The new century brought continued activity to New York State. In Manhattan
architect John McComb, Jr.'s Church of Our Lady of the Rosary, down at the
south end of the island was completed. The Bank of Manhattan opened on Wall
Street. Up in the country, toward the northern end of the island lawyer-politician
Alexander Hamilton bought property in August for a summer home. Over in
the Bronx, fellow politician Gouverneur Morris began construction of his
own country home which, like Jefferson at Monticello, he was designing himself.
The Morris family name would be perpetuated geographically in the names
of two Bronx villages, Morrisania and Morris Heights.
Currently, other villages were springing up, especially in the recently-formed
Cayuga County. This year would see the settlement of Brutus, Cato, and Conquest.
Watertown, up at the eastern end of Lake Ontario, was also settled. The
first round of primitive infrastructure-building continued. The bridge across
the northern end of Cayuga Lake was completed as was the Mohawk Turnpike,
crossing the eastern part of the state. And prospective customers visited
the sparsely settled Genesee Valley. James Wadsworth sold a section of his
holdings to the painter Benjamin West. Charles Williamson's publicity machine
attracted three wealthy Maryland investors. Colonel W. Fitzhugh and Major
Charles Carroll bought land in the Mount Morris area. Colonel Nathaniel
Rochester bought at Dannsville (then spelled with two 'n's). In a few years
all three investors would buy land further downriver, at a place where a
series of waterfalls would provide important power for mills and other industries.
One of the men would give his name to the city that grew up there. Other
mills were opened this year at another creek to the east, as builder Eli
Lyon constructed a flour mill on Irondequoit Creek for Daniel Penfield and
Abram Bronson built a triphammer mill nearby.
Meanwhile the Ellicott brothers and their teams completed the Great Survey
for the Holland Land Company, begun the previous year. A surveyors lot (pardon
the expression) was not a comfortable one and the task was taking longer
than originally expected. Facing waist-deep swamps, thickly-wooded mountainsides,
hailstorms, fever, and distemper (for the pack animals), they also had to
deal with summer drought, and storms like the one described by Benjamin
Ellicott. "...the rain came in torrents, the lightening flashed, thunder
roared incessantly, wind tearing from the sturdy trees their boughs, and
dislocating others that had stood for many years apart . . . as if war had
been declared against the forest." The men's efforts would pay off,
especially for one of their leaders. In November Paolo Busti was
named General Agent of the Holland Land Company. He hired Joseph Ellicott
as Land Agent and, in December, sent him off to the site of the future Buffalo
to begin operations.
For Classical ninety-one five, this is David Minor
© 1999 David Minor / Eagles Byte
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