Amasa J. (Amasa Junius) Parker.

Landmarks of Albany County, New York online

. (page 32 of 138)
Online LibraryAmasa J. (Amasa Junius) ParkerLandmarks of Albany County, New York → online text (page 32 of 138)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

James H. Manning, Archibald McClure, Edward J. Meegan, John C.
Nott, Michael N. Nolan, Amasa J. Parker, jr., Robert C. Pruyn, John
H. Quinby, Simon W. Rosendale, Samuel B. Towner, William B. Van
Rensselaer, John L. Van Valkenburgh, Daniel W. Wemple, William M.
Whitney, Robert D. Williams, Horace G. Young, John Zimmerman.
Aldermen — Galen R. Hitt, Patrick McCann, Jeremiah Kieley, James
Thornton, August Whitman, John J. Greagan, David J. Norton, George
L. Thomas, James O. Woodward. Robert D. Williams was chosen
recording secretary, and James H. Manning, corresponding secretary ^
of the committee.

The full account of the proceedings of this committee and of the
celebration itself has been published in a handsome volume of 461
pages, which is in the hands of many citizens of the city and is acces-
sible to all. This fact renders it unnecessary, as it is also entirely im-
practicable, to give more than a very brief outline of the event in
these pages.

The committee above named appointed sub-committees, including
the executive, finance, reception, historical pageant, regatta, military
parade, civic parade, educational day, trades' parade, all nations' day,
fireworks, decorations and monumenting, music, bi-centennial flag and
medal, printing and press committees, with a loan commission, a bureau
of information and accommodation, an auditing board and an advisory


committee of 147 members to aid all the others. These committees
met frequently and labored with energy to carry out the elaborate
plans. On March i, 1886, the executive committee reported that the
celebration should begin on vSunday, July 18, and end on July 23.
Sunday was named as a day of general religious observance, with his-
torical and memorial sermons in the churches; Monday, educational
day, on which the school children were assembled in a public place for
exercises, singing, recitations and addresses, and historic spots were
monumented, with addresses appropriate to the occasion delivered at
each place marked. Tuesday was the day of all nations, devoted to
national sports, exercises and observances, under direction of the Ger-
man, Irish, English. Scotch, French, Italian, Holland and other national
societies; in the afternoon a regatta, amateur and professional, was
held over the Island course, and a yacht race in front of the city ; in the
evening a river parade of illuminated and decorated steamboats, with
music and fireworks. Wednesday was civic day, and was ushered in
by a national salute of thirty-eight guns; a grand parade of civic
bodies at 10 a. m., with a firemen's tournament; in the afternoon there
was a continuation of the regatta, and a canoeing tournament in front
of the city; in the evening a grand historical pageant under colored
fires and electric lights, showing the contrast between past and present,
the growth of two centuries, and placing before the people in living
tableaux the historical events and great men in Albany's history. This
pageant massed, after the parade, in State street at 12 o'clock midnight,
and there amid a blaze of fireworks, ringing of church bells, sounding
of whistles and singing of the national anthem, ushered in the anni-
versary day. Thursday, bi-centennial day, a salute of 200 guns was
given at sunrise, fifty guns being fired in four separate places ; a grand
military procession in the morning as escort to orator, poet, guests,
etc., to place of exercises, these exercises consisting of music, invoca-
tion, singing, poems, orations, addresses, etc. ; in the evening, fire-
works and municipal reception, Friday, trades and manufactures; a
parade of all trades' unions, assemblies and Knights of Labor, manu-
facturing and business interests, represented by floats bearing work-
men carrying on their various trades; in the afternoon, grand open air
concert; in the evening singing by Albany societies in the Capitol
Park, with fireworks as a finale.

It can be stated in a general manner that this programme was, in
the main features, carried out in a most successful manner. The vari-


oiis committees arranged plans for the different features of each day's
proceedings and reported frequently to the. general committee; thus
the entire work of preparation moved along harmoniously to its con-
summation. On April 1 it was resolved that the National Association
of Amateur Oarsmen be invited to hold their regetta in Albany during
bi-centennial week, and $1,850 was appropriated to cover the expenses;
this was a substitute for the first proposed regatta.

