our white 
men. To this end we shall give the following description of 
them from the personal observation and pen of the celebrated 
Win. Penn ; to wit : — 

The natives I shall consider in their persons, language, man- 
ners, religion and government, with my sense of their original. 
For their persons, they are generally tall, straight, well built, and 
of singular proportion ; they tread strong and clever, and mostly 
walk with a lofty chin. Of complexion, black, but by design ; 
as the gypsies in England. They grease themselves with bear's 
fat clarified ; and, using no defence against sun or weather, their 
skins, must needs be swarthy. Their eye is little and black, not 
unlike a straight looked Jew. The thick lip, and flat nose, so 
frequent with the East Indians and blacks, are not common to 
them : many of them have fine Roman noses. 

Their language is lofty, yet narrow ; but like the Hebrew, in 
signification full ; like short-hand, in writing, one word serveth 
in the place of three, and the rest are supplied by the understand- 
ing of the hearer: imperfect in their tenses, wanting in their 
moods, participles, adverbs, conjunctions, interjections. 

Of their customs and manners there is much to be said, I will 
begin with children. Soon as they are born, they wash them in 
water ; and while very young, and in cold weather they plunge 
them in the rivers to harden and embolden them. The children 
will go very young, at nine months commonly ; if boys they go 
a fishing till ripe for the woods, which is about fifteen ; then they 
hunt, and after having given some proofs of their manhood, by a 
good return of skins, they may marry ; else it is a shame to think 
of a wife. The girls stay with their mothers, and help to hoe 
the ground, plant corn, and carry burdens ; and they do well to 
use them to that young which they must do when they are old ; 
for the wives are the true servants of the husbands ; otherwise 
the men are very affectionate to them. 

When the young women are fit for marriage, they wear some- 
thing upon their heads for an advertisement, but so as their faces 
are hardly to be seen but when they please. The age they marry 
at, if women, is about thirteen or fourteen ; if men, seventeen 
and eighteen ; they are rarely elder. 

Their houses are mats, or barks of trees, set on poles, in the 
fashion of an English barn ; but out of the power of the winds, 
for they are hardly higher than a man ; they lie on reeds or grass. 
In travel they lodge in the woods, about a great fire, with the 
mantle of duffils they wear by the day wrapt about them, and a 
few boughs stuck round them. 

Their diet is maize or Indian com, divers ways prepared ; 
sometimes roasted in the ashes ; sometimes beaten and boiled 
with water, which they call homine ; they also make cakes, not 
unpleasant to eat. They have likewise several sorts of beans 

112 The Indians. 

and pease that are good nourishment ; and the woods and rivers 
are their larder. 

If an European comes to see them, or calls for lodging at their 
house or wigwam, they give him the best place and first cut. 
If they come to visit us they salute us with an Itah ; which is 
as much as to say, good be to yon, and set them down ; which is 
mostly on the ground, close to their heels, their legs upright ; it 
may be they speak not a word, but observe all passages. If you 
give them any thing to eat or drink, well : for they will not ask ; 
and be it little or much, if it be with kindness they are well pleased, 
else they go away sullen, but say nothing. 

They are great concealers of their own resentments ; brought 
to it, I believe, by the revenge that hath been practised among 

But in liberality they excel ; nothing is too good for their friend ; 
give them a fine gun, coat, or other thing, it may pass twenty 
hands before it sticks : light of heart, strong affections, but soon 
spent. The most merry creatures that live, feast and dance 
perpetually ; they never have much, nor want much : wealth 
circulateth like the blood, all parts partake ; and though none 
shall want what another hath, yet exact observers of property. 
They care for little, because they want but little ; and the reason 
is, a little contents them. In this they are sufficiently revenged 
on us : if they are ignorant of our pleasures, they are also free 
from our pains. We sweat and toil to live ; their pleasure feeds 
them ; I mean their hunting, fishing, and fowling ; and this table 
is spread every where. They eat twice a-day, morning and 
evening ; their seats and table are the ground. 

In sickness impatient to be cured, and for it give any thing, 
especially for their children, to whom they are extremely natural : 
they drink at those times a Tesan, or decoction of some roots in 
spring-water ; and if they eat any flesh, it must be of the female 
of any creature. If they die they bury them with their apparel, 
be they man or woman, and the nearest of kin fling in something 
precious with them, as a token of their love ; their mourning is 
blacking of their faces, which they continue for a year: they are 
choice of the graves of their dead ; for, lest they should be lost by 
time, and fall to common use, they pick off the grass that grows 
upon them, and heap up the fallen earth with great care and 

These poor people are under a dark night in things relating to 
religion, to be sure, the tradition of it •, yet they believe in a God 
and immortality without the help of metaphysics ; for they say, 
" There is a Great King that made them, who dwells in a glorious 
country to the southward of them ; and that the souls of the good 
shall go thither, where they shall live again." Their worship 
consists of two parts, sacrifice and cantico : their sacrifice is their 
first fruits ; the first and fattest buck they kill, goeth to the fire, 

The Indians. ' 113 

where he is all burnt, with a mournful ditty of him that perform- 
eth the ceremony, but with such marvellous fervency and labour 
of body, that he will even sweat to a foam. The other parts is 
their cantico, performed by round dances, sometimes words, some- 
times songs, then shouts, two being in the middle that begin, and 
by singing and drumming on a board, direct the chorus : their 
postures in the dance are very antick, and differing, but all keep 
measure. This is done with equal earnestness and labour, but 
great appearance of joy. In the fall, when the corn cometh in, 
they begin to feast one another. 

Their government is by kings, which they call Sachama, and 
those by successicfn, but always of the mother's side ; for instance, 
the children of him that is now king will not succeed, but his 
brother by the mother, or the children of his sister, whose sons 
(and after them the children of her daughters) will reign ; for no 
woman inherits. The reason they render for this way of descent 
is, that their issue may not be spurious. 

Every king hath his council, and that consists of all the old and 
wise men of his nation ; which perhaps is two hundred people ; 
nothing of moment is undertaken, be it war, peace, selling of land, 
or traffic, without advising with them ; and which is more, with 
the young men too. It is admirable to consider how powerful 
the kings are, and yet how they move by the breath of their 

For their original, I am ready to beheve them of the Jewish 
race ; I mean, of the stock of the ten tribes, and that for the fol- 
lowing reasons : first, they were to go to " a land not planted or 
known^^ which to be sure, Asia and Africa were, if not Europe; 
and he that intended that extraordinary judgment upon them, 
might make the passage not uneasy to them, as it is not impossi- 
ble in itself, from the easternmost parts of Asia, to the western- 
most of America. In the next place, I find them of like countenance, 
and their children of so lively resemblance, that a man would 
think himself in Dukes-place or Berry-street in London when he. 
seeth them. But this is not all ; they agree in rites ; they reckon 
by moons : they offer their Jirst-frxdts ; they have a kind of feast 
of tabernacles ; they are said to lay their altars upon twelve 
stones; their mourning a year, customs of women, with many 
things that do not now occur. 

The following observations concerning our Indians were made, 
in 1749, by Professor Kalm, then traveUing among them; to 
wit: — 

The hatchets of the Indians were made of stone, somewhat of 
the shape of a wedge. This was notched round the biggest end, 
and to this they affixed a split stick for a handle, bound round with 
a cord. These hatchets could not serve, however, to cut any 
thing like a tree ; their means therefore of getting trees for canoes, 
15 k2 

114 The Indians. 

&c., was to put a great fire round the roots of a big tree to burn 
it off, and with a swab of rags on a pole to keep the tree con- 
stantly wet above until the fire below burnt it off. When the 
tree was down, they laid dry branches on the trunk and set fire 
to it, and kept swabbing that part of the tree which they did not 
want to burn ; thus the tree burnt a hollow in one place only ; 
when burnt enough, they chipt or scraped it smooth inside with 
their hatchets, or sharp flints, or sharp shells. Instead of knives, 
they used little sharp pieces of flints or quartz, or a piece of 
sharpened bone. At the end of their arrows they fastened narrow 
angulated pieces of stone ; these were commonly flints or quartz. 
Some made use of the claws of birds and beasts. 

They had stone pestles, of about a foot long and five inches in 
thickness ; in these they pounded their maize. Many had only 
wooden pestles. The Indians were astonished beyond measure 
when they saw the first wind-mills to grind grain. They were, 
at first, of opinion that not the wind, but spirits within them gave 
them their momentum. They would come from a great distance, 
and set down for days near them, to wonder and admire at them! 

The old tobacco pipes were made of clay or pot stone, or ser- 
pentine stone ; the tube thick and short. Some were made better, 
of a very fine red pot stone, and were seen chiefly with the 
Sachems. Some of the old Dutchmen at New York preserved 
the tradition that the first Indians seen by the Europeans, made 
use of copper for their tobacco pipes, got from the second river 
near Elizabethtown. 

There was hardly any district of country where the Indians so 
fully enjoyed an abundant and happy home as on Long Island. 
The tribes there were of the Lenni Lenape or Delaware race, 
bearing the designation of the Matouwax and Paumunake. 
They had there vast quantities of wild fowl and abundance of 
sea-fish ; oysters, clams, crabs, muscles, &c. They had the art 
of catching fish by torch-light, called wigwass by them, in the 
way we call bobbing. It was their practice to set a fire of pine 
knots on a platform in the middle of their canoes, the light attract- 
ed numerous fish, which they struck with an eel spear. Their 
smoked faces and reddened eyes by the operation, often gave 
them a grotesque appearance. They would lay up great store 
of dried clams by stringing them, and sending them far into the 
country for distant tribes. Besides all this, they were great mer- 
chants oi wampum or seawant; they procuring and forming from 
the sea shells all the Indian money used for ornament and traffic. 
To this day, the soil of the island shows frequent traces of the nu- 
merous shells once drawn out from the sea and scattered over its 
surface. The families while so engaged in fishing, had always 
near them their huts or wigwams by the water side, made close 
and warm with an entire covering of sea weed. 

Respecting the frequent diet of the Indians in general, we may 

The Indians. 115 

say, that besides their usual plantations of corn, pumpkins, 
squashes, &c. they often used wilds roots and wild fruits ; among 
the latter were chestnuts, shellbarks, walnuts, persimons, huckle- 
berries, &c. ; of the roots, they had hopniss (glycine apios), kat- 
niss (sagittaria sagittifolia), tawho (arum virginicum), tawkee 
(orantium aquaticum). These roots generally grew in low damp 
grounds, were a kind of potatoes to them, and were divested of 
their poisonous or injurious quality by roasting them in the fire. 
They used to dry and keep their huckleberries like raisins. They 
would pound hickor^^ and walnut nuts to a fine pulp, and mixing 
water with it formed a pleasant drink, not unlike milk in sight 
and taste. They made yoekeg, a mush, liked also by the whites, 
formed of pounded parched corn and cider mixed. Suckatash 
they made from corn and beans mixed together and boiled. Their 
pumpkins they preserved long, by cutting them into slices and 
drying them. On the rivers they had an art of forming pinfolds 
for taking fish ; and when they took sturgeons, they cut them in- 
to strips and preserved them by drying. Fish hooks they some- 
times made of fish bones and bird claws ; and fish lines they 
formed from a species of wild grass, or from the sinews of ani- 
mals. All these were indeed but instances of clumsy invention 
and rude fare, but their education and hearts were formed to it, 
and they loved it and were happy ; having every where their 
table spread by nature to their entire wants and satisfaction. In 
those days they were hunters more for clothing and amusement 
than for necessary food. 

The Indians whom we usually call Delawares, because first 
found about the regions of the Delaware river, never used that 
name among themselves; they called themselves Lenni Lenape, 
which means " the original people,^^ — Lenni meaning original, 
— whereby they expressed they were an unmixed race, who had 
never changed their character since the creation ; — in effect they 
were primitive sons of Adam, and others were sons of the curse, 
as of Ham, or of the outcast Ishmael, &c. 

They, as well as the Mengwe (called by us Iroquois), agreed 
in saying they came from westward of the Mississippi — called by 
them Namxsi Sipu, or river of fish ; and that when they came 
over to the eastern side of that river, they there encountered, and 
finally drove off, all the former inhabitants, called the Alligewi — 
(and of course the primitives of all our country !) who, probably, 
such as survived, sought refuge in Mexico. 

From these facts we may learn, that however unjustifiable, in 
a moral sense may be the aggressions of our border men, yet on 
the rule of the lex talionis we may take refuge and say, we only 
drive off or dispossess those who were themselves encroachers, 
even as all our Indians, as above stated, were ! 

The Indians called the Quakers Quekels, and " the English," 
by inability of pronouncing it, they sounded Yengees — from 

116 The Indians. 

whence probably, we have now our name of Yankees. In their 
own language they called the English Saggenah. 

Men whose thoughts are engrossed in the affairs of the world, 
or in the immediate concerns of self-preservation, may be unmind- 
ful of others ; but youth, who are free from such cares, can 
indulge their natural propensity of looking abroad and into the 
state of others, by an attention to the actual state of the poor 
Indian. They have repeatedly heard that all the lands of our 
western interior were not long since the property of the aborigi- 
nes ; and as they now witness their entire exclusion from all those 
regions, they naturally enquire where are they, and what has be- 
come of those who once welcomed to their wigwams and to their 
hospitaUty our pilgrim forefathers ? It was once their greatest 
gratification to be accounted the white man's friend and benefac- 
tor ; for truly they could say, " none ever entered the cabin of 
Logan hungry, and he gave him no meat ; or cold, or naked, and 
he gave him no clothes." 

As the race is receding from the civilization and encroachments 
of white men, and becoming more and more scarce among men, 
it will become still more the duty and proper kindness of the 
coming generation to cherish a regard and a veneration for the 
few scattered fragments of a once mighty people. Already the 
last feeble remnants are preparing to go into remote exile in the far 
distant west. We see them leaving reluctantly their long cherished 
homes, "few and faint, yet fearless still." They turn to take a last 
look at their deserted towns — a last glance at the graves of their 
fathers. They shed no tears ; they utter no cries ; they heave 
no groans. There is something in their hearts which surpasses 
speech ; there is something in their looks, not of vengeance or 
submission, but of hard necessity, which stifles both ; which 
chokes all utterance ; which has no aim or method. It is courage 
absorbed in despair. 

A mind fully alive to the facts which in the new countries of 
the west still environ him wherever he goes, can hardly ride 
along the highway, or traverse the fields and woods, without 
feeling the constant and welcome intrusion of thoughts like these, 
to wit : Here lately prowled the beasts of prey ; * there crowded 
the deep interminable woodland shade ; through that cripple 
browsed the deer ; in that rude cluster of rocks and roots were 
sheltered the deadly rattlesnake. These rich meadows were 
noxious swamps. On those sun-side hills of golden grain crack- 
led the growing maize of the tawny aborigines. Where we stand, 
perchance to pause and consider, rest the ashes of a chief or of 
his family ; and where we have chosen our favourite sites for 

* As late as the year 1815 to '20, the state treasury expended 38,260 dollars 
for killing wolves in 37 of the western counties ! Could any thing more strikingly 
exhibit its recent savage state, even where now " unwieldly wealth and cumbrous 
pomp repose !" 

The Indians. 117 

towns or habitations, may have been the selected spots on which 
were hutted the now departed Uneage of many generations. On 
yon path- way, seen in the distant view, cUmbing the remote 
hills, may have been the very path tracked from time immemorial 
by the roving Indians themselves. 

It is not possible for a considerate and feeling mind, even now 
to stand upon the margin of such charming and picturesque lakes 
as the Skaneatteles, the Cayuga, and the Seneca, &c. without 
thinking how happily the Indians of primitive days were wont 
to pass their time in such enchanting regions ; but they are all 
gone, all wasted like a pestilence. A few diminished tribes still 
linger about our remote borders ; and others, more distant in the 
rude wilds, still gather a scanty subsistence from the diminished 
game. It would be to our honour and to their comfort and 
preservation, could we yet extend to them the blessings of civili- 
zation and religion. We owe it to ourselves and to them to yet 
redeem this wasting, injured, faded race. 

" Orush'd race, so long condemned to moan, 
Scorn'd, rifled, spiritless and lone, 
From heathen rites, from sorrow's maze, 
Turn to our temple gates with praise ! 
Yes, come and bless th' usurping band 
That rent away your father's land ; 
Forgive the wrong, suppress the blame. 
And view your hope, your heaven, the same ! " 

New York, at the time of its discovery and settlement, says 
Campbell's history, was inhabited by a race of men, distinguished, 
above all the other aborigines of the continent, for their intelligence 
and prowess. Five distinct and independent tribes, speaking a 
language radically the same, and practising similar customs, had 
imited in forming a confederacy, which, for durability and power, 
was unequalled in Indian ^history. They were the Mohawks, 
Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas — called the Iroquois 
by the French, and the Five Nations by the English. In cases 
of great emergency, each tribe or nation acted separately, and 
independently ; but a general council usually assembled at Onon- 
daga, near the centre of their territory, and determined upon 
peace or war, and all other matters which regarded the interests 
of the whole. Acting in^these matters, not unlike our own 
Congress, under the old confederation. They, therefore, who 
may visit the present Onondaga and vicinity, may regard that 
region of country, as being once the consecrated ground, and the 
familiar home, of a now vanished people ! 

They carried their arms into Canada, across the Connecticut, 
and even to the banks of the Mississippi, and verging to the 
Gulf of Mexico. 

After the settlement of the French in Canada, in 1608, and at 
a time that the Five nations were waging a desperate war, — 

m The Indians. 

(long continued, at intervals of time,) with the Hurons and AI- 
gonquins, settled there, and assisted by the French, — they applied 
to the Dutch, settled at Albany, and along the Hudson, to assist 
them in arms and ammunition, — whereby a strong friendship 
was created, and which produced a long and sincere attachment 
between them. During this period, the Dutch traders passed up 
the Mohawk in their little canoes, and carried on, for many years, 
a profitable barter of their merchandize and munitions of war, 
for the peltry of the Indians. 

When the English came to the government of the province, by 
the conquest of 1664, they exerted themselves to acquire and pre- 
serve the same influence, with the same Indian tribes. Conventions 
were therefore frequently held at Albany, in which presents and 
kindly professions were liberally bestowed. In the mean time, 
the French in Canada, endeavoured to counteract this English 
ascendency. They attacked the English frontiers, in hopes, by 
some splendid victory, to detach the Indians from their friends. 
They also sent Missionaries among them, more desirous of making 
allies for France, than converts to Christianity; and in 1671, they 
persuaded the Caughnawagas to leave their settlements on the 
Mohawk, and to establish themselves in Canada. 

The Dinondadies, a tribe of Canada, in alliance with France, 
having treacherously killed several of the Ambassadors of the 
Five nations, when going to meet them in Conference, were 
visited with a heavy revenge. About twelve hundred warriors, 
of the Five nations, landed at Montreal in 1688, and killed about 
one thousand French. The French, in turn, retaliated by making 
sundry incursions into the Indian country : burning their villages, 
&c., and especially in 1690, a combined force of French and In- 
dians, succeeded to surprise and burn the town of Schenectady, 
in the dead of winter, killing about sixty of the inhabitants, and 
dispersing the rest under circumstances of much suflfering, as will 
be found stated under the chapter of that place. 

About the year 1701, a general treaty of peace was made be- 
tween the French and the Five Nations, which put an end to 
these long and afilicting wars. 

About the year 1712, the Monecons, or Tuscaroras, an Indian 
tribe of the Carolinas, came from that country and joined the 
Indian confederacy, and thus constituting from that time, the Six 

As the French never abandoned their desire to attach these six 
nations to their own interests, they succeeded in time to attain 
sundry indulgencies, such as making forts in their territory, for the 
alleged protection of their trade and missions, &c. So that when 
the last French war broke out, in 1754, the four western tribes 
went over to the French, and took up the hatchet against the 
English. The Indians, however, as the war progressed, seeing 
the defeat of the French in sundry engagements, had many of 

The Indians. 119i 

them returned, before the close of the war, to the English, by 
whom they were agahi received as allies. In these results, Sir 
Wm. Johnson, had much influence, and especially by his victory 
over the Baron Dieskau, in 1757, and the capture of Fort Niagara. 

A manuscript journal, kept by an officer in Sullivan's Expedi- 
tion, leads us into an insight of some of the most conspicuous 
localities of the Indians, viz : 

At CAemwn^, where they destroyed the settlements and grain ; 
at New town and Butler^s Creek, they destroyed the corn and 
beans ; at Catharine's town, they destroyed the com, beans, &c ; 
at Jlpple-tree town, on the east side of Setieca lake, destroyed 
houses and corn fields. 

Kandaia, — a fine town, half a mile from Cayuga lake, — there 
found a great plenty of old apple trees, — the houses large and 
elegant, some beautifully painted : their tombs likewise, especially 
those of their chief warriors, were beautifully painted boxes, set 
over their graves, made of planks hewn out of timber. 

Kanadaseago, the capital of the Senecas, near the north end 
of the same lake, consisted of about sixty houses, and a great 
plenty of apple and peach trees, — destroyed there much of corn 
and beans. 

Kashanguash, — about eight miles south, was destroyed. 

Kanandagua, at the outlet of a small lake, had about twenty 
houses, and were burned. Some of these houses were very neat 
and had chimnies, as if they had had white people settled among 

Hanneyaage, lies at the head of a small lake, and consisted of 
thirteen or fourteen good houses, neatly built, — here they had 
much corn and beans. 

Adjuton, near lake Konyoughejough, where they destroyed 
the corn, and detached Lieutenant Boyd with his riflemen, to re- 
connoitre the next town, seven miles distant, — but he was cut off, 
in his return, by five or six hundred Indians, under Col. Butler. 
[Lieut. Boyd, and his party, were exhumed in 1840, and re- 
interred, with great civic and military honours, at Rochester 
Cemetery.] Finally arrived at the flat, on which stood the 
Capital of the Chenessee, consisting of upwards of one hundred 
and twenty houses and vast quantities of corn, beans, pumpkins, 
potatoes, &c. The corn was gathered into the houses, and the 
whole consumed together. After this, the army took up its return 
march — having desolated the Indian country, and struck terror into 
the Indians, enough to incline them sufficiently for future peace. 

The chief localities of the Six nations, may be thus described: 
The Mohawks dwelt along the river of that name. The Oneidas 
in that county, on the south side of the lake Oneida — Onondaga 
hollow contains some of those Indians still. Cayuga lake and 
river, mark the place of the Cayugas. A few Senecas, still linger 
about their old home, near lake Erie, and their principal village 

120 The Indians. 

was near the Genessee river, twenty miles from Irondequoit bay. 
The Tuscaroras, were settled about Niagara. In the town of 
Pompey is a very extensive Indian Cemetery of bodies laid side 
by side, and often turned up by the plough. The great Council 
of the Five nations, met yearly at Onondaga. The Journal of 
C. F. Post, going inland from Philadelphia, to meet there, is a 
very curious history of such inland travelling, by Indian paths, 
in colonial times. 

Besides the foregoing, there were Indian towns of magnitude, 
at the upper and lower Mohawk castles. The former was inhab- 
ited by the Onheskas. There were also the Tuscarora and 
Oneida castles, inhabited by friendly Indians. The chief of these 
last, Skanandoa (i. e. light footed deer,) was a remarkable man, 
who lived to be an hundred and ten years of age, and lies interred 
at Clinton, by his own request. His father lived to be ninety-six 
years old at the Bouwlandt. 

The country of the Onondagas, the Cayugas, and the Senecas, — 
the three western tribes, was completely overrun and laid waste. 
A part only of the Indians ever returned to their old settlements. 
Some of them obtained permission to locate in the extreme 
western part of the state, and during the winter of 1779-80, they 
remained in and about Fort Niagara, where from eating salt pro- 
visions, they took the scurvy, and died in great numbers. 

In contemplating the delightful country and homes, which these 
Indians were thus compelled to leave forever, and under such 
thorough devastation, as to destroy all their *' neat houses^' and 
" cultivated fields,", we cannot but reflect, that all their hostilities 
and difficulties with us, were produced by the sinister designs of 
white men, acting deceptively upon their simplicity and fears, for 
their own selfish ends. With good men and true, the Indians 
were always just and friendly. They loved and confided, with 
full purpose of heart ; they coveted nothing, and gave freely ; they 
hated and revenged when injured, because it was a part of their 
religious feeling of duty, to avenge the wrongs, as they under- 
stood them, when inflicted upon any branch of their families. 
Severe as seemed their cruelties, they expected, on their part, to 
meet retaliation without a complaint. Of stern virtues they had 
many, many which could have been usefully learned from them, 
by their more enlightened white men ! It would be for our own 
honours, if we would, even now, remember with better feelings 
towards them, the comforts and the enjoyments to which their 
lands are now our perpetual contributors. Let none go over 
them now, in easy and splendid vehicles, without feeling a com- 
miseration for " the poor Indian," and with the cherished wish to 
forget their faults, and to rescue and build up once more, their 
now degraded and wasting population ! 

Cordially we can unite, with Mr. Campbell, in his history, in 
saying, " when we look over these lands, once the domains of the 

The Indians. 121 

proud and noble Iroquois, and remember how, in the days of their 
glory, they defended our infant colonies from the ravages of 
the French, and contrast their former state, numerous, powerful, 
and respected, with their present condition, * scattered and peeled,' 
we are almost ready to blot out the record of their cruelties." 
They, like ourselves, it should be remembered, fought for "sweet 
country and home !" 

" Were not these their own bright waters 1 
* Rear'd they not their own red-brow'd daughters, 
Where Qur princely mansions rise 1" 

With the same intelligent author we may also remark, " that it 
is by no means to be considered as strange, that the Indians, and 
especially the Mohawks, should have remained attached to the 
British crown, though earnestly sued by us to participate in our 
cause ; for they had always been well furnished by that govern- 
ment, with all the necessaries of life, and with arms and other 
munitions, both for the chase, and for war ; the chain of friendship 
between them had been steadily brightened, for more than one 
hundred years." The Oneidas, and the Tuscaroras, alone joined 
us, and since then, they too, have fallen far below our best wishes. 

To the foregoing notices of the Indians, we add the observa- 
tions and remarks made by Mrs. Grant, in her published letters, 
made by her on the spot, in the colonial times. She has said that 
" the Mohawks were deemed the wisest, the best, and the most 
perfect in their morals and conduct of all the Indians. They 
were always greatly attached to the British crown, strictly adher- 
ing to the same, under all the allurements offered by the French." 

She had been, in her youth, familiar with the sight of many 
companies of friendly Indians, visiting at Schuyler's flats, above 
Albany. While there, they were very industrious in making 
baskets, ladles, spoons, shovels, rakes, brooms, belts, moccasins, 
&c., mostly made by the women and children, the men being 
abroad, engaged in fishing, and smoking their sturgeons and eels, 
for their winter use. The women were remarkably amiable and 
sagacious, as were the boys also. It was singular, that none of 
the females, though coloured themselves, could ever feel any kind 
of fellowship with the black race, then much employed in white 
families. The Indians had a remarkable facility in acquiring any 

Such Indians as came thus about the white population, were 
of such families as preferred their mode, to the entire forest life, 
and where of course the labour of tillage devolved wholly on the 
women, who were wont to cultivate corn, beans, and tobacco ; 
their only tools were the hoe, and a kind of wooden spade. The 
men in the mean time, were catching and drying fish by the 
rivers or on the lakes. The younger girls were much busied, in 
summer and autumn, in gathering wild fruits, berries and grapes, 
16 L 

123 The Indians. 

which they had a peculiar mode of drying, to preserve them for 
the winter subsistence. The great cranberry they gathered in 
much abundance. The girls, in childhood, had a very pleasing 
appearance, had fine hair, eyes, and teeth ; hardships and expo- 
sure, in time, of course broke down their beauty. They married 
very early, and as a Mohawk had no other help or servant than 
his wife, she had necessarily to be laboriously employed. The 
Shumack shrub, which we deem to be poisonous, they used in 
the state of berries, on which they found a pungent dust, which 
was at once saline and sour, and which was in effect the salt to 
their food. 

The Senecas, with their euphonious and agreeable name, 
were naturally the most severe and blood thirsty of all the Indian 
tribes; from some unexplained cause, they were always most 
vindictive and ardent in their spirit of revenge and hostility. It 
is from such a race, therefore, that we should soonest look for the 
severities and successes of the tomahawk and scalping knife, 
weapons of peculiar terror and disgust to the white race. 

Mr. Dunlap, in his history of New York, gives as one of the 
items of the year 1756, that " Robert Hunter Morris, governor of 
Pennsylvania, offers to pay for every Indian male enemy, above 
twelve years of age, one hundred and fifty dollars ; for the scalps 
of such, one hundred and thirty dollars. For every female prisoner, 
or boy under twelve, one hundred and thirty dollars. For the 
scalp of an Indian woman, fifty dollars,'^ and then he adds a 
case of cruelty, in attempting the murder of a friendly Indian 
family at Pepeck, in Somerset, New Jersey, with a design to take 
their scalps to Pennsylvania for the premiums. He concludes 
with " here we see a part of the fruit of the Pennsylvania pro- 
clamation." " The Friendly Association" of Philadelphia was 
formed in that year, on purpose to counteract severe measures, 
and to preserve a peace with the Indians. 

Mr. Dunlap, I presume, took the case as he found the offered 
reward in the public prints of the time, but I chance to know 
something more in the premises. I had seen the manuscript 
minutes of Council of Pennsylvania, and it is due to truth to say, 
that there were scruples and demurs to the measure, as the minutes 
show, that when it succeeded, it was pressed as a necessary 
retaliatory operation, to quiet the frontier people, and withal it 
was so far a New York measure, as to have had the sanction and 
expressed wish of Sir. Wm. Johnson, the great Indian agent and 
Indian'' s friend, acting in New York for his majesty's service, &c. 

The minutes of Council to which I referred, was dated the 6th 
of July, 1764, present, John Penn, lieutenant governor, Thomas 
Cadwalader, and Richard Penn, Esq. It says : " The same 
council having before agreed to give encouragement for a more 
successful war on the frontiers, it was agreed to give a reward for 
scalps, &c., (as above), provided it should be approved by Sir 

The Indians. 123 

Wm. Johnson. His answer of 18th June, 1764, says, * I cannot 
but approve of your desire to gratify the desires of the people in 
your province, by a bounty on scalps, &c.,' whereupon they 
resolved to issue a proclamation of the 7th July, 1764, and to 
publish it in the Gazette." What ever resulted from it does not 
appear, but after this, I saw demurs and fears expressed by 
Conrad Weiser and others, to the council, that the reward would 
induce even friendly Indians to kill white men for their scalps. 
The thing seems to have had a quiet death, and to have sub 
silentio passed away. 

In and about the same period of time, and possibly preceding 
the proclamation of Gov. Morris, " i^ae. famous Captain Rogers," 
acting under his majesty's commission, on the frontiers of New 
York, was busily taking his scalps, and at the same time the 
French were paying for all scalps brought in at Fort du Quesne, 
on the Pennsylvania frontier. It was truly a barbarous time ! 

In January, 1757, the aforesaid Capt. Rogers, with a scouting 
party of only thirty men, waylaid a French convoy of sixty sleighs, 
for Crown Point, which he destroyed. He was pursued by the 
garrison, and lost twenty of his men, and yet, had the success to 
bring in eighteen scalps ! 

This Rogers, afterwards a Major, exalted for his success in 
cruel things, led a party of one hundred and forty men, from 
Crown Point, in the year 1759, against the Indian town of St. 
Francis ; he found the unsuspecting village in peace, and two 
hours before sunrise, when " all were fast asleep," he fell upon 
them, killing all he could, and then set fire to their houses, burn- 
ing therein all who might be concealed " in cellars and lofts ;" — 
he killed all, save about twenty of their women and children, and 
these, after taking them some distance, he turned off to starve or 
perish in the woods, because he was expecting a surprise from 
the enemy ! 

This hero in the Indian campaigns, had his admirers in his 
day, and a book of his adventures was published. At one time, 
in the height of his renown, he got into the New York prison for 
debt, and was said to have prompted some of his soldiers to assault 
the prison for his release, which was, however, prevented by the 
interference of the citizens. 

One cannot but perceive the cold blooded apathy with which 
he needlessly massacred helpless women, children, and aged. He 
also took scalps as savagely as the untutored Indians themselves. 
We cannot but cherish different feelings towards the Indians. 
They were human, and had souls like ourselves. In the pathetic 
language of Montgomery, the Indians apostrophize us, and say : — 

Art thou a waman ? so am I, and all 
That woman can be, I have been, or am, 
A daughter, sister, consort, mother, widow ! 

124 The Indians. 

Or, art thou a man ? oh, I have known, have loved 
And lost all that to woman man can be — 
A father, brother, husband, son, who shared 
My bliss in freedom, and my woe in bondage. 

It was the custom of the Mohawks, and probably of all the 
tribes of the Iroquois, when contemplating a military expedition, 
to make a representation thereof, by painting on trees or rocks, 
the figures of the warriors, with hieroglyphics, designating the 
design of the same. When they went by water, canoes were 
painted, and as many figures placed in them, as there were men 
constituting the party — their faces looking toward the place 
whither they were bound. The remains of such a painting is 
still to be seen under a jutting rock, on the north side of the river, 
about a mile and a half above the village of Amsterdam. It was 
executed about the year 1720, to express a purpose of the Mo- 
hawks against the French. It was done with red chalk, and 
represented five or six canoes, with six or seven men in each. 

The Indians, in forming places of abode, were always careful 
to select spots in the neighbourhood of rivers, lakes, and creeks. 
This, because they there expected their best chances for food, from 
fish and wild fowl — there too would come the deer and game, 
to slake their thirst. From such locations, therefore, it was but 
natural, that Indians should usually designate their homes, by the 
names of the streams near which they resided — thus a Connecti- 
cut Indian, would say that he was from Connecticoota, meaning 
the " Long River." 

The aborigines not only built their wigwams, and kindled their 
domestic fires, along the waters, but their roads and other paths, 
were along and around rivers, creeks, and lakes. Besides, these 
localities served as land marks, to guide them in their travels, 
which were always made, of choice, on foot. 

The great national pathway of the Iroquois, may be thus de- 
scribed — commencing at Schenectady, it ran along the south side 
of the Mohawk, as far as Wood creek ; from thence, there were 
several branches, leading to the settlements of the different tribes, 
residing west of the Mohawk. There was also a branch which 
crossed that river at Canajoharie, and extended along the north 
side of that river to Wood creek, where it joined the main path- 
way. Portions of an Indian path, leading from Schenectady to 
the Shatemuc, or North river, are to be seen at the present day. 
This path touched Hunger hill, a branch of the Towassantha, 
or Norman's kill, and part of the way passed over the land now 
occupied by the Mohawk and Hudson rail-road company. There 
were two paths leading from Schenectady to Nachtenac, (now 
Watervliet and Waterford,) one on the north and one on the south 
side of the Mohawk. At the eastern extremities of the Toueri- 
oone Hills in Woostina, a path commenced, and went along the 
northern bounds of the Schenectady patent to Saraghtoga lake. 

The Indians. 125 

Nachtenac and Saraghtoga lakes, were frequented by the Indians 
for the purposes of angUng. The path to Canada, from Sche- 
nectady, led past Sanders' lake, Long lake, Saraghtoga lake. Lake 
George, and Lake Champlain. The Canada creeks, east and 
west, were both so called, because paths led from these creeks to 

David Cusick was an educated Indian, the son of a Captain 
Cusick of the British army, who served imder Sir Wm. Johnson 
in the French war. His mother was the daughter of a chief of 
the Tuscarora tribe. David received the elements of his educa- 
tion in Schenectady, in Mr. Martin's school. He is said to have 
written a book of the history of the Six Nations, about the year 
1779, but we know of none, who can now say where it may be 
foimd. The Tuscaroras together with the Oneidas, were the firm 
allies of the Americans in the Revolution, and had taken up their 
quarters on the brow of Albany hill, near where the turnpike 
now runs. They occasionally accompanied our troops, in sundry 
campaigns, and were particularly useful as scouts. In the numer- 
ous expeditions undertaken by the Schenectady militia, to the 
Heldeberg, Beaverdam, and other places infested by tories, they 
took an active part. 

Mrs. Catharine Brant, the wife of Brant the sachem, was a 
princess of remarkable character, who died at the age of seventy- 
eight, in the year 1837, at the Mohawk village, on the Grand 
river in Upper Canada. She was the third wife of that dis- 
tinguished chieftain, and had in her own right, the headship of the 
Six Nations — so that at the time of Brant's death, in 1807, she 
had the right, in her own person, to name his successor, which 
she did in her own son, John Brant — the same who died of Cholera 
in 1832. Mrs. Brant was a true Mohawk in her Indian attach- 
ments and feelings, and preferred a residence with her nation, to 
one with her daughter, Mrs. Col. Wm. J. Kerr, of Brant House, 
Wellington Square. Her son John, before named, was an edu- 
cated gentleman, well received in the best company in London, 
and had a very particular and lengthened letter, from Campbell the 
poet, recanting sundry of his severe reflections upon the chieftain 
Brant, and his alleged barbarities in the massacre of Wyoming, 
about which he acknowledged that he had no certain information, 
upon which to inculpate him personally. 

Mary Jamison, the "white woman,'^ became a remarkable per- 
sonage in her connection and influence with the Indians of the 
Genessee country. She was originally of Irish parentage — was 
born at sea, on her passage to this country in 1742 — her parents 
being settled on the frontiers of Pennsylvania, in the time of 
Braddock's defeat, in 1755. Her family was murdered by the 
Senecas — herself was spared and brought away — was adopted 
and finally married to a Seneca chief. While living in the Genes- 
see valley, in the time of the Revolution, her house was the 

L 2 

IM The Indians, 

quarters of Brant and Butler. Her life, full of incident and ad- 
venture, was taken down in writing in 1823. She finally became 
rich among the whites, by having conceded to her the Gardow 
Reservation of ten thousand acres. She left an educated family, 
and one of her sons was made a surgeon in our navy. She her- 
self, died in 1833, at ninety years of age. Her character was 
good — her feelings humane and benevolent. She never gave up 
her Indian habits, customs, or dress, but to the last, sustained the 
characteristics of an Indian Queen. She had travelled a great 
deal in Indian enterprises, and sometimes acted as Interpreter. 
Her name as the " white woman," was universally known and 
reverenced among the Indians. 

Another remarkable character among the Indians was the cele- 
brated Oneida chief Skenandoa. He died in 1816, at the extreme 
age of one hundred and ten years, and was interred at his request, 
at Clinton, along side of the grave of his minister. Dr. Kirkland,the 
Missionary, saying " he wished to be able to lay hold of his skirts 
in the resurrection." Having heard from my kinsman, the Rev. Dr. 
Backus, who conducted his funeral, several particulars of this 
eminent chief, I shall here relate them as worthy of record and 
remembrance. He had been for some years blind, and in prepa- 
ration for death, had procured and kept his grave clothes ready 
for that event. On one occasion when visited, he thus beautifully 
and poetically discoursed of his long life, and the scenes and 
changes he had witnessed, saying "I am an aged hemlock, 
withered at the top, in whose branches have whistled the winds 
of an hundred winters. The generation to which I belonged 
have run away from me, and the Great Spirit only knows, why 
I should remain !" Such language is, we think, equal to Ossian's. 

In his person he was tall, brawny, and well made — his counte- 
nance was intelligent and beaming with dignity. In youth he 
was brave and intrepid as a warrior — ^in his riper years he was 
sagacious as a counsellor. Though terrible in war, he was bland 
and mild as the zephyr in peace. He was the white man's 
abiding friend. He watched and repelled Canadian invasions. 
His vigilance and good conduct saved many lives in the infant 
settlements along the German Flats, and he served us faithfully, 
with his tribe, in the Revolutionary war. Individuals and 
villages, have repeatedly expressed their gratitude for his friendly 
and available interpositions. The memory of such deserve regard. 
Let his monument at Clinton be remembered ! 

Of the many tribes of Indians once on Long Island — once thir- 
teen in number, there now only remains one — say that of the 
Montauks. Fifteen or twenty individuals of these still linger 
" wretched and forlorn," about the homes of their fathers, they 
being settled on a promontory, at the east part of the Island, called 
Montauk point. They subsist by fishing and cultivating a little 
land, living out an indolent and pensive state of existence, as if 

The Indians. 127 

pondering over the sense of their fallen dependent state, and re- 
garding themselves as the last of the race. 

In November, 1839, King David, (known mostly as Hannibal,) 
with his squaw, dwelling at East Hampton, Long Island, were 
burned to death in their wigwam. Thus perished the last of the 
royal line of the Montauks — long since dwindled down to a few 
basket making, miserable half breeds. " What a falling off was 
there !" Think of the race of the aboriginal owners, now so 
poor, debased, and scouted as " none to do them reverence," even 
so near the great metropolitan city, filled with wealth and luxury ! 
The last of the Pequots, died in 1842, at New London, in the 
person of Grace Pomham, in the eighty-second year of her age — 
a very respectable woman. " Lo the poor Indian!"' 

" Oh ! who can tell the story of their wrongs ? 
The tale to history or to God belongs. 
We seized their lands, drove back their council fires, 
And plough'd the dust that lay upon their sires — 
Entrapp'd by treaties, driven forth to range 
The distant west in misery and revenge." 

Contemplating the Indians as ruined, and as fallen from their 
first estate by the influence of the dreadful " fire-water," we are 
here reminded of Mrs. Sigourney's description of the first cup of 
evil, presented to the unsuspecting natives, on the visit of Captain 
Hudson to Albany, in 1609. 

" They throng that water bird to view. 
Whose mighty wings that near the shore, 
Perchance, their great Manitto bore 

* * * # 

But by what gifts, what token strong 
Did Europe's sons, renowned in song 
Mark their ^rs^ visit to the child 
Of simple faith and daring wild ? 

" A cup ! — a cup ! — ^but who may tell 
What deadly drugs within it swell ] 
Type of the woes that soon must sweep 
Their blasted race away, 
Down to oblivion, dark and deep 
With none their hopeless wrongs to weep, 
Or mourn their sad decay." 

Depressed and fallen as are the Indian race, they still present 
a formidable whole, when aggregated, as has been our policy 
with them on our Western frontiers. There they may yet be 
induced to combine and concentrate their force, if hereafter made 
our enemies, either by foreign policy, or by a sense of aggregated 
power, and so to give us much annoyance. It certainly behooves 
us to conciliate their feelings, and to promote amicable relations. 
We state from official documents of 1838, when we give the sum 
of their whole force at 332,500 souls : and if we assume, that 
every fifth person may be considered a warrior, we may conclude 

128 The Indians. 

that we may have an array of 66,000 fighting men against us, 
whenever they may be incited to remember former severities, or 
their too often constrained removals from their former homes. 
The facts are these, — viz : 

The number of the Indians east of the Mississippi amount to 
49,365, of which the following are under treaty stipulations to 
remove to the west of the Mississippi, to wit : The Winnebagoes, 
4500; Ottawas of Ohio, 100; Pattawatamies of India) la,. 19 50; 
Chippewas, Ottawas and Pattawatamies, 1500; Cherokees, 
14,000; Creeks, 1000; Chickasaws, 1000; Seminoles, 5000; 
Apalachicolas, 400 ; Ottawas and Chippewas in Michigan, 6,500; 
total, 36,950. Those not under treaty to remove, amount to 
12,415, viz: New York Indians, 4,176; Wyandots, 575; 
Miamies, 1100; Meno monies, 4000; Ottawas and Chippewas 
of the lakes, 2,564. 

The number of Indians who have emigrated from the east to 
the west of the Mississippi, is 51,327, to wit : Chickasaws, 549 ; 
Chippewas, Ottawas and Pattawatamies, 2,191 ; Chocktaws, 
15,000; Quapaws, 476; Creek, 476; Seminoles, 407; Apala- 
chicolas, 265; Cherokees, 7,911; Kickapoos, 588; Delawares, 
826 ; Shawnees, 1,272 ; Ottawas, 374 ; Weas, 222 ; Piankashaws, 
162; Peorias and Kaskaskias, 132; Pattawatamies of Indiana, 
53 ; Senecas, 251 ; Senecas and Shawnees, 211. 

The number of the indigenous tribes within striking distance 
of the western frontier is 231,806 ; to be enumerated thus, to wit : 
Sioux, 21,600; lowas, 1,500; Sacs, 4,800 ; Foxes, 1,600; Sacs 
of Missouri, 500 ; Osages, 5,120; Canzas^ 1,606; Omahas, 1,600; 
Ottoes and Missourias, 1000; Pawnees, 12,500; Camanches, 
19,200; Kiowazes, 2,800; Mandans, 3,200; Quapaws, 450; 
Minaterees, 2000; Pagans, 80,000; Assineboins, 15,000; Ap- 
paches, 20,280 ; Crees, 3000 ; Arrepahas, 3000 ; Grosventres, 
16,800 ; Eutaws, 19,200 ; Crows, 7,200 ; Caddoes, 2000; Poncas, 
900 ; Arickarees, 2,750 ; Cheyennes, 3,200 ; Blackfeet, 30,000. 

There may be a Providence, working for their good, in our 
thus concentrating them in the far west. There they may respect 
themselves, and avow their power to exact terms of independence, 
which may eventuate in their self-preservation by their admission 
of the arts and benefits of civilization. We wish them nothing 
but good ; and would cherish towards them nothing but kindly 
feelings and regard. As enemies they could give calls for 
numerous and expensive military forces to keep them in check ! 

The remains of fortifications found in the Indian country, and 
of such antiquity, as to be beyond their knowledge of their origin, 
— are very numerous and remarkable, in the interior of New 

In Pompey, Onondago County, are vestiges of a town of five 
hundred acres, protected by three forts, eight miles apart. At 
Camillus, in the same county, are remains of two forts : one on a 

Steamboats. 129 

very high hill, covering about three acres, with a deep ditch, and 
a wall of ten feet. The other half a mile off, is on lower ground. 
Pottery and pieces of brick, have been found here. On the east 
side of Seneca, is some defensive remains, with ditches, &c., all 
now covered with trees of great age. Fortifications have been 
traced eighteen miles from Manlius square. On the east bank 
of Chenago river, are the remains of a fort of great antiquity. At 
Sandy creek, fourteen miles from Sacketts harbour, is one cover- 
ing fifty acres, and has much fragments of pottery. Going west- 
ward we find many : one in the town of Onondago, one in Scipio, 
two in Auburn, three near Canandaigua, and several between 
Seneca and Cayuga lakes. Several have been discovered in 
Ridgeway, in Genessee county. Near the Tonewanda creek, at 
the double fortified town, so called, are the remains of two forts, 
being two miles apart, and severally at the two ends of the an- 
cient town, as minutely traced and described by the Rev. Dr. 
Kirkland, the missionary. On the south side of Lake Erie, are 
a series of old forts, from the Cattaragus creek to the Pennsyl- 
vania line, a distance of fifty miles. Some are from two to four 
miles apart, and some but half a mile only. These ancient re- 
mains, so numerous in western New York, proceed from thence, 
and pass down the valley of the Mississippi, and onward toward 
Surely our country, and its aboriginals, is a wonderful enigma! 

" Slipt from the secret hand of Providence, 

They come, we see not how, nor know we whence ! " 

If they are indeed the lost tribes of Israel, far hence they 
wandered " into lands they had not known" indeed! and signifi- 
cantly enough may they have fulfilled the word of the Lord, by 
Jeremiah xxxi. 30, saying, " set thee up way marks, make thee 
high heaps (high earth mounds, as in Ohio, &c.,) — set thee 
towards the high way, so that by the way thou wentest, turn 
again .' " Will any expect this ! 


Against the winds, against the tide, 
She breasts the wave with upright keel. 

New York is deservedly distinguished as being the first of our 
American cities which saw the successful use of steamboat power 
upon its waters. Philadelphia had indeed beheld the efforts of 
Fitch's steamboat as early as 1788; but as it was not brought 
into any effective operation under his management, the invention 
slumbered until it was brought out successfully in the year 1807, 
under the direction and genius of the distinguished Fulton. At 


1 30 Steamboats. 

that time he demonstrated the important fact, tliat the Hudson 
could be navigated by steam vessels ; having shown to the 
astonished citizens, his companions in a voyage to Albany, that 
his first boat made her trip in thirty hours ; a time indeed nearly 
three times as long as now required, but triumphantly evidencing 
to the incredulous a new era in the creative powers of man. 

Most amazing invention ! from a cause now so obvious and 
familiar. It is only by applying the principle seen in every 
house, which lifts the lid of the tea kettle and " boils over," that 
machines have been devised which can pick up a pin or rend an 
oak ; which combine the power of many giants with the plasticity 
that belongs to a lady's fair fingers ; which can spin cotton and 
then weave it into cloth ; and which, amidst a long list of other 
marvels, " engraves seals, forges anchors, and lifts a ship of war 
like a bawble in the air ;" presenting in fact to the imagination, 
the practicability of labour-saving inventions in endless variety : 
so that in time, man through its aid shall half exempt himself 
from " the curse," and preachers through steam-press printing, 
shall find an auxiliary efiecting more than half their work. 

One whose genius has done so much for his country as Fulton's, 
deserves to be well known to her sons; we therefore take a 
mournful pleasure in repeating the facts as told to us by Judge 
Story, of the discouragements and incredulity against which it 
was at first the labour of Fulton to wend his way. I myself 
(said the Judge) have heard the illustrious inventor relate, in an 
animated and affecting manner, the history of his labours and 
discouragements: — "When (said he) I was building my first 
steamboat at New York, the project was viewed by the public 
either with indifference or with contempt as a visionary scheme. 
My friends indeed were civil, but they were shy. They listened 
with patience to my explanations, but with a settled cast of 
incredulity on their countenances. I felt the full force of the 
lamentation of the poet, — 

"Truths would you teach, to save a sinking land, 
All shun J none aid ynu, and few understdnd." 

As I had occasion to pass daily to and from the building yard 
while my boat was in progress, I have often loitered unknown 
near the idle groups of strangers gathering in little circles, and 
heard various inquiries as to the object of this new vehicle. The 
language was uniformly that of scorn, sneer, or ridicule. The 
loud laugh rose at my expense, the dry jest, the wise calculation 
of losses and expenditures ; the dull but endless repetition of the 
Fulton folly. Never did a single encouraging remark, a bright 
hope, or a warm wish, cross my path. Silence itself was but 
politeness veiling its doubts or hiding its reproaches. At length 
the day arrived when the experiment was to be got into opera- 
tion. To me it was a most trying and interesting occasion, I 

Steamboats. 131 

invited many friends to go on board to witness the first successful 
trip. Many of them did me the favour to attend as a matter of 
personal respect; but it was manifest they did it with reluctance, 
fearing to be partners of my mortification and not of my triumph. 
I was well aware that in my case there were many reasons to 
doubt of my own success. The machinery (like Fitch's before 
him) was new and ill made ; and many parts of it were con- 
structed by mechanics imacquainted with such work, and unex- 
pected difficulties might reasonably be presumed to present 
themselves from other causes. The moment arrived in which 
the word was to be given for the vessel to move. My friends 
were in groups on the deck. There was anxiety mixed with fear 
among them. They were silent, sad, and weary. I read in their 
looks nothing but disaster, and almost repented of my efforts. 
The signal was given, and the boat moved on a short distance 
and then stopped, and became immoveable. To the silence of the 
preceding moment now succeeded murmurs of discontent, and 
agitations and whispers, and shrugs. I could hear distinctly 
repeated, " I told you it was so ; its a foolish scheme ; I wish 
we were well out of it." I elevated myself upon a platform and 
addressed the assembly. I stated that I knew not what was the 
matter ; but if they would be quiet and indulge me for half an 
hour, I would either go on or abandon the voyage for that time. 
This short respite was conceded without objection. I went 
below and examined the machinery, and discovered that the 
cause was a slight maladjustment of some of the work. In a short 
period it was obviated. The boat was again put in motion. She 
continued to move on. All were still incredolous. None seemed 
willing to trust the evidence of their own senses. 

Fulton's Steamer. 

We left the fair city of New York ; we passed through the 
romantic and evervarying scenery of the Highlands ; we descried 
the clustering houses of Albany; we reached its shores; and 

1 32 fVaiering-places. 

then, even then, when all seemed achieved, I was the victim of 
disappointment. Imagination superseded the influence of fact. 
It was then doubted if it could be done again, or if done, it was 
doubted if it could be made of any great value." Such is the 
graphic history of the first experiment; a memorable and mo- 
mentous epoch. How affecting and exciting to the inventor in 
that anxious and perilous moment of trial. We regret to add 
that he did not live to enjoy the full glory and reward of his 
invention. He saw his rights both as to merit and reward dis- 
puted ; but now the whole world awards the meed of praise to 
this noblest benefactor of the human race. From his struggles 
against impediments, and his final triumph over incredulity and 
discouragement, let other great geniuses take lasting courage, and 
make perseverance to the end their cheering and sustaining motto. 


" And when loo much repose brings on the spleen, 
And the gay city's idle pleasures cloy, 
Swift as my changing wish, I change the scene, 
And now the country, now the town enjoy." 

The practice of summer travelling among the gentry and their 
imitators, is quite a modern affair. Our forefathers, when our 
cities were small, foimd no places more healthy or attractive than 
their homes ; and generally they liked the country best " when 
visited from town." From that cause there were very few 
country-seats in existence ; and what there were, were so near as 
to be easily visited on foot, " not for the good and friendly too 
remote" to call. 

As population and wealth increased, new devices of pleasure 
were formed, and some inland watering-places began to be 
visited, chiefly, however, at first for the benefit they might be 
supposed to confer upon the infirm. Next in order came sea 
bathing, most generally used at first by the robust ; by those who 
could rough it ; such as could depend upon their own supply of 
" small stores," and sheets, blankets, &c. Increase of such com- 
pany in time afl'orded sufficient motive to residents on the favour- 
ite beaches to make such provision for transient visitors as could 
not conveniently make their own supply. Thus, yearly, such 
places of resort grew from little to greater, and by degrees to 
luxury and refinement. It is still, however, within the memory 
of several of the aged, when the concomitants of sea-bathing, 
before the revolution, were rough as its own surges ; and for that 
very reason produced better evidences of positive benefits to 
visiters in the increase of robust feelings than they do now. 

Wateriiig-places, 133 

"The dash of ocean on the winding shore — 
How does it cheer the citizen, 
And brace his languid frame ! 

In this way we have seen the rise of Rockaway house and 
shore on Long Island ; of Brighton house near Amboy ; and 
last, but greatest in fame and company, Long Branch. This 
last was held before the revolution by Col. White, a British officer 
and an inhabitant of New York city. The small house which 
he owned and occupied as a summer retreat, is still existing in 
the clump now much enlarged by Renshaw. In consequence of 
the war, the place was confiscated and fell into other hands, and 
finally for the public good. In 1790-1 it was purchased and fit- 
ted up in improved style for boarders by Mr. McNight, who 
enriched himself to withdraw and sell out to Renshaw. 

Prior to that period " Black Point,'^ not far off, was the place 
of bathing. They had no surf there, and were content to bathe 
in a kind of water-house, covered. The tavern fare there was 
quite rude compared with present Long Branch luxuries. Cocoa- 
nut pudding and floating islands, &c., were delicacies not even 
known in our cities. 

Indeed we cannot but see, that the most of former summer ex- 
cursions were but for the men. They were generally deemed 
too distant and rough for female participation. But later improve- 
ments in conveyances and accommodations have brought in their 
full measure of ladies, gladdening the company at every place by 
those feminine attractions which lessen our cares and double our 

In the progress of wealth and luxury, the last device of plea- 
sure has been the general practice of travelling excursions, now 
*« boxing the compass" to every point. The astonishingly in- 
creased facilities of communications, have diminished distances. 
Steam-boats transfer us to far distant places, before we have fairly 
tried the varieties of a single day and night of their operation. 
Post coaches and fleet horses roll us as easy as if on our couches. 
New England and northern tours occur ; the Grand Canal and 
Niagara are sought; Carbon Dale, the Morris Canal, Catskill 
Mountain-house, and the everlasting battlements of the basaltic 
rocks along the North River, form now the chief attractions. 
Along the base of these they glide, whilst wending their way to 
the crowds and festivities found at Balls ton and Saratoga Springs. 
There the pine and sandy plains are made animate by the city 
throng. The same wilds which were overrun by assaulting 
savages in 1745, killing and bearing off" ninety of the country in- 
habitants, is now made the head-quarters of pomp and fashioiv 

The rage for travelling and public amusements is a topic upon 
which we feel prone to moralize. In the growing passion for 
this fashionable mode of expenditure, we see a marked departure 
tVom the simplicity, frugahty, and industry of our forefathers ; a 


134 Watering-places. 

breaking up of their good old home habits ; an infraction of our 
professions as a plain republican people, whose rule is " modera- 
tion in all things.'^ 

If only the rich did this, all would be well. They thus benefit 
others and possibly do not injure themselves. Their restlessness 
may be as great a benefit to the community as the motions of 
Prince Esterhazy, at whose every step, pearls drop from his gar- 
ments. But are there not too many of those who aim to imitate 
them, who can ill sustain the loss of time and expense ? Do we 
not often meet with families forsaking the shades and coolness of 
home for the dense and heated mass of steam-boats, worrying 
and distressing themselves "to be in the fashion?" They have 
fired their imaginations with the recitals of former visiters ; have 
heard them talk of Lake George crystals; of Canadian music 
and British officers; of the "dark blue Ontario" with its beautiful 
little brood of lakelets. Some resolve to go to Quebec, just to 
show they have " as good a right" to see " good society" and the 
world around them, as their neighbours. Some, too, go because 
travelling is " so rapid and cheap." They see all kinds of cha- 
racters on the move for fashionable resorts, and they must join 
the throng, and " be like others." But here comes the rub : 
where is the motive for patient industry and careful economy, 
when the savings of a month are spent in one trip to Saratoga or 
Trenton Falls ? 

Some, it is true, do really travel for their health, but they 
should generally set out with a good supply aforehand, or they 
may return from a losing voyage. Some go for information, but 
that is a barter trade, in which, if the dealers have little to put 
away, they cannot expect much in exchange. 

In these travelling excursions, the ladies have latterly come in 
for a great share of lame as projectors. Many of them have been 
devised under the influence of curtain lectures and dialogues. 
" It is, you know, my dear," says madame to her spouse, "too 
unhealthy and disagreeable to spend the whole summer in the 
city. It injures the complexions of myself and daughters, and 
makes us all too bilious and pale to be cooped up within the pre- 
cincts of a deserted neighbourhood. Besides, there is Mr. A. 
and Mr. B. and others, all of less means than we possess, and 
they are already gone off to recruit their strength and refresh 
their spirits ; now climbing rocks upon the Catskill ; next sipping 
Congress water, and tripping cotillions at Saratoga ; next whirl- 
ing through the eddying rapids of the St. Lawrence." The good, 
the indulgent husband is still reluctant ; he remembers his fall of 
ftocks ; insurance losses ; his faithless guarantees, &c. ; and faintly 
pleads inability for the occasion : but for him, example, and the 
general mover of his circle, overweighs all demurs, and the ladies 
and daughters go off under protection of a party of friends, 
leaving the good man to remain at home to see that personal and 

Watering-places, 1 35 

family interests are not neglected. As the dog star rages, the 
epidemic becomes common. Mechanics desert their business; 
retailers fling aside their yard sticks ; doctors leave their patients 
to get well without them : lawyers take no cognizance of fees or 
special pleadings; wives leave husbands; school-masters empty 
their noisy urchins into the streets, to unlearn as much as they 
have learnt : all for the sake of " going into the country." Noi 
is this all : pastors desert their flocks, and the flocks run away 
from their pastors, leaving the faithful messengers who do remain 
to preach with countenances melancholy as Jeremiah, to empty 
seats and bare walls. They might indeed exclaim, "How does 
the city sit solitary that was full of people ; and how have the 
houses become desolate that were full of children !" 

The husbands are the chief sufferers in this passion for family 
travelling. Remaining at home, to guard with care the interests 
by which the family is sustained, he feels keenly the solitude of 
his empty halls and chambers ; he stalks gloomily about, catching 
one meal here and another there. You can almost read it in his 
countenance that he is a bereaved man ; and when you ask him 
after the welfare of his family, he answers with a sigh, " they've 
gone in the country." It was not always so. In soberer days the 
city was deemed quite as healthy as the country ; and people 
were aware that the sun beat down as powerfully upon the dust 
and sand of a country village, or upon the loom and gravel of a 
highway, as in town. 

These thoughts and notices, thus cast together, on watering- 
places and travelling excursions, may serve to apprise our young 
and pleasure-loving friends that there is now a new era, a love 
of display and motion, not cherished among us until very recently; 
at the same time, the love of travel and observation, well under- 
stood, is of most commendable character. 

To those who are intellectually qualified to profit by an observ- 
ant eye, peering into every thing. 

" Nature, exhaustless, still has power to warm, 
And every change of scene a novel charm. 
The dome-crown'd city, or the cottage plain. 
The rough cragg'd mountain, or tumultuous main. 
M^ to the thoughtful^ purest joys impart. 
Delight his eye and stimulate his heart." 

It may be here noticed, that Salt Springs form a conspicuous 
item in New York state. There are many of great value and of 
inexhaustible abundance. The principal of them are in the 
counties of Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, Ontario, and Genessee — 
fifty gallons of the salt water, generally form a bushel of salt. 
What a treasure, to have such useful essentials of life, so far in- 
land ! once, salt inland, had to go upon pack horses at great ex- 

%H The Erie Canal. 


« The traveller with wonder sees 
The white sail gleaming through the dusky trees, 
And views the altered landscape with surprise, 
And doubts the magic scenes which round him rise." 

This grand Canal, the proud monument of the enterprise and 
public spirit of New York, although not properly an affair of 
sufficient age to demand a special chapter in the present work, 
yet as it has stretched its long length through a long line of forest 
waste, which till then lay for many a mile in its pristine gloom 
and wilderness, it has therefore become a matter of proper inter- 
est to describe and compare the past with the present. 

A tourist making his pleasant journey along the line of the 
present canal, seeing thriving villages, productive farms, and a 
dense population along its margin, could scarcely conceive that 
this advancement in wealth and civilization had been the work 
of only fifteen years. 

In the year 1819, when this great work was first set-to with 
effective operation, the then little settlements were " few and far 
between ;" the advance settlers but rude and poor ; and the 
country in general unsubdued and wild. The wolf still prowled ; 
the catamount still sprang on its prey ; the bear still growled in 
his den. When we contemplate the present in comparison with 
the past, so recent too is all this change, the mind is lost in wonder 
and admiration at the improving power and hand of man. The 
canal itself has not only grown into a source of immense profit to 
the state, but it has diffused wealth and comfort throughout all 
the former waste regions of the West. When we consider too, 
how many obstacles, both natural and moral, stood in prevention 
of its incipient beginning, we must feel peculiar gratitude to the 
ceaseless and untiring efforts of those first projectors and promo- 
ters, who persevered in its progress and execution. At first, 
numerous writers and speakers resisted the endeavour ; they pre- 
dicted it could not be achieved, they deemed it impossible to sur- 
mount such impediments as lay in its way. Finally, however, 
we see that they who had the hardihood to offer a new theory, 
have had the success to make all men think with them and to 
join in their commendation. The name of De Witt Clinton will 
long stand pre-eminenf, as a bold and munificent patron of this 
great and productive enterprise. 

General Washington, foresaw the practicability of canalling to 
the western waters — for after having made a tour in New York, 
soon after the close of the war, he wrote to the Marquis of Ches- 

The Erie Canal 137 

tallux, in 1 784, in which he said, " I have lately made a tour 
through the lakes George and Champlain, as far as Crown point, 
thence returning to Schenectady — thence up the Mohawk to Fort 
Schuyler, crossed over to Wood creek, which empties into Oneida 
lake, and affords communication with the Ontario. I then tra- 
versed the country to the head of the eastern branch of the Sus- 
quehannah, and viewed the lake Otsego, and the portage between 
that lake and the Mohawk river, at Canajoharie. I was struck 
with the vast inland navigation we possess. Would to God, we 
may have wisdom enough to improve those benefits, with which 
Providence has so kindly favoured us." 

Besides this, Mr. Thomson, of Chester County, Pennsylvania, 
built a boat called the White-fish, at Oswego, and proceeding by 
the waters of Wood creek, came down the Mohawk and the 
Hudson rivers, out by Sandy Hook, along the sea-coast of New 
Jersey, and up the Delaware to Philadelphia, where he laid up 
his boat in the State House yard, as a proof in itself, of the said 
inland navigation ! 

Christopher Colles, a native of Ireland, in moderate circum" 
stances, who settled in New York before the Revolution, was 
the first man who started suggestions concerning connecting 
canals and inland improvements in Western New York. De 
Witt Clinton, himself, declares this fact, saying " he was an inge- 
nious mechanician, and able mathematician. His memorials to 
the Legislature were presented in 1784-5, and met with a fa- 
vourable report, although some thought his schemes visionary." 
Before the Revolution, he had proposed a plan for supplying 
New York city with good water ; and in 1772, he had given 
public lectures in Philadelphia, upon the advantages of Lock 
navigation. Like " poor Fitch," he was ahead of the times ! 
Colles published a pamphlet in 1785, entitled " Proposals for the 
speedy settlement of Me Western frontier of New For A;," where- 
in he said, " by this, the internal trade will be increased, — the 
country will be settled, and the frontiers secured. By this, 
(meaning the connecting improvement, of the Mohawk river, 
&c.,) land carriage will be avoided, and masts, yards, and ship 
timber, may be brought to New York. By this, in time of war, 
provisions and military stores may be conveyed." Subsequent 
events, have proved how far he was right. The subject slept 
till 1791, when it was again revived by other men, of more per- 
sonal influence, and at a time more favourable to success. So 
that a company was chartered for the Mohawk and its Canal, 
in 1792, which in four years succeeded to open the passage from 
Schenectady to the Oneida, and intended fo have continued it on 
to lake Ontario. Mr. Elkanah Watson, was a very efficient 
agent in these measures, he made surveys of the routes, in 1791 ; 
and put out publications', ^' which no doubt, had an important 
influence on public opinion, in favour of canals.^^ It was not, 
18 m3 

13* The Erie Canal 

however, until 1810, that the whole subject was fully grasped : 
Then De Witt Clinton, as a senator, first advocated " the Canal 
policy, ^^ with which his name, has since heen so conspicuously 
coupled, pledging his name and fame upon its importance and 
practicability. General Schuyler and Governeur Morris, also 
came in for their full meed of praise therein. In 1808, Mr. Joshua 
Farman, a member of the Legislature, from Onondago, " being 
moved, (as he since has said,) by the perusal of Jefferson's mes- 
sage on internal improvements, and by the article on Canals in 
Rees' Cyclopedise,'^ presented to the Legislature of New York, 
" a Resolution for a survey for the best route, by means of a 
Canal, from the Hudson river to lake Erie." It excited surprise, 
and even ridicule with some ; but nevertheless, passed by an ap- 
propriation for a survey. This beginning elicited the valuable 
commu?iicatio7is of Ellicott, Hawley and Geddes. By these 
the public mind was instructed, and the subject was kept under 
consideration. The war intervening, measures were suspended : 
but "the New York Memorial," by De Witt Clinton, in 1815, 
gave a new impulse / and the Jict for the Grand Canal, was 
passed in April, 1817, and the whole was thereby finished ^w^ 
celebrated in November, 1824 ! What a triumph of human skill 
in thus subduing natural impediments ! To the curious in all this 
matter, the whole history of the facts in the case, may be foimd in 
O'Reilly's " Settlement in the West, and sketches of Rochester." 

To the wonders of this western world, and as a circumstance 
surprisingly illustrating the march of improvement, may be men- 
tioned the fact of the 1st of January, 1842, that wheat in the 
sheaf, and barrel-wood in the tree, on Tuesday morning, were 
conveyed in barrels as Genessee flour,— by the rail road, from 
Canandaigua to Boston, four hundred miles ; and the flour was 
eaten there in the form of bread at a public banqueting, on Wed- 
nesday evening ! At Albany too, candles made at Bedford, in 
the morning, were conveyed with the company of visiters, from 
New Bedford and Boston, and used the evening of the same day, 
in a rejoicing feast, celebrated in the Albany city ! What a change 
of circumstances since the old Dutch burghers used to give enter- 
tainments, and to consider themselves, at the utmost verge of 
inland civilization ! Cod fish, brought from Boston to Albany, 
have been sold in the latter place, at four cents per pound : — 
although, before, they could only be regarded as luxuries, not to 
be attained so far from the sea ! 

This great canal traverses a country three hundred and sixty 
miles in length, extending from Albany to Buflalo, a port on 
Lake Erie, and sometimes called, in the prospective hope of its 
increase and prosperity, the " New York of the Lakes." 

In marking the prominent facts of this canal, beginning at 
Albany and going westward, we shall first notice the great diffi- 
culties overcome at the Cohoes Fall, there lifting the boats, in the 

The Erie Canal. 139 

course of two miles, one hundred feet by the aid of twelve locks. 
This may look like an easy affair now, but consider the men, the 
labour, and the money it once cost to produce the result. At the 
Little Falls it again ascends forty feet, by five locks of eight feet. 
The country here is wildly romantic and rugged ; and patient 
and persevering was the toil near here to excavate, from the over- 
hanging and tremendous cliffs of granite, a passage for boats along 
its impending brow. Thence, ascending fifty-seven feet, by seven 
locks, it arrives at the dividing ridge near Rome ; a ridge which 
from its height, forms a barrier which divides the waters that flow 
into lake Ontario, from those which flow into the Hudson. This 
" summit height," so called at Rome, is just four hundred and 
seventeen feet rise from the Hudson, overcome chiefly by fifty-two 
locks, in the course of one hundred miles. In traversing the 
country along the valley of the Mohawk, the canal has been 
made for many miles along the bed of that river, to avoid the 
great projections and points of hills jutting out into the river oc- 
casionally, especially at the Cohoes and Little Falls. At one 
place, four miles eastward of Schenectady, the canal crosses the 
river by an aqueduct, eight hundred and fifty feet long, and 
twenty-one feet high. What an object to contemplate for its 
grandeur, for its triumph as a measure of art. At Rochester 
another great aqueduct crosses the Genessee, of eight hundred 
feet in length, resting on eleven arches, and being just five hun- 
dred feet above the Hudson, and sixty-four feet below the waters 
of lake Erie. 

The first portion of the canal completed and put into productive 
use, was the line of one hundred and seventy-four miles from 
Utica to Rochester, first set in operation in the year 1822. 
Although so recent, yet it was made through regions so purely 
in a state of nature, that long sections of the route seemed almost 
beyond human might to subdue. The Cayuga marshes near 
Seneca river were still in their primeval waste. There two thou- 
sand men at a time struggled to force a passage, and only suc- 
ceeded at the peril of losing several lives, and having one half 
their number made sick by toil and unhealthy exposure. Now 
contemplate the same regions, made fruitful, healthy, and pros- 
perous. There, too, we notice the "Long Level" so called, stretch- 
ing from Utica to Syracuse, seventy miles, without a lock. A rare 
circumstance, without a parallel in the world, except so far as 
nearly equalled by itself at the other extremity of the canal from 
Rochester to Lockport, where the " Genessee Level" runs sixty- 
five miles unobstructed by any locks. Arrived at Seneca river, 
the canal is made to pass through the river, having a towing 
path of artificial construction along its side of three quarters of a 
mile in length. By and bye, proceeding westward through a 
country abounding in lakes, and redeeming and profiting the 
regions around, we arrive at the striking monument of human 

140 The Erie Canal. 

toil and industry — the "high embankment'^ of Irondequat, it 
being a stupendous mound of earth traversing the creek of that 
name over a culvert of twenty-four feet cord and two hundred 
and fifty feet length. At an elevation of seventy feet of embank- 
ment, extending a mile in length, the beholder, filled with sub- 
lime emotions, sees himself lifted into mid-air, and peacefully and 
safely gliding along the bosom of the still canal, looking down 
many feet to the tops of the forests below him, or extending his 
eye far and wide into the far-reaching prospect. As we approach 
Rochester on the Genessee river, one of the great and suddenly 
constructed towns of the west, we there rise thirty-seven feet by 
f^YQ locks, and are then entered upon the " Genessee Level," 
extending to Lockport. At this place the canal encounters the 
Mountain Ridge, the most difficult object in all the route ; it being 
seven and a half miles across, and going for three miles through 
solid rock to the depth of twenty to thirty feet. At Lockport, so 
called from its numerous locks, great basin, &c., the canal works 
through a mural precipice of sixty feet, having five sets of locks, 
set side by side double, of twelve feet lift. At the " summit level" 
of Lockport, the traveller will desire to halt and pause ; he will 
regard this as the conquering point of the grand enterprise. He 
will consider that but a few years since this region was the quiet 
and rugged retreat of the soaring eagle. It seemed precluded 
from the approach or the use of man ; but now he beholds a 
thronged town on the site, having one hundred and eighty of its 
houses constructed in the first year of the canal ! From the heights 
of this village he looks down to the foot of the canal, and there 
sees, in a great basin, numerous boats, the vehicles of commerce 
and exchange ; or, turning his eyes abroad, he sees to distant 
regions, hears the roar of the Niagara cataract, and is aware 
that when improvement shall further advance, and by it level the 
intervening woods, he shall be enabled to behold the waves of 
the Ontario and the Erie, and to see upon their bosom the busy 
barks of commerce, and the swift speeding steamboats. In short, 
from this eagle-altitude he will behold the most picturesque and 
sublime prospect the world can produce. The beholder is here 
placed two hundred and sixty feet above the level of Ontario, 
and within fifteen miles of its shore ; and the intermediate coun- 
try is fertile to a proverb. 

Departing from this enchanting region where the imagination 
is on stretch, and where all around seems like the effect of magic, 
the traveller is quickly conveyed to Buffalo harbour, the grand 
termination of this stupendous achievement. An enterprise 
which, although costing millions in its execution, is destined 
quickly to refund its cost, and to be a lasting benefactor to the 
state. Thus " flood to flood is social join'd ;" and our country, 
from "a waste howling wilderness," is made *Uo blossom and 
flourish as the rose." 





Let us satisfy our eyes 

With the memorials and the things of fame, 
That do renown the City ! " 

It is scarcely possible that an observing and considerate 
spectator, who had seen New York in its lowliness, some forty 
years ago, should be insensible to its rapidly rising glories now : 
he must feel grateful emotions of surprise and exultation at the 
many imposing proofs of her distinguished prosperity. 

Having myself been familiar with the localities of New York, 
in my boyhood, the numerous changes in given places, every 
where surprised me, on my visits there in later years. Wishing 
to preserve some recollections of the things I saw or heard, or of 
the imaginings which occupied my mind, I determined to give 
them " shape and form," in the following memorial of men and 

While I thus contemplated New York as " from her meridian 
arch of power," I went back instinctively to its earliest origin as 
the suburbs of a military station ; there I saw in vision the sparse 
population of Hollanders, the hardy Pioneers, by whose primitive 
efforts their present descendants enjoy so much affluence and 
repose ! I saw, in idea, the first adventurous yacht, the " Half- 
Moon," first enter this present crowded and busy harbour — then 

" One still 

And solemn desert in primeval garb, 
Hung round his lonely bark ! " 

In this contemplation, retrospection is touching ! there is poetry 
of feeling in the subject ! Duller minds may be insensible to the 
charm of "olden time" affections, without an adapted 5/eww/w5 ; 
and yet, even these, can be stirred, and by a graphic picture of 
the past, " sometimes made to wonder that they never saw before 
what he shows them, or that they never yet had/e// what he im- 
presses !" 

