Prof. C. A. Kofoid
Fort Amsterdam and Village, New York, p. 10.
Dutch Fort and English Church, Albany, p. 14.
ANNALS AND OCCURRENCES
NEW YORK CITY AND STATE,
IN THE OLDEN TIME;
BEING A COLLECTION OF
MEMOIRS, ANECDOTES, AND INCIDENTS
CITY, COUNTRY, AND INHABITANTS,
THE DAYS OF THE FOUNDERS.
INTENDED TO PRESERVE THE RECOLLECTIONS OF OLDEN TIME, AND TO EXHIBIT
SOCIETY IN ITS CHANGES OF MANNERS AND CUSTOMS, AND THE
" CITY AND COUNTRY IN THEIR LOCAL CHANGES
IN TWO BOOKS ONE VOLUME OCTAVO,
EMBELLISHED WITH PICTORIAL ILLUSTRATIONS.
" Oh ! dear is a tale of the olden time !" ', " ,
Sequari vestigia rerum.
BY JOHN F. WATSON,
AUTHOR OF THE ANNALS OF PHILADELPHIA, AND MEMBER OF THE HISTORICAL SOCIETIES
OF PENNSYLVANIA, NEW YORK, AND MASSACHUSETTS.
HENRY F. ANNERS, CHESNUT STREET.
Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1846, by
J. F. WATSON,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Eastern District
GEORGE CHARLES, STEREOTTPER, > ft
KINO AXT, KAIRD, PRATERS, \ *' 9 6EORGE ST ' '
IT is impossible to contemplate the wonderful progress
of 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 an 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 like these, we have been induced
to prepare the present pages illustrative of the early events
of the City and Comify 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 delineating those early times, and
by-gone days, when New York was but a Provincial
town, and the Country a ragged, 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
" 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.
CHAPTERS AND SUBJECTS.
OF NEW YORK, IN GENERAL.
Preface, of General Facts, - - 3
First settlement of the City of New York, and its Incidents, - 9
First Settlement of Albany, and Notices of Dutch Settlers, - -14
First Settlement of Schenectady, - 26
Early Settlement of Brooklyn and Long Island, - 34
Original Exploration of the Country, how conducted, 37
The First Colonists, Incidents concerning them, - - 42
Early Inland Settlements ; Their Earliest History and Origin, including Johns-
town, Schoharie, Canojoharie, Cherry Valley, German Flats, and Fort Schuy-
ler, at Rome, - - - - 45
General Views of New York, Inland, beyond Utica, - 81
Inland Settlers and Pioneers, Notices of tliem, - 95
The Indians, their Residences and Wars, - - - 110
Steam Boats, Earliest Incidents of them, -',.- 129
Watering Places, their Earliest Resort and History, - - - 132
The Erie Canal, and Former State of its Route, &c., - - 136
OE NEW YORK CITY, IN PARTICULAR.
New York City, Particulars of its Origin, - - - - - 141
Introductory and General Views of the City, - - 143
Primitive New York, showing things as they were, - - - 146
Memorials of the Dutch Dynasty, - 149
Ancient Memorials, Recording Curious Facts, - 154
Notices of Early Dutch Times, - - 164
Local Changes and Local Facts, - - . - - 171
Manners and Customs in the Olden Time, - - 204
Remarkable Facts and Incidents, - - 225
Gardens and Farms, Earliest Notices of them, - - 245
Apparel, and Former Peculiarities of Dress, - - - 247
Furniture and Equipage, - - ~v, 258
Gazettes of the Olden Time, and their Notices, - 262
Longevity, - - ..>? "i .,'- - - 289
Changes of Prices in Diet, &c., -,. - - 292
Superstitions and Popular Credulity, fv ' - - - 293
Miscellaneous Facts, of Curious Character, - ... 294
Incidents of the War of the Revolution, - 324
Residence of British Officers, and their Incidents, ... 345
Ancient Edifices, Remarkable Characteristics, - ... 350
Reflections and Notices, of Things Present and Past, - - - - 355
Conclusion, V - - - - - - 366
Appendix, - - . ... 369
NEW YORK, IN GENERAL.
FIRST SETTLEMENT OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK.
" The city rear'd in beauteous pride
And stretching street on street,
By thousands drew 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
celebrated 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 Communipa 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 First Settlement of the City of New York.
i}iey beheld 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, the 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 their 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 of four houses, and in the
next year (1615), of a redoubt on the site of the Macomb houses,
now on Broadway. To this small Dorp 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. 11
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 1 3,5 1 3 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-
livered 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 368
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 wagt, 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
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 truth, 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 Elein-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.
FIRST SETTLEMENT OF ALBANY.
" 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 co temporary with New York, having
been visited and explored, as the head of navigation, by the dis-
coverer, Capt. Hudson, , on the ISth 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 vita? ;" 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 tfurania 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 1656, 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 Philadelphia,) 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 earliest years of the settlement say till
1647, when the first stone house was built, near to the Fort, and
upon this occasion we are informed that they celebrated the