About the middle of April the committee on the historical pageant
made an elaborate report, which was adopted, and the sum of $10,000
appropriated to carry out its provisions. On April 22 an estimate of
the entire expenses of the celebration placed it at between $35,000 and
$40,000. On the 29th of April, Gov. David B. Hill was appointed ora-
tor, and William H. McElroy, poet of the occasion. On May Mayor
Banks was succeeded in that office by John Boyd Thacher, and resigned
his chairmanship of the bi-centennial committee; Mr. Thacher was
elected in his place and Mr. Banks was chosen vice-chairman.

During the month of May the work of collecting funds progressed
satisfactorily and a committee of five was appointed to meet with the
committee on celebrations of the Common Council, to appropriate and
distribute the $10,000 given by the city. The sum of $3,000 was ap-
propriated for fireworks; $2,500 for monumenting and decorating;
$1,900 for expenses of the reception committee, and $500 for prelimi-
nary expenses of the Toan exhibition.

On June 10 Walter Dickson, of the committee on monuments and
decoration reported, advising the placing of the following bronze tab-
lets, with appropriate inscriptions, which were given in the report and
which now appear on the tablets in various parts of the city :

No. 1, located 50 feet east of the bend in Broadway, at Steamboat Square. No. 2,
inserted in the exterior surface of the Eagle street wall of the city hall. No. ;i, on
the government building fronting State street. No. 4, the first Patroon, placed in
the city hall. No. 5, the Old Dutch church, in the government building adjoining
No. 3. No. 6, Lutheran church, on the South Pearl street face of the city building.
No. 7, First English church, in the wall near the curb, northwest corner of Chapel
and State streets. No. 8, Old St. Mary's, in the wall of the present St. Mary's. No.
9, First Presbyterian church, in the wall of building northeast corner of Grand and
Hudson streets. No. 10, Schuyler Mansion, in front of wall inclosing grounds on
Catherine street. No. 11, Fort Frederick, in sidewalk at the head of State street
on lower edge of Capitol Park. No. 13, Philip Livingston, in Tweddle Building
wall. No. 13, Anneke Janse Bogardus, on front door pier of State street side of
Farmers' and Mechanics' Bank. No. 14, the old Lansing House, in granite block in
front of the present house, corner of Pearl and Columbia streets. No. 15, oldest


building in Albany, southeast corner of State and North Pearl street (this building
has since been removed). No. 16, old Elm Tree Corner, on granite block northwest
corner of State and North Pearl streets. No. 17, Vanderheyden Place, in front wall
of Perry Building. No. 18, Lydius Corner, in Pearl street wall on northeast corner
of State and North Pearl streets. No 19, Washington's Visit, in Beaver street wall
northwest corner of Beaver and Green streets. No. 30, First Theater, in front wall
of the original building, the Green street theater. No. 21, First English School-
master, on the High School building. No. 22, Foxenkill, in southern wall of build-
ing northwest corner of Canal and North Pearl streets. No. 23, Beaverkill, in granite
block corner of South Pearl and Arch streets. No. 24, City Gate, in face of north
wall of American Express building, Broadway and Steuben street. No. 25, Manor
House, in granite near the Van Rensselaer business office on Broadway. No. 26,
Johannes ^'an Rensselaer, in the wall of the original mansion on the Greenbush
banks. No. 27, Joel Munsell, in gable building 58 and 60 State street. No. 28,
Northwest Gate, in building on North Pearl street, occupied by Johnson & Reilly.
No. 29, Northeast Gate, in granite block in walk m front of the Van Benthuysen
printing office, Broadway. No. 30, First Methodist church, in wall of building cor-
ner of North Pearl and Orange streets. No. 31, Academy Park, in granite block in
the park. No. 32, Washington Avenue, on corner of Capitol Building. No. 33,
Hamilton Street, on corner building at Hamilton and Pearl streets. No. 34, Dean
Street* in Government Building corner of State and Dean streets. No. 35, State
Street, on old Museum corner. No. 36, James Street, on Farmers' and Mechanics'
Bank. No. 37, Eagle Street, on corner building State and Eagle streets. No. 38»
Exchange Street, on north side of government building. No. 39, Norton street,
north side of Beaver Block. No. 40, Franklin Street, corner of Franklin and Mad-
ison avenue. No. 41, Clinton Avenue, corner of North Pearl street. No. 42, Mon-
roe street, south side of Dutch Reformed Church.

The placing of these historical tablets was one of the most important
and tisefnl features of the celebration.