With views and emotions like these, which, however disre* 


144 Introductory and general views of the City, 

garded by some, we shall ever delight to cherish, both con amore, 
and as an expedient lengthening the measure of our existence, 

" Down history's lengthening, widening way," 

we have been prepared to explore some of the arcana of New 
York, with some such affections and feelings as Dr. Johnson im- 
puted to himself, in investigating the construction of Milton's 
Paradise Lost, saying, " To trace back the structure through all 
its varieties to the simplicity of its first plan ; to find what 
was first projected ; whence the scheme was taken ; how it was 
improved ; by lohat assistance it was executed ; and from what 
stores the materials were collected. However ohsc.ure this may 
be in e'/^eZ/J nothing can be more worthy of rational curiosity /" 
The object then of these researches shall be to present a picture 
of the city, and of the manners and customs of its inhabitants, as 
they stood in days tang syne ; when the city was yet small, and 
the habits of the people, simple, plain arid frugal. In fulfilUng 
our design, we shall endeavour so to distribute the topics under 
various heads as will best instruct the reader in the facts to which 
we solicit attention. In some cases, we shall give the names of 
sundry aged persons, from whom we derived our information ; 
intending thereby to vouch to the reader, that the facts or tradi- 
tions related, have been sufficiently supported by such respectable 
ancients, as once knew them to be true. 


As scann'd with bird-eye view. 

The city " stretching street on street," as in her present 
grandeur and magnitude, enrolled in 1828, a total population of 
180,000 souls : a collection of about 30,000 houses ; a tonnage of 
300,400 tons — this is exclusive of 10,500 tons of steamboats ; 
and an assessed value of property (including thirty-seven millions 
of personal estate) of 114 millions of dollars;* her hghted and 
paved streets, lined with houses, extend to Thirteenth street, on 
the North river side, to the dry dock on the East river side, and 
to Thirteenth street on the Broadway and Bowery streets. All 
its modem streets are straight and wide, graduated to easy and 
gradual ascents or descents ; and where formerly very narrow 
lanes existed, or crowded edifices occurred, they have either cut 

• In 1841 the assessment was 251 millions of dollars, and its population 

Introductory and general views of the City. 145 

off the encroaching fronts of houses, as in William street and 
Maiden lane, or cut through solid masses of houses, as in opening 
Beekman and Fulton streets. They have widened the bounds 
of the city, both on the North and East rivers, by building up 
whole streets of houses, at and beyond Greenwich street on the 
western side ; and at and from Pearl street on the eastern river. 
The value and magnitude of these improvements, all redeemed 
from the former rivers once there, are really astonishing to the 

There is every indication to evince the fact, that New York 
was in prhnitive days the " city of hills ; " such verdant hills, of 
successive undulation, as the general state of the whole country- 
part of the island now presents. Thus, at the extreme south 
end of the Broadway, where the ancient fort formerly stood, was 
an elevated mound, quite as elevated as the general level of that 
street is now before Trinity Church, and thence regularly declin- 
ing from along that street to the beach on the North River. The 
hills were sometimes precipitous, as from Beekman's and Peck's 
Hills, in the neighborhoods of Pearl street and Beekman and 
Ferry streets, and from the middle Dutch Church in Nassau street 
down to Maiden lane ; and sometimes gradually sloping, as on 
either hills along the hne of the water, coursing along the region 
of Maiden lane. Between many of the hills flowed in several 
invasions of water : such as " the canal^^ so called to gratify 
Dutch recollections, which was an inroad of river water up 
Broad street ; and up Maiden lane, flowed another inroad, through 
Smith's marsh or valley ; a little beyond Peck's Slip, existed a 
low water-course, which in high tide water ran quite up in union 
with the Collect (Kolck) and thence joining with Lispenard's 
swamp on North River side, produced a union of waters quite 
across the former city : thus converting it occasionally into an 
island, and showing a reason for the present lowness of the line 
of Pearl street as it traverses Chatham street. There they once 
had to use boats occasionally, to cross the foot passengers passing 
over from either side of the high rising ground ranging on both 
sides of Pearl street, as that street inclines across the city till it 
runs out upon Broadway, vis a vis the hospital. 

These details of mere streets are necessarily dull, and indeed 
not susceptible of any further interest than as they may serve as 
metes and bounds within which to lay the foundation of more 
agreeable and imaginative topics, to grow upon the reader as the 
subject advances. 

19 N 

146 Primitive New York. 


We backward look to scenes no longer there. 

We are first indebted for a view of Nieuw Amsterdam in 1659, 
to Ogilby's America of 1671, as given in that work. In describ- 
ing the place and the fort, he says, ^' there are about four hundred 
houses, built after the manner in Holland — the town compact and 
oval. Upon one side of the town is James Fort, capable to lodge 
three hundred soldiers and officers — it hath six bastions and forty 
pieces of cannon — the walls of stone, lined with a rampart of 
earth, well accommodated with a spring of fresh water.'^ 

"The inhabitants consist mostly of English and Dutch — have 
a considerable trade with Indians, for beaver, otter, raccoon, and 
other furs, and also for bear, deer, and elk skins, and are cheaply 
supplied by Indians with venison and fowl in winter, and with 
fish in the summer." 

In the same year, 1659, the Rev. John Miller, who was three 
years chaplain at New York, made a draught of the city, and 
wrote a small book descriptive of the .place. Wall street being 
then the defence of the city, is marked with a hne of stockades, 
and with stone redoubts, or " stone points" on its northern side, 
at corner of Broad street, and at corner of King street, also as 
having gates at Broad street, and at Queen street — i. e. Pearl 
street. At the east river side of Wall street, was the Vly (Fly) 
block house, and half-moon battery — and at the western end of 
same street, on the North river side, stood the northwest block 
house ; a little southward from it, began " the works on the west 
side, running all along the shore down to the Fort, at the capsey 
or battery, they being stockades with " postern gate" and two 
projecting water batteries. At Whitehall slip, is marked " a bat- 
tery of fifteen guns," and before the Stadt house on East river 
side, is marked another battery of equal guns. The Trinity 
church grounds are marked as severally, equal to two squares — 
from Broad street back to Lombard street, as ^^ the burying 
ground," — "the ground for an Episcopal church" — and "the 
plot intended for the Episcopal minister's house." Southward 
of those grounds, on west side of Broad street, is marked "the 
Lutheran church, and Minister's house." " The public wells^^ 
in the several streets, not being many, are all marked — say two 
in Wall street, three in Broadway, four in Broad street, and two 
on East river side. 

This Rev. Mr. Miller, who addressed his book to the Bishop 
of London, says the Province then contains about three thousand 
families, one half Dutch, the rest English and French. " The 

Primitive New York. 147 

Dutch are richest and sparing. The EngUsh neither very rich, 
nor too great husbands. The French are poorest, and therefore 
forced to be penurious or close." He speaks of trade and deaUng, 
as being an affair of management — says they need Ministers, to 
repress irreUgion and wickedness, to bring in unity of doctrine, 
and to keep down civil dissensions, &;c. — [See London ed. 1843.] 
A perspective map of New York, in 1673, as preserved in Du 
Siraitiere's Historical collection, in the Philadelphia Library, and 
latterly illustrated by J. W. Moulton, Esq., from his researches 
among the Dutch records, gives us a pretty accurate conception 
of the outline features of the city at the time when it became, by 
the peace of 1674, permanently under British dominion, and 
thence gradually to wear off its former exclusive Knickerbocker 

At that time almost all the houses presented their gable ends 
to the street ; and all the most important public buildings, such 
as " Stuyvesant Huys," on the water edge, at present Moore and 
Front streets ; and the " Stadt-huys," or City Hall on Pearl street, 
at the head of Coentie's Slip, were then set on the fore-ground to 
be the more readily seen, from the river. The chief part of the 
town of that dayi lay along the East river (called Salt river in 
early days), and descending from the high ridge of ground along 
the line of the Broadway. A great artificial dock for vessels, lay 
between " Stuyvesant Huys," above referred to, and the bridge 
over the canal at its debouche on the present Broad street. Three 
" Half Moon Forts," called " Rondeels^^ lay at equi-distances for 
the defence of the place ; the first at Coentie's Slip, and the third 
at the " Water Gate," or outer bounds of the then city, being the 
foot of tlie present Wall street, so called from its being then shut 
in there by a line of palisades along the said street, quite over to 
the junction of Grace and Lumber streets, where the North river 
limits then terminated in a redoubt. 

One of the original Philadelphians, Wm. Bradford, the first 
printer of Philadelphia, has left us a lively picture of the city of 
New York as it stood about the year 1729, being his publication 
from an original survey by James Lyne. The one which I have 
seen (a great rarity considered) at the city commissioner's should 
be, I should think, but a reduced copy, inasmuch as the MSS. 
"Annals of Philadelphia," show that in the year 1721, the son of 
the above Wm. Bradford, (named Andrew) advertises in his 
" Mercury" the sale of a " curious prospect of New York, on four 
sheets of paper, royal size." What an article for an antiquary ! 

By the map aforesaid, it is shown in 1729, that there was no 
street beyond the Broadway, westward, but that the lots on the 
western side of that street descended severally to the beach ; that 
from Courtlandt street, northward, all the ground west of Broad- 
way was occupied by trees and tillage, and called the " King's 
Farm." The eastern side of the city was all bounded by Water 

148 Primitive New York. 

street, having houses only on the land side, and its northern Hmits 
terminating with Beekman street. At the foot or debouche of 
Broad street were two great docks, called West and East Dock, 
as they lay on either side of said Broad street ; they occupied the 
ground now built upon from Water street, nearly out to South 
street, and from the east side of Moore street, nearly up to Coen- 
tie's Slip. Between present Moore street and Whitehall street, 
lay the " Ship Yard," and all along where now tower stately 
trees in the Battery promenade, lay numerous rocks forming 
" the Ledge," having the river close up to the hne of the present 
State street, fronting the Battery. How wonderful then is the 
modern extension of this city, by carrying out whole streets, and 
numerous buildings to places before submersed in Water ! — thus 
practising with signal benefit, the renowned predilections and in- 
genuity of their transatlantic ancestors. 

The strongest and best remembered emotion of my youth, was 
that of first seeing New York harbour when a lad, entering it by 
the way of the Narrows. It seemed a great amphitheatre of water 
girdled all around the utmost verge of the watery plain, with 
rising grounds, forming an even and fading line in the distant 

New York herself, looked lowest of all the objects in the 
distance. She seemed sitting as a floating mass of brickwork, 
environed with reed-like masts, herself concealed behind them, 
as something hid in the rushes. 

As we approached her still nearer, we saw her rising as from the 
sea, looming larger and larger upon the vision, and sending forth 
the gleamings of her spires and towers in the sunbeams, until we 
think, as noiv, of all her magnitude and splendour, as the "Metro- 
politan City." Truly, " the harvest of the river is her revenue, 
and she is the mart of nations, whose merchants and traffickers 
are as princes : These have replenished her isle !" 

Nothing can be conceived more lovely and exciting than the 
contemplation of such a harbour, when entered from the sea, in 
such display as I witnessed her in the well remembered, radiant 
and early summer morn. The sunbeams hghted up and silvered 
every object in the landscape, with splendid effulgence — the 
liquid waves seemed tipped and sparkling with silver and golden 
light, and at a distance, the green isles, which rested before the 
city on the bosom of the tranquil waters, seemed like guardian 
sentinels to the beautiful city. Indeed castellated and fortified as 
they have since become, they at once evince the treasures of 
wealth, and the thousands of animated beings which they thus 
protect and can defend. 

Advancing under gentle sail, we see on the right, the blue 
heights of Gowanus, topt with dun-coloured morning mist, the 
Dutch built country houses seem sleeping in quiet repose— along 
its base we see the light market boats and coasting vessels, steal- 

Memorials of the Dutch Dynasty, 149 

ing like apparitions along the silent shore. Before us, stands on 
proudly the lordly Indiaman, her piles of canvass towering above 
the white fortresses which garnish the port, bursting forth her 
volumes of fire and smoke from her iron battery, waking up the 
still slumbering citizens, and making the shores and the welkin 
resound with the reverberating roar. 

Far on the left, where opens the noble Hudson, we see the 
grey heights of Weehawken, which frown over the many white 
sheeted river vessels, which glide lazily beneath its magic shade. 
Whilst in almost every direction about us, we see the more ani- 
mated objects, such as the jocund fishermen just putting off on 
their day's adventure, and the gay pleasure barge set onward by 
its chattering oarsmen. In a word, in such a panoramic picture, 
we have every thing to charm the eye and feast the imagination 

— farewell ! 

Thou still wilt glow as fair as now — the sky 
Still arch as proudly o'er thee — evening steal 
Along thy bosom with as soft a dye : 
All be as now — ^but I shall cease to feel ! 


"Dwell o'er the remembrance of former years!" 

Having said that the office of the Common Council contains no 
records of the city, preceding the conquest by the British, I shall 
add here some tokens of the fact, that there are numerous collec- 
tions of Dutch records now existing in the archives of state, at 

Albany furnishing a rich mine of antiquarian lore for some 

future explorer. 

The Records thus speak, viz : — 

Fort Jimsterdam (at New York) is repaired and finished in 

Paulus Hook is sold by Governor Keift, in 1638, to Abraham 
Isaacs Plalik, for four hundred and fifty guilders. 

For scandalizing the governor, one Hendrick Jansen, in 1638, 
is sentenced to stand at the fort door, at the ringing of the bell, 
and ask the governor's pardon. 

For slandering the Rev, E. Bogardus,m 1638, (Pastor of the 
Reformed Church then in the fort) a female is obliged to appear 
at the sound of the bell at the fort, and there, before the governor 
and council, to say, " she knew he was honest and pious, and that 
she lied falsely." 

N 2 

150 Memorials of the Dutch Dynasty. 

Torture was inflicted upon Jan Hobbes, who had committed 
a theft. The evidence seemed sufficient, but it was adjudged he 
should also make his confession by torture. 

For drawing his knife upon a person, one Guysbert Van 
Regerslard was sentenced, in 1638, to throw himself three times 
from the sail-yard of the yacht, the Hope, and to receive from 
each sailor there three lashes. 

The wooden horse punishment is inflicted, in Dec. 1638, upon 
two soldiers : they sit thereon for two hours. This was a mili- 
tary punishment used in Holland. He strode a sharp back, and 
his body was forced down to it by a chain and iron stirrup, or a 
weight, fastened to his legs. 

Goat milk and Goats appear as a subject of frequent mention 
and regulation. 

Cases of slander often appear noticed; such as that Jan Jansen 
complains of Adam Roelants for slander, whereupon it was 
ordered that each party pay to the use of poor the sum of twenty- 
five guilders each. 

Tobacco appears to have been an article of cultivation, and of 
public concern and commerce. Van Twiller had his tobacco farm 
at Greenwich. On the 5th of August, 1638, two inspectors were 
nominated to inspect " tobacco cultivated here for exportation ;" 
and on the 1 9th August, same year, it is recorded that because 
of " the high character it had obtained in foreign countries,^' any 
adulterations should be punished with heavy penalties. [This 
agrees with the fact at Philadelphia . county ; there they also, in 
primitive days, sixty years after the above facts, cultivated to- 
bacco in fields.] 

A cattle fair was established, to be held annually on the 15th 
Oct. and of hogs on the 1st Nov., beginning from the year 1641. 

Tavern-keepers ; none of them shall Be permitted to give any 
supper parties after nine o'clock at night. In case of any Indian 
being found drunk, his word, when sober, shall be deemed good 
enough evidence against the white person who made him so. 

The oath of allegiance was to be taken by all officers of 
government as a " test act," by swearing " to maintain the re- 
formed religion, in conformity to the word of God and the decree 
of the Synod of Dordretch." Under such solemn obligations to 
duty, it is scarcely to be wondered at, or even condemned, that 
the officers in authority, overlooking the mild spirit of the gospel 
of peace, and adhering to the letter and the oath to the Synod, &c., 
should be led out to persecution. We therefore find, for we may 
tell a little of the truth in this matter, that in 1657 sundry Quakers, 
"for publicly declaring in the streets," were subjected to the dun- 
geon, &c. ; and Robert Hodgson was led at a cart tail, with his 
arms pinioned, then beaten with a pitched rope until he fell; 
afterwards he was set to the wheelbarrow to work at hard labour. 

^^/^rt^f^ ^W^l^t^^^- 

p. 151. 

Memorials of the Dutch Dynasty. 151 

This continued until the compassion of the sister of Governor 
Stuyvesant being excited, her intercession with that governor 
prevailed to set him free. About the same time John Bowne, 
ancestor of the present respectable family of that name, was first 
imprisoned and next banished for the offence he gave as a Quaker. 
It was an ordinance of that day, " that any person receiving any 
Quaker into their house, though only for one night, should forfeit 
£50 ! Little did they understand in that day, that " the sure way 
to propagate a new religion was to proscribe it." 

Good Dr. Cotton, in common with good Paul of Tarsus, were 
both persecutors, "haling men and women to prison," and say- 
ing, " If the worship be lawful^ (and they the judges /) the com- 
pelling to come to it compelleth not to sin ; but the sin is in the 
will that needs to be forced to christian duty ! So self deceiving 
is bigotry and intolerance. 

Governor Stuyvesant was decidedly a religious character — he 
went so far, as such, to obligate himself for half the salary of the 
Rev. Mr. Selyns, who besides preaching in the little church, on 
his own farm, was also to instruct his negroes and those of the 
neighbourhood — a mark of benevolence on his part. 

When the inhabitants of Esopus were assaulted, killed, and 
made prisoners, by a surprise from the neighbouring Indians, in 
1663) he ordered a monthly observance of a day of humiliation 
and prayer, — praying, also, for a stay of the small-pox, and when 
at the close of the year, the disease was arrested, and the prison- 
ers released by the Indians, he ordered a day of thanksgiving, 
after the manner of the New Englanders. 

There are some fine relics of the Gov. Stuyvesant above referred 
to, still preserved in his family, valuable to a thinking mind for 
the moral associations they afford. I saw them at the elegant 
country mansion of his descendant Nicholas William Stuyvesant, 
to wit : — a portrait of Stuyvesant, in armour, which had been 
well executed in Holland, and probably while he was yet an 
admiral there. His head is covered with a close black cap, his 
features strong and intrepid, skin dark, and the whole aspect not 
imlike our best Indian faces ; a kind of shawl or sash is cast round 
his shoulder ; has a large white shirt collar drooping from the 
neck ; has small mustachios on his upper lip, and no beard else- 
where shown. As I regarded this q\iiet remains of this once great 
personage, I inwardly exclaimed : and is this he in whom rested 
the last hopes of the Netherlanders in our country ? Himself 
gone down to " the tomb of the Capulets !" His remains " rest 
in hope" near by, in the family vault, once constructed within the 
walls of the second built Reformed Dutch church, which, for 
pious purposes, he built at his personal expense on his own farm. 
The church is gone, but the place is occupied by the present church 
of St. Mark. On the outside wall of this latter church I saw the 

152 Memorials of the Dutch Dynasty. 

original stone designating the body of him whose rank and titles 
stood thus inscribed, to wit : 

" In this vault, lies bgried 
Petrus Stuyvksant, 
* late Captain General and Commander in Chief of Amsterdam 

in New Netherland, now called New-York, and the 

Dutch West India Islands. 
Died in Au^st, A. D. 1682, aged eighty years."* 

A fine pear tree stands just without the graveyard wall, in lively 
vigour, although so old as to have been brought out from Holland 
and planted there by the Governor Stuyvesant himself I have 
a picture of o/a? New York in 1673, which is framed with its' 
wood — as a relic. 

Besides seeing the portrait of the governor and captain general 
as aforesaid in his array of manhood, I saw also a singular token 
of his puerility ; no less than the very infant shirt, of fine holland, 
edged with narrow lace, in which the chief was devoted in bap- 
tism and received his christening. It perhaps marks the charac- 
ter of the age, in his family thus preserving this kind of token.t 

I saw also the portrait of his son, done also in Holland, in the 
seventeenth year of his age. He is mounted upon a rampant 
charger ; his head covered with a low crowned black hat, a blue 
coat ; his white shirt sleeves have the cuffs laced and turned up 
over the cuffs of the coat ; wears shoes with high heels, and his 
silk hose came up above his knees on the outside of the breeches, 
and appear there looped up in their place. 

There I also saw portraits of Bayard and his wife. He appears 
garbed as a priest ; he was father-in-law to Governor Stuyvesant. 

Other relics of the Stuyvesant family might have possibly re- 
mained, but as the family house, occupied by the uncle of the 
present Nicholas William, was burnt in the time of the revolution, 
by some of the persons of Sir Henry Clinton's family, who staid 
there, it is probable that relics and papers have been lost. A 
coloured woman died at New York in 1842, aged ninety-six 
years, who was born in the family of Gerardus Stuyvesant, in 
the year 1747. 

The first known minister, appointed to the Dutch church in 
New Amsterdam, was the Rev. Everardus Bogardus ; he officiat- 
ed in the church erected in 1642, within the fort. Thus making 
it, as it probably was, in the governmental rulers in the Nether- 
lands, an affair of military conformity, not unlike the chaplain 
concerns of modern warfare. At all events, we soon hear of the 

* He was governor seventeen years, from 1647 to 1664. 
\ Stow says, christening shirts were given in the time of Elizabeth ; after- 
wards, Apostles' spoons were given as memorials. 

Memorials of the Dutch Dynasty. 153 

people taking it into their minds to have another church, to wit ; 
the old " South Dutch Church," founded in 1693, in Garden alley, 
and then objected to as being " too far out of towne." A rare 
demur in our modern views oi distance. 

Besides the church so granted without the fort, they had also 
conferred " a place for a parsonage and garden." On the latter 
being improved in all the formal stiffness of cut box and trimmed 
cedar, presenting tops nodding to tops, and each alley like its 
brother, the whole so like Holland itself, it became attractive to 
the public gaze, and so gave popular acceptance to the name of 
" Garden Alley." The first church of St. Nicholas, though long 
under the care of its tutelary saint, fell at last a prey to the flames 
in the fire of 1791, — then succeeds another, and finally again in 

The Rev. Mr. Bogardus above named, though intended as an 
example himself, could not keep his wife exempt from reproach, 
or from the vigilance of an " evil eye ; for on the 24th of October, 
1633, (it is still on record at Albany) a certain Hendricks Jansen, 
(a sapient reformer no doubt) appeared before the secretary, and 
certified that the wife of the Rev. E. Bogardus, in the public street, 
drew up her petticoat a little wayP^ Surely this was an idle 
scandal, when Dutch petticoats were of themselves, too short to 
cover, even if the matron would. 

The towns, in what is now Queen's county and Gravesend, 
were originally settled by English people from New England, and 
from that cause, were usually called by the Dutch authorities, the 
English towns. As such they were much fostered and encour- 
aged by the Dutch rulers. 

A number of the Puritans from New England, settled at West 
Chester, then called, in allusion to their coming from the east, Oost 
dorp, or East town. 

A number of English residents, from the east, were settled in 
New Amsterdam; — so that the Dutch rulers in 1654, petitioned 
the classis of Amsterdam, to procure for them a minister, who 
should be able to preach to them occasionally in English. Where- 
upon the Rev. Samuel Drisius was sent out for that purpose. 

About the same time, a considerable number of French Vaudois 
or Waldenses, came from their persecutions abroad, to settle in 
the country — some settled on Staten Island, and some in the city. 
To these the same Mr. Drisius preached also, in French, both in 
the city and at Staten Island. New York therefore, at this time, 
had its several mixt proportions of Dutch, French, and English 


154 t^ncient Memorials. 


" I'll note 'em in my book of memory." 

The MSS. documents and recorded facts of New York city and 
colonial history, are, it is said, very voluminous and complete. 
Mr. Moulton's history declares there are one hundred volumes 
of folio, of almost unexplored MSS. among the records of state. 
What abundant material for research must these afford whenever 
the proper spirit for their investigation is awakened ! 

I am myself aware that the city itself is rich in " hoar anti- 
quity,'^ for I have ascertained that numerous books of record are 
of ready access to such congenial minds as can give their affec- 
tions to the times by-gone. Many of them are of the old Dutch 
dynasty, and have had no translator. For instance, there are in 
the county clerk's office a book of records of 1656 ; another of 
1657 ; orders of the burgomasters in 1658 ; another of their reso- 
lutions and orders from 1661 to 1664. There are also some books 
of deeds, &c. While I write these facts, I do it with the hope 
that I am addressing myself to some youthful mind who will feel 
the inspiration of the subject, and resolve to become a student of 
Dutch, and at some future day to bring out, through his researches, 
the hidden history of his Dutch forefathers. 

It would be " a work of supererogation" to aim at the general 
translation of such a mass of papers ; but it is really surprising 
that hitherto no " ardent spirit," greedy of antiquarian lore," 
should have been inspired to make his gleanings from them. A 
judicious mind, seeking only the strange or the amusing of the 
" olden time," might with a ready facility extract their honey only, 
and leave the cumbrous comb behind. I myself have made the 
experiment. I found in the office of the common council the 
entire city records, in English, from the year 1675 downwards 
to the present day. From tlie first volume embracing a period 
of sixteen years, (to 1691,) I was permitted to make the following 
summary extracts. These, while they furnish in some instances 
appropriate introduction to sundry topics intended in these pages, 
will also show that but a very small portion of the whole mass 
is desirable for the entertainment of modern eyes, and therefore 
not to be sought after ; it is even satisfying and useful to know 
how little need be known. 

It is gratifying to say, that since penning the above for the first 
edition, and thus endeavouring to awaken some attention to the 
rescue of hidden MSS., two gentlemen have given their minds 
to the subject. J. R. Brodhead, Esq., has been sent out as agent 
for the state of New York to search for historical documents in 

Ancient Memorials. 155 

Holland, and he writes from the Hague in August 1841, saying 
that he has succeeded beyond expectation, by being allowed by 
the government there to copy and make as much as tlu-ee thou- 
sand pages of MSS., commencing with 1614, coming down to 
1673, and affording much insight into many obscure and uncer- 
tain parts of our Annals. He expects also to procure MSS. copies 
from the papers of the West India Company at Amsterdam, from 

Another gentleman, Wm. Dunlap, Esq., who says he derived 
his impulse from me, has since searched the old records and made 
out a new History of New York. In one of his letters to me, he 
says, that he has examined and extracted from all the records of 
the corporation of the city up to the formation of the Federal 
government, but he regrets to say, that he has found a chasm in 
Leister^ s time ; and all is gone or void from June 1774 to Feb- 
ruary 1784 — (including all the time of the Revolutionary war! 
Gov. Tryon acknowledged that he took away the records of some 
of that time !) — which last period, however, he has supplied from 
the Tory Gazettes of New York. I shall use some few of his 
facts after the year 1691. (See page 161.) 

Such co-labourers are not rivals, as some might suppose. They 
have severally had their department and field of exercise, and I 
have mine. Mine I know is unique — and much which Mr. 
Brodhead, may be expected to obtain will belong to formal state 
papers, and to stately history. A list of some of them will be 
found in another part of this book as " miscellaneous facts." 

Among the things communicated by Mr. Brodhead, is the fact, 
under date of 1626, that the authorities at New Amsterdam, had 
bought the locality of the present New York, from the Indian 
owners, for the sum of sixty guilders, and that they had then 
been producing there, their harvest of wheat, rye, barley, oats, 
buckwheat, canary seed, beans and flax — and that their com- 
mander Crussen, had touched at the Virginia settlement and 
there captured twenty five sail of English vessels, mostly fully 
laden, bringing off eleven of them laden with tobacco and destroy- 
ing the rest of them. A paper from him of 1659 shows, that many 
of the " suppressed Waldenses," must then have formed a part 
of the New York population, because fifty thousand guilders are 
appropriated by the city of Amsterdam, for their support. Thus 
early showing their Protestant sympathies and bias. 

I give the following from "the Minutes," consecutively as they 
occurred ; to wit : 

October, 1675 ; the canoes of the Indians, wheresover found, 
are to be collected to the north side of Long Island, as a better 
security to the inhabitants in case of their having any purpose to 
aid the Canadian enemies. This shows the Indian dread of that 
day. At the same time it is ordered that all Indians near New 

156 %8.ncient Memorials. 

York should make their coming winter -quarters at Hell Gate, so 
as to be ready for control or inspection. 

It is ordered, that because of " the abuse in their oyle caske'' 
on the east end of Long Island, there shall be a " public tapper 
of oyle" in each towne where the whaling design is followed. 
Thus evincing the former business of whalers in those parts. 

Governor Andros orders, that by reason of the change of 
government, the inhabitants shall take an oath of allegiance to 
their new sovereign. There are only thirty-six recorded names 
who conform ! 

The mayor, on the approach of new year's day, commands the 
disuse of firing guns. 

The city gates are ordered to be closed every night at nine 
o'clock, and to be opened at daylight. The citizens in general 
are to serve their turns as watchmen, or to be fined. No cursing 
or swearing shall be used by them. They are carefully to go 
frequently towards ^' the bridge for greater safety.'^ [Meaning, 
I take it, the bridge at the great dock at the end of Broad street.] 
Every citizen, for the purpose of guard, is always to keep in his 
house a good fire-lock, and at least six rounds of ball. 

The rates of tavern fare are thus decreed and ordered : — for 
lodging 2>d. ; for meals Sd. ; brandy per gill 6^.y French wines, 
a quart, 1*. Sd. ; syder, a quart, Ad. ; double beere, a quart, 3d.; 
and inum^d, quart, ^d. 

The mayor proposes that they who own convenient land to 
build upon, if they do not speedily build thereon, it shall be valued 
and sold to those who will. This being proposed to the governor, 
who as military chief, always had a control in the semi-militaire 
city, the same Avas afterwards adopted. How valueless must 
have been lots then, since so estimable, which could thus " go a 
begging' ' in 1675 ! 

In 1676, all the inhabitants living in the streete called the Here 
Graft, (the same called Gentlemen's Canal once, now Broad street,) 
shall be required to fill up the graft, ditch, or common shore, and 
level the same. 

" Tanners' pits" are declared to be a nuisance within the city, 
and therefore it is ordered they shall only exercise their functions 
as tanners without the towne. This ordinance will account for 
the numerous tanneries once remembered in Beekman's swamp, 
now again driven thence by encroaching population; but the 
premises still retained as curriers and leather dealers, making the 
whole of that former region still a proper leathern towne. 

It is ordered, for the sake of a better security of a sufficiency 
of bread, that no grain be allowed to be distilled. How many 
wretched families of the present day could now profit by such a 
restraint, who abound in whiskey and lack bread ! 

It is ordered that innkeepers be fined, from whose houses In- 
dians may come out drunk j and if it be not ascertained by whom, 

Ancient Memorials, 157 

the whole streete shall be fined for the non-detection. A sure 
means, this, to make every man " his neighbour's keeper." 

A fine of twenty guilders is imposed on all Sabbath breakers. 
The knowledge of such a fact then may afford a gratification to 
several modern associations. 

In 1676 is given the names of all of the then property holders, 
amounting to only three hundred names, and assessed at one dol- 
lar and a half a pound on £99,695. This is a curious article in 
itself, if considered in relation to family names or relative wealth. 
What changes since " their families were young." The English 
names of John Robinson, John Robson, Edward Griffith, James 
Loyde, and George Heathcott, appear pre-eminently rich among 
their cotemporaries. 

In 1676 it is ordered, that for the better security of seasonable 
supplies, all country people bringing supplies to market, shall be 
exempt from any arrest for debt. The market-house and plains 
(the present " bowling green" site) afore the fort shall be used for 
the city sales. 

It is ordered that all slaughter-houses be removed thenceforth 
without the city, "over the water, without the gate, at the 
Smith's Fly, near the Half Moone." Thus denoting " the water 
gate" near the present Tontine on Wall street, beyond which 
was an invasion of water, near the former " Vly market" on 
Maiden lane. 

Public wells, fire ladders, hooks, and buckets are ordered, and 
their places designated for the use of the city. Thus evincing 
the infant cradling of the present robust and vigorous fire com- 
panies. The public wells were located in the middle of such 
streets as Broadway, Pearl street, &c. and were committed to the 
surveillance of committees of inhabitants in their neighbourhoods, 
and half of their expense assessed on the owners of property 
nearest them. Will the discovery of their remains, in some future 
day, excite the surprise and speculation of uninformed moderns ? 

A " mill house" is taxed in " Mill street lane." Thus indi- 
cating the fact of a water-course and mill seat (probably the bark 
mill of Ten Eycke) at the head of what is now called " Mill 
street." Thus verifying what I once heard from the Phillips 
family, that in early times, when the Jews first held their worship 
there, (their synagogue was built there a century ago) they had 
a living spring, two houses above their present lots, in which 
they were accustomed to perform their ablutions and cleansings 
according to the rites of their religion. 

In 1676, all horses at range are ordered to be branded and en- 
rolled ; and two stud horses are " to be kept in commons upon 
this island." 

Tar for the use of vessels, is to be boiled only against " the 
wall of the Half Moon," meaning the Battery wall. 

All the carmen of the city, to the number of twenty, are ordered 

158 jincient Memorials. 

to be enrolled, and to draw for 6d. an ordinary load, and to 
remove weekly from the city the dirt of the streets at 3d. a load. 
The dustmen showed much spunk upon the occasion, and com- 
bined to refuse full compliance. They proposed some modifica- 
tions; but the spirit of "the Scout, Burgomasters, and Shepens," 
was alive and vigorous in the city rulers, and they forthwith 
dismayed the whole body of carmen, by divesting all of their 
license who should not forthwith appear as usual at the public 
dock, pay a small fine and make their submission. Only two 
so succumbed, and a new race of carmen arose. Those carmen 
were to be trusty men, worthy to be charged with goods of value 
from the shipping, &c. : wherefore all Indian and negro slaves 
were excluded. 

An act is passed concerning the revels of " Indian and negro 
slaves" at inns. At the mention of Indian slaves the generous 
mind revolts. What ! the virtual masters of the soil to become 
"hewers of wood and drawers of water," to their cherished 
guests ? Sad lot ! 

ForcM from the land that gave them birth, 
Or else to slave for others wealth. 

In 1683 twelve pence a ton is assessed on every vessel for 
their use of the city dock, " as usually given," and for " the use 
of the bridge ; " understood by me to have been as a connecting 
appendage to the same dock. 

Luke Lancton, in 1683, is made " collecter of customs" at the 
custom-house near the bridge, and none shall unload " but at the 
bridge." The house called Stuyvesant Huys," at the north-west 
corner of present Front and Moore streets, was in ancient days 
called " the custom-house." 

The^ Indians are allowed to sell fire-wood, then called " stick 
wood," and to vend " gutters for houses ;" by which I suppose 
was meant long strips of bark, so curved at the sides as to lead 
off water : else it meant for the roof of sheds, even as we now 
see dwelling-houses roofed along the road side to Niagara. 

An act of reward, of the year 1683, is promulged for those 
who destroy wolves. 

A record of 1683, speaking of the former Dutch dynasty, says 
the mayor's court was used to be held in the City Hall, where 
they, the mayor and aldermen, determined " without appeal." It 
alleges also, that " they had their own clerk, and kept the records 
of the city distinctly." Thus giving us thQ desirable fact, that 
" records" in amplitude, have once existed of all the olden days 
of Lang Syne ! they spell the name of the island " Manhatans." 

Then none might exercise a trade or calling unless as an 
admitted " freeman." Then they might say with the centurion, 
" with a great price bought I that privilege." 

If a freeman, to use "handy craft," they paid 3/. 12^., and for 

Ancient Memorials, 159 

" being made free," they paid severally 1/. 4.s. None could then 
trade up the Hudson river unless a freeman, who had had at least 
three years' residence ; and if any one by any cause remained 
abroad beyond twelve months, he lost his franchise, unless indeed 
he " kept candle" and paid " Scott and Lott" .... terms to imply 
his residence was occupied by some of his family. Have we 
moderns bettered the cautious policy of our ancestors in opening 
our arms to every " new comer ?" We tariiF goods, but put no 
restraint on men, even if competitors. Do any think of this ? 

In 1683 it was decreed that all flour should be bolted, packed, 
and inspected in New York city. This was necessary then for 
the reputation of the port in its foreign shipments. Besides, the 
practice of bolting as now done at mills, by water power, was 
unknown. In primitive days the "bolting business" was a 
great concern by horse power, both in New York and Philadel- 

The governor arid his council grant to the city the dock and 
bridge, provided it be well kept and cleaned ; if not, it shall forfeit 
it ; but no duty shall be paid upon the bridge as "bridge money." 

In 1683 the city bounds and wards are prescribed along certain 
named streets. The third or east ward was bounded "along 
the wall," and "' againe with all the houses in the Smith Fly, 
and without the gate on the south side of the fresh water." 
Meaning in the above, " the wall" of palisades along Wall 
street ; and by the " fresh water," the Kolch or Collect fresh 

In 1683 a committee, which had been appointed to collect 
ancient records respecting the city privileges of former times, 
made their report thereon, and therein name the " City Hall and 
yards," " Market house" and " Ferry house." It says, Wm. 
Merritt had offered " for the ferry to Long Island" the sum of 
20/. per annum for twenty years ; to erect sheds, to keep two 
boats for cattle and horses, and also two boats for passengers. 
The ferriage for the former to be Qd. a-head, and for the latter 
Id. Think of this, ye present four cent " labour-saving^^ steam- 
boats. Ye shun the Dutchman's penny toil, but raise the price. 

A committee, in 1683, report the use of 6,000 stochadoes of 12 
feet long, at a cost of 24/., used for the repair of the wharf; i. e. 
at the dock. 

They ascertain the vessels and boats of the port, enrolled by 
their names, to be as follows : — three barques, three brigantines, 
twenty-six sloops, and forty-six open boats. Some of their 
names are rare enough. 

An ordinance of 1683 orders that "no youthes, maydes, or 
other persons may meete together on the Lord's Day for sporte 
or play," under a fine of \s. No public houses may keep open 
door or give entertainment then except to strangers, under a fine 
of 10^. Not more than four Indian or negro slaves may assemble 

160 n^ncient Memorials. 

together ; and at no time may they be allowed to bear any fire- 
arms — this under a fine of Qs. to their owners. 

A city surveyor " shall regulate the manner of each building 
on each street," (even crooked and " up and down" as it then 
was), so that uniformity (mark this) may be preserved. Are we 
then to presume they had no scheme or system, who now com- 
plain of "winding narrow streets," and "cow paths" in the 
mazy and triangular city ? 

In 1683 markets were appointed to be held three times a-week, 
and to be opened and sh^t by ringing the bells. Cord wood, 
under the name of " stick wood," is regulated at the length of 
four feet. 

A haven master is appointed to regulate the vessels in the 
mole, (the same before called the dock,) and is to collect the dock 
and bridge money. 

A part of the slaughter-house (before appointed) by the Fly, 
is appointed in 1683 to be a powder house, and its owner, 
Garrett Johnson, is made the first keeper at 1*. ^d. a barrel. Of 
course, then locating it at the Vly, as far enough beyond the 
verge of population to allow of "a blow up." 

In 1683 several streets therein named, are ordered to be paved 
by the owners concerned, and directs they shall plank up and 
barricade before their doors where needful to keep up the earth. 

In 1684 the city requests from the king's government, the ces- 
sion of all vacant land, the ferry, City Hall, dock, and bridge. 

An order of king James recognized and recorded in 1685, pro- 
hibiting all trade from New York colony "with the East Indies," 
that being even then a claimed " privilege of the company of 
merchants of London." This proscribed East India commerce 
had more import than meets the eye, for it virtually meant to 
prohibit trade (unless by special grant) with the West Indies. 

In 1685 the Jews of New York petition to be allowed the 
public exercise of their religion, and are refused on the ground 
that " none are allowed by an act of assembly so to worship, but 
such as profess a faith in Christ." Experience has since proved 
that we are nowhere injured by a more liberal and free toleration. 
Laws " may bind the body down, but cannot restrain the flights 
the spirit takes." 

In 1686 a committee is appointed to inspect what vacant land 
they find belonging to Arien Cornelissen ; and this entry is ren- 
dered curious by a recorded grant of 1687, preserved in the re- 
cords of the office of the city comptroller, to this effect, saying — 
sixteen acres of the Basse Bowery (by which I understand low 
or meadow farm) is hereby granted unto Arien Cornelissen for 
the consideration of one fat capon a year. Who now can tell the 
value of that land for that small and peculiar compensation ? 

In 1691 it is ordered that there shall be but one butcher's sham- 
bles kept, and that to be on the green before the fort. The next 

Ancient Memorials. 161 

year another (place for shambles I presume) is allowed under the 
trees by the Slip. At the same time it is ordered that fish (as at 
a market) be sold at the dock over against the City Hall. Thus 
referring to the Hall as then known on Pearl street, at the head 
of Coentie's Slip, under which was also a prison. 

The clerk of the mayor's court, in 1691, is charged to inquire 
after, and to collect and preserve the books and papers of the city, 
and to keep them safely with an inventory thereof. May not 
this record present an index hand to guide to some discovery of 
such historical rarities ? 

The mayor rents a shop or shops in the Market-house. One 
John Ellison is named as paying 3/. for such a shop. 

In 1691 it is ordered that the inhabitants by the waterside, 
" from the City Hall to the Slip," are to help build the wharf to 
run out before their lots ; and every male negro in the city is to 
help thereat with one day's work. 

The hucksters of that day, even as now, were very trouble- 
some in forestalling the market, and laws were made to restrain 

The bakers, too, had their ordeal to pass, and the regula- 
tion and limit of bread-loaves is often under the notice of the 
council. This ends my extracts, from first MS. Vol. 

The following facts I have derived from the further researches 
and industry of my friend, Wm. Dunlap Esq., as referred to on 
page 155, to wit: 

1692. Ordered, that the poisonous and stinking weeds before 
every one's house, be plucked up, under three shillings penalty. 

A market house for meat, is ordered to be built at the end of 
the Heergraft street — [foot of Broad street.] 

A piece of land at the foot of Golden Hill, is leased to a man 
and his wife, during their lives, for six shillings a year, provided 
they build a small house, and leave it to the corporation at their 
death. How many thousand dollars would the same locality 
bring now ! 

Ordered that the lots between the Burgers path, [back of Co- 
entie's slip,] and the block house, be divided into thirteen, and 
exposed to sayle, — and in another order, it is declared that all 
the land in front of the Fly, (meadow, or swamp land) from the 
block house unto the hill next to Beekman's, be sold. A block 
house once in New York, will be a new thing to many. Wall 
street, in 1744, as then seen by Abeel, had block houses and 
palisades along Wall street, from river to river. 

1693. On an apprehension of a French war, it is ordered, by 
Governor Fletcher, that a platform be made on the rocks, under 
the fort, whereon may be erected a battery to command both 
rivers. At the same time, all the freemen with their servants to 
work on the defences, including " all Indians, negroes and others 
not listed in the militia." 

21 2 

162 Jincient Memorials. 

The houses enumerated this year, are five hundred and ninety- 
four, and " lands had advanced to ten times their former value.'* 

1697. Upon an occasion of absolving the militia from the night 
guard, during the winter, it was ordered that four citizens perform 
the same. It was also ordered, that during the dark nights, the 
house-keepers shall put Hghts in their windows, fronting on the 
streets, and during the dark time of the moon, every seventh 
house-holder should hang out a lanthorn and candle on a pole, 
every night. 

1699. On occasion of letting the Ferry for seven years, it was 
determined, that the lessee should provide two great boats, or 
scows, for cattle, &c., and two small boats for passengers — the 
fare for a single person, to be eight stivers in wampum — or a 
silver two-pence ; a horse, one shilling, &c. 

1702. The dock and slips of the city are rented to James 
Spencer, carpenter, for twenty-five pounds — he to clear the dock 
and slips and keep them clean,. and build a wharf enclosing the 

1704. The Rev. Mr. Vesey, missionary and first minister of 
Trinity church, opened a catechising school for Blacks, His 
name appears often, as receiving five pounds for the Corporation 
Sermon. Now they prefer dinners. It is from him that we have 
the name of Vesey street. 

The city corporation occasionally orders cord-wood for the 
field, and some six or eight gallons of wine, to raise a cheering, 
and a bonfire, for public celebrations. 

The common council, in taking their oath of office, swear that 
they do not believe in transubstantiation, — that the bread and 
wine in the Lord's supper, is not converted into the body and 
blood of Christ, — they also abjure the invocation of the Virgin, 
and the sacrifice of the Mass. 

The 25th of December, 1705, is recorded as the coldest day 
ever known. The Hudson river was frozen over several days. 

There is frequent mention of Indian slaves. 

1716. A law was passed for regulating midwives — they were 
to be sworn to faithful service, to commit no frauds in changing 
children ; not to be accessary to any pretended deliveries ; not to 
assist in any frauds, or concealments of births — and never to 
speak of the secrets of their office. 

Public whipping of "slaves, negroes and Indians," was as 
common as exuberant spirits and mischiefs could make them. 
If found out too late at night, or too many together, in noisy 
gambols, or if gaming for and with copper pennies — then to be 
whipped, and the owner to pay the church wardens three shillings, 
— what a fund for the merciful gospel ! The public whipper to 
have five pounds a quarter. 

1730. Notice is given, that whoever inclines to perform the 
foot-post to Albany this winter, is to make application to Richard 

•Ancient Memorials. 163 

Nichols, the post-master. Only think of a fooi-posi, all the dreary 
V, ay to Albany, in mid -winter ! What a wretch ! 

1731. Two complete fire engines ordered out from England, 
and hooks and ladders are to be made. This probably indicates 
the first attempt at public measures for the suppression of fires. 

This year, the small-pox was very prevalent, and very fatal — 
causing great dread, and causing upwards of five hundred deaths, 
in a little more than two months. 

1733. Mr.* Silas Wood, gives the population of the province 
this year to be 50,291, of which Long Island possessed one third, 
say, 17,820 ; 7231 of the preceding were slaves. New York city 
contained, 8628 souls. Think of the increase in one cenlury,and 
what may it be in another ! 

In 1735, " the first stone of the platform of the new battery on 
White Hall rocks, was laid by the governor, and was called 
George Augustus' Royal battery. This probably was the renewal 
of a former inferior battery, ordered by Gov. Fletcher, in 1693. 

1744. It was ordered, that all house-holders should, every 
Friday, rake and sweep together all the dirt and filth, lying in 
the streets before their respective houses, and then cause the same 
to be carried away, or cast into the river. 

\1A1. Such was the dread of small-pox, that the governor 
had to prohibit its inoculation, temporarily, whilst fearing an 
invasion, lest the country people fearing the disease, should not 
come to the assistance of the city. 

1757. Such was the dread of impressment even in and near 
New York harbour, that Governor Hardy, for the sake of his 
own good living in the city, was obliged to encourage marketing 
from the country, by making his proclamation, that all boatmen, 
and marketmen, who came to or from the city, " shall not be im- 
pressed while bringing provisions and other necessaries," &c. 
Cases of impressment are occasionally mentioned. Perhaps it 
was from a dread of such encroachments on personal freedom, 
that led to the practice of women rowing the market boats, at 
New York, in the provincial times ! 

The 15th of January, 1761, the Narrows were frozen over, — 
on the 18th of June, 1764, the light-house on Sandy Hook, was 
lighted for the first time, — how difficult must have been the pas- 
sage before that help and guide ! 

Such are the amusing as well as instructive incidents of the 
ancient days in New York, from which " the thinking bard" 
may " cull his pictur'd stores." Through such mazes, down "hoar 

"The eye explores the feats of elder days." 

It may well encourage to further research to know the fact, 
that I considered myself as gleaning from that first volume,* all, 

• Referred to on page 155. 

164 Notices of Early Dutch Times. 

in the few preceding pages, which I deemed the proper material 
for the amusements of history. If we would make the incidents 
of the olden time familiar and popular, by seizing on the affec- 
tions and stirring the feelings of modern generations, we must 
first delight them with the comic and strange of history, and after- 
wards win them to graver researches. " Anecdotes of men and 
things ( says Blackwood) will have a charm, as long as man has 
curiosity." They who cater for such appetites, should always 
consider that there is a natural passion for the marvellous in every 
breast ; and that every writer may be sure of his reader who 
limits his selections to facts which mark the extremes of our rela- 
tive existence, or to objects "on which imagination can delight 
to be detained." But there are means of inquiry exclusive of 
memorials and records; such as the recollections and observa- 
tions of living witnesses, respecting " men and manners" of other 
days, and of things gone down to oblivion. These they retain 
with a lively impression, because of their original interest to 
themselves ; and for that reason they are generally of such cast 
of character as to afibrd the most gratifying contemplations to 
those who seek them. 

From a lively sense of this fact, I have been most sedulous to 
make my researches among the living chronicles, just waning to 
their final exit. These can only be consulted now, or never. 
From such materials we may hope to make some provision for 
future works of poetry, painting, and romance. It is the raw 
material to be elaborated into fancy tales and fancy characters 
by the Irvings, Coopers, and Pauldings of our country. By such 
means we generate the ideal presence, and raise an imagery to 
entertain and aid the mind. We raise stories, wherein " sweet 
fiction and sweet truth alike prevail." 


" Such once ; — no longer such — are passed away." 

In endeavouring to rescue from oblivion, some of the early 
traits of character which marked the age of the founders, we 
may, with Moulton's history, notice but to condemn it — that 
" affectation of squeamishness in some, who now revolt at the 
idea of coming in contact with the rude founders of our country, 
as if such facts of our domestic history were beneath the dignity 
of history, so called : they would restrict it only to great person- 
ages and great events; and thus by too much generalization lose 
in individual interest more than could be gained in abstract 
philosophy and politics." 

Stadt Huys, at Coenties Slip, 1642 to 1700, p. 176 and 351. 

Ferry House, corner of Broad and Garden Streets, p. 182. 

Notices of Early Dutch Times. 165 

We shall therefore endeavour to exhibit something character- 
istic of the times, the doings, and the famihar concerns, of those 
Dutch burghers. 

The Dutch Reformed were always thorough church-going 
members, and fully fraught with ardent zeal for all the faith of 
Calvin. They therefore gave no countenance to Lutherans, 
Jews, Quakers, &c. But when the English came to rule, it suffi- 
ciently chagrined them to see Governor Lovelace so lax, as in 
1674 to authorize the Lutheran congregation to erect a church, 
and to "seek benevolence from their brethren here and on the 
Delaware.^' It was about this time that Edmundson, a friend 
from England, was allowed to preach to such as would assemble. 
He held his first meeting at an inn, where the magistrates also 
attended, probably as much to check and restrain errors as to 
profit themselves. The celebrated Geo. Fox was also in the 
neighbourhood, preaching on Long Island, and particularly to a 
congregation under a great oak tree, still standing at Flushing, 
the property of the Bowne family. All this toleration was 
strikingly different from the previous rule under the Dutch gov- 
ernor Stuyvesant. He had ordered the head of the above-named 
family out to Holland for trial, for the public performance of his 
religious views as a Quaker. About that time the public peace 
had been disturbed by those Quakers, whom the Friends them- 
selves sometimes censured as " ranters." Such a one, as the re- 
cords state, " pretending to be divinely inspired, came into the city 
and made terrible hue and cry in the streets and on the bridge, 
crying woe, woe, to the crowne of pride and the drunkards of 
Ephraim : Twoo woes past, and the third coming, except you 
repent. Repent — repent, as the kingdom of God is at hand !" 
He also entered the church, making a great noise, for the purpose 
of disturbance, as their manner was. Finally, he was prosecuted, 
flogged, and banished. ^ 

The Dutch Reformed Church — ^^Uhe Gereformeerde Kerck," 
was erected within the fort by Gov. Keift in 1642, being a stone 
structure, with split oaken shingles, then called " wooden slate." 
The cause and manner of its establishment has been curiously 
related by De Vries, saying, " as I was every day with Comdr. 
Keift, I told him, that as he had now made a fine tavern — the 
Stadt-herberg, at Coentie's slip — that we also wanted very badly 
a church ; for until then we had nothing but a mean barn (in 
appearance) for our worship ; whereas in New England, their 
first concern was a fine church, and we ought to do the same. 
Wherefore, I told him I would contribute a hundred guilders, 
and he as governor, should precede me. Whereupon we agreed, 
and chose J. P. Kuyster and I. C. Damen, with themselves, as four 
Kerck-Meesters to superintend the building.' John and Richard 
Ogden contracted to build the same of stone for 2500 guilders, 
say £416. It was to be seventy-two feet by fift^^'-two feet, and 

166 Notices of Early Dutch Times. 

sixteen feet high. After its construction, the town bell was re- 
moved to it. There it was a kind oifac iotum, and may possibly 
account for the present partiality for campanalary music still so 
fostered and prevalent in New York. All mechanics and labourers 
began and ended work at the ringing ; all tavern-keepers shut 
house after the ringing ; courts and suitors assembled at the ring- 
ing ; and deaths and funerals were announced by the toll. An 
earlier church was built on the Battery ground, which was pulled 
down in 1642, when the above one was built. The earliest church 
records are lost — but records of baptism exist, and have been con- 
tinued ever since 1620. The earliest list of enrolled members, 
begins in 1649, at which time, three hundred names appear. 

New York, like other colonies, had also its plague of witchcraft. 
In 1665, a man and wife were arraigned and tried as witches, 
and a special verdict of guilty was brought in by the jury against 
one of them. In 1 672 the inhabitants of West Chester complained 
to the governor and council against a witch which had come 
among them ; she having been before imprisoned and condemned 
as a witch at Hartford. In 1673 a similar complaint was also 
made ; but the military governor, Capt. Colve, a son of the ocean, 
not under this land influence perhaps, treated it as idle or super- 
stitious, and so dismissed the suit. We thus see that Salem was 
not exclusive in her alarms ; but that New York, Connecticut, 
Pennsylvania, and Virginia, each severally had their trials of 

The city schoolmasters were always, ex officio, clerks, choristers, 
and visiters of the sick. 

In the early times, reed and straw roofs and wooden chimneys 
were so common in ordinary houses, that they had regularly ap- 
pointed overseers to inspect them and guarcf them against fires. 

They were accustomed to plant May-poles on New Year's and 
May-days. Sometimes they planted a May-pole, adorned with 
ragged stockings, before the door of a newly- wedded bridegroom. 

The Dutch were remarkable in their choice of high sounding 
names for their vessels ; an old record, describing a collection at 
one time in New York, gives such names as the following, to wit : 
The Angel Gabriel, King David, Queen Esther, King Solomon, 
Arms of Renselaerwyck, Arms of Stuy vesant. The Great Christo- 
pher, the Crowned Sea Bears, the Spotted Cow, &c. 

Wm. P. Van Rensselaer, Esq. of Beverwyck, has in his posses- 
sion the wedding ring which belonged to the wife of the first 
Patroon, preserved with family regard since 1627 — and Gen. Van 
Cortland has a gold watch, which came out with his forefathers. 

New York was once distinguished for its manufacture and 
trade in Indian wampum, called seaivant, deriving the material 
from Long Island, which place the Indians called Seivanhacky, 
importing the Land of Shells. They made the chief of it from 
periwinkles and quahaugs, (clams), and sometimes from the 

Notices of Early Dutch 7\mes. 167 

inside of oyster shells.* This, when rounded into proper shape, 
became the proper money of the Indians; and with this, all who 
purposed to trade with them for furs, &c. provided themselves at 
New York. A letter of Governor Penn's is on record, wherein 
he speaks of his having sent there from Philadelphia to make 
"his purchases of wampum, at great prices." For numerous 
years, while coin was scarce or unnecessary, it was the custom 
to pay oflf the company's officers, and even the clergy too, in sea- 
want or beavers. The current value of the sea want was six 
beads of the white, or three of the black, for an English penny. 
The value and importance once attached to this seemingly strange 
money in our consideration now, may be seen set forth, in 1641, 
in an ordinance of the city council sanctioned by Governor Keift, 
saying, " that a great deal of bad sea want, nasty rough things, 
imported from other places," was in circulation, while " the good 
splendid sea want, usually called Manhattan's seawant, was out 
of sight or exported, which must cause the ruin of the country f' 
Therefore, it is added, that " all coarse seawant, well stringed, 
should pass at six for one stuyver only ; but that the well polished, 
at four for a stuyver." In 1657, they were publicly reduced from 
six, to eight for a stuyver, which is two-pence. The wampum 
was used greatly by the Indians to decorate and ornament their 
persons. The women strung theirs, and hung them round their 
necks, and sewed them on their mocassins and mantles. 

The Dutch bore several names among the Indians. They 
called them Swannakwak or Sivanekens ; also Jlssyreoni, the 
cloth makers ; Charistooni, the iron workers ; Sankhicanni, the 
fire workers, in allusion to their use of matchlocks. 

The lands on York Island, without the bounds of the town 
walls, along 'Wall street, appertained to the company, and were 
either used for public grazing grounds, for the town cows, sheep, 
or swine, or else for the governor's farms, under the names of 
Bouwerys. The Bouwery or farm sold to Governor Stuyvesant 
in 1631, now so invaluable as building lots in the hands of his 
descendants, was originally purchased by him for 6,400 guilders 
(1,066/.), and having besides the land, " a dwelling-house, barn, 
reek lands, six cows, two horses, and two young negroes." 

On another farm the company erected a wint molen (wind- 
mill) for the use of the town. Its site was by the Broadway, 
between the present Liberty and Courtland streets. The first 
having decayed, it was ordered, in 1662, that there be another on 
the same ground " outside of the city land-port (gate) on the 
company's farm." 

There was once a water mill near the Kolch, havmg its outlet 

• Heckewelder says, "The universal name the Monseys had for New York 
was Laapawachkingf the place of stringing wampum beads. Those Indians say- 
ing, that once the Indians there were every where seen stringing beads and 
wampum which the whites gave them." 

168 Notices of Early Dutch Times. 

of water to the North river. In order to obtain more water for 
the mill, the use of the valleys was granted to the miller ; and as 
the race he had dug admitted the salt water occasionally into the 
kolch of fresh water, to its injury, he was required by law, in 
1661, to hang a waste gate so as to bar the passage of the salt 

Washington Irving, when he wrote his facetious notices of New 
York manners, in his Knickerbocker, accurately depicted life, as 
it passed in the early colonial days, saying, — " In those good 
days of simplicity and sunshine, a passion for cleanliness was the 
leading principle in domestic economy, and the universal test of 
an able house-wife; a character which formed the utmost ambition 
of our unenlightened grandmothers. The front door was never 
opened except on marriages, funerals, new years' days, the festival 
of St. Nicholas, or. some such great occasion. It was ornamented 
with a gorgeous brass knocker, curiously wrought, sometimes in 
the device of a dog's, and sometimes of a lion's head, and was 
daily burnished with such assiduity, that it was sometimes worn 
out by the very precautions taken for its preservation. The whole 
house was constantly in a state of inundation, under the discipline 
of mops and brooms and scrubbing brushes ; and the good wives 
of those days were a kind of amphibious animal, delighting ex- 
ceedingly, to be dabbling in water. 

" The grand parlour was the sanctum sanctorum, where the 
passion for cleaning was most indulged. In this sacred apartment 
no one was permitted to enter, excepting the mistress and her 
confidential maid, who visited it once a week, for the purpose of 
giving it a thorough cleaning and putting things to rights, always 
taking the precaution of leaving their shoes at the door, and 
entering lightly on their stocking feet. After scrubbing the floor 
and sprinkling it with fine white sand, which was curiously 
stroked into angles and curves with a broom ; after washing the 
windows, rubbing and polishing the furniture, and putting a new 
bunch of evergreens in the fireplace, the window shutters were 
again closed, to keep out the flies, and the room carefully locked 
up, until the revolution of time brought round the weekly clean- 
ing day. 

" As to the family, they always entered in at the gate, and 
most generally lived in the kitchen. To have seen a numerous 
household assemble around the fire, one would have imagined 
that he was transported back to those happy days of primeval 
simplicity, which float before our imaginations like golden visions. 
The fireplaces were of a truly patriarchal magnitude, where the 
whole family, old and young, master and servant, black and white, 
nay even the cat and dog, enjoyed a community of privilege, and 
had each a right to a corner. Here the old burgher would sit in 
perfect silence, pufling his pipe, looking in the fire with half-shut 
eyes, and thinking of nothing, (in happy absence from care,) for 

Notices of Early Dutch Times. 169 

hours together ; the goede vrouw, on the opposite side^ would 
employ herself diligently in spinning yarn, or knitting stockings. 
The young folks would crowd around the hearth, listening with 
breathless attention to some old crone of a negro, who was the 
oracle of the family, and who, perched like a raven in a corner 
of the chimney, would croak forth for a long winter afternoon, 
a string of incredible stories about New England witches, grisly 
ghosts, and hair-breadth escapes, and bloody encounters among 
the Indians. 

" In these primitive days, a well regulated family always rose 
with the dawn, dined at eleven, and went to bed at sundown. 
Dinner was invariably a private meal, and the fat old burghers 
showed incontestible symptoms of disapprobation, and uneasi- 
ness at being surprised by a visit from a neighbour on such 
occasions. But though our worthy ancestors were thus singu- 
larly averse to giving dinners, yet they kept up the social bands 
of intimacy, by occasional banquetings, called tea-parties. These 
fashionable parties were generally confined to the higher classes, 
that is to say, such as kept their own cows, and drove their 
own wagons. The company generally assembled about three 
o'clock, and went away at six, unless it was in winter time, 
when the visit was a little earlier, that the ladies might get home 
before dark. Sometimes the table was graced with apple-pies, 
or saucers full of preserved peaches and pears, but it was 
always sure to boast of dough-nuts, or oly koeks, with plenty 
of fried ham, cut up in convenient morsels, and well charged 
with gravy. 

" The tea was served out of a majestic delft tea-pot, ornamented 
with paintings of fat little Dutch shepherds and shepherdesses, 
tending pigs, with boats sailing in the air, and houses built in the 
clouds, and sundry other ingenious Dutch fantasies. The beaux 
distinguished themselves by their adroitness in replenishing this 
pot, from a huge copper tea-kettle, which might make the beaux 
of the present day sweat merely to look at it ! To sweeten the 
beverage, a lump of sugar was laid beside each cup, and the 
company alternately nibbled and sipped with great decorum. 

" In such parties, the utmost propriety and dignity of deport- 
ment prevailed. No flirting, no coquetting, no gambolling of 
old ladies, nor hoyden chattering and romping of young ones, 
no self-satisfied struttings of wealthy gentlemen, with their brains 
in their pockets, nor amusing conceits, and monkey divertisements 
of smart young gentlemen with no brains at all. On the contrary, 
tlie young ladies seated themselves demurely in their rush -bot- 
tomed chairs, and knit their own woollen stockings ; speaking 
but little, and chiefly in brief answers to questions put to them, 
few and far between. As to the gentlemen, each of them tran- 
quilly smoked his pipe, and seemed lost in contemplation of the 
22 P 

170 Notices of Early Dutch Times. 

blue and white tiles with which the fireplaces were decorated ; 
wherein sundry passages of scripture were piously portrayed. 

" The parties broke up without noise and without confusion — 
all carried home in their own carriages, that is to say, by the 
vehicles nature had provided them. The gentlemen gallantly 
attended their fair ones to their respective abodes, and took leave 
of them with a hearty smack at the door ; which, as it was an 
established piece of etiquette, done in perfect simplicity and 
honesty of heart, (the lady owing something for the attention,) 
occasioned no scandal at that time, nor should it now from us, 
when thus contemplating the past. 

" Even the female sex, — those arch innovaters of modes and 
forms, seemed for a while to conduct themselves with incredible 
sobriety and comeliness. Their hair, untortured by the abomina- 
tions of art, was scrupulously pomatumed back from their fore- 
heads, with suet tallow, and covered with a little cap of quilted 
calico, which fitted exactly to their heads. Their petticoats of 
linsey-woolsey, were striped with gorgeous dyes. These were 
indeed rather short, but what they needed in length, was made 
up in numbers, which generally equalled that of the gentlemen's 
small clothes ; and what was still more praiseworthy, they were 
all of their own manufacture, of which circumstance, as may well 
be supposed, they were not a little vain. 

" The gentlemen of those days, were well content to figure in 
their linsey-woolsey coats — domestic made, and bedecked with 
an abundance of large brass buttons. Half a score of breeches, 
heightened the proportions of his figure ; his shoes were orna- 
mented by enormous copper buckles ; a low crowned broad 
brimmed hat overshadowed his florid visage, and his hair dangled 
down his back in a long queue of eel skin. 

" Ah, never to be forgotten age, 
Where every thing was better than it has been e'er since !" 

We may close this article with some little notices and recollec- 
tions of Dutch manners, as they appeared in their last remains 
when receding from the innovations of later times, to wit : 

Capt. Graydon, who was a prisoner on Long Island in the war 
of independence, and was quartered at Flat Bush, speaks of his 
neighbours as a quiet inoffensive people ; as too unaspiring and 
contented to have ever made a revolution from their own impulse. 
Their religion, like their other habits, were all plain and unosten- 
tatious : A silent grace before meat was their general family 
habit. The principal personage in every Dutch village was the 
" domine''^ or minister ; and their manner of preaching was 
extremely colloquial and familiar. Their most frequent diet was 
clams, called clippers ; and their unvaried supper was supon 
(mush) ; sometimes with milk, but more generally buttermilk, 

Local Changes and local Facts. 171 

blended with molasses. Their blacks, when they had them, 
were very free and familiar ; sometimes sauntering about among 
the whites at meal time, with hat on head, and freely joining 
occasionally in conversation, as if they were one and all of the 
same household. 

The hospitality and simple plainness of New York city, down 
to the period of 1790 and 1800, was very peculiar. All felt and 
praised it. Nothing was too good, and no attention too engross- 
ing for a stranger. It was a passport to every thing kind and 
generous. All who were introduced, invited him to their home 
and board. As wealth and pride and numbers came in, it wo-re 
off more and more ; till now it follows selfishness and reserve 
like other great cities. 


«« To observe and preserve." 

A GENTLEMAN of eighty years of age, in 182S, told me of his 
digging out the trunk of a walnut tree, at nine feet depth, at his 
house at the Coenties slip, near Pearl street. 

He well remembered, in early life to have seen a natural spring 
of fine fresh water at the fort, at a position a little north-west of 
Hone's house. There was also a fresh water well once at N. 
Prime's house near the Battery. 

He saw the old fort cut down about the year 1788-9, when 
they found beneath the vault the ancient Dutch church, once 
there, the leaden coffins of Lord Bellermont and lady. Vansant 
and Jane way were charged to remove them to St. Paul's church. 

He saw a linseed oil factory worked with wind sails, on a 
high hill of woods, about a quarter of a mile north-east of the 
Kolch. This was about the year 1790. 

About the same time he saw a beautiful meadow and flourish- 
ing grass cut on the declining hill back of the City Hall towards 
the Kolch. 

The " tea water fountain " out by Stuyvesant's field, is now 
very good, and was in great repute formerly. The region of 
country near the prison, on the East river, has now excellent 
water. There " Knapp" gets his " spring water" for the city 

A lady of about eighty-six years of age in 1828, said she well 
remembered when the locality of the present St. Paul's church 
was a wheat field. 

She also spoke of her remembrance of a '* ferry house" in 

172 Local Changes and local Facts. 

Broad street, up above "Exchange Place/^ (then Garden alley) 
to which place the Indians used to come and set down in the 
street near there, and make and sell baskets. 

The place called " Canvas Town," was made after the great 
fire in 1776. It lay towards the East river, and from Broad 
street to Whitehall street. It was so called from the temporary 
construction of the houses, and their being generally covered 
with canvas instead of roofs. Very lewd and dissolute persons 
generally were their tenants, and gave them their notoriety and 

While the old fort existed, before the revolution, it contained 
within its bounds the mansion of the governors (military chief- 
tains) and their gardens. There governors Dunmore, Tryon, &c. 
dwelt. New York was a military station, and as such it had 
always a regiment of foot and a company of artillery ; also a 
guard ship in the bay. 

Mr. Abram Brower, aged seventy -five in 1828, informed me 
that the lots fronting the Vly market were originally sold out by 
the city corporation, at only one dollar the foot. 

He said the market in Broadway (the Oswego I presume) was 
once leased to a Mr. Crosby for only 20*. for seven years. 

He remembered when only horse boats ferried from Brooklyn, 
with only two men to row it, in which service they sometimes 
drove towards Governor's Island, and employed a whole hour. 
Only one ferry was used on the North river side, and then not 
to go across to Jersey City as now, but down to the Blazing Star. 
Those who then came from Bergen, &c. used the country boats. 

He said the Dutch yachts (then so called) were from one to 
two weeks in a voyage to Hudson and Albany. They came to, 
usually every night, "slow and sure." Then all on board spoke 
the Dutch language. [The mayor, Thomas Willet, in 1665, 
informs the corporation " he intends for Albania with the first 
opportunity, and prays his leave of absence."] 

The last Dutch schoolmaster was Vanbombeler ; he kept his 

school till after the revolution. Mr. Brower himself went to a 

Dutch school, to his grandfather's, Abram Delanoye, (a French 

-k} Hugonot, via Holland), who kept his school in Courtlandt street. 

Elective offices, when they went by merit, and not by partisan 
efforts, were of enduring character, to the individual concerned. 
Thus to instance one case, in the family of the Bogerts ; Henry 
Bogert was elected assistant Alderman of the west ward, annu- 
ally for sixteen consecutive years, from 1734 to 1750 ; and John 
Bogert, Jr. (grandfather of the present James Bogert, Jr.) was 
elected Alderman for Montgomery ward, annually for eleven 
consecutive years, from 1755 to 1766, when he retired from public 
and mercantile life to his country seat at Harlem. Another 
John Bogert, of the same family, was elected assistant alderman 
for the fourth ward for the years 1797-98, when he became an 

Local Changes and local Facts. 173 

alderman, and was re-elected annually, for four successive years, 
and then declined any further election. Edward Holland was 
mayor from 1747 to 1756, and John Crugan was mayor from 
1757 to 1765. Simon Johnson was recorder, from 1747 to 1768. 

The first Methodist preaching in New York was at a house hi 
William street, then a rigging loft. There Embury first preached; 
and being a carpenter, he made his own pulpit, — a true puritan 

Mr. Brower, when a boy, never heard of " Greenwich," the 
name was not even known ; but the Dutch, when they spoke of 
the place, called it Shawbackanicka, an Indian name as he sup- 
posed. " Greenwich street" was of course unknown. 

He knew of no daily papers until after the revolution. Wey- 
man and Gaine had each a weekly one corresponding to their 
limited wants and knowledge. The first daily paper was by 
F. Child & Co., called the New York Daily Advertiser, began 
in 1785. 

He saw Andrews hanging in gibbets for piracy ; he was hung 
long in irons, just above the Washington market, and was then 
taken to Gibbet Island and suspended there; — year 1769. 

I notice such changes as the following : — 

Maiden lane, called Medge Padje, is greatly altered for the 
better; formerly that street was much lower near its junction 
with Pearl street ; it was much narrower, and had no separate 
foot pavement; its gutter ran down the middle of the street. 
Where the lofty triangular store of Watson is seen up said street, 
was once a low sooty blacksmith shop, Olstein's (a rarity now in 
the sight of passing citizens,) and near it a cluster of low wooden 

In Pearl street, below Maiden lane, I have seen proof positive 
of the primitive river margin there ; several of the cellars, and 
shallow ones too, had water in them from that original cause. 

I perceive that Duane street, from Broadway, is greatly filled 
up ; from one and a half to two stories there is made ground ; 
the south corner of Duane street, at Broadway, is sixteen feet 
filled up, and the same I am told in Broadway. South of this 
was originally a hill descending northward. 

Where Leonard street traverses the Broadway and descends a 
hill to the Collect, was well remembered an orchard but a few 
years ago. Some of the Collect was still open fourteen or fifteen 
years ago (it is said), and was skated upon. 

The original Collect main spring still exists on Leonard street, 
having a house now over it, lettered " supply engine." 

The Kolch waters still ooze through the new made filled in 
ground, into the cellars, especially in wet seasons. 

When they dug out some of the Kolch ground, some used the 
earth as turf, thinking it had that quality. 

The Collect street runs through the leading line or centre of 



174 Local Changes and local Fads. 

the old Kolch channel, and has under its pavement a sewer to 
lead off the water. This street is the thoroughfare of so much 
water, as to make it necessary to incline this street deeply to the 
middle as a deep gutter way. Indeed, so much water, " deep and 
broad," floAvs along it like a sullied brook, that it might be well 
called Brook street ; helped, as the idea is, by the numerous foot 
planks, as miniature bridges, laid across it at intervals for the con- 
venience of foot passengers. 

About the year 1 784-5, property near New York went down 
greatly ; few or none had money to buy with. About the year 
1785-6, alderman Wm. Bayard wished to raise cash by selling his 
farm, of one hundred and fifty acres, on the western side of Broad- 
way and near the city. He devised the scheme of offering them 
in lots of twenty-five by one hundred feet ; only twenty -five dol- 
lars was bid, and but few of them were sold. It was well for 
him, for very soon after, feelings and opinions changed ; and they 
who had bought for twenty-five dollars, sold out for one hundred 
dollars ; and then, the impulse being given, the progressive rise 
has had no end. 

A kinsman, G. T., told me, in 1828, that the out lots of the city 
" went up" about twenty-one years before, when from the cir- 
cumstances of trade, &c. they began to fall much, and soon after 
to rise again more than ever. He bought lots four years before at 
the rate of ^850, which would now bring him iB 1,800. Twenty- 
one years ago he bought lots for ^2,000 reluctantly, which he in 
six months after sold for ^4,000. That purchaser kept it till four 
years ago at its minimum price, and sold it for ^2,000 ! Some of 
his property, which five years ago he would have freely sold for 
^2,000, would now be valued at ^12,000. The lot at the corner 
of Broadway and Maiden lane was sold for ^27,600, equal to 
^22 per square foot. This is, however, a rare circumstance, hav- 
ing had the accident of attaining to much front along the newly 
extended Broadway. 

The Stuyvesants, Rutgers, Delancys, and others have attained 
to great riches by the rapid and unexpected growth of New York, 
voraciously calling on such " out town" landlords for their farms 
at any price ! Old Mr. Janeway, who died lately, at fourscore, 
saw his few acres near the Chatham street and Collect, grow in 
his long life and possession from almost nothing to a great estate. 
" While they slumbered and slept," their fortunes advanced with- 
out their effort or skill. Much the fact impresses the recollection 
of "Ecclesiasticus;" he saith, "There is one that laboureth and 
taketh pains and maketh haste, and is so much the more behind, 
(as many poor bankrupts know,) and there is another that is slow 
and hath need of help, wanting ability, yet he is set up from his 
low estate!" 

The head of Chatham street, where it joins the Bowery road, 
although now a hill, has been cut down in modem times twelve 

Local Changes and local Facts. 175 

feet. From this point, following the line of Division street, and 
thence down to the river, on the line of Catherine street, was for- 
merly Col. Rutger's farm ; it was opened as city lots, about thirty- 
five to thirty-eight years ago. 

