January 27, 2001
New York always has been a fecund breeding ground for movers and shakers. Not to mention other interesting types. The year 1818 was certainly no different. Three movers of the future were born in tiny, out-of the-way villages. William G. Fargo, born in Pompey on May 20th, would leave American Express in 1852 to team up with Henry Wells, becoming a true mover. Suffragist Amelia Jenks Bloomer, born in Homer one week later, would help the state's female activists pioneer the women's rights movement in a few decades. And on November 21st Aurora gave us Ta-ya-da-wah kugh, better known as Lewis Henry Morgan, who would grow fascinated with Native American remains and culture, become an honorary Seneca, and lead the way in the science of Indian ethnography. Amos Eaton, the mover and shaker who would make a study of ... well, moving and shaking, honored the request of Governor De Witt Clinton to deliver lectures to the state legislature. He wrote as well as talked, publishing an index to the geology of the northern states and profiling that of the region between Boston and south-central New York.
The current crop of M and Ss, from elite to immigrant, was busy, especially in the southeast part of the state. Cadwallader David Colden, grandson of the former colony's governor, entered the state senate, but didn't stay for long. By the end of the year he was appointed mayor by governor Clinton, and would serve for three terms. They were one-year terms, but still. The office wouldn't become elective until 1834. Terms were expanded to two years in 1849. He traveled down the Hudson to assume office, leaving behind a city that had just acquired a State Library, located in the upper stories of the Capitol building. On his way down river he would have passed the Dutchess County town of Clinton, where a future councilman had just acquired a tract of land. Three years from now a new town would be spun off from Clinton and named Hyde Park. The young mans name? James Roosevelt.
A young Irish immigrant named Alexander Turney Stewart arrived in New York, and began teaching school. He opened a small dry goods store in 1823 and never looked back. Constantly expanding and moving uptown, he was well positioned during the panic of 1837 and began buying up remnants from bankrupt rivals and selling vast quantities at low prices. He became a millionaire, set his eye on Long Island and buy up lots of lots. Today it's called Garden City. Manhattan continued growing rapidly in 1818. Its first savings bank began operations on March 26th. Its first art gallery, the Rotunda, also opened this year. Like a future rival, the Metropolitan, it was built in a park, the one surrounding City Hall. Readers of Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence, or those who saw the film version, may remember the wealthy Mrs. Manson Mingott. Wharton based the character on an aunt, Mary Mason Jones, who built a house on Chambers Street, between Church Street and West Broadway. It was the first in the city to have gas lighting. And a bathtub.
We opened with births, so we'll balance things out with a death. He was Culluloo Telewana, the last of Long Island's Rockaway Indians. He'd probably be forgotten today if it weren't for Abraham Hewlett who as a boy had known him, and who erected an 8-foot granite stone in 1888, in his memory.
For Classical 91.5 and 90-point-3, this is David Minor
URL OF THE WEEK
In recent years Hollywood has discovered the chronicler of
the Gilded Age, the novelist Edith Wharton. Three of her novels,
The Age of Innocence, Ethan Fromme, and The House of Mirth have
been brought to the screen over the past decade or so. The Lifestyles
of the Rich (if not always famous) inhabitants of New York and
France provided her subject matter. Last year the Smithsonian
Institution put together a small exhibition designed to take us
world; it can be viewed at
Visitors can view photographs and paintings of socialites such as Consuelo Vanderbilt and August Belmont, authors William Dean Howells, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry James, and Sinclair Lewis, as well as that traitor to his class, Theodore Roosevelt (just imagine, the wealthy going into politics ! ! ! !) If you get bored moving in such rarified atmosphere a link at the bottom of the page will carry you off to the Smithsonian itself. You're apt to find almost anything there.
The Game's Afoot !
© 2001 David Minor / Eagles Byte