In June it was determined to eliminate Friday from the programme
of the parade, and the Trades' Parade was transferred to Monday, the
19th of July. June 17 was reported the acceptance of Rev. William
Cros.swell Doane, Bishop of Albany, as chaplain of Bi-Centennial Day.
On the 24th of June the committee on bi-centennial tlag presented a
design, which is described and illustrated in the "volume before alluded
to. The committee on medals also presented the design that had been
adopted; the scene represents Governor Dongan seated at his desk
with Livingston and Schuyler on his either side, commemorative of
the statement that these two men went to New York to receive the
charter from Dongan. On the reverse is the inscription, " In memory
of the two hundredth anniversary of the cityof Albany, N. Y. , 1886. "

On July 1 the sum of $2,000 was appropriated for expenses of the
military committee; it was also resolved that all persons subscribing $1


or more to the All-Nations' Day fund should be entitled to a bi-centen-
nial flag; subscribers of $20 two flags; $50, three flags, and $100, four

On July 13, Amasa J. Parker, jr., presented a resolution which had
been adopted in a joint meeting of the Senate and Assembly, to the
efl'ect that the senators and members of the then present Legislature
and all previous Legislatures be cordially invited to meet the legis-
lative committee at the Delavan House July 22, to make such arrange-
ments as seemed desirable. The .Senate committee were Amasa J.
Parker, jr., J. Sloat Fassett, John Raines, James F. Pierce, and Ed-
mund L. Pitts. The Assembly committee were James W. Huested,
George S. Batcheller, George L. Erwin, Henry D. Hotchkiss, George
W. Lyon, William F. Sheehan, Michael F. Collins, Thomas McCarthy,
George W. Green, and Edward D. Cutler.

A grand stand was erected, a short time before the opening of the
celebration, on the Capitol grounds opposite the City Hall, with a seat-
ing capacity of 2,500.

The celebration opened auspiciously. The elaborate programme as
carried out cannot be followed here, but the principal events were the
opening of the Loan Exhibition July 5, and the reading of a poem on
that day by William D. Morange, and an oration by Leonard Kip; the
reception of the Caughnawaga Indians on July 17; the services appro-
priate to the event in most of the churches on Sunday, the 18th ; the
parade of industrial interests and the children's exercises on the 19th;
the parade of the nations on the 20th, and their review at the Capitol
by high State officials; the very interesting exercises of Civic Day on
the 21st; the grand military display and the reading of the poem by
William H. McElroy; the legislative reunion, and the delivery of the
oration on Bi-Centennial Day, the22d.

This hasty glance at this great celebration, perhaps the grandest
ever held for a similar purpose in this country, must suffice for these
pages. It was in every way a fitting culmination of the two hundred
years of the city's history.

Mayors of Albany. — The first mayor of Albany is named in the Don-
gan charter of July 22, 1686. That charter provided for the annual
appointment of a mayor "upon the feast day of St. Michael, the Arch-
angel." By virtue of his office the mayor was also commander of the
militia of the county, and possessed the authority of a justice of the

EDWARD De L. palmer.



peace, coroner, commissioner of excise, and clerk of the market.
Twenty-six mayors were thus appointed under the Colonial govern-
ment, down to the English accession ; among them were five members
of the Schuyler family, three of the Bleecker family, and three of the
Cuyler family. Following the Declaration of Independence the may-
ors of Albany were for a period appointed by the governor; later and
down to and including 1839 they were chosen by the Common Council.
In 1840 and since they have been elected by the people.

The first mayor was Peter Schuyler, with whose eminent career the reader must
now be comparatively familiar. He filled the office with dignity and ability; exer-
cised a powerful influence over the neighboring Indians, and for some years held the
office of Indian Commissioner.

The second Mayor was John Abeel, appointed October 14, 1694, who also served
another term, 1700-10. He was recorder in 1703 and held several other local offices.
He died January 28, 1711.

Evert Bancker, mayor 1695-96 and 1707-09, was born January 24, 1665. He was a
merchant of Beverwyck and held several offices, among them master in chancery,
Indian commissioner, and member of assembly. (See civil list.) He was buried
July 10, 1734.

Dirck Wessels, mayor 1696-98, was also the first recorder under the charter of
1686. He was a prominent fur trader, held the rank of major in the militia and was
conspicuous in public affairs. He died September 13, 1717.