I found the once celebrated " tea water pump," long covered 
up and disused, again in use, but unknown, in the liquor store of 
a Mr. Fagan, 126 Chatham street ; I drank of it to revive recol-r 

I have been surprised to find, in so magnificent a city, such a 
mean collection of hovels, of feeble wooden fabric, as I see in the 
rear of the great City Hall and the stately houses along Chambers 
street ; they lay on the line of Cross street, descending a present 
hill, formerly much higher and more rugged, having only foot- 
paths for clambering boys. The mean houses at the foot of the hill 
or street, are now half buried in earth by the raising of the street 
ten feet ; up to this neighbourhood, came once the little Collect ; 
it forms the site generally of what was formerly Jane way's little 

The Magazine street, here, (because of the powder house once 
close by) now named Pearl street, in continuation, as it runs to- 
wards the Hospital on Broadway, shows, I think, strong marks 
of having been at the period of the revolution, the utmost verge 
of city hopes. The range of Beekman and Vesey streets, had 
once bounded their expectations ; and lastly, they extended to the 
natural lines of Pearl street as it crosses the city, and was there 
formed at the foot of the hills on its southern side. Before the 
Magazine street was formed, it was so essentially the imaginary 
line which bounded the Police of Justice, &c., that it was usual 
to designate the limits by the vague name of " fresh water" side 
of the city. Thus referring to the great Kolch and its course of 
marshes, as separating all beyond in a terra incognita. 

The houses No. 13 and 15 on Elm street, near the corner of 
Duane street, are singular evidences of modern innovation. They 
were originally good two story houses, and are now filled up in 
Elm street, nearly to their roofs. 

In the rear of No. 48 Frankford street, is now a very ancient 
tan yard. This street down to Ferry street, and from William 
street over to Jacob's street, is the region of what was formerly 
tan yards, and originally Beekman's swamp. An old man near 
there, said he remembered to have shot ducks there formerly. 
The father of another had told him he often gathered huckle- 
berries ; and fifty to sixty years ago it was common to exercise 
there in skating. 

Mr. Lydigg told me that when the tanneries about here accu- 
mulated great hills of tan, it was the material for the fortifications 
of the boys, (preparing for the revolution by sham fights). Here 
great tan redoubts, piked with cow horns, were defended bravely 
by the Pearl street and Fly boys against the invading urchins 

176 Local Changes and local Facts, 

from Broadway. Sometimes the open field was resorted to on 
the present Park, where missiles of thwacking force were dealt 
with vigorous arm. 

* Mr. Jacob Tabele, aged eighty-seven in 1828, said that in his 
early days he heard much speaking of Dutch among the people 
and along the streets. He saw no lamps in the streets when a 

The powder house he remembered. A powder house, called 
the Magazine, on a rising ground (a kind of island) at the Collect. 

In Nicholas Bayard's woods he often shot numerous pigeons. 

He remembered they used to burn lime from oyster-shells on 
the Park commons. This agrees with what Mr. Brower said, 
who imputed the name of Collect to the low Dutch for burnt 
lime : but it is more probable Kolch was the true name, from its 
meaning " fresh water" there. 

He remembered ship yards between Beekman's and Burling's 

There were once some small houses of wood, where is now 
St. Paul's Church. 

He has seen river water flow through the sewer up the Maiden 
lane as high as Olstein's blacksmith shop on the triangular 

There was a very high hill, once called " Bayard's Mount," 
on which the Americans built a fort, and called it Bunker Hill, . 
in the time of the revolution, now cut down. It stood on present 
Grand street, a little east of Centre market. 

He remembered the " ferry house" so called, high up Broad 
street ; had heard that the creek once run up there. The sign 
was a boat with iron oars. It was an inn with such a sign in 
his time. 

He remembered seeing the block houses in a line of pahsades, 
quite across the island ; they went in a line from the back of 
Chambers street. They were of logs of about one story high. 
They being empty, were often used by Indians who made and 
sold baskets, &c. there. So said Ebbets also. 

He remembered when boats could freely pass along the space 
now occupied by large trees on the Battery ground. 

He well remembered the ancient City Hall (Stadt Huys) at the 
head of Coenties slip ; said he often heard it had been used as a 
fort in Leisler's civil war, against the real fort at the Battery. He 
had often seen a ball then shot at it, and which was left in the 
side wall of the house, (pulled down by Tunis Quick in 1827,) 
on the south-west corner of Pearl street and Coenties slip. The 
ball is now in the possession of Dr. Mitchell, as a relic. 

There were market houses at everyone of the slips in his time; 
the one at the foot of Wall street, nigh the Tontine, was called 
the Meal market. 

Said he often heard of Lindley Murray (the grammarian) having 

Local Changes and local Facts. 177 

leaped across Biirling's slip, (about twenty-one feet,) with a pair 
of fowls in his hand as he came from market. He believed it, 
and others spoke of it to me as true, and that his lameness after- 
wards was imputed to his efforts. 

Mr. Table said there were but few streets paved. Broadway 
and other streets had all their gutter ways in the middle. 

He remembered the Oswego market in Broadway, opposite to 
Liberty street. When demolished, another was placed at the 
west end of Maiden lane. 

The Bear market was the only one on the North river side. 
It took its name from the fact of the first meat ever sold in it 
having been bear meat, killed as the bear was swimming from 
the neighbourhood of Bergen shore. 

William street, from John street northwards, used to be called 
Horse and Cart street, from an inn near there having such a 

Mr. Grant Thorburn, the seedman, told me that when they 
were digging in Broadway to lay the Manhattan pipes, they 
came to the posts of the city gate once at Wall street. The deed 
for his premises, once the Friends meeting-house, speaks of its 
being located " outside of the wall of the city," thus referring to 
the wall once along " Wall street." He also showed me a rarity 
in the first directory ever made for New York, say in the year 
1786. The very names of that day are curious; so few then 
who were foreigners. Such was the novelty or uselessness of a 
directory then, when every man knew his neighbour, that no 
other was attempted till the year 1793 ; that one Mr. Thorburn 
also possesses. 

Mr. Thorburn's seed house is a curiosity itself — a rare concep- 
tion on his part; and presenting to the eye of a walking passenger 
along the streets, a little rus in urbe. 

This Mr. Grant Thorburn, may be regarded as somewhat of a 
curiosity, and a character in himself — especially in his relation to 
the olden time, and his cordial attachment to the past. Besides 
being in his own person, the proper " Lawrie Todd" of western 
New York, he is often a pleasant noticer of the passing changes 
of men and things in and about New York city. We quote from 
some of his reminiscences : — He came to this country from Scot- 
land, in 1794, and engaged in New York at nail making, as then 
wrought by the hand, and since wholly superseded by cutting 
machines, turning him for the time, out of his employment and 
bread ! He says he saw at his arrival all things in the Dutch 
character, such as Dutch houses, goods, and manners, also Dutch 
words, Dutch men, and Dutch lasses. The great majority of 
vessels then were advertised as bound for Amsterdam and Rotter- 
dam, and but few then for Liverpool and London. Then the 
Bear market (since the Washington) was supplied principally 
from Haverstraw, Hackensack, Bergen, and Communipaw, and 

^178 Local Changes and local Facts. 


unless you could talk a good portion of Dutch, it was of little use 
to go there to traffic. Then Paus and Pinkster were of univer- 
sal observance. Then for the time being, all made it an idle day 
— boys and negroes might be seen all day standing in the market 
place, laughing, joking, and cracking eggs. In the afternoon, the 
grown up apprentices and servant girls, used to dance on the 
green in Bayard's farm in the Bowery. One of his contemporaries 
told him how the apprentices of his day, were all wont to save 
their earnings, on purpose to have their full of frolic at Paus. 
He had himself, only some five years before, saved up his fifteen 
dollars for such an occasion, but when the time came, he heard 
that lots were selUng out of town, where Leonard street since 
runs, for only fifteen dollars ; he resolved to forego his intended 
frolic, and by his forbearance for one season of joy and fun, to 
buy a lot. But before he reached the place of purchase, he was 
overruled by another, to join him in his paus-day, and so lost 
in his fifteen dollars of money spent, which if invested, would 
have brought him three thousand dollars now. Think of the 
change, and such changes have been profited in by many. At 
that time there was only one Doctor in New York who " kept a 
gig" — he par excellence was Dr. Charlton. The first man to 
make coach springs in New York was one WilUams from Eng- 
land, who came to work in the same shop with Mr. Thorburn — 
he made money and did well for himself until he joined Tom 
Paine's society and infidelity, and then he became an outcast, 
and an alms-house pauper. Mr. Thorburn, in surveying the 
present and considering the past, makes his conclusion, that the 
solid comforts of social life in New York, have diminished pro- 
portion ably to the advancements in refinements and luxuries — 
others think so too. 

An ancient house at the corner of Beaver lane and Broadway, 
of original two stories high, has its cellar wall exposed out of 
ground, thus showing the cutting down of Broadway six to eight 
feet at least. If we keep the idea of that elevation, we may form 
some idea of the primitive elevation of the ground whereon the 
fort stood ; aged men have told me they thought the highest ele- 
vation of the parapet walls was about equal to the walls of pre- 
sent houses near there. 

Mr. Daniel J. Ebbets, aged seventy-six in 1828, who has been 
a very observant youth and is now an intelligent gentleman of 
lively mind, has helped me to many facts. 

He says, the present Bowling Green was once an oblong square, 
and was well surrounded with large locust trees. 

As late as the year 1787, he had assisted to draw a seine on 
the beach, where runs the present Greenwich street, say from 
Beaver lane to Battery : there they caught many fish and much 
of herring : the beach was beautiful ; there boys and horses were 
wont to bathe and sport in the wave. A street to be there never 

Local Changes and local Facts. 179 

entered the head of the sportive youth. A large rock (see it on 
Lyne's map) stood out in the middle of present Greenwich street, 
then in the water, on which was a kind of rude summer house, 
much to the mind and fancy of the boys ; affording them a resort 
of much frolic and youthful glee. 

Then Mr. Ebbets saw no commerce, or vessels along the North 
river side. The Albany sloops all went round to East river, 
and all their sailors talked Dutch, and all understood it enough 
for their business. 

He was familiar with the plot of the old fort, and described it 
thus ; — first the green bank, which was sloping, was about four- 
teen feet high, on which was erected a wall of about twenty feet 
additional height. An old linden and two apple trees on the city 
side, were as high as the walls. Some barracks lay along the 
line of State street. 

The Broadway, in 1772, extended only as high as the Hospital. 
Where the Hospital is, was " Rutger's orchard." 

There was a rope walk (Vanpelt's) a little north of Courtland 
street, running from Broadway to the North river. All the old 
deeds on north side of Courtland street, speak of fifteen feet of the 
said walk as in their lots. Another ran parallel to it from oppo- 
site the present Bridewell prison ; and in its place, or near it, was 
formerly a range of British barracks ; [as I think since, in the 
line of the present Scudder's Museum.] 

The "brick meeting," built in 1764, on Beekman street, near 
Chatham street, was then said to be in popular parlance, in " the 
fields." There Whitefield was heard to preach. 

Back of the above-mentioned barracks, and also behind the 
present jail, was a high hill, and on its descent a negro burying 
groun d ; and thence further down, it was a fine meadow. 

The British army gave the name of " the Mall" to their parade 
ground fronting the Trinity church. 

There were very fine sun fish and roach fish caught in the 
Collect pond. 

The City Hall at the head of Broad street, (afterwards the 
Congress Hall) besides holding the courts, was also a prison. In 
front of it, on the head of Broad street, he remembered seeing 
there a whipping post, and pillory, and stocks. He has seen 
them lead the culprits round the town, whipping them at the cart 
tail. They also introduced the wooden horse as a punishment. 
The horse was put into the cart-body, and the criminal set thereon. 
Mary Price having been the first who had the infamous distinc- 
tion, caused the horse ever after to be called, " the horse of Mary 

So recently has a part of Water street been filled up, that he 
could now lead to the spot there, where could be found the body 
of a vessel deep under present ground. 

He verified the fact in Moulton's book, of a canal (or channel) 

180 Local Changes and local Facts. 

of water running out of the present Beaver street, into the Broad 
street canal, in primitive times. He said that half way between 
Broad street and New street, in Beaver street, there had been 
dug up two bars of lead, evidently dropped overboard from some 
boat. At same place was a cedar post, upright, having on it the 
lines of the ropes of boats once tied to it. 

The Mineral Spring, No. 8 Jacob's street, quaintly enough 
called "Jacob's Well," is a real curiosity, whether regarded either 
as an illusion or as a reality. The enterprise was bold to bore 
there one hundred and thirty feet, and the result is said to be that 
they found a spring having the properties of the Saratoga and 
Congress waters. Some distrust it, but the proprietors say, twenty- 
five thousand persons used it in a year. It is a part of Beekman's 

The house in Peck's slip, north side, a yellow frame. No. 7, 
was pointed out to me by an aged person, as being in his youth 
the nearest house to the river, which was then so near, he could 
jump into the river then ranging along Water street, near to it. 
He said also that " Walton house," close by on Pearl street. No. 
324, had its garden in its rear quite down to the river. He said 
the hill called Peck's Hill, from Walton house to the Franklin 
Bank, (at the union of Cherry and Pearl streets) was originally 
a much higher hill. 

I went out to the Dry Dock and Steam Mill, for sawing, &c., 
on the river margin of " Stuyvesant's Swamp," or flats. It is a 
very wide extended wet flat, over which tides used to overflow, 
now sluiced out. Some low grass meadows appear ; but gene- 
rally it is a waste, coming now into incalculable value to that 
family as building lots. The adjacent hills furnish abundance of 
coarse sand and gravel material for filling up, which is now busily 
pursued in the lines of the intended streets. Some of the ancient 
oaks are scattered around, and many stumps showing the recent 
woods about here, wherever not submerged in water. At the 
point or hook, a little beyond the Dry Dock, I saw a small 
moimt, on which, in the revolution, was a small redoubt, near 
which lay the King Fisher sloop of war. 

I observed great digging down of hills and removals of earth 
going on, all about the Stuyvesant mansion house and farm. 

Mr. Nicholas S told me they often came to Indian graves, 

known as such by having oyster-shells interred with the bones, 
and sometimes some fragments of frail pottery. 

Just beyond " Peter's Field" and mansion, extending up to 
the Fever Hospital at Bellevue, is a great bend or bay, which is 
now all filling up with innumerable loads of earth from the 
adjacent high grounds; the whole having a long wharf in front, 
calculated to extend down to the Dry Dock, all of which is to be 
laid out in streets and city lots. It is an immense and spirited 
undertaking, affording constant business for the labouring poor. 

Local Changes and local Facts. 181 

Canal street is a grand undertaking, effecting a great benefit, by- 
draining through a great sewer the waters which once passed by 
the former canal to the Collect. The street is broad and the 
houses genteel ; but as this region of ground was once swampy, 
it is liable now to have wet or damp cellars throughout the range 
of Lispenard's swamp to the northward, and from Lafayette 
theatre, (which is laid on piles) down to the North river. Chapel 
street, which runs southward from Canal street, follows the line 
of a former water-course (connecting with the canal formerly and 
now by a sewer) quite down to Leonard street, and has been all 
made ground, filled in over the sewer. 

From the inlets to those sewers is emitted a strong offensive 
smell of filth and salt water, only however perceptible at the 
apertures, and never known to have any deleterious effect on 

Mr. Wilke, president of the bank, told me he once stood sen- 
tinel as a volunteer on the sand beach, close to the present old 
sugar-house still standing nearly in the rear of the present City 
Hotel, on Broadway. Thus proving, what I had before heard 
from Mr. Swords and others, that at the rear of Trinity church- 
yard, a little beyond where Lumber street is now, the boys used 
to swim. 

Mr. Wilke also told me he knew the parties who in 1780 fought 
a duel in the rear of the hospital ground. 

In visiting Thomas Rammey, a good chronicle, I learned from 
himself and wife several facts, to wit : — 

Rammey had Hved in Cross street ; while there, he dug up 
remains of the old Magazine, and he could see evidence that 
water sometimes had enclosed it, [as Lyne's ancient map had 
shown.] His mother-in-law, if alive, would be one hundred and 
six years of age in 1828. She often talked of the block-houses 
and paUsades across the city, behind the present City Hall ; said 
the Indians occupied many places outside of their line, and used 
there to make baskets, ladles, &c. for sale. Many of them hut- 
ted outside the present Hospital, towards the North river. 

She well remembered they were used at times, in high waters, 
to have a ferry boat to cross the people in Chatham street, over 
where it crosses Pearl street, where it is still low ground. Lyne's 
map of 1729 marks this same place with a bridge. 

She had recollection of the wife of Gov. Stuyvesant used to 
go out to his farm near the flats, and there see numerous fish 

She remembered and spoke much of the Negro Plot — said 
it made terrible agitation — saw the Negroes hung back of the 
site of the present jail, in the Park. A wind-mill once stood near 

The Jews' burying-ground was up Chatham street, on a hill, 
where is now the Tradesman's Bank. 


iSd Local Changes and local Facts, 

She said that water once ran from the Collect both ways ; i. e. 
to the East river as well as to the North river. Sometimes the 
salt water came up to it from the North river in the winters, and 
raised the ice. 

In her time the strand or beach on the East river was along 
present Pearl street generally ; and at the comer of Pearl street 
and Maiden lane, dwelt her brother-in-law, who used to keep 
his boat tied to his stoop to ferry him off by water. 

She said Maiden lane got its name from the practice of women, 
the younger part generally going out there to bleach their family 
linen : all of which was then made at home. It had a fine creek 
or brook, and was headed by a good spring. Sometime after- 
wards, minor springs remained for a time in cellars there, and 
one was in Cuyler's house till modern times. The hills adjacent, 
clothed in fine grass, sloped gradually to the line of Maiden lane, 
and there she bleached with many others. 

She said Broadway went no higher than St. Paul's church. 

She said "Chapel Hill," where is now Dr. Milnor's church, 
on Beekman street, was a very high mount and steep, from 
which the boys with sleds used to slide down on the snow, quite 
to the swamp below. With this agrees the fact told me by Mr. 
James Bogert, that his father, in later times, used to ride up to it 
as a high apple orchard. 

Mr. Rammey said that behind the City Hall once stood an old 
alms-house, built in 1710, and taken down about the year 1793 ; 
perhaps the burials behind it gave rise to the remark made to me 
by Dr. Francis, that along the line of Chambers street are many 

He says he used to be told that the real " ferry house" on 
Broad street, was at the north-east corner of Garden street, now 
Exchange Place, and is lately taken down, [and so several others 
have suggested to me] ; and that the other, (No. 19) a little 
higher up, (the north end of the Custom-house store) was only a 
second inn, having a ferry boat sign, either in opposition, or to 
perpetuate the other. He said the boats were flat bottomed, and 
used to come from Jersey. To me I confess it seems to have been 
a singular location for a ferry, but as the tradition is so general 
and concurrent, I incline to think it was so called from its being 
a resort of country boats coming there to find a central place for 
their sales. I have heard the names of certain present rich families, 
whose ancestors were said to come there with oysters. 

A man actually born in the old ferry house, at the corner, and 
who dwelt there forty years, described it as a very low one story 
house, with very high and steep pediment roof; its front on 
Broad street ; its side along Garden alley had two dormer win- 
dows in the roof, much above the plate ; shingle roof covered 
with moss ; one hundred years probably of age ; had an iron 
boat, and oars and anchor for a sign ; the " Governor's house" 

Local Changes and local Facts. 183 

adjoined it in the alley. An old lady close by.confirmed all this. 
^picture of the whole scene is annexed. 

Mr. David Grim, an aged citizen, to whom we are indebted 
for much valuable data given to the Historical Society, has esti- 
mated in detail the houses of the city in 1744, as then 1141 in 
number, of which only 129 houses were on the west side of the 
Broadway to the North river inclusive : thus evidencing fully, 
that the tide of population very greatly inclined to the East river. 

Mrs. Myers, the daughter of said D. Grim, said she had seen 
the British barracks of wood, enclosed by a high fence. It ex- 
tended from Broadway to Chatham street,along present Chambers 
street, exactly where is now the Museum. It had a gate at each 
end ; the one by Chatham street was called " Tryon's Gate," 
after the name of the governor, from which we have derived since 
there, the name of " Tryon's Row." 

About the year 1788 the whole of the ancient fort, near the 
site of the present Battery, was all taken down and levelled 
under the direction of Messrs. J. Pintard, Vansant, and Jane way, 
as city commissioners. The design was to prepare the site to 
erect thereon a house for General Washington as President of 
the United States ; but as the Congress removed to Philadelphia, 
he never occupied it, and it therefore became the " governor's 
house" in the person of Governor Clinton. 

In taking down the ancient Dutch chapel vault, they came to 
the remains of Lord and Lady Bellermont, in leaden coffins, 
known by family escutcheon and inscriptions on silver plates. 
These coffins, with the bones of several others, were taken by Mr. 
Pintard, who told me, to St. Paul's church ground, where they 
all rest now in one common grave, without any notice above 
ground of " storied urn or animated bust." The silver plates 
were taken by Mr. Vansant for a museum ; but he dying, they 
fell into hands which with much bad taste, converted them into 
spoons ! A story much like this is told of the use made of the 
coffin plates of Governor Paulus Vanderbrecke and wife, placed 
first in G. Baker's museum, and afterwards in Tammany Hall. 
Lord Bellermont died in 1701. Mr. Dunlap, in his history of 
New York, vol. i. page 244, gives some facts concerning this. 

This brief notice of the once renowned dead, so soon divested 
of sculptured fame, leads me to the notice of some other cases 
where the sculptor's hand could not give even brief existence 
to once mighty names ; I refer to the king's equestrian statue of 
lead in the centre of the Bowling Green, and to Pitt's marble 
statue in Wall street, centre of William street. Both are gone, 
and scarcely may you learn the history of their abduction. So 
frail is hitman glory ! 

The latter I found, after much inquiry and search, in the 
Arsenal yard on the site of the Collect. It had before been to 
Bridewell yard. The statue is of fine marble and fine execution, 

l^ Local Changes and local Facts, 

in a Roman toga, and showing the roll of Magna Charta ; but 
it is decapitated, and without hands — in short, a sorry relic ! Our 
patriot fathers of the revolution, when they erected it, swore it 
should be as eternal as " enduring marble ;" they idolized the 
man as their British champion, 

" In freedom's cause with generous warmth inspired." 

But the fact was, while the British army occupied New York, 
their champion lost his head on some unknown occasion, and 
has never since been heard of! The statue itself was taken 
down soon after the peace, both as an inconvenience in the street, 
so narrow there in the busy mart, and also as a deformity. 
Alexander M'Cormick, Esq., who dwelt near the statue, told me 
it disappeared the night of St. Andrew, when, as it was whispered, 
some British officers, who had been at their revels, struck it off 
in revelry rather than in spite. No inquisition was made for it 
at the time; one hand had before been struck off, it was supposed, 
by boys. A story was told among some whigs, that the tories 
had struck off the head in retaliation for the alleged insult offered 
to the king, by drawing his statue along the street to melt it into 
bullets for the war. My friend John Baylie was present in July, 
'76, and saw the degrading spectacle. He saw no decent people 
present; a great majority were shouting boys.* 

Before the revolution, and even sometime afterwards, William 
street was the great mart for dry goods sales, and chiefly from 
Maiden lane up to Pearl street. It was the proper Bond street 
too for the beaux and shopping belles. Now Broadway has its 

Pearl street then had no stores, but it was the place of good 
dwellings ; then Broadway had no stores or business, and had 
but a few scattered houses about the region of the new City Hall. 

Before the revolution, the only road out of town was by the 
Bowery road, and was once called " the high road to Boston." 

The Bowling Green was before called " the Parade.'' 

Mr. Thomas Swords, aged sixty-six in 1828, told me he re- 
membered to have seen the remains of an old redoubt by Grace 
and Lumber street (corner), the same which was presumed once 
to have terminated the northern line of the city along Wall street. 
It was a hill there ; there American prisoners were buried in time 
of the revolution ; and he has seen coffins there in the wasting 
banks of the mount ; at the foot of it, was the beach along the 
North river. 

The grandfather of Mr. James Bogert told hiiii that oyster 
vessels used to come up Broad street to sell them ; and in later 
times, water used to enter cellars along that street from the canal. 

David Grim, in his very interesting topographical draft of the 

• The statues of Pitt and George III. were both put up in 1770. 

Local Changes and local Facts, 185 

city as it was in 1742-4, (done by him when seventy-six years 
of age, in the year 1813,) is a highly useful relic and gift of the 
olden time. His generous attention to posterity in that gift to 
the Historical Society is beyond all praise, as a work in itself sui 
generis, and not to be replaced by any other data. He was a 
chronicle, who lived to be eighty-nine, and to wonder at the 
advancements and changes around him ! I here mark some of 
his facts : — 

He marks the " Governor's Garden" near the fort, as ranging 
along the line of Whitehall street, next the fort, and there turning 
an angle of the fort and enclosing westward to the river. This 
also agrees with the report of others, who told me of seeing deer 
kept by the governor in front of the fort on the ground of the 
Water Battery. 

Mr. Grim marks the line of a narrow canal or channel in Broad 
street, as open above the present Pearl street, and there covered 
by the bridge or Exchange House, or both. 

He marks the localities of public wells in the middle of the 

He marks Rutgers' farm as lying north-west of the Collect, and 
Winthorn's farm as south-east of the same. 

At the foot of Courtland street he marks the then only wharf. 
We know it was built there for the king's purposes, having there- 
on an arsenal reaching up to Dey street. 

Mr. David Grim told his daughter of there having been a 
market once held at the head of Broad street. This agrees with 
what G. N. Bleeker, Esq., told me, as from his grandmother, 
who spoke of a market at Garden street, which was in eflfect the 
same place. 

Bake well's City Portrait of 1747, a fine perspective, marks the 
great dock at the foot of Broad street as having a long dividing 
wharf projecting into it from Broad, and set on piles, which leads 
me to the idea of " the bridge " so often named there. It was 
probably the landing place for the unloaded goods from vessels 
in the east and west mole on both sides of it. 

A low market house on arches, having a large dial plate on its 
roof in front, is set at the foot of Broad street. 

The city corporation grants to Trinity church, in 1703, as I 
saw of record in Mr. Bleeker's office, the grounds there " for a 
burying place for the inhabitants of the city forever ; and upon 
any of the inhabitants of said city paying therefor to the Rector, 
&c. 3^. for each corpse above twelve years of age, and 1^. Qd. for 
any under twelve years of age, and no more." This last emphatic 
word may seem peculiar when we reflect how very special and 
exclusive those grounds have been so long occupied. 

In the minutes of council of 1696, 1 saw that a sewer of 1100 
feet length was recommended to be made in the Broad street. 
24 q2 

186 Local Changes and local Facts. 

I saw in the city commissioner's office, that the population of 
New York, in 1730, was only 8638 ; and in 1825, it was 166,086. 

David Grim told Mr. Lydigg that he had seen the river water 
over Chatham street and Pearl street, and extending from the 
East to the North river ; along the line of the Collect as I presume. 

Mr. Brower and others have explained to me, that all along 
the present Grand street, as it approaches to Corlear's Hook, was 
formerly very high hills covered with apple and peach trees. 
Much too of the present level of Harman street, leading into 
Grand street, was formerly hills of sixty feet height. The ma- 
terials of these hills so cut down furnish excellent gravel for new 
streets, and especially the means of extending their grounds out 
into the rivers. 

The first bank in New York, called the Bank of New York, be- 
gan the 9th of June 1784, opened from 10 to 1, and from 3 to 5 
each day-A. McDougall, President, Wm. Seton, Cashier, discounts 
not longer than 30 days, and once a week ; gold taken by weight 

Hudson's Square is a beautiful embeUishment of New York, 
redeemed from a former waste, once a sand beach. The large 
growth of the trees and the abundance of grateful shade, make 
it, in connexion with the superiority of the uniform houses which 
surround it, a place of imposing grandeur. The continuous long 
lines of iron palisades, both round the square and before the areas 
of every house, and up the several door steps, give a peculiar 
aspect of European style and magnificence. 

The residences of Col. Rutgers and Col. Willett, though origi- 
nally located far out of town, on the East river side, have been 
surrounded by the encroaching population ; but as the encroach- 
ments have not been permitted to close very close upon them, 
they are still enabled to retain some grounds around them of rural 
appearance. Col. Willett's house was formerly on a knoll situated 
on the margin of Stuyvesant swamp. Soon all such recollections 
will be obliterated by the entire diiferent face of things now begin- 
ning to appear there. 

David Grim said he remembered when carmen first took about 
the tea water ; it was but one-third of present prices. The water 
formerly, was good at the wells and some of the street pumps. 

He remembered when only one lamp was used in the street — 
say at the corner of Wall and William streets. 

Mr. Brower told me, street lamps came into use about ten 
years before the revolution. The carts at that time were not 
allowed to have any tire on their wheels. 

The carriage of the mail between New York and Philadelphia, 
even since the revolution, was a very small matter ; it was hardly 
an affair to be robbed, for a boy, without any means of defence, 
took the whole in saddle-bags on horseback, three times a week. 
Then they wondered to see it enlarged, and took it on a sulkey ; 
and by and by, " the wonder grew," that it should still more en 

Local Changes and local Fads. 187 

large, and they took off the body and run it in a large bag on a 
platform set on the wheels. It was then long deemed as at its 
7ie plus ultra ; whereas now it is a load of itself for a four horse 
stage ! At that time the post always went to and fro from the 
" Blazing Star," vis-a-vis Staten Island, now unknown as a great 

General Washington's residence in New York was at the house 
now the Franklin Bank ; to that house he once went in proces- 
sion. The house was kept by Osgood, and was then No. 1 in 

The house No. 176 Water street, was the first in New York 
to change leaden sashes for wooden ones; leaden ones were 
general. Even Trinity church had its leaden frames put in after 
the fire of 1778. 

Dr. Hosack's map, showing the grounds of New York as in- 
vaded by water from the rivers, marks " Rutgers' Swamp," as 
united to the East river by a little creek a little to the eastward 
of Rutgers' slip. 

At Corlear's Hook he also marks much marsh ground, uniting 
to the river by a small creek. 

Beekman's swamp is also united to the East river by a little 
creek next south-west of Peck's slip. 

Mr. Dunlap, has graphically described the impediments of tra- 
velling between the cities of New York and Philadelphia, as seen 
in his own time, and earlier ; for instance, " a commodious stage 
boaty'' would start with passengers and goods, from City Hall 
slip, twice a week, for Perth Amboy ferry, thence by a stage 
wagon to Cranberry and Burlington, and thence again by stage 
boat to Philadelphia ; all this in three days, barring accidents. 
But accidents would occur. The stage boats were small sloops, 
managed by a man and boy, or at most by two men, and passing 
by " the outside passage," that is by the Narrows ; it sometimes 
occurred that they were driven out to sea. If the weather was 
very bad they went "inside" by the Kills. 

Another way to Philadelphia, was by crossing the bay to Staten 
Island, in a petty auga, with lee-boards, and managed only by 
one man. Such a man was sometimes inebriate or stultified. 
When arrived at Staten Island, you crossed to the ferry at 
Arthur Roll's sound, by a scow, and thence you were carried to 
the "Blazing Star" inn, at Woodbridge. At Brunswick, you 
again ciossed in a scow ; at Trenton again in a scow ; then at 
Neshaminy on a floating bridge, and on the third or fourth day, 
you were in Philadelphia. 

The third and most common route, was to cross the North river 
to Paulus Hook in a boat, thence through the marshes to Hacken- 
sack river, across which ybu passed in a scow, then to Passaic 
river, and ferried over, thence as before mentioned, to Philadel- 
phia, in about three days 

188 Local Changes and local Facts, 

The perils of the passage from the " Blazing Star," (meaning 
the sign of a comet,) being four or five miles from the ferry at 
Staten Island, may be illustrated by the fact, that the Baron De 
Kalb, when he was a colonel in January 1768, was the only one 
of nine persons crossing in the scow, who was not so frozen as to 
lose life or limb ; some losing toes, others feet, fingers, &c. ; the 
scow sunk on a sand island, leaving them out all night. He 
alone would not go to the fire when rescued, but put his feet and 
legs into cold icy water, took some refreshment, went to bed, and 
got up unhurt. A Mr. George died before they were relieved. 

In the year 1785, the first stages were begun between New 
York and Albany, to run with four horses, on the east side of 
the North river, at four pence per mile, under a special act of the 
legislature, in an exclusive grant for ten years, to Isa Van Wyck, 
T. Hall and J. Kinney. 

The canal in Broad street, went up o iginally to the hill called 
Verlettenberg, since corrupted to Flattenbarrack hill ; the word 
berg implied a hill, and verletten meant to stop. The ferry 
once there, at the head or stop of tide water, furnished a means 
to bring country folks and marketing from Brooklyn and Gow- 
anus, &c., up to the heart of the city. All the sides of the canal 
were once dyked with posts, at twelve feet from the houses, 
some of which have been since found there. 

The cold winter of 1780, presented the following incidents, viz : 

On the 15th of January, great numbers of the inhabitants pass- 
ed to and fro on the ice, on the East river. 

On the 24th, the Hudson was crossed on the ice. 

On the 29th, several persons passed to and fro, between New 
York and Staten Island ; at one time eighty sleighs with pro- 
visions, escorted by one hundred soldiers, passed over the same 
field of ice. 

A thaw occurred on the 1 5th of February, and on the 24th, 
the navigation became entirely open. 

Hugh Gain, in his Universal Register of 1787, gives the popu- 
lation of New York before the fire, at 30,000 inhabitants, and 
4200 houses. 

About the year 1800, New York had its most fashionable pop- 
ulation in Wall and Pine streets, between Broadway and Pearl 
streets ; and also on Pearl street from Hanover Square, (now Old 
slip) to John street ; some along State street ; and also in Broad- 
way, from below Wall street to the Battery. 

While the late speculations in lots was rife, in and near New 
York, a Frenchman was induced to become a purchaser of some- 
thing or nothing, near the Wallabot. In time, he visited his 
seller, to say he had been to examine " the grand lot vot he had 
sell him, and he find no ground at all, no ting he find but vataire;" 
he therefore asks the return of his purchase money, and is answer- 
ed, that that is no buisiness of his. " Den I ask you to be so good 

Local Changes and local Facts. 189 

to take off de East river, off de top !" Upon being told, that that 
was not to be expected of him, the Frenchman says he will have 
no alternative but to drown himself there in despair, and is coolly- 
answered, that he may go arid so use his water privilege ! We 
need scarce add, that the lots still remain under water! 

I add the following facts, to show comparatively, the progres- 
sive changes of New York, in population and wealth, to wit : 
Population of the city, 

In 1756, 10,381 inhabitants. In 1820, 123,706 inhabitants. 
« 1771, 21,863 " « 1830, 203,007 " 

" 1790, 33,131 " " 1840, 312,710 " 

" 1810, 96,373 " " 1845, 366,785 « 

Value of taxable property in the city, 

Real Estate. Personal. Total. 

In 1830, ^87,608,000 ^37,685,000 ^125,293,000. 

In 1836, 233,744,000 75,759,000 309,503,000. 

In 1844, 171,937,000 64,024,000 235,961,000. 

Governor's Island, originally called Nutting Island, because of 
the quantity of hazel and other nuts growing there, and furnish- 
ing the winter's supply to the citizens. In later times, says Knick- 
erbocker, it was cultivated in gardens for the use of the colonial 
governors — " once a smiling garden of the sovereigns of the pro- 

It was originally a part of Long Island, however it may now 
appear to the eye on beholding so wide a separation by deep 
water. This widening and deepening of the Buttermilk channel 
has been caused by the filling in of the south side of the city. 

An old gentleman alive in 1828, remembers that as late as 
1786, the Buttermilk channel was then deemed unsafe, even for 
boats to pass through it, because of the numerous rocks there. It 
was however so. used for a boat channel, through which boats 
with milk and buttermilk, going to New York market from Long 
Island, usually made their passage. My mother told me that when 
she first entered New York harbour — then a girl — she was sur- 
prised to see all the market boats traversing the East river, rowed 
by robust women without hats or bonnets .... their heads fit- 
ted with close caps . . . two rowers to each. How diiferent this 
from the present state of females ! 

The same gentleman who told of the channel as he noticed it 
in 1786, had his attention called to it then by a Mr. Van Alstine, 
upwards of eighty years of age, who said that he remembered 
when Governor's Island was separated from Long Island, only by 
a narrow creek, which was crossed upon logs, raised above the 
high tide, and having staked logs for a foot way through the marsh 
then there on each side of the creek. 

In making excavations at South Brooklyn, for the Atlantic 
dock in 1842, they found at the depth of twenty feet a good many 

190 Local Changes and local Facts. 

roots of trees, in the positions in which they had once grown on 
the spot, and below them they found peat. 

Wm. Richards, of Philadelphia, famous there for pickling stur- 
geon, went to New York, before the revolution, to plant lobsters 
in that neighbourhood ; before which time they chiefly imported 
them from Rhode Island. He had a vote of thanks of the Assem- 
bly, many years afterwards. Lobsters after this, probably became 
naturalized about Harlem. 

In 1756, the first stage is started between Phiadelphia and 
New York, by Mr. Butler . . . three days through. 

In 1755, the mail was changed from once a fortnight to once a 

In 1756, the first British " packet boats," commence from New 
York to Falmouth; each letter to pay four penny-weight of 

All newspapers went free of postage before the year 1758. It 
was then ordered that, by reason of their great increase, they 
should pay 9d. a year for fifty miles, and 1^. Qd. for one hundred 

In 1765, a second stage is announced to travel between New 
York and Philadelphia, to go through in three days, being a co- 
vered Jersey wagon, oX 2d. 3. mile .... owned in Philadelphia. 

In 1766, another stage called "the Flying Machine," to go 
through in two days, is advertised, with " good wagons, and seats 
on springs," at Sd. a mile, or 20^. through. This was also owned 
in Philadelphia. 

Mr. McCormick, of Wall street, remembered when "Burnetts 
Key" extended from Wall street up to Maiden lane, in one entire 
line of front, and projecting out from Water street, beyond any 
other line of wharves. It was the bathing place of the city boys 
and of himself. 

In 1702, New York was visited with a very mortal sickness. 
Isaac Norris' MS. letter says, "the great sickness . . . Barbadoes 

Distemper or Yellow Fever as we had it in Philadelphia three 

years before. Some hundred died there, and many left the town, 
so that as we passed it, it was almost desolate." 

In 1743, a yellow fever, as it was called, visited New York .... 
"not imported" — but like it was at Philadelphia three years 
before ; — they had black vomit and spots. Vide R. Peters' MS. 

In digging for a lamp post, at the north-east corner of Reed 
street and Broadway, they were surprised to get up several 
human bones, and thus leading to the recollection of the former 
fact, that between that place and Chambers street, was once the 
area of the Negroes' burying grou nd ; — it was on a descending 
hill, inclining northward. A row of low log houses once stood 

In Lynes' survey of New York of 1729, he marks a lane called 
"old Wind-mill lane," lying between present Courtland and 

Local Changes and local Fads. 191 

Liberty streets, extending from Broadway to present Greenwich 
street, and thence north-westward to\^ards the river side, where 
the Wind Mill must have stood. It was then the most northern 
street on the west side of Broadway — all beyond was the King's 

The same survey fills up the head of the present Broadway, 
with a long ropewalk and a long line of trees, reaching from the 
present Barclay street as high as the hospital. 

At that time there was at the foot of the present Chambers 
street, on North river, a distinguished public garden and bowling 
green. Such greens, seem to have been much in vogue. 

Among the names of streets changed, are these : — the present 
Pine street was called King street ; Pearl street was Queen street ; 
Cedar street now, was little Queen street; Liberty street was 
Crown street, — importing that the crown was supplanted by our 
self-rule since ! The western end of Garden street, was a hill 
called Flatten-barrack — a celebrated place for boys, in winter to 
sled down hill ! The present Beaver street, east of Broad street, 
was Princess street ; the present Stone street, also east of Broad 
street, was Duke street ; John street now, east of William street, 

was called Golden Hill from the Dutch of Gowden Berg 

The hill once there at its intersection with Cliff street, gave rise 
to the name of the street along the Cliff. William street, at its 

southern end was called South street say from Maiden lane 

to the East river. *' 

On the subject of names of places, an amusing chapter could 
be written. Judge Benson has done something on this subject. 
For instance, Flatten-barrack hill, is simply deduced by corrup- 
tion from the name of Verletten who owned the herg, i. e. the hill. 
To English ears, Verletten-berg, came to sound like Flatten-bar- 
rack, and they added Hill to it, not knowing that barrack, for berg, 
was already expressed. Just as the English sailors and others in 
the East Indies, called the Surajah Dorohla, Sir Roger Dowlass. 

New York and Judge Egbert Benson. The Judge died at 
Jamaica, Long Island, in August 1833, in his 87th year. He was 
the last survivor of the provincial congress of the State of New 
York of 1775. He had been much in public life, and always 
respected and esteemed. He was born in New York city in really 
Dutch times. When six years old he went to a Dutch school at 
the corner of Marketfield and Broad streets, and was taught his 
catechism in the Dutch language. His father's house stood in 
front of where the Fulton Bank now stands. They used in the 
Dutch churches an hour glass near the clerk, to ascertain the 
length of the sermon, which was always limited to one hour. 
They made the collections in a bag, with a bell to give notice of 
the approach of the deacon (gatherers). Judge Benson remem- 
bered the line of palisadoes across the Island from its point on 
the East river from James' slip to its point on the North river at 

192 Local Changes and local Facts. 

the foot of Warren street, with its gates and block houses erected 
in 1746, for a defence from the French and Indians from Canada, 
and of a field of barley growing upon the west side of Broad- 
way, as far south as the palisadoes, the space between which and 
the present Fulton street, was known as the Kings farm. He 
remembered when the site of Columbia college was a race course ; 
and when the first lamps were placed in the city. He was at the 
opening of St. George's church ; and assisted in planting the row 
of trees now growing in front of Columbia college nearest the 
building. He was a representative to the first American congress 
of 1781, and he and James Madison when still living, were the 
last surviving members of that illustrious body.* His memoir 
for the Historical Society, 1815, was published in 1825. 

Government Offices. 1785. (from Directory.) 

Treasury Office, No. 49 Great Dock St., Walter Livingston? 
Commissioner of Treasury there. 

Quarter Master General's office. No. 18 Wall street, by Wm. 

General Hospital Department. No. 7 Cherry street, by Edwd. 

Clothier General Department, No. QQ William street, by Joseph 

Mr. Isaac Collins told me of " Lispenard's pond," of fresh 
Water ; it was in Lispenard's meadow between North Seventh 
street, and Green street and between Broadway and Greenwich j 
it was filled up about the year 1800. The boys used it for play 
and for sailing their little boats. He remembered a swamp near 
the Collect, which still had the stumps of great cypress trees in it. 
He said Bunker's Hill, so high and so commanding in its prospect, 
should never have been removed. It would now have been a 
noble observatory for a grand panorama. 

A gentleman has kindly contributed sundry reminiscences — 
wherein he says : 

It makes me feel old, and a little sad, as I take my usual walk 
lip Broadway every day before dinner, to think of the numbers 
of well dressed young gentlemen that pass me by, in whose 
memories there is no trace of the actual state of that exquisite 
promenade, as it existed above the Hospital eighteen years ago. 
How many pairs of feet are now to be seen every morning arrayed 
in Benton's best Wellingtons, that never skated upon the mea- 
dows I How many curled heads that now sport Mr. St. John's 

* When we contemplate the ability of such men to leave us enlarged notices 
of their observations, of their early times, — so much more competent to tell facts, 
necessarily unknown to me as a much younger man; one cannot but be pained 
to consider how very little they have done in this matter for us. I actually took 
the pains in 1828, to write him a long letter, to urge him to communicate what 
he could, — the same I did to the late Judge R. Peters, but neither of them acted. 

Local Changes and local Facts. 195 

short naps in the neighbourhood of Canal street, were never 
uncovered by one of those sudden gusts that used to sweep down 
from the dreary waste of the Collect, to the utter discomfiture 
of the pedestrians crossing the stone bridge / How many gallants 
now saunter along at midnight through the purlieus of Bond 
street and Le Roy Place, fearless of danger, and carry no recollec- 
tion of that terrible winter in which so many good citizens were 
knocked down soon after dusk, even as far south as Broome 
street; when no man would venture beyond Broadway towards 
the North river by night without carrying pistols, and the watch- 
men marched on their beats in couples ; one to take care of the 

I remember the first troop of circus riders that ever favoured 
the good people of New York with their flipflaps and somersets ; 
their leaps over any indefinite number of horses, and marvellous 
exhibitions of ground and lofty tumbling. I was a boy then, 
and went to school just on the outskirts of the city, in Broome 
street. Not far from the school-house, and as near as I can 
recollect, on or about the spot where Baggot's glass cutting work- 
shop was standing two or three years ago, there was a high steep 
hill that towered above the few neighbouring houses ; this was a 
general play ground iox all the schoolboys and loafers in that part 
of the city ; and many a tough battle we had, for the honour of 
our respective establishments. I remember the very spot, (totally 
hidden from sight now by scores of brick tenements) where I was 
standing with some ten or a dozen of my schoolfellows, when 
the tidings were brought by one of our scouting explorers, that 
" something was going on down at the Collect." Back of the 
houses upon the east side of Broadway, as far as Mulberry street, 
it was then all waste ground from Anthony street up to 
Grand; the deep and offensive quagtnire that had gotten, 
nobody knows how or why, the name of The Collect, filled up 
the central portion of this space ; besides this, there was a little 
shanty dignified with the name of a market, somewhere about 
Leonard street and not far from Broadway ; the rest of the 
ground boasted no other edifice than some two or three dozen 
pig-styes, scattered in picturesque confusion over its surface. 

No sooner was the intelligence made known that " something 
uncommon was going on at the Collect^^ than off we started, 
full speed, to spy out the wonder : there were no corners to turn 
then, or lamp posts to run against, in our way ; we made a bee- 
line from Bunker^ s Hill to the plain of the pig-styes, and there 
sure enough, we found sundry carpenters hard at work erecting 
a stage, not far from the market. The structure was simple 
enough, it was merely a platform about six feet high, ten or 
twelve wide, and about twenty yards long. What it was for, 
it puzzled our wisdom to guess ; but a very brief space un- 
ravelled the mystery. The job was almost completed when we 
25 R 

194 Local Changes and local Facts. 

came up, and after lounging about for some fifteen or twenty 
minutes, staring with all our eyes, and uttering more conjectures 
than were propounded touching the last comet, we were struck 
dumb with amazement by the approach of a band of splendidly 
clad horsemen, in the midst of whom rode a princess, as we 
supposed, gaily attired in habits of very unclean satin, bedizened 
with tinsel ; a tiara of damaged plumes upon her head, and her 
cheeks glowing with rouge of the most brilliant intensity. We 
had heard of the glories of circus-riding ; suspicions of the delight- 
ful truth therefore flashed on our minds, which was soon height- 
ened to certainty, by the appearance of one of the horsemen, 
whose striped garments, fools-cap, and antic manoeuvres, pro- 
claimed him the clown of the company. 

There was no ring for the display of horsemanship ; and what 
gave the affair a peculiar charm in our eyes, no churge for behold- 
ing the feats of the professors ; they relied for their remuneration 
upon the generosity of the spectators, which was appealed to in 
their behalf by the princess of the glittering garments, in personal 
applications enforced by the presentation to each individual, of 
the tambourine which constituted the orchestra. The performance 
consisted of leaps, tumbles, flipflaps and somersets, enlivened by 
the occasionally grins and practical jokes of the clown. Our 
hearts warmed to the fellow from the beginning, for the horse- 
whip of the director or manager of the troop was very often 
applied to his shoulders ; a species of discipline with which we 
were familiar at school, and which therefore made a direct appeal 
to our sympathies ; of course, we supposed that the lash was laid 
on in good earnest, and so, for any thing I know, it was. I re- 
member perfectly well the indignation I felt, whenever he got a 
cut that made him skip like the servants in " Taming the Shrew'^ 
when Petruchio lays about him ; and equally well the very 
essential flogging I was favoured with when I went home, for 
loitering more than an hour beyond my usual time of returning 
from school ; a misdemeanour for which I did not deem it expe- 
dient to allege my attendance upon the equestrian exhibition, as 
an excuse or satisfactory reason. 

The gentlemen of the spring-board and leaping-pole of whom 
I have already made honourable mention, gathered so many 
coppers (varied with a decent allowance of kicks now and then) 
in the exercise of their abilities, that their director was soon 
encouraged to make preparations for a more permanent habita- 
tion among us. Whether it was that the efiiuvia from the 
Collect were too much for their sensitive olfactory nerves, or that 
the want of an enclosure was found inconvenient by reason of 
the indiscriminate character of the beholders, whom the fame of 
their doings attracted, I know not ; but certain it is that in the 
course of a very few weeks they decamped from the plain of the 
pig-styes, and established their head quarters in what was then 

Local Changes and local Facts, 195 

nothing more than a large lot with a high fence surrounding it ; 
although now it defies competition for neatness and beauty among 
all the pleasuring places in Christendom. There must be a 
great many now in New York who remember the time when a 
lover of rural beauties would have been just as likely to find a 
rare shrub, a beautiful flower, a brilliant parterre, or an ice-cream, 
on the craggy top of the Devil's Pulpit, as within the inclosure 
that then formed the boundary between Niblo^s garden and 
Broadway. The house wherein so many dinners and exquisite 
suppers have been demolished ; so many canvass-backs browned, 
and so many blue pointers tickled to death ; in which so many 
champagne-corks have been popped, and so many furious head- 
aches engendered, was not then erected ; and in its stead, a fence 
some eight or ten feet in height, stared with a most forbidding 
aspect upon the high-road to Boston, (for that part of Broadway 
was then nothing more than a road,) and seemed to defy with 
a sturdy moroseness, every attempt to spy out the doings that 
might be in progress within. In the side fronting on Prince 
street, then as now, was a large gate, secured by a padlock of 
clumsy dimensions; and a villanous row of sharp spikes extended 
along the top, to the utter discomfiture of the hopes of every am- 
bitious climber. 

This then was the spot selected for the display oi equestrian 
feats ; a stage was erected ; and so was a shanty or booth in 
one of the corners, wherein thirsty souls might indulge their 
bibulous inclinations, in the intervals of the performance. A 
ring too was formed ; and strange were the rumors that went 
abroad through the younger part of the population, touching the 
wonderful works of the trained quadrupeds and their desperate 
riders. The tambourine that at first had served in the double 
duty of orchestra and collection-box, had now grown up into a 
band, consisting of three drums (one a bass), a trumpet and two 
fifes ; and a precious disturbance they kicked up every evening. 
The performance commenced every day (except Sunday) at 
about four, and was kept up till dusk ; thus lying in wait, as it 
were, for all the urchins returning from school who happened to 
dwell any where in the neighbourhood. Among these, for my sins, 
I was one ; and though it seldom happened that I could command 
the required amount of coin to purchase admission, and the knot 
holes in the fence were all carefully stopped (to prevent peeping 
without paying), I never could go on my way without lingering 
round the charmed spot, in the doubtful hope of a clandestine 
enjoyment by some unforeseen combination of circumstances ; at 
the more than probable risk of an introduction to the rattan 
when I got home for the "dallying dear delay'^ of my return. 

At the time of which I am writing, the number of traps for 
stray silver and bank notes in New York, was much less than it 
is now : the only theatre was opened (if I remember right) but 

196 Local Changes and local Facts. 

three times a week ; the Castle Garden was nothing more than 
a fortress grinning with thirty-two pounders upon the vessels 
that sailed up the bay ; Peale's museum was not ; an opera was 
a thing unheard of, and soirees musicales were among the things 
yet to be invented. Vauxhall was in all its glory ; but nobody 
ever dreamed of going there except upon Sunday evenings, 
and those rare occasions upon which Mr. Delacroix was going to 
do something wonderful — perhaps four or five times in the year. 
Barrere was making a fortune very quietly with his little concern 
in Chatham street, where his ice creams and his fountain that 
threw up a quart of water in twenty-four hours, were the admira- 
tion of all the world. 

The popular periodical, the New York Mirror, under the above 
head, gives an article which we give in part below. It may amuse 
and interest our readers, as giving a brief picture of the innova- 
tions and revolutions in things which fashion and change is every 
where impressing upon our country in the form of improve- 

" The city of the Knickerbockers is fast disappearing from the 
world of realities, and their homes are following them to the vast 
shadow of oblivion. Tiled roofs and high peaked gable ends 
have already undergone the fate of the cocked hats, the eel-skin 
queues, and the multitudinous small-clothes that once gave assur- 
ance of a race of Dutchmen in this venerable city ; all are gone, 
and in a few short years there will be none even to remember 
that such things were ! St. Nicholas has abandoned his once 
favourite metropolis, and how should it be otherwise, since there 
is not a Dutch chimney corner left for him to nestle in ?" 

" It is a melancholy thing to see the desolation that is wrought 
by fashion. How it sweeps away all relics of the venerable past, 
cutting short the term for which they might be spared by the fell 
scythe of the inevitable destroyer, time, and anticipating even his 
too speedy operations. Where is the mansion of the Stuyvesants ? 
We had fondly hoped, that if but for the sake of the immortal 
Peter, that hallowed edifice could be suffered to remain until its 
crumbling walls should yield to the slow corrosion of the ele- 
ments, that generations yet unborn might gaze upon it with 
respect as the dwelling of a hero. It is gone ; the hand of vio- 
lence has fallen upon it, and the hallowed ground on which it 
stood, now groans beneath the weight of a tall mansion, whose 
large chimneys " flout the pale blue skies," and Whose air of 
lightness forms a perfect contrast with the massive and solemn 
grandeur of the time-worn edifice it has supplanted." 

" The Walton house indeed remains ; but where are the beau- 
tiful little snuggeries that even within the last ten years gave so 
dignified an air to the narrow precincts of Garden street? It 
seems but yesterday that we were wont to make a weekly pil- 
grimage through Broad street on Sunday, after church, for the 


Gov. Stuyvesant's Old Mansion, m'iicv'cryy p. 130 a^d l^C, 

Local Changes and local Facts, 197 

single purpose of beholding those remaining tokens of a genera- 
tion long since passed away ; and now we look for them in vain. 
Two were levelled with the ground in 1827, the oldest bearing 
on its front, in sprawling iron letters, the date of 1701, and the 
other of 1698; and there was one still older, built in 1689, to 
which we always felt a strong temptation to take off our hat in 
passing, — as to the oldest of the Knickerbockers. They are all 
gone now. We remember a nest of these Dutch tenements at 
the corner of Broad and Garden streets — the effigies of which are 
given in the cut that accompanies this article, and they too are 

In December, 1835, 1 visited the smoking ruins of "the great 
fire." My notices of what I saw and thought, I committed to a 
small MS. book of thirty pages 8vo. It might prove a useful and 
interesting picture of that event, at some future age. A centennial 
for instance. 

When the forefathers of the present race of inhabitants were 
sufferers by the great conflagrations of 1776 and 1778, they felt 
as if ruin was perpetual, but behold how soon the evil was healed, 
and what was severely felt as a partial evil then, became a uni- 
versal future good. This last conflagration swept off the last re- 
mains of the earliest settlers, and all the visible labours of the 
Diitch. Farewell now — a long farewell, to the city of the Dutch ! 
Farewell to " the Scout, Burghermasters, and Shepens" no longer 
there ! They and their houses all gone ! Farewell to your 
Rondeels and Stadt buys; to your compact and mazy streets, no 
longer to be named in fame or song — farewell forever to your 
ancient, but now burnt out and effaced streets ; such as Princess 
street, Duke street, Dock street, Mill street, and the great and 
little Queen streets. All now to be reconstructed in modern form 
and grandeur, and especially by towering stores of four, five and 
even six stories in height — a measure but too likely to produce 
other inextinguishable fires. 

Since I wrote the above, in 1835, it comes to pass in 1841, that 
such high houses cannot be insured, unless at extra rates, and thp 
consequence has been that twenty houses in Piatt street are 
resolved to be reduced from five to four stories, as a means to 
increase their income to the owners at a less insurance ! so it 
should be. Losses by fires in ten years precednig the introduc- 
tion of Croton water, amounted to twenty milUons of dollars. 
But in one year, from August 1842 to August 1843, the total loss 
with the use of that water, was only ig246,404, in buildings and 

On the l"9th of July 1 845, ten years after the " great fire," there 
came to be another exhibition of a tremendous conflagration, in 
an adjoining quarter of the city, as is shown in the diagram. The 
first fire being shown in the border lines, and the last fire in the 
dark area, wherein were consumed three hundred and forty -five 

R 2 

198 Local Changes and local Facts, 

houses ; the houses and goods destroyed, estimated to be worth 
five milUons of dollars ; the other at thirty millions. 

Mr. Dunlap, in leading his readers " about town," (in his pub- 
hcation,) says : We will proceed first along what is called the East 
river, and go northward and eastward. The portion of Water 
street, between " Old slip" and " Coflee-house slip," was unbuilt 
on its outer or eastern side, (and called Rotten-row,) the water 
occupying the space, from the "Coffee-house slip" to Fly or 
" Vly-market slip," or " Long Island ferry." That which is Water 
street now, was called " Burnet street." It was built on both 
sides, and had a block somewhat similar to Crugar's wharf, (above 
mentioned) also projecting in the river or harbour. From " Fly- 
market slip," we find a similar projection serving as the founda- 
tion and continuation of Water street to " Burling slip ;" from 
whence, as we go north-east, the water occupied the east side of 
Water street, except as piers or wharves occasionally projected 
into it. That part of Water street which was then so called, 
commenced at " Peck's slip" extending eastward till intersecting 
Cherry street, which last terminates at what was afterwards 
" New slip," but then was the commencement of the " ship yards." 
Thus far, made the end of the town, in that direction. Going back 
therefore again to " Crugar's wharf," we will proceed in the other 
direction, going south-west, on which side we find the tide water 
flowing up to what is now Pearl street, and a long pier projecting 
into it. South-west of this pier were two basins called east and 
west dock. Further on was a small block, which was separated 
from the Battery by " Whitehall slip." 

The Battery on the low point of the island, was founded on 
rocks, whose black faces appeared between the ramparts and the 
water, except at some very high tides. This rocky margin was 
continued round the point unto the commencement of Broadway, 
at the same spot it now does. Number One Broadway was long 
known as Kennedy house. The same is still standing, but much 
enlarged. In the Bowling Green, before it, stood a leaden statue 
gilt, of George III., erected on occasion of the Stamp act repealed. 
South of this place, on an eminence, stood Fort George, which 
overlooked the Battery, and overhung the little narrow street 
called Pearl street, which has given its name to what was once 
(four consecutive streets) Dock street, Hanover Square, Queen 
street, and Magazine street, superseding and engrossing them all 
by its own name. The governor's house and garden were within 
the precints of the fort, where were quarters and barracks for 
soldiers. Pearl street, in 1767, (to retrace the order before 
mentioned) extended from the Battery to Whitehall, thence Dock 
street to Old slip, thence Hanover Square to Coffee-house slip, and 
thence Queen street, ending in Chatham road or row. This was 
a row on the east side of what is now Chatham street. The 
west or north-west side was open from where Pearl street now 

Local Changes and local Facts. 199 

crosses Chatham, to the old jail, lately metamorphosed into a 
Grecian temple. This open space was occupied by a rough bank 
and a hill called Windmill hill. 

The inhabitants then kept their cows in the town, and cow- 
herds received them in the morning, and drove them to pasture, 
returning them in due time in the evening. (What a rural char- 
acter then !) The cow pastures were on the east, upon a line 
with the present Grand street, on the west, as low down as the 
hospital. Behind the tea water pump, was the Kolk or Collect, 
extending to the vicinity of Bayard's mount, afterward called 
Bunker Hill. This mount, as I understand him, he elsewhere 
says, would have presented one of the finest elevations for a pano- 
ramic picture, imaginable ! It is cut down, but should have 
been reserved as public. To the east of Chatham row, the town 
was partially built on low swampy ground, intermingled with 
water, to " the ship yards," (a kind of water habitations.) Nearly 
opposite the place where Queen street ended, (as above told) in 
Chatham road, was the celebrated tea water pump, from which 
the inhabitants were supplied by carts, and attended by men and 
women distributing water as regularly as they do milk now. 
Beyond this pump, began farms and gardens along the Bowery 
or Boston road, the only road northward. 

Returning back to Kennedy's house, at the beginning of Broad- 
way, we proceed along the North river side, thus — behind his 
house and several adjacent ones, up Broadway, were gardens, 
whose walls of termination rested on the beach, and were washed 
by the tide water ! From Trinity church northward, the build- 
ings were mean, until we come to St. Paul's chapel, beyond 
which were public houses, gardens, fields, orchards, and swamps. 
Streets extended from Broadway down to the river, then ranging 
where Greenwich street now is located. 

At the water end of Broad street, were the east and west 
dock, the Albany pier and basin. Here stood the Merchant's 
Exchange of brick. A bridge or planked walk extended from it, 
up the street, covering the former tide-creek or sewer there, 
extending up to above Garden street, where stood " the ferry 
house," immortalized in Cooper's Water Witch. Many Dutch 
houses on this street were still remaining. 

The Collect's water communicated with those of the low 
grounds on the other side of the road, called Lispenard's meadows, 
under a bridge, and the skaters of that day passed at pleasure 
from one collection of waters to the other, i. e. from Pearl street, 
(as now called) over to the sand beach on the North river. There 
was seen the present king of England, trying to skate, supported 
by generals, admirals, &c. " But times have altered. Trade has 
changed the scene !" 

The newspapers, at first, in New York, did not rest their sales 
upon subscribers, but upon those who would call and buy; from 

Z06 Local Changes and local Fads. 

this cause, you could hear at Gaine's publication office, opposite 
the Coffee House, a man bawling out before the house, " News, 
news, bloody news, great news," &c. This was particularly the 
case, while the British army held New York. How different 
now ! 

Colma7i's Island, he says, is the same now Coney Island ; he 
says that Colman was buried there when killed ; he does not 
explain whi/ his account differs from mine, as "at Colman's 
point at the Hook.*' 

Dutch houses. He remembered when the greatest part of 
Broad street was so built. 

Jacob Leisler, was a militia captain, his opposition as well as 
the people, was to the Governor Dongan as a Roman Catholic, 
so placed purposely by the Duke of York, made King James II. 
He and the people declared for King William. Those in oppo- 
sition, were those in pay and power on the king's side. Leisler 
was a man of. property, and although he helped the side of King 
William, that court did not countenance him, because they 
wanted his place for its own favourite. Gov. Slaughter who came 
out, brought Leisler to a mock trial, and had him unjustly 
executed. [Read Dunlap's book.] 

Leisler was buried in the old Dutch church, in Garden street, 
by the people, and Gov. Slaughter was buried in Gov. Stuyve- 
sant's vault, in St. Mark's church. 

The Dutch church in Garden street, was built in time of Gov. 
Fletcher, between 1692 and 1697. My account said it was built 
Jirst in 1643. Trinity was also built at the same time. 

Maiden Lane, " Madge Padje^^ its slip was called the Count- 
ess's slip, after the Countess of Bellermont, (1700) when it was 
made. I have seen elsewhere that Coenties slip meant Countess ! 

Gold street, was called Gouden Bergh by the Dutch ; i. e. 
Golden Hill, and probably referred to rich residents there, as was 
the case at Schenectady, in a similar name there. 

Cliff street, was from Dirk Vander Cliff. 

John street, was called so from John Harpindingh ; a part of 
it was called Golden Hill. He was a man of property, and gave 
the ground on which was built the North church. 

The Negro Plot of 1740, is treated as a panic and not a reality, 
yet the excitement was extreme. Blacks accused one another 
from the hope of pardon. They made out that Mr. Ury, an 
Enghsh clergyman and schoolmaster, was a Popish priest in 
disguise, and hung him and seventeen blacks, and thirteen blacks 
were burnt alive ! The whole excitement was just like the Salem 
witchcraft, a wild delusion of men's minds, and it chiefly arose 
from the excited dread of Popery. The burning was at the inter- 
section of Pearl and Chatham streets, and the hanging was on 
the Island, where the Arsenal now is, on Elm street. 

Sir Danvers Osborne, who came out governor in 1753, soob 

Local Changes and local Facts. 201 

afterwards hung himself by his handkerchief in a garden. He 
had lost his wife in England, and was melancholy. Mr. Delancy 
as lieutenant-governor, then acted awhile. 

Sarah Wilson, the convict, 1771. She had been a favourite maid 
of Miss Vernon, who was a maid of honour to the Queen. Sarah 
Wilson found occasion to steal the Queen's jewels ; the consequence 
was, she was disgraced, and transported, and became the servant 
of Wm. Duval, of Frederick county, Maryland. She run away 
from him, and set herself up as the Princess Susannah Caroline, 
sister to the Queen of England ! In this fraud she succeeded for 
a time, until published and discovered by her master, Duval, of 
Bush Creek, Maryland. The whole story is amusing as told by 
Dunlap. She united at one time, in Virginia, with the notorious 
Tom Bell, who had been a convict servant to a storekeeper in 
Burlington, N. J. 

Gen. Horatio Gates, was an Englishman, was captain with 
Braddock, and afterwards captain and aid to Gen. Monckton, the 
governor of New York, and both went out with the expedition 
of 1763, to Martinique. He died near New York city, at Rose Hill 
house, where he lived. He had a place in Virginia, where he 
married his first wife, and where some say he died, called Tra- 
veller's Rest. 

Early Theatre, in Beekman street, April 16, 1764, as per its 
advertisement : " To be let, the Play-house at the upper end of 
Beekman street, very convenient for a store, being 90 feet long, 
by 40 feet wide, inquire of Wm. Beekman." (In the year 1766, 
during the Stamp Act excitement, the mob tore this building 
down. This was done because the players had heen forewarned 
that amusements and expenses did not suit the solemnity and the 
public distress of the times.) 

Impressment, Sfc. Four fishermen, supplying the New York 
market, in June, 1764, were seized by a press-gang in the har- 
bour, and carried aboard the tender. But the people seized the 
barge of the captain when at the wharf, and bore it to the fields, 
the present Park, and burned it in triumph, at the same time going 
to the tender and getting the men released. In the same year, in 
April, a vessel arrived from Bristol and was boarded for her men ; 
they fiercely resisted, so much so, that the man of war fired upon 
her. Besides this harassing kind of insolence in our very har- 
bours, the men of war were accustomed to cause the sloops and 
boats passing them, to strike their colours. On one occasion, a 
pleasure boat going from Whitehall to Elizabethtown, with Mr. 
Rickets and his friends, his wife and children, was fired into for 
such neglect, and the ball struck the nurse having a child in her 
arms, and killed her ! It made much excitement then. 

Stamp Act resistance. They burnt the coach of Gov. Colden, 
and himself in effigy. The people went by night to a brig, having 
boxes of stamps on board, took them in a boat up the East river, 

202 Local Changes and local Facts, 

and there burned them at the ship yards. The alleged objection 
to Golden was, as they said, that he had had the cannon spiked. 
His effigy was set astride upon a cannon, and so burned in 1766. 

Tea Duty resistance. On the 21st of April, 1774, the long 
expected tea ship, the Nancy, arrived. The Sons of Liberty 
waited upon the captain, and compelled him to weigh anchor and 
go home again ! A Captain Chambers, an American, having 
brought eighteen chests on his private account, was obliged to 
give them up to the people, who cast them into the water at the 
Coffee-house slip. 

The Statue of Lord Chatham, Wall street, was erected on 
the 7th of September 1770, "as a public testimony of the grate- 
ful sense of the colony of New York, for the many eminent 
services rendered to America, and particularly in his promoting 
the repeal of the Stamp Act, 1770." At the same time, they 
erected the statue of George HI., in the Bowling Green, on the 
21st of August 1770, the birthday of his father the Prince of 
Wales. In the case of Pitt's statue, it was an artifice to make 
him unduly popular as our friend, so that he might the better 
sway our sentiments in making us credit his assertions that " the 
Parliament had the right to bind us in all cases." In enforcing 
this doctrine, he died (says John Adams) a martyr to his idol, 
"the sovereignty of Parliament !" Mr. Dunlap insists, that he was 
not our friend. The statue was voted by town meeting on 23d 
June, 1766. 

Trinity Church Yard. In digging for the new and enlarged 
foundation of the new Trinity church, several ancient vaults 
have been opened. Among the relics were the silver plate and 
remains of the Countess of Glifton ; interred about 100 years 

since, those of the Hon. Mr. aged seven years, and a 

number of others. A record of burials at this church is preserved 
from the 3^ear 1702 (with the omission of the time of the revolu- 
tion) making 160,000 bodies, thus making as many bodies beloiv 
ground as now (in 1840) dwell alive above ground in New York. 

Communepauw. This remarkably queer sounding name, near 
New York city, now so little known in its origin and meaning to 
the New Yorkers themselves, is derived from the name of Mr. 
Pauw, the original Patroon of that part of the Jersey shore, 
which he had patented to him as Pavonia. A part of which 
formed an early Commune in sight of and near to the city, and 
was thence understood as the chief or first Commune of Pauw, 
i. e. Communepauw, and since popularly called Communipaw. 

Flushing. This ancient village was begun in 1644. Soon 
after it was visited by the Quakers, sundry of whom settled there. 
George Fox preached there in 1672, under the two oaks now 
there. The Episcopal church was formed there in 1720, under 
the auspices of the Society for the propagation of the Gospel in 
foreign parts. 

Local Changes and local Facts. 203 

Here and there we still find a tract of country, some green spot 
on the desert of civilization, which recalls the days of the Knicker- 
bockers and their primitive and simple habits. On Long Island 
and in Bergen county, by the sedgy margin of the winding Hack- 
ensack and the willowed banks of the Passaic, an old mansion, 
such as marked the whereabouts of the ancients, still exists, fast 
anchored to its platform, where deeply embowered in venerable 
trees, it points its sharp roof to the skies. When we meet with 
such on York Island, or Long Island, we may still greet ourselves 
with the hope of finding old Dutch hospitality amid the descend- 
ants of ancient families. Here are paths leading through beds 
of pinks, and hollyhocks, and the ever-blooming rose. Here 
are the jessamines, the honeysuckle and the sweet brier, winding 
their emulous tendrils and blossoms around the door-posts ; and 
here the trumpet creeper and its dark luxuriant foliage and car- 
mine blossoms. Within is seen the wainscoting of the old hall, 
the family clock in the corner, the massive carved cornice plate 
and furniture, all betokening an air of other days. There you 
may still expect to find an unaffectedness of manners, cordial hos- 
pitality of reception and directness of purpose, and the beautiful 
simplicity of costume in the females of the family, such as may 
be found in the Dutch belles of New Utrecht, Flatbush and 

Manners and Customs. 


«' A different face of things each age appears, 
And all things alter in a course of years." 

I AM indebted, for the following ideas of " Men and Manners 
once," as seen in the middle state of life generally, to facts im- 
parted to me by the aged, to wit : — 

The Dutch kept five festivals, of peculiar notoriety, in the year : 
say Kerstydt, (Christmas); Nieuwjar, (New Year), a great day 
of cake ; Paas, (the Passover) ; Pinxter, (i. e. Whitsuntide) ; 
and San Claas, (i. e. Sainst Nicholas, or Christ-kinkle day). 
The negroes on Long Island, on some of those days, came in 
great crowds to Brooklyn and held their field frolics. 

The observance of New Year's day (Nieuw jar) is an occasion 
of much good feeling and hospitality, come down to the present 
generation from their Dutch forefathers. No other city in the 
Union ever aims at the Hke general interchange of visits. Cakes, 
wines, and punch abound in every house ; and, from morning till 
night houses are open to receive the calls of acquaintances, and 
to pass the mutual salutations of a " happy New Year," &c. 

It was the general practice of families in middle life, to spin 
and make much of their domestic wear at home. Short gowns 
and petticoats were the general in-door dresses. 

Young women who dressed gay to go abroad to visit, or to 
church, never failed to take off" that dress and put on their home- 
made as soon as they got home ; even on Sunday evenings when 
they expected company, or even their beaux, it was their best 
recommendation to seem thus frugal and ready for any domestic 
avocation. The boys and young men of a family always changed 
their dress for a common dress in the same way. There was no 
custom of offering drink to their guests ; when punch was offered, 
it was in great bowls. 

Dutch dances were very common ; the supper on such occa- 
sions was a pot of chocolate and bread. The Rev. Dr. Laidlie, 
who arrived in 1764, did much to preach them into disuse; he 
was very exact in his piety, and was the Jirst minister of the 
Dutch Reformed Church who was called to preach in the English 

''" The negroes used to dance in the markets, where they used 
tomtoms, horns, &c., for music. They used often to sell negro 
slaves at the coffee-house. 

All marriages had to be published beforehand, three weeks at 
the churches, or else, to avoid that, they had to purchase a license 
of the governor : — a seemingly singular surveillance for a great 

Manners and Customs. 205 

military (MQi\ We may presume he cared little for the fact 
beyond his fee. 

Before the revolution, tradesmen of good repute worked hard ; 
— there were none as masters, mere lookers-on ; they hardly ex- 
pected to be rich ; their chief concern in summer was to make 
enough a-head to lay up carefully for a living in severe winter. 
Wood was even a serious concern to such, when only 2s. 6d. to 
3s. a load. 

None of the stores or tradesmen's shops then aimed at any 
rivalry as now. There were no glaring allurements at windows, 
no over-reaching signs, no big bulk windows ; they were content 
to sell things at honest profits, and to trust to an earned reputation 
for their share of business. 

It was the Englishmen from Britain who brought in the painted 
glare and display. They also brought in the use of open shops 
at night, an expensive and needless service ! — for who sells more 
in day and night, where all are competitors, than they would in 
one day if all were closed at night ? 

In former days the same class who applied diligently in busi- 
ness hours, were accustomed to close their shops and stores at an 
early hour, and to go abroad for exercise and recreation, or to 
gardens, &c. All was done on foot, for chaises and horses were 

The candidates for the Assembly, usually from the city, kept 
open houses in each ward, for one week ; producing much ex- 
citement among those who thought more of the regale than the 
public weal. 

Physicians in that day were moderate in their charges, although 
their personal labour was great. They had to make all their 
calls on foot, none thought of riding. Drs. Baylie and M'Knight, 
when old, were the first who are remembered as riding to their 
patients. Dr. Atwood is remembered as the first physician who 
had the hardihood to proclaim himself as a man midwife ; it was 
deemed a scandal to some delicate ears, and Mrs. Granny Brown, 
with her fees of two to three dollars, was still deemed the choice 
of all who thought "women should be modest!" 

" Moving day" was, as now, the first of May, from time im- 

They held no "fairs," but they often went to the " Philadel- 
phia Fairs," once celebrated. 

At the New Year and Christmas festivals, it was the custom 
to go out to the ice on Beekman's and such like swamps to shoot 
at turkeys ; every one paid a price for his shot, as at a mark, and 
if he hit it so as to draw blood, it was his for a New Year or 
Christmas dinner. A fine subject this for Dr. Laidlie's preaching 
and reformation ! 

At funerals, the Dutch gave hot wine in winter ; and in sum- 
mer they gave wine-sangaree. 


206 Manners and Customs. 

I have noticed a singular custom among Dutch families; — 
a father gives a bundle of goose quilts to a son, telling him to 
give one to each of his male posterity. I saw one in the posses- 
sion of Mr. James Bogert, which had a scroll appended, saying, 
"this quill, given by Petrus Byvanck to James Bogert, in 1789, 
was a present in 1689, from his grandfather from Holland. 

It is now deemed a rule of high life in New York that ladies 
should not attend funerals ; it was not always so. Having been 
surprised at the change, and not being aware of any sufficient 
reason why females should have an exemption from personal 
attention to departed friends, from which their male relatives 
could not, I have been curious to inquire into the facts in the case. 
I find that females among the Friends attend funerals, and also 
among some other religious communities. 

I have been well assured that before the revolution, genteelest 
families had ladies to their funerals, and especially if the deceased 
was a female ; on such occasions " burnt wine" was handed 
about in tankards, often of silver. 

On one occasion the case of the wife of Daniel Phoenix, the city 
treasurer, all the pall-bearers were ladies ; and this fact occurred 
since the revolution. 

Many aged persons have spoken to me of the former delightful 
practice of famihes sitting out on their "stoopes'^ in the shades of 
the evening, and there saluting the passing friends, or talking 
across the narrow streets with neighbours. It was one of the grand 
links of union in the Knickerbocker social compact. It endeared 
and made social neighbours ; made intercourse on easy terms ; 
it was only to say, " come sit down." It helped the young to 
easy introductions, and made courtships of readier attainment. 

I give some facts to illustrate the above remarks, deduced from 

the family of B with which I am personally acquainted. It 

shows primitive Dutch manners. His grandfather died at the age 
of sixty -three in 1782, holding the office of alderman eleven years, 
and once chosen mayor and declined. Such a man, in easy cir- 
cumstances in life, following the true Dutch ton, had all his family 
to breakfast, all the year round, at day-light. Before the break- 
fast he universally smoked his pipe. His family always dined at 
twelve exactly. At that time the kettle was invariably set on the 
fire for tea, of Bohea, which was always as punctually furnished 
at three o'clock. Then the old people went abroad on purpose 
to visit relatives, changing the families each night in succession, 
over and over again all the year round. The regale at every 
such house was expected as matter of course, to be chocolate 
supper and soft waffles. 

Afterwards, when green tea came in as a new luxury, loaf 
sugar also came with it ; this was broken in large lumps and laid 
severally by each cup, and was nibbled or bitten as needed ! 

The family before referred to actually continued the practice 

Manners and Customs. 207 

till as late as seventeen years ago, with a steady determination 
in the patriarch to resist the modern innovation of dissolved sugar 
while he lived. 

Besides the foregoing facts, I have had them abundantly con- 
firmed by others. 

While they occupied the stoopes in the evening, you could see 
every here and there an old Knickerbocker with his long pipe, 
fuming away his cares, and ready on any occasion to offer another 
for the use of any passing friend who would sit down and join 
him. The ideal picture has every lineament of contented comfort 
and cheerful repose. Something much more composed and hap- 
py than the bustling anxiety of " over business" in the moderns. 

The cleanliness of Dutch housewifery was always extreme ; 
every thing had to submit to scrubbing and scouring ; dirt in no 
form could be endured by them : and dear as water was in the 
city, where it was generally sold, still it was in perpetual requisi- 
tion. It was their honest pride to see a well-furnished dresser, 
showmg copper and pewter in shining splendour, as if for orna- 
ment rather than for use. In all this they widely differed from 
the Germans, a people with whom they have been erroneously 
and often confounded. Roost fowls and ducks are not more dif- 
ferent. As water draws one it repels the other. 

It was common in families then to cleanse their own chimneys 
without the aid of hired sweeps ; and all tradesmen, &c., were 
accustomed to saw their own fuel. No man in middle circum- 
stances of life ever scrupled to carry home his one cwt. of meal 
from the market ; it would have been his shame to have avoided 

A greater change in the state of society cannot be named than 
that of hired persons. Hired women, from being formerly lowly 
in dress, wearing short gowns of green baize and petticoats of 
linsey-woolsey, and receiving but half a dollar a week, have, 
since they have trebled that wages, got to all the pride and 
vanity of" showing out" to strangers as well drest ladies. The 
cheapness of foreign finery gives them the ready means of wast- 
ing all their wages in decorations. So true it is that, 

" Excess, the scrofulous and itchy plague, 
Taints downward, all the ^duated scale !" 

The Quarterly Review has preserved one fact of menial im- 
pudence, in the case of the New York girl telling her mistress, 
before her guests, that " the more you ring the more I won't 
come !" 

General Lafayette, too, left us a compliment of dubious import 
on his late formal entre at New York, when seeing such crowds 
of well-dressed people, and no remains of such as he had seen in 
the period of the revolution — a people whose dress was adapted 
to their condition — he exclaimed, " but where is the people? " 


208 Manners and Customs. 

emphatically meaning, where is the useful class of citizens, " the 
hewers of wood and drawers of water?" 

" All are infected v/ith the manners and the modes 
It knew not once." 

Before the revolution, every man who worked in any employ 
always wore his leathern apron before him, never took it off to 
go in the street, and never had on a long coat. 

We are glad to witness the rise of new feelings among the 
Dutch descendants, tending to cherish, by anniversary remem- 
brances, the love and reverence they owe their sires. For this 
object, as they have no " landing day," they resort to their tute- 
lary protector, Saint Nicholas: on such occasions decorating 
themselves or hall with orange coloured ribbons, and inscribing 
" Oranje Boven," and garnishing their table with "Malck and 
Suppawn," with rullities, and their hands with long stemmed 

We are sorry we do not know the history better than we do, 
of a saint so popular as he is, with only his name of St. Claes to 
help him. He seems however to be the most merry and jocose 
in all the calendar. The boys all welcome him as "the bountiful 
Saint Nick," and as " De Patroon Van Kindervreugd ;" i. e. the 
patron of children's joy. 

" A right jolly old elf, with a little round belly, 
Which shakes when he laughs, like a bowl of jelly." 

All we know from Knickerbocker, is, that the figure of 
Hudson's Guede Vrouw represented him as attired " in a low 
brimmed hat, a large pair of Flemish trunk hose, and a very long 

In 1765, the best families in New York entered into certain 
sumptuary laws to restrain the usual expenses and pomp of 

General Manners of the Americans. Lafayette, in his letter 
to his wife, immediately after his arrival in our country (at George- 
town, S. C. in 1777), says, " The country and its inhabitants are 
as agreeable as my enthusiasm had painted them. Simphcity of 
manners, kindness, love of country and of liberty, and a delightful 
equality every where prevail. The wealthiest man and the 
poorest are on a level, and although there are some large fortunes, 
I challenge any one to discover the shghtest difference between 
the manners of these two classes respectively towards each other. 
Every thing here is very much after the English fashion, except 
that there is more simplicity, equality, cordiality, and courtesy 
than in England. The American women are very pretty, simple 
in their manners, and exhibit a neatness, which is every where 
cultivated even more studiously than in England. What most 
charms me, is, that all the citizens are brethren. In America 

Manners and Customs. 209 

there are no poor, nor even what we call peasantry. Each indi- 
vidual has his own honest property, and the same rights as the 
most wealthy landed proprietor. The very inns are very differ- 
ent from those of Europe ; the host and hostess sit at table with 
you, and do the honours of a comfortable meal ; and on going 
away, you pay your bill without higgling." [The whole picture 
is picturesque and pleasing, and honourable to the memory of our 
fathers and their day.] 

About the year 1793-4, there was an extravagant, impolitic 
affection for France, and hostility to every thing British, in our 
country generally. It required all the prudence of Washington 
and his cabinet, to stem the torrent of passion which flowed in 
favour of France, to the prejudice of our neutrality. Now the 
event is passed, we may thus soberly speak of its character. It 
may be remembered with what joy the people ran to the wharves 
at the report of cannon, to see arrivals of the Frenchmen's prizes 
— we were so pleased to see the British union down ! When 
French mariners or officers were met in the street, they would 
be saluted by the boys, with " Vive la Republique."' The streets 
too, at night, resounded with French national airs, sung by our- 
selves — such as " Allons, enfans de la patrie." " Dansons le Car- 
magnole," &c. Many, too, put on the national cockade of red, 
blue, and white. Liberty poles, surmounted with red liberty 
caps, were often set up. We remember the French frigate 
PAmbuscade, as making her stay in New York harbour, and at 
night, the officers and men in launches would go ud and down 
the harbour, with bands of music, singing the national airs. At 
the same time, the Boston frigate (British), lay off the Hook, and 
sent in her challenge, for the PAmbuscade to come out and fight 
her. It was accepted ; and many citizens went out in pilot boats, 
and saw the action and drawn battle. Then appeared the song, 

"Brave Boston from Halifax sailed, 
With Courtney, commander, who never did fear, 
Nor returned from a fight, vt^ith a flee in his ear — 
As they steered for the Hook, each swore by his book, 
No prayers should their vengeance retard, 
They would plunder and burn, they would never return. 
Unattended by Captain Bompard !" &c. 

All the facts of that day, as we now contemplate them, seem 
something like the remembrance of our dreams. It was a time, 
when the people seemed maddened by impulse of feeling — such 
as we hope never to see aroused again for any foreigners. They 
were fine feelings to ensure the success of a war actually begun, 
but bad affections for any nation, whose interests lay in peace and 
neutrality. Washington bravely submitted to become unpopular, 
to allay and repress this dangerous foreign attachment. 

About this time, almost every vessel arriving, brought fugitives 
from the infuriated negroes in Cape'Frant^ois, Port au Prince, &c. ; 
27 s2 

210 Manners and Customs. 

or from the sharp axe of the guillotine of France, dripping night 
and day with the blood of Frenchmen, shed in the name of liberty 
and the sacred rights of man. The city thronged with French 
people of all shades from the French colonies, and from old 
France, giving it the appearance of one great hotel or place of 
refuge for strangers hastily collected from a raging tempest. The 
characteristic old school simplicity of the citizens, in manners, 
habits of dress, and modes of thinking and speaking on the sub- 
jects of civil rights and forms of government, by the square and 
rule of reason and argument, began to be broken in upon, by the 
new enthusiasm of la mode Frangaise. French boarding houses, 
marked Pension Frangaise, multiplied in every street. Before 
such houses, groups of both sexes were to be seen seated on 
chairs, embarrassing the street walkers, and the French in full 
converse ; their tongues, shoulders, and hands in perpetual motion 
— " all talkers and no hearers.^' Mestizo ladies, with complexions 
of the palest marble, jet black hair, and eyes of the gazelle, with 
persons of exquisite symmetry, were to be seen escorted along 
the pavements by white French gentlemen, both dressed in the 
richest materials of West India cut and fashion ; also coal black 
negresses in flowing white dresses, and turbans of "muchoir de 
madras," exhibiting their ivory dominos, in social walk with 
white, or mixed Creoles ; altogether forming a lively contrast to 
our native Americans, and the emigres from old France, most of 
whom still kept to the stately old Bourbon style of dress and 
manner; wearing the head full powdered a la Louis, golden 
headed cane, silver-set buckles, and cocked hat, seemingly to ex- 
press en silence, their profound contempt for the pantaloons, silk 
shoestrings, and " Brutus crop." The French West Indians, as 
well as many of ourselves, wore the pantaloons with, feet to them, 
let into the shoes. Their ladies dressed generally en chemise — a 
loose flowing exterior, which strikingly aided to expose their supe- 
rior figures and forms. Such chemise dresses, our young ladies 
soon learned to adopt and follow. They made then no mistakes 
in imagining the real symmetry of our belles. 

It was wonderful how little these French people mixed in our 
society. They formed but few alliances with us; and finally dis- 
appeared like birds of passage, going we knew not where. While 
they remained, they gave an air of French to every thing. They 
introduced us to the use of their confectionaries and bon-bons — 
jewelry and trinkets — dancing and music. In music they excelled. 
Their boarding houses, daily and nightly, resounded with the 
violin and clarionet, and from their example, we adopted cotil- 
lions, and laid aside aU former British modes of dancing. The 
Frenchmen were great promenaders, being much abroad in the 
streets as walkers, and much in the country as shooters — they 
shot and ate all manner of birds, practically thinking that all de- 
pended upon the cooking. They were great shots upon the wing 

Manners and Customs. 211 

— indeed, they learned us so to shoot with their double-barrelled 
guns, expensively finished. These were new to us, and we 
adopted them. Before then, we were more of fishers than shooters, 
or sought our bird game on the water. From them we first be- 
gan to cultivate the study of French, and the use of the piano — 
many of them serving as our instructors. From them we learned 
to adopt gold watches and gilded framed looking-glasses and pic- 
tures. They always dressed with great freshness and cleanliness ; 
but their housekeeping was with proverbial neglect and slovenli- 
ness. They had no aim at nice floors, burnished furniture, or 
cleanly kitchens. They had no love to clean water, but on their 
persons ; and from that cause, they first introduced us to the use 
and support of public baths. They taught us also to much change 
our table diet — to use soups, sallads, sweet oil, tomatoes, ragouts, 
fricasees, and perfumes. They had bread bakers, for " French 
bread" of their own, leavened in their own peculiar way, and 
French restaurants to furnish ready cooked dishes, fortheir dinners. 
From them we learned the use of matresses and high bedsteads, 
the love of musical entertainments and orchstera singing. In a 
word, they inoculated us with Frenchified tastes and affections. 

Courtship and Marriage. A friend having sent us recollec- 
tions of courtship and marriage as witnessed in colonial times, say 
some ten or twelve years preceding the war of the revolution, we 
find it so confirmative of sundry facts, scattered in these pages, 
that we feel tempted to give the article entire. 

It was originally written in 1828, to portray to a young niece, 
(whom we shall call Miss Betsey) what an old bachelor gentle- 
man of eighty, had witnessed of the courtship and wedding of his 
brother, the grandfather of the young lady addressed. 

He begins by saying, — 

My dear little Bess : — 

Your intended marriage has crowded my old heart with many 
recollections of former times ; and I could not resist the tempta- 
tion of proving that I am yet far from the useless days of second 
childhood, by giving you some account of your grandfather's 
courtship and wedding, so that you may have the pleasure of 
contrasting it with your own. At same time I wish to portray, 
incidentally, so far as the subject may admit, the kind of people 
we generally were ; and how we did and lived, when we were 
the liege subjects of his majesty George III. 

Your grandfather had, as the saying is, been. ' set vp^ in busi- 
ness, in a small shop slenderly stocked with pins, tape, broaches, 
buttons, &c., about one year. He religiously took down his 
shutters, opened his door, swept out his warehouse, and dusted 
his goods himself, every morning, by the time grey dawn broke ; 
for those were the days when men grew rich by rising early and 
doing their own business, not by sleeping as they do now, until 
breakfast, leaving their concerns in the hands of thoughtless boys. 

21^ Manners and Customs. 

No indeed ! When I was a young man, we had no capital but 
our reputation for industry and punctuality. Honesty and labour 
were as much in fashion then, as dandy coats and starched cravats 
are now-a-days ; and no sensible matron would allow her daugh- 
ter to be courted by a young man who was not his own servant. 
To do your grandfather justice, he was ever considered a very 
thrifty young man : and as he had been very diligent in business, 
and was fully twenty-five years old, he did not think it being very 
dissipated for him to engage in a sleighing party at North End. 
This opinion was strengthened when he learnt that the whole 
expense would not exceed a dollar. 

The hour for starting, one p. m., was rapidly approaching; 
when your grandfather sallied forth, equipped, to meet his friends 
at the appointed rendezvous. His second best cocked hat was 
tied under his chin by a blue cotton handkerchief, while his young 
queue protruded from behind, as stiff as if it had been griped by the 
icy fingers of Jack Frost himself, instead of being strictly enveloped 
in eel skin. An extensive camlet cloak, with a minute cape, six 
inches in breadth, wrapped up his body, and covered his snuff"- 
coloured coat and small clothes, and stockings, drawn over shoes, 
and all, to keep out the snow. Yarn mittens protected his hands, 
and a woollen tippet was warmly tucked around his neck. People, 
formerly, Betsey, dressed in unison with the weather and the 

The sleigh, the only double one then in town, a vast collection 
of unpainted boards, capable of containing a moderate load of 
thirty, drawn by a variegated team of six horses, and driven by 
black Caesar, of immortal memory as charioteer, waiter, and fid- 
dler, was at the door. Immediately the party, consisting of gen- 
tlemen, who so far as dress was concerned were facsimiles of 
your progenitor, and ladies enveloped in linsey-woolsey cardinals, 
the hoods of which were of such ample dimensions that their 
heads looked like so many beer casks, seated themselves in the 
vehicle. And away they went, animated by the jingle of one or 
two cow-bells, to take a cup of hot tea and have a dance at 

Madame T 's, at H . Csesar, on their arrival, tuned 

his three-stringed fiddle ; the gentlemen appeared in their square- 
toed pumps, and the ladies shook off" their pat lens to display their 
little feet in peak-toed high-heeled slippers. And at it they went, 
dancing and skipping for dear life, until 8 o'clock, when they 
hurried to town, for to be abroad after 9 o'clock on common 
occasions, was then a sure sign of moral depravity. 

But Bess, I have not spun out this long story about the sleigh 
ride for nothing : — The pith of the matter is to come now. On 
this eventful eve, your grandfather was shot indeed by Dan Cupid, 

or rather by Prudence B 's eyes. He came home sighing 

and simpering, and looking very much like a fool. . He dreamed 
all night of that taper arm so closely confined in tight brown silk, 

Manners and Customs. 213 ' 

of that slender waist, with the broidered stomacher — and oh ! 
more than all, of that sweet * blue een,* and that auburn ringlet, 
which the gypsey had allowed to escape unpowdered. The next 
day he went about sighing like a blacksmith's bellows. And Sun- 
day after Sunday, he travelled down to the North church, rigged 
out in his best attire, with his cornelian broach, paste buckles, lace 
frill-worked cravat and all, to get a peep at the blooming Pru- 
dence. And, verily, I fear that her sylph-like form obtained 

more of John's attention than. Dr. B 's sermon. Thus he 

went on, until he thought his circumstances would allow him to 
offer his heart and hand to the fair damsel. 

Now Betsey, I suppose you are all on tiptoe expecting to hear 
of a moonlight walk, a stolen kiss, a stammered confession and a 
blushing answer. But you will be disappointed. Love had a 
much greater sense of propriety in those days. His votaries then 
had to. deal with rigid old fathers and prudential mothers instead 
of thoughtless girls. Your grandfather set himself down one morn- 
ing at his desk, mending his pen, spread out a broad sheet of 
paper, and after various trials, indited in a hand like copper-plate 
an humble letter to the parent of his beloved Prudence, stating 
the amount of his property, his yearly profits, &c., and requesting 
permission to pay his addresses to his daughter. John was, as I 
have already said, esteemed a very prudent young man, so that 

Mr. B felt no hesitation in returning an affirmative answer, 

and probably moreover he chuckled a little at th6 idea that Pru- 
dence was to make out so well. 

Fortune had smiled kindly on brother Jack's love thus far, and 
now was coming the trying, interesting hour when he was to 
make his first official visit. He shut up his shop full five minutes 
before dark. He swallowed his tea in such haste as almost to 
excoriate his tongue. His cravat was tied and re-tied twenty 
times, his hair as often touched with pomatum and powder ; and 
his three cornered scraper was sleeked down like a well curried 
pony. In a word, he spent more time at his toilet on that 
eventful eve, than during his whole life previous. At last he 
started for the house of his fair charmer. Thrice he essayed to 
knock, and thrice he essayed in vain. I verily believe he would 
have spent half the night in mustering up the requisite courage 
for a gentle love-tap, had I not helped his modesty with a thun- 
dering jerk of the knocker, and then run away and left him to 
answer for himself. 

John was ushered up stairs into a fearful circle to begin his 
courtship. When the door of the parlour was opened, one side 
of the fireplace displayed a bevy of Prudence's maiden aunts, 
bristling in all the frigidity of single blessedness, knitting most 
vehemently, and casting, every time a new roiv was to be begun, 
sharp and scrutinizing glances at the young spark, over their 
round eyed spectacles. On the other side was Mr. B , 

214 Manners and Customs. 

stretched at his ease in an arm-chair, in a black cap instead of his 
wig, wrapped in a blue gown, with his breeches unbuttoned at 

his knees, quietly smoking his pipe. Mrs. B , in her chintz 

dress and mob cap, was at his side, engaged in making patch- 
work ; whilst the lovely Prudence sat quite erect by her mamma, 
with her pincushion and house-wife dangling from her waist, and 
her eye cast down, diligently pricking her fingers instead of her 
sampler. Courting was a sober business in old times. Your 
grandfather seated himself much nearer the spinsters, than his 
deary. He showed his affection very properly by keeping at a re- 
spectful distance. He passed the evening in talking politics and 
the scarcity of money, with his future father-in-laAV, in assisting 
his future mother-in-law to arrange her party-coloured squares ; 
in picking up the balls of yarn, as they were respectively dropped 
by the maiden aunts ; now and then casting sly sheep's eyes at 
Prudence, at every instance of which familiarity the aforesaid 
maiden ladies dropped a stitch ! As soon as the bell rung nine, 
he gave one tender squint at your grandmother, and took his 

This was the old-fashioned way of paying attentions ; and this 
your grandfather performed every night, excepting when he was 
allowed to escort Miss Prudence to some neighbouring tea-party. 
Betsey, are you not shocked at the degeneracy of modern times ? 
Only think, that now young ladies and gentleman, as soon as 
they are engaged, and this often before they are out of their teens, 
are permitted to walk all alone by moonlight, and have a parlour 
to themselves a whole winter's evening. 

Alack-a-day, as your great aunt Thankful says, what is the 
world coming to ! 

Matters proceeded in this quiet and proper way for some time, 
until the final question was put, and the night of the wedding 
appointed. Ample time, however, was allowed for the consulta- 
tions of the three aunts, — the seventy times seven examinations 
of the same articles, before a vote for their purchase could be 
obtained. John was obliged to neglect his business sadly, and to 
ambulate from one end of the town to the other, with the spin- 
sters, Mrs. B , and Prudence, to "look at" andirons, can- 
dlesticks, pots, kettles, &c. But Betsey, as I fear the same endless 
preparation is as necessary to marriage now, as it was then, I 
will avoid the charge of garrulity, and hasten on with my story. 

It was a clear, cold December night, the night of the wedding. 

The best parlour in Mr. B 's mansion reflected from its 

well waxed oaken pannel work, the light of a dozen sconces. A 
glowing fire blazed in the spacious chimney, the jambs of which 
were ornamented with scripture stories of Samson, Daniel, 
Joseph, and the prodigal son, represented in sky blue on squares 
of china, and made more engaging by the judicious introduction 
of the costume of the eighteenth century. The vast looking-glass 

Manners and Customs. 215 

duly set in real mahogany frame, gave such likeness of the blaze 
that you would hesitate whether to warm yourself by the real 
or imagined fire. The solid leather bottomed chairs flanked the 
equally substantial iron-footed tables, like so many sturdy old 
patriots. In short, in every part, what was wanting in grace and 
beauty, was supplied wiih weight and comfort. 

Presently the company began to assemble. There were then 
no hackney coaches. Ladies and gentleman both made use of 
nature's carriages; and cousin after cousin, belle after belle, 

came trotting along to Mr. B 's in their pattens with as 

much glee as if they had been drawn by four royal grays. All 
at last were collected, and waiting only for the parson. Old Mr. 

B in his full bottomed wig, velvet coat and breeches, gold 

buckles, waistcoat reaching to his knees, conversed with his bro- 
ther merchants on the usual topics. Mrs. B in her plain 

brocade and snowy cap, only rivalled by her neck handker- 
chief, was seen ever and anon to wipe away a truant tear. The 
maiden aunts, stiff as pokers, were giving to sister spinsters most 
minute accounts of Prudence's domestic arrangements, and were 
particularly eloquent in relating the many w^onderful bargains 
they had made in conducting the purchases. The young men in 
their Sunday suits, throwing off" clouds of flour every time they 
moved their heads, stood dangling their steel watch-chains, and 
making formal speeches to the young ladies who sat, with their 
cushioned head gear, bolt upright, flirting their two foot-fans, 
and blushing and simpering with maiden propriety. At last Dr. 

B appeared, full dressed with gown, cassock and bands, — 

with a wig, that seemed to consist of a whole unsheared sheep- 
skin. For a parson to have attended a wedding in a simple 
black coat and pantaloons, sixty years ago, Betsey, would have 
been deemed rank heresy, indeed 1 have been inclined to think 
that half the power of ministers in my day lay in their wigs. 

The presence of the divine was a signal for the appearance of 
Caesar, in a green coat beautifully studded with steel buttons 

(probably the courting coat of Mr. B , for the coats lasted 

out generations, in old times), bright red breeches, blue stockings, 
and yellow vest ; followed by Cleopatra and her flaming copper- 
plate gown, and hoop to imitate the ladies. The former sustained 
a mahogany tray, shining like his face, sprinkled all over with 
those very little teacups, which I believe made their last appear- 
ance in your baby-house, Betsey ; the latter bore a twin waiter 
loaded with nut-cakes, symbols, and bread and butter. This 
ebony procession appeared and disappeared three several times ; 
and then the bridal party entered. First came two pretty maidens, 
who longed I dare say to be in Prudence's shoes, in white dimity, 
with the eternal upheaved top-knots, escorted by another gentle- 
man and myself, in blazing scarlet. Next came the happy pair ; 
Prudence slightly suflused, with her eyes bent towards the ground 

216 Manners and Customs. 

—not her head, for loaded as it was, the slightest inclination of it 
might have produced a motion somewhat like that of a top-heavy 
cornstalk witch ; John, moving and looking as awkward as a boy 
whose free limbs have been shaken for the first time into jacket 
and trowsers. But stop, I am too general It will never do, not 
to be particular on such a subject as wedding dresses. 

To begin with the lady ; her locks were strained upward over 
an immense cushion, that sat like an incubus on her head, and 
then plastered over with pomatum, and sprinkled with a shower 
of white powder. The height of this tower was somewhat over 
a foot. One single white rose bud lay on its top like an eagle on 
a haystack. Over her neck and bosom was folded a lace hand- 
kerchief, fastened in front by a bosom pin rather larger than a 
dollar, consisting of your grandfather's miniature set in virgin 
gold. Her airy form was braced up in a satin dress, the sleeves 
tight as the natural skin of the arm, with a waist formed by a 
bodice, worn outside, from whence the skirt flowed off", and was 
distended at the ankles by an ample hoop. Shoes of white kid, 
with peaked toes, and heels of two or three inches elevation, 
inclosed her feet and glittered with spangles, as her little pedal 
members peeped curiously out. There, Betsey, a London milli- 
ner could not have described a bridal garment more accurately. 
Now for the swain. Your grandfather slept in an arm-chair the 
night before his wedding, lest the arrangements of his peri- 
cranium, which had been under the hands of a barber the whole 
afternoon, should be disturbed. His hair was sleeked back and 
plentifully befloured, while his queue projected like the handle 
of a skillet. His coat was of a sky blue silk, lined with yellow ; 
his long vest of white satin, embrodiered with gold lace ; his 
breeches of the same material, and tied at the knee with pink 
ribbon. White silk stockings and pumps, with locks and ties of 
the same hue, completed the habiliments of his nether limbs. 
Lace ruffles clustered around his wrists, a portentous frill worked 
in correspondence, and beanng the miniature of his beloved, 
finished his truly genteel appearance. 

The party soon arranged themselves, and Dr. B , with a 

dreadful solemn air, united the lovers in the holy bonds of matri- 
mony. The three maiden aunts, probably reflecting upon their 

lonely state, snivelled audibly. Mrs. B put a handkerchief 

to her eyes, and Mr. B gave a loud hem as if to clear his 

throat. After the ceremony, the parson made a long and serious 
address to the young couple, during which the old ladies looked 
meaningly at the young damsels, who pertly pouted with their 
pretty hp?, and played with their pretty feet rather impatiently 
upon the floor ; whilst the young beaux hunched each other with 
their elbows and grinned slightly. The speech over, and when 
all the company had saluted the bride with loud and hearty 
kisses, which sounded like the irregular discharge of small arms, 

Manners and Customs. 217 

Caesar's fiddle began to speak audibly. The new married pair 
slided through a minuet, and then the whole company danced 
and romped until supper was announced. 

And such a supper ! I might as well attempt to give an idea 
of the flavour of venison on paper, as of this supper. At each 
end of the table, attended by a pair of ducks lay a glorious turkey, 
flat on his back as if inviting dissection. Next came two luscious 
hams, with graceful overshadowing box ; then sausages, garnished 
with fried apples ; then smoked two tender surloins of beef; then 
the golden salmon ; in short, the table groaned under a load of 
flesh, fish, and fowl of all sorts and kinds 

At each corner rested a huge pumpkin pudding, surrounded with 
numerous satellites of tarts, and in the very centre of the board 
stood jellies, and the wedding cake, with its snowy covermg of 
sugar, studded with flowers and ginger, full as large round as a 
bushel basket. Strict justice was done the repast. The ladies 
ate as though they lived by eating, the gentlemen as though they 
were hungry, the parson as if he loved it. Many jokes were 
cracked. Many a good wish to the new married pair was drank, 
and the company departed in high spirits. Caesar drove the 

bride and bridegroom, in Mr. B 's one horse square top 

chaise, to their own dwelling, where they lived long and happy, 
although Prudence neither played upon the piano nor read Ita- 

If, Bess, this narrative affords you as much pleasure in reading 
of olden times, as it has your uncle in recalling them, I am satis- 

P. S. Your grandmother spoke out the obey so as to be dis- 
tinctly heard all over the room. 

With a view to illustrate and better confirm our notices of 
manners and customs, we here give sundry interesting remarks 
from the pen of Charles F. Hoffman, Esq., as presented to the 
New York Historical Society, saying ; 

It has always been a curious subject with me, when speculat- 
ing upon the growth and development of our national character, 
to trace the influence of sectional peculiarities, and determine if 
possible how far the striking social features which characterize 
some of the States, are represented in the general national por- 

But the interest — if any be allowed to attach to the theme — 
the interest of the inquiry becomes much more real when the 
early manners and customs of the present state of New York 
are the subject of investigation ; for the vast influx of immigra- 
tion since the revolution, has not only obliterated her peculiar 
colonial character, but the very memory of it is rapidly passing 
away. The Massachusetts-man, the Virginian and South Ca- 
rolinian, are still identified with their fathers, in both private 
and historical association ; while New York, alike in the grave 
28 T 

218 Manners and Customs. 

writings of the annalist and in the habitual mention of the daily- 
press, is scarcely recognized as having more than a territorial 
existence previous to the revolution. The popular phrase of "our 
Pilgrim fathers," has become perfectly domesticated in the pub- 
lic lecture-rooms of New York; and no one thinks of discussing 
a question of morals in the newspapers, without referring to " the 
customs of our Puritan ancestry.'^ Both these phrases, indeed, 
have more than once, of late years, been used in our state legis- 
lature, to add force to some eloquent appeal. Now, while it 
might be in very questionable taste to carp at or arraign the natu- 
ral associations of those who compose, if not the largest, yet 
perhaps the most intelligent, and possibly the most valuable por- 
tion of our fellow citizens throughout the state generally, yet 
this covering up and obliteration of our ancient story is not alto- 
gether well ! New York, though she had no Speedwell nor May- 
flower freighted with precious hearts, daring the wilderness for 
conscience's sake — New York was still planted, and earlier 
planted, by men as bold to confront the perils of a new climate 
or the horrors of savage warfare, as those who landed at Ply- 
mouth — by men, too, who penetrated beyond the mountains, and 
estabUshed their little colonies a hundred and fifty miles from the 
sea-shore, without thinking that they did anything extraordinary 
enough to transmit their names to posterity. 

But it is with neither of these memorable bands of adven- 
turers that we now have to do. My aim is only to call your 
attention to the distinctive character of the people of New York 
— their character, whether good or bad, but still distinctive, as it 
existed previous to the revolution. 

In those old colonial days, when the now popular dogmas 
about "the pure Anglo-Saxon race" had not been broached, 
except in the student's closet, the chance traveller who visted the 
banks of the Hudson observed the happy fusion of national pre- 
judices and the general ease and uniformity of sentiment which 
prevailed among the descendants of the different European stocks 
by which that noble valley was originally planted ; but, while 
recording that the general system of opinions here was far more 
liberal and tolerant than that prevailing in the neighbouring colo- 
nies, those who have stated the fact leave us to make up our 
own judgment as to the cause. We may ascribe the amiable trait 
to the social intercourse and frequent intermarriages of the differ- 
ent races already alluded to ; we may attribute it to the homely fact, 
that most of the settlers of New York came hither to enjoy life, 
not to establish creeds ; to secure a domestic fireside, not to make 
converts to new political truths ; or, lastly, we may look for the 
cause in the nature of their favourite pursuits, and the mollifying 
effect, upon manners, of many a simple old festal custom. 

All of these influences, most probably had a combined effect in 
producing the result. The facility with which both the French 

Manners and Customs. 219 

and the English intermingled with their Dutch predecessors in 
the colony, is easily accounted for, by our knowledge of the long 
residence in Holland of most of the French, and many of the 
British immigrants, before corning hither to establish themselves ; 
and the same cause will account for Dutch being equally with 
English, the general language of the colony, long after the latter 
race had begun to preponderate in numbers. Oddly enough, 
however, while their Puritan brethren were drawing tighter and 
tighter the rein of religious authority in New England, it was to 
the English here that the people of New York were indebted 
for their first lessons in general toleration, a toleration not the 
less remarkable at that day, because the Roman Catholic faith 
was not included ; and it is singular that the historians of New 
England should affect to trace any of the precious leaven of 
political Puritanism among the people of New York, not only 
previous to the revolution, but so early as the year 1698, a period 
when more than one influential English family of this province 
was grievously suspected, of " popery ;" and ^hen in the city of 
New York especially, Jesuits were supposed to be prowling 
around every corner. 

But what were the principal pursuits of our forefathers ? How 
did their habits of life which I have already alluded to in this 
connection influence their general tone of character ? The bold 
deeds of Miles Standish, and the celebrated names Mianlonimo 
and Philip of Pokanoket, have made the Indian wars of New 
England familiar to every schoolboy, — familiar as are the savage 
forays into Kentucky, of a much later day. But so little has the 
legendary story of New York been illustrated, until the appear- 
ance of Campbell's Annals of Tryon County, and the more recent 
and valuable work upon the times of Brant and the border wars 
generally, by another member of this Society, that few seem 
aware that the province of New York was for nearly the full 
space of a century, a straggling camp of partisan soldiery, ever on 
the alert to meet and repel invasion. 

Whether the French, after drawing their Avonderful line of 
forts, which extended through the western wilderness, from 
Quebec to New Orleans, whether they really ever hoped to cut a 
path to the Atlantic by the way of the Hudson, it is now difficult 
to say. But long previous to the date of Leisler's ill-starred 
attempt to expel them from Canada, and down to the time when 
Wolfe triumphed at Quebec, the old chronicles which record the 
formidable descent of Count Frontinac, the massacre of Schenec- 
tady, and other inroads of Hurons and Adirondacks led on by 
French officers, tell us repeatedly of sudden taxes levied, and men 
warned to hold themselves ready in arms, even in this city, 
apparently so remote from the scene of the never-ending border 
struggle. To the military character thus fearfully fostered through 
several generations, not less than to the general love of sylvan 

220 Manners and Customs. 

sports, engendered perhaps by the pursuit of the fur trade, many 
of the most characteristic traits of our forefathers are safely 

The wars with New France, as Canada is called by the pro- 
vincial writers of that day, commenced at an early period of New 
Netherland's history, and though ostensibly suspended when the 
parent countries were at peace with each other, yet the incessant 
forays between the New York and Canadian Indians ; between 
the famous Five Nations, or Iroquois of New York, and the 
Hurons and Adirondacks of the St. Lawrence, was in fact a 
struggle between the French and English, to secure possession of 
northern and western New York. A grasping desire for territory 
on the part of the French, and a bitter jealousy of their rivalship 
in the fur trade, upon the part of the New Yorkers, impelled the 
colonists on either side, to share personally in these Indian quar- 
rels, without troubling themselves much about the danger of 
compromising poUtically the mother countries which pretended 
to sway them. In a word, the pursuit of the fur trade afforded 
them, as it has done in later days, an admirable cover for that 
respectable species of land-piracy which permits bands of men to 
cut each other's throats, and fight out their national quarrels in 
the wilderness, without necessarily involving their country's flag, 
by the practice of such wholesale hostility against each other. 
And, after all, how did it matter much that the New York trader 
who was traversing the Mohawk and Oswego with a boat load 
of muskets and gunpowder, to exchange for furs with his Iroquois 
friends, should lend his hardy crew to them for a day or two, 
while the Burgeois of Montreal, who coasted Lake Ontario with 
his batteaux, had his voyagenrs already clad and painted like 
Indians, in honest expectation of such a contingency ! 

The large immigration of disbanded German soldiers in Queen 
Anne's time, and the influx a few years later of Scotch Jacobites, 
who had been in arms for the Pretender, brought a representation 
of new races of not ungenial habits, to coalesce with the earlier 
colonists of New York ; and it was owing to the half military, 
half marauding temper these induced, that tjie breaking out of 
the Revolution found so few neutrals in New York — so many 
that took up arms either on one side or the other, fighting with 
such desperation to the close, that in no other province did the 
struggle wear so completely all the fearful features of a civil war 
as in this. 

It is now curious to look at the other side of the picture, as we 
have it authentically transmitted to us. According to the intelli- 
gent Mrs. Grant, of Laghan, (whose delightful Reminiscences of 
early New York, are probably familiar to most of us,) there were 
in her day but few youth of character or respectability, who had 
not made one or more expeditions to the frontiers, serving at 
least one campaign, in what might then be called the Aboriginal 

Manners and Customs. 22\ 

Flanders of America. Yet, the great simplicity of manners, the 
peace, security, and abundance which prevailed in the Valley of 
the Hudson, gave to that favoured region a character of almost 
pastoral tranquillity. "This singular community," says the 
observing Scotch woman, " seemed to have a common stock, not 
only of sufferings and enjoyments, but of information and ideas.'' 
Some pre-eminence in point of knowledge, there certainly was, 
yet those who possessed it seemed scarcely conscious of their supe- 
riority. The daily occasions which called forth the exertions of 
mind, sharpened sagacity, and strengthened character; avarice 
and vanity were there confined to very narrow limits ; of money 
there was very little, (wampum beads being actually at one time 
a common medium of exchange,) and dress was, though in some 
instances valuable, not subject to the caprice of fashion; the 
beasts of prey that haunted their enclosures, (for wolves and 
bears especially abounded in this colony,) and the enraged sav- 
ages that always hung threatening on their boundaries, made 
them more and more endeared to each other. In this calm infancy 
of society the rigors of law slept, because the fury of turbulent 
passions had not yet awakened it. Fashion, that whimsical 
tyrant of adult communities, had not yet erected her standard ; 
" yet no person," says Mrs. Grant, " appeared uncouth or ill- 
bred, because there was no accomplished standard of comparison ; 
their manners, if not elegant and polished, were at least easy and 
independent, while servility and insolence were equally un- 
known." Belted in, as it were, by the formidable Iroquois on 
their northern and western borders, and acknowledging those 
martial tribes as their chief bulwark against the allied Hurons 
and French of Canada, they were thus brought in immediate 
contact with those whom the least instance of fraud, insolence, or 
grasping meanness, might have converted from even valuable 
friends into resistless enemies. They were thus, we are told, 
compelled at first to " assume a virtue if they had it not," while 
the daily pressure of circumstance, at last rendered that virtue 

With regard to the New York women of that day, the same 
writer bears particular testimony that while their confined educa- 
tion precluded elegance of mind, the simplicity of their manners 
wa^ as far removed as possible from vulgarity. " At the same 
time," she observes, "these unembellished females had more 
comprehension of mind, more variety of ideas, more, in short, of 
what may be called original thinking, than could be easily ima- 
gined." Indeed it was on the women that the task of religious 
instruction chiefly devolved ; and the essentials rather than the 
ceremonials of piety, being instilled by them, the mothers of the 
colony were thus regarded with a reverence which gave a simple 
earnestness to their character when mixing in secular concerns. 

Of the domestic, or rather the out-of-door pursuits of these 


222 Manners and Customs. 

simple housewives, there is one charming picture has come down 
to us. While the custom of the male head of the household 
cherishing some ancient tree planted immediately in front of the 
door-way, was almost universal in both town and country, alike 
in Albany and New York, as well as in every rural settlement, 
each dwelling was adorned with its little garden, which was under 
the special care of the mistress of the family. The garden spot, 
devoted equally to flowers and esculent vegetables, was thought 
to evidence equally the advance of her taste and the condition of 
her housekeeping. After describing these gardens as " extremely 
neat, but small, and not by any means calculated for walking in," 
the European resident exclaims, " I think I yet see what I have 
so often beheld in both town and country, a respectable mistress 
of a family going out to her garden in an April morning, with her 
great calash, her little painted basket of seeds, and her robe over 
her shoulders, to her garden labours. These were by no means 
figurative ; a woman in very easy circumstances and abundantly 
gentle in form and manners, would sow and plant, and rake in- 
cessantly." These fair gardeners (we are also told) were likewise 
good florists, and displayed much emulation and solicitude in their 
pleasing employment. 

In connection with this glimpse of not uninteresting homely 
habits it may be worth while to recur to the condition of slavery 
in early New York. So utterly is this institution now eftaced 
from among us, that it has become difficult to realize how much 
is due to the far-seeing statesman and pure patriot, through whose 
instrumentality, chiefly, abolition was effected within our borders. 
Yet in no colony of our present Union did slavery more generally 
prevail than in that of New York; for while the social distinctions, 
depending upon taste and education, were quietly respected, there 
was here no division of society into two great classes, as at the 
south ; where one great landed proprietor could count hundreds 
of human beings as his serfs, while another of the same blood, 
was sunk almost below the servile tiller of the soil, by the very 
fact of his owning no property in any man but himself For, 
while the number of slaves in any New York family rarely ex- 
ceeded a dozen, there was hardly a dwelling in the colony that 
di,d not shelter some of these family appendages. Slavery was 
indeed here literally " a domestic institution." " There were no 
field negroes," no collection of cabins remote from the house, 
known as "the negro quarters." The slaves lived under the 
same roof, and partook of the same fare as the rest of the family, 
to which they belonged. They were scrupulously baptized, too, 
and shared the same religious instruction with the children of the 
family. There was no especial law, we are told, preventing the 
barter of slaves ; but a natural sentiment, which had grown into 
a custom, as compulsory as any law, prevented the separation of 
families ; and above all, the sale of any child without the permis- 

Manners and Customs. 223 

sion of the mother, who would often exercise her own caprice in 
designating its future master. The exchange of slaves was also 
almost invariably limited to family relatives. When a negro 
woman's child attained the age of three years, it was solemnly 
presented, the first new-year's day 'following, to the son, or 
daughter, or other young relation of the family, who was of the 
same sex with the child so presented ; and when in after years, 
the youthful master went out to seek his fortunes upon the fron- 
tiers, a thousand instances are related of the fidelity and devotion 
of these sable squires, amid the perils of the wilderness. There is 
one remark which I will venture to make, in connection with this 
branch of our subject, because its truth may be, even at this late 
day, verified in Rockland, Orange, King's, Queen's and other 
counties of this state, where the full-blooded descendants of these 
negro slaves are still found with their African features and com- 
plexions, wholly unchanged. In this colony alone was it cus- 
tomary, among the rural population, (after the fashion of dealing 
with the household serfs of northern Europe, in the olden time,) 
to seat the menials at the lower end of the family board, but not- 
withstanding this familiar contact with the race, amalgamation, 
as I have already hinted, was utterly unknown to our forefathers. 
The mulatto mixture was introduced here from other states. As 
a happy confirmation of the truth of this observation, derived 
from other sources, I may mention that after writing thus far, I 
found, upon referring to the work from which I have already so 
freely quoted, the valuable testimony of its writer, given in the 
following words : 

" It is but justice to record a singular instance of moral delicacy, 
distinguishing this settlement (the colony of New York) from 
every other in the like circumstances. Though from their simple 
and friendly modes of life, they were from infancy in habits of 
familiarity with their negroes, yet being early taught that nature 
had placed between them a barrier, which it was in a high degree 
criminal and disgraceful to pass, they considered a mixture of 
such distinct races with abhorrence, as a violation of her laws. 
This greatly conduced to the preservation of family happiness 
and concord. It may be thought remarkable that our forefathers, 
while deducing not only their general code of morality, but this 
special creed as to the preservation of castes, from the Bible, like- 
wise pretended to find in the same good book the most unques- 
tionable authority for holding the black race in bondage. They 
imagined that they had found the negro condemned to perpetual 
slavery, and thought nothing remained for them but to lighten 
the chains of their fellow Christians after having made them 

Of law, we are drily told by a contemporary, the generality 
of those people knew very little ; of philosophy, nothing at all, 
save as they found them both in the Bible, the time-cherished 

224 Manners and Customs. 

possession of every family ; and often their only literary treasure. 
We have now the laws, the poetry, and philosophy, of which 
they were so deplorably ignorant ; yet the law-giver, the poet, 
and the philosopher, might perhaps perversely decide that the 
spirit which gives vitality to these elements of social elevation, 
was hardly more diffused than formerly. They either and all 
of them might declare that Order, the first and highest law of 
Heaven itself — that Truth and Naturalness, the basis of all 
poetry — that Happiness, the ultimate aim of all philosophy — 
though by no means so well understood as now, were practised 
nearly as well ; were enjoyed almost as generally as in our en- 
lightened day. 

Men acted then, not because public opinion constrained, but 
because their own honest and well trained natures impelled them. 
"Public opinion" — that name of the most tremendous engine of 
a people's power, and most subtle weapon against individual 
freedom — that engine, whose formidable energies have made New 
England gloriously powerful as she is — that weapon, whose mis- 
chievous meddling with private rights is marring the manly inde- 
pendence of Americans, and letting out its social worth from the 
heart of the nation — public opinion, as we understand it, was 
wholly unknown to our fathers. 

To those familiar with the racy humour of Knickerbocker's 
history — whole pages of which we have seen quoted in a grave 
work of historical reference, as presenting a true picture of New 
York society and manners previous to the Revolution — to those, 
I say, who are disposed to take this very witty, but not altogether 
well-judged caricature of our forefathers, as a veritable though 
exaggerated picture of the times preceding the Revolution, the 
views in which we have indulged may seem lifeless and unattrac- 

Yet, while it would not have been difficult, with the mere aid 
of many a sketch, work, and manuscript in the collection of the 
Historical Society, to prepare a paper that might have some cu- 
rious interest for many, I have preferred taking a more general, 
though less entertaining view of my subject. I wished to call 
the attention of more philosophic minds to the actual condition 
of the people of New York before the schoolmaster was abroad. 
I wished to awaken some interest in the manners and customs 
of a race of men who seem to me to have been full as respectable 
in their day, on the score of character, as we claim to be in ours, 
on the score of mere intellectuality — a race of men who I con- 
fess, are full as interesting to me from their honest individuality, 
so to speak, as are those creatures of enlightened public opinion 
which are called the " intelligent mass," in our day. Nor would 
I be understood as either preaching up conservatism, or yearning, 
with antiquarian affection, for the usages and modes of opinion 
which belonged to times gone by. My first object has been 

Diagram of Great Fires, 1835 and '45, p. 197. 

Remarkable Fads and Incidents. 225 

merely to remind you that the people of those times are not 
unworthy of your study, and that their claim to remembrance 
may be more fully acknowledged than now, in those coming 
years when we may vainly seek to fan the embers of expiring 
tradition. My second object has been, to interpose a doubt which 
must often have occurred to all thinking men, whether the boasted 
intelligence and improved external mechanism of the society in 
which we live is really such an improvement upon the social plan 
by which the character of our forefathers was developed, that we 
are willing to forego their memory, save as it may minister to our 


— — -" To strike our marvelling eyes, 
Or move our special wonder." 

In filling up a chapter of this kind, we foresee that it will be 
necessarily so various and desultory, as to proclude any classifi- 
cation. It will be all such facts and things as may best serve 
to surprise, amuse and inform the present generation. Though 
old in themselves, they will be novelties to many now, — a present 
picture, — though in fragments, and in mosaic of a buried age. 

In the year 1735, animosity ran pretty high between the mili- 
tary governor and his council on the one part, and the mayor and 
council on the other part. On this occasion, Zanger the printer, 
took the part of the latter, which was considered "vox populi" 
also ; the consequence was, he was put under arrest and trial. 
The popular excitement was strong, and feelings extended even 
to Philadelphia. Andrew Hamilton, there a celebrated lawyer 
and civilian, volunteered to aid Zanger, and went on to New 
York, and there effected his deliverance with great triumph. 
Grateful for this, the corporation of the city voted him " a golden 
snuff-box, with many classical inscriptions, and within they 
enclosed him the freedom of the city." The box might now be 
a curiosity. 

I was shown the locality of an incident which has had more 
readers than any other popular tale of modern times. No. 24 
on Bowery road, is a low wooden house, the same from which 
the heroine of " Charlotte Temple" was seduced by a British 
officer. The facts were stated to me, and the place shown by 
Dr. F. 

In 1769 was a time of fierce and contentious election for 

Assemblymen ; the poll was kept open for four days ; no expense 

was spared by the candidates ; the friends of each party kept 

open houses in every ward, where all regaled and partook to the 


226 Remarkable Facts and Incidents. 

full ; all citizens left off their usual business ; there were only 
1515 electors, of which 917 were freeholders; all non-resident 
voters were sought for earnestly in the country and brought to 
the city polls. John Cruger, James Delancy, Jacob Walton, and 
John Jauncey, were the successful candidates by majorities gene- 
rally of 250 to 270 votes. 

On an occasion of an election, Mr. Alexander M'Dougal (after- 
wards Gen. M'D.) was the author of an address "to the public,'^' 
signed " Legion," wherein he invoked the public assembling of 
the people at the fields near De la Montange's, (which is in 
modern parlance in the Park, near Peale's museum,) " in order 
effectually to avert the evil of the late base, inglorious conduct 
by our general assembly, who, in opposition to the loud and 
general call of their constitutents and of sound policy, and to the 
glorious struggle for our birthrights, have dared to vote supplies 
to the troops without a shadow of pretext. Therefore, let every 
friend to his country then appear." 

For this stirring appeal M^Dougal was taken under arrest by the 
sergeant at arms of the assembly, who placed him in the county 
gaol. While he was there confined, forty-five persons " Sons of 
Liberty," (for " forty-five" persons was a talismanic number 
then) went to visit him in prison, to salute and cheer him. Not 
long after, " forty-five" female " Sons of Liberty," headed by 
Mrs. Malcomb, (wife of the general) made their visit also to cheer 
the state prisoner, and to applaud " his noble conduct in the cause 
of liberty." It was this leaven that was carrying on the fermen- 
tation thus early for the revolution. 

The gaining of the election caused the New Yorkers, in 1770, 
to recede from their non-importation covenants, and the Whigs of 
Philadelphia resolved to buy nothing of them " while governed 
by a faction." 

The winter of 1755 was so pecuUarly mild, that the navigation 
of the North river kept open all the season. Mr. David Grim, 
saw from that cause. Sir Peter Hackett's and Col. Dunbar's 
regiment go up the river to Albany in that winter. 

The winter of 1779-80, on the other hand, was the extreme of 
cold, producing " the hard winter." Two great cakes of ice closed 
up the North river from Paulus Hook ferry to Courtland street. 
Hundreds then crossed daily. Artillery, and sleds of provisions, 
were readily passed over : and even heavy artillery was borne 
over the frozen bridge to Staten Island. 

My friend James Bogert, then a small lad, was with his uncle, 
the first persons who were ever known to have crossed the East 
river on the ice, at or near Hell Gate, 

The winters of 1740-41, 1764-5, 1779-80, and 1820-21, 
formed the four severest winters in 100 years ; and were the only 
winters in which the North river could be crossed on the ice. 
The cold, on the 25th January 1821, was seven degrees below 

Remarkable Fads and Incidents. 227 

zero ; being one degree lower than any former record. The 
cold in January 1765, was at six degrees below zero. 

" Then the parching air burnt frore, 
And cold performed Uie effect of Jire /" 

I saw in the Historical Society Library, something very rare 
to be found in this country : they are sixteen volumes folio of 
MS. Journals of the House of Commons, in Cromwell's rule, 
say from 1650, to 1675, said to have been presented through the 
family of the late Governor Livingston. I suspect, however, they 
came through the family of Governor Williamson, because a 
great part of Col. De Hart's library went by will to De Hart 
Williamson in 1801. Mrs. D. Logan had before told me of 
having seen those volumes in the possession of Col. De Hart, of 
Morristown, N. J. about the year ISOO. She could not learn 
how they came into this country, although she found it was 
believed they were abducted by some of Cromwell's friends 
(who went out first to New England, and afterwards settled 
near Morristown) to prevent their use against those who might 
remain in England. Their ample margins had been partially 
used by a commanding officer of our army there, when paper 
was scarce, to write his orders !* 

Captain Kidd, the celebrated pirate, was once married and 
settled at New York. As the trial of Kidd, which I have seen 
and preserved, states on the authority of Col. Livingston, that he 
had a wife and child then in New York, my inquiring mind has 
sometimes, looking among the multitude, said. Who knows, but 
some of these are Kidd's descendants ? ' I observe, however, that 
the name is not in the New York Directory ; Col. Livingston 
recommended him to the crown officers " as a bold and honest 
man." He had probably been a privateersman aforetime out of 
New York, as we find the records there stating that he there paid 
his fees (in 1691) to the governor and to the king. Another 
record also states some process against one of his seamen, as 
deserted from him. 

In 1695 he arrived at New York from England, with the 
king's commission, and soon after began and continued his pira- 
cies for four years. In 1699 he again arrived within the Long 
Island Sound, and made several deposits on the shore of that 
island. Being decoyed to Boston, he was arrested, sent to Eng- 
land, and executed at Execution Dock on the 23d March, 1701. 

To this day it is the traditionary report that the family of 
J at Oyster Bay, and of C at Huntington, are en- 

♦ An elaborate notice of these volumes has been made by James Bowdoin, 
Esq., for the Historical Society, of Massachusetts, and I have since ascertained 
that they accord Vrith the jprinUd Journals. It is nevertheless strange that they 
are here. 

228 Remarkable Facts and Incidents. 

riched by Kidd's spoils ; they having been in his service, by force 
it is presumed, and made their escape at Long Island at Eaton- 
neck, which gave them the power afterwards of attaining " the 

deposits" above referred to. Both J and C- became 

strangely rich. 

The records of Philadelphia show that, contemporaneous with 
this time, " one Shelly, from New York, has greatly infested our 
navigation with Kidd's pirates." 

In the "History of the Pirates," Boston edition, we find 
some additional facts concerning Captain Robert Kidd and his 
associates. The king's commission to Kidd, while he affected to 
be a leojal Privateersman, incidentally named the pirates whom 
he was intended to seek and capture ; they were " Captains 
Thomas Too, John Ireland, Thomas Wake, and Captain Maze, 
and other subjects, natives or inhabitants of New York and 
elsewhere in America, they being Pirates upon the American 
seas," &c. None of their histories appeared in the book. Some 
of them were natives of New Jersey nearest to New York. 
With Kidd were executed at London as his accomplices, Nich. 
Churchill and James How of New Jersey, and Gabriel Loff, 
Hugh Parrott, Abel Owens, and Darby Muilins. It was proved 
that Kidd had killed his gunner " William Moor" in a quarrel. 
It will not fail to be observed in the foregoing, and similar cases 
of names, that none of them are of the true Holland race. It is 
however believed, that the New Yorkers as Dutchmen, were 
keen enemies of the Spaniards, who had so long oppressed and 
wasted their father-land. They might have been willing to con- 
nive at unlawful aggressions on their possessions in the West 
Indies and in South America ; Even the English colonists, every 
where, had no aversion to their being roughly scourged, as ene- 
mies in many wars. 

In 1712 a pirate brigantine appeared off Long Island, com- 
manded by one Lowe, a Bostonian ; lie was a successful fellow, 
who had captured Honduras. About the same time one Evans 
also comes on the coast. 

The next year two pirates looked into Perth Amboy and New 
York itself. 

Lowe commanded the " Merry Christmas," of three hundred 
and thirty tons, and his consort was commanded by one Harris. 
[Another pirate. Captain Sprigg, called his vessel "the Bachelor's 
Delight."] They bore a black flag ; while off the Hook, they 
Avere engaged by the Greyhound of his Majesty's navy. He 
captured the least of them, having on board as prisoners thirty- 
seven whites and six blacks ; all of whom were tried and executed 
at Rhode Island, and all bearing our common English names. 
Captain Solgard, who thus conquered, was presented with the 
freedom of the city in a gold snuff-box. Lowe, in indignation, 

Remarkable Facts and Incidents. 229 

afterwards became cruel to Englishmen, cutting and slitting their 
noses. He had on board during the fight, as the prisoners told, 
£150,000 in silver and gold. 

The gazettes of this period teem with their adventures. In 
that time the pubUc mind was engrossed with the dread of them, 
and they had accomplices often on shore to aid them and divide 
the spoil. 

In 1724 William Bradford, in New York, publishes the general 
history of the pirates, including two women, Mary Reed and 
Anne Bonny. 

First discovery of New York harbour by the English. It is 
not told, and perhaps not known to any American historian, that 
New York harbour and the mouth of the Hudson, were discovered 
by the English, before seen or known by Hudson. My edition 
of " Modern History," being a continuation of the Universal 
History (in 3 vols. 8vo., concerning America,) London edition, 
1763, vol. 2, p. 240, says, "A ship was equipped by two enter- 
prising public spirited noblemen, the Lords Southampton and 
Arundel, to prosecute discoveries, the conduct of which was en- 
trusted to Capt. Weymouth. The adventurer set sail in the 
month of March 1605, and arrived the following Whitsunday 
at the mouth of Hudson's river, on the coast of North America, 
to which, for this reason, he gave the name of Pentecost har- 
bour. At first his voyage was successful, he traded with the 
natives for furs, and obtained a considerable cargo ; but his men 
kidnapping some of the Indians, he wdiS forced Xo quit the coast 
abruptly, to avoid the effects of their resentment, and take his 
departure for England.'' 

It may be remarked also, that the French have also had some 
show of claim to discovery, by the Dauphin in April 1524, one 
of Verranzo's ships. He entered the harbour about the lati- 
tude of 41° described somewhat like New York — there he re- 
mained and traded with the natives till the 5th of May. See 
Hakluyt's voyages. 

The same vol. 2nd, p. 546, says, " It is difficult, and indeed 
immaterial, to settle the claims of prior possession, amongst the 
colonists of America. Capt. Hudson, an Englishman, is said to 
have been the first who discovered this country, and about the 
year 1608 he sold it to the Dutch. [This time don't agree with our 
records that his discovery was in September 1609.] This trans- 
action was certainly very questionable, as it had not the sanction 
of James I., without which it was thought it was not in the power 
of a private subject to dispose of so important and so fine a tract 
of country. The Dutch however proceeded to settle it ; the court 
of England complained of this settlement, and of their placing a 
governor over it — protesting against it." Sir Samuel Argal, 
while acting as governor in Virginia, as deputy to Lord Dela- 
war, (p. 245) " was indefatigable in making discoveries on the 


230 Remarkable Facts and Incidents, 

coasts of New England, Nova Scotia, and Acadia ; from whence 
he had driven some parties of French, who had attempted to 
make settlements — Sir Samuel claiming all this coast as the right 
of the crown of England. It being represented that Mr. Argal 
bent his whole application to the discovery of new countries, 
without making the proper advantage of those already in posses- 
sion, he was recalled (1611). It was perhaps owing to the above 
mentioned characteristics of Sir Samuel Argal, that it is said, vol. 
2, p. 346 : " Sir Samuel Argal, in his way from Virginia to 
New Scotland (Nova Scotia), attacked and destroyed the planta- 
tions of the Dutch, by order, it is to be presumed, from the court 
of England." " IJpon this, the Dutch applied to king James for 
a confirmation of Hudson's conveyance ; but all they could ob- 
tain, was leave to build some cottages for the conveniency of 
their ships, touching for fresh water, in their way to Brazil?^ 
"This permission afforded them pretexts for enlarging their 
settlements, till at last, New Netherlands became a flourishing 

Early Notices. In 1670, Dan'l Denton of England, who had 
been residing among the first English settlers at Jamaica, Long 
Island, published in London, his " brief relation of New York," 
as it had appeared to him under its then recent change, from the 
Dutch to the British rule. From it as a scarce work, (reprinted 
by the Historical Society of Penna.,) I make sundry extracts, de- 
pictive of things as they were, viz. He writes, he says, to give 
satisfaction to those who may be desirous to go thither. Land, 
he says, is procured by forming a company sufiicient to make a 
town, which the governor readily confirms, wherever they may 
choose to locate it. A part of the first land they leave to lie in 
common as pasture land, until more population may make it use- 
ful to divide the remainder. It seems to be all a gratis concern, 
for the sake of population and' improvement. The things most 
needful for the new comers, is said to be clothing ; for with that, 
they can supply themselves with cattle and corn ; and with any 
sorts of English goods, such as implements of husbandry, nails, 
hinges, glass &c., they can command everything. The tradesmen 
there of all kinds, have enough to do, and all live happily. There 
they do much in raising their own flax, making their own linen, 
their woollen cloth, and linsey-woolsey. I may say, (says he,) 
and that truly, that if there be any terrestrial happiness to be had 
by people of all ranks, especially of an inferior rank, it must cer- 
tainly be here : here any one may furnish himself with land and 
live rent free ; yea with such a quantity of land, that he may 
weary himself in the walking over his fields of corn, and all sorts 
of grain. And let his stock of cattle amomit to hundreds, he need 
not fear their want of pasture in the summer, or fodder in the 
winter, the woods then affording sufficient supply. In the sum- 
mer season, the grass grows spontaneously as high as the knees, 

City of Nieu Orange, as sketched in 1673, p. 11 and 147. 

Remarkable Facts and Incidents. 231 

and some places as high as the waist, interlaced with pea vines 
and other weeds, which cattle much delight in. Grape vines 
abound, forest trees afford shade, and brooks and ponds are all 
about at hand, for cattle in their ranges. Such a free and open 
land once, free to all who would come and take, might make 
many of us now ejaculate a wish that we had been born then, 
to have put in for our share of the common chance. Mr. Denton 
says, here, those on whom fortune hath frowned in England, 
should come — here gain an inheritance of lands, and stock of 
cattle — here live happily while they live, and then leave a benefit 
to their children after them. Happy land, says he, where nature 
hath made such rich provison of all sorts of game, of wild beasts, 
and wild fowl, where he may furnish his house with venison, 
turkies, geese, heath-hens, swans, ducks, pigeons, partridges, 
quails, &c., and when wearied with the pleasure of hunting, he 
may go a fishing, where the rivers are so furnished, as that he may 
fully supply himself with fish, before he can leave off the recrea- 
tion. Travel where you will, you see no poor and know of no 
beggars. In such a land, you travel without fear of robbers ; 
and if you chance to come across an Indian town, they will be 
sure to give you freely of their best. Such is the healthfulness 
of the country, that families for twenty years have not been met 
with sickness — indeed the very air of the atmosphere is invigorat- 
ing, sending forth such a fragrance from its flowers, herbs, and 
vegetation, as readily to be noticed at sea before they can make 
the land. The flowers give such supply to honey bees, that you 
can scarcely see a house, which is not on the south side, begirt 
with its hives of bees, which here increase after an incredible 
manner. Truly here is indeed a terrestrial Canaan, flowing with 
milk and honey. Truly the inhabitants as well as the land are 
blessed — ^blessed with peace and plenty ; in their fields and 
ground, in their cattle, in their basket and in their store : Every- 
thing is a picture of blessedness. 

Surely, some of the present pains-taking modems, who are 
talking of our vaunted improvements, might sigh for such a 
former state of repose and plenty. On some such impulse of 
feeling the author even then, apostrophizes his generation, and 
says, "how free are those parts of the world from the pride and 
oppression, with their miserable effects, with which many, nay 
almost all parts of the world are troubled, which being ignorant 
of that pomp and bravery which aspiring humours are servants 
to, and striving after almost everywhere ; where a wagon or cart 
gives as good content as a coach, and a piece of home-made cloth 
better than finest lawns or richest silks — where if their low roofed 
houses may seem to show closed doors against pride and luxury, 
they do, nevertheless, stand open wide, to let charity in and out 
either to assist each other, or relieve a stranger !" Do any now 

232 Remarkable Fads and Incidents. 

covet or envy the picture, — let them go and try to emulate it, by 
going to Oregon. That is now what New York once was. 

The author, even then, admired that so fine a country should 
be so little known abroad. He gives as a reason, that the former 
Dutch did not encourage the English ; that they also chiefly in- 
clined to the pursuit of the beaver trade, to the neglect of agricul- 
tural improvements — that they also made themselves unpopular 
by exacting the tenth of all which men produced off their land. 
Soon as it was changed to EngUsh rule, the country as he thought, 
began to improve, for then he says, "several towns of a consider- 
able greatness were begun and settled by people out of New 
England, and every day, more and more came to view and settle." 

New York, he says, is then built most of brick and stone, and 
covered with red and black tile ; and seen at a distance, as an 
elevated site, it is of pleasing aspect. The inhabitants consist 
mostly of English and Dutch, and have a considerable trade with 
the Indians, for beavers, otters, and other furs, as also for bear, 
deer, and elk skins. They produce some tobacco, as good as of 
Maryland. Long Island, is then spoken of as " inhabited from 
one end to the other," while up the North river, there's no settle- 
ments save at Esopus (" Sopers") and Albany. The west end 
of Long Island, then, had four or five Dutch towns, the rest being 
all English, to the number of twelve, besides villages and farm- 
houses." Strawberries then abounded, "so much so in June, 
that the fields and woods were dyed red, which the country peo- 
ple perceiving, would go forth with wine, cream, and sugar ; and 
instead of a coat of mail, every one takes up a female behind 
him on horseback, and starting for the fields, set to picking the 
fruit, and regaling themselves as long as they last. They have 
also cranberries, raspberries, plums of various sorts, and huckle- 
berries. In May, the woods and fields were curiously bedecked 
with roses, and an innumerable multitude of delightful flowers ; 
all of which, the natives say, administer relief to sundry diseases." 

" Upon the south side of Long Island, in the winter, lie store of 
whales and grampuses, which the inhabitants with small boats, 
begin to make a trade of, catching them to no small benefit. There 
is also an innumerable multitude of seals, lying all winter upon 
broken marshes, sand bars, and beaches, which might be caught 
and made into excellent oil, if there were but skilful men to un- 
dertake it." Now, we must notice that there are no seals there. 

The author has considerable to note of Indians, but nothing of 
sufficient circumstance to be herein stated. He speaks of their 
love of rum — their making their wives their husbandmen — their 
superstition in their powows. They buried their dead sitting 
upright, and deposited with them their favourite articles. They 
made much use of greasing and painting their bodies, and having 
but little clothing. They seemed even then, in his opinion, a de- 
based and wasting race. 

Remarkable Facts and Incidents. 233 

The Rev. " C. W." of the Protestant Episcopal church, put out 
a little journal of two years' residence in New York, which he 
visited in the year 1678. The London edition of 1701, I have 
seen, and made my extracts thus, viz. 

He sailed the 27th May, 167S, in the Blossom, from old Eng- 
land, with Gov. Andros, and arrived at New York in the then 
ordinary passage on the 7th August ! Speaks highly of the 
healthiness of the place. Of the natives (Indians) much com- 
mends their fine forms, and says the women so hardily bear their 
children — instances the case of one Harman the Indian, in Mar- 
bletown, in the county of Ulster, formerly called Sopus, whose 
squaw, to harden herself, would go out after delivery to bring in 
on her back a bundle of sticks. The Indians grease themselves 
to preserve their skins from blistering in the summer sun, and as 
their best armour against musquitoes, and against the winter's 
cold. Their hairs on the chin they pluck out. Their breech flaps 
they tie with a snake skin round their middles. He tells the 
value of skins, says beavers bring 10^. per pound ; an ox-hide 
3d. a pound wet, 6d. dry. Negroes bring 30 to ^640 a head, the 
same which cost 12 or ^6 14 in Barbadoes. T/ie price of provi- 
sions thus — Long Island wheat 3*. a skipple {i. e. three parts of 
a bushel), Sopus wheat half a crown a skipple. Bread I8s. per 
cwt. Pork £3 per bbl., beef 30*. Both Indians and Dutch are ob- 
stinate and incessant smokers of tobacco. The latter are great 
eaters of sallads and bacon, and very often buttermilk. Tobacco 
is 25fl?. a pound. All smoke with short campaigne pipes. Their 
best ale is made of wheat malt. Their quaffing liquors are rum 
punch and brandy punch. Their sweet wine is fiall. The Indians 
bruig in all varieties of game, selling a venison for 3s. Their 
dogs are young wolves stolen when young. About Christmas 
is the whaling season here — two boats of six men each make up 
the company ; then the whales come on from the north-east ; a 
whale of sixty feet length yields about forty to fifty barrels of oil. 
Of bears, he says the Indians seek them in companies of two or 
three to be secure incase of only wounding them, when one 
person would be attacked. But, says he, I was once, with good 
diversion with some others, where in an orchard of Mr. John 
Robinson's of New York they followed a bear from tree to tree, 
upon which he would swarm like a cat. He came down back- 
wards. He says that pennyroyal bruised and held to the smell 
of a rattlesnake will soon kill it ! They also say the same plant 
will expel a dead child, and it is also a remedy for a venomous 
bite, applied to the wound. Their wigwams are made of bark 
set upon poles. They bring many oysters and fish to market in 
their canoes. The fort at New York is one of the strongest in 
North America, and when taken by the Dutch was the fault of 
Capt. Manning, who suffered it, in the absence of the governor; 
for which he was condemned an exile to a small island, called 
30 V 2 

294 Remarkable Facts and Incidents. 

from his name Manning Island, where / have heen several 
times, with the said captain, whose entertainment was commonly 
a bowl of rum punch. The Dutch women almost always wear 
slippers (down at heel). They have another custom peculiar, 
which is that they feast freely and merrily at the funeral of any 
friend, eating and drinking very plentifully, as I have seen. 

The betrothed Indian woman, covers her face like Rebecca, a 
whole year before she is married. Her husband does not lie 
with his squaw, whilst the child has (not) done sucking, which is 
commonly two years, for they say the milk will not be good, if 
they get children so fast. They bury the body sitting upon their 
heels, and put with them their weapons and wampum, &c. like 
those in Ezek. 32 : 27. They make thread of Indian hemp. They 
were smart at cutting trees with a flint axe. They eat the lice 
they find in one another's heads, and say they are wholesome ! 
All the companies he met of them, out of town, all bowed head 
and knee ta him, calling him the Sacka-makers' Kakin-do-ivet, 
i. e. the governor's minister. Their war paint is black, for peace 
red. Their tribes near on Long Island were at Rockaway ; 2d, 
Sea-qua-ta-cy, to the south of Huntingdon ; 3d, Unckal-chau-ge ; 
4th, Setauch, Setauchet North ; 5th, Ocqua-bang Southold ; 6th, 
Shin-n-cock, Southampton the greatest tribe ; 7th, Mun-tauck, to 
the eastward of East Hampton. Top-paum has one hundred and 
fifty fighting men. The West Chester Indians have seventy-five 
fighting men. The Na-usin or Neversinks are but few. 

At New York he was minister and teacher to the English, 
there were also two others, a Lutheran, the other a Calvinist Low 
Dutchman, very shy and averse to each other's creeds, called 
Domines, who spoke Latin fluently, to the shame of our A. M. 
himself! The English observed one of their customs the New Year, 
and many presents were sent to him from the English residents 
there, a measure he thought to be equally kind and singular. 

New York in 1678, as seen by Gov. Andros's chaplain. He said 
that Fredk. Phillips was deemed the richest Mun Heer there, and 
that he had whole hogsheads of Indian money, or ivampum. Per- 
sons could then buy plantations at two to three pence an acre ; 
all covered with wood, under a permit from the governor. So 
much encouragement for settlers ! but if inclined to merchandize, 
then to pay £3 12^. \ld. fees, or six beavers, (for the privilege 
of trading,) and they may turn cent for cent, on what they may 
import from London ; fifty per cent, is but an indifferent advance 
considered ! So he took his shipments, — what he paid £43 for in 
furs, he received ^680 for in London. Horses there were rarely 
shod, and their feet became like flints, by running in the woods. 
The city was as large as some Market towns in England, all 
being built the London way. The garrison, side of a high situa- 
tion, and a pleasant prospect. The diversion, especialty in the 
winter by the Dutch, is aurigation, i. e. riding about in wagons, 

Rtmarkahle Facts and Incidents. 23o 

and upon the ice, it is admirable to see men and women, as if 
Jlying upon their skates,from place to place, with marketing upon 
their heads and backs. He concludes, that its seasons and heal- 
thiness are so bracing and so delightfully felt, that he could invite 
cordially English gentry, merchants and clergy to go thither even 
if they be of hypohcondriacal consumption : only, if it were not 
for the passage — oh the passage thither is hie labour, hoc opus 
est ! The ship may founder, or she may be taken by a Pickeroon. 
He went home to England in a Quaker's ship, and should have 
fared ill enough with the nauseous old water, had not the gov- 
ernor's lady kindly provided him with a rundlet of Madeira. 

Smuggling before the Revolution. I have been told by respect- 
able commercial gentlemen, who were in business at New York 
before the revolution, that it was a common every day affair to 
smuggle contraband goods ashore, at many places on Long Island 
and Staten Island. They would even unload in day time with- 
out any fear of informers, who were held to be odious, and were 
visited with tar and feathers too. The measure itself, was entirely 
in harmony with the will of the people, who considered that in 
proportion to their success, they would profit by the lowness of 
the prices. Besides, they all deemed it to be unreasonable, that 
they should be taxed to raise funds to be sent and spent abroad. 
In that Avay, much of the tea, gin, china, and sundry dry-goods, 
came out from Holland ; other goods came from St. Eustatia as 
an intermediate port. Some of the best names, now known in 
New York as independent men, attained their wealth in the 
Dutch contraband commerce. The king's officers, too, felt the 
unpopularity of their position, and seemed well disposed to con- 
nive at things not actually seen by themselves. For instance, 
several vessels used to unload by night and day at a cove on 
Staten Island, within a mile of Amboy, where the king's officers 
of the customs, were estabUshed. The inside of the sound along 
Long Island, was also a frequent and favourite place of discharge. 
The teas which came from England, were of course subject to 
duties, and paid highly — and every family thought themselves 
interested to have them low. [The fact may serve to teach our- 
selves, even now, that the best way to secure good faith towards 
our own revenue, will be to make them moderate and acceptable 
to the mass of the people : else we offer a lure to create and foster 

It was not considered infamous then, as now, because the peo- 
ple thought themselves oppressed by the exclusive measures of 
the parent country, in monopolizing trade. It was considered 
that the duties were not for ourselves, but for remote crown offi- 
cers and favourites. Informers therefore were held in great de- 
testation, and were almost sure to meet with tar and feathers, or 
worse. Kelly and Kitchener at New York, having informed 
against the mate of a vessel, who had invested his wages in wine 

236 Remarkable Facts and Incidents. 

to make a little profit, were seized by the populace and paraded by 
them through the streets in a cart, their faces and clothes smeered 
with tar and sprinkled with feathers. The same was done to a 
person at the drawbridge at Philadelphia, in 1769. At Newport 
the people seized an informer, placed him in the pillory, and 
then gave him tar and feathers. At Boston, a person informing 
against a vessel from Rhode Island which had landed a cask of 
wine, was seized and his naked skin well tarred and feathered, 
and paraded about in a cart holding in hi^T hand a lighted lanthorn. 