Hendric Hansen, 1698-99, held the office of alderman, commissioner of Indian
affairs, and assemblyman. He was buried February 19, 1724. Nicholas Hansen, the
last male representative of this family, died in 1869.

Peter Van Brugh, son of Johannes Pieterse Verbrugge, a leading Holland trader,
was mayor 1699-1700 and in 1721-23. He resided on State street, on the north side,
west of 'Pearl. He was buried July 20, 1740.

Jansjanse Bleecker. mayor 1700-01, was a blacksmith and later a trader, and also
held the offices of recorder, justice of the peace and member of the Provincial As-

Johannes Bleecker, 1702-03, was brewer and a captain in the militia; was buried
January 12, 1737.

Johannes Schuyler, 1703-06, was the son of Philip Peter Schuyler and brother of
Peter, the first mayor. He was attached to the army of General Winthrop in 1691
as captain, and exhibited great bravery and energy in border warfare. He took an
active part in several important military movements; was alderman several years,
Indian commissioner, in 1705. He died at his home, corner of State and Pearl
streets, July 25, 1727.

David Schuyler, 1706-07, one of the five sons of David (brother of Philip Peter),
also held the offices of alderman, justice of the peace, and Indian commissioner. He
was twice married and had seven children.

Robert Livingston, 1710-19, was the first settler of that name in the province from
whom were descended many eminent men. The family is of Scotch descent and
espoused the cause of the patriots in the Revolution. Robert was secretary of Al-


banv nearly fifty years, 1G75-1721, aud held other office. His house stood on the
northwest corner of State and North Pearl streets. He died Apiil J), 1 .-5.

Mvnde t sihuvler, 1719-31 and 1733-25. was son of David Pteterse Schuyler and
alsoreSth! office o alderman and other pubUc positions. He was sent m 720 ,nto
tie Sen ca country where he succeeded in dissuading the Senecas from f- l^e-var
upon the Western Indians. He acted as Indian comm,ss,oner wUh s,gnal ab,htv

"j or founder of the family m this country, which

waTofn: :;:rori "^ -yor also held the o-es of Indian commis

sioner, member of assembly and was the first surrogate of the county. He d,ed

' HrHfns;ri731-2, and 1754-6. was a successful trader. Hed.ed December 0,

^Edward Holland, 1733-40, was the first man of English descent to hold the office of
mayor HfsTathe;, Henry Holland, was m command of the Albany garnson m

'Tohn Schuyler, jr., 1740-41, second son of Mayor John Sclu^ler, was born in 1G97.
One of his mne children was Major-Gen. Schuyler, of RevoluUonary fame

Cornelius Cuyler, 1742-46, was father of Col. Abraham C. Cuyler, who .as ma^or

at a later date. , , . , i-r;i

Dirck Ten Broeck was mayor 1746-48. He died in January. 1 ,51.
Jacob C. Ten Eyek, 1748-50, was also a judge of the Court of Common Pleas; he

died September 9, 1793. , ,. , , ki ;„ i^dr.

Robert Sanders, 1750-54, was a leading merchant and ^-ed, probabl, i„ l.J,
Sybrant G. Van Schaick. 17,56-Gl, was a son of Goosen Van Schaick, who^^as

r^SrTp" 00^^^1761-70, one of the nine children of Petrus Douw, was born in
Grelbu if and married a daughter of John De Peyster by whom he had ten ch, -
pren among whom was Gen. John De Peyster Douw, a distinguished office,. Dur-
fngMr. Douw-s mayoralty grave responsibilities f f.-^I"^ "P^ ^^litv He' was a
himself equal to the emergency and conducted public affairs with abihtyv He was a
Pgeof t^eCommon Pleas, 1759-70; recorder, l'^0-«0-.'-'«^-; - ™^>'-/3;, '-'''■
member of the first Congress, 1775 ; State senator, etc. He died March 20, 801

Abraham C. Cuvler, 1770-78, was the last mayor to serve under royal commission
He became an open royalist and finally went to Canada, where he died February 5,

'Tohn Barclay, 1778-'9, was the first mayor under the State g°-«'-"«.^'^;-..^"^^:;"^
president of the Committee of Safety and Correspondence, organl^ed m 1 , ,4, and a
man of hi^h character. He died while in office in 1779.