We give a pleasant description of St. Nicholas' day, in which 
is happily depicted many of the passing changes of the times : 


A safe arrival to Saint Nicholas to night 

Through all the windings of dark Anthracite. 

I fear not one Dutch chimney can be found 

In which the saint may turn his carriage round — 

That magic coach, so famed in olden times, 

And drawn by tiny steeds from distant climes ; 

Ah, well I recollect the ample space. 

Where little people did their stockings place, 

Then sit delighted round the hickory blaze 

And watch the chimney with expectant gaze. 

Discussing all they thought the dawn would show, 

And wondering where' Saint Nicholas next would go. 

And when the anxious night was passed 

And the wished morning came at last, 

Then each with haste the knot untied 

And open flew the stocking wide. 

Disclosing such a bounteous store, 

No little mortals would desire more ; 

And oh, what smiling, happy dimpled faces, 

What laughing, shouting, capering and grimaces, 

What ships and tops, and bounding balls. 

And sugar'd fruits, and toys and dolls, 

What pleasure sparkling in each youthful eye. 

How free from care — how full of ecstasy — 

But children now, have so much wiser grown 

That all their simple pleasures are unknown. 

And little urchins who may read my rhymes 

Will call them silly traits, of by-gone times. 

Saint Nicholas, must marvel much to see 

Such alterations in old Albany, 

And when he looks, the gable ends to spy, 

A gilded dome will strike his wandering eye 

Instead of Holland bricks, and simple tiles, 

Ionic temples from the Grecian Isles ; 

Our great grand sires could hardly tell the models, 

But people now a days, have wiser noddles. 

Old Pearl, I knew, a pleasant quiet street. 

Snug houses and neat stoops, where friends would often meet. 

The men with pipes, cock'd hats and fine long queues, 

The girls with white short gowns, stuff petticoats and high heel shoes, 

And knitting at the side, and fingers going. 

And now and then a tender glance bestowing. 

Remarkable Facts and Incidents, 237 

Soon as the old Dutch bell rung out for eight, 

Tlie bolt was drawn upon the little gate, 

The table set — and for our supper 

Supaan and milk, and bread and butter. 

And Pearl street claims the mead of praise 

For changing all these good old ways ; 

Now she has courts, with grass and roses, 

(Not pinkster blumies, nor Dutch posies,) 

With seats of learning classical and pure. 

Pity such columns cannot long endure. 

I own my vision was at first astounded 

By church and houses, somehow so confounded. 

And something on the top I see 

Like what the French call fleur de lis. 

But altogether 'tis imposing, 

And I'm no critic's skill disclosing. 

But merely as an idle passer by 

Note down what happens to attract my eye. 

Then there are squares, and parks and pailings. 

No wooden stiles — but iron railings, 

And mansions towering in height. 

With plate glass windows, clear and bright — 

Marble and granite — ^and such domes. 

Old Dutchmen scarcely know their homes. 

And Knickerbockers of the day 

Are sometimes seen to lose their way. 

A study too is all the fashion 

Call'd bumps — denoting any passion. 

And these are found to my surprise 

On cheek, and mouth, and nose and eyes , 

Now little hills upon the face 

I humbly think quite out of place. 

But mountains on the head are seen. 

And no doubt rivers flow between ; 

All these to every crani-lover 

Some strange propensities discover. 

Saint Nicholas would wonder most of all. 

Were he to see the City Hall. 

Dutch worthies there have been forgot. 

And in their place, is Walter Scott. 

Now Holland's history proclaims 

A list of great and brilliant names. 

And Holland's sons should love to show. 

How much to these great names they owe. 

Here let me make this declaration, 

Good men I love of every nation, 

I like the Scotch — a clever race. 

But think Sir Walter out of place. 

My time is limited, and I, 

Must bid my ancient friends good bye, 

I came to celebrate the day. 

And to our Saint, my homage pay, 1835. 

St. Nicholas was bom on the 6th of December, in the year 343, 
at Patura a city of Lycia, of reputable parents, who early initiated 
him in the doctrines of the Christian faith, which he practised in 
so exemplary a manner as to reach the ear, and to receive the 

238 Remarkable Facts and Incidents. 

patronage of Constantine the Great, and through him became the 
head of the church, or Bishop of Myra. 

His legendary Ufe abounds too greatly with absurd statements 
of miraculous powers, to warrant recital, beyond what is abso- 
lutely necessary in explanation of the origin of some of the 
patronages which superstition formerly assigned to him, and 
which are yet credited by those of the Latin and Greek churches. 

When he was an infant, and consequently dependent upon the 
sustenance with which Providence has so bountifully provided 
the female parent, he never could be induced to receive such 
natural support, on Wednesdays or Fridays; a virtuous and 
exemplary attention to the ordinances of the church, which 'tf 
marked him— justly, could we but believe the fable, " as a pattern 
for future infants," and caused him to be regarded as their 
peculiar saint and patron, under the endearing title of " Child 

Numerous free schools were established for the instruction of 
youth, under the patronage of St. Nicholas, their great friend. 
And before the reformation, the election of what was known by 
the title of Boy Bishop, or Episcopus Puerorum in the cathedrals 
in England, has been considered to have had its origin from the 
alleged attachment of the saint to the rising generation. He is 
styled in several of the legends as " the glorious confessor." His 
was the peculiar honour of being worshipped by those of almost 
every country " whose march was on the mountain wave, and 
whose home was on the deep." In illustration of this fact, there 
was scarcely a place of any note on the coast of Europe, or 
adjoining the principal rivers, but what traces of temples of wor- 
ship could be found, that were put under his protection, and 
enriched by offerings from mariners, fishermen and others, as 
well as by merchants trading beyond sea. 

Dutch taste. — The last specimens of the old Dutch taste in 
building have now, says the New York Transcript, nearly dis- 
appeared from our city ; but they are still to be seen in great 
abundance a few miles out in the country. This is particularly 
the case on Long Island, among the farmers, as may be seen in 
Brooklyn, Flatbush, Gravesend, &c. There may be seen houses 
with bevel roofs, from a story to a story and a half high, with the 
gable end to the street, and the shingles on the said gable end 
tastefully rounded at their lower ends, and looking all along their 
lower edge like the herring-bone of a quilted petticoat ; while on 
both sides of the houses are wide projecting eaves, sufficient to 
defend two companies of men, rank and file, from the hardest 
shower. So much for the houses. The barns are low, with high 
roofs, and almost invariably painted red. In allusion to this latter 
taste, a gentleman, the other day, asked a descendant of one of 
the old original settlers, why it was that the barns were always 
painted of that colour. He replied, " It is the Dutch coat of arms." 

Remarkable Facts and Incidents, 239 

" The Dutch coat of arms ? Well, what does that mean ?" 
" Why, it means that white paint costs a shilling a pound, while 
the red only costs fourpence." 

This explanation appeared very rational, and the questioner 
was satisfied. For our part, we like to see these ancient speci- 
mens of the Knickerbocker taste. They exhibit economy, and 
they are, moreover, as it were connecting links with the tastes, 
feelings, and notions of the olden time, which the rage of modern 
improvement is doing its best to drive entirely into the ocean of 




In the seventh division there appeared a frigate of thirty-two 
guns, twenty-seven feet keel, and ten feet beam, with galleries 
and every thing complete, and in proportion, both in hull and 
rigging ; manned with upwards of thirty seamen and marines in 
their different uniforms ; commanded by Commodore Nicholson, 
and drawn by ten horses. 


-I I,-,.. ,, ,..,. -..,„ H 

At the hour appointed for the procession to move, thirteen guns 
were fired from the ship, as a signal for marching. She then got 
under way, with her topsails a-trip and coursers in the brails, 
proceeding in the centre of the procession. When abreast of 
Beaver street she made the proper signal for a pilot, by hoisting 
a jack at the foretop-mast head, and firing a gun. The pilot boat 
appearing upon her weather quarter, the frigate threw her main 
topsail to the mast ; the boat hailed, and asked the necessary 
questions ; the pilot was received aboard and the boat dismissed. 
The frigate then filled and moved abreast of the fort, where the 
crew discovered the President and members of Congress. She 
immediately brought to and fired a salute of thirteen guns, which 
was followed by three cheers, and politely answered by the gen- 
tlemen of Congress. The procession then moved ; when the ship 
came opposite to Mr. Constable's, the crew discovered at the 
window Mrs. Edgar, who had generously honoured the ship with 

240 Remarkable Facts and Incidents. 

the present of a suit of silk colours ; immediately they manned 
the ship and gave three cheers. When she arrived abreast of 
the old slip, she was saluted by thirteen guns from his most Cath- 
olic Majesty's packet, then in the harbour, which was politely 
returned. She then made sail and proceeded through Queen street 
to the fields, when squalls came on, and the wind ahead, she beat 
to windward by short tacks, in which the pilot displayed his skill 
in navigation, heaving the lead, getting ready for stays, putting 
the helm a lee, by bracing and counter-bracing the yards, &c. 
In the fields, she had to descend several hills, in rising which 
she afforded a delightful prospect to the spectators, her top- 
sails appearing first and then her hull, in imitation of a ship at 
sea ; exhibiting an appearance beyond description splendid and 
majestic. When she arrived at her station abreast of the dining 
tables, she clewed up her top-sails and came to, in close order 
with the rest of the procession, the officers going ashore to dine. 
At four o'clock she gave the signal for marching, by a discharge 
of thirteen guns, when the procession moved by the lower road. 
The manner in which the ship made her passage through the nar- 
row parts of the road, was highly interesting and satisfactory, 
being obliged to run under her foretop-sail, in a squall, and 
keep in the line of procession ; this was accomplished with great 
hazard, by the good conduct of the commander and the assiduity 
of the seamen and pilot ; she arrived at her moorings abreast 
of the Bowling Green at half past five, amidst the acclamations 
of thousands ; and the different orders in the procession, as soon as 
they were dismissed, honoured her with three cheers, as a mark of 
approbation for the good conduct of the Commodore and his crew. 

The ship Betsey and her voyage round the world. 1797-9. 
By Captain Edmund Fanning. 

This elegant little ship of ninety odd tons (first rigged as a brig) 
which was built in 1792, was a matter of great interest to the 
good city of Gotham in her day. She was constructed in superior 
style for a Charleston packet, under Captain Motley, and what 
was strange to the Gothamites of that day, and may be still 
stranger to us now, she was built so ?//> in the town, as to have 
been launched across three streets, and to have occupied three 
days in the launching. She was built on blocks set in Cheapside 
street, a fancy or convenience of the master builder to build her 
before his own door, and was first launched into George street 
(now called Market street), then down into Cherry street, then 
across to Water street, and finally over the dock into the East 
river! Her first voyage in 1797 to go round the world, under 
Captain Fanning, was a company concern for commercial enter- 
prise in the South seas and Pacific ocean, and resulted in her 
coming home at the end of two years with a valuable cargo of 
silks, teas, china, and nankeens from China, with a healthy crew 
of young fellows, all decked in china silk jackets and blanched 

Remarkable Facts and Incidents. 241 

chip-hats, trimmed with blue ribbons. The ship presented a 
daily sight at the Flymarket wharf, where hundreds were daily 
visiters, to see the ship of war in beautiful miniature with her bat- 
tery tier, fore and aft. The whole voyage was a fortunate 
adventure, and resulted in 1000 dollars apiece to the seamen, and 
sundry gifts of silks, nankeens, &c. 

In the year 1800 he made his second voyage in the corvette 
ship Aspasia of twenty-two guns, under commission of the 
United States, having five lieutenants and eight midshipmen, &c., 
and discovering several new islands, and opening new places of 
trade and profit. 

It was to this style of fortunate exploration and beginning, 
that we are indebted for our subsequent successful adventures in 
the Pacific ocean, and South seas, as told more at large in the 
published " Voyages round the world" of the same Captain 
Fanning, who has been called by the British Reviewers a second 
Cook.* It was he who by his first and subsequent voyages set 
in motion our annual fleets of whale ships, to seek cargoes of 
sandal wood, seals, fur, beach-la-mer, birds' nests, mother of pearl, 
pearls, sharks' fins, turtle shell, and all the cargoes of oil, &c., 
thus enriching our citizens, creating and employing hardy and 
experienced seamen, and bringing into the national treasury 
millions of dollars of revenue ! Finally, it is the same master spirit, 
who by his memorials and personal applications and explanations 
to Congress and the national rulers, has been actively employed 
in getting up and finally accomplishing, the departure of the 
national exploring expedition to the south pole, &c. He died at 
New York in 1841, at the age of seventy years. 

Steam Packets to Europe. On the 22d and 23d April, 1838, 
arrived at New York, the famed new steam packets, the Syrius, 
and Great Western, the former of 700 tons, from Cork, in eigh- 
teen days, and the latter, of 1 300 tons, from Bristol, in sixteen 
days. Their arrival was greeted, with much pomp and ceremony, 
by the citizens and public authorities, — vide the Gazettes of the 
day. They treated it however as too much of a new wonder, 
and as a first successful experiment, loading the British officers 
of the vessels with honours, as if they had performed a new 
thing. This was overlooking facts in the case. There had been 
a steam packet of their own arrived about three weeks before, 
which had gone out to the West Indies, her first voyage, safely, 
and went from Jamaica to Norfolk and Baltimore. She was of 
smaller size, and excited but little attention, called the City of 
Kingston, of 325 tons, schooner rigged. It is however due to 
ourselves as Americans to say, that as many as eighteen years 
before, the New Yorkers had themselves made the successful 

* His work had been republished with commendation in England, and also 
translated into French, and published in France. 

31 X 

242 Remarkable Facts and Incidents. 

experiment of traversing the Atlantic and northern seas in the 
steam ship Savannah, commanded by Captain Moses Rogers. 
She sailed from New York in March 1819, went to Savannah, 
left Savannah the 25th May, arrived at Liverpool the 20th June, 
left there 23d July for St. Petersburg, moored off Cronstadt the 
5th September, left there the 10th October, and arrived again at 
Savannah on the 30th November. All this without accident or 
harm. She stopped four days at Copenhagen, and four days at 
Arundel in Norway. She was visited by the emperor of Russia, 
and also by the king of Sweden, Bernadotte, and each, making 
Captain Rogers a present, as a token of their approbation of his 
skill and enterprise. The Savannah afterwards went to Constan- 
tinople, where Captain Rogers also received a present from the 
Grand Seignor. The present from the emperor of Russia might 
seem singular : It was a silver teakettle, a first noticed generator 
and condenser of steam ! These facts of steam ship enterprise, 
should forcibly remind us of " poor Fitch," as he called himself, 
when he wrote to Mr. Rittenhouse, in June 1792 (one of his 
shareholders), saying, "• This, sir, will be the mode of crossing 
the Atlantic in time, whether I shall bring it to perfection or 
not ! ! !" 

Closing of the Hudson, by ice, to wit : — On Feb. 3, 1790, and 
1802 ; Jan. 12, 1795 ; Jan. 23, 1796 ; Jan. 6, 1800 ; Jan. 3, 1801 ; 
Jan. 12, 1804; Jan. 9, 1806; Jan. 4, 1808; Jan. 19, 1810: 
Jan. 5, 1825; Jan. 11, 1830; Dec. 31, 1832. The earliest times 
of closing in the foregoing period was on the 30th Nov. 1820. 
The earliest opening of the river when it was free of ice, was 
the 8th Feb. 1828. The latest was April 4, 1836. [The facts 
were noted at the New York University.] 

Yankee Doodle. It may interest some to know that we have 
reasons enough to satisfy ourselves, that this now popular national 
air, was first bestowed upon us, by British officers, in colonial 
times. They applied it chiefly on the people of the Eastern 
States, as being once the willingly confessed " children of Oliver 
Cromwell," whose name and politics they professed to approve. 
He in his time had been nicknamed Nankee Doodle by the cava- 
liers, in verses set to the jig tune of Lydia Locket ; they saying 
in the former case, . 

" Nankee doodle come to town 
Upon a little pony, 
With a feather in his hat 
Upon a maccaroni," &c. 

When hostilities were beginning at Boston, our affected military 
masters there, began to parody the foregoing, by jeering us with 
verses like these, viz : 

" Yankee doodle came to town 
For to buy a fire-lock, 
We will tar and feather him ; 
And so we will John Hancock.''^ 

Former Trinity Church, razed 1840-1, p. 243. 

Remarkable Facts and Incidents, 243 

The word Yankee was, we suppose, substituted for the former 
Nankee, as expressing the name which the Indians had used as 
their pronunciation of English, which they usually called Yengee. 

The Americans, aware that the term Yankee was bestowed 
on them as a term of derision, felt moved to strike up that air 
when they compelled the retreat of the British from Lexington, as 
if they intended to say, mark what we Yankees can do ! The 
same, they did when they compelled their surrender at Saratoga 
and Yorktown. — More extended facts and illustrations on the 
present subject, may be seen in the Annals of Philadelphia. 

Uncle Sam, is another national appellation applied to us, by 
ourselves, and which, as it is growing into popular use, and was 
first used at Troy, New York, it may be interesting to explain, 
to wit : The name grew out of the letters E. A. U. S. marked 
upon the army provisions, barrelled up at Troy, during the last 
war with England, under the contract of Elbert Anderson ; and 
implied his name, and U. S. the United States. The inspector 
of those provisions, was Samuel Wilson, who was usually called 
by the people. Uncle Sam. It so happened that one of the 
workmen, being asked the meaning of the initials on the casks, 
&c., waggishly replied, they meant Elbert Anderson and Uncle 
Sam — Wilson. The joke took ; and afterwards, when some of 
the same men were on the frontiers, and saw the same kind of 
provisions arriving to their use, they would jocosely say, here 
comes Uncle Sam. From thence it came to pass, that whenever 
they saw the initials U. S., on any class of stores, they were 
equally called Uncle Sam^s ; and finally, it came by an easy 
transition, to be applied to the United States itself. 

Great Trinity Church Cause. — By an advertisement in this 
day's paper, says the New York Herald, the parties to the great 
suit in Chancery, respecting the property of Trinity Church, are 
called upon by G. Sullivan, Esq., counsel in the case, to listen 
and hear the decision of the Court of Errors next month. 

This is one of the most remarkable causes ever tried in this 
State. The property in question was formerly called the " Queen's 
Farm," and extended to a great extent over the present site of 
oiu: city. Anneke Jants, a fine, fat, hearty Dutch vrou, owned 
it about a century ago. Trinity Church has been in possession 
since that time. The property is now valued at thirty millions 
of dollars, and its yearly revenue at three millions, which by 
charter is far beyond what Trinity Church is authorized to hold. 
Numerous and vital interests in this city are pending on the deci- 
sion. If the Court of Errors should decide in favour of the heirs, 
a great many very fashionable people who now live out of Trinity 
Church, will have to give up their splendid establishments, and 
betake themselves to other avocations — while some of the pretty 
descendants of Anneke Jants will start up with large fortunes, 
and bear the bell away in Broadway, in the soirees and saloons. 

244 Remarkable Facts and Incidents. 

A great claim had been made upon Trinity Church lots, in the 
city, by unthought of heirs. In April, 1839, Smith Harponding, 
a journeyman printer, entered suit against the Reformed Dutch 
Church, for the value of twenty-five millions of dollars ! being 
the value of a tract of sixteen acres, bounded by Broadway, 
Maiden-lane, Fulton, Nassau, and John streets ; his documents 
were voluminous. His suit however, failed afterwards. 

While this chapter is passing through the press, we copy the 
following from a New York paper, without vouching for its truth, 
to wit : 

Origin of steam navigation, Mr. John Hutchins, of Wil- 
liamsburgh, has got out a Hthograph representing the first Steam- 
boat ever constructed, with a brief account of the locality and 
accidents attending the enterprise. The boat was that of John 
Fitch, and was constructed on the pond known as " the Col- 
lect," which covered what is now the heart of the sixth ward 
of our city, on which are located the Halls of Justice, City Prison, 
&c. The water was in some places fifty feet deep, but in good 
part shallow, and surrounded by boggy, swampy ground, such as 
may now be found on the upper part of the Island. A stream 
ran thence to the North river, nearly on the line of our present 
Canal street. On this pond, Mr. Fitch launched his boat, the 
first rude progenitor of our modern steamboats, in the summer of 
1796 or '7 — say fifty years ago. Two men and a boy were with 
him the boy, John Hutchins, who survives to tell the stor3^ 
This boat had both paddlewheels and propellers, after a fashion. 
The paddlewheels splashed the water badly, the idea of covering 
them with a box not having yet been suggested. It would propel 
itself say twice around the pond, at the rate of four or five miles 
an hour, and then stop to take in water and heat it so as to make 
more steam. This was six years before Fulton built his first boat 
in France, and ten years before he built one in this country. The 
boat was finally abandoned by the projectors, and gradually 
broken up and carried off for firewood, by the neighbouring 

Gardens, Farms, fyc. 245 


"Yes, he can e'en replace agen, 
The forests as he knew them then!" 

Mr. Abram Brower, aged seventy-five, in 1828, says that in 
his youth he deemed himself " out of town" about where now 
stands the Hospital on Broadway. Blackberries were then so 
abundant as never to have been sold. 

Jones had a " Ranelagh Garden" near the hospital ; and 
" Vauxhall Garden," where they exhibited fire-works, was at the 
foot of Warren street. 

At Corlear's Hook all was in a state of woods, and it was usual 
to go there to drink mead. 

The Jirst " Drovers' Inn," kept so near the city, was a little 
above St. Paul's church — kept by Adam Vanderbarrack, [spelt 
Vanderbergh by D. Grim, who said he had also a farm there.] 

Bayard's spring, in his woods, was a place of great resort of 
afternoons ; it was a very charming spring, in the midst of abun- 
dance of hickory-nut trees ; tradesmen went there after their after- 
noon work. It lay just beyond Canal street, say on the south side 
of present Spring street, not far from Varrick street. 

In the year 1787, Col. Ramsay, then in Congress, considered 
himself as living "out in the country" at the "White Conduit 
house," situate between Leonard and Franklin streets. 

" Tea Water Pump Garden," celebrated for its excellent pump 
of water, situate on Chatham street near to Pearl street, was 
deemed a "far walk." It was fashionable to go there to drink 
punch, &c. 

A real farm house in the city, stood as an ancient relic until 
eighteen years ago, in such a central spot as the corner of Pine 
and Nassau streets. Mr. Thorburn saw it, and was told so by its 
ancient owner. 

The old Dutch records sufficiently show, that in primitive days 
all the rear of the town was cast into farms, say six in number, 
called "Bouwerys;" from whence we have "Bowery" now. 
Van Twiller himself had his mansion on farm No. 1, and his 
tobacco field on No. 3. No. 1, is supposed by Mr. Moulton's 
book, to have been "from Wall street to Hudson street ;" and 
No. 3, " at Greenwich, then called Tapohanican." A deed of 
Gov. Keift to Gov. Van Twiller in 1638, calls it "a tobacco farm 
at Sapo Kanickan." No. 4, was near the plain of Manhattan, 
including the Park to the Kolck ; and No. 5 and 6 to have lain 
still farther to the northward. 

X 2 

246 Gardens, Farms, ^*c. 

The ancient bon-vivants remember still " Lake's Hermitage" 
as a place of great regale ; the house and situation is fine even 
now ; situated now near the sixth avenue, quite in the country, 
but then approached only through " Love Lane." 

The ancient mansion and farm out on the East river, at the 
head of King's road, once the stately establishment of Dr. Ge- 
rardus Beekman, is made peculiarly venerable from the grandeur 
of its lofty and aged elms and oaks ; its rural aspect and deep 
shade attracted the notice of Irving's pen. It was used too as the 
selected country residence of General Clinton in the time of the 

Robert Murray's farm-house in this neighbourhood should be 
venerable from its associations. There his patriot lady entertained 
Gen. Howe and his staff with refreshments, after their landing 
with the army at " Kip's Bay," on purpose to afford Gen. Put- 
nam time to lead off his troops in retreat from the city, which he 
effected. She was a Friend, and the mother of the celebrated 
Lindley Murray. 

The garden of " Aunt Katey," and called also " Katey Mutz," 
was spoken of by every aged person, and was peculiarly notable 
as a " Mead Garden." It was called by some " Windmill Hill," 
in reference to its earlier use ; and also " Gallows Hill" by others, 
as once a place of execution. Its location was on " Janeway's 
farm," about the spot where is now the Chatham Theatre. A 
part of the garden met the line of the ancient palisades. The 
whole hill, which was large, extended from Duane down to Pearl 
street, along the line of Chatham street ; near her place was 
once " the City Gate." " Soft waffles and tea" were the luxuries 
there, in which some of the gentry then most indulged. 

The angle whereon the Park Theatre now stands, belonged 
originally to the square of the Park ; that corner of the square 
was once called "the Governor's Garden," (so David Grim said) 
in reference to such an intended use of it. 

A garden of note was kept vis-a-vis the Park, where is now 
Peale's museum, and named " Montague's Garden." There the 
" Sons of Liberty,-^' so called, convened. 

A drawing of the Collect as it stood about the year 1750, done 
by David Grim, which I saw with his daughter Mrs. Myers, 
places a garden at the west side of the little Collect, which he 
separates from the big or main Collect by an elevated knoll, like 
an island, on which he marks the Magazine, and a negro hang- 
ing in gibbets ; between this knoll and the big Collect is drawn a 
marsh ; a winding road is marked along the south side of the 
little Collect. 

Apparel, 247 


« We run through eVery change, which fancy 
At the loom has genius to supply." 

There is a very marked and wide difference between our 
moderns and the ancients in their several views of appropriate 
dress. The latter, in our judgment of them, were always stiff and 
formal, unchanging in their cut and fit in the gentry, or neghgent 
and rough in texture in the commonalty ; whereas the moderns, 
casting off all former modes and forms, and inventing every 
new device which fancy can supply, just please the wearers 
"while the fashion is at full." 

It will much help our just conceptions of our forefathers and 
their good dames, to know what were their personal appearances. 
To this end, some facts illustrative of their attire will be given. 
Such as it was among the gentry, was a constrained and pains- 
taking service, presenting nothing of ease and gracefulness in the 
use. While we may wonder at its adoption and long continu- 
ance, we will hope never again to see its return. But who can 
hope to check or restrain y^/^Aion, if it should chance again to set 
that way ; or who can foresee that the next generation may not be 
more stiff and formal than any which has passed, since we see, 
even now, our late graceful and easy habits of both sexes already 
partially supplanted by "monstrous novelty and strange dis- 
guise !" Men and women stiffly corseted ; long unnatural 
looking waists ; shoulders and breasts stuffed and deformed as 
Richard's, and artificial hips ; protruding garments of as ample 
folds as claimed the ton when senseless hoops prevailed. 

A gentleman of eighty years of age has given me his recol- 
lections of the costumes of his early days to this effect, to wit : 
— Men wore three-square or cocked hats, and wigs ; coats with 
large cuffs, big skirts lined and stiffened with buckram. None 
ever saw a crown higher than the head. The coat of a beau had 
three or four large plaits in the skirts, wadding almost like a 
coverlet to keep them smooth ; cuffs very large, up to the elbows, 
open below and inclined down, with lead therein; the capes 
were thin and low, so as readily to expose the close plaited neck- 
stock of fine linen cambric, and the large silver stock-buckle on 
the back of the neck ; shirts with hand-rufiies, sleeves finely 
plaited, breeches close fitted, with silver, stone, or paste gem 
buckles; shoes or pumps with silver buckles of various sizes 
and patterns ; thread, worsted, and silk stockings ; the poorer 
class wore sheep and buckskin breeches close set to the limbs. 

C4S Apparel 

Gold and silver sleeve-buttons, set with stones or paste of various 
colours and kinds, adorned the wrists of the shirts of all classes. 
The very boys often wore wigs ; and their dresses in general 
were similar to those of the men. 

The women wore caps, (a bare head was never seen,) stiff stays, 
hoops from six inches to two feet on each side ; so that a full 
dressed lady entered a door like a crab, pointing her obtruding 
flanks end foremost ; high heeled shoes of black stuff, with white 
silk or thread stockings ; and in the miry times of winter they 
wore clogs, gala shoes, or pattens. 

The days of stiff coats, sometimes wire-framed, and of large 
hoops, were also stiff and formal in manners at set balls and assem- 
blages. The dances of that day among the politer class were 
minuets, and sometimes country dances ; among the lower order 
hipsesaw was every thing. 

As soon as the wigs were abandoned and the natural hair, was 
cherished, it became the mode to dress it by plaiting it, by queu- 
ing and clubbing, or by wearing it in a black silk sack or bag, 
adorned with a large black rose. We here give the protraits of 
head-dresses of men and women, such as they appeared, as the 
fashion, at about the year 1800. 

In time, the powder with which wigs and the natural hair had 
been severally adorned, was run into disrepute only about twenty- 
eight to thirty years ago, by the then strange innovation of "Bru- 
tus heads ;" not only then discarding the long-cherished powder 
and perfume, and tortured frizzle-work, but also literally becom- 
ing " round heads" by cropping off all the pendant graces of ties, 
bobs, clubs, queues, &c. The hardy beaux who first encountered 
public opinion by appearing abroad unpowdered and cropt had 
many starers. The old men for a time obstinately persisted in 
adherence to the old regime; but death thinned their ranks, and 
use and prevalence of numbers at length gave countenance to 
modern usage. 

JippareL 249 

From various reminiscents we glean, that laced ruffles, depend- 
ing over the hand, was a mark of indspensable gentility. The 
coat and breeches were generally desirable of the same material 
— of "broad cloth" for winter, and of silk camlet for summer. 
No kind of cotton fabrics were then in use or known. Hose 
were therefore of thread or silk in summer, and fine worsted in 
winter ; shoes were square-toed, and were often " double chan- 
neled." To these succeeded sharp toes, as piked as possible. 
When wigs were universally worn, grey wigs were powdered ; 
and for that purpose sent in a wooden box frequently to the barber 
to be dressed on his block-head. But " brown wigs," so called, 
were exempted from the white disguise. Coats of red cloth, even 
by boys, were considerably worn ; and plush breeches and plush 
vests of various colours, shining and smooth, were in common 
use. Everlasting, made of worsted, was a fabric of great use for 
breeches, and sometimes for vests. The vest had great depend- 
ing pocket flaps, and the breeches were short above the stride, 
because the art, since devised, of suspending them by suspenders, 
was then unknown. It was then the test and even the pride of 
a well formed man, that he could by his natural form readily 
keep his breeches above the hips, and his stockings, without gar- 
tering, above the calf of his leg. With the queues belonged friz- 
zled side-locks and tout pies, formed of the natural hair, or, in 
defect of a long tie, a splice was added to it. Such was the gene- 
ral passion for the longest possible whip of hair, that sailors and 
boatmen, to make it grow most, used to tie theirs in eel skins. 
Nothing like surtouts were known; but they had coating or cloth 
great coats, or blue cloth and brown camlet cloaks, with green 
baize lining to the latter. In the time of the American war, 
many of the American officers introduced the use of Dutch 
blankets for great coats. The sailors used to wear hats of glazed 
leather, or woollen thrums, called chapeaus ; and their " small 
clothes," as we would now call them, were immensely wide 
" petticoat-breeches." The working men in the country wore 
the same form, having no falling flaps, but slits in front ; and they 
were so full in girth, that they ordinarily changed the rear to the 
front when the seat became prematurely worn out. At the same 
time numerous working men and boys, and all tradesmen, wore 
leather breeches and leather aprons. 

Some of the peculiarities of the female dress were these, to wit : 
Ancient ladies are still alive, who often had had their hair tortured 
for hours at a sitting in getting up for a dress occasion, the proper 
crisped curls of a hair curler. This formidable outfit of head 
work was next succeeded by " rollers," over which the hair was 
combed above the forehead. These again were superseded by 
" cushions" and artificial curled work, which ?ould be sent to 
the barber's block, like a wig, " to be dressed," leaving the lady 
at home to pursue other objects. 


250 Apparel. 

When the ladies first began to lay off their cumbrous hoops, 
they supplied their place with successive substitutes, such as these, 
to wit : first came " bishops," a thing stuffed or padded with 
horse hair ; then succeeded a smaller affair, under the name of 
Cue de Paris, also padded with horse hair. How it abates our 
admiration of the *' lovely sex" to contemplate them as bearing 
a roll of horse hair under their garments ! An old satire said, 

" Thus finish'd in taste, while on her you gaze, 
You may take the dear charmer for life, 
But never undress her, for out of her stays. 
You'll find you have lost half your wife." 

Next they supplied their place with silk or calimanco, or russell 
thickly quilted and inlaid with wool, made into petticoats ; then 
these were supplanted by a substitute of half a dozen of petticoats. 
No wonder such ladies needed fans in a sultry summer, and at a 
time when parasols were unknown, to keep off the solar rays. I 
knew a lady going to a gala party, who had so large a hoop, that 
when she sat in the chaise, she so filled it up that the person who 
drove it (it had no top) stood up behind the box and directed the 

Some of those ancient belles, who thus sweltered under the 
weight of six petticoats, have lived now to see their posterity, not 
long since, go so thin and transparent a la Frangaise, especially 
when between the beholder and a declining sun, as to make a 
modest eye sometimes instinctively avert its gaze. 

Among some other articles of female wear we may name the 
following, to wit : Once they wore a " skimmer hat," made of a 
fabric which shone like silver tinsel ; it was a very small flat 
crown and big brim, not unlike the present Leghorn flats. Another 
hat, not unlike it in shape, was made of woven horse hair, wove 
in flowers, and called " horse hair bonnets," an article which 
might be again usefully introduced for children's wear as an 
enduring hat for long service. I have seen what was called a 
bath bonnet, made of black satin, and so constructed to lay in 
folds that it could be set upon like a chapeau bras ; a good article 
now for travelling ladies. " The mush-mellon" bonnet, used 
before the revolution, had numerous whalebone stiffeners, in the 
crown, set at an inch apart in parallel lines, and presenting 
ridges to the eye, between the bones. The next bonnet was the 
" whalebone bonnet," having only the bones in the front as 
stiffeners. " A calash bonnet" was always formed of green 
silk; it was worn abroad, covering the head, but when in rooms 
it could fall back in folds like the springs of a calash or gig top ; 
to keep it up over the head it was drawn up by a cord always 
held in the han5 of the wearer. The " wagon bonnet," always 
of black silk, was an article exclusively in use among the Friends, 
was deemed to look, on the head, not unlike the top of the " Jersey 

Apparel. 251 

wagons," and having a pendent piece of like silk hanging from 
the bonnet and covering the shoulders. The only straw wear was 
that called the " straw beehive bonnet," generally by old people. 

The ladies once wore " hollow breasted stays," which were 
exploded as injurious to the health. Then came the use of 
straight stays. Even little girls wore such stays. At one time 
the gowns worn had no fronts ; the design was to display a finely 
quilted Marseilles, silk or satin petticoat, and a worked stomacher 
on the waist. In other dresses a white apron was the mode ; all 
wore large pockets under their gowns. Among the caps was the 
" queen's night-cap," the same always worn by Lady Washing- 
ton. The " cushion head-dress" was of gauze, stiffened out in 
cylindrical form with white spiral wire. The border of the cap 
was called the balcony. 

A lady of my acquaintance t?ms describes the recollections of 
her early days preceding the war of Independence. Dress was 
discriminative and appropriate, both as regarded the season and the 
character of the wearer. Ladies never wore the same dresses at 
work and on visits ; they sat at home, or went out in the morning, 
in chintz ; brocades, satins, and mantuas were reserved for even- 
ing or dinner parties. Robes or negligees, as they were called, 
were always worn in full dress. Muslins were not worn at all. 
Little misses at a dancing-school ball (for these were almost the 
only fetes that fell to their share in the days of discrimination) 
were dressed in frocks of lawn or cambric. Worsted was then 
thought dress enough for common days. 

As a universal fact, it may be remarked that no other colour 
than black was ever made for ladies* bonnets when formed of 
silk or satin. Fancy colours were unknown, and white bonnets 
of silk fabric had never been seen. The first innovation remem- 
bered was the bringing in of blue bonnets. 

The time was when the plainest women among the Friends 
(now so averse to fancy colours) wore their coloured silk aprons, 
say, of green, blue, &c. This was at a time when the gay wore 
white aprons. In time white aprons were disused by the gentry, 
and then the friends left off their coloured ones and used the 
white. The same old ladies among Friends, whom we can 
remember as wearers of the white aprons, wore also large white 
beaver hats with scarcely the sign of a crown, and which was 
indeed confined to the head by silk cords tied under the chin. 
Eight dollars would buy such a hat when beaver fur was more 
plentiful. They lasted such ladies almost a whole life of wear. 
They showed no fur. 

In the former days, it was not uncommon to see aged persons 
with large silver buttons to their coats and vests ; it was a mark 
of wealth. Some had the initials of their names engraved on 
each button. Sometimes they were made out of real quarter 
dollars, with the coinage impression still retained ; these were 

251t j9ppareL 

used for the coats and the eleven-penny-bits for vests and breeches. 
My father wore an entire suit decorated with conch-shell buttons, 
silver mounted. 

On the subject of wigs, I have noticed the following special 
facts, to wit : — They were as generally worn by genteel Friends as 
by any other people. This was the more surprising, as they reli- 
giously professed to exclude all superfluities, and yet nothing 
could have been offered to the mind as so essentially useless. 
We here give a portrait of a public Friend, such as he was in 
costume, done from life. 

In 1737 the perukes of the day, as then sold, were thus described, 
to wit : — " Tyes, bobs, majors, spencers, fox-tails, and twists, 
together with curls or tates (tetes) for the ladies." 

In the year 1765 another peruke-maker advertises prepared 
hair for judges' full bottomed wigs, tyes for gentlemen of the bar 
to wear over their hair, brigadiers, dress bobs, bags, cues, scratches, 
cut wigs, &c. ; and to accommodate ladies he has tates (tetes), 
towers, &c. At same time a stay-maker advertises cork stays, 
whalebone stays, jumps and easy caushets, thin boned misses' 
and ladies stays, and pack thread stays. 

Some of the advertisements of the olden time present some 
curious descriptions of masquerade attire, such as these, viz : — 

Year 1722 — runaway, a servant clothed with damask breeches 
and vest, black broadcloth vest, a broadcloth coat of copper 
colour, lined and trimmed with black, and wearing black stock- 
ings. Another servant is described as wearing leather breeches 
and glass buttons, black stockings, and a wig. 

In 1724 a runaway barber is thus dressed, viz : — wore a light 
wig, a grey kersey jacket lined with blue, a light pair of drugget 
breeches, black roll-up stockings, square-toed shoes, a red leathern 

Apparel 253 

apron. He had also a white vest and yellow buttons, with red 

Another runaway servant is described as wearing *^a light 
short wig/' aged 20 years ; his vest white, with yellow buttons 
and faced with red. 

A poetic effusion of a lady of 1725, describing her paramour, 
thus designates the dress which most seizes upon her admiration 
as a ball guest : — 

*' Mine, a tall youth shall at a ball be seen, 
Whose legs are like the spring, all clothM in green, 
A yellow ribband ties his long cravat, 
And a large knot of yellow cocks his hat." 

A gentleman of Cheraw, South Carolina, has now in his 
possession an ancient cap, worn in the colony of New Netherlands 
about 1 50 years ago, such as may have been worn by some of 
the chieftains among the Dutch rulers set over us. The crown is 
of elegant yellowish brocade, the brim of crimson silk velvet, 
turned up to the crown. ^ It is elegant even now. 

In the year 1749 I met with the incidental mention of a singu- 
lar overcoat worn by Captain James as a storm coat, made 
entirely of beaver fur, wrought together in the manner of felting 

Before the revolution no hired men or women wore any shoes 
so fine as calfskin, that kind was the exclusive property of the 
gentry; the servants wore coarse neats-leather. The calfskin 
shoe then had a white rand of sheepskin stitched into the top 
edge of the sole, which they preserved white as a dress shoe as 
long as possible. 

It was very common for children and working women to wear 
bfeads made of Job's-tears, a berry of a shrub. They used them 
for economy, and said it prevented several diseases. 

Until the period of the revolution, every person who wore a 
fur hat had it always of entire beaver. Every apprentice, at re- 
ceiving his '^ freedom," received a real beaver at a cost of six 
dollars. Their every-day hats were of wool, and called felts. 
What were called roram hats, being fur faced upon wool felts, 
came into use directly after the peace, and excited much surprise 
as to the invention. Gentlemen's hats, of entire beaver, univer- 
sally cost eight dollars. 

The use of lace veils to ladies' faces is but a modern fashion, 
not of more than twenty to thirty years standing. Now they 
wear black, white, and green ; the last only lately introduced as 
a summer veil. In olden time none wore a veil but as a mark 
and badge of mourning, and then, as now, of crape, in preference 
to lace. 

Ancient ladies remembered a time in their early life when 
the ladies wore blue stockings and party-coloured clocks of very 
striking appearance. May not that fashion, as an extreme ton 

254 Apparel. 

of the upper circle in life, explain the adoption of the term " Blue 
stocking Club ?" I have seen with S C , Esq., the wed- 
ding silk stockings of his grandmother, of a lively green, and great 
red clocks. My grandmother wore in winter very fine worsted 
green stockings, with a gay clock surmounted with a bunch of 

Even spectacles, permanently useful as they are, have been 
subjected to the caprice of fashion. Now they are occasionally 
seen of gold — a thing I never saw in my youth ; neither did I 
ever see one young man with spectacles — now so numerous. A 
purblind or half-sighted youth then deemed it his positive dispa- 
ragement to be so regarded. Such would have rather run against 
a street post six times a-day than have been seen with them. In- 
deed, in early olden time they had not the art of using temple 
spectacles. In early years the only spectacles ever used were 
called " bridge spectacles,' ' without any side supporters, and held 
on the nose solely by nipping the bridge of the nose. 

My grandmother wore a black velvet mask in winter with a 
silver mouth-piece to keep it on by retaining it in the mouth. I 
have been told that green ones have been used in summer for 
some few ladies, for riding in the sun on horseback. 

Ladies formerly wore cloaks as their chief overcoats; they 
were used with some changes of form under the successive names 
of roquelaus, capuchins, and cardinals. 

In the old time, shagreen-cased watches, and turtle shell and 
pinchbeck, were the earliest kind seen ; but watches of any kind 
were much more rare then. When they began to come into use, 
they were so far deemed a matter of pride and show, that men 
are living who have heard public Friends express their concern 
at seeing their youth in the show of watches or watch chains. 
It was so rare to find watches in common use, that it was quite 
an annoyance at the watchmaker's to be so repeatedly called on 
by street-passengers for the hour of the day. Gold chains would 
have been a wonder then ; silver and steel chains and seals were 
the mode, and regarded good enough. The best gentlemen of 
the country were content with silver watches, although gold ones 
were occasionally used. Gold watches for ladies was a rare oc- 
currence, and when worn, were kept without display for domes- 
tic use. 

The men of former days never saw such things as our Maho- 
medan whiskers on christian men. 

The use of boots has come in since the war of Independence ; 
they were first with black tops, after the military, strapped up 
in union with the knee buttons; afterwards bright tops were 
introduced. The leggings to these latter were made of buckskin 
for some extreme beaux, for the sake of close fitting a well 
turned leg. 

It having been the object of these pages to notice the change 

AppareL 255 

of the fashions in the habiliments of men and women from the 
olden to the modern time, it may be necessary to say, that no at- 
tempt has been made to note the quick succession of modern 
changes, precisely because they are too rapid and evanescent for 
any useful record. The subject, however, leads me to the gene- 
ral remark, that the general character of our dress is always ill 
adapted to our climate ; and this fact arises from our national 
predilection as English. As English colonists we early introduced 
the modes of our British ancestors. They derived their notions 
of dress from France ; and we, even now, take all annual fashions 
from the ton of England ; a circumstance which leads us into 
many unseasonable and injurious imitations, very ill adapted to 
either our hotter or colder climate. Here we have the extremes 
of heat and cold. There they are moderate. The loose and light 
habits of the east, or of southern Europe, would be better adapted 
to the ardour of our midsummers ; and the close and warm ap- 
parel of the north of Europe might furnish us better examples for 
our severe winters. ^ 

But in these matters (while enduring the profuse sweating of 
90 degrees of heat) we fashion after the modes of England, which 
are adapted to a climate of but 70 degrees. Instead, therefore, 
of the broad slouched hat of southern Europe, we have the nar- 
row brim, a stiff stock or starched buckram collar for the neck, a 
coat so close and tight as if glued to our skins, and boots so closely 
set over our insteps and ancles, as if over the lasts on which they 
were made. Our ladies have as many ill adapted dresses and 
hats ; and sadly their healths are impaired in our rigorous winters, 
by their thin stuff-shoes and transparent and light draperies, afford- 
ing but slight defence for tender frames against the cold. 

Mr. A. B., aged 75, in 1828, told me the following facts, viz : 

Boots were rarely worn, never as an article of dress ; chiefly 
when seen they were worn on hostlers and sailors ; the latter al- 
ways wore great petticoat trowsers, coming only to the knee and 
there tying close ; common people wore their clothes much longer 
than now ; they patched their clothes much and long ; a garment 
was only " half worn'' when it became broken. 

The first umbrellas he ever knew worn, were by the British 
officers, and were deemed effeminate in them. Parasols, as 
guards from the sun, were not seen at all. As a defence from 
rain, the men wore "rain coats," and the women, "camblets." 
It was a common occurrence to see servants running in every 
direction with these on their arms, to churches, if an unexpected 
rain came up. As a defence in winter from storms, the men 
were "great coats" daily. It was a general practice (as much 
so as moving on the first of May), to put on these coats on the 
tenth of November, and never disuse them till the tenth of May 

Gentlemen of the true Holland race, wore very long body coats, 

256 Apparel. 

the skirts reaching down nearly to the ancles, with long and broad 
waists, and with wide and stiff skirts ; they wore long flaps to 
their vests ; their breeches were not loose and flowing, although 
large, but were well filled up with interior garments, giving name 
to the thing as well as to families, in the appellation of Mynheer 
Ten Broeck. 

A female child of six years, in full dignity of dress, was attired 
thus, viz : — a white cap of transparent texture, setting smooth 
and close to the head : on the left side of it was a white ostrich 
feather, flattened like a band close to the cap ; the cap had a nar- 
row edge of lace. From, the neck dropped a white linen collar, 
with laced edges. A gold chain hung on one shoulder only, and 
under the opposite arm. A white stomacher, with needle orna- 
ments, and the edges laced. The body braced with stays. A 
white apron, very full at the top and much plaited, and edged all 
round with small lace. A silk gown of thick material of dove 
colour, very full plaited, and giving the idea of large hips ; (indeed 
all the Dutch women affected much rotundity in that way.) Broad 
lace was sewn close to the gown sleeves, along the length of the 
seam on the inside curve of the arms, so as to cover the seam. 
The sleeve cuffs were of white lace, large, and turned up. This 
picture from life was given by an artist who understood the 

Mrs. M* Adams, a venerable lady whom I saw at the age of 
ninety-three, spoke of a circumstance occurring in New York in 
1757, respecting Gen. Gates' first wife : she was generally reported 
as riding abroad in meii's clothes, solely from the circumstance 
of her wearing a riding habit after the manner of English ladies, 
where she had been born and educated. It proved that the man- 
ners of the times did not admit of such female display, and per- 
haps it was more masculine than we now see them on ladies. 

The price of fine cloth before the revolution, was " a guinea a 
yard;" and. all men, save the most refined, expected, after 
wearing it well on one side, to have it vamped up new as a 
" turned coat." Among common men, the practice was universal. 
Thus showing how much better cloths were then than now, in 

All elderly gentlemen had gold-headed canes. It was their 
mark of distinction. Seeing that they were once so general, it is 
matter of curiosity now, to ask what may have become of the 
many, now no longer seen ! It was usual to see them in the 
churches and other public places, used ostensibly as a support to 
the chin when sitting; but often times from motives of vanity, as 
a badge of expensive ability. It was a pride of the same kind, 
which gave favour and use to gold snuff-boxes, and to the free 
proffering of their contents, to the persons near. Silas Deane, it 
is remembered, had one, a present from royalty, which he was 
very proud of displaying with its diamonds. This was so mani- 

Appard, 257 

fest to Charles Thompson, his familiar friend, that he once broke 
out upon him in full laugh for his manner of urging it upon his 
notice ! 

In former days, the mechanics, working men, and country peo- 
ple attending markets, were universally accustomed to appear 
abroad in leather breeches, leathern aprons, and baize vests of 
red or green. The working boys did the same. 

A modern apprentice now must have his suit of fine broadcloth, 
his hat of the finest fur and latest fashion, his boots of the best 
cut and style, &c. ; but formerly, all this was quite diflerent. Ima- 
gine to yourself, a young man of eighteen, then, of good propor- 
tions, handsome face, blooming with health and beauty, dressed 
in a pair of deerskin breeches, blacked or buft up every week for 
his Sunday appearance at church — his legs at same time covered 
up to the knees with blue yarn knit stockings, and his feet encased 
in a pair of coarse leathej; shoes, well greased, and surmounted 
with a pair of brass buckles. Observe that he wore a speckled 
or checked shirt all the week, and a white one on Sunday, which 
was always carefully taken off as soon as he got home from 
church, was folded up and laid by for the next sabbath service. 
Imagine that the leather breeches, after long wear got greasy and 
horny as they grew old, and were only flexible, so long as they 
were on, and kept warm by the superflux of youthful heat. Sup- 
pose, that in the morning of a cold day in January, when snow 
had blown in at his bed-chamber window, scattering its fleece 
about his garret, and loading his breeches, stiflening them up to 
a standing capability, and he shaking out the snow and pulling 
them on ! Such was once his lot ; and such he once encountered 
without fear or murmur ; when he could rise warm from his straw 
bed and woollen rug, subduing by his own warmth the stubborn 
stiffness of the leather, and going down stairs with a whistle, to 
kindle the fires for the house, and for his master. 

In those days, none were anxious for the safety of the house 
against night robbers ; street doors were universally left on the 
latch till bed-time and retirement ; or were habitually left open 
for ready ingress or egress, the family in meantime, frequently 
passing the evenings on their street stoops or porches. 

33 Y2 

258 Furniture and Equipage, 


" Dismiss a real elegance a little used, 
For monstrous novelty and strange disguise." 

The tide of fashion, which overwhelms every thing in its on- 
ward course, had almost effaced every trace of what our forefathers 
possessed or used in the way of household furniture or traveling 
equipage. Since the year 1800, the introduction of foreign luxury, 
caused by the influx of wealth, has been yearly effecting succes- 
sive changes in those articles, so much so that the former simple 
articles which contented, as they equally served the purposes of, 
our forefathers, could hardly be conceived. Such as they were, 
they descended acceptably unchanged from father to son and son's 
son, and presenting, at the era of our Independence, precisely the 
same family picture which had been seen in the earliest annals 
of the town. 

Formerly there were no side-boards, and when they were first 
introduced after the revolution, they were much smaller and less 
expensive than now. Formerly they had couches of worsted 
damask, and only in very affluent familes, in lieu of what we 
now call sofas or lounges. Plain people used settees and settles, 
— the latter had a bed concealed in the seat, and by folding the 
top of it outwards to the front, it exposed the bed and widened 
the place for the bed to be spread upon it. This, homely as it 
might now be regarded, was a common sitting room appendage, 
and was a proof of more attention to comfort than display. It 
had, as well as the settee, a very high back of plain boards, and 
the whole was of white pine, generally unpainted and whitened 
well with unsparing scrubbing. Such was in the poet's eyes 
when pleading for his sofa, — 

" But restless was the seat, the back erect 
Distress'd the weary loins that felt no ease." 

They were a very common article in very good houses, and 
were generally the proper property of the oldest members of the 
family, unless occasionally used to stretch the weary length of 
tired boys. They were placed before the fire-places in the win- 
ter to keep the back guarded from wind and cold. Formerly 
there were no Windsor chairs ; and fancy chairs are still more 
modern. Their chairs of the genteelest kind were of mahogany 
or red walnut, (once a great substitute for mahogany in all kinds 
of furniture, tables, &c.,) or else they were of rush bottoms, and 
made of maple posts and slats, with high backs and perpendicular. 
Instead of japanned waiters as now, they had mahogany tea 

Furniture and Equipage. ^9^ 

boards and round tea tables, which, being turned on an axle 
underneath the centre, stood upright like an expanded fan or 
palm leaf, in the corner. Another corner was occupied by a 
beaufet, which was a corner closet Avith a glass door, in which 
all the china of the family and the plate were intended to be 
displayed for ornament as well as use. A conspicious article in 
the collection was always a great china punch bowl, which fur- 
nished a frequent and grateful beverage, — for wine drinking was 
then much less in vogue. China teacups and saucers were about 
half their present size ; and china tea-pots and coffee-pots, with 
silver nozzles, was a mark of superior finery. The sham of plated 
ware was not then known, and all who showed a silver surface 
had the massive metal too. This occurred in the wealthy families 
in little coflfee and tea-pots ; and a silver tankard for good sugared 
toddy, was above vulgar entertainment. Where we now use 
earthen-ware, they then used delf-ware imported from England; 
and instead of queen's-ware (then unknown,) pewter platters and 
porringers, made to shine along a "dresser," were universal. 
Some, and especially the country people, ate their meals from 
wooden trenchers. Gilded looking-glasses and picture frames of 
golden glare were unknown ; and both much smaller than now, 
were used. Small pictures painted on glass, with black mould- 
ings for frames, with a scanty touch of gold leaf in the corners, 
was the adornment of a parlour. The looking-glasses in two 
plates, if large, had either glass frames figured with flowers en- 
graved thereon, or was of scalloped mahogany or of Dutch 
wood scalloped — painted white or black, with here and there 
some touches of gold. Every householder in that day deemed it 
essential to his convenience and comfort to have an ample chest 
of drawers in his parlour or sitting room, in which the linen and 
clothes of the family were always of ready access. It was no sin 
to rummage them before company. These drawers were some- 
times nearly as high as the ceiling. At other times they had a 
writing desk about the centre, with a falling lid to write upon 
when let down. A great high clock-case, reaching to the ceiling, 
occupied another corner ; and a fourth corner was appropriated 
to the chimney place. They then had no carpets on their floors, 
and no paper on their walls. The silver-sand on the floor was 
drawn into a variety of fanciful figures and twirls with the sweep- 
ing brush, and much skill and even pride was displayed therein 
in the devices and arrangement. They had then no argand or 
other lamps in parlours, but dip candles, in brass or copper candle- 
sticks, was usually good enough for common use ; and those who 
occasionally used mould candles, made them at home in little tin 
frames, casting four to six candles in each. A glass lantern 
with square sides furnished the entry lights in the houses of the 
affluent. Bedsteads then were ma de, if fine, of carved mahogany, 
of slender dimensions ; but, for common purposes, or for the fami- 

260 Furniture and Equipage. 

lies of good tradesmen, they were of poplar, and always painted 
green. It was a matter of miiversal concern to have them low 
enough to answer the purpose of repose for sick or dying per- 
sons — a provision so necessary for such possible events, now so 
little regarded by the modern practice of ascending to a bed by 
steps, like clambering up to a hay mow. 

A lady, giving me the reminiscences of her early life, thus speaks 
of things as they were before the war of independence : — marble 
mantels and folding doors were not then known ; and well enough 
we enjoyed ourselves without sofas, carpets, or girandoles. A 
white floor sprinkled with clean white sand, large tables and 
heavy high back chairs of walnut or mahogany, decorated a 
parlour genteelly enough for any body. Sometimes a carpet, 
not, however, covering the whole floor, was seen upon the dining 
room. This was a show-parlour up stairs, not used but upon 
gala occasions, and then not to dine in. Pewter plates and dishes 
were in general use. China on dinner tables was a great rarity. 
Plate, more or less, was seen in most families of easy circum- 
stances, not indeed in all the various shapes that have since been 
invented, but in massive silver waiters, bowls, tankards, cans, &c. 
Glass tumblers were scarcely seen. Punch, the most common 
beverage, was drunk by the company, from one large bowl of 
silver or china ; and beer from a tankard of silver. 

The use of stoves was not known in primitive times, neither in 
families nor in churches. Their fire-places were as large again as 
the present, with much plainer mantel-pieces. In lieu of marble 
plates round the sides and top of the fire-places, it was adorned 
with china Dutch-tile, pictured with sundry scripture pieces. Dr. 
Franklin first invented the " open stove,'^ called also " the Frank- 
lin stove," after which, as fuel became scarce, the better economy 
of the " ten plate stove," was adopted. 

The most splendid looking carriage ever exhibited among us, 
was that used as befitting the character of that chief of men, 
General Washington, while acting as President of the United 
States. It was very large, so as to make four horses, at least, an 
almost necessary appendage. It was occasionally drawn by six 
horses, Virginia bays. It was cream coloured, globular in its 
shape, ornamented with cupids supporting festoons, and wreaths 
. of flowers, emblematically arranged along the pannel work ; — 
the whole neatly covered with best coach-glass. It was of Eng- 
lish construction. 

Some twenty or thirty years before the period of the revolution, 
the steeds most prized for the saddle were pacers, since so odious 
deemed. To this end the breed was propagated with much care. 
The Narraganset pacers of Rhode Island were in such repute 
that they were sent for, at much trouble and expense, by some 
few who were choice in their selections. It may amuse the pre- 
sent generation to peruse the history of one such horse, spoken of 

Furniture and Equipage. 26l 

in the letter of Rip Van Dam of New York, in the year 1711, 
which I have seen. It states the fact of the trouble he had taken 
to procure him such a horse. He was shipped from Rhode Island 
in a sloop, from which he jumped overboard when under sail 
and swam ashore to his former home. He arrived at New York 
in 14 days passage, much reduced in flesh and spirit. He cost 
£32, and his freight 50 shillings. This writer Rip Van Dam, 
was a great personage, he having been President of the Council 
in 1731 ; and on the death of Governor Montgomery that year, 
he was governor ex officio, of New York. His mural monument 
is now to be seen in St. Paul's church. 

Mr. A. B., aged seventy-five, told me that he never saw any 
carpets on floors, before the revolution ; when first introduced, 
they only covered the floors outside of the chairs around the 
room ; he knew of persons afraid to step on them when they 
first saw them on floors ; some dignified families always had 
some carpets, but then they got them through merchants as a 
special importation for themselves. Floors silver sanded in 
figures, &c., were the universal practice. The walls of houses 
were not papered, but universally whitewashed. 

Mahogany was but very seldom used, and when seen, was 
mostly in a desk or " tea-table." The general furniture was 
made of " billstead," another name for maple. 

The first stoves he remembered came into use in his time, and 
were all open inside in one oblong square ; having no baking 
oven thereto, as was afterwards invented in the "ten plate 

He thinks coaches were very rare ; can't think there were more 
than four or five of them ; men were deemed rich to have kept 
even a chaise. The governor had one coach ; Walton had another ; 
Colden, the lieutenant governor, had a coach, which was burnt 
before his window by the mob ; Mrs. Alexander had a coach, 
and Robert Murray, a Friend, had another, which he called his 
" leathern conveniency," to avoid the scandal of pride and vain 

262 Gazettes of the Olden Time and their Notices. 


"These mark the everyday affairs of life." 

Although the old Gazettes of colonial days, have been but very 
tame chroniclers of their times, as compared with the present sur- 
charged sheets, pregnant with everything \ yet they all tend 
more or less, incidentally ^ to show forth something characteristic 
of their age, and of their then "everyday affairs of hfe." 

The following pages, extracted from several Gazettes of the 
times referred to, will more fully illustrate what we mean : and 
by way of more fully describing the little vehicles of intelligence 
used by " the gentlemen of the olden time," we shall begin the 
present chapter with the thorough exhibition of all the local 
facts to be derived at one time, from a single journal of the day. 
Though long past and dead, it still talks to us of the age in which 
it lived. 

We use first the New York Gazette, revived in the weekly 
Post Boy of 4th March 1750-1, No. 246; printed and sold by 
James Parker at the new printing office in Beaver street. The 
paper is printed on cap sized paper, and is ten shillings a year. 
Little as it was, it must have been a well prized and welcome 
visiter, when it only presented itself with limited information, but 
once a week. 

Its first page contains the proclamation of Governor Belcher, 
of Nova Csssarea (i. e. New Jersey), dissolving the then refractory 
assembly, which refused supplies, and quoting from his letter 
from the lords commissioners of trade, that they were resentful 
at ''the state of rebellion in which the colony is so unhappily in- 
volved." Frank words, and rough enough to the Jersey Blues, 
full twenty-six years before their open rebellion, was actually 
sustained and finally finished. 

The little Gazette has several short advertisements printed all 
round its margins, in a transverse direction to the column matter. 
From among these, I give the following specialties, to wit : 

" The Public Whipper being lately dead, twenty pounds a 
year is offered to a successor at the Mayor's office." 

" Good Foot-linen-wheels, are advertised for sale, made at 
Oyster-bay, and sold in Beekman street near the new English 
churchy None of the present generation are aware that little 
wheels to move by the tread of the foot, to spin linen-thread, 
were once so designated, to distinguish them from big wheels 
turned by the hand to spin woollen yarn. 

Gazettes of the Olden T^me and their Notices. 263 

Plays. "This evening will be presented the Bold stroke for a 
Wife, with Daemon and Phillis, for the benefit of Miss George." 

" Three negroes — a man, woman, and girl, to be sold by R. 

" A large stable and chaise house behind Whitehall slip, facing 
Copsy battery, for the use of receiving such by the ferry boats, 
is to let." The word copsy is now obsolete. It was spelt capsey, 
and meant the turning point at the battery. 

Among the other advertisements in the columns, we notice the 
following, as marking, local names and localities, now no longer 
familiar to the ear — to wit : 

"To be sold, a plantation of 15 acres, of John Minthorne's, 
in the out ward, and bouo^ed on the east side oi fresh water, and 
pleasantly situated." 

The present Shrewsbury river is called Navesink's river. 

" Twelve acres of salt meadow on the East river side, back of 
alderman Stuyvesandt's, is to be sold at auction at the Spring 

" Half of the ground on the south side of Crown street, com- 
monly known by the name of Barberie's Garden, is for sale." 

" Godfrey's sea quadrant improved, and other mathematical 
instruments, are made and sold by Anthony Lamb." A special 
honour to Mr. Godfrey's important invention, which we were 
glad to see thus announced. 

Houses situated at the water end of Broad street, are termed 
as " lying near the Long bridge," and good " for merchants or 
shop keepers." 

Several persons give notice of " intending" or " designing for 

A Mr. Charles Dutens, teacher of French and jeweller, gives a 
long advertisement, full of self-conceit and egotism, and sprinkled 
throughout with scraps of Latin, for the use of young ladies and 
gentlemen, whose love of learning might incline them to take 
lessons from him in French, at his house near the Long Bridge 
at Broad street, where he also makes and vends finger and ear 
rings, solitaires, stay hooks and lockets, and sets diamonds, rubies 
and other stones. " Science and virtue (says he,) are two sisters, 
which the most part of the New York ladies possess," meaning 
their qualities; and to induce them to credit his assertion, he gives 
at length a dream which he had, as a cause that " he came to 
the fancy to set forth the present advertisement." 

New York Mercury, by Hugh Gaine, on Hunter's Key, began 
in 1752, in cap, next year demi size, furnishes facts as follows, to 

1753. The negro fellow who committed the murder oi his 
master, Jacob Van Naneste, loas burnt at Millstone, New Jersey, 
on Wednesday last. He stood the fire with the greatest intrepidity, 
and said " they had taken the root, but left the branches." 

264 Gazettes of the Olden Time and their Notices. 

A very good assortment of Iron ware, is advertised at the 
store of Rip Van Dam. 

An advertisement of January, 1753, reads thus: — This is to 
acquaint gentlemen and others, who have a mind to transport 
themselves, wares, or merchandise from New York to Philadel- 
phia, or from Philadelphia to New York, that there is now a 
stage boat, well fitted, kept by (Vm, Vandrills, who proposes 
(wind and weather permitting,) to sail from ^ew York to Amboy, 
every Monday and Thursday, and thence by wagon to Burling- 
ton, and thence take passage to Philadelphia. 

Middling and single refined London and Boston loaf sugar, is 
advertised. " Nutten Island" is named also the " Meal market," 
" White Hall," '* The Long bridge" across Broad street. 

The new Presbyterian church steeple in Philadelphia, is adver- 
tised to be made by lottery, saying, " A work of this kind (corner 
of Arch and Third streets), which is principally ornamental, is to 
be encouraged by all well-wishers to the beauty of Philadelphia.^^ 
(It was common then to advertise lotteries there, for several 
places distant.) 

Hoop Petticoats, are thus noticed, March, 1753. " Their petti- 
coats which began to heave and swell before you left us, are now 
blown up into a most enormous concave, and rise more and more 
every day ! The superfluity of head dress lately abandoned, 
seems to have fallen from their height, only to extend the 
breadth of their lower parts. They pretend that these wide 
bottoms are airy, and proper for the season. Others pretend that 
their whalebones and hoops are to keep off" the undue approaches 
of our sex. The first time I saw a lady dressed in one of these 
petticoats^ I could not- forbear blaming her in thought, for walk- 
ing abroad when so near her time to stay at home, but soon 
recovered myself, by the observation that all the modish part of 
the sex were as far gone as herself I It is generally thought how- 
ever, that the fashion was introduced by some crafty lady, to 
conceal some mishap, by having many imitators. In the mean- 
while one cannot but be troubled to see so many well shaped 
virgins bloated up, and waddled up and down like big bodied 
women. Should this measure become general, we should soon feel 
the want of street room. Congregations already begin to be pinched 
for room ; and should the men fall into the scheme of trunk- 
breeches, by way of reprehension or reprisal, man and wife could 
no longer sit in the same pew !" 

The Common Council notify, that all persons indebted to the 
city corporation for quit rents, shall pay in the same to the city 
chamberlain or treasurer. 

The dress of an Engraver and JeiMller, of twenty-five years 
of age, runaway, is thus given : — A blue coat with black mohair 
buttons, blue lapelled waistcoat, the lapells lined with black velvet, 

Gazettes of the Olden Time and their Notices, 265 

a pair of black leather breeches with solid silver buttons, and 
brown wig. 

Search is made in all the wards by the constables, for small- 
pox, and only three cases found; a circumstance of much joy 
to all. 

A writer in the Gazette of April, 1753, noticing the intended 
new College, deprecates its falling into the hands of any ascendant 
sect, and stating the Presbyterians are aiming for it, says, " I 
shall think it strange if our legislature shall sufier themselves to 
be either jockied or bullied, as they did by other sects in the case 
of the New Jersey college, under the pretence of a Catholic 
establishment. [It woulff be a curious history, which could show 
the true cause, why all the colleges have been so universally in 
the hands of clergymen. " So did not St. Paul."] 

Four horses started for the New York subscription plate on 
the course near " Greenwich."*^ 

The London Company of Comedians, in July, 1753, address 
the magistrates and the public, praying the grant of permission to 
play, and saying they were encouraged to go to New York as 
early as 1750, and that thereupon Mr. Hallam undertook to send 
out Mr. Robert Upton, in October, 1750, to perform, erect a 
building, and settle permission, &c. For this purpose he had 
funds from Mr. Hallam ; but he nevertheless joined himself to a 
set of pretenders, and did nothing for Mr. Hallam & Co. In 
April, 1752, Mr. Hallam & Co., being solicited by several gentle- 
men in London, and sundry Virginia captains, they embarked and 
arrived at York river, Va., the 28th of June. There they had the 
grant of the governor to perform, and remained with much 
applause, eleven naonths ; but now being arrived at New York, 
they find great obstacles^ in their way, although they had been 
persuaded to visit it as a polite city, where the muses could find 
shelter, and not that the instructive and elegant entertainment of 
the stage, was to be utterly banished ! They pray a reconsider- 
ation, and that they may be permitted to show their ability to 
support the dignity, decorum, and regularity of the stage. 

Green mould candles for sale, at the Old Slip market. [Pro- 
bably made of the bayberry.] 

Charles Sullivan's tavern, at the Fresh water, in the out ward 
of the city. 

Frail Ladies. " Last Thursday, (July, 1753,) twenty-two 
frail ladies, taken out of several houses of ill repute in this city, 
were committed to the workhouse, and next day five of them 
were condemned to receive fifteen lashes each, before a vast con- 
course of people. All were then ordered to leave the city.'' 

The Post Office, at the Bowling Green, Broadway, will be 

open every day, save Saturday afternoons and Sundays, from 

eight to twelve A. M., and from two to four P. M., except on 

post nights, when attendance will be given till ten at night, by 

34 Z 

266 Gazettes of the Olden Time and their Notices, 

A. Golden, deputy postmaster, and afterwards postmaster. N. B. 
No credit in future. 

Ran away, A. Fitz Morris, a taylor, twenty-three years old, 
from Ireland, had a light coloured wig, mouse coloured coat, and 
blue linings, gold twist buttons, black stockings, woollen shag 
breeches. Another runaway, is said to have " his hair scalpea 
like a wig.^' 

Wire Dancer. Mr. Dugee performs on the wire and slack rope, 
by permission, at a new house built for that purpose, in Mr. 
Adam Van Denberg's garden. 

Red Clover seed, offered for sale near the Half Moon Battery, 
near Whitehall slip. [This shows an early use of clover.'] 

Play bill, 22d of October, 1753. By a company of comedians 
from London, at the New Theatre, in Nassau street, (by his 
honour's authority.) Love for Love, afterpiece, Tom Thumb the 
Great, Hallam's family ; Box 6s. Pit 4s. Gallery 2s. The next 
play was Richard the Third, and the Devil to Pay. They go to 

French, Low Dutch, Latin and English, taught by Tho. Ross. 

Patrick Audley, Taylor, from Great Britain, makes gentlemen's 
laced and plain clothes, burning dresses, pantine sleeves, racoloes 
for clergymen and others, ladies' Josephs. 

The New Exchange is now opened as a coffee-room, by Keen 
& Lightfoot, [near the meal market, I believe]. 

A Public Library is to be formed by a subscription of gentle- 
men, April, 1754. 

" Roger Magrah is moved up near the Horse Sf Cart Inn, in 
the street that Alderman Cortlant lives in." 

The New York College, opened in May, 1754 ; is helped by a 
lottery, and the price of tuition, under^ Samuel Johnson, princi- 
pal, a former missionary, is twenty-five shillings per quarter. 
Numerous discussions concerning the sect to govern this college, 
appeared in the Gazettes. Some claimed for the Church, others 
for the Presbyterians. [Why either of them ? and why not a civil 
institution? Wm. Livingston, Esq., afterwards governor of 
New Jersey, was a frequent writer on the side of the latter, titled 
the Watch Tower.] 

Patrick Flanley, an Irish runaway, is thus advertised; had a 
grey homespun coat, lined with blue shalloon, fawn skin vest, 
hair outside, and purple sheepskin breeches. 

M. Derham, milliner from London, arrived with her wares, &c. 

The Hon. Shirley Washington, Esq., arrived at New York, 
as commander of his majesty's ship Mermaid, of twenty guns, 
from England. I see also a Captain Washingtoii, commander 
of a privateer. I notice also, a Captain Kid often arriving at 
Philadelphia from Nova Scotia. 

Albany is thus noticed by a writer in September, 1754, saying : 
It is much to be feared, that the French, before a declaration of 

Exchange, Wall Street, burned 1835, p. 266. 

Gazettes of the Olden Time and their Notices. 267 

war, may attack us, and if they do, they will too probably take 
the city of Albany, whose inhabitants are more renowned for 
the artifices of traffic and the thirst of gain, than for a military 

The Rev. Mr. Graham, of Rumbout precinct, in Dutchess county, 
" continues to teach Latin, Greek and Hebrew, very cheap.^^ 

Of Female Dress. " These foreign invaders first made their 
attack upon the stays, so as to diminish them half" down the 
waist, exposing the breast and shoulders. Next to the caps ; 
cut off the flappets and tabs, bored and padlocked the ears. Next 
came the Avide hoops and French pocket holes ; and last of all, 
have lately shortened the rear, so that the heels and ancles are 
exposed, even to the very gusset and clock ! 0, shame .♦ shame !" 

It is worthy of remark, that all of the names, usually found 
among the gentry of the state of New York now, generally 
professional men, are all to be found in the advertising columns 
of these old Gazettes, as men of business. There we read of 
" De Lancey, Robinson & Co., at their store in Duke street." 
'^ Gerard W. Beekman's dry goods store ;" " Robert G. Livings- 
ton has for sale ;" " To be sold by Le Roy & Rutgers ;" '* To be 
sold by Philip Livingston ;" " James Jauncey has for sale ;" 
"For sale by S. G. Lansing, near Coenties market f^ " N. W. 
Stuyvesant, auctioneer." The truth is, concerning such business 
men, that they were at the top of society ; the lawyers and doc- 
tors then served for much smaller fees, and had not any pre- 
eminence. It is only of later years, that lawyers have got so much 
into public councils and state affairs; before the Revolution, they 
were much restricted to small local affairs ; international law was 
not required and was not studied. Maritime law, and insurance 
policies, now so much understood, were then scarcely known. 
They have since got rich out of these incidents of commerce, and 
now take precedence of their actual makers. Merchants and 
riches once headed all things. 

Fencing and Dancing is taught by John Rievers, at the cor- 
ner of Stone street. 

*/i Grand Ball, upon the occasion of St. Andrew's day, was 
given by the Scotch Society, at the Exchange room, and King's 
Arms tavern. Many officers of the army were present; the 
ladies made a most brilliant appearance, and it is thought that there 
was scarcely ever so great a number of elegantly dressed fine 
women seen together in North America. The officers were 
peculiarly delighted and surprised with so many interesting ladies, 
more than they had ever met together in our country. 

It appears that the new gaol was built by a lottery ; the draw- 
ing was published of it, April, 1758. A lottery is also made to pay 
^eilOO, debt of the city of Albany by the war. The twenty-six 
hundred men to be raised by New York for the war, were each 
to have a pair of buckskin breeches. 

268 Gazettes of the Olden Time and their Notices. 

The ways of Trade. Nov. 1760. Public notice is given by the 
custom house, that " some of our traders from foreign ports, have 
been for some time hovering in the sound and on the coast, with 
a view to discharge their cargoes duty free ; all good citizens are 
invited to aid the authorities and give information, &c.'' 

A proclamation from the governor of New Jersey, says, It is 
believed provisions and lumber are intended to be smuggled off 
for the use of the enemy, hy some. 

To Let, the house at White Hall, now in the possession of Lord 
London, enquire of Frances Moore, nigh the Bowling Green. [She 
was probably the widow of Col. Moore, the original proprietor.] 

1759. Greenwich, to be sold by A. Sarzedas, a pretty country 
seat, nigh the North river, about three miles from the city, gener- 
ally known by the name of Greenwich, containing four acres, 
all in garden. 

South-east Storm, 14th February, 1759. Joseph Whipple, Esq., 
deputy governor, going to his lodging in the evening, by reason 
of the great damage done to the Long wharf, fell in and was 
drowned. He had a great funeral train. 

The curse of cowardice. The papers are all well filled with 
calls to " gentlemen volunteers, and gentlemen sailors," to enlist 
in Sir this, and Sir that's regiment, &c., and also several adver- 
tisements for deserters. Among the other allurements to enlist- 
ment, I notice a kind of sermon for sale, called " the curse of 
cowardice,'^ being a discourse on Jer. xlviii. 10. " Cursed be he 
that doeth the work of the Lord deceitfully ; and cursed be he 
that keepeth back his sword from blood." The author says, " Ye 
young and hardy men, whose very faces seem to speak that God 
and nature formed you for soldiers, ye that love your country, 
enlist ; for honour will follow you in life or death. Ye that love 
your reUgion, enlist ; for your religion is in danger. Can Pro- 
testant Christianity expect quarters from heathen savages and 
French papists ?" 

Q Xh aged negro man on Long Island, died at Smithtown, in 
pufFolk county, say, negro Harry, in December, 1758, at least one 
hundred and twenty years of age when he died. He remembered 
New York, he said, when there were but three houses in it, (and 
now consider, that now in 1834, there are persons alive on Long 
Island who could have seen that man !) He could do a good 
day's work when past one hundred years. He was purchased 
at New York by Richard Smith, the first proprietor of Smithtown, 
and descended down to his grandson. Captain Richard Smith, of 
the same town, who is himself past sixty years of age in 1759. 
He had been a slave one hundred years in Smith's family, and 
supposed himself one hundred and forty years old ! 

The New York Insurance Office, opened at the house of the 
widow Smith, adjoining the Coffee-house, another at the Coffee- 
house is called " the old insurance office." August 21, 1759. 

Gazettes of the Olden Time and their Notices. 269 

Places. ^'At Whitehall ^X the Ao^^5c of the late Col. Moore;" 
"at his house in the fly ;^^ Bayard street;" "Canons Dock;" 
"Rotten Row;" "Wynkoop street;" "Royal Exchange;" 
"Smith Street;" "Coenties market;" "on Golden hill;" "the 
Long bridge ;" " the great Dock near the change ;" " Dock 
street ;" " Pot Baker's hill." 

1 760. " Scotch carpets," a variety of them for sale by Matthew 
Wilders — another also advertises "an assortment of carpets." 
[These were their first appearance most probably, as sand was 
used long after.] 

Marriages announced, March 1 7. Married on Tuesday night 
last, Mr. Jacob Walton of this city, merch't, to Miss Polly Cruger, 
daughter of Henry Cruger, Esq., an eminent merchant of this 
place ; an agreeable young lady, possessed of every good quality 
to render the marriage state completely happy, with a large for- 
tune." — [The mode then of noticing.] 

A Windmill for sale, in the out ward of the city, near the Bow- 
ery lane, having two pair of stones, inquire of John Burling. 

Mary Alexander, relict of the Hon. James Alexander, deceased, 
and mother to the present Earl of Stirling, died at New York, 
April 1760. She was for many years past, a very eminent trader 
in this place ; afterwards her shop goods are advertised to be sold 
oflf. Lord Stirling was two years after made one of his Majesty's 
council in New York. 

For sale, a neat assortment of women's and children's stays — 
also hoops and quilted coats ; also men and women's shoes from 

The transport vessels at New York, have much difficulty to 
engage their crews from their fears of impressment, wherefore 
Gen. Amherst engages to give such men a certificate of protection 
provided they enhst for the transports dX £Q per month. 

Persons in Albany, advertise their stores of goods in the city 

Nicholas C. Bogert, has removed his store from his father's, to 
the house of Capt. Michael Bogert near the fly market, next door 
to Mr. Bassetts, where he has for sale a general assortment of 
goods for cash or short credit. Cornelius Bogert was drowned 
at the flat rock battery, in bathing. 

Prices. Nut wood 355. a cord, oak wood 22s. — wheat 6s. 6d. 

Paper Hangings. A new article of genteel patterns, just ar- 
rived and for sale by G. Noel, bookseller. 

Irish beef and Irish butter for sale by Greg and Cunningham ; 
also Bristol ale. 

Doctor Guischard, surgeon from Paris, advertises that " he is 
experienced in women's delivery, and will with the help of the 
Lord,^' prove himself serviceable in their extremity. 

A parcel of fine young slaves just imported in the schooner 
Catherine from the coast of Africa, and for sale at Moore's wharf, 

z 2 

270 Gazettes of the Olden Time and their Notices. 

by Thomas Randall and J. Alexander. [They used to be sold also 
at public auction on board vessels, and also at the Coffee-house.] 

At this time there are three weekly newspapers in New York. 

Lotteries for many places are from time to time advertised to 
draw upon Biles' Island — one for St. John's church, Elizabeth- 
town — one for Shrewsbury church, &c. &c. 

Doings at Perth Amhoy, July 7, 1760; upon the arrival there 
of Gov. Boone to take his government, he was escorted by the 
troops of horse of EUzabethtown and Woodbridge ; at the line 
of the city he was met by the mayor, recorder, aldermen, and 
common council and conducted into town, afterwards his Excel- 
lency walked in procession to the City Hall, where he was pro- 
claimed. He afterwards gave an elegant entertainment, and in 
the evening the town was illuminated. [Who would now think 
of such things of the present little Amboy.] 

The arrival of ships of war and transports, or of departures of 
such, are frequent, also numerous occasions of British generals 
and regiments and troops coming and going at New York or the 
adjacent colonies, is frequent during the Canada war, making 
New York quite a military camp. 

Cotton goods advertised for sale by Thomas Watkins, [a new 
article, I think] a neat assortment of printed cottons, calicoes, 
and chintz — boys and girls' worsted and cotton hose — cotton and 
linen checks — cotton in bales. [A Liverpool paper of 1834, states 
that the first bag of cotton imported into that place, was brought 
from the United States in January 1785, by the Diana, and she 
brought only that one bag.] 

I never see Broadway noticed as a street; but as often as 
houses there are advertised, they are said to be near or opposite 
to some one. It was then a place out of business. 

The governor, James Delancy, Esq.,. died suddenly "at his 
seat in the Bowery, near this city." 

u Perry street^ The burghers of this street " are said to 
have petitioned to enlarge the canal or drain in the said Ferry 
street,'''' [This must mean Broad street.] The ferry stairs was 
at fly market. 

James Rivington, bookseller from London, has just opened in 
Hanover Square, Sept. 1760, and is called "Me only London 
bookseller in America." He afterwards became "the tory printer" 
in the war of the revolution. 

Henry Whitman, near the Oswego market, makes ^^Philadel- 
phia buttons and buckles," as cheap and good as can be purchased 
in Philadelphia. Many counterfeits have been sold here, but 
he will warrant his not to break. 

1761. January 12, Sunday. Funeral sermons were preached in 
all the churches in the city, on the death of his late Majesty George 
n. All the public actions of society then bespeak much loyalty. 

The New York, New England, Nova Scotia, and Quebec, &c., 

Gazettes of the Olden Time and their Notices. 271 

Coffee-house, which has been kept for fifty years past in Thread- 
needle street, behind the Royal Exchange, is now to be removed 
for a short time, until the party walls of the house can be rebuilt, 
by Thomas Lever. 

The Hon. Gen. Moncton " dwells in the commodious house in 
Beaver street.'' 

Tincture of golden rod is much praised, it cures quickly grey 
flux — it also destroys the gravel by quickly dissolving all gravel 
in the kidneys. 

The General Assembly of this colony, are to meet March 24th. 
at the house of Tennis Somerndyck. [This was perhaps in con- 
sequence of "repairing the City Hall" in the next year, 1762.] 

H. Levy offers for sale, hyson tea, coffee, chocolate — English 
made shoes. 

To be sold, a likely breeding negro wench, who is now big 
with child, for which reason she does not suit her master. [Plain 
direct language truly.] 

Evert Fels, inviter to the funerals, is removed from Broadway 
down to the North river, next to the King's stores. 

A curricle but little used, for sale with a pair of blood horses, 
at Larey's livery. 

The light-house at Sandy Hook, is to be erected oti ground at 
Sandy Hook, which is to be purchased with £3000, to be raised 
by a lottery. A second lottery was made for ^63000 more to 
build the light-house. 

Lost, between New York and Greenwich, a green purse con- 
taining a gold jacobus, a half and quarter Johannes, and three or 
four pieces of eight. 

Umbrellas of all sorts, men and boys felts and castors, and 
other goods for sale, by John Hamersly & Co., near Coenties 
market, [meaning the market near Coenties house.] 

The General Assembly of New Jersey is now sitting (July) at 
Burlington for the despatch of business. [Can any one now tell 
which was their hall, and where the Governor's house.] The 
same question might be asked also of like houses at Perth Amboy. 

A lottery for raising £2800 to pave such parts of Philadelphia 
streets, as the managers may choose, is advertised — the whole 
scheme and agent's name, at New York. 

A shark of 12 feet in length was caught at "the ferry stairs" 
[at foot of Fly market I think]. 

British camps were sometimes formed on Long Island, and 
sometimes on Staten Island; on the latter, Gen. Otway's regiment 
encamped in August, 1761, arrived from Albany — Gen. Amherst 
also staid there. 

Persian and plat carpeting — thread and cotton hose for sale, by 
H. Van Vleck. [They go ahead of Philadelphia in such luxuries]. 

The Theatre. Permission has been given by the lieutenant- 
governor, to Mr. Douglass, to build a theatre. 

272 Gazettes of the Olden Time and their Notices. 

Impressment is so much feared, that people are afraid to visit 
New York harbour as usual with provisions. The Mayor there- 
fore publishes an assurance from Capt. Darby, that none such 
shall be taken. 

Oct. 29. Sir Jetfery Amherst was installed as knight, at Staten 
Island. The cause and the occasion was this. The troops, 
eleven regiments, returned from the war on the Canada frontiers, 
under Gens. Monckton, Amherst, and Otway, and were encamped 
from August to November, upon the centre of Staten Island, 
where they formed a market and invited sellers ; while there, 
orders came from England to Major Gen. Monckton, to invest 
Gen. Amherst with the order, which he did in a public manner 
before the army, by putting the ribbon over Sir Jeffery's shoulder. 
Gen. Monckton was immediately after installed as Governor of 
New York, and a procession made for him in New York, and at 
night the city was illuminated. New York is often like a 
military camp, always troops and frigates going and coming. In 
this matter the society there, must have always been very differ- 
ent from Philadelphia. Gen. Monckton and all the troops went 
away from Staten Island on the 15th of November, with a fleet 
of one hundred sail, for the West Indies. What a sight ! 

Some unusual names of streets, viz : " Petticoat lane near the 
fort," Chapel street, " Rotten Row near the dock," at another 
place called Rorten Row, "Synagogue alley," "the New Dock." 

" Pennsylvania Stoves, newly invented," both round and 
square, to be sold by Peter Clopper. 

The new Theatre in Chapel street, (now Beekman street,) 
opened November IS, 1761, with the tragedy of the Fair Penitent, 
box 8s. pit 5s. gallery 3s. The next night, " the Provoked Hus- 
band," Douglass' company. 

" The Trinity Church farm.'' Two lots thereon, fronting the 
upper part of Broadway, near the almshouse, to be sold under its 
lease of eleven years to come ; having thereon two tenements, 
and in the rear fronting on Murray street, one other house, by 
John Dowers. 

Fort George. Died in Fort George, Alice Colden, lady of the 

Harpsicords and Spinnets imported and for sale, by Thomas 
Harrison, organist of Trinity church. 

A variety of paper hangings, imported from London, and for 
sale by J. Desbrosses. [These were used for window curtains, 
very little or none for walls.] 

Elizabeth Pitt, mantua maker from London, works in the 
newest fashion ; and Elizabeth Colvell, milliner, has just received 
a fresh supply of goods from London, and also an assistant young 
woman from London. 

" As the streets are to be lighted hereafter, conformable to law. 

Gazettes of the Olden Time and their Notices, 273 

we may expect much improvement in our police safety/' &c. 
[This meant probably, some streets.] 

John Higgins, and John Anderson, were executed " at Fresh 
watery^ for passing counterfeit money. The same Fresh water 
is named in the act of December, 1761, for prevention of fires, 
saying, " no pitch, tar, or shingles, shall be put in any place to the 
southward of Fresh water , [meaning, I presume the Kolch.] 

Severe cold weather, March 18th, "such a long continuance 
of severe cold at this season, has not been witnessed for many 

The copper mines at Second river, in New Jersey, sustained a 
great loss by the conflagration of the fire engine house and the 
works belonging thereto, and about two thousand cords of wood. 
"The loss to Mr. Schuyler must be ten thousand pounds!" It 
was afterwards burnt a second time, at great loss. 

April 26. His excellency. Sir Jeffery Amherst, upon the anni- 
versary of St. George, gave a ball to the ladies and gentlemen 
of this city, at Crawley's new assembly rooms. The company 
consisted of ninety-six ladies, and as many gentlemen, all very 
richly dressed ; and it is said the entertainment was the most 
elegant ever seen in America. 

Money Diggers. In May, 1762, Nicholas Bayard, ofiers a 
reward of ^5, to be informed who it is that comes by night to 
his farm, near the city, and digs great holes in his land, to the 
damage of his people and cattle. If they be money diggers, he 
says, he will allow them the indulgence of a search, if they will 
come to him personally, and dig by daylight, and fill up again. 
He will also give them two spades and one pick-axe, left behind 
in their supposed fright. 

The memoirs of Major Robert Rogers, a partisan officer of 
celebrity in the Indian wars near Canada, since 1755, in three 
volumes, 8vo., for twenty shillings. It might be a curious his- 
tory. His name often appears in enterprising scouts. Where is 
the book now to be found ? [I believe he became a tory.] 

May, 1762. An act is passed for raising ^3000, to repair the 
city hall. 

Lawrence Kilbrun, continues portrait painting, in Crown street. 

Thomas Jackson, teaches Latin and Greek, at the head of 
New street, opposite the Presbyterian church. 

Wm. Clajon is teacher of French, in Beaver street. 

A public and weekly concert of music is held by Leonard and 
Dieuval, music masters. 

Marriages. April 26. On Tuesday night last, Mr. Nicholas 
Bayard, Jr., of this city, merchant, was married to Miss Livings- 
ton, daughter of Mr. Peter Van Brough Livingston, of this place, 
merchant ; a very agreeable young lady, endowed with all the 
good qualities necessary for rendering the connubial state per- 
fectly agreeable. [This was then the mode.'] 

274 Gazettes of the Olden Time and their Notices, 

Rogers & Humphreys open the While Hall Coffee-house, 
commodiously situate at White Hall, where all the foreign and 
home gazettes, will be kept on iile. 

[^Philadelphia July 1. Abraham Taylor, Esq., alderman and 
deputy collector, and holding various olfices among us for thirty 
years, on the occasion of his going to reside in England, was 
entertained by an hundred of the principal gentlemen of the city, 
at the State House. John Taylor, Esq., Middleown, N. J., is 
named, 1750, to sell laws of New Jersey.] 

Six privateers, brigs and schooners, are fitted out at New York, 
against the Spaniards, in a short time. 

French and Latin taught to young persons of both sexes, and 
boarded also, by the Rev. Frederick Rothenbuhler, minister of the 
Reformed Swilzer church, in New York. 

Original manner of taking up lands in Neio York, by patent, 
viz : " Whereas his majesty, king James H., by his letters patent 
under the great seal of the province of New York, bearing date, 
the 17th October, 1685, did grant and confirm unto Francis Rum- 
bout, Jacobus Kip, and Stevanus Van Cortlandt, all that tract or 
parcel of land, situate on the east side of Hudson river, and on 
the north side of the Highlands, beginning from the south side of 
the Fish Kill, and from thence northward along said Hudson river 
five hundred rods beyond the Great Wappenger's Kill, being the 
northerly bounds, and from thence into the woods, four hours 
going, or sixteen English miles, &c., [running afterwards four 
hours going in another direction.] There are as many as half a 
dozen such large tracts, equally early granted to other companies 
of men, at other places, and which came to be advertised in 1762, 
on a call for a division of the tracts, by heirs, claiming under an 
act just passed by the council, for such purpose. [It would seem 
as if many persons, associated in families often or twelve names, 
for very small gifts, to take up unsettled back lands, along the 
North river, as big as twenty miles square, and so in after years, 
made their descendants rich gentry. Their names are often 

Morrison, peruke maker from London, dresses ladies and gen- 
tlemen's hair in the pohtest taste ; he has a choice parcel of 
human, horse, and goat hairs to dispose of 

Gen. Monckton, who last year was made governor of New 
York, went off immediately afterwards with the fleet and army, 
to the West Indies, where he conquered JMartinico and the Lee- 
ward Islands, and subsequently the Havannah, and then returns 
back to New York within a single year, and repossesses his gov^- 
ernment ! Such governors, and the troops and vessels of war, 
usually at and near New York, must have had a powerful effect 
in making the top-society there of a military cast. It is published 
in the Gazette, the amount of " the first division of the prize 
money," resulting from the Havannah enterprise alone, producing 

Gazettes of the Olden Time and their Notices. 275 

£317,000, of which the navy and army took equal, divisions, and 
one cannot but wonder to see how quickly a commander-in- 
chief is excessively enriched ; the fact, may tend to explain 
why we so often hear of immensely overgrown fortunes in Great 
Britain, with a general mass of population so very poor ! In this 
case. Gen. Monckton's personal share amounts to £86,000, nearly 
400,000 dollars, while the actual helot, the poor private, receives 
but fifty-seven shillings, or twelve dollars ! Many of our own 
citizens, both in Philadelphia and New York, enlisted for and 
went out in this expedition. It is probable that Gen. Monckton 
eventually realized a million of dollars, as his share in all the 
service of the year, and with such a fund he was able to make 
some dashing display in the little city of New York. While on 
this subject, we will add, what is known but to few, some further 
brief notice of the scale of prize money awarded in the afore- 
mentioned division, showing throughout, the scheme of greatly 
enriching one man, at the expense of many ; for even generals, 
if subordinate, suddenly fall to much inferior sums, thus : the 
lieutenant-general gets £17,000, a major-general £4,900, any 
field officer £380, captains £130, sergeants £6, corporals £4, and 
privates 57s. 6d. There were fourteen men of war taken at the 
Havannah. [In the war of the revolution, a Col. Monckton fell 
at the battle of Monmouth, of whom the song said, — " Monck- 
ton's laurels fell that day, to grace the brow of gallant Wayne !"] 
Gov. Monckton resigned, and went home in June, 1763. 

Rivington & Brown, advertise among other articles, finest 
tooth powder, neatest tooth-pick cases, but no tooth brushes or 
picks are mentioned. 

Michael De Bruls, forms and offers for sale, when wholly 
engraved, two water views, and two land views of the city of 
New York, with references in English and Dutch, to be twenty- 
one by twelve inches, and to be accompanied by pamphlets of 
explanation. If any copies exist now, they would l3e curious. 

The race courses are often noticed as at Harlaem, and some- 
times round " the Beaver pond," at Jamacia, L. I. 

1763. James De Lancey, advertises land in the Bowery, and 
at Corlear's Hook, for gardeners, &c., for terms of twenty-one, 
forty-two, or sixty-three years, several acre lots. Some of their 
low prices then would be strange now, by comparison. 

Two hundred lots of ground joining the Stoccadoes, west of 
Broadway, and along the North river, are advertised to be let for 
twenty-one, forty-two, or sixty-three years, by the church war- 
dens of Trinity church. It might be interesting now to know by 
what means and bequests they became owners. 

James Gilliland, earthen, delf, and glass warehouse, in Wall 
street, has the following named articles, viz : enamelled and cab- 
bage tea-pots, cut and ground decanters, tumblers, punch glasses, 
and wine glasses. 

276 Gazettes of the Olden Time and their Notices, 

The noted iun and tavern in the Bowery lane, near the wind- 
mill, at the sign of the Bull's head, (where the slaughter house is 
now kept,) lately kept by Caleb Hyatt, is now occupied by 
Thomas Bayeux, who is well provided with all conveniencies 
for travellers. 

Mr. Steel has removed the King^s Arms tavern, from opposite 
the Exchange, to the Broadway, at the lower end, opposite the 
fort. I have preserved some good facts, as at this tavern. 

Spring Garden, near the college, now kept by John Elkin ; 
breakfasting from seven to nine. Tea in the afternoon, from three 
to six. The best of green tea, and hot French rolls. Pies and 
tarts will be drawn from seven to nine. Mead and cakes. Gen- 
tlemen and ladies may depend on good attendance. 

The common council, by order of 15th August, 1763, declare 
that whereas, several persons, who lately purchased at public ven- 
due for a term of years, several lots leased out in the common 
lands of this city, have since signified, that their purchase is 
found to be too high, to permit them to make any proper improve- 
ments, without a positive loss, therefore it is ordered that instead 
of paying double rent after the expiration of the first term of 
twenty-one years, the said lots shall be leased for the term of 
forty -two years, at the same price as they engaged the first term 
of twenty-one years. The same lots, if now offered for sale, 
what advance would thpy not bring ? 

In August, 1763, the common council determines the prices of 
market sales. We are surprised, that they could thus impose 
limited prices upon countrymen, to wit : for pork 4:\d., for pigs 
5fi^., 'for veal 5d., mutton 3hd., for a goose 1^. Qd., for turkey 4.?., 
duck 9d., oysters 2s. per bushel, opened oysters 35. per gallon, 
clams Qd. per hundred, bass 2d., &:c. In a few months after, they 
rescinded part of the above, so far as to leave the prices of domes- 
tic and wild fowl undetermined. 

To be sold, fourteen years lease of a house and large lot of 
ground, pleasantly situated in the fields, or Vineyard No. 4 ; a 
very convenient place for any sort of public business, enquire of 
Neal Shaw, rope maker, next door to the premises. 

The Bake house, at the corner of John street and Broadway, 
is advertised for sale, and has a bolting house and new cistern 
annexed, for sale by G. Van Bomel. 

The act to regulate the markets, speaks of them thus : At the 
market house at the slip, called Coenties dock, [this is sometimes 
spelled Coenjes and Coenjies,] at the mansion house, at the old slip, 
commonly called Burger's path, at the mansion house at or near 
Countess' key, commonly called Countess' slip, and at the man- 
sion house in the Broadway, commonly called Broadway market. 

Dr. Clossy's anatomical lectures, begin on Friday evening, 
November 25th, 1763. 

Died, at Jamaica, Long Island, (called also Nassau Island,) 

Gazettes of the Olden Time and their Notices. 277 

John Crockeser, an extremely aged person. He had been a 
soldier in the fort at New York, in Governor Leister's time, (the 
civil war) and while a young man, he had often shot squirrels, 
quails, &c., on or near Pot Baker's hill, in this city, which was 
then a wilderness. He had lived so long, that it had outrun his 
computation. [Think of a man alive in 1763, of course seen by 
persons still alive, and he had seen New York city in its infancy, 
and now it is so mighty !] 

Gold and silver lace buttons, and gold and silver garters, for 
sale by E. Graham, tailor. 

The farm or plantation, in the Bowery lane, of twenty acres 
of rich land, the estate of Robert Benson, deceased, is for sale. 

We are informed that Dr. George Muirson has established two 
hospitals for inoculation of the small-pox ; on Shelter isla7id, 
near the east end of Long Island. [This shows the terror at that 
day of the small-pox, and here the diseased were intended to be 
isolated from all possibility of infecting others.] 

Wanted immediately, a well behaved, ingenious lad, of four- 
teen or fifteen years of age, of respectable parents, who can write 
a good handy and understands arithmetic, to be an apprentice 
in this city, to a Doctor^s business. Does not this mean, in his 
drug shop, as physicians once kept each their own drugs and 
shop. James Murray was at same time, " druggist and whole- 
sale apothecary, from London." 

It strikes me as a fact of some interest, and as a curiosity in 
itself, that in my reading through various years of old newspapers, 
that it should never have occurred to any one mind or writer, 
even incidentally, to speak of their then sense of the actual 
changes passing upon society and the country, compared with 
their primitive days, as either remembered by the most aged, or 
as handed down by tradition. No passing events seem ever to 
have elicited such thoughts ; not even the publication of the 
deaths of their peculiarly aged; whom, as in the case of Smith's 
negro Harry, or of John Crockeser, who had seen New York 
when it was only a newly started village. Surprise is expressed, 
and surprise only ; it draws out no remembered tales or traditions. 
1 presume, that the cause then, was like the cause now among 
the thousands ; they thought only of their present sense of an 
established and settled country and manners, and thought, if 
they thought at all on the subject, time past, is buried in oblivion, 
and is too remote to be worth the research. In families, and in 
domestic circles, the younger branches could be amused for a 
time, with the tales of the grand-daddy's and mammy's of their 
day, and while they thought to retain them in the memory, they 
lost them all, for want of some written record. 

[The file of Gazettes for the years 1764-5, were missing !] 

The papers are daily charged with measures and proceedings of 
men in the colonies concerning the Stamp act. They are generally 

2 A 

278 Gazettes of the Olden Time and their Notices. 

called "Sons of Liberty." Every number of the Gazette is 
headed with this sentence as its motto. " The united voice of 
all his majesty's free and loyal subjects in America. — Liberty and 
Property, and no Stamps." 

Jan. 13, 176S, immediately after Capt. Haviland arrived, a 
company of armed men went on board at night near Cruger's dock, 
and after obhging the men to give up the keys, they seized ten 
boxes of the Stamp papers, which they conveyed in a boat to 
the ship-yard, where they made a bonfire of them, together with 
some tar barrels. 

Mr. Van Schaick of Albany having applied to be a Stamp 
master, he was waited upon by the people there to require his 
renunciation, and they not receiving satisfactory assurances, they 
assembled soon after in force and seized his person, putting a 
halter round his neck and dragging him through the town, until 
he adroitly slipped the noose and made his escape into the fort, 
whereupon the people being much incensed, went back to his 
house and demolished his furniture, equal to four or five hundred 
pounds ! [This story was soon after corrected, saying that only 
the furniture was destroyed, but no violence done to his person.] 

The Sons of Liberty met every Tuesday evening at the house 
of Mr. Howard, (headed by Sears and M'Dougall, both sea-cap- 
tains,) and had their regular correspondence with the Sons of 
Liberty in the neighbouring colonies. 

The first Resolve— of the six, which formed their compact, 
reads — " Resolved, that we will go to the last extremity, and ven- 
ture our lives and fortunes, effectually to prevent the Stamp act 
from ever taking place in this city and province." 

The plan of bringing live Jish to the New York market origi- 
nated with a society of gentlemen who clubbed to fit the smack 
Amherst for that purpose ; her example induced many individuals 
to do the same, so that in this year, the supply, ybr the first time, 
was plentiful enough to induce the company to break up and sell 
their vessel. 

Windsor chairs^ made and sold by Wm. Gautier, to wit : — high 
back'd, low back'd and sackback'd chairs and settees, also dining 
and low chairs. [These were probably the first of their kind.] 

A house on Long Island at Jamaica, of large dimensions, is 
advertised for sale, the whole having sash windows, and newly 
wholly repaired. [Sash windows were a new affair then. Leaden 
frames were used before.] 

Carriages. Elkanah and Wm. Deane, from Dublin, profess to 
open as a new affair the construction of all manner of carriages 
at five per cent, below importation prices, and have brought out 
their workmen at great expense. Profess to make coaches, 
chariots, landaus, phaetons, post-chaises, curricles, chairs, sedans, 
and sleighs, also to gild and japan, and carve and paint, &c. 

Hats. Nesbitt Deane, from Dublin, makes finest beaver hats, 

Gazettes of the Olden Time and their Notices. 279 

for clergymen and other gentlemen, black, white and green hats, 
riding hats, and flat crowned ditto, ruflled and plain for ladies and 
children. Beaverets and castor hats. He turns and dresses old 
hats. [Only think of turned hats !1 

^' The Fresh Water" — for sale, the house where Thos. Gallaudet 
now lives in, at Fresh Water, on the left hand side of the main 
street or road leading into the Bowery, on the rising of the hill, 
directly opposite the Jews' burying ground. 

The news of the Stamp act repealed on 3d March 17G6, give 
great joy every where. Of these, many public demonstrations 
are given. The joy in England was equally great. 

Theatre. On the 5th May, it was advertised, that at the thea- 
tre in Chapel street,'* would be performed the comedy of the 
"Twin Rivals, and the King and the Miller of Mansfield." 
N. B. As the packet has arrived and brought good news respect- 
ing the repeal, it is hoped the public has no objection to the 
performance, which is given by permission of his excellency the 
Governor. [It appears however that some of the people were 
offended, for the next paper contains the fact, that they actually 
demolished the house !] It is related " that many of the inhabi- 
tants, who deemed it highly improper that such entertainments 
should be exhibited in a time of such public distress, when so 
many poor could scarcely find means of subsistence, talked so 
freely of their intended opposition to the play, that many were 
prevented from going." After the play began, the multitude burst 
open the doors and entered with tumult. The audience escaped 
as they could, and many lost their hats, a boy had is scull frac- 
tured and was trepann'd. The crowd quickly pulled down the 
house, and carried the pieces to the commons, and consumed 
them in a bonfire." [I take the above as told in the Gazette, to 
be a version, nearer to the truth, of the same fact told by me in 
my Historic Tales of New York, p. 176.] 

On the occasion of the final repeal of the Stamp act, by its 
supplement, it was celebrated in New York with great demon-, 
strations of joy. The Sons of Liberty met at their usual rendez- 
vous, Howard's in the Park as I believe] where they invited all 
the citizens to unite with them, " in consequence of which a great 
number assembled in the fields, where a royal salute was fired 
and at every loyal toast at Howard's seven cannons were fired ; 
at night there was a general illumination. 

The king's birthday on the 4th June, which so soon followed, 
was seized upon as a suitable occasion to prove at once their 
loyalty and gratitude for the recent repeal. All the city authori- 
ties waited upon the governor to drink the king's health. The 
battery and men-of-war guns were fired. Two large oxen were 

* Now Beekmans street, then called Chapel street because of St. George*s 
chapel there. 

2 so Gazettes of the Olden Time and their Notices. 

roasted on the commons [the Park] before numerous spectators, 
a large stage was erected having the roasting ox at each end, 
on which was placed twenty- five barrels of strong beer, three 
hogsheads of rum, sugar and water to make punch, bread, &c.; at 
one end of the common was a pile of twenty cords of wood with 
a tall mast in the middle, to the head of which was hoisted twelve 
tar and pitch barrels, and placed on a round top. At the other 
end of the common were fixed twenty -five pieces of cannon and a 
lofty flag-staff and colours. [The moderns have never since wit- 
nessed such a bonfire !] There was a general illumination at 
night. The governor and all the officers of state and militar^^ 
dined together and drank toasts, which are pubhshed, — loyal but 
free. The dinner was given by the principal inhabitants. [It 
was done I think at Howard's, at the commons.] Pitt, the Earl 
of Chatham, is always extolled. 

" To you, blest Patriots, we our cause submit, — 
Illustrious Camden, Britain's guardian Pitt,^^ 

At Woodbridge N. J. they roasted an ox near the great 
" Liberty Oak," which was handsomely decorated, and many 
colours were displayed in different parts of the square. The 
ladies genteelly dressed, also graced the entertainments of the 
day, dined principally upon plum puddings in honour to the 
queen, and afterwards regaled themselves with plum cakes, 
tea, &c. In the evening the town was illuminated and a large 
bonfire made near to the Liberty Oak. — "As near as the safety 
of that ancient tree would admit of" 

•Attorneys and Scriveners. Charles Morse, attorney at law, at 
Pot-baker^ s Hill, also, John Coghili Knapps, from London, at 
his office Rotten Row. The places, may now sound strangely 
among the New York profession. The last was of Inner Temple, 
and educated at Oxford. 

Statue of Pitt. At a meeting of citizens at the Coffee-house, 
the 23d June '66, it was resolved to request their representatives 
in the General Assembly to provide a statue of Brass to the 
memory of the Right Hon. Wm. Pitt, the great friend of American 
freedom, especially shown upon the occasion of the Stamp act 
repealed. [So they granted £7000 to procure a statue of Pitt from 
London. It was set up in Sept. 1770, of marble, in Wall street] 

Renelagh Gardens. By John Jones, are laid out at great ex- 
pense, for breakfasting and evening entertainments for ladies and 
gentlemen, judged to be far the most rural and pleasing retreat 
near the city. A complete band of music is engaged to perform 
every Monday and Thursday evening during the summer. A 
commodious hall is in the garden for dancing, with drawing rooms 
neatly fitted up, good pasturage at same place. 

Dancing is taught by John Trotter in Chapel street, next door 
to the play house, [meaning where it was, or else it had been 

Gazettes of the Olden Time and their Notices, 281 

rebuilt,] and also at Mrs. Demot's on Flat I en-Bar rick hill, [then 
the alley descending from Broadway opposite to Exchange street.] 

Concerts of Music, are given by Edward Bardin, innkeeper 
at the King's Arms garden in the Broadway [near the fort,] 
three times a week in the evening, in a neat and commodious 
room in the garden ; tickets 1*. This place was much visited 
by the military. 

James Daniel, wig-maker and hair-dresser, also operates on the 
teeth, a business so absolutely necessary in this city, [This 
seems like the first appearance of a a dentist ! 

A whale forty-nine feet in length, was killed by two persons 
fishing, who saw it swimming about near Coney Island. They 
killed it with an old sword. Mr. Coffer at the ferry at Brooklyn 
bought it for thirty pounds, and brought it up to his ferry. 

A lobster weighing eighteen pounds was sold for 2s. 6d. 

What is now called the Park, used to be called the Fields, for 
instance, " at Howard's noted tavern in the Fields'* — on Broad- 

John De la Somet, died at Fauquier in Virginia, in Oct. 1766, 
aged one hundred and thirty years ; he had been banished from 
France for his religion, in 1684, and was soon after brought out 
with many other Frenchmen to Virginia, to settle the Brentin 
lands. He was hearty to the last, and was the frst of his numer- 
ous progeny of his name, that had died in Virginia ! 

St. Paul's church was opened in Nov. 1766, its first sermon by 
Dr. Auchmuty. 

A linen manufactory was set up near the Fresh Water, many 
women were employed spinning by hand. Its productions were 
carried weekly to the market. It was deemed patriotic to en- 
courage it. [It began three years before.] 

Robert Woffendale, Surgeon Dentist, lately arrived from 
London, performs all operations upon the teeth, gums, sockets 
and palate ; also fixes artificial XeeX\i so as to escape discernment. 

1767. A lottery is granted by the colony of New Jersey to 
raise five hundred pounds to defray the expenses of running a 
straight road through the province between New York and Phila- 

Cheap land, 10,000 acres at 2s. 6d. per acre clear of quit rent, 
situate on the branch of the river Delaware, about fifty miles to 
the northward of upper Minisink. It is good land, has much low 
land along the two rivers, Delaware and Popaghton, has been 
patented sixty years, and now for sale by James Parker, New 
York. We cannot but wonder, what that tract might bring to his 
heirs, if it had been retained in the family to this day ! Ameri- 
can officers received grants of five thousand acres. How certain 
to enrich their families ! [There was a Receiver General for 
quit rents] 

A stated meeting of the Hand in Hand Fire Company. The 
36 2 a2 

282 Gazettes of the Olden Time and their Notices. 

clerk will notify the place of meeting and inspect the buckets, 
bags, belts, hand-barrows, baskets, &c. 

The Liberty Pole, on the city parade, called " the Common," 
was found cut down in March 1766, and produces an angry 
paragraph, saying it is suspected to have been done by some 
soldiers to otfend the Sons of Liberty, and they are therefore 
forewarned, that as it was instantly set up again with a covering 
of iron near the base to prevent a simihar insult, nothing but 
bloody work can be expected from a repetition ! It was cut 
down, while the friends of Liberty were commemorating the 
repeal of the Stamp act. The act was believed to have been 
done by the British soldiery. Many efforts they made to destroy 
it secretly, and the people were equally vigilant to prevent it. 

It was in this strife that the people seized upon Cunningham 
the Provost, then a sergeant, and whipped him, and thus caused 
his vengeful spirit afterwards to us. 

Stage Wagons to Philadelphia. Persons may now go from 
New York to Philadelphia and back again in five days, and re- 
main in Philadelphia two nights and one day to do their business 
in, fare 20.9. through ; there will be two wagons, and two drivers, 
and four sets of horses. John Mercereau, proprietor at Blazing 
Star. The company to go over to PaulUs Hook ferry the evening 
before, and to start thence the next morning early. 

The wood-cut of the wagon, is a really Jersey wagon form. 

1767. The anniversary of the king's birth-day (June), was 
celebrated beyond all former pomp, the fire-works were magnifi- 
cent, there was a general illumination, and particularly at the 
Fort George and at Gen. Gage's dwelling, (of the Royal Arms.) 
Elegant entertainments were given at Fort George and head 
quarters by Sir Henry Moore, governor, and Gen. Gage, at 
which were all the officers of the army and navy, the civil officers 
of the city, and the principal gentlemen. A salute of twenty-one 
guns was given from the Liberty Pole, and from the fort and 
armed vessels. 

Several articles occur in the Gazette of a wish and a design to 
have a national paper currency for the provinces, to be furnished 
by England, as something needed in America for the stability of 

The theatre in St. John^s 5/ree/ opened the 7th Dec. '67, with 
the comedy of the Stratagem. Hallam and Douglass' Co. — 
Boxes 8.S. pit 5.9. gallery 35. The plays do not appear to excite 
any printed animadversions. They are called the American 

1768. The journeymen tailors, "about twenty of them" 
struck for wages, and advertised themselves as opening a " house 
of call," where they would receive orders, to send men to work in 
private families at 3-9. 6a?. a day and their diet to be found them. 

When the Presbyterians opened their " new brick church" on 

Gazettes of the Olden Time and their Notices. 283 

the 1st Jan. it was called " their new church on the Green^^ in 
aUusion to its being then open to the common^ now called the 
Park. [" Cowfoot hill at the upper end of Queen street" is 

« Numerous articles appear for and against the theatre, while 
the American company is playing. 

Mr. J. Kidd, is named as one of the inhabitants of Philadelphia, 
, a merchant. 

A Snow, from London to Wayland, with convicts^i^ short of 
provisions and had to eat their shoes and leather breeches, several 
died. There were upwards of one hundred prisoners on board. 
She got drove off the coast and actually arrived at Antigua. 

The cold at New Orleans the beginning of Jan. exceeded any 
ever before remembered. 

John Baker, Surgeon Dentist, announces his arrival at New 
York, May 1768, via Boston from Europe ; he fills up teeth with 
lead or gold ; makes artificial teeth and fixes them with gold, &c. 

There is much public discussion upon the right or utility of 
introducing Bishops into this country. The disputants are angry. 
The whigs resist their order, here. 

Medical lectures, held at King's College Nov. '68, to wit: — 
The Theory of Medicine, by Dr. Middleton. Anatomy, by Dr. 
Glossy. Theory and practice of Surgery, by Dr. Jones, and 
Practice of Physic, by Dr. Bard. 

Christopher Steter advertises that he had belonged to a benefit 
club kept at David Grim's house in Chapel street, and as a mem- 
ber, had paid fees ; first a tax on matrimony of 5s. to the box, 
4s. fee when a son was born, and 2s. when a daughter was born. 
He complains that the monies collected were misapplied in feasts 
&c., among the officers ! 

Irish potatoes, dry and good, are advertised as arrived and for 
sale. A very frequent fact is, the sailing of vessels to Ireland, 
to Dublin, Newry, Londonderry and Cork; two or three are some- 
times up for each of these places at a time. 

The auctioneers were several — say, Nich. W. Stuy vesant & Co., 
M'Davitt, Moore & Lynsen, Abeel & Neils, A. & J. Bleekers. 

Domestic manufactures of wool and flax, are encouraged by 
the society for American productions. They award premiuns. 
Families are named which have produced seven hundred yards 
of domestic fabrics. 

Wm. Livingston, Esq., attorney at law (afterwards governor of 
New Jersey) in his proper name, publishes his demurs to the 
admission of Bishops, in his " answers to the Bishop of Llandafi^'s 

* We may see by Gov. Livingston's life, since published, that feelings of dis- 
trust then mutually felt by churchmen and dissenters in the colonies, were 
then agitating the same elements, which began the revolution. " Close examina- 

284 Gazettes of the Olden Time and their Notices. 

January 1769. Michl. Poree, Surgeon Dentist, advertises, to fit 
natural and artificial teeth, from a single one to a whole set, like- 
wise cleanses teeth, and draws stumps. [First practice there.] 

The theatre in John street, will be opened by the American 
Co., by permission of the governor, on Monday the 9th Jan'y. 

Married, Capt. Saml. Partridge, to Miss Elizabeth Hubbert, — 
" a lady of great merit, with every accomplishment to render the 
marriage state happy." [The mode in that day of advertising.] > 

Mrs. Fisher, advertises her services as midwife, near White- 

Public Vendue, is advertised, to sell goods on the bridge near 
the Coffee House. 

Stays. Richard Norris, from London, makes all kinds oi stays 
and stumps, turned and plain, with French and Mechlenburg 
waistcoats, laced overcoats, German jackets and flips. — Ladies 
uneasy in their shape, he fits without any incumbrance ; growing 
Misses inclined to coats and risings in their hips and shoulders, 
he likewise prevents, by means approved by the society of stay- 
makers in London. 

The New York Chamber of Commerce was instituted May 
1768, " and hear all proposals for the better regulating, encouraging 
and extending trade and commerce." A. Van Dam, Secretary. 

Non-importation agreements are made and signed by the mer- 

A house and lot to sell on " Cowfoot Hill.'^ So queer a name ! 
also " Pot-baker's hill !" 

An act is passed to prevent the destruction of deer by blood- 
hounds or beagles, in the counties of Albany, Ulster and Orange. 

Mary Morcomb, mantua maker from London, at Isaac Garniers 
opposite to Batloc street, in the Broadway, makes all sorts of 
negligees, Brunswick dresses, gowns, and other apparel of ladies, 
also covers Umbrellas in the neatest manner. 

Oysters. To prevent the destruction of oysters in South bay, 
by the unlimited number of vessels employed in the same, it is 
ordered that but ten vessels shall be allowed, and that each half- 
barrel tub shall be paid for at 2d. according lo the town act of 
Brook Haven. 

The death of the Gov. Sir Henry Moore, who died at Fort 
George, is thus celebrated. The paper is marked with mourning 
borders. He was interred in the chancel of Trinity church : the 
corpse was preceded by the 16th Regt. ; his Majesty's council 

tion (says the life) shows us that these two factions contained the germ of the 
whig and tory parties of the revolution." " There were exceptions on both sides, 
but a sreat majority of the DeLancey's faction (churchmen's side) remained in 
New York after 1776 under the British protection. O. DeLancey was made a 
Br. General in their ranks." James DeLancey was head of the Episcopalians 
in New York. Their leading interest in the College was much resisted by the 
Presbyterians. The former wanted an Episcopal governor and Bishop from 
England. Trinity church got amply favoured. 

Gazettes of the Olden Time and their Notices. 2S5 

supported the pall. Gen. Gage and Lord Drummond followed 
among the mourning relatives, and in the suite were the physi- 
cians, the judges and civil officers of the city, members of Assem- 
bly, the field officers, captains of ships of war, the general staff, 
the gentlemen of the Law, Faculty of the College, and the princi- 
pal inhabitants of the city. The train of artillery brought up the 
rear. Minute guns were fired during the procession. Twenty boys 
of the Charity school bore lighted flambeaux, and the church was 
illuminated. This funeral was in the evening, in English style. 

Mrs. Lydia Robinson, of seventy years of age, who followed 
the practice of midwifery for thirty-five years at New London 
and its vicinity, in the delivery of twelve hundred children, never 
lost one woman in her practice ! What doctors could excel 
this ! 

Jeremiah Rensselaer, Esqr., " the Lord of the Ma7ior of Rens- 
selaerwyck, died lately at Albany, much lamented." 

Wm. Prince, on Long Island, advertises a great collection of 
fruit trees. 

1770. The "No. 45." This was of great signification in its 
time, and might now be wholly unintelligible, but for the follow- 
ing illustration, to wit. A true female friend to American liberty 
lately (in Feb. '70) presented Capt. JVPDougaPs mariners with a 
fine saddle of venison, marked with the important Q^ No. 45 
in allusion to the 45th page of the votes and proceedings of our 
House of Assembly, in which the paper that furnished the occa- 
sion for that gentleman's commitment is printed at length. The 
trial of Capt. McD., was deemed very interesting to the public. 
It was said of him at the time, that " this worthy gentleman will 
be justly celebrated by posterity^ as the first who has suffered 
actual imprisonment for asserting the cause of American liberty. 
He was finally discharged without trial. 

Anthy. Rutgers' place near the city is said to comprise six acres 
of upland and twelve acres of fresh meadows. The upland con- 
tains half in garden, and the other half in fruit trees. Advertised 
to sell or let, " lying in the meadows near Fresh Water," to be 
sold in lots. 

In July, about half of the whole community of dealers and 
traders in New York, publicly recede from their non-importation 
agreement, and their names are given. 

Lord Dunmore, afterwards so celebrated in Virginia, arrives 
in October, as Governor of New York, £2000 a year salary. 

A fair is opened, for four days at New York, in November, 
according to an act of the legislature, for cattle, grain, provisions, 
and merchandize. 

W. C. Hulet, teaches dancing, violin, flute, and small sword. 

1771. The Vauxhall gardens comprise thirty-six lots on lease 
for sixty-one years to come, from Trinity church, is for sale, by its 
Luidlord, Saml. Francis. [This same man became, I believe, Gen. 

286 Gazettes of the Olden Time and their Notices. 

Washington's steward at New York city, and afterwards, after the 
peace, opened the Indian Queen in Philadelphia.] 

1772. Montanny's negro man, a drunkard, who had been sent 
to the Bridewell to receive the usual punishment, was found 
dead the same night ! The punishment in such cases, was a plen- 
tiful dose of warm water (three quarts) and salt enough to ope- 
rate as an emetic ; with a portion of lamp oil, to operate as a 
purge ! 

Robert Home, musical instrument maker from London, on 
Golden hill, near Burling's slip, makes and repairs musical instru- 

James Rivingston, bookseller and publisher, facing the Coffee- 
house bridge. 

Governor Tryon, who succeeds Lord Dunmore, visits Philadel- 
phia, in October ; and a Uttle before, the latter passed through 
Philadelphia on his way to Virginia and his government there. 

The military force of the city, of the militia, consisted of seven 
independent companies, viz., the Grenadiers, two companies of 
the Governors' Guards, the Rangers, and the corps of Artillery. 
These together, sometimes made good display before the governor 
and the citizens. 

[All the foregoing close with the year 1772, and their interest 
seems to diminish as we approach nearer and nearer to our own 
times. It is rather strange that in so many pages of many specu- 
lations and many minds combined, that there should be so little 
reference to a former age, of traditionary accounts and reminis- 
cences ; nothing for instance, in any form, about the former pirates, 
nothing of Blackbeard or Kidd ; and nothing of all the ballads ! 
They all seem to live in a state of sleepy and dreamy forgetful- 

"Rotten Row," before named often, as described to me as 
seen by Thos. Crowell, was a regular range oi good houses front- 
ing the river, having an open river bank in front, without any 
wharves or slips, and extending from the Old Slip, up to the 
Coffee-house. They ranged fronting of Hanover Square, and laid 
eastward of present Pearl street. It formed a great dock, or 
haven of four hundred feet width, in which were laid numerous 
Bermuda sloops, heads on shore, and several there were laid sides 
on shore, for purposes of caulking and pitching their bottoms. The 
present generation know nothing of these things ! Mr. Crowell told 
me this in 1836 at eighty- four years of age, he could not explain 
why called Rotten row. But I much more incline to believe 
it was named after the same name, then in London. Mr. Crow- 
ell's father was a lieutenant in a war vessel before the revolution. 

Printing concerns. We suppose that the first printing press 
set up in New York, was that begun in 1693 by Wm. Bradford, 
who went there from Philadelphia. It was his grandson Bradford, 
who became afterwards Attorney General of the United States. 

Gazettes 0/ the Olden Time and their Notices. 287 

We infer that Bradford was the earliest printer, because, the 
publication entitled " The conditions for new Planters in the terri- 
tories of his Royal Highness, the Duke of York ;" done upon a 
half sheet of cap paper, and bearing the date, 1665, was " printed 
at Cambridge, in Massachusetts." 

Bradford began the ^rst weekly paper at New York, on the 
16th of October, 1725, and John Peter Zanger, who went to 
New York in 1726, and began his paper, the Weekly Journal, in 
1733. Bradford was a loyalist, and took the side of power ; but 
Zanger sided with the natives, and became most popular with 
the people, who in truth, started him purposely, that they might 
thus canvass the measures of the governor and council.* He 
was prosecuted by the crown officers for his attacks on them, and 
encountered a trial in 1735, in which he was acquitted, which 
made much stir at the time. Mr. A. Hamilton, the ablest lawyer 
of Philadelphia, went on as a volunteer to defend him, and the 
city council of New York, as a token of their gratification at his 
success, presented him the freedom of the city in a gold snuff- 
box with devices. It might be a pleasure now to see it. 

The first book printed in New York, was a small thin folio of 
the laws of the colony, by Bradford. His newspaper of 1725, 
was also the Jirst Gazette. 

When we contemplate printing as it was, and press work now, 
as it is, in connection with the intended foreign sneer, of " who 
reads an American book," we cannot but feel emotions of wonder 
and self gratulation. We have now only to look at such a print- 
ing establishment as the Harpers^ in New York — self-made men, 
who now publish all kind of useful works, and have a capital 
employed therein, of one and a half millions of dollars. Such an 
office for book printing is well worth a visit as a curiosity to 
every literary man. They give employment to 1600 persons, 
400 of whom are engaged in the machinery. They use an edi- 
fice equal to seven or eight large five story houses, and use up 
70 reams of paper daily. The machinery and tools of the bindery 
are valued at ^13,000 ; 50 barrels of flour and 40 barrels of glue 
are used up annually for paste ; 60,000 pounds of type are found 
in the composing rooms. 

Besides such an establishment, we may notice too, the printing 
house of Dickenson at Boston, and the "Methodist Book Con- 
cern" in New York, both of them great concerns, and only second 
to that of the Harpers. The Boston publishing office of Dicken- 
son, covers an area of 14,000 square feet, and is lighted by 100 
windows, having 10 power presses worked by steam, and 11 by 
hand. The Methodist concern runs 12 double cylinder presses. 
Can we now be asked, " who reads an American book ?" 

* The governor and council being offended at his strictures, they imprisoned 
Zanger, and ordered three of his papers to be burnt by the sheriff. 

288 Gazettes of the Olden Time and their Notices. 

It was about the year 1818, that a part of the Daily press of 
our country began to reprint for corrupt minds, from the Bow- 
street intelligence of the London print. The example thus fur- 
nished, soon produced a morbid taste among ourselves, an appe- 
tite for this kind of gross fare. We soon became such apt 
scholars, that we have long since been able to furnish our own 
stock of police news, sufficiently loathsome and pernicious to 
minister to this branch of depraved taste. Alas, that it is so, and 
that it is so much countenanced. It is from such fountains of 
corruption, that so many foreign exhibitors of demoralizing spec- 
tacles, and lecturers on corrupting subjects, find their encourage- 
ment and support. The favourable reports of duels, presented 
in the hardihood of self-complacency by the parties themselves, 
is another of our growing evils produced by the action of the 
press, and by the too frequently tolerated action of the army and 
navy, leading by their influence to the imitation of our citizens. 
It was not always so — scarcely any duels occurred in our revolu- 
tionary war, and yet who has ever doubted of the equal courage 
and self-respect of the officers of that period. 

The restrictions set upon our mechanics before the revolution 
are in general but very little known now to the mass of the peo- 
ple. The mother country purposed to engross the making and 
vending of almost all we used. Even our very minds were put 
under her dictation and teaching, and we were scarcely permitted 
to think, but in such kind of literature as she chose to command 
and bestow. In this way, we had our primers and testaments, and 
Dilworth's spelling-books and arithmetics. We made no books 
for ourselves ; and since we have, in more modern times, essayed 
to form our own literature, we have seen it frequently abused by 
foreign reviewers, &c., as defective and imbecile. Some of our 
own people have so far subscribed to this selfish and perverted 
design, as to give little value to our home productions, until they 
had previously, by unbecoming subserviency, gained first the 
foreign passport of approbation ! 




«' The frosts of ninety years have passed 
Upon these aged heads, 
They seem a fine old relic cast. 
From days that long have fled." 

John S. Hutton, aged 109 years, and silversmith, of Philadel- 
phia, as he related the particulars of his life to the late C. W. 
Peale, was born in New York, in 1684. He was originally bound 
apprentice to a sea captain, who put him to school to learn the 
art of navigation. At that time he became intimate with a boy 
who worked at the white-smith trade, with whom he amused 
himself in acquiring the use of the hammer, by which means he 
obtained a facility in working at plate-work in the silversmith's 
business. He followed the seafaring life for thirty years, and then 
commenced the silversmith's trade. He was long esteemed in 
Philadelphia one of the best workmen at hollow work; and 
there are still pieces of his work in much esteem. He made a 
tumbler in silver when he was 94 years of age. 

Through the course of a long and hazardous life in various 

climes, he was always plain and temperate in his eating and 

drinking, and particularly avoided spirituous liquors except in one 

instance, while he was serving as lieutenant of a privateer in 

37 2B 

290 Longevity. 

Queen Anne's war. That occasion gave him a lasting lesson of 
future restraint ; for having made a descent on the Spanish main 
and pillaged a village, while they had all given themselves to 
mirth and revelry, they were intercepted in their return to their 
boats, and all killed save himself and one other, who were 
made prisoners and held in long confinement. 

His first wife was Catharine Cheeseman, of New York, by 
Avhom he had eight children, 25 grandchildren, 23 great grand- 
children, and great great grandchildren. 

At the age of 51 he married his second wife in Philadelphia, 
Ann Vanlear, of 19 years of age, by whom he had 17 children, 
41 grandchildren, and 15 great grandchildren — forming in all a 
grand total of 132 descendants, of whom 45 were then dead. 
Those who survived were generally dwelling in Philadelphia. 
His last wife died in 1788, at the age of 72. Mr. Hutton deemed 
himself in the prime of his life when 60 years of age. He never 
had a headache. 

He was always fond of fishing and fowling, and till his 81st 
year used to carry a heavy English musket in his hunting ex- 
cursions. He was ever a quiet, temperate, and hard-working 
man, and even in the year of his death, was quite cheerful and 
good humoured. He could then see, hear, and walk about — had 
a good appetite, and no complaints whatever, except from the 
mere debility of old age. When shall "we behold his like again!" 

In his early life he was on two scouts against the Indians ; he 
used to tell, that in one of these excursions they went out in the 
night, that they took a squaw prisoner, who led them to where 
the Indians lay, of whom they killed the most, before they could 
get to their arras. The circumstance induced the Indians to 
come in and make their peace. 

He knew the noted pirate. Teach, called Blackbeard ; he saw 
him at Barbadoes after he had come in under the Act of Oblivion 
to him and other pirates. This was a short time before that 
pirate made his last cruise and was killed in Carolina. 

The father of Hutton was John Hutton, of Bermuda in Scot- 
land, where many of the family reside. His grandfather by his 
mother's side, was Arthur Strange ways, Avho died at Boston, at 
the age of 101 years, while sitting in his chair. 

J. S. Hutton died at Philadelphia, on the 20th of December, 
1792, in the 109th year of his age. His long life and numerous 
children, made him a patriarch indeed ! " In children's lives he 
feels his resurrection, and grows immortal in his children's chil- 
dren !" He was deemed so rare an instance of lusty old age, 
that Mr. C. W. Peale was induced to take his portrait as now 
seen in the Museum, as he appeared in the last year of his life, 
and from which the present portrait is taken. He was borne to 
his grave by his fellow craftsmen — all silversmiths. 

Died at New York, September 1834, of cholera, a poor coloured 

Longevity. 291 

woman aged 109 years — she lived and died in Orange street. 
There was at the same time, a colom'ed man aged 104 years, liv- 
ing in Washington street. 

In July 1835, Mr. Joseph R. Hughs, living at Otsego, aged 
100 years, travelled from there to Boston, by the stages and 
steamboats, to be present at the celebration of Independence ; he 
was born at Boston in 1735, and appeared in health and spirits. 

In June 1838, died John Lusk, in Warren county, Tennessee, 
aged 104 ; he was born on Staten Island, November 5, 1734 — had 
been a soldier in the French war, and was at the death of Wolfe, 
and in the American revolution — had never been sick — walked 
seven miles and back, when he was past 100 years. 

In the 4th of July procession of 1838, at Newark, N. J., Thomas 
Belton, an old soldier of the revolution, was seen among the 
walkers, aged 104 years. At the same time he was made to visit 
Mrs. Gouge, from New York city, then aged 105 years, and much 
they talked cheerily together. 

James B. Stafford, formerly a merchant of New York — once 
a midshipman in the Alliance frigate, died at Allentown, N. J. 
19th of August 1838, aged 102 years. 

Capt. Alexander Coffin, mayor of the city of Hudson, died 11th 
of January, 1839, aged 99 years, in his full faculties. 

Asa Cole, an old soldier of the revolution, died at Livingston 
county, on 2nd of April, 1839, aged 100 years. 

Henry LeForge, a native of New York state, died at Hamden, 
Conn., the 15th of August, 1839, aged 100 years. 

An aged coloured woman, 113 years of age, was alive at 
Gravesend, L. I., in 1840, at the house of Mrs. Maria Still well — 
was in health — still milked cows, and was as well to do anything 
as when she was 100 years of age. 

The Rev. Isaac Levis, D. D., a native of Long Island, died at 
Greenwich, Conn., 1840, in the 95th year of his age. He was 
converted at Yale College, under the preaching of Whitfield. 

The Rev. Benjamin Harvey, near Utica, preaches every Sab- 
bath, after he is upwards of 100 years of age, and in 1844, when 
he was 109 years of age, sends me a full letter, describing him- 
self and the incidents of his long life. 

The oldest among the old of New York, was Anthony Vanpelt, 
who died there in 1830, at the great age of 130 years. 

200 Changes of Prices. 


" For the money cheap — and quite a heap." 

It is curious to observe the changes which have occurred in the 
course of years, both in the supply of common articles sold in the 
markets, and in some cases, the great augmentation of prices : — 
for instance, Mr. Brower, who has been quite a chronicle to me 
in many things, has told me such facts as the following, viz : — he 
remembered well when abundance of the largest "^ Blue Point" 
oysters could be bought, opened to your hand, for 2s. a hundred , 
such as would now bring from three to four dollars. Best sea 
bass were but 2d. a lb., now at Qd. Sheep-head sold at ^d. to 1^. 
3d. a-piece, and will now bring two dollars. Rock fish were 
plenty at Is^. a-piece for good ones. Shad were but 3d. a-piece. 
They did not then practice the planting of oysters. Lobsters then 
were not brought to the market. 

Mr. Jacob Tabelee, who is as old as eighty-seven, and of course 
saw earlier times than the other, has told me sheep-head used to 
be sold at Qd., and the best oysters at only l5. a hundred ; in fact 
they did not stop to count them, but gave them in that proportion 
and rate by the bushel. Rock fish were sold at 3d. a pound. 
Butter was at 8 to Qd. Beef by the quarter, in the winter, was at 
3d. a pound, and by the piece at 4d. Fowls were about 9d. a- 
piece. Wild fowl were in great abundance. He has bought 
twenty pigeons in their season for 1^.; a goose was 2^. Oak wood 
was abundant at 2s. the load. 

In 1763 the market price of provisions was established by laiVi 
and published in the gazette ; wondrous cheap they were, — viz ; 
a cock turkey, 4.s. ; a hen turkey 2^. Qd. ; a duck 1^. ; a quail 
lhd.\ a heath hen, \s. 3d. ; a teal, Qd. ; a wild goose, 2s. ; a brandt, 
Is. 3d.', snipe. Id. ; butter, 9d. ; sea bass, 2d. ; oysters, 2^. per 
bushel ; sheep-head and sea bass, three coppers per pound ; lob- 
sters, Qd. per pound ; milk, per quart, four coppers ; clams, 9d. 
per hundred ; cheese, Aid. 

Those celebrated " Blue Points," were destro^^ed by an intend- 
ed kindness. A law was passed to exempt them from continual 
use, and by not being continually fished up thus got imbedded in 
mud and wholly died out ! 

Superstitions, 293 


"Stories of spectres dire disturb'd the soul." 

The aged men have told me that fortune-tellers and conjurors 
had a name and an occupation among the credulous ; Mr. Brower 
said he remembered some himself. Blackbeard's and Kidd's 
money, as pirates, was a talk understood by all. He knew of 
much digging for it, with spells and incantations, at Corlear's 
Hook, leaving there several pits of up-turned ground. Dreams 
and impressions were fruitful causes of stimulating some to thus 
" try their fortune" or " their luck." 

There was a strange story, the facts may yet be recollected by 
some, of " the haunted house," somewhere out of town ; I have 
understood it was Delancey's. 

But a better ascertained case is that of "the screeching woman;" 
she was a very tall figure of masculine dimensions, who used to 
appear in flowing mantle of pure white at midnight, and stroll 
down Maiden lane. She excited great consternation among many. 
A Mr. Kimball, an honest praying man, thought he had no occa- 
sion to fear, and as he had to pass that way home one night, he 
concluded he would go forward as fearless as he could ; he saw 
nothing in his walk before him, but hearing steps fast approach- 
ing him behind, he felt the force of terror before he turned to 
look ; but when he looked he saw what put all his resolutions to 
flight — a tremendous white spectre ! It was too much ; he ran or 
flew with all his might, till he reached his own house by Peck's 
slip and Pearl street, and then, not to lose time, he burst open his 
door and fell down for a time as dead. He however survived, 
and always deemed it something preternatural. The case stood 
thus : — When one Capt. Willet Taylor of the British navy coveted 
to make some trial of his courage in the matter, he also paced 
Maiden lane alone at midnight, wrapped Hke Hamlet in his " inky 
cloak," with oaken staff" beneath. I3y and by he heard the sprite 
full-tilt behind him intending to pass him, but being prepared, he 
dealt out such a passing blow as made " the bones and nerves to 
feel," and thus exposed a crafty man bent on fun and mischief. 

In 1680, there was a great stir about the great Comet star, 
which caused the commissioners at Albany to write to Gov. 
Brockholst, to appoint days of fasting, prayer and humiliation, 
that God might withdraw such a threatening judgment. 

2 B 2 

SM Miscellaneous Facts. 


«« All pay contribution to the store he gleans." 

The Indians, in the year 1746, came to the city of New York 
in a great body, say several hundreds, to hold a conference or 
treaty with the governor. Their appearance was very imposing ; 
and being the last time they ever appeared there for such purposes, 
having afterwards usually met the governor at Albany, they 
made a very strong impression on the beholders. David Grim, 
then young, who saw them, has left some MS. memoranda re- 
specting them, which I saw, to this effect : — They were Oneidas 
and Mohawks ; they came from Albany, crowding the North 
river with their canoes ; a great sight so near New York ; bring- 
ing with them their squaws and pappooses (children); they encamp- 
ed on the site now Hudson's Square, before St. John's church, 
then a low sand beach ; from thence they marched in solemn 
train, single file, down Broadway to Fort George, then the resi- 
dence of the British governor, George Clinton. As they marched, 
they displayed numerous scalps, lifted on Poles by way of flags 
or trophies, taken from their French and Indian enemies. What 
a spectacle in a city ! 

In return, the governor and officers of the colonial government, 
with many citizens, made out a long procession to the Indian 
camp, and presented them there the usual presents. 

The Indians were remembered by Mr. Bogert's grandmother 
to be often encamped at " Cow-foot Hill," a continuation of Pearl 
street ; there they made and sold baskets. 

An Indian remains, such as his bones and some ornaments, 
were lately found in digging at the corner of Wall and Broad 
streets. Half-Indian Jack died at Hersimus, N. J., on the 2d Feb- 
ruary, 1831, at the extreme age of 102 years. In the revolu- 
tionary war he acted as a spy for the British. 

The palisades and block houses erected in 1745, were well 
remembered by Mr. David Grim. There was then much appre- 
hension from the French and Indians ; ^68,000 was voted to defray 
the cost. Mr. Grim said the palisades began at the house now 
57 Cherry street, then the last house out on the East river towards 
Kip's Bay ; thence they extended direct to Windmill Hill, [that 
is, near the present Chatham theatre,] and thence in the rear of 
the poor house to Dominie's Hook at the North river. 

The palisades were made 9f cedar logs, of fourteen feet long 
and ten inches in diameter : were placed in a trench three feet 
deep, with loop-holes all along for musketry ; having also a breast- 
work of four feet high and four feet wide. There were also three 

Miscellaneous Facts. 295 

block houses of about thirty feet square and ten feet high ; these 
had in each six port-holes for cannon ; were constructed of logs 
df eighteen inches thick, and at equi-distances between the three 
gates of the city, they being placed on each road of the three 
entrances or outlets ; one was in Pearl street, nearly in front of 
Banker street ; the other in rear of the poor house ; and the third 
lay between Church and Chapel streets. 

This general description of the line of defence was confirmed 
to me by old Mr. Tabelee, aged eighty-seven. He described one 
gate as across Chatham street, close to Kate-Mutz's garden, on 
Windmill Hill. The block house on the North river, he supposed 
stood about the end of Reed street. 

The great fires of '76 and '78, are still remembered with lively 
sensibility by the old inhabitants. They occurred while the Bri- 
tish held possession of the city, and excited a fear at the time 
that the " American Rebels" had purposed to oust them, by their 
own sacrifices, like another Moscow. It is, however, believed to 
have occurred solely from accident. Mr. Brower thought he was 
well informed by a Mr. Robins, then on the spot, that it occurred 
from the shavings in a board-yard on Whitehall slip ; but Mr. 
David Grim, in his MS. notes, with his daughter, is very minute 
to this effect, saying : — The fire began on the 21st of September, 
1 776, in a small wooden house on the wharf, near the Whitehall 
slip, then occupied by women of ill fame. It began late at night, 
and at a time when but few of the inhabitants were left in the 
city, by reason of the presence of the enemy. The raging ele- 
ment was terrific and sublime, it burned up Broadway on both 
sides until it was arrested on the eastern side by Mr. Harrison's 
brick house; but it continued to rage and destroy all along the 
western side to St. Paul's church ; thence it inclined towards the 
North river, (the wind having changed to south-east) until it run 
out at the water edge a little beyond the Bear Market, say at the 
present Barclay street. 

Trinity church, though standing alone, was fired by the flakes 

2^6 Miscellaneous Fads. 

of fire which fell on its steep roof, then so steep that none could 
stand upon it to put out the falling embers. But ^t Paul's church, 
equally exposed, was saved, by allowing citizens to stand on its 
flatter roof and wet it as occasion required. 

In this awful conflagration four hundred and ninety-three houses 
were consumed ; generally in that day they were inferior houses 
to the present, and many of them were of wood. 

Several of the inhabitants were restrained from going out to 
assist at night from a fear they might be arrested as suspicious 
persons. In fact, several decent citizens were sent to the Provost 
Guard for examination, and some had to stay there two or three 
days, until their loyalty could be made out. In one case, even a 
good loyalist and a decent man, sometimes too much inclined 
" to taste a drop too much," (a Mr. White) was by misapprehen- 
sion of his character, and in the excitement of the moment, hung 
up on a sign post, at the corner of Cherry and Roosevelt streets. 
Mr. N. Stuyvesant told me he saw a man hanging on his own sign 
post, probably the same person before referred to by Mr. Grim. 

Mr. Grim has given to the Historical Society a topographical 
map showing the whole line of conflagration. 

The next fire, of August, 1778, occurred on Cruger's wharf, 
and burnt about fifty houses. On that occasion the military 
took the exclusive management, not suffering the citizen-firemen 
to control the manner of its extinguishment. It was afterwards 
ordered by the commander in chief that the military should help, 
but not order, at the suppression of fires. 

The Slips, so called, were originally openings to the river, into 
which they drove their carts to take out cord wood from ves- 
sels. The cause of their several names has been preserved by 
Mr. D. Grim. 

Whitehall slip, it has been said, took its name from Col. Moore's 
large white house, or hall ; it adjoined the slip, and was called 
*^ Whitehall." But much more probably it was named after 
Whitehall, London. 

Coenties slip, it has been said, took its name from the combina- 
tion of two names— say of Coenract and Jane Ten Eycke — called 
familiarly Coen and Anties. This may have been the popular 
story, but Countess slip is more probable. 

The Old slip was so called, because it was the first or oldest in 
the city. 

Burling's slip was so called after a respectable family of that 
name, living once at the corner of Smith's Vly (now Pearl street) 
and Golden Hill. 

Beekman's slip, after a family once living there. 

There was only owe slip on the North river side, which was 
at the foot of Oswego street, now called Liberty street. 

Corlear's Hook, which means a point, was originally called 
Nechtant by the Indians, and was doubtless from its locality a 

Miscellaneous Facts. 297 

favourite spot Avith them. There Van Corlear, who was trum- 
peter at the fort under Van Twiller, had laid out his Uttle farm, 
which he sold in 1752 to WilUam Beekman, for ^750. 

The Negro Plot of 1741 j was a circumstance of great terror and 
excitement in its day ; aged persons have still very lively tradi- 
tionary recollections of it. One old man showed me the corner 
house in Broad street, near the river then, where the chief plotters 
conspired. Old Mr. Tabelee says, new alarms were frequent 
after the above was subdued. For a long time in his youth citi- 
zens watched every night, and most people went abroad with 

Mr. David Grim, in his MS. notices, says, he retained a per- 
fect idea of the thing as it was. He saw the negroes chained to 
a stake and burned to death. The place was in a valley, between 
Windmill Hill, (Chatham theatre,) and Pot-Baker's Hill, (now 
Augusta street, about its centre,) and in midway of Pearl and 
Barclay streets. At the same place they contiimed their execu- 
tions for many years afterwards. 

■ John Hustan, a white man, was one of the principals, and was 
hung in chains on a gibbet, at the south-east point of H. Rutger's 
farm on the East river, not ten yards from the present south-east 
corner of Cherry and Catharine streets. Since then the crowd of 
population there has far driven off his " affrighted ghost," if 
indeed it ever kept its vigils there. 

Cassar, a black man, a principal of the negroes, was also hung 
in chains on a gibbet, at the south-east corner of the old powder 
house in Magazine street. Many of those negroes were burnt 
and hung, and a great number of others were transported to other 

We must conceive, that on so dreadful a fear, as a general 
massacre, (for guns were fired, and "many run to and fro,") the 
whole scenes of arrest, trial, execution, and criminals long hung 
in chains, must have kept up a continual feverish excitement, 
disturbing even the very dreams when sleeping. Thank God, 
better times have succeeded, and better views to fellow men. 

" I would not have a slave to tremble when I" wake, 
For all the price of sinews bought and sold !" 

Homan Catholics, and the cry of " church and state in danger," 
was often witnessed on election and other occasions in New York ; 
also, " high and low church" were resounded. " No Bishop" 
could be seen, in capitals, on fences, &c. A man did not dare to 
avow himself a Catholic, it was odious ; a chapel then would 
have been pulled down. It used to be said, " John Leary goes 
once a year to Philadelphia to get absolution." How different 
now ! 

Hallam's company of players, the first on record, played at 
New York in 1754. 


298 Miscellaneous Fads. 

William Bradford, fifty years government printer at New 
York, died at the age of ninety-four, in the year 1752 ; he had 
been a printer a few years at Philadelphia in the time of the 
primitive settlement. 

In 1765 two women, named Fuller and Knight, were placed 
one hour in the pillory for keeping bawdy-houses. If this were 
again enforced, would not much of the gaudy livery of bome be 
set down ? 

A gazette of 1722 hints at the declining whalery along Long 
Island, saying, " There are but four whales killed on Long Island, 
and little oil is expected from thence." 

But they have, soon after, a generous recompense ; for in 1724 
it is announced that at Point Judith, in ^pond there, they took 
700,000 bass, loading therewith fifty carts, 1000 horses, and sun- 
dry boats. 

In the old Potters-field there was formerly a beautiful epitaph 
on a patriot stranger from England, a Mr. Taylor, who came to 
join our fortunes, to wit : — 

Far from his kindred friends and native skies, 
Here mouldering in the dust, poor Taylor lies ; 
Firm was his mind, and fraught with various lore, 
And his warm heart was never cold before. 
He lov'd his country, and that spot of earth 
Which gave a Milton, Hampden, Bradshaw birth ; 
But when that country — dead to all but gain, 
Bow'd her base neck and hugg'd the oppressor's chain, 
Lothing the abject scene, he droop'd and sigh'd — 
Cross'd the wild waves, and here untimely died. 

Doctors' Riot. — About the year 1787, the^re was much excite- 
ment in the city of New York against the whole fraternity of 
doctors, called "the Doctors' Riot ;" it was caused by the people's 
lively ofience at some cases of bodies procured for dissection. The 
mob gathered to the cry of " down with the Doctors," and so 
pushed to the houses of some of the leading practitioners : their 
friends got before them, and precipitate retreat ensued. In the 
sequel the most obnoxious sought their refuge in the prison,, 
where the police being quelled, there were some violent assaults. 
Their friends and the friends of the peace, ranged on the prison 
side, made some defence ; Col. Hamilton stood forward as cham- 
pion, and John Jay was considerably wounded in the head from 
a stone thrown from the mob ; it laid him up some time. 

A singular fact occurred a few years ago, on the occasion of 
the explosion of Mr. Sand's powder magazine at Brooklyn. 
An aged citizen, then at the Bull's Head Inn at the Bowery, 
wearing a broad brimmed hat, perceived something like gun- 
powder showering upon it ; the experiment was made on what 
he gathered thereon, and it ignited ! This is accounted for as 
coming from the explosion, because the wind set strong in that 

Miscellaneous Facts. 299 

direction, and it is ascertained by firing a fusee over snow, that 
if it be over-charged, the excess of grains will be found resting 
upon the snow. 

Yellow Fever. This is to be regarded as first occurring with 
any notable malignity and fatality, in 1791. It had indeed 
occurred, once before, in about 40 years preceding — say in 1743. 

In 1798, the Yellow Fever visited the city with peculiar severity, 
beginning near Coenties slip. At first its influence was regarded 
as the action of common cold : but in time, other views were 
entertained. About two thousand persons became its victims ; 
and one third of the inhabitants fled from the city. 

In 1803, was another recurrence of Yellow Fever, beginning 
at the Coffee-house slip, and quickly after in other parts of the 
city ; causing in its progress through the season, the deaths of 
five hundred persons in the city. The alarm was great, and 
caused the removal of the mass of the inhabitants. 

In 1805^, it again appeared, on the eastern side of the city, 
principally below Burling's slip. The deaths in the city were 
about two hundred, showing it was not of such fearful character, 
as formerly. 

In 1822, it appeared on the North river side, not however of 
extensive mortality. And being much restricted to a locality in 
and about Rector street; the inhabitants were generally contented 
to open ofiices and stores and do their business in Greenwich 

The Cholera of 1832, caused the deaths of three thousand five 
hundred of the inhabitants, from July to October. A mortality 
of more fearful consequence, than even Yellow Fever. 

Papacy. In the year 1700, the Assembly passed a law, to 
hang every popish priest who should come voluntarily into the 
province. The historian who related this fact fifty years after- 
wards, observed that the law was then in full force, and added, 
" as it ever ought to ^e." 

Dress of gentlemen. A witness describes what he saw in 
1782. John Hancock wore a blue damask gown (in June), w^hite 
satin embroidered vest, black satin small clothes, white silk stock- 
ings, and red morocco slippers — his head was surmounted with 
a red velvet cap — when at Philadelphia in congress, with John 
Adams, he wore a suit of scarlet. James Bowdoin, the governor 
of Massachusetts, in 1785, of a review day at Cambridge, wore 
a grey wig, cocked hat, ivhite broad-cloth coat and vest, red small 
clothes, and black silk stockings. Thomas Jefferson wore the 
white coat and red breeches, also. 

New York city is to be the city of 13,000 acres, this is just ascer- 
tained to be the whole measurement of the Island. Its former 
bounds diS an Island, so at first named, is now all effaced by fill- 
ing up. The Kolch and Lispenard's swamp, was once the Island 
bounds, and it is calculated that about 1000 acres more will be 

300 Miscellaneous Facts. 

redeemed from the water lots on the two rivers. It is calculated 
that this area of 14,000 acres, will give accommodation to one 
and a half million of inhabitants, and this population, great as it 
seems, it is expected by some now, may be attained in the period 
of a century. The area of even one thousand acres in a city plot, 
is of very vague conception in the mind ; it is, however, the pre- 
sent area, in the triangle formed by running Canal street from 
river to river, and extending from it to the Battery point. What 
a city, even in idea only, must be a city fourteen times as large 
as that space ! The present actual bounds of the city, comprise 
4500 acres, equal to one third of the whole area ; and the present 
population is 270,000, of whom 27,500 are foreigners not natu- 

First voyage to China. "This voyage was effected in the 
year 1785, in an Albany sloop, commanded by Captain Dean," 
who is now alive (in 1836,) at West Chester, N. Y. The ship 
Empress, of China, Captain Green, went to China in 1784, and 
returned in 1785, [first voyage]. I have a plate of the China, 
brought by him — the last article of the whole set. 

General Washington, in the first year of his Presidency under 
the new constitution, 1789, resided in the Franklin House, at the 
head of Cherry street. On new-year's day, 1790, he was waited 
upon by the prhicipal gentlemen of the city. The day was un- 
commonly mild and pleasant. After being severally introduced 
and paying the usual compliments of the season, the citizens 
mutually interchanged their kind greetings and withdrew, highly 
gratified by the friendly notice of the President, to most of whom 
he was personally a stranger. In the evening Mrs. Washington 
held her levee. It was about full moon, and the air was so bland 
and serene, that the ladies attended in their light summer shades. 
Introduced by the aids and gentlemen in waiting, after being 
seated, tea, coffee, plain and plum-cake, were handed round. Fa- 
miliar and friendly conversation ensued, and kind inquiries, on 
the part of Mrs. Washington, after the families of the exiles, with 
whom she had been acquainted during the revolutionary war. 
To a lady, standing at the side of the President, near to Mrs Wash- 
ington, she remarked, " of all the incidents of the day none has so 
pleased the general," (by which title she alwa^^s designated him.) 
" as the friendly greetings of the gentlemen who visited him at 
noon." To the inquiry of the President, whether it was casual 
or customary, he was answered that it was an annual custom, 
derived from our Dutch forefathers, which had always been com- 
memorated. After a short pause, he observed — " The highly 
favoured situation of New York, will, in process of years, attract 
emigrants, who will gradually change its ancient customs and 
manners ; but let whatever changes take place, never forget the 
cordial, cheerful observance of new-year's day." 

About a year since a friend of ours visiting the metropolis, 

Portrait President Washington, p, aOtTand 334* ' ' ' * ' "* 

Miscellaneous Fads. 301 

spent an hour with Mr. Custis at his residence, and heard from 
him a graphic and eloquent description of the final departure of 
Washington from New York. The scene has often been narrated, 
but it bears a peculiar interest, when coming from the lips of an 
eye witness. Our friend has kindly furnished us with a descrip- 
tion taken at the time ; and although probably deficient in the 
vivid eloquence of the narrator, it is still worthy of preservation. 
The account which Mr. Custis gives of the appearance and extent 
of New York at the time, is highly curious and interesting : 

" We then staid at McCombs House near the Battery," said 
Mr. Custis, " which is now called Bunker's, and that was nearly 
the extent of the compact part of the city. St. Paul's church 
was quite out of town, and I used to play on a fine green common, 
where the Park theatre now stands. Instead of paved streets 
in that vicinity, there were fenced fields, in which I could sport 
as freely as if on my own estate. I could now point to the spot 
where Washington embarked, and bade his final adieu to his 
army and the citizens of New York, although I am sure it must 
be entirely changed in appearance during the time which has 
since then elapsed. — It was a point at Whitehall, just oif the Bat- 
tery, and instead of the wharf now bound with stately ships, the 
shore was then naked as the waves which murmured on its 
banks. I remember the morning as if yesterday ; it was a clear, 
cool, bracing day in December, and as the General left the house, 
he took my hand, and I thought I never saw him look so sad. We 
arrived at the appointed place of departure — I see the spot plainly 
before me — the crowd was immense, the army being drawn up 
in lines which faced the General as he passed them ; the eyes of 
the multitude were steadily bent upon him, but not a whisper 
among the whole was audible. When Washington arrived at the 
spot, he paused, and for a moment surveyed the scene. I saw 
his heart was too full for utterance, and his eyes seemed bursting 
with suppressed tears ; still, he calmly looked on all around ; but 
it could not long be thus. Nature was at length supreme — the 
General hastily approached one of the officers who was standing 
with several of the staff" near him, and falling on his neck, gave 
way to his feelings in a flood of tears. He then embraced each 
of his officers separately ; with an almost convulsive grasp, and 
as he thus bade his long loved and loving companions adieu, the 
tears seemed each moment to start afresh. Not a word was yet 
spoken, the sigh or sob alone broke the silence of the solemn 
scene. At length, when the last officer had been embraced, the 
General seemed for a moment to gain a self-possession, and with 
a firm step turned towards the boat in waiting; he stepped on 
board, and almost sunk upon the seat ; it was but for an instant, 
for as the boat shoved off", he stood upright, and quickly raising 
his hat with that grace and dignity which seemed peculiarly to 
belong to him, he surveyed once more his officers, his army, and 


302 Miscellaneous Facts. 

his friends, and after pausing a moment, he murmured with an 
emphasis I can never forget, so full of mingled sorrow and afflic- 
tion, so deep and earnest, so soul-felt in its accents, the single word 
' Farewell !' and waving his hat, the fresh gushing tears pre- 
vented his further action or utterance. At that moment a shout, 
such as I have never heard before nor since — one simultaneous 
shout burst from the shore, and so loud, and deep, and full was 
it, that it drowned the echo of the heavy guns — the large 28 
pounders, which at the same moment were fired from a short 
distance above ; a dull heavy noise was all I could distinguish ; 
and as the shout of the multitude was wafted over the parting 
waves, and the cannon's smoke rose upwards, the General once 
more waved his hand, and the boat shot rapidly from the shore. 
This was the last time he ever saw New York." 

Having thus introduced the name of Washington, it occurs to 
us to give a few additional notices of that great man, extracted 
from our MS. pages of memoranda concerning him, because they 
have hitherto induced so little of the same kind of notice from 
others — to wit : 

Sundry circumstances in the early life of Washington, while a 
Colonel in the western wilderness, have not been, as we think, 
sufficiently noticed as marking him, even from the beginning, as 
" the man of destiny" — as one providentially preserved for the 
subsequent salvation of his country. For instance, in the case of 
his exposure of person in the battle of Braddock's defeat. His 
letter to his mother of 18th July 1755, says, "the Virginia troops, 
to which I belonged, showed a great deal of bravery and were 
nearly all killed. I luckily escaped without a wound, though I 
had four bullets through my coat, and had two horses shot under 
me. The General's two aids being early wounded, I was the 
only person then left to distribute the General's orders." At the 
same time he requests to inform his brother John that " he has 
not been killed, as has been before reported in a circumstantial 
account." He adds — " by the all-powerful dispensations of Pro- 
vidence, I have been protected beyond all human probability or 
expectation, while death was levelling my companions on every 
side." Such remarkable perils, and such acknowledgments of a 
divine protection therein, are things which should be impressively 
considered, as we imagine. 

Besides the foregoing, it came to pass, afterwards, that when 
•Washington was out in Ohio, in 1770, to explore some wild lands 
near the Kenawha river, he then met an aged Indian chief, who 
told him that during the battle in Braddock's field, he had singled 
him out at several times, to bring him down with his rifle, and 
liad ordered his young warriors to do the same ; but none of the 
balls took effect. He was then convinced, he said, that the young 
hero was under some special guardianship of the Great Spirit, and 
he had therefore desisted from firing. He had now come a long 

Miscellaneous Facts. 308h 

way to pay his personal homage to so peculiar a man, as one 
saved by heaven. Surely, if the " poor Indian" could thus dis- 
cern the protection from above, much more readily should we, 
Avho profess to miderstand and appreciate the interference of a 
God, who " rules in the affairs of men." 

In the year 1753, Major Washington, returning from his visit 
to Fort Le Boeuf, roughing it all the way like a perfect woods- 
man, urging his lonely way through the depths of the forests, in 
the depth of the stern winter, he fell into a fearful dilemma, which 
ordinarily would have cost the life of any other individual. He 
had left his horses and heavy baggage, and for the sake of greater 
dispatch, had undertaken to foot his way with his friend, Mr. 
Gist, for his companion. Washington was tied up in his watch 
coat, with his better clothes off, and his papers and provisions tied 
in a pack slung to his back, [think of that once, of the great Gene- 
ral Washington, President of the United States, &c.] and thus 
they urged their lonely way through the waste of v/ilderness, 
each with gun in hand, and momentarily exposed to Indian sur- 
prise. That surprise came from a party of French Indians lying 
in wait. One of them iSred upon them, not fifteen steps off, but 
missed, and then they seized him. [Mark it, that they were too 
humane to kill an enemy in possession !] At night they let him 
go — they in mean time, walking all night, as their best security 
for getting beyond the reach of the party, on the morrow. This 
walking, they continued all next day, (having no rest,) when 
they reached the river, two miles above Shannopins, which they 
had hoped to find frozen, from the keenness of the cold which 
they had thus braved. The ice there, however, was driving in 
vast quantities, and they had no way to pass it, but on a raft, 
which they, themselves, were obliged to construct, with only one 
poor hatchet. In such a necessary, and hurried work, they were 
diligently employed all day, — exposed to cold in their persons ; 
and with continual apprehensions from the pursuing Indians, 
probably very near them. On such an occasion, we may well 
imagine, that a man so considerate as Washington, may have 
remembered the prayers, which he had been taught by a mother's 
piety and care, in his youth. Can we suppose that he did not 
ejaculate something from the heart, for Divine support and pro- 
tection ! He was protected : For soon after they had embarked 
on their frail log -float, " they got jammed up in the ice, and every 
minute were expecting their raft to sink, and themselves to 
perish !" Just at their extremity, when Washington was setting 
his pole to save his- position, he was jerked out into ten feet 
water ! They had no alternative, but Jo make their way to an 
island, leaving their raft to its fate. There, they had to pass the 
whole night, still without sleep, in mid-winter ! — their clothes 
being soaked with iced water, and stiffly frozen ; so frozen too, 
that his companion, Mr. Gist, had all his fingers, and some of 

304 Miscellaneous Facts. 

his toes frozen ! Mark the providence ! Washington, though 
equally or more exposed, was not frozen, and the very severity 
of the freezing, made them a formidable and safe bridge of ice, 
by which they safely passed over to the main land, on the next 
morning; and soon after reached the wigwam of Queen Alla- 
quippa, where they were refreshed and comforted. Surely, as 
many of us as may regard Washington as bestowed upon us, for 
great national purposes, must herein see and confess that hand 
divine, which led his footsteps in his youth, and sustained and 
guided him in future years, through a long, and perilous, and 
eminent life. "What nation so blest, whose God is the Lord!'* 
We know of nothing in the whole career of Washington, which 
has been to us so touching, as the contemplation of these earliest 
scenes in his life. Scenes however, which have been least noticed 
by others, possibly because he had not then attained to his merited 
distinction. We cannot think of his rugged and severe backwood 
struggles, his exertions for life and just honour, without thinking 
how little, even he, could then have foreseen of his country's 
Independence, and himself as the appointed leader. 

We are very naturally led, from the contemplation of the pre- 
mises, to consider that Washington, though not professedly a 
religious character, must have always been under the influence 
of religious principles. His appeals to Providence, in his letters 
to his mother, and his habitual and solemn attention to public 
worship, might sufficiently evince this ; but as we possess sundry 
direct facts, of his habitual and special attentions to personal 
prayers to the Almighty, we shall perhaps perform a grateful 
service to many by here relating them, to wit : 

Gen. Sullivan, in his late publication, states, that it was con- 
sidered by all his military family, that he had a time every day 
set apart, for his retirement and devotion. 

The Rev. Dr. Jones, of the Presbyterian church at Morristown, 
has declared that he administered the communion to Gen. Wash- 
ington, bj/ his request, at the public table, while he was there, in 
the command of the American army. 

Jacob Ritter, of Bucks county, Pennsylvania, a public friend, 
told me that he had a neighbour, whose house Washington 
visited one day, while he was in command at Whitemarsh, and 
while at that house, the father and son, as they told Mr. Ritter, 
heard Gen. Washington in his chamber, at his prayers, praying 
extemporary, for himself, and the happiness and prosperity of the 
nation, &c. 

The Wampole family, where Gen. Washington quartered, when 
with his command in Montgomery county, told me, that they 
knew of his habitual retirement to his chamber to pray, and that 
they sometimes overheard him so engaged. 

The New York Mirror, of May 1S34, gives an account of 
Washington being benighted and stopping at the house of a poor 

Miscellaneous Facts. 305 

man, near the Highlands, and that the family related that they 
heard him pray at length, for himself, and his country. 

The late Isaac Potts, a well known public friend, at Valley 
Forge, when at one time in the woods near by, came across the 
horse of Washington tied to a sapling, and soon after discovered 
the general on his knees in audible prayer, " praying most fer- 
vently." Mr. Potts used to relate that it so deeply affected him, 
as never to be forgotten, and that he went home, telling his wife 
with many tears, and deep emotion, of the circumstance, saying 
too, at the time, " if there be any on earth to whom the Lord 
will listen, it is to George Washington :" adding as his belief, " our 
nation will yet have its independence ;" for he doubted not that 
" God had so willed it." 

The late Joseph Eastburn, who was a lay-minister in the 
Presbyterian church, in Philadelphia, related to his friend, Mr. 
Richard Loxley, that while he, Eastburn, was on camp duty near 
Princeton, he heard when entering a thicket, the audible utter- 
ance of some solemn voice, and seeking further for the cause, 
found Gen. Washington upon his knees in prayer. He retired 
hastily, fully satisfied in his own conviction, that he was a great 
man who feared God, and trusted in his worship. In after 
years, when Mr. Eastburn had become religious, and when 
Washington had become President of the United States, it became 
matter of concern to Mr. Eastburn, that the President should 
sanction the theatre by his presence. He supposed, it was a 
measure deemed inoffensive by churchmen ; but venerating the 
man, and wishing only his best interests, he could not forbear to 
open his mind to the President by a letter, offering him therein, 
his reasons for asking him as a Christian man, to avoid the drama. 
Mr. Eastburn believed that it had the effect, to cause him to go 
no more ; for he never after heard of its occurrence. The for- 
bearance, if it was only such, was an amiable concession, at least, 
to the opinion and good will, of a well intentioned interference. 

We know it to be a fact, that Gen. Washington, while Presi- 
dent, was accustomed to ask a blessing before meat at his own 
table, doing it in a standing posture, and only departing from the 
service, when a clergyman might chance to be present, to whom 
to offer the duty. 

The profile likeness which we give of Washington, in this 
work, is done from an original executed by Saml. Folwell, of 
Philadelphia, and has been noticed in the Gazette United States, 
as the best, as to spirit and truth of expression, ever taken. It 
was in truth an off hand happy hit, done by the artist, when un- 
known to ^' the beheld of all beholders." Done as he appeared 
before Congress at Philadelphia. Inasmuch as it is like no other 
man, so it is only like himself. 

" Rotten Row" (in New York city), must have been named 
after that name of a place in London. The same too must have 
39 2 c 2 

306 Miscellaneous Facts. 

been the cause of the name of " Whitehall" and its sHp, &c. They 
affected London names, such as " the Mall/' " the White Conduit 
house," " Greenwich," &c. 

In the New York Gazette of 1763, there is an advertisement, 
notifying that Mrs. Steel has removed the King's Arms tavern, 
from opposite the Exchange to the Broadway, at the lower end 
opposite the fort. 

Storm and Flood. In 1822 there was a great N. E. storm of 
wind and rain, which flooded numerous houses and stores along 
the river side. One as great or greater, again occurred on Satur- 
day night and Monday morning, of the 15th and 17th December, 
1833. " From Whitehall to Catharine street, the wharves were 
all overflowed, the adjacent cellars filled with water, and boats 
from the vessels in the harbour sailing over the wharves. A sail 
boat had passed up Maiden lane from South to Front street. 
Many vessels were injured, some sunk, and along the whole coast 
considerable losses of vessels occurred. It was like the great Sep- 
tember gale of 1831. 

In many places people crossed the streets in boats, and when 
the tide was at its highest, the following extraordinary announce- 
ment was placed on the bulletin of the Courier : 

" Arrived this day at one o'clock, at the corner of Water street 
and Maiden lane, row-boat Ontario, Capt. French, in ballast; 
will receive passengers and freight for one hour, or as long as the 
tide will serve. Barker French." 

The cold at Albany, 1835 — Sunday, January 4th, was "the 
coldest day known there for the last half century." 

At the Mansion-house of Gen. Van Rensselaer, at 6 A. M. 32 
degrees below zero. 

At Gen. Van Rensselaer Jr., at 7§ A. M., 32 degrees below 

At Edward Brown's, in Steuben street, at 7 A. M. 31 § degrees 
below zero — at 8 A. M. at 30^ degrees. This thermometer was 
4 degrees lower than the cold day of 1817. 

The above were the lowest parts of the town. 

At the Academy which was high ground, at 7 A. M. it was 
23 degrees below zero ; at 9 A. M. 20 degrees below zero ; and 
at 10 A. M. 17 degrees below zero. 

At sunrise, to wit: — at Boston, 15 degrees below zero; at 
Portsmouth, 20 degrees below zero ; at New Haven, 23 degrees 
below zero ; at Hartford, 25 degrees below zero ; at Goshen, N. Y. 
32 degrees below zero; at Newark, N. J., 7 degrees below zero ; 
and at Philadelphia, 3 degrees below zero. 

Holt's Hotel. What a mammoth, and what a change of char- 
acter ; dines 200 persons — 250 is ordinary, 2500 daily at all its 
tables ; has all its rooms filled, and 250 beds engaged at night ; 
kills an ox every day ; puts 700 pounds of meat at a time on its 
fire spit, which is itself turned by steam. It only seems strange, 

Miscellaneous Facts, 307 

that any people of usual domestic feelings and sympathies, should 
ever fall into such a scheme of living so much in crowd and 
bustle. This Holt was a rich butcher, worth 100,000 dollars, 
and in two years his house ruined him, and was sold out at 
1 70,000 dollars loss. 

Seals visited New York in spring, 1833, and went chiefly to 
Robins' (Seals) reef at low water — their former old haunt. 

Three seals were seen in April 1833, at Chester, Pa,, and one 
was taken. 

The inn of''' the King^s Arms^'* was an old and noted tavern ; 
it stood in Broadway between little Prince and Crown streets. 
This place before the revolution, was much visited by the officers 
quartered in Fort George, and by those who resided near the 
market-place. It was of antiquated form — had been erected as 
early and visited by Lord Cornbury in his time — He being a 
spendthrift who liked the voluptuous indulgences of a tavern. 
The front was of grey stone, narrow windows and arched, but 
those of the dining room were large and went down to the floor, 
and so serving to admit the guests from the piazza along the 
front, which looked out upon the North river, and affording a 
distant and fine river scenery. Before the house was a fine row of 
catalpas trees, now seldom seen at or near New York. The top 
was surmounted by a cupola, a table, and seats, and a good tele- 
scope for a good look out. The inn-keeper (it is said) was Snod- 
grass. Because of its fine view of river scenery, it was always 
held in high repute as a good look-out post ; delighting the eye 
and enchanting the imagination. I have in my possession, a long 
and interesting legendary story about this house and its guests. 

Statue of Pitt, Earl of Chatham. This finely executed statue, 
which was voted in the year 1766 by the assembly of New York, 
on an appropriation of ^67000, to be done in brass, as a compli- 
ment to his character, and in memory of his exertions to effect 
the repeal of the odious stamp act, was set up in marble, in Wall 
street near the present Exchange, where it remained for several 
years. At length it got mutilated by losing its head — struck off 
by some night party in a freak of mischief, as it was said. It 
was removed after a while, as an unsightly object, and as an 
inconvenience in so narrow and so much used a street. What 
is curious, is, that such a costly sculpture, should by any means 
become a cast-away, and Idiy neglected as I have since seen it, un- 
known to the mass of the citizens, in the yard of the public arse- 
nal. It is said since, that a tory party got up the vote for the 
statue, and that the Earl was not in fact, at any time, devoted to 
our exemption from parliamentary bondage. Granting all this, 
why should we war upon the arts ; and why should not some 
gentlemen of liberal minds and right feelings, opposed to a war 
with the dead, unite to give the statue a new head, and place it 
in some conspicuous public place, for the single purpose of pre- 

308 Miscellaneous Facts, 

serving such an expensive token of a once pervading interest in 
the views and feelings of our forefathers ? Our views are of 
course only conservative. Should not the Society of Artists take 
this matter into their consideration ? 

Colonial times and manners. — We ought, perhaps, to make 
the general remark concerning the present work, that we have 
omitted several matters and things, which might equally go to 
illustrate the manners and customs of New York society at and 
before the period of the revolution ; not herein told or related, 
because they were already published in the Annals of Philadel- 
phia and Pennsylvania, which work is intended to be as much 
a matter of separate interest, as if the present work was not pub- 
lished. We have however herein borrowed from that work, some 
items concerning apparel, furniture and equipage ; and concerning 
these, we have to remark, that there seems an earlier attention 
in New York to the adoption and use of what was foreign and 
modish. Induced no doubt, through the influence of the gaiety, 
fashion, and expensive habits of the foreign military and marine so 
constantly arriving or quartering among them ; and leading to much 
society and intercourse with our ladies and their families. We 
thus notice there, earlier uses of carpets and papered walls, and of 
foreign milliners and dress-makers, Windsor chairs, glass utensils, 
jewelry, dentistry, use of watches, umbrellas, stage plays, balls, 
&c. Their earliest carriages were imported in 1766, from Dublin, 
with workmen to repair or make others, among which are named 
landaus, curricles, sedans, and even sleighs, " with gildings, carv- 
ings, and japan" to suit. All these were new things then, to suit 
best English society of modish habits and means ; and not those 
Dutch inhabitants, who regarded none of those things. As riches 
came, luxuries and all their concomitants followed ; so that even 
till now the New Yorkers have therein the ascendency and lead ! 
Few regard cost now : there all modish things find countenance 
and place. All that which once marked simple republican habits 
and views, are no longer regarded as necessarily due from their 
avowed principles, nor practically needful from those who, how- 
ever republican in bias or profession, have the means by acquired 
wealth, to adopt that which is courtly and refined, in monarchical 
Europe. The simple and frugal times of colonial days, are all, 
forever gone ! " Tempera mutantur, et nos mutamur in illis." 

When the British were in full power and glory in New York, 
before the Revolution, the ladies showed a great deal of respect 
to the trappings of the officers, so much so, that at balls and other 
gala occasions, it was common to call the gentlemen of the party, 
the mohairs, in allusion to their plainer dress. 

Funerals. When Philip Livingston, Esq., (father of Gov. Wm. 
Livingston of N. J.,) merchant, died in 1749, his funeral regale 
and expenses, after the manner of the times, cost £500. On that 
occasion two ceremonies were performed, one at his manor 

Miscellaneous Facts, 309 

among his tenantry, and one in New York city. At each place a 
whole pipe of wine was spicediox the guests. The bearers at the 
several places were presented with mourning rings, silk scarfs 
and handkerchiefs. The eight bearers in New York had each 
the gift of a monkey spoon, (that is having a monkey carved on 
the handle,) and at the manor all the tenantry had a gift of a 
pair of black gloves and a handkerchief In a later period. Gov. 
Wm. Livingston, wrote in the Independent Reflector of 1753, his 
objections to extravagance in funerals, and his wife, it was said, 
was the first who ventured as an example of economy, to substi- 
tute linen scarfs, for the former silk ones. 

The Dutch Forefathers of Neio York. Mr. Sedgwick, in his 
life of Gov. Livingston, makes the judicious and true remark, 
that " it is somewhat surprising that we should not be more proud 
of our partial descent from a nation, at one time so conspicuous 
in European history. Thus, we are accustomed to speak of the 
unostentatious and commercial habits of the Dutch settlers of 
New York, in a tone which is rarely applied to the citizens of the 
mother country." The same author suggests " whether or no, 
opinions on this subject have not been influenced by Mr. Irving's 
mock history ; and if so, it is the first time, that acknowledged 
fiction has been adopted as fact !" The last assigned cause, is too 
recent, to account for the feeling. It was better accounted for, 
" in the unostentatious habits" of the former people. They sought 
no fame, and had none. They were frugal, unpretending, 
domestic and happy. Such a race of " worthy burghers" were 
too tame to be gloried in ! but all who came out under govern- 
ment patronage as British, came with pomp and circumstance, 
and trappings of official association. All they did showed out 
with style and eclat. They had all the tinsel of glory ; and this 
readily caught the eye and captivated the imagination of the 
multitude. New York and Albany, as the perpetual head-quarters 
of the civil and military British rulers, readily took the lead with 
whoever wished to rank themselves as " best society," even in 
the colonial days. Whatever those two cities seemed to value 
most, came to be the leading rule of estimation in the opinion of 
the multitude everywhere. 

" The Province House,^^ at the Battery, wherein dwelt Gov. 
Tryon, was consumed by fire at midnight, on the 17th December, 
1773. The family escaped with difficulty. The Governor's 
daughter leaped from the second story window, and her maid 
Elizabeth Garrett, afraid to follow her, was burned to death ! 
Greater mischief would have occurred, but for the snow on the 
adjacent buildings. £5000 was voted to the Governor in con- 
sideration of his loss, &c. He seems to have been popular among 
them then. 

Cooper^ s Tale of the fVater ^7/f^, profiting, as I presume, by 
my facts concerning the ancient Ferry House at the head of 

310 Miscellaneous Facts. 

Broad street, thus graphically depicts the place and appurtenances, 
10 wit : " A deep narrow creek penetrated the island, at this point, 
for the distance of a quarter of a mile. Each of its banks had a 
row of buildings, as the houses line a canal in the cities of Hol- 
land. As the natural course of the inlet was necessarily respected, 
the street had taken a curvature not unlike that of a new moon. 
The houses were ultra-Dutch, being low, angular, fastidiously 
neat, and all erected with their gables to the street. Each had 
its ugly and inconvenient entrance, termed a stoop, its vane or 
weathercock, its dormer-window, and its graduated battlement- 
walls. Near the apex of one of the latter, a little iron crane pro- 
jected into the street. A small boat of the same metal, swung 
from its end, a sign that the building to which it appended was 
the Ferry House.^' 

" An inherent love of artificial and confined navigation had 
probably induced the burghers to select this spot, as the place 
whence so many craft departed from the town, since it is certain 
that the two rivers could have furnished divers points more 
favourable for such an object." 

" At the time of the departure of the periagua, at sunrise, fifty 
blacks were seen in the street, dipping their brooms into the creek 
and flourishing water over the side-walks, and on the fronts of 
the low edifices. This light, but daily duty was relieved by 
clamorous collisions of wit, and hj shouts otf merriment, in which 
the whole street would join, as with one joyous and reckless 
movement of the spirit." " Here and there, a grave burgher, 
still in his night-cap, might be seen with a head thrust out of an 
upper window, Ustening to these light-hearted ebullitions of the 
noisy race, and taking note of all the merry jibes, that flew from 
mouth to mouth, with an indomitable gravity." 

" The periagua, as the craft was called, partook of a European 
and an American character. It possessed the length, narrowness, 
and clean bow of the canoe, from which its name was derived, 
with the flat bottom and lee board of a boat constructed for the 
shallow waters of the low countries." 

[At this place, on board such a passage boat, he describes the 
'^ Skimmer of the Seas," the commander of the buccaneering 
" Water fVitch,^' as taking his passage with others, going over 
to Staten Island. This in the time of Queen Anne, and with the 
privity of Lord Cornbury the ex-governor, still detained by his 
debts and obligations at New York.] 

Rich men in New York. In the summer of 1841, died two 
conspicuous millionaires, made rich chiefly by the rise of their real 
estate in and near Wall street, viz : Henry Breevort with two 
millions, and Mr. Jerroleram with one million. These in early life 
were market gardeners. 

John Jacob Astor, so very rich, is a German who began among 
us with a store of German toys, can now build a Hotel for half a 

m!!iL^__: ■ „..iL;!§piiiigipi!iin!i!iiijgHifflir' 
Last Dutch House in Broad Street, p. 196 and 350. 

Provost, British Prison, — Park, p. 327 and 351. 

t' 1 • 

* c • 

« -.' • « 

Miscellaneous Facts. 311 

million and give it to his son ! The brother of J. J. Astor was a 
victualler, and is now very rich also. All the family are frugal. One 
of the Stuvyesants, now inheriting a part of the Stuvyesant marsh 
meadows, could sell it out for one million of dollars ! Wm. Bay- 
ard's farm place, which could have been bought in 1800, for 
fifteen thousand dollars, was sold out in 1833 for sixty thousand 
dollars, to men who sold the same in lots for two hundred and 
sixty thousand dollars. These facts are maddening to some 
rapacious minds, wherefore sales of lots have been made on this 
island and over on Brooklyn, so far beyond population as would 
take a century to use ! In Jan. 1835, the sales of lots, by 
Bleekers as auctioneers, amounted to upwards of five millions of 
dollars ! Reaction may be feared, in some seven years hence, 
when the chief amount of purchase is to be paid. So different is 
paying from buying. 

Rise of property ! in Brooklyn. Its increase of value in lots 
and land ! In 1834 the farm of Jacob Bergen at Red Hook, two 
miles from Brooklyn ferry, sold for five hundred thousand dollars ; 
it consisted of one hundred acres of hilly and sandy soil ; and 
the farm of John Skillman, at the Wallabout, consisting of sixty 
acres, and two miles from the same Brooklyn ferry, has been sold 
for fifteen hundred dollars per acre, say ninety thousand dollars. 
Mr. John Mason, President of the Commercial Bank, has fifty 
acres, now eight hundred lots, adjoining to the Bank and Chemical 
works, for which he gave seven thousand dollars forty years ago, 
and could now get for them half a million of dollars ! It was a 
farm, on which he lent his money on mortgage. Mr. Mason was 
originally a poor man and a tradesman of New Jersey. 

The premises of Grant Thorburn [the old meeting-house of 
Friends] in Liberty street, which he bought in 1825 for twenty- 
six thousand dollars, without the money to pay for it too, sold in 
his hands in ten years, in 1835, for one hundred thousand dollars. 
The good man, who believes in Providence [as decretal] thinks it 
has to be so, and none is more worthy to enjoy it, with thank- 

Liverpool and Havre Packets. The man is still alive in full 
health, who commanded a schooner of one hundred and twenty 
tons, the only vessel in the trade between New York and Liver- 

In 1819, the ship Stephania, of three hundred and fifty tons, 
was built for the Havre trade, deemed then to be over large, and 
now they are forming ships of seven hundred tons for the same 
service in 1834. 

*dn ancient sword of the Knickerbockers, was lately found, and 
put in the Hartford Museum, impressed 1554 in gold, and having 
the words in Dutch " May God be with us." It was taken out 
of the bank of the Connecticut river in Windsor at eight feet 

312 Miscellaneous Facts. 

depth, and may have been so covered by the change of the river 
bed, as it lay nearly at the level of the river. 

Robert Fulton. This great steam inventor is enrolled in the 
city directory of Philadelphia in the year 1785, thus: " Robert 
Fulton, miniature painter, corner of Second and Walnut streets." 

The Growth of our Country. Within a few years (1833) an 
old gentleman has gone down to his grave, in New York, — Mr. 
John Munro, in the 98th year of his age. He was a descendant of 
the Hugonots, who fled to this country at the revocation of the 
edict of Nantz, in 1686. He was of the third generation from the 
original emigrants. His name was Maureau ; but then emigrants, 
in many places, anglicized their names when it was convenient, not 
thinking that the time would come when they would be proud 
of having been descended from a French emigrant. The mention 
of this worthy old gentleman in this place was to call to our mind 
the growth of our country during the life of one individual. At 
his birth the thirteen colonies did not contain over a million of 
inhabitants ; the city of New York about twelve thousand ; the 
city of Boston about the same number ; Philadelphia, although 
it had been settled but little more than half a century, had rapidly 
increased in population, and was quite as large as either of them. 
The whole commerce of the colonies was not then so much, in 
point of revenue, as has been taken in two days, from the com- 
merce of New York, within these last ten years. From the 
custom-house returns from the 29th of September, 1749, to 29th 
of September, 1750, there were entered two hundred and thirty- 
three vessels, including coasters, and there were cleared out two 
hundred and eighty of the same description — probably more than 
two-thirds of these were coasters, running from this port to 
Charleston, (South CaroUna,) or from this port to Boston. The 
commerce to England and Holland was chiefly confined to the 
exportation of furs, and to the importation of articles of domestic 
necessity. At that time the Park was quite out of town, and 
where Bond street now is, would have been considered a journey 
into the country. Albany was an old settlement, but just beyond 
it all was a howling wilderness. There was nothing but a blazed 
way at that time to Lake George, which in a few years after- 
wards became the seat of war. 

At that period the revenue of the port of London was not so 
much as that of the port of New York at this day ; and the island 
of Great Britain did not then equal this country in population 
now. At the period of the birth of the old gentleman we have 
mentioned, there was but one periodical journal printed in this 
city. This ivas issued November, 1733, and of course was then 
only in its second year. This newspaper was called the New 
York Weekly Journal, and was well conducted, it is said. It 
was well established, as one of the historians of that age informs 

Miscellaneous Facts, 313 

us, " by the citizens of New York, as a medium through which 
they might pubhsh strictures on an arbitrary government." In 
1735 there was an attempt to put down the freedom of the press. 
" The government of New York, now in the hands of Gov. 
Crosby, was arbitrarily administered. Free strictures being made 
on him and his council, in the Weekly Journal, the council order- 
ed the three numbers of that gazette to be burnt by the sheriff. 
John Peter Zanger, the printer, was at length, imprisoned by a 
'warrant from the governor and council ; and after a severe 
imprisonment of thirty-five weeks, was tried for printing those 
offensive papers. Andrew Hamilton, an eminent lawyer of 
Philadelphia, though aged and infirm, learning the distresses of 
the prisoner and importance of the trial, came to New York to 
plead Zanger's cause, and made so able a plea that the jury 
brought in the prisoner not guilty. The common council of the 
city of New York, for this noble and successful service, presented 
Mr. Hamilton his freedom of the corporation in a gold box." 
Thus we see the struggles our predecessors had to pass through 
for the freedom of the press. Their conduct is worthy imitation. 
The subject might be extended to volumes. 

Capt. Robert Kidd. I have since seen an old London edition 
account of this sea rover, from which I derive some additional 
facts, to wit : At the time of his engagement in the Adventure 
galley, he had the reputation of a man of courage and energy, 
having been commander of a privateer in the West Indies, in 
the beginning of King William's war ; afterwards he became a 
smuggler, and traded among the pirates in a little rakish vessel 
that could run into all kinds of water. As he knew all the haunts 
and lurking places of the pirates, he was recommended by Lord 
Bellermont, then governor of Barbadoes, to be a fit man to put 
down piracy, on the principle of setting a rogue to catch a rogue. 
He got, however, no encouragement from King William, and 
therefore he went out upon private enterprise, though under a 
king's commission. Kidd died hard, for the rope with which he 
was first tied up broke, and he fell to the ground. - He was tied 
up a second time more eftectually. This gave rise to the popular 
story of Kidd's being twice hung. The same work spoke thus of 
the pirates and people at and about New York, in the year 1695, 
viz : " The easy access to the harbour, the number of hiding 
places about its waters, and the laxity of its newly organized 
government, made it a great rendezvous of pirates, where they 
mi^^ht dispose of their booty and concert new depredations. 
There they sold their rich luxuries and spoils of the Spanish pro- 
vinces at small prices, to the wary and thrifty traders of New York. 
To them at least they were welcome visitors, and for that reason 
crews of these desperadoes might be seen swaggering in open day 
about the streets, elbowing the quiet inhabitants, or squandering 
40 2D 

314 Miscellaneous Facts, 

their money in taverns, and exciting neighbourhoods with midnight 
brawls and revelry. In time it became matter of scandal and a 
public pest, and the government at home was urgently applied 
to, to suppress the evil in the colonies." [The foregoing extracts, 
are confirmed in the Pirate's Own Book, Boston edition, 1837.] 

Capt. Kidd " was called Robert, and was executed as Robert.''^ 
Tradition says that the Sachem's Head and the Thimble island 
were his rendezvous ; one of these rocky islands on the Sound is 
called Kidd's Island. He deposited on Gardiner's Island, the 
same given up to Gov. Bellermont, and of which there is now a 
schedule in the hands of the Gardiner family at this day.* It is 
said that a pot of eighteen hundred dollars was ploughed up two 
years ago, in a corn-field at Martha's Vineyard, supposed to be 
Kidd's money. At Kidd's island is a cave, where it is said the 
pirates used to hide and sleep ; inside is cut " R. K." supposed 
for Robert Kidd ; a hole in the rocky floor chiselled out is called 
their punch bowl for carousal. Another little islet is called " Money 
island," and has been nmch dug for treasure. Gov. Fletcher has 
had the reputation of countenancing the pirates, and Nichols, one 
of his council, has been handed down, by tradition, as their agent. 
In 1S44, they found, as is said, Kidd's vessel sunk in 1699 in 
the North river, near Caldwell's, and got up a gun, and expected 
to find also some treasure. 

Capt. Kidd's Vessel. In the summer of 1844, they succeeded 
by use of divers and diving bells, &c., to discover up the North 
river, a little above Verplank's Point, at Caldwell's landing, the 
remains of Capt. Kidd's ship, it is said, which was blown up and 
sunk about the time of his arrest. This has been chiefly ascer- 
tained by the assiduity of A. G. Thompson of Wall street, a de- 
scendant of Gardiner, of Gardiner's Island, to whom Kidd entrust- 
ed a part of his money. They have succeeded to fish up a 24 
pound carronade of old-fashioned construction, and are using dili- 
gence to unearth the vessel itself, and to find out her treasure if any 
there be. The vessel exceeds 150 feet in length, supposed to be 
equal to the class of frigates then. It would be a real curiosity to 
get now a sight of her construction ! She now rests but a little dis- 
tance from low water mark, off" the mouth of the race. It is said 
that this ship, ascertaining while at Gardiner's Island, (their ren- 
dezvous,) that two ships were sent for her capture — she to escape 
them went up the North river, where they blew up this ship, and 
dispersed the men with what treasure they could bear off". This 
declaration does not fully accord with former facts related ; but 
still, as it now comes up, that the aforesaid Mr. Thompson has 
been for several years, seeking after the hulk of such a vessel, 

• That original paper calls him however, Wxllxam Kidd, and so have some 
other accounts. 

Miscellaneous Fads, 315 

and has at length purchased the land where she rests, there may- 
be reason for believing that the descendants of the Gardiner family- 
have had their sufficient reasons for believing in something like 
the present version of the story. The other story was in the 
main, that Kidd siurrendered himself voluntarily to Gov. Beller- 
mont, with a hope that the treasure, which he designated as being 
in the care of Gardiner (worth about 200,000 dollars), might be 
a sufficient douceur to secure his acquittal with that officer, and 
so leave Kidd free, to join his wife and child, and to dwell in 
New York among the magnates and wealthy class, in guilty 
splendour. There is something truly interesting and exciting, in 
contemplating the possible recovery and exhibition now of such 
a relic, of a century and a half of concealment. We cannot but 
wish success to the full discovery. [In boring since, they think 
they have got into a cask of silver, and are therefore resolved to 
persevere by making a coffer dam, &c.] 

Broadhead^s Jincient Records, concerning New York. These 
voluminous MS. records in eighty volumes, are the results of 
Mr. Broadhead's researches in England, France and Holland, as 
an agent of the state of New York, sent out under an appropria- 
tion of twelve thousand dollars to procure whatever he could 
concerning the early colonial history of the province. In the 
pursuit of this object, he was occupied three years. The very 
catalogue of his several papers, copied and returned to our coun- 
try, occupies three hundred and seventy-six pages octavo. Such 
subjects as chiefly arrested my attention therein, as being most 
within the compass of my views, I have hereinafter set down, 
and which while they may show somewhat of the general char- 
acter, of the papers collected, may also serve as a reference, to 
such of our readers as may feel an interest to inspect them further 
for themselves. It might be remarked concerning such papers, 
that although sundry of them might seem of little value in them- 
selves, yet as a connecting link to others, as a whole, they rise in 
value by their necessary aggregation. It is even something 
satisfying, to know how little need be known. The search 
appears to have been very thorough and successful ; and only 
failed in one particular, in not getting any papers of the West 
India company prior to the year 1700, up to which time, all the 
previous papers, by an order of the year 1821, were sold at 
public auction as useless lumber, a sad oversight for New York 
interests ! — 

The following comprise none from, the Paris records in 17 
vols., because I saw but little that seemed to induce my reference 
thereto. Unless to mention that in 1689, there are several papers 
stating schemes, then entertained by the French ministry, for 
conquering New York, therein showing how cordially they de- 
sired to make us an a n^/o- American, Galo nation. But the power 
that directs the whirlwind and the storm, overruled to another 

316 Miscellaneous Facts. 

course ! Many of the other papers, relate to posts and Indians, 
and to border wars. 

From Broadhead's Calendar of Documents which refers to the 
volumes and pages severally, we select thus, viz : 

From the Holland papers, in sixteen volumes. 

Years. Pages. 

Report by Capt. Cornelius Hendrickson, of his discoveries in New 

Netherland, -..-.. 1616 32 

Letter of P. Shagen, stating the purchase of Manhattan Island, from 

the Indians, - - - - - - 1626 36 

Memorial of tlie States General to King Charles I., stating title to 

New Netherlands, &c., ..... 1632 37 

Privileges &c. to be granted to Dutchmen, settling in New Neth- 
erland, ....... 1634 40 

Memorials against directors Kieft and Stuyvesant, - - 1648 48 

Remonstrance from Vanderdonck and others, giving an inter- 
esting historical account of New Netherland from its disco- 
very till 1649, ...... 1649 51 

Memorials of S. Claeson, and C, Melyn, complaining of Stuyve- 
sant, - - - - - - - 1650 53 

Compilation concerning New Netherland, showing first disco- 
veries, &c., - - - . . . 1655 && 

Arrest of Sabastian de RaefF, &c., pirates in New Netherland, 1655 67 

Letter of States General to West India Company, respecting the 

Swedes, .... - . - 1656 68 

Sales of Lands by Indians, on the Schuylkill, - - . 1656 69 

Memorial of inhabitants on Schuylkill to Director Stuyvesant, 1651 69 

Declaration of Mattehoorn and other Indians, concerning lands 

on South River, - - - - - - 1657 69 

Depositions concerning Swedes on South River, - - 1656 69 

Capitulation and conditions of Fort Casimir, by Sven Schute, to 

Stuyvesant, ...... 69 

Account of the situation of New Netherland, who were first dis- 
coverers and settlers, ..... 73 

Letters from Magistrates of Gravesende, Hiemstede, Long Island, 1653 74 

Letter of the States General, to the villages in New Netherland, 1664 75 

Van Gogh's memorial to the King of England, concerning Eng- 
lish aggressions in New Netherland, ... 1664 77 

Remonstrance of inhabitants of New Netherland to the Governor 

General against resisting the English, ... gl 

Resolution that a preacher and 300 colonists be sent to New 

Netherland, - - - - - - 93 

Resolution to give 200 guilders each, to 25 families of Menonists 

going to New Netherland, .... - 94 

The Exchange Bank to pay 50,000 guilders to the Waldenses, 1656 95 

From the London papers, in forty-seven volumes. 

Years. Pages. 
An act of the States General, permitting all oppressed christian 

people to erect a colony in America, under Stuyvesant, - 1661 106 
Letter of Mr. Maverick to Col. Nicholls, concerning New York 

— of whales in the harbour — of Nutt Island and its trees, - 1668 113 
Robert Hodge's account of the taking of New York by the 

Dutch, - - 1673 114 

W. Hayes' affidavit concerning the taking of New York by the 

Dutch - - 1673 115 

Observations of W. Greenhalgh, in a journey to the Indians, - 1677 117 


Miscellaneous Facts. 317 

Years. Pages. 
Governor Andros' account of the general concerns of New York, 1677 117 
Relation of G. Van Sweeringen, of the seating of Delaware bay 

and river, by the Dutch and Swedes, . - _ 1684 121 

Letter of the Council to Gov. Dongan, in favour of French pro- 

testants, - - - - - - - 1687 124 

Letter of the King to Gov. Dongan, directing him to prosecute 

pirates, - - - - - - - 1687 125 

Letter from the Council of New York, stating the overthrow of 

the government — Capt. Leisler, - - - _ 129 

Letter of Capt. Leisler to the King and Queen, his proceed- 
ings, &c. ------ - 1689 130 

Letter of P. Reveredge, concerning French families in New 


Extravagant and arbitrary proceedings of Jacob Leysler, &c. 
Relation of occurrences to Major Schuyler and christian Indians, 
Letter from Wm. Penn, to Gov. Fletcher, ... 

Major D. Wessel's journal of his mission to the Five Nations, - 
Letter of Gov. Fletcher— conduct of Pennsylvania — people of 
New York go there, . . . . - 

List of reputed Papists in the city of New York, 
Letter of Lord Bellermont to the Admiralty, about pirates, 
Mr. Weaver's statement about pirates — elections in New York, 
Number of inhabitants in the counties in New York, 
Letter of Lord Bellermont, says lawyers in New York are of 
scandalous character, ..... 

Board of Trade to Lord Bellermont — ships of war — pirates. 
Journal of J. Glenn and N. Bleecker at Onondaga, 
The Board of Trade, respecting Capt. Kidd, &c.. 
Letter of the King ordering pirates to be sent to England, 
John Key's accusation against Lord Bellermont, 
Secretary R. Livingston's observations, in his voyage to Onon- 
daga, ....... 156 

Letter of Lord Bellermont, concerning parties — Indians — French 

—Capt. Kidd— Mr. Penn, - - - - - 1700 158 

Articles of agreement between Lord Bellermont and Robert Liv- 
ingston, and Capt. William Kidd, and bond of Capt. Kidd, 1700 159 
Letter of Lord Bellermont, concerning Capt. Kidd — Gillam the 

pirate, ..-.-.- 160 

Letter of Secretary of State, concerning distressed protestants from 

Holstein, desiring to get to America, ... 1708 174 

Letter of Gov. Hunter, settling the Palatines on Hudson river, 1710 179 
Statement of the Church in New York, with remarks, - - 1712 183 

Letter of Gov. Hunter — population of New York — conspiracy of 

slaves, 1712 183 

Letter of Gov. Hunter — Indians — pirates, &c. ... 1717 188 
An account of negro slaves imported into New York in six years, 

2395, 1726 199 

An account of the inhabitants of New Jersey, ... 1726 200 
Petition of A. Rutgers, for grant of the swamp in New York, 1731 203 
Letter of Gov. Cosby, concerning manufactures in New York, 1732 205 
Instructions of Lord Delaware as Governor of New York and 

New Jersey, 1737 211 

List of the number of inhabitants of New York, and of militia, 1737 213 
Letter of Mr. Clarke, concerning Papist conspiracy to burn New 

York, - - . - - - - 1741 2:6 

Information of S. Boyle of Morris county, N. J., concerning *^e 

Moravians, - - - - - - 1747 222 

2 d2 
































Years. Pages. 
















) 1755 












318 Miscellaneous Facts. 

Letter of Gov. Clinton, concerning factions — hostile Indians, 
List of the number of inhabitants in New York, 
Conrad Weisser's journal with the Mohawks, - 
Letter of Major Washington to Gov. Hamilton, - 
i Letter of T. Cutler, to the Bishop of Oxford, concerning Dissent- 
ers, books, &c., ----- 

Letter of Rev. S. Johnson, to the Bishop of Oxford, church dis- 
regarded, &c., ------ 

Secret instructions to Gen. Braddock, - - - Nov. 

Letter of Gov. Shirley, commends Braddock's plans. 
Letter of Rev. S. Johnson to archbishop, of irreligion, college, &c. 
Croghan's Journals, with Indians on Ohio, - - 17 " 

Letter of Archbishop Seeker, to Rev. Dr. Johnson, disasters in 
American Ecclesiastical establishments, - - - 

Letter of W. Smith, concerning condition of the church. 
Petition of the Earl of Stirling, for satisfaction for Long Island, 
Petition of Sir James Jay, to the king, asking a grant of land, - 
Letter of Mr. Colden to the Earl Halifax, on influence of the law- 
yers in New York, ------ 

Same to Secretary Conway, opposition to stamp act, difficulties. 
Same to do. do. lawyers promote the sedition, to 

send out Judges, ------ 267 

Same to Secretary Conway, New York influence, and leads 

other colonies, a crisis, - - - - - 268 

Letter from Gov. Fitch of Conn., to Sir H. Moore concerning 

Letter of Sir H. Moore, concerning manufactories in New York, 
Letter of Lord Dunmore, arrived at New York and well received. 
Trinity church quit rents for land, &c., - - - - 

Letter of Gov. Tryon, ferment in New York respecting tea. 
Same to Lord D., — Colonies revolt, will never submit. 
Same to do. must embody royalists, and have a viceroy. 
Same to do. remove the records onboard ship, - 
Same to Lord Germain, enlistments, independence, &c.. 
Same to do. New York taken, Staten Island loyal, 

conflagration of New York, and "Mr. Washington privy 
thereto," ------- 302 

Same to Lord Germain, 3030 persons in New York swear alle- 
giance, - - - - - - 1777 302 

Letter of Gov. Tryon, to Mr. Knox, must excite Indians against 

rebels, ------- 303 

Letter of Lord Germain to government, of prisoners taken by 

sea, 1778 305 

Letter of Gov. Tryon, concerning royalist privateers and letters 

of marque, ------- 1778 305 

Same to Lord Germain, to give rewards for congressmen, to ex- 
cite the Indians, and to ravage the coasts, - - - 1778 306 
Letter of Gov. Tryon — and receipt of the New York records, - 307 

Same depredations urged, embodying refugees - 1779 307 

Letter of Gov. Robertson to Lord G. — , speaks of Cornwallis's 

surrender, and that the royalist inhabitants will repair it ! - 309 

It must strike the reader, as it did ourself, that such state 
documents, once preserved with such great concealment and 
secrecy, should come out at last, by lapse of time, to be no 
longer matter of scruple to be thus made known. Showing thus, 



















Miscellaneous Facts. • 319 

that the present generation, can feel themselves virtually exempt 
from credit or blame for any given actions of their forefathers. 

E. B. O^Callaghan's History of New Netherland. We use 
the occasion to say a few words from E. B. O'Callaghan's recent 
work, the " History of New Netherland," wherein he has very 
successfully brought out a large fund of historical facts, concern- 
ing New York, while under the Dutch government. He shows 
from his abundant materials, what we had before alleged, that 
there was much to be gathered from our own MS. records at 
Albany. These he has used with much industry and research ; 
and thereby, for the first time, fills up that blank, which former 
historians, such as Smith and others, from their ignorance of the 
Dutch language, had neglected to explore, and which, at the 
same time, they took the liberty to say, was not sufficiently avail- 
able or useful, to be elaborated into profitable history. Like 
Chalmers, all contented themselves, with barely alluding to the 
history prior to 1664, as being a thing unknown : and that as to 
the Enghsh subsequent government, "they had prudently copied 
what had been already established by the Dutch ;" but what 
was the character of the things copied and not changed, or what 
the people who had been transferred, they found it convenient to 
say just nothing ! All this hiatus has been now supplied by the 
commendable labours of Mr. O'Callaghan. 

For the benefit of such readers as may feel curious to know how 
far he may have brought out such facts, as we have been sedulous 
to gather in our present Annals, we here make a running record 
of such items, as most won our attention and regard. They are 
indeed extremely brief, so much so, that a very few pages, if 
copied, would comprise the whole, to wit : First appearance and 
description of the country, its trees, fruits, plants, wild animals, 
birds, fish, reptiles ; the natives, their habits, customs, mode of 
living, &c. ; names of first forts and settlements erected ; arrival 
and settlement of the Walloons ; early English settlers ; some 
intercourse with the Puritans ; jealousy between Enghsh and 
Dutch settlers ; some notice of the patroons ; first clergyman and 
schoolmaster ; two or three English vessels try to force a trade 
up the North river, and quarrels ensue ; a new fort, church, and 
some houses erected, and sundry improvements; some early 
notices of Long Island ; and English settlements at Oyster bay, 
opposed ; Indians sometimes jealous and hostile ; for that cause, 
days of fasting and prayer are appointed ; boats going up North 
river are attacked ; Mrs. Moody is attacked and Mrs. Hutchinson 
killed ; expeditions to Staten Island and Greenwich, and Schout's 
bay occur ; their success, and severity on the captives ; five hun- 
dred Indians are slaughtered ; taxes for expenses are imposed 
and resisted by some ; first settlers at Rensselaerwyck and Bevers- 
wyck are named ; a small church, and minister there ; explora- 
tions for minerals; a quarrel occurs between the Rev. Mr. 

320 Miscellaneous Facts. 

Bogardus and director Kieft ; some Dutchmen receive grants of 
land on the Delaware, and tlie Schuylkill is purchased of the 
Indians; notice of slaves, as they were ; finally comes a brief 
notice of the state of morals, religion, and education. The fore- 
going-, are topics, it is to be remarked, which are generally told 
only incidentally, and mostly with no enlargement, possibly, as no 
more may have appeared of record, a circumstance which hardly 
affords an occasion to make any suitable extracts. For instance, 
" the state of morals and rehgion," as above stated, appear 
briefly in these words, to wit : " Religion and education felt the 
baneful effects of these evil influences, (the bickerings between 
the dictatorial and imperious Kieft, and the republican habits of 
the Dutch.) So that the church which had been commenced in 
1642, remained unfinished a long while, as if the country were 
indeed without timber or sawmill. In the mean time, the 
director uses the moneys which had been appropriated therefor, 
(in fines, &c.,) for his own urgent calls. In the same way, the 
fund for a public school, had also been misapplied." The fore- 
going precedes, and comes down to the time of the government 
of Gen. Stuyvesant, and ends the volume ; to which another 
volume by way of conclusion, is intended to be brought out 

It is to be inferred, that as Mr. O'Callaghan could only derive 
his facts from formal state papers, found in the archives of office 
at Albany, they were not of a nature to present curious or amus- 
ing incidents of early society, in manners, habits, dress, and social 
relations, such as would furnish picturesque and graphic delinea- 
tions of things as they were once there. It will therefore behoove 
those who know the facts in the case, to consider whether more 
can be done or not. We cannot however, but be obliged to Mr. 
O'Callaghan, for what he has elicited, since he gives the course 
and leading points of general history, such as were before hidden 
from our view and contemplation. 

It is surely to be regretted, that so large a work should afford 
so little of what should be deemed the domestic everyday history 
of the community and their doings. The completest things in 
this way, are to be found in the appendix when furnishing copies 
of original papers preserved in the Van Rensselaer family. Such 
as is found in the agent Van Curler's letters to the patroon, 
wherein he writes thus, to wit : He therein calls the settlers on his 
lands, "the boors," and the patroon, "his honour," "noble 
patroon," " my Lord," and "' Lord patroon," always in a very 
deferential and reverent manner ; has something, but briefly, to 
say of raising horses and cows as breeders, of building houses 
" for the boors," with reed and thatched roofs, of planting and 
raising tobacco, of building a small church, thinks he has found a 
diamond ! finds that the vines planted, have failed and perished 
by the frost, talks of sending wheat for ^ale to Virginia, says the 

Miscellaneous Facts. 321 

price of seawant increases in value, and the article is much needed ; 
says the sheep die off surprisingly, and that the wolves destroy 
them also ; that the swine range in the woods, that excellent 
turkeys are brought in by the Indians ; he admires the beauty of 
the country lying along the Mohawk river; speaks of stone 
arriving, and thinks they may find means to procure them in the 
country at less expense. The tiles sent out, he describes as 
crumbling away ; gives forms of his leases of lands, and the stock 
which the boors must raise and keep, they to pay in timber, furs, 
and grain. [The Van Rensselaer family have now a gold snuff 
box, presented to their ancestor by Charles II., a rare family relic 

Colonial Paper Monet/. When this was in use, it became 
quite a business with some to make and pass counterfeit money. 
It was actually manufactured in Dublin, and sent out to agents to 
dispose of It so happened, particularly in Jersey. Gov. Franklin, 
the last of the king's governors, was most successful in ferreting 
them out of their dens and concealments. One Ford, about the 
year 1763, (the time of the appointment of Gov. Franklin,) asso- 
ciated with one King, had their home in an obscure swamp, from 
which they used to come occasionally to Amboy, Elizabethtown, 
&c., appearing as plain farmers, and disposing of their money. 
This they did to several creditable people, and people of property, 
at low prices, as seduced accomplices! In time, they were much 
superseded by a gang of confederated counterfeiters and coiners 
from New England, who operated about Woodbridge, Middle- 
town, Amboy, &c. In time, the increase of business in this way, 
led to increased vigilance among the people and magistrates, and 
Ford, King & Co., were apprehended in 1774, tried, and broke 
jail and got off, but several of the good yeomanry, participators, 
were exposed, tried and pardoned ; say six respectable heads of 
families ! It made a time of general and deep excitem,ent. One 
of the decent culprits was a magistrate, another was a serious 
deacon, and in such good standing, that none would credit his 
malconduct until he voluntarily confessed it, and that not until 
after his minister had publicly prayed for his deliverance from 
"malicious scandal," and had actually given public thanks for his 
deliverance, upon a false report of " his release !" In the year 
1768, when the counterfeiting business was in a measure super- 
seded by the new comers from New England, Ford, King, and 
Cooper, robbed the state treasury at Amboy of £6000. The 
perpetrators were unknown until 1774, when Cooper, then under 
sentence of death for counterfeiting, declared the facts in the 

Continental Money. It may interest many to see a brief 
notice of the history and progress of our continental money,— 
because so few of the present generation, have ever been rightly 
informed respecting its operations and details. It is in itself some 

322 Miscellaneous Fads, 

thing, properly appertaining to an illustration of our chapter of 
" the War of Independence," and as such we here give it, to wit : 

In June, 1775, was made the first emission of 2,000,000 of 
dollars. Before the close of that year, 3,000,000 more were issued. 
In May, 1776, 5,000,000 more were issued, in the autumn of that 
year 5,000,000 more, and in December, 5,000,000 more. Such 
frequent and large emissions began to reduce their value in the 
confidence of the people. In the mean time, the power of taxing 
was virtually denied to the Confederation. They could only 
recommend the measure to the States. 

The whole amount issued during the war was 400,000,000 
dollars ! but the collections made by the continental government 
in various ways, cancelled from time to time about one half 
of it, so that the maximum of valuation at no time exceeded 
^200,000,000 ; nor did it reach that sum, until its depreciation 
had compelled Congress to take it in, and pay it out at 40 dollars 
for one of specie. 

It kept nearly at par for the first year ; as it was then but about 
equal to the amount of specie held in all the colonies. But the 
quick succession of increase tended to depreciate it, till it reached 
500 for 1, and finally 1000 for 1, — when it ceased to circulate for 
any value at all. 

Congress, after a time, exchanged forty for one, by giving the 
holders loan -office certificates at par, and had offered to redeem 
the whole in the same way at 1000 for 1, when it was down at 
that price ! but as those loan-office certificates had themselves 
gone down to 2s. 6d. on the pound, or eight dollars for one, very 
few were found to avail themselves of the offer. That was their 
misfortune, to have been so distrustful, or so needy ! 

Public securities of similar character, bearing various names, 
such as loan-office certificates, depreciation certificates, final settle- 
ments, &c., were also given to the public creditors, for services, 
supplies, &c., and thus constituted Ihe public debt at the end of 
the war. All these were worth but eight for one, until the 
adoption of the present constitution in 1789, when they were 
funded and rose to par, and thus made fortunes for many ! 

The whole revolutionary debt, as estimated on the journal of 
Congress, the 29th April, 1783, not including the paper money, 
stood thus, viz : 

Foreign debt to France and Holland, at 4 per cent., ^7,885,085 
Domestic debt, in various certificates, as above, 34,115,290 

At four and six per cent, interest, ^42,000,375 

Making an interest of ^2,415,953 per annum. 

To the foregoing the Secretary of the Treasury after- 
wards added, for claims held by several of the States ^21,500,000 

Miscellaneous Facts. 323 

and then funded the whole, putting a part on interest at six per 

cent., postponing another part without interest for ten years, and 

the remainder bearing an immediate interest at three per cent. 

The foregoing, with arrears of six years interest being added, 
and with some other unsettled claims, made the whole debt 
amount to ninety-four millions, which soon went up to par ! 

The statesmen of the Revolution were well disposed to pay 
their paper obligations, and alleged, that they also had the ability 
to do so : but against these, stood the inability of the people to 
pursue the profitable employments of peaceful times, and there- 
fore their inability to pay taxes, even if the Congress had had the 
power to impose them. They could only recommend the measure 
to the States. They had all agreed at one time to exact an impost 
of 5 per cent., on all imported goods, but Rhode Island resisted 
the measure to the last, and without unanimity it could not be 
adopted ! 

The campaign of 1778 and '79, with an army of thirty to forty 
thousand men, was sustained by emissions of paper money to the 
amount of 135,000,000 of dollars. Thus "making it by wagon 
loads !" In the same time, the amount of specie received into the 
public treasury was but 151,666 dollars, a weight but about a ton 
of coal if all put into a cart for its carriage ! 

It has been said that so great a sinking of paper money, was 
not so injuriously felt among the people as might be imagined ; — 
and it has been reasoned thus, viz. : The largest sum by which 
they could have been affected, might be estimated at 300,000,000 
at 20 for one, which is only half of the rate fixed by Congress. 
This would give 15,000,000 of sound money ; and this, having 
been a currency for six years, gives an annual average of 
2,500,000 ; which, to a population of 3,000,000, would make, in 
point of fact, a poll tax of but about one dollar to each ; or if they 
be estimated by families of six persons each, would be an annual 
loss, to such severally, of but five dollars each ! So easy is it by 
figures to diminish losses, which we of the present generation 
have never felt ! Yet it was a painful and onerous loss to our 
forefathers, now all gone beyond its influence ! 

Those who are minutely curious on this matter may consult, 
with profit, a late paper in the proceedings of the Philosophical 
Society of Philadelphia, by Samuel Breck, Esq. 

In the course of the use and depreciation of such money, it 
became in time a matter of fun with many to show their levity 
of spirit, at their loss thereby, by pasting it up, as ornaments in 
their workshops, and sometimes, by pasting much of it together 
to form head caps and vestments of it, for street display, &c. Yet. 
poor as it was in the end, it was for its time, the sign of that 
money, wherewith they worked out their independence. Abun- 
dant as it once was, few of the bills are now to be found ; and 


Incidents of the War at New York. 

therefore, to make the present exhibition of a bill of the first 
emission, becomes in itself a curiosity, and as such is here given to 
the inspection of the reader. 

No. 1776. 

This Bill entitles the \ 
Bearer to receive Seven \ 
Spanish milled Dollar s^ 
or the value thereof in 
Gold or Silver, accord- 
ing to a Resolution of 
Congress, passed at Phil- 
ddelphia, November 29, 

J. Packer, 
R. Tuckniss. 




-" this to show 

Mankind, the wild deformity of war!" 

New York city having been held during the term of the revo- 
lution as a conquered place, and also as the chief military post 
of British rule, it becomes matter of interest and curiosity to the 
present generation to revive and contemplate the pictorial images 
of those scenes and facts which our fathers witnessed in those 
days of peril and deep emotion. I give such as I could glean. 

The spirit of opposition in us began before the revolution 
actually opened. 

The first theatre in Beekman street, (now where stands the 
house No. 26,) was pulled down in 1766, on a night of entertain- 
ment there, by the citizens, generally called "Liberty Boys." 
The cause arose out of some offence in the play, which was 
cheered by the British officers present, and hissed and condemned 
by the mass of the people. About the same time the people 
seized upon a press barge, and drew it through the streets to the 
Park commons, where they burnt it. 

After the war had commenced and New York was expected 
to be captured, almost all the Whig families, who could sustain 

Incidents of the War at New York. 325 

the expense, left their houses and homes to seek precarious 
refuge where they could in the country. On the other hand, 
after the city was possessed by the British, all the tory families 
who felt unsafe in the country made their escape into New York 
for British protection. Painfully, family relations were broken ; 
families as well as the rulers took diflferent sides, and " Greek met 
Greek" in fierce encounter. 

Mr. Brower, who saw the British force land in Kipp's bay as 
he stood on the Long Island heights, says it was the most im- 
posing sight his eyes ever beheld. The army crossed the East 
river, in open flat boats, filled with soldiers standing erect ; their 
arms all glittering in the sunbeams. They approached the Bri- 
tish fleet in Kipp's bay, in the form of a crescent, caused by the 
force of the tide breaking the intended line of boat after boat. 
They all closed up in the rear of the fleet, when all the vessels 
opened a heavy cannonade. 

The British troops, under Sir Wm. Howe, landed, on Sunday 
the 15th Sept., 1776, at the point of rocks a few hundred yards 
from the ancient Kipp house, they being protected in their land- 
ing, by the cannon of the ships of war. They then had a skir- 
mish with the Americans in the rear of that house. 

The old Kipp house, being one of respectable grandeur in that 
time, and the family absent as whigs, was taken for the use of 
British officers of distinction. Therein have dined and banqueted. 
Sir Wm. Howe, Sir H. Clinton, Lord Percy, Genl. Knyphausen, 
Major Andre, &c. In 1780 the same house was occupied as the 
quarters of Col. Williams of the 60th Royal Americans — a regi- 
ment which had been raised as early as 1755 for the old French 
war. It is remembered, that at that house, Maj. Andre once gave 
for his song at the dinner repast — 

" Why, soldiers, why, 
Should we be melancholy boys, 
Wfiose business ^tis to die," &c. 

That was his last dinner at New York, and in ten short days 
thereafter, he was himself a prisoner, and devoted for destruction 
as a spy ! 

The old Kipp house, constructed of Holland brick, was erected 
in 1641, and is still standing as a remarkable relic of the past, 
and as having been owned by the same respectable family to the 
present day ! Soon it must go, with all the rest, to follow the rage 
of innovation and change ! Americans, as yet, can't consent to 
the perpetuity of old things ! Formerly devoted to the necessary 
change of every thing around us, as a new country requiring 
improvement, we have gone into the extreme of making all things 
new, even after the time for making them is fully past ! 

I shall herein endeavour to mark the localities of position occu- 
pied by the British, especially of residences of distinguished 

2 E 

326 Incidents of the War at New York. 

officers, and also of those suffering prison-houses and hospitals 
where our poor countrymen sighed over their own and their 
country's wo. 

All the Presbyterian churches in New York were used for 
military purposes in some form or other. I suspect they were 
deemed more whiggish in general than some of the other churches. 
The clergymen of that order were in general throughout the war, 
said to be zealous to promote the cause of the revolution. The 
Methodists, on the contrary, then few in number, were deemed 
loyalists, chiefly from the known loyalism of their founder, Mr. 
Wesley. Perhaps to this cause it was that the society in John 
street enjoyed so much indulgence as to occupy their church for 
Sunday night service, while the Hessians had it in the morning 
service for their own chaplains and people. 

The British troops were quartered in any empty houses of the 
Whigs which might be found. Wherever men were billeted, 
they marked it. 

The middle Dutch church in Nassau street, was used to impri- 
son 3000 Americans. The pews were all gutted out and used as 
fuel. Afterwards they used it for the British cavalry, wherein 
they exercised their men, as a riding school ; making them leap 
over raised windlasses. At the same place they often picketed 
their men, as a punishment, making them bear their weight on 
their toe on a sharp goad. At the same place, while the prison- 
ers remained there, Mr. Andrew Mercein told me he used to see 
the " Dead Cart" come every morning, to bear off six or eight of 
the dead. 

The old sugar-house, which also adjoined to this church, was 
filled with the prisoners taken at Long Island ; there they suffered 
much, they being kept in an almost starved condition. 

This starving proceeded from different motives ; they wished 
to break the spirit of the prisoners, and to cause their desertion, 
or to make the war unwelcome to their friends at home. On some 
occasions, as I shall herein show, the British themselves were 
pinched for supplies ; and on other occasions the commissaries 
had their own gain to answer, by withholding what they could 
from the prisoners. I could not find, on inquiry, that Americans 
in New York were allowed to help their countrymen unless by 
stealth. I was told by eye witnesses of cases, where the wounded 
came crawling to the openings in the wall, and begging only for 
one cup of water, and could not be indulged, the sentinels saying, 
" we are sorry too, but our orders have been, ^ suffer no commu- 
nication in the absence of your officer.' " 

The north Dutch church in William street was entirely gutted 
of its pews, and made to hold two thousand prisoners. 

The Quaker meeting in Pearl street was converted into an 

The old French church was used as a prison. 

Incidents of the War at New York. 327 

Mr. Thomas Swords, told me they used to bury the prisoners 
on the mount, then on the corner of Grace and Lumber streets. It 
was an old redoubt. 

Cunningham was infamous for his cruelty to the prisoners, even 
depriving them of life, it is said, for the sake of cheating his king 
and country by continuing for a time to draw their nominal 
rations ! The prisoners at the Provost, (the present debtors' prison 
in the Park,) were chiefly under his severity, (my father among 
the number for a time.) It was said he was only restrained from 
putting them to death, five or six of them of a night, (back of the 
prison-yard, where were also their graves,) by the distress of cer- 
tain women in the neighbourhood, who, pained by the cries for 
mercy which they heard, went to the commander-in-chief, and 
made the case known, with entreaties to spare their lives in future. 
This unfeeling wretch, it is said, came afterwards to an ignomi- 
nious end, being executed in England, as was published in Hall 
and Sellers' paper in Philadelphia. It was there said, that it came 
out on the trial that he boasted of having killed more of the 
king's enemies by the use of his 0W7i means than had been 
effected by the king's arms ! — he having, as it was there stated, 
used a preparation of arsenic in their flour. 

Loring, another commissary of prisoners, was quite another 
man, and had a pretty good name. Mr. Lennox, the other, being 
now a resident of New York, I forbear any remarks. 

There was much robbing in the city by the soldiery at times. 
In this. Lord Rawdon's corps and the king's guards, were said 
to have been pre-eminent. 

The British cast up a line of entrenchments quite across from 
Corlear's Hook to Bunker's Hill, on the Bowery road, and placed 
gates across the road there. The Hessians, under Knyphausen, 
were encamped on a mount not far from Corlear's Hook. 

Mr. Andrew Mercein, who was present in New York when 
most of the above mentioned things occurred, has told me several 
facts. He was an apprentice with a baker who made bread for 
the army, and states, that there was a time when provisions, even 
to their own soldiery, were very limited. For instance, on the 
occasion of the Cork provision fleet overstaying their time, he has 
dealt out sixpenny loaves, as fast as he could hand them, for " a 
hard half dollar a-piece !" The baker then gave ^20 a cwt. for 
his flour. They had to make oat meal bread for the navy. Often 
he has seen 7*. a pound given for butter, when before the war it 
was but 2^. 

When Cornwallis was in difficulties at Yorktown, and it 
became necessary to send him out all possible help, they took the 
citizens by constraint and enrolled them as a militia. In this ser- 
vice Mr. Mercein was also compelled, and had to take his turns 
at the fort. There they mounted guard, &c. in military attire, 
just lent to them for the time, and required to be returned. The 

328 Incidents of the War at New York. 

non-commissioned officers were generally chosen as tories, but 
often without that condition. Mr. Mercein's serjeant was whig- 
gish enough to have surrendered if he had had the proper chance. 
There were some independent companies of Tories there. 

It was really an affecting sight to see the operations of the 
final departure of all the king's embarkation ; the royal band 
beat a farewell march. Then to see so many of our countrymen, 
with their women and children, leaving the land of their fathers 
because they took the king's side, going thence to the bleak and 
barren soil of Nova Scotia, was at least affecting to them. Their 
hearts said, " My country, with all thy faults I love thee still." 

In contrast to this, there followed the entry of our cheered and 
weather-beaten troops, followed by all the citizens in regular 


Oh! one day of such a welcome sight, 
Were worth a whole eternity of lesser years. 

Then crowded home to their own city, all those who had been 
abroad, reluctant exiles from British rule ; now fondly cherishing 
in their hearts, " this is my own, my native land." 

The Hessian troops were peculiarly desirous to desert so as to 
remain in our country, and hid themselves in every family where 
they could possibly secure a friend to help their escape. 'Twas 
a lucky hit for those who succeeded, for they generally got ahead 
as tradesmen and farmers, and became rich. The loss to Eng- 
land in the " wear and tear" of those Hessians formed a heavy 
item. It is on record that the Landgrave of Hesse was paid for 
15,700 men lost, at £30 a head, 36471,000 (being more than two 
millions of dollars) ; paid to his agent, Mr. Van Otten, at the 
Bank of England, in 1786. 

It is estimated that 11,000 of our Americans from the British 
prisons, were interred at the Wallabout, the place of the present 
Navy Yard. In cutting down the hill for the Navy Yard, they 
took up as many as thirteen large boxes of human bones; which, 
being borne on trucks under mourning palls, were carried in pro- 
cession to Jackson street on Brooklyn height, and interred in a 
charnel-house constructed for the occasion, beneath three great 
drooping willows. There rest the bones of my grandfather, borne 
from the StromboUo's hospital ship three days after his arrival. 

" Those prison ships where pain and penance dwell, 
Where death in tenfold vengeance holds his reign. 
And injur'd ghosts there unaveng'd complain." 

Two of the burnt hulks of those ships still remain sunken near 
the Navy Yard ; one in the dock, and one, the Good Hope, near 
Finder's Island — all " rotten and old, e'er filled with sighs and 

Our ideas of prisons and prisoners, having ourselves been never 

Incidents of the War at New York. 329 

confined, are too vague and undefined in reading of any given 
mass of suffering men. To enter into conception and sympathy 
with the subject, we must individuaUze our ideas by singling out 
a single captive ; hear him talk of his former friends and happy 
home ; see him pennyless, naked, friendless, in pain and sickness, 
hopeless, sighing for home, yet wishing to end his griefs by one 
last deep sigh. With Sterne's pathos, see him notch his weary 
days and nights ; see the iron enter his soul ; see him dead ; then 
whelmed in pits, neglected and forgotten. Such was the tale, if 
individually told, of 11,000 of our suffering countrymen at New 

• In February 1781, David Sprout, commissary of naval pri- 
soners, puts forth a letter to Abraham Skinner, the American 
commissary of prisoners, wherein he endeavours to palliate and 
exculpate the British from alleged severity and cruelty to prisoners 
at New York ; he says he put up bills in the ships to tell each 
man his allowance " of good, sound, wholesome provisions," and 
begged their own officers to see them attended to. The sick and 
(Jying on board the Jersey, proceeded, he says, from their own dirt, 
nastiness, and want of clothing — says that in the Good Hope, a 
bulk head by his orders was made, so as to berth the officers abaft 
and the men before it, and two large stoves were furnished — that 
to the hospital ship, the same equipment was made, and every sick 
or wounded person furnished with a candle and bedding, and 
surgeons were appointed to take care of them ; after which, " the 
prisoners maliciously and wickedly burnt this best prison ship in 
the world." He adds that he has offered to exchange prisoners 
man for man, but the Congress, he says, requires first the return 
to America of such prisoners as had been taken on the coast, and 
sent to England. One is glad to see even such a show of huma- 
nity as the letter plausibly enough set forth ; nevertheless the 
men suffered, died, and were whelmed in pits to the number of 
11,000 ! This speaks loudest and bitterest. 

Our officers had far better fare ; they had money or credit ; 
could look about and provide for themselves : could contrive to 
make themselves half gay and sportive occasionally. Capt. Gray- 
don of Philadelphia, who has left us amusing and instructive 
memoirs of sixty years of his observing life, having been among 
the officers and men (2,000) captured at Fort Washington near 
New York, and held prisoners, has left us many instructive pages 
concerning the incidents at New York while held by the British, 
which ought to be read by all those who can feel any interest in 
such domestic history as I have herein endeavoured to preserve. 

Having thus introduced Capt. Graydon to the reader, I shall 
conclude this article with sundry observations and remarks de- 
rived from him, to wit : — 

After our capture (says he,) we were committed, men and offi- 
cers, to the custody of young and insolent officers; we were 
42 2e2 

330 Incidents of the War at Neiv York. 

again and again taunted as " cursed rebels," and that we should 
all be hanged. Repeatedly we were paraded, and every now and 
then one and another of us W£ls challenged among our officers as 
deserters; affecting thereby to consider their common men as good 
enough for our ordinary subaltern officers. Unfortunately for 
our pride and self-importance, among those so challenged was 
here and there a subject fitted to their jibes and jeers. A little 
squat militia officer, from York county, with dingy clothes the 
worse for wear, was questioned with " What, sir, is your rank ?" 
when he answered in a chuif and firm tone, " a keppun sir ;" 
an answer producing an immoderate laugh among " the haughty 
Britons." There was also an unlucky militia trooper of the same 
school, with whom the officers were equally merry, obliging him 
to amble about for their entertainment on his old jade, with his 
odd garb and accoutrements. On being asked what were his 
duties, he simply answered, " it was to flank a little and bear 
tidings." It must be admitted, however, that there were, at the 
same time, several gentlemen of the army into whose hands he 
afterwards fell, or with whom he had intercourse, who were alto- 
gether gentlemanly in their deportment and feelings. 

At this beginning period of the war, most things on the Ameri- 
can side were coarse and rough. Maryland and Philadelphia 
county put forward young gentlemen as officers of gallant bearing 
and demeanor ; but New England, and this, then seat of war, 
was very deficient in such material. In many cases subaltern 
officers at least could scarcely be distinguished from their men 
other than by their cockades. It was not uncommon for colonels 
to make drummers and fifers of their sons. Among such the eye 
looked around in vain for the leading gentry of the country. 
Gen. Putnam could be seen riding about in his shirt sleeves, with 
his hanger over his open vest : and Col. Putnam, his nephew, 
did not disdain to carry his own piece of meat, saying, as his ex- 
cuse, " it will show our officers a good lesson of humility." On 
the whole Capt. Graydon says, " I have in vain endeavoured to 
account for the very few gentlemen, and men of the world, that 
at this time appeared in 3xmsfro7n this country, which might 
be considered as the cradle of the revolution. There was here 
and there a young man of decent breeding in the capacity of an 
aide-de-camp or brigade major; but any thing above the con- 
dition of a clown in the regiments we came in contact with, was 
truly a rarity." Perhaps the reason was, that when the people 
had the choice of their officers, they chose only their equals or 
comrades. A letter of Gen. Washington to Gen. Lee, makes 
himself merry with such mean officers ; and Gen. Schuyler, who 
was of manly and lofty port, was actually rejected for that reason 
by the New England troops as their commander. [Vide Mar- 
shalPs Washington.] Even the Declaration of Independence, 

Incidents of the War at New York. 331 

when read about this time at the head of the armies, did not receive 
the most hearty acclamations, though ostensibly cheered for the 
sake of a favourable report to the world. Some under voices 
were heard to mutter, " now we have done for ourselves." It 
was a fact, too, that at this crisis whiggism declined among the 
higher classes, and their place was seemingly filled up by numbers 
of inferior people, who were sufficiently glad to show uniforms 
and epaulettes as gentlemen who had never been so regarded 

As the prisoners were marched into the city, they disparagingly 
contrasted with their British guard. Our men had begun to be 
ragged, or were in thread-bare flimsy garments ; whereas every 
thing on the British soldier was whole and complete. On the 
road they were met by soldiers, trulls, and others, come out from 
the city to see " the great surrender of the rebel army.'' Every 
eye and every person was busy in seeking out " Mr. Washing- 
ton." There he is, cried half a dozen voices at once. Others 
assailed them with sneers. When near the city, the officers were 
separated from the men, and conducted into a church, into which 
crowded a number of city spectators. There the officers signed 
paroles, and were permitted afterwards to take their lodgings in 
the city. The men were confined in churches and sugar-houses, 
where they suffered much. 

The number of American officers who were thus brought into 
New York was considerable, and many of them boarded together 
at Mrs. Carroll's, in Queen street, a winning cheerful lady, who 
had enough of influence and acquaintance with Col. Robertson, 
the commandant of the city, to get hold of a good deal of news 
calculated to interest and serve her lodgers. In the city at this 
time were such American officers as Colonels Magaw, Miles, 
Atlee, Allen, Rawlins, &c. ; Majors West, Williams, Burd, De^ 
Courcey, &c. , and Captains Wilson, Tudor, Davenport, Forrest, 
Edwards, Lennox, Herbert, &c. 

Such officers took full latitude of their parole, in traversing the 
streets in all directions with a good deal of purposed assurance. 
One of them, on one occasion, wearing his best uniform, to the 
great gaze and wonderment of many, actually ventured disdain- 
fully to pass the Coffee House, then the general resort of the 
British officers. At other times, when the Kolch water was 
frozen over, and was covered with British officers, who thought 
themselves proficients in skating, it was the malicious pleasure of 
some of our officers to appear and eclipse them all. The officers 
occasionally met with cordial civilities and genteel entertainment 
from British officers with whom they came in contact ; for, in 
truth, the latter valued their personal gentility too much to seem 
to be in any degree deficient in politeness and courtesy when they 
met with those whom they thought sufficiently polished to appre- 

332 Incidents of the War at New York. 

ciate their demeanor. Yet it was obviously the system of the 
British army to treat them as persons with whom to maintain an 
intercourse would, on their part, be both criminal and degrading. 

Our officers, it seems, but rarely visited their countrymen-pri- 
soners, saying, as their reason, " to what purpose repeat our visits 
to these abodes of misery and despair, when they had neither 
relief to administer nor comfort to bestow. They rather chose to 
turn the eye from a scene they could not ameliorate." It was not 
without remark, too, that there was an impediment to their release 
by exchange maintained by the American rulers themselves, who 
were either unable or unwilling to sustain a direct exchange, 
because they foresaw that the British soldiers, when released, 
would immediately form new combatants against them ; whereas 
our own men, especially of the militia, were liable to fail back into 
non-combatants, and perhaps, withal, dispirit the chance of new 
levies. Perhaps the stoical virtues of the rigorous times made 
apathy in such a cause the less exceptionable. On the other hand, 
the British wished the prisoners to apostatize; and nothing was 
so likely to influence defection as the wish to escape from sick- 
ness and starvation. 

Dr. D wight has told us of his observations on the incidents of 
the war, as he had witnessed them near the lines, in the year 
1777. The lines of the British were at King's bridge, and those 
of the Americans at Byram's river. The inhabitants were exposed 
to depredations from both sides, and were often plundered, and 
always liable to exactions. They in fact feared all whom they 
saAV, and loved nobody. 

It was a curious fact to a philosopher, and a melancholy one 
to a moralist, to hear their conversation. To every question, they 
gave such an answer, as would please the inquirer ; or if they 
despaired of pleasing, such an one as would not provoke him. 
Fear being apparently the moving passion in all they did or said. 

They were not civil but obsequious; not obliging but sub- 
servient. They yielded with a kind of apathy, and very quietly 
gave what you asked. If you treated them kindly, they received 
it coldly ; not as kindness, but as a compensation for injuries 
done them by others. 

Their houses, in the mean time, bore the marks of injury and 
neglect. Their furniture was extensively plundered, or broken in 
pieces. The walls, floors, and windows were out of order, both 
by violence and neglect ; and they were not repaired because 
they had not the means to pay, and besides, they knew not how 
soon they might be again injured. Their cattle were gone. Their 
enclosures were burnt, or if not of materials for fuel, they were 
thrown down. Their fields were covered with a rank growth of 
weeds and wild grass. The great road leading from New York 
to Boston, which had once been all life and bustle, with horses 

Incidents of the War at New York. 333 

and carriages thereon, was become all solitary, unless occasionally- 
animated with the presence of a scouting party, or when some 
few of a family might be seen moving stealthily to visit some 
suffering neighbour or relative. 

Such a picture of the miseries and desolations of war, though 
but rarely told, is but a common picture of facts in similar cases, 
in the progress of the revolutionary war. There was indeed less 
of such evils around Philadelphia, but in the southern states, the 
actual evils were greater ; and in Virginia along the seaboard, 
and up James and York rivers, the whole country was lastingly 
injured by the stealing and enticement away of their negro popu- 
lation. The fields lay uncultivated, houses decayed, and where 
the plantations were once fruitful and the inhabitants prosperous, 
the whole land mourned, and became comparatively waste. At 
the same time a very obvious change for the worse, came over 
the manners and morals of the people. 

In New York, in Oct., 1776, was seen such a fleet of armed 
and transport Britons, as was never seen together in that port, or 
in any part of America ! The ships were stationed up the East 
river as far as Turtle bay ; and near the town, the multitude of 
masts carried the appearance of a wood. Some were also moored 
up the North river, others in the bay, between Red and Yellow 
Hook ; some again were off Staten Island, and several off Powles 
Hook, towards the kills. The men of war were moored chiefly 
up New York sound, and made with the other ships, a most im- 
posing and magnificent impression of power and naval glory. We 
have but little or just sense of the stout hearts of the revolution, 
who could venture then to resist so overwhelming an exhibition 
of power ready to subdue us ! 

The British, when speaking of the conflagration of the city, 
imputed it to the Americans themselves, calling it " the savage 
burning of the city by the New England incendiaries;" and 
saying, " they had long threatened the performance of this villan- 
ous deed." The Philadelphians had an idea, those that remained, 
that their city was also to be burned on the approach of the 
British there, and to quiet their apprehensions. Gen. Putnam had to 
put forth a declaration, that no such purpose was intended by him. 

Gen. Washington, it has been said, was himself, favourable to 
the burning of New York city, as a useful means of annoying 
the enemy. 

In June, 1776, a conspiracy was said to have been detected in 
New York, conducted by tories, to murder all the staff officers, 
including Gen. Washington, and to blow up the magazines, &c. 
The mayor of the city was said to be concerned, and confined, 
also Gilbert Forbes, a gunsmith, &c. It was said that Gov. Tryon, 
then on board the fleet, was the prompter and paymaster. A 
soldier of Washington's guard was executed in the fields near the 

334 Incidents of the War at New York, 

Bowery lane, for his participation in this matter, and the published 
account of this affair in Town's Philadelphia Evening Post, 
added, that " more are expected to be executed !" 

Whilst the General held command in that city, he held his 
head quarters at or near Richmond Hill. 

The large hotel at the corner of Broad and Pearl streets, was 
the place in which Gen. Washington first dined on entering New 
York, at the termination of the war. It was then kept by Saml. 
Fraunces, a dark coloured Frenchman, who had before kept 
Vauxhall Garden, and who, after the peace, kept the Indian 
Queen hotel in Philadelphia. 

We give in this work, a peculiarly striking likeness of Gen. 
Washington, such as he appeared when president. It was taken 
at Philadelphia, by S. Folwell, a miniature painter there, who had 
done it for his own satisfaction and preservation. It was to me 
quite a discovery to have lately got the original from which the 
profile here given has been accurately copied. Competent judges 
have deemed it the most spirited and true to the life, of anything 
ever attempted. It is the man as he was ! 

What makes it the more remarkable is, that it was done from 
observation, at a time, when the president himself was not aware 
of it. It W8LS a happy hit, and therefore a suitable curiosity for 
this work. 

Bunker Hill, at New York, has been described in a London 
magazine of 1781, saying it was so called by the Americans; it 
being, in the revolution, three quarters of a mile out of town ; a 
hill with a fort upon it. The Americans then " had a line of 
redoubts a little out of New York, extending across the island, 
from the East to the North river," but they were not used by the 
British. " The British had their defences on the island, thus : 
coming from Kingsbridge on the heights which overhung it, stood 
Charles redoubt, but their chief defence began on the brow of 
Laurel hill, on which were batteries over batteries, close by the 
narrow path, the only pass too, so that their cannon could destroy 
everything approaching from the main land. Next comes Fort 
Washington, called Knyphausen afterwards by the British, next 
is McGowan's pass, where a few troops could stop an army. The 
fort at the point was then a square with four bastions, and within 
it was the governor's house. Below the walls, on the water's 
edge, was a line of fortifications, the batteries made of stone, and 
the merlons of cedar joists, filled with earth. They mounted 
ninety-two cannon. In the year 1776, when the PhcEnix and 
Rose frigates pushed up the North river, the Americans made a 
tremendous fire from this battery, and the others along the North 
river, from as many as two hundred cannons." 

Sir Henry Clinton, while at New York, " had no less than four 
houses ; he being quite a monopolizer. At times, when viaible, 

Incidents of the War at New York, 335 

he is seen riding full tilt to and from his different seats. In this, 
he was the ape of royalty." 

The same magazine says, " now when almost every disaster 
has occurred to us, we may probably have Sir Henry Clinton at 
home. He allows Washington to environ him with his inferior 
force ! As Howe lost us Burgoyne, he has lost us Lord Corn- 
wallis !" 

"On Sept. 15, 1776, the British army embarked at Newton 
creek, (Long Island,) and landed at Kipp's bay. Then the 
Americans evacuated New York. As Gen. Vaughan was ascend- 
ing the heights of Inclenberg, he was wounded in the thigh. At 
that time. Gen. Howe encamped with his right at Horen's Hook, 
and his left at Bloomingdale. The Americans then posted them- 
selves at Fort Washington and Kingsbridge." 

" Admiral Graves, who ought to have been ready to go out to 
meet De Grasse, had his vessel to prepare.^^ " Sir H. Chnton 
has always been too indecisive and unsettled, although he had 
12,000 regulars and 6000 able militia. But Washington and 
Rochambeau knew his character well when they crossed the 
Croton and North rivers, and did their business effectually by 
showing themselves one morning near Kingsbridge, and sending 
the French baker boys round to the mouth of the Raritan to pre- 
tend there to raise a bakery for the French army ! This was enough 
to cause him to send off to Corn wallis at York, to demand his aid !" 

Facts of Prison Ships, Brooklyn. We are indebted to some 
notitia, made by J. Johnson, Esq., of Brooklyn, for sundry facts 
concerning Brooklyn and the prison ships, viz. " From printed 
journals, published at New York at the close of the war, it 
appeared that 11,500 American prisoners had died aboard the 
prison ships. Although this number is very great, still, if the 
number who perished had been less, the commissary of naval 
prisoners, David Sprout, Esq., and his deputy, had it in their 
power, by an official return, to give the true number taken, 
exchanged, escaped, or dead. Such a return has never appeared 
in the United States. 

" David Sprout returned to America after the war, and resided 
in Philadelphia, where he died. The commissary could not 
have been ignorant of the statement published here, on this 
interesting subject. We may, therefore, infer that about that 
number— 11,500, perished in the prison ships. 

" A large transport, named the Whitby, was the first prison 
ship anchored in the Wallabout. She was moored near " Rem- 
sen's mill," about the 20th October, 1776 ; and was then crowded 
with prisoners. Many landsmen were prisoners on board this 
vessel ; she was said to be the most sickly of all the prison ships. 
Bad provisions, bad water, and scanty rations, were dealt to the 
prisoners. No medical men attended the sick. Diseases reigned 
unrelieved, and hundreds died from pestilence, or were starved, 

336 . Incidents of the War at New York. 

on board this floating prison. I saw the sand beach, between a 
ravine in the hill and Mr. Remsen's dock, become filled with 
graves in the course of two months ; and before the first of May, 
1777, the ravine, alluded to, was itself occupied in the same way. 

" In the month of May, 1 777, two large ships were anchored 
in the Wallabout, when the prisoners were transferred from the 
Whitby to them ; these vessels were also very sickly, from the 
causes before stated. Although many prisoners were sent on 
board of them, and none exchanged, death made room for all. 

" On a Sunday afternoon, about the middle of October, 1777, 
one of the prison ships was burnt : the prisoners, except a few, 
who it was said, were burnt in the vessel, Avere removed to the 
remaining ship. It was reported, at the time, that the prisoners 
had fired their prison — which, if true, proves that they preferred 
death, even by fire, to the lingering sufferings of pestilence and 

"In the month of February, 1778, the remaining prison ship 
was burnt at night ; when the prisoners were removed from her 
to the ships, then wintering in the Wallabout. 

" In the month of April, 1778, the old Jersey was moored in the 
Wallabout, and all the prisoners (except the sick) were transferred 
to her. — The sick were carried to two hospital ships, named the 
Hope and Falmouth, anchored near each other, about 200 yards 
east from the Jersey. These ships remained in the Wallabout 
until New York was evacuated by the British. The Jersey was 
the receiving ship — the others truly the ships of Death ! 

" It has been generally thought that all the prisoners died on 
board the Jersey. This is not true : many may have died on 
board of her, who were not reported as sick ; but all the men 
who were placed on the sick list were removed to the hospital 
ships, from which they were usually taken sewed up in a blanket, 
to their long home. 

" After the hospital ships were brought into the Wallabout it 
was reported that the sick were attended by physicians ; few, 
very few, however, recovered. It was no uncommon thing to 
see five or six dead bodies brought on shore in a single morning ; 
when a small excavation would be dug at the foot of the hill, 
the bodies cast in, and a man with a shovel would cover them, 
by shovelling sand down the hill upon them. Many were buried 
in a ravine of the hill ; some on the farm. The whole shore, 
from Rennies Point to Mr. Remsen's door-yard was a place of 
graves ; as were also the slope of the hill, near the house ; the 
shore, from Mr. Remsen's barn along the mill pond to Rappleye's 
farm ; and the sandy island, between the flood-gates and the mill 
dam : while a few were buried on the shore on the east side of 
the Wallabout. Thus did Death reign here, from 1776, until the 
peace. The whole Wallabout was a sickly place during the war. 
'J'hc atmosphere seemed to be charged with foul air from the 

Incidents of the War at New York, 337 

prison ships, and with the effluvia of the dead bodies, washed out 
of their graves by the tides. 

" We beheve that more than half of the dead buried on the 
outer side of the mill pond were washed out by the waves at 
high tide, during north-easterly winds. The bones of the dead 
lay exposed along the beach drying and bleaching in the sun, and 
whitening the shore ; till reached by the power of a succeeding 
storm, as the agitated waters receded, the bones receded with 
them into the deep — where they remain, unseen by man, await- 
ing the resurrection morn J when again joined to the spirits to 
which they belong, they will meet their persecuting murderers at 
the bar of the Supreme Judge of ' the quick and the dead.' 

" We have ourselves examined many of the skulls lying on 
the shore. From the teeth they appeared to have been the 
remains of men in the prime of life. 

" The prisoners confined in the Jersey, had secretly obtained 
a crow-bar, which was kept concealed in the berth of some confi- 
dential officer, among the prisoners. The bar was used to break 
off the port gratings. This was done, in windy nights, when good 
swimmers were ready to leave the ship for the land : in this way 
a number escaped. 

" Capt. Doughty, a friend of the writer, had charge of the bar 
when he was a prisoner on board of the Jersey, and effected his 
escape by its means. When he left the ship he gave the bar to a 
confidant to be used for the relief of others. Very few who left 
the ship were retaken : they knew where to find friends to conceal 
them, and to help them beyond pursuit. 

" A singularly daring and successful escape was effected from 
the Jersey, about four o'clock one afternoon, in the beginning of 
December, 1780. The best boat of the ship had returned from 
New York, between three and four o'clock, and was left fastened 
at the gangway, with her oars on board. The afternoon was 
stormy 5 the wind blew from the north-east, and the tide ran 
flood. A watch word was given, and a number of prisoners 
placed themselves, carelessly, between the ship's waist and the 
sentinel : at this juncture four eastern captains got on board the 
boat, which was cast off by their friends. The boat passed close 
under the bows of the ship, and was a considerable distance from 
her before the sentinel on the forecastle gave the alarm, and fired 
at her. The second boat was manned for a chase : she pursued 
in vain ; one man from her bow fired several shots at the boat, 
and a few guns were fired at her from the Bushwick shore ; 
but all to no effect — the boat passed Hell-gate in the evening, and 
arrived safe in Connecticut next morning. 

" A spring of the writer was a favourite watering place for the 

British shipping. The water boat of the Jersey watered from 

the spring daily, when it could be done." Our prisoners were 

usually brought on shore to fill the casks, attended by a guard. 

43 2 F 

338 Incidents of the War at New York, 

The prisoners were frequently permitted to come to the house to 
get milk and food ; and often brought letters privately from the 
ship. By these the sufferings on board were revealed. 

" Supplies of vegetables were frequently collected by Mr. 
Remsen, (the benevolent owner of the mill,) for the prisoners ; 
and small sums of money were sent on board by the writer's 
father to his friends, by means of these watering parties." 

New York Prisons and Prison Ships. The numerous prison- 
ers taken at Long Island and at Fort Washington, brought a 
great and sudden accession of American sufferers to the city. 
These filled the common prison, the hospital, the college, the 
churches, and sugar-houses. The Pennsylvanians who were then 
captured, thought they were sacrificed too readily to the jealousy 
of the eastern men ! The Quaker meeting-house in Pearl street, 
was used as an hospital. " In the gloomy, terrific abode, (the 
Provost prison,) says Mr. Pintard, were confined many American 
officers and citizens of distinction, as well as common men, waiting 
with sickening hope and tantalizing expectation, the protracted 
period of their exchange or liberation." It was the practice of 
Captain Cunningham, (the Irish bully,) to give them the worst of 
provisions, in lieu of good ones, and to put the difference of value 
in his own pocket ! — making himself rich on the woes of others. 

The sufferers in the prison ships fared still worse ; they were 
chiefly under the charge of Lorhig, a refugee from Boston, and 
one David Sprout, a Scotchman, and a couple of assistants. The 
severities they meted out to the poor prisoners, is feelingly told 
in a scarce publication, by the Rev. Thos. Andros, who when a 
youth, was in a privateersman out of New London. He had 
been in the old Jersey with 1200 prisoners at a time, and he sup- 
poses that 1 1,000 must have perished from her hulk, of dysentery, 
small-pox, and yellow fever. Near her were two hospital ships, 
so crowded that they could receive no more, and therefore the 
sick and the healthy had to remain together. From such a place, 
there was no hope of escape with life, but by money ; those who 
could find means to bribe the under officers in charge, could 
readily find men as treacherous to their trusts, as inhuman to 
the sufferers. Another published account of their sufferings, 
appeared in the Connecticut Journal of 30th January, 1777, 
written by a sufferer, who saw and felt by his own experience all 
those evils, so touchingly depicted of the Black Hole of Calcutta. 

American Prisoners in New York. In the month of December, 
1777, the various receptacles of prisoners in New York, disgorged 
their wretched contents. A large portion of those released were 
sent into the adjacent country to seek relief where they could find 
it. A number of them were so debilitated by famine and disease, 
that they fell down and died in the streets of New York, before 
they could reach the vessels at the water side, in which they 
were to have been passed over to Jersey. When they were 

Incidents of the fVar at New York, 339 

landed, a considerable part of them were sent forward in wagons, 
as being unable to travel on foot. Those who were able to walk, 
followed the wagons ; and such another company of miserable 
human beings, pallid, emaciated, begrimed with dirt and smoke, 
and in every way squalid in the extreme, the eye of man has 
seldom beheld. Such was the description which I had from a 
clergyman of Paterson, N. J., who saw them when a boy, and 
who saw a dozen of the poor sufferers laid down at his father's 
door, to engage his humanity in their keeping. In such a caravan 
of suffercjrs, my own father, came home from the New York 
Provost, but carrying health and determined spirit.* 

It has always been to me a strange and unexplained thing, 
why the American families, in New York, did not do more than 
they did for the prisoners, while the British merchants in London 
subscribed twenty thousand dollars for the American prisoners in 
England. We hear nothing of similar doings by New Yorkers 
at home ! They could not have been all tories, and all hard- 
hearted, and yet somehow they were sadly neglected. 

The British Fleet in the North river at New York, were 
driven off in great haste by a sub-marine explosion, produced 
under the Asia man of war, by the skill and enterprise of two 
clever Connecticut men. 

Mr. Bushnell of Saybrook invented it, and Captain Ezra Lee, 
of Lyme, (where he died in 1840,) was the intrepid navigator. 
He was gone all night out under the bottoms of the several ships, 
trying to affix his vertical screw to their copper bottoms. Early 
in the morning, however, despairing of success, he fired off near 
to the Asia. It was seen by Gen. Washington and his suite from 
the top of his residence, in New York, and soon after Capt. Lee 
returned in safety. The British were driven down to the Hook, 
from sheer fear of such invisible and mysterious assailants, and 
thus we got rid of the unwelcome visitors for a time. 

West Point and British doings about it, in the time of the 
Revolution. Col. W. L. Stone, has written a good article, called 
the "language of flowers," wherein he tells the tale of the 
beautiful and accomplished, and finally abandoned daughter of 
Major Moncrieffe, of the British engineers, having managed to 
get herself surprised and captured, so as to be placed in the 
family of Gen. Putnam, then commander of West Point. While 
there, she used to amuse the general with her drawings and 
groupings of flowers, which were so chosen and disposed as to 
picture to her father's experienced eye the plans and state of the 
Fort, &c. Col. Burr, however, who was his aid, and her admirer, 
thought he discerned the stratagem, and affecting to admire it, 

* To be in a common prison then, was a too common incident. Thus Judge 
Stockton, LL. D., a member of Congress, was taken and so imprisoned. Judge 
Fell, of Bergen county, and Col. Ethan Allen were also there. 

340 Incidents of the War at New York. 

seized upon it, demanded of her to name her price for it, to which 
she answered "her safe return to New York,'' which was 

This same young lady had some other remarkable incidents in 
her life. She was married against her Avill for money to an 
Irish officer of the name of Coghlan. [The last act in office, of 
the Rev. Dr. Auchmuty of Trinity Church.] They lived unhap- 
pily and separated, and she became successively the mistress of 
several noblemen, and of the late Duke of York. Her father 
Major Moncrieffe, settled in New York after the peace, and died 
there in 1791, from the bursting o-f a blood-vessel of the heart ; 
and what is remarkable is, that this daughter then living in Lon- 
don, dreamed at the same time (10th Dec.) that she saw the 
funeral procession of her father, and that a bleeding heart was 
placed upon the coffin. So strong was this vision impressed upon 
her mind as a reahty, of his death, that she actually went 
into deep mourning immediately. She lived long, and died 
neglected and poor — poor thing ! " The way of the transgressor 
is hard ! " 

Sir Henry Clinton and his cortege of aids and favourites, made 
a daily gallop up Broadway to the fields, and then back again. 

There might be seen the Hessian, with his towering brass 
fronted cap, mustachios coloured with the same blacking which 
coloured his shoes, his hair plastered with tallow and flour, and 
reaching in whip form to his waist. His uniform, blue coat and 
yellow vest and breeches, and black gaiters. The Highlander, 
with his low checked-bonnet, his tartan or plaid, short red coat, 
his kilt above his knees, and they exposed, his hose short and 
party coloured. There were also the grenadiers of Anspach, with 
towering black caps : the gaudy TValdeckers, with their cocked 
hats edged with yellow scallops. The German Yagers, and the 
various corps of English, in glittering and gallant pomp. Such 
were they seen day by day, where now fashion and business 
daily take their promenades. 

The British officers performed at the John-street theatre ; it 
opened in Jan., 1777, and continued several years. Dr. .Beau- 
mont, surgeon-general, was both manager and principal low 
comedian. Col. French played Scrub. Women's characters were 
performed by the youngest officers. Lieut. Pennefeather was 
Estifania. Major Williams of the artillery, was the hero of 
tragedy, the Richard and Macbeth ; and his mistress performed 
Lady Macbeth, and was also used in comedy. Captains Delancey, 
Seix, Loftus, Bradden, Andre, Stanley, &c., performed. 

New York City, It was the policy of Gov. Tryon, and other 
official persons, to speak of New York as a loyal or tory town, 
and the force and time which they were enabled to preserve 
there, gave the British peculiar chances of preserving a favour- 
able bias at that place. The tories and refugees, were most 

Incidents of the War at New Yoi^, 341 

numerous on the seaboard side of the Jerseys. Dr. FrankHn*s 
son, the governor of New Jersey, was an active man in promoting 
tory and refugee enterprises against us. 

Richmond Hill, now called Richmond Hill Theatre-Inn, 
This was originally built for Abraham Mortier, a wealthy gen- 
tleman, paymaster-general to the British colonial forces. It was 
on an eminence, surrounded by a park or woods, and was so 
occupied by Gen. Washington as his head -quarters in the revo- 
lution, and at other times by one of the British generals com- 
manding in New York. It was then far out of town, and all 
around was rural ; now it is all city, and built upon. The house 
itself, let down from its eminence, stands at the corner of Varick 
and Charlton streets, and is used as a tap-room or tavern to the 
theatre close by it. It was by going through the thick woods 
north of this house, that some of the American troops made their 
escape, under Col. Burr. 

Kennedy House, No. 1 Broadway, was built before the revo- 
lution, for, and occupied by, Capt. Kennedy of the British navy. 
It was once the head quarters of Gen. Putnam, while he held a 
short command at New York, afterwards of the British command- 
ing generals. 

Defences back of Brooklyn. These consisted of lines and 
redoubts, constructed by Gen. Lee, and occupied by Gen. Put- 
nam ; we lost them, very much by a want of concert among our 
own officers. 

Corlear's Hook was surrounded by batteries, used by the 

Bayard^s Mount, was a small cone-shaped mount, on which 
we erected a small fort, near the corner of Mott and Grand streets. 
It looked down upon the distant city, having the Kolch between. 

The House and Garden of Nicholas Bayard, were on the 
north side of the Kolch, and not far from the aforesaid mount. 
To the west of these, were swamps and woods, and to the north- 
east, were orchards and woods. Now all these places are in the 
thickly setded city part of New York ! 

The Great Conflagration of Neio York in 1776. This was 
probably an affair of accident, one however recommended by 
our Gen. Greene, and rejoiced in by many patriots ; and perhaps 
for that reason believed by the British to be an affair of design, 
to dislodge them from their comforts and influence. Gen. Howe, 
in writing to his government concerning it, says that matches and 
combustibles had been prepared with great art, and applied by 
incendiaries in several places. Many (he says) were detected, 
and some killed upon the spot by the soldiers.* At that time all 

* Gen. Washington's letters to Congress, on the 2d and 8th of Sept., 177fi, 
(since published,) show that he thought its burning rather advisable, to prevent 
the British from having such good quarters. 

2 F 2 

343 Inmdents of the War at New York, 

the houses from the present City hotel, up to St. Paul's, uere of 
wood, and small. Many low people, used the remains of the 
houses to make temporary hovels, covered with canvass, and 
therefore nicknamed, Canvass-town. 

Devotion to the Revolutionary struggle. When Gov. Trum- 
bull of Conn., early in the war, made a call of patriotism upon 
the exempt from militia duty, to volunteer their services; the 
town of VVaterbury made up a company of 24 aged men, whose 
united age amounted to 1000 years, and they were the first of 
their regiment who reached New York, in January, 1777. They 
were all married men with families, leaving behind them their 
- wives with 149 children ; one of them of the age of 5S, had had 
^* 19 children and 12 grandchildren. 
,V^ •■ I knew a reverend gentleman and a scholar, in Morris county, 

N. J., who said that he and other boys at his school, were anxious 
to arrive at their eighteenth year, on purpose that they might be 
enrolled in the militia, and thus be obliged to go into service 
against the will of their parents. They looked to the coming of 
age, as to a day of freedom. He and others went and served 
their term, and rejoiced in all the exposures of action. It was a 
common feeling, and high spirits and buoyant hearts enjoyed the 
peril. They did not seek for commissions, but only desired to 
encounter and defeat or repel the enemy. I knew a young school- 
master of Bucks county, who actually enlisted in Wayne's regi- 
ment, and was made a sergeant, from his pure love of country 
and his desire to help as he could, in a time of need. Many 
however, faltered and chilled as the war prolonged, and they 
were vexed with the conduct of sundry selfish men. Even the 
celebrated Col. Burr, at the age of sixteen, left his college and 
went as a volunteer in Arnold's winter expedition against 
Quebec. All those who went into the naval service, never stop- 
ped to make terms beforehand, for themselves or families in case 
of their being wounded or killed. It is really wonderful, the 
spirit which sustained and impelled the whigs then. All of Col. 
Small wood's Maryland regiment, dressed in hunting shirts, 
were young farmers of good estates near Baltimore. 

It is a fact deserving of peculiar recollection and interest, that 
in the revolutionary struggle, there was no man and no family 
which did not enter into its spirit and feeling with the deepest 
concern. This was peculiarly the case with all conditions of men, 
who were of fighting age, because none of such were exempted 
from the service of the war, either by being drafted (if not already 
volunteers), or by costs for substitutes. The very nature of the 
militia service, by which the war for seven years was sustained 
in all the states, and their short and frequent service therein, 
brought out the whole population in the course of time, so that 
all, eventually, had more or less of its peril and endurance. From 
this cause, every family in the Union was brought within its influ-' 

Incidents of the War at Neiv York. 343 

ence, and felt deeply its bereavements and vicissitudes. In this 
matter it was probably like no other known war for its universal 
hold on the people. 

From such causes, it was a fact, for several years after the 
war had ended, that, travel where you would, by sea or by land, 
or wherever you stopped by the way at inns, &c. you constantly 
saw men saluting each other in the most cordial and affectionate 
terms, as " old soldiers," and falling into stirring recognitions and 
recitals of their perils together, in given battles and campaigns. 
Every body you met, wherever you journeyed, had something to 
say of their recollections and reminiscences of the past, and all 
such had always welcome audiences from all others present. It 
was then an ordinary affair in all of our cities and villages, to 
meet with men bearing bodily signs of being halt or maimed 
thereby. It was also very common to see several acting as beg- 
gars, claiming to have been old soldiers, and wearing some relic 
of military array, such as a cap and buck's tail, to arrest public 
sympathy and contribution. 

It was so, that even that portion of the people who were ex- 
empt from military service, such as the aged, the women, and 
the tories, were all brought into full feeling with the arduous 
struggle, by their necessary sympathies with those who had to 
put forth their efforts, either for or against the final termination. 
Thus we learn from Dr. Rush's work on the mind, that there was 
an actual disease induced, known, and understood in several of 
the states, as the " Tory rot" and " the Protection fever," em- 
bracing within its range, " those friends of Great Britain, and 
those timid Americans, who took no public part in the war." 
Many of them died of it. fVe must not forget these things. 

The Alliance frigate. As a well known matter belonging to 
the incidents of the war of the revolution, we here give some 
notice, with a picture, of the frigate Alliance, one of the most 
fortunate vessels of that period, and as the only one which escaped 
destruction or capture. 

She was in many engagements, and always victorious. She 
•was a remarkably fast sailer, could always choose her combat, 
and was equally good to fight or run away. Twice she bore the 
fortunes of La Fayette across the ocean. At one time she was 
commanded by Paul Jones, at which time, she bore the then 
national flag of the coiled up rattlesnake and thirteen stripes. 
At another time she was commanded by Capt. Barry. 

After the war, she was used as a merchantman, and was the 
second vessel from Philadelphia to Canton — sailed June 1787, 
commanded by Capt. Reed, made her return to Philadelphia the 
17th Sept. 1788. 

She was built at Salisbury up the river Merrimack, was named 
in honour of our alliance with France in 1778, and then had as a 


Incidents oj the fVar at New York. 

compliment to that nation, Capt. Landais, a Frenchman, for her 

Finally she was condemned and her hull laid ashore on Petty's 
Island at Philadelphia, where her keel and timbers still live a 
monument of the connection between the former and the present 
navy. From her remains, relics have been preserved, and we 
here add her portrait in memory of her services and history. 

When we contemplate the actual state of our revolutionary 
navy, fighting as "rebels" with halters round their necks — in 
imagination, engaging in unequal conflicts with a powerful enemy 
so ascendent in force as to be able to destroy as fast as we could 
find means to create, we cannot but admire at the indomitable 
spirit, which could so unequally contend against such fearful odds. 
Nor is this all ; for it is told, to their honour, that none who so 
engaged, had any provision by law, for themselves or families, in 
case of wounds, decayed health, or actual destruction. They 
asked no previous terms or conditions ; but went to sea with will- 
ing hearts, inspired by patriotic impulse. Their actual story has 
never been told ! Of all the three hundred and fifty souls blown up 
in the Randolph frigate in her encounter with the Yarmouth man 
of war, not more than one family ever received any thing from the 
public purse. They had no chroniclers to inscribe their venturous 
darings. We have only the memoirs of Capt. Nathaniel Fanning, 
an inhabitant of New York, to tell us of their daily perils and 
fearful conflicts on the mountain wave. Much we still need some 
chronicler to tell us of the actions of the Refugee boats and 'par- 

Incidents of the IVar at New York. 345 

iies^ coasting along the sound, and about the inlets and coasts of 
Long Island and New Jersey : making predatory invasions upon 
the seaboard inhabitants, under circumstances of aggravated insult 
and injury; producing no essential benefit to the cause of the 
enemy, but causing distress and misery wherever they landed and 
pillaged and laid waste. 

Aged people must still live in New York, who must remember 
the departure and return of numerous expeditions from that place 
for such purposes of devastation, because that city was their place 
of outfit and refuge. They consisted of brutalized and enj|J)ittered 
Americans, who had abandoned former homes and connections, 
and were so chosen to act upon their former friends and neigh- 
bours, because they best understood how easiest to reach and 
injure them. 

Our little navy was begun first by little Rhode Island, with 
only two schooners, in 1775. The same state was also the first to 
recommend to Congress the formation of a national naval force, 
which was first begun by a force of thirteen vessels in December 
1775. Soon after, Massachusetts fitted out several armed vessels 
which bore for their flag, a, pine tree on a white ground, with the 
motto, " We appeal to Heaven." The first naval battle took 
place about three weeks after the battle of Lexington, when Capt. 
fVheaton had the pre-eminence of being the first to cause the 
striking of the British flag. At this early period. Gen. Washing- 
ton undertook to get upt and send to sea an expedition of six ves- 
sels, and was obliged in his instructions to address them as a part 
of the army, detached for such a service ! 

At this commencing period of the revolution the national flag 
as borne from Philadelphia and Virginia, and perhaps from other 
states, consisted of thirteen stripes with a rattlesnake coiled and 
ready for attack, with the motto " Don't tread on me." A device 
much commended at the time in the London Morning Chronicle, 
of July 1776. 

It is painful to consider how many thousands now individually 
" unknown to fame," became the victims of their early efforts for 
their country, and came too soon to mingle their bones among the 
dead prisoners of the Wallabout. Let us revere their remains. 
They contended and died for country and home, and we now 
enjoy in peace their sacrifices and efforts ! Will any consider ? 


346 Residences of British Officers. 


" In all the pomp and circumstance of war." 

As it aids our conceptions of the past to be able to identify the 
locahties where men conspicuous in our annals of the revolution 
dwelt, I set down the mansions which some of them then occu- 

Gen. Gage, before the revolution, dwelt in the large house, 
now Young's cabinet rooms, No. 69 Broad street. There Gage 
had that house splendidly illuminated in 1762, for the news of 
the Stamp Act repealed, probably as a measure to conciliate the 
people. In the same house once dwelt Gen. Alexander, after- 
wards our Lord StirHng. 

Governor Tryon lived, after his residence in the fort was burnt, 
in the house now the Bank of New York, at the corner of Wall 
and William streets. 

Gen. Robinson, commandant of the city, lived at one time in 
William street, near to John street. At another time he lived in 
Hanover Square, now the premises of Peter Remsen & Co. No. 
109. He was an aged man, of seventy-five years of age. 

Col. Birch, was also commandant of the city a long while, and 
lived in Verplank's house, the same site on which the present 
Bank of the United States, in Wall street, stands. 

The residence of Admiral Digby, and indeed of all the naval 
officers of distinction arriving on the station, was Beekman's 
house on the north-west corner of Sloate lane and Hanover 
Square. There dwelt, under the guardianship of Admiral Digby, 
Prince Wm. Henry. The same since king of England. What 
associations of idea must be produced in the minds of those who 
can still remember when he walked the streets of New York in 
the common garb of a midshipman's "roundabout," or when 
they saw him a knocked-kneed lad, joining the boys on the 
Kolch pond. Could he again see New York, he would not know 
the rival London. 

Gen. H. Clinton had his town residence at N. Prime's house, 
(first, built for Capt. Kennedy,) at No. 1 Broadway, on the Bat- 
tery. His country house was then Doct. G. Beekman's, on the 
East river, near Bayard's place. 

Sir Guy Carlton also occupied the house of N. Prime ; and for 
his country residence, the house at Richmond hill, on Greenwich 
street, afterwards the residence of Col. A. Burr. Lord Dorches- 
ter also dwelt at the latter house. It has now been lowered 
twenty-two feet, to make it conform to the surrounding new 
streets and improvements. 

Residences of British Officers. 347 

Gen. Howe dwelt in N. Prime's house at the south end of 
Broadway next to the Battery. 

Gen. Knyphausen, commander of the Hessians, dwelt in the 
large house, even now grand in exterior ornaments, &c., in Wall 
street, where is now the Insurance Co., next door eastward from 
the New York Bank. 

Admiral Rodney, when in New York, occupied for his short 
stay the house of double front of Robert Bowne, No. 256 Pearl 

Governor Geo. Clinton had his dwelUng in the present "Red- 
mon's Hotel," No. 178 Pearl street. It was splendid in its day, 
of Dutch construction ; it had a front of five windows and six 
dormer windows ; its gardens at first extended through to Water 
street, which was then into the river. 

All along the front of Trinity church ground, called "the Eng- 
lish church" formerly, was the place of the military parade, called 
by the British " the Mall." There the military band played, and 
on the opposite side assembled the spectators of both sexes. 

I bestowed unusual pains to ascertain the residence and con- 
duct of the traitor Gen. Arnold. I found such variety and oppo- 
sition of opinion, as to incline me to believe there was some 
intentional obscurity in the residence, as a better security to his 
person against capture. The weight of evidence, however, de- 
cides me to believe he dwelt at two places in New York ; and 
that his chief residence, as a separate establishment, was at the 
west side of Broadway, and at the third house from the river. 

There Mr. Rammay said he dwelt, and had one sentinel at his 
door; whilst Sir. H. Clinton, at Prime's house at the corner, had 
two. John Pintard, Esq. told me of his being present at Hanover 
Square when his attention was called by whispers, " not loud but 
deep," of, " see the traitor general !" He saw it was Arnold, 
coming under some charge from Sir Henry Clinton at the Battery, 
to Gen. Robertson, then understood by Pintard to be the com- 
mandant of the city. It was said, that after the usual salutations 
with Robertson, he requested his aid Capt. Murray, a dapper lit- 
tle officer, to show Gen. Arnold the civilities and rarities of the 
place. The spirited captain strutted off alone, saying, " Sir, his 
Majesty never honoured me with his commission to become gen- 
tleman-usher to a traitor !" 

There seems almost too much point in the story to be strictly 
true, but it was the popular tale of the day among the Whigs 
incog. Mr. L. C. Hamersly told me he saw Arnold at Verplank's 
house in Wall street, where is now the United States Bank ; and 
then he thought Arnold lived there with Col. Birch. Robert Len- 
nox, Esq. thought he lived with Admiral Digby. 

Gen. Arnold was born in Norwich, Conn., in Jan. 1740, where 
he had been apprenticed to an apothecary. At one time he was in 

348 Residences of British Officers. 

business at New Haven, and the sign is still preserved, which he 
once there used as designating his pursuits. It read thus, viz : 



Sibi totique* 

It was a singularity to have thus named himself as being yrom 
London, where he had indeed been. He was known at the com- 
mencement of the revolution, to have been mostly engaged in 
the trade of shipping horses and mules to the West Indies. His 
name, in German, expressed a mainfainer of honour ! 

After his elevation to the general, he became vainglorious and 
prodigal of expense beyond his means, and when he married 
Miss Peggy Shippen, a distinguished belle of Philadelphia, a 
daughter of Judge Shippen, his habits of expensive living became 
extravagant. IVlany have thought, that the bias of herself and 
father to the British side, assisted to corrupt his integrity to the 
American cause. She had been the toast of the British officers, 
while their army occupied Philadelphia, and besides, had been 
the friend and correspondent of Major Andre. Arnold after his 
marriage, encouraged that correspondence, until at length, it was 
opened more directly between the two officers themselves, and 
finally, led to the treachery. 

Gen. Arnold died in London, in 1801, unhonoured and unno- 
ticed there ; and afterwards his wife returned to the United States, 
incognito, and died at Uxbridge, Mass. at the age of eighty-three 
years, on the 14th Feb. 1836. Col. Burr has said, that her pride 
and ambition, perverted her husband's integrity of action and 

Their only son and daughter (he being a British subaltern) 
went to reside in the East Indies many years ago. Another ac- 
count in the London Spectator of 1838, says, that two sons are 
then in England, say James R. and Wm. F. aged fifty-seven and 
forty-four, and that each receive a pension of £81 a year. He 
had five children by his first wife. Two or three of his sons were 
schooled at the Academy at Philadelphia. 

* For himself, for the whole, or for all — ''for himself was selfish indeed ! 

Personal appearance of British Officers. 349 

%^s it may interest some of our readers to know something of 
the personal appearance of officers about whom they have so 
often heard and read in our history, we here add some brief 
notices described by an accurate observer, to wit : — 

Sir Wm. Howe was a fine figure, full six feet high, and admi- 
rably well proportioned. In person he a good deal resembled 
Washington, and might have been mistaken for him at a distance. 
His features, though good, were more pointed, and the expres- 
sion of his countenance Avas less benignant. His manners were 
polished, graceful, and dignified. 

Sir Henry Clinton was short and fat, with a full face, prominent 
nose, and an animated intelligent countenance. In his manners 
he was polite and courtly, but more formal and distant than 
Howe ; and in his intercourse with his ofiicers, was rather punc- 
tilious, and not inclined to intimacy. 

Lord Cornwallis in person was short and thick set, but not so 
corpulent as Sir Henry. He had a handsome aquiline nose ; and 
hair, when young, rather inclined to sandy ; but at the time of 
his leaving here, it had become somewhat gray. His face was 
well formed and agreeable, and would have been altogether fine 
had he not blinked badly with his left eye. He was uncommonly 
easy and afiable in his manners, and always accessible to the 
lowest of his soldiers, by whom he was greatly beloved. With 
his officers he used the utmost cordiality. 

Gen. Knyphausen, who commanded the Germans, was a fine 
looking German, of about five feet eleven, straight and slender. 
His features were sharp, and his appearance martial. 

Tarleton was below the middle size, stout, strong, heavily made, 
with large legs, but uncommonly active. His eye was small, 
black, and piercing ; his face smooth, and his complexion dark ; 
he was quite young, probably about twenty-five. 

Col. Abercrombie, who afterwards gained so much eclat in 
Egypt, where he fell, was one of the finest built men in the army; 
straight and elegantly proportioned. His countenance was strong 
and manly, but his face was much pitted by the small-pox. When 
here he appeared to be about forty. 


350 Ancient Edifices. 


The venerable pile, by innovation razed. 

The Walton House, No. 324 Pearl street, was deemed the 
nonpareil of the city in 1762, when seen by my mother, greatly 
illuminated in celebration of the Stamp Act repealed. It had 
been built in 1757, and was then intended to show the best style 
of English construction, and of course, as marking a set purpose 
of avoiding the former Dutch style. It has even now an air of 
ancient stately grandeur. It has five windows in front, con- 
structed of yellow Holland brick; has a double pitched roof 
covered with tiles, and a double course of balustrades thereon. 
Formerly its garden extended down to the river. The family is 
probably descended of the Walton, who, a century ago, gave the 
name of " Walton's Ship Yard,'' at the same place. Wm. Walton, 
who was one of the council, and the first owner of the above 
house, made his wealth by some preferences in the trade among 
the Spaniards of South America and Cuba. 

There are at present but four or five houses remaining of the 
ancient Dutch construction, having "pediment walls" surmount- 
ing the roof in front, and giving their gable ends to the street ; a 
form once almost universal. 

In 1827 they took down one of those houses in fine preserva- 
tion and dignity of appearance, at the corner of Pearl street and 
Old slip, marked 1698. About the same time they also took 
down another on the north-east side of Coenties slip, marked 
1701. The opposite corner had another, marked 1689. 

In Broad street is one of those houses marked 1698, occupied 
by Ferris & Co., No. 41. Another, appearing equally as old, but 
of lower height, stands at the north-east corner of Broad and 
Beaver streets. These, with the one now standing, of three 
stories. No. 76 Pearl street, near Coenties slip, are, I think, the 
only ones now remaining in New York. — "The last" of the 
Knickerbockers. ! The passion for modish change and novelty is 
levelling all the remains of antiquity. 

The ancient ^'Stadt Huys,^' formed of stone, stood originally 
at the head of Coenties slip, facing on Pearl street towards the 
East river, is now occupied by the houses No. 71 and 73. It 
was built very early in the Dutch dynasty, 1642, and became so 
weakened and impaired in half a century afterwards, as to be 
recommended by the court sitting there, to be sold, and another to 
be constructed. The minutes of common council, which I have 
seen in Gen. Morton's office, are to this effect; — In 1696 it is 

Jincieni Edifices, 351 

ordered that inquiries be made how the " City Hall," and the 
land under the trees by Mr. Burgher's path, would sell. In 1 698 
they agree to build the " new City Hall" by the head of Broad 
street, for ^63,000 ; the same afterwards the Congress Hall, on 
corner of Wall street. i 

In 1699 they sell the old City Hall to John Rodman, for i)920, 
reserving only "the bell, the king's arms, and iron works, (fetters, 
&c.) belonging to the prison," and granting leave also to allow 
the cage, pillory, and stocks before the same, to be removed 
within one year; and the prisoners in said jail within the said 
City Hall, to remain one month. In front of all these on the 
river side, was placed the Rondeal or Half Moon fort, where it 
probably assisted the party sheltered in the City Hall, while the 
civil war prevailed. 

All these citations sufficiently show that here was really a City 
Hall as a court of justice, with the prison combined. All the 
tradition of the old men has been, that " there was once the old 
jail." We know from Dutch records that there was an earlier 
prison than this once within the fort, say in 1640. We know 
also, that this Stadt Huys was originally constructed by orders of 
Gov. Keift, for a Stadt Herberg or City Tavern. Soon after, it 
was made to serve both for the company's tavern and City Hall, 
at the same time. Here the partizans in the civil war held their 
fortress, and at them balls were fired from the fort ; one of which, 
driving into a neighbouring wall, I have lately seen. In time, 
the numerous persons crowding the courts held in it, weakened 
the building, and made it needful to take it down in 1700. It 
would seem, that as " it was old and run to decay," a second 
building had supplied its place in 1701, as that was the mark 
which that house, taken down on the spot in 1827, then bore. 

The City Hall, at the head of Broad street fronting on Wall 
street, stood out beyond the pavement in that street, and must 
have been finished in 1700. Its lower story formed an open 
arcade over the foot pavement. It was also the proper prison of 
the city, and having before it, on Broad street, a whipping post, 
pillory, &c. There, was also held the sessions of the Provincial 
Assembly, the Supreme Court, and the Mayor and Admiralty 
courts ; it was also the place of election. It was finally altered 
to suit the Congress, and such as it then was has been preserved 
in an engraving done by Tiebout in 1789 ; the jail prisoners were 
at that time moved to the then " new jail in the Park." But the 
Congress removing to Philadelphia, through the influence of 
Robert Morris, as the New Yorkers set forth in a caricature, it 
was again altered to receive the courts and the State Assembly. 
Finally, all was removed to the present superb City Hall of " ever- 
lasting marble." It is curious respecthig the City Hall, that it 
was originally constructed on the site and out of the materials of 
a stone bastion, in the line of the wall of defence along Wall 

352 Ancient Edifices. 

street ; and after it was built, it is on record that it was ordered 
that it be embelUshed with the arms of the King, and the Earl of 
Bellermont, which, Avhen done, the corporation ordered that the 
latter should be taken down and broken. What could that indig- 
nity mean, especially so near the time of his death, which occurred 
in 1701. The British while in New York, used the City Hall as 
the place of the main guard ; at the same time they much plun- 
dered and broke up the only public library, then contained in one 
of its chambers. Its best style of appearance was on the occasion 
of being fitted up for the first Congress, under the Constitution, 
directed by the engineer. Major L'Enfant. It was in its gallery 
on Wall street, in April 1789, that Gen. Washington was inau- 
gurated Me ^r^/ President of the United States. This important 
public ceremony, the oath of office, was done in the open gallery 
in front of the Senate chamber, in the view of an immense con- 
course of citizens collected in Broad street. The doors, windows, 
and roofs, of every house at the same time were thronged with 
charmed and exulting spectators. There this nobleman of nature, 
in his noble height and port — '' the beheld of all beholders," — in 
a suit of brown cloth of American manufacture, steel hilted 
small sword by his side, hair in bag and full powdered, in whit6 
silk hose and shoes with silver buckles, made his sworn pledge 
as President to Chancellor Livingston on a superb quarto Bible 
still preserved by St. John's Lodge, No. 1. How uprightly, in- 
telligently and disinterestedly he executed his task and redeemed 
that pledge as the Pater Patrix of his country, history will never 
cease to tell — to his fame and glory. 

General Washington's first public dinner at New York. 
Judge Wingate, who was one of the guests, when Gen. Wash- 
ington gave his first dinner after his inauguration as President, 
thus describes it in his letter. The guests consisted of the Vice 
President, the foreign ministers, the heads of departments, the 
Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Senators from 
New Hampshire and Georgia, the then two most northern and 
southern states. It was the least showy dinner that I ever saw 
at the President's table, and the company was not large. The 
President made his whole dinner on a boiled leg of mutton. // 
was his usual practice to eat of but one dish. As there was no 
chaplain present, the President himself said a very short grace 
as he ivas sitting down. After the dinner and dessert were fin- 
ished, one glass of wine was passed round the table, and no 
toast. The President arose, and all the company, of course, and 
retired to the drawing-room, from which the guests departed as 
every one chose without ceremony." Days of simplicity ! 

The first theatre being destroyed in Beekman street, a second 
theatre was established in John street, between Nassau street and 
Broadway. There British officers performed sometimes for their 
amusement. Buonaparte's activity and vigour of mind would 

•/indent Edifices. 353 

have found them more characteristic and busy employ. It was 
well for us that the army had such material. 

There were two ancient Custom Houses, one stood at the head 
of Mill street, a confined little place ; a more respectable one, is 
the same now a grocery store on the north-west corner of Moore 
and Front streets. Mr. Ebbets, aged 76, remembered it used as 
such. At the same time the basin was open all along Moore 
street. The present N. W. Stuyvesant told me this was the same 
building once the " Stuyvesant Huys" of his celebrated ancestor. 
In front of the building was a public crane. 

The Exchange stood near there, on arches, across the foot of 
Broad street, in a line with Water street ; it was taken down after 
the revolution. Under its arches some itinerant preachers used 
occasionally to preach. 

The Jirst Preshyierian Church, built on the site of the present 
one in Wall street near Broadway, was built in 1719; and it is 
on record in Connecticut, that churches there took up collections 
to aid the primitive building. 

To reflect on the changes working in New York, one is to con- 
sider that formerly, Wall and Pine streets, from Broadway to 
Pearl street, domiciUated exclusively the elite and fashionable of 
the city. Now there is not a solitary house occupied as a resi- 
dence left. Scarcely a house of former days, though once elegant, 
is now there. In Pine street from Water street to Broadway, 
every former house is demolished, and in Wall street every for- 
mer residence is gone. There is only left in the rear of the for- 
mer stylish house of Mr. Jauncey, the stable, the same building 
now used, with sundry modifications, as the hall of the board of 
brokers. It may be deemed modest in them who are usually 
deemed lords of Wall street, to be thus satisfied with the lowli- 
ness of a stable. 

Pearl street was also once a location for the residence of many 
respectable names and families, such as Gov. Geo. Clinton, Gov. 
Broome, Richard Varrick, Robert Lennox, Andrew Ogden, J. J. 
Glover, Samuel Denton, and many others of their class and stand- 
ing — now business houses supersede all. 

There was formerly along the present Chambers street, a row 
of log houses, of one story. Think of the change there, since 
then, including such houses of stately grandeur, as Verplanck's, 
Winthrop's, Wilke's, Gen. Lamb's, Buchannan's, Leffingwell's, 
Reese's, and Jauncey's. 

French Protestant Church, ''Du St. Esprit.'^— This antique 
building, the oldest of the old churches now remaining in New 
York, was erected in 1704, by the Protestant Hugonots, escaped 
from France, and settled at Brooklyn, New Rochelle, &c. When 
we contemplate the sanguinaiy persecution from which thy fled, 
and the happy and prosperous refuge which they here found ; — 
leaving numerous respectable and wealthy descendants among us, 
45 ' 2 g2 

354 \ Ancient Edifices. 

to perpetuate their names, we feel more than common veneration 
for this venerable remains of the olden time. 

To those who have minds fitted for contemplation and con- 
sideration, it presents a place to visit for the sake of the moral and 
historical associations connected with its primitive worshippers. 

When New York city contained but a population of 6000 souls, 
these French Protestants formed a little community of their own, 
— there, in that church, by themselves, they assembled and lis- 
tened to the word of God and his Gospel, in their own tongue, 
and "having none to make them afraid." In this same church, 
divine service in French is still performed — in Episcopal order, 
every Sabbath day, at its location, in the rear of Pine street, near 
Nassau street. 

Too many of their descendants have deserted the house of their 
fathers, or doubtless, the congregation would be much greater 
than it is, and the church itself might have been enlarged, or even 
pulled down to build greater. Such as it now is, we here portray 
in its picture, given in this book. 

The reader, to enter into the spirit of these remarks, should visit 
such a church, and there consider, with us, that within those same 
walls, once sat many, gravely attired French men and women, 
very different in aspect and general dress, from the present gene- 
ration of fashionable folk occupying their seats, and inheriting 
their names and legacies. 

It is a part of the history, properly belonging to this church 
and people, that the Hugonots settled in Rochelle, as farmers, 
&c., were accustomed to walk, in whole families, every Saturday 
afternoon, twenty miles, to have one sweet day of Sabbath rest, in 
this their consecrated temple of worship ! Christian worship must 
have meant something substantial then, when so arduously fol- 
lowed, for the sake of its " recompense of reward." Let their 
descendants and others consider this, and profit by the moral 
which the example affords. 

But few persons, however, seem to regard the proper claims 
of this church to their notice or attention. It is hardly known 
to many even in New York, itself. Its low, grave, and sombre 
form, and monastic-like heavy tower, is eclipsed by more aspiring 

To reflective and thoughtful people, however, the very walls 
with their past associations, should always awaken an interesting 
and profitable homily, — in such a place one has only to sit and 
think, and then the mind will moralize its own sermon ! The 
very subject has already made us, so far our own preacher. But 
when the sermons there are given weekly in French, where are 
all the young students of French, in New York, that they do not 
crowd the Old French Church, — and why do so few consider ! 

Reflections and Notices. 355 


" When I travelled I saw many things, 
And learned more than I can express." — Eccl. 

In my travels about New York, looking into every thing with 
" peering eyes," I saw things which might not arrest every one, 
and which I am therefore disposed to set down. 

New York, as a whole, did not strike me as a deformity that it 
had several narrow and winding lanes. I might prefer, for con- 
venience of living, straighter and wider streets, as their new built 
ones in every direction are ; but as a visitor, it added to my grati- 
fication to wind through the unknown mazes of the place, and 
then suddenly to break upon some unexpected and superior street 
or buildings traversing in another direction. It gives entertain- 
ment to the imagination, to see thus the lively tokens of the primi- 
tive Dutch taste for such streets ; and the narrow lanes aided the 
fancy to conceive how the social Knickerbockers loved the narrow 
lanes for their social conveniences, when, sitting in their stoops 
in evenings on either side the narrow pass, they enjoyed them- 
selves in social Dutch, not unlike the " social vehicles" now used 
for travelling up and down Broadway, and ranging the passen- 
gers face to face. 

I felt also pleased and gratified with the great variety of painted 
brick houses, done of necessity, because their bricks are inferior 
generally, but giving them occasion to please the eye with nu- 
merous fancies. 

This is peculiarly the town of "merry church-going bells." 
Their numerous spires as ornaments, seem to demand the others, 
as apologies for such expensive steeples. 

There is something in New York that is a perpetual ideal Lon- 
don to my mind, and therefore more a gratification to me to visit 
than to abide. The stir and bustle ; — the perpetual emulation to 
excel in display ; — the various contrivances, by signs and devices, 
to allure and catch the eye ; — the imitations of London and for- 
eign cities and foreigners, rather than our own proper republican 
manners and principles, — struck my attention every where. The 
very ambition to be the metropolitan city, like London, gave them 
cares which are not to be coveted. Why do we want our cities, 
and even our country, dense with foreign population ? Is there 
no maximum point, beyond which our comforts and ease must 
proportionably diminish ? I fear so. 

New York is distinguished for its display in the way of sigus ; 
every device and expense is resorted to, to make them attractive, 

356 JRe flections and Notices. 

crowding them upon every story, and even upon the tops and 
ends of some houses, above. One small house in Beekman street 
had twelve signs of lawyers; and at 155 Pearl street, the name 
of Tilldon and Roberts was painted on the stone steps of the 
door ! 

" The very stones prate of his whereabouts." 

In truth it struck me as defeating their own purpose, for the glare 
of them was so uniform as to lose the power of discrimination. 
It is not unlike the perpetual din of their own carriage-wheels 
along Broadway, unnoticed by themselves, though astounding to 

These signs, however, had some interest for me, and especially 
along Pearl street, where they were of tamer character than in 
Broadway, and were so much the easier read. There I read and 
considered the nomenclature of the town. I saw by them that 
strangers had got hold of the business and the wealth of the place. 
" The busy tribes" from New England supplied numerous names ; 
and the names of the Knickerbockers were almost rarities in their 
own homes ! Judicious persons told me they thought full one 
half of all the business done in New York was " by the pushing 
Yankees," (I mean it to their credit !) — one fourth more by 
foreigners of all kinds, and the remainder left a fourth for the 
Knickerbockers ; some of them in business, but many of them 
reposing otium cum dignitate, on the surprisingly increased value 
of their real estates. The ancients Avho still linger about as look- 
ers-on, must sigh and exclaim, " strangers feed our flocks, and 
aliens are our vine-dressers !" 

Having so spoken of the active Yankees, so much settling in 
New York city and still more throughout the state, it causes us to 
remember, that there was an eye to such a settlement, as a favour- 
ite home, even as early as the days of the Pilgrim fathers, when 
they were brought out in the Mayflower, and landed at the Ply- 
mouth rock. The fact was, that those same fathers presented 
their memorial to the Prince of Orange and the New Netherland 
Company on the 12th February 1620, setting forth, that they had 
a company of four hundred families, in Holland and in England, 
who were then desirous of embarking with their English minis- 
ter, then living at Leyden, and speaking the Dutch language, to 
settle in New Amsterdam, for the alleged purpose " of planting 
there the pure christian religion, and converting the savages of 
the country to the christian faith." The petition, though much 
considered, did not however, from some cause, then take ; and 
those who thus then inclined for New York, made their settle- 
ment in New Hampshire, cultivating and there improving a New 
England state, from which their sons in subsequent years, have 
emigrated to carry out in New York, their forefathers' earliest in- 
clinations and wishes. Blessings and happiness attend them. If 

Reflections and Notices. 357 

for such a home the fathers prayed, behold the prayer answered 
(though it tarried) in tlie actual residences of their sons ! 

Jones' buildings, or Arcade, in Wall street, is a curious contri- 
vance for mere offices — a real London feature of the place, where 
ground is precious. I deem it strange, that in so rapidly an enlarg- 
ing city I should see no houses " to let ;" — all seen occupied. 

The frequency of fires, and their alarms, is one evil of over 
large population. The cry occurred every day or night I 
dwelt in the city. An old man (Mr. Tabelee) who had been 
twenty-eight years a fireman, told me, they never had an alarm 
of fire in summer, in olden time. 

New York has now become an extremely finely paved city. 
Formerly many of their foot-walks had only the same kind of 
round pebbles which fill the carriage way. This gave occasion 
to Dr. Franklin to play his humour, in saying, a New Yorker 
could be known by his gait, in shuffling over a Philadelphia fine 
pavement like a parrot upon a mahogony table ! Now, their large 
flag-stones and wide foot pavements surpass even Philadelphia, 
for its ease of walking ; and the unusual width of their flag-stone 
footways, across the pebbled streets at the corners, is very supe- 

In visiting two of the Reformed Dutch churches, my mind ran 
out in various meditations and reflections. I thought of the 
ancients all gone down to the dust — of their zeal and devotion to 
the decrees of the Synod of Dort and of God — of their hope that 
their own language would never be superseded within those walls 
which they had reared ! 'Now, as I looked around among th^ 
congregation for Knickerbocker visages and persons, I saw no 
caste of character to mark their peculiar race. You may discern 
a German in Pennsylvania, as of a coarser mould ; but not so 
the Netherland progeny in New York. Yet such as I found them 
they were the only and last remains of the primitive settlers of 
New Amsterdam ; it was only in such a collection of descendants 
that you could hope to find, if at all, the scsquipedalia names of 
their ancestors, such as these : — Mynheers Varrevanger, Vander 
Schuven, S'ouwert Olpheresse, Vande Spiegel, Van Bommel, 
Hardenbroeck and Ten Broeck, Boele Roelofsen, Van Ruyven, 
Ten Eyck, Verplanck Spiegelaer, Van Borssum, &c. : not to omit 
the least of all little names, " De." These were names of men 
of property, on the earliest list assessed, now extant. 

It is interesting to witness occasionally, here and there the 
remains of the ancient town, as the houses in some instances of 
humble wooden fabric, continue as they were. Thus in so con- 
spicuous and wealthy a place as Broadway and the Park, — " tall 
mansions to shame the humble shed," — we see at the south-west 
comer of Warren and Broadway, a collection down each street, 
equal to four houses each way, of i^mall two story frames. Down 
Broad street, a central place, are still many very mean looking 

358 Reflections and Notices. 

low frames. They doubtless retain their places, because of pay- 
ing better rents for their value than could be derived from more 
sightly edifices. 

The New York painters of fancy wood are certainly peculiar 
in their skill in tasteful decorations or accurate imitations. It is 
displayed in numerous fine imitations of oaken doors ; sometimes 
in marble pillars and posterns ; some fine imitations of the pud- 
ding-stone columns, which cost so much in the capitol of Wash- 
ington ; but finally, I think nothing can excel the excellency of 
the painting of the north Dutch church pulpit, where Dr. Brown- 
lee is pastor. Every touch of it is true to the character of the 
bird-eye maple, and having the finest possible polish. 

With more time I might possibly have found out some rarely 
aged persons of good experience in the past. I saw Sarah Paul, 
a coloured woman, at No. 23 Lombardy street, of the rare age 
of one hw^dred and fifteen years,* as it was estimated. Her 
memory was too unstable to rest any remarkable facts upon, 
although she was sufficiently talkative. Another relic of " Lang 
Syne," was found in the intelligent mind and active person of old 
William Ceely, then an inmate of the Almshouse at Bellevue, at 
the advanced age of one hundred and eight. Only a year before, 
he walked one hundred and fifty miles, to see relatives in Connec- 
ticut. How strange to see such persons so long escaped the 
" thousand ills that flesh is heir to !" 

As I had looked in vain for any thing like primitive remains 
of" Oranje Boven" in the Dutch churches of New York, I would 
fain have followed Knickerbocker himself to their " last hold" at 
Communipaw, — a name itself sufficiently sounding and mysteri- 
ous to invite a stranger to an inspection and exploration, to learn 
if he could, what it means and what it exhibits. Its allurement 
to me would have been to catch there a living picture of those 
characteristics appropriated to it by its comic historian, saying, 
" it is still one of the fastnesses whither the primitive manners of 
our Dutch forefathers have retreated, and still are cherished with 
devout affection." The pleasure of a visit to such a place I was 
not favoured to indulge ; but if it answers the description, it is the 
spot which the sons of Oranje Boven should specially consecrate to 
Dutch memory, by holding there their occasional festivals in rude 
simplicity ; reviving there the recollections of their ancestors by 
crowning their festive boards with the very diet in kind which 
they once prized, such as Suppawn and Malk, Hoof Kaas, Zult, 
Hokkies en Poetyes, Kool Slaa, Roltetje, Worst, Gofruyt, 
Pens, &c. 

In that very place, to this day, there are individuals in families, 
who still adhere to the former practice of using their sugar at tea 

* She died in February, 1829 ; and in 1830, there died in New York, Anthony 
Vanpelt, at the age of one hundred and thirty years. 

Reflections and Notices. 359 

and breakfast, separate from the beverage; they putting their 
spoons into the sugar bowl, and eating it in small tastes, from time 
to time from the spoon, laid by the side of their cup. The same 
people are remarkable for the abundance of good things given at 
any one of such repasts ; but it is a rule, not to place more than 
one of the extras on the table at a time ; and as each one of these 
is consumed, then comes the other, and then another, &c., to the 

" Communipaw," is to be understood, as a corruption of the 
commune of Mr. Pauw. 

If one should attempt to compare the chief distinguishing char- 
acteristics of New York and Philadelphia, it might be expressed 
in brief thus : — The former is all impulse, the other steadiness — 
one lives while it can and is dashing, while the other is a grave 
economist who while it wastes nothing enjoys everything. One 
is the city of the heart, the other is of the head. We could spend 
a brief season with one in exhilaration and excitement, and a long 
life of happiness and peace with the other. 

New York is now no longer restricted to its Broadway. It has 
now other streets of width and buildings of grandeur. Formerly 
we were always thinking of its absence, when in its other 
cramped and winding passages. 

What a wonderful change of wealth and splendour, since it 
was once a city where legal money was '^seawant, made of clam 
shells and periwinkles !" Now the city of specie, and now " the 
Great Emporium," of " the Empire State !" 

Contemplating New York as she once was, and comparing 
her as she now appears, it is impossible to avoid the spontaneous 
emotions of surprise and wonder, to which we are stimulated at 
every change of place and point of observance. Looking back 
to the period of 1800, remembering things as they were, and seeing 
men and things as now, we cannot but notice their contrast of 
state and character. From a moderately sized city, she has be- 
come great, overrunning and effacing all former metes and bounds. 
Houses, such as once contented their former owners in size and 
finish, now all supplanted by large and magnificent mansions. 
Streets which were once narrow, crooked, and noiseless, are now 
straightened, widened, and surcharged with clattering vehi- 
cles. Public buildings which were formerly large and good 
enough, are now superseded by stately edifices. The quiet social 
habits of the former population, are overwhelmed by an excitable 
bustling race. Grandeur and magnificence are seen every where, 
crushing and overwhelming the vestiges of the past. With all 
these changes, comes the increase of troubles and perplexities in 
the city police and municipal government, superinduced by the 
onerous increase of irregular inhabitants. Merchants and busi- 
ness men hurry and drive faster, and are themselves driven far 
faster than their temperate and moderate forefathers. Everything 

360 Reflections and Notices. 

seems to partake of high steam pressure and power. Excitement 
and emotion seem stamped on many visages. Wall street seems 
an active hive of anxious operators. Refinement and splendour 
abound, while repose and comfort seem pressed aside. Too 
many are bent on sudden aggrandisement, and expose themselves 
to severe disquietudes and trials — trials in which they too often 
fail and quit the scene, to be filled by others, fully ambitious to 
take their place. Foreigners crowd in, and fill up all vacancies, 
bringing with them foreign habits, prepossessions, and morals. 
This so much so, as to give progressively, new features to society. 
Young men in the upper class, as they regard themselves, are 
more prodigal and profuse in their expenses and habits, and their 
corresponding young ladies are found their rivals in magnificence 
of dress and street display. How greatly have all articles of 
furniture and equipage altered — what numerous artificial wants 
are newly created — how many indulgences and refinements, 
which never entered the heads of their graver forefathers. We 
complain not of these things, while they will them so— we only 
express them as facts exciting observation. To a mind duly 
awakened to the subject, with an information commensurate 
with the change as it is, there must be noticed all the varying 
changes of the Kaleidoscope itself, and as such, we thus jot them 
down. Like Paul Pry we peer about and see, and " mean no 
offence" in their present grave mention. 

Though but a looker-on in New York, like others of "no par