Ab hfm Ten Broeck, 1779-83 and 1796-99, son of Mayor Dirck Ten Broecl. ^^s
a merchant, and a man prominent in public lif^ ; was a member of the Colonial As


sembly 1760-65 : member of the Provincial Congress in 1775, and ranked high as a
militia officer in Revolutionary times. After the war he was State senator, 1780-83,
and judge of the Court of Common Pleas, 1781-94.

John Jacob Beekman, was mayor 1783-86, and died December 17, 1802.

John Lansing, jr., 1786-90; was delegate to the convention that framed the
United States Constitution, and a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1788.
While in New York and about to start for Albany he suddenly disappeared Decem-
ber 12, 1829, and was never after heard from.

Abraham Yates, jr., 1790-96, was one of the Committee of Safety, president of the
Provincial Congress 1775-6, and an active patriot. He died June 30, 1796.

Phillip S. Van Rensselaer, 1796-1816 and 1819-21, had the longest term of any
Albany mayor. He was a son of Stephen Van Rensselaer,

Elisha Jenkins, 1816-19, was the son of Thomas Jenkins, and was also member
of assembly, State senator, and secretary of state, the latter in 1806-09, comptroller
1805-06, and a Regent of the University.

Charles E. Dudley, 1831-24 and 1828-29; settled in Albany in 1819 and engaged in
mercantile pursuits. He was State senator 1823-35; U. S. senator 1829-31. He
died January 33, 1841. His widow was the founder of Dudley Observatory.

Ambrose Spencer, 1834-26, was a graduate of Harvard and an LL. D., studied
law and early in life was called to public office. He was attorney-general 1802-04,
at which time he settled in Albany, coming from Hudson. He was also a justice of
the Supreme Court 1804, and chief justice 1819-33, and a member of congress 1829-
31. He held other local offices and was eminent in his profession. He died March
13, 1848.

James Stevenson, 1820-38, was long a prosperous and active citizen. He died
July 3, 1852.

John Townsend was mayor in 1839-81 and in 1833-33. He was a brother of Isaiah
Townsend and for a long time his partner in their extensive business operations.
Isaiah settled in Albany in 1799 and John in 1803. The firm of John & Isaiah
Townsend was formed in 1804 and continued until the death of Isaiah in 1838. The
business consisted largely of the purchase and sale of iron, but they also had an
interest in the Troy Nail and Iron factory, in a furnace and machine shop in Albany,
and in other large industries. John was a counselor of De Witt Clinton in the Erie
Canal enterprise; was the founder of the insurance business in Albany; prominent
in the banking business, and in all ways a leading citizen. He died August 26,

Francis Bloodgood, 1833-34, son of Abraham Bloodgood. who was a merchant in
West India trade. He was a graduate of Yale, and studied and practiced law; was
clerk of the Supreme Court, a director and president of the State Bank, and presi-
dent of the Albany Insurance Company. He was a man of high character and
ability. He died March 5, 1840.

Erastus Corning, 1834-37, was born in Norwich, Conn., December 14, 1794, and
died April 8, 1873. During his long life he was one of the leading business men of
Albany and one of its foremost citizens. Beginning in a humble position in the
store of Hart & Smith, he later became confidential clerk for John A. Spencer &
Co., in which firm he soon became a partner. He remained in the hardware trade
for nearly half a century, with different persons as partners, among them his son,


Erastus Corning, jr. He was a leader in establishing the early railroads of the
State, the importance of which he clearly foresaw, and was chosen president of the
New York Central when the consolidation of several lines was effected in 1854. He
occupied similar responsible positions in various other great corporations. In official
life he was alderman in 1S28: a Regent of the University; State senator, 1841 ; dele-
gate to the Democratic national conventions of 1848 and 1852 ; member of congress
1857-59, and two later terms, and a member of the Constitutional Convention of
1867. In all of these high stations he acquitted himself with signal ability. He was
benevolent and generous with the large fortune which he had accumulated, giving
largely to many of the most useful institutions in the city. Endowed with a high
degree of public spirit, he was ever ready to devote his powerful influence to the ad-
vancement of every good work.

Teunis Van Vechten, 1837-39 and 1841-43, was born November 4. 1785, and died
February 4, 1859. He bore the same given name as his father and grandfather,
both of whom lived in the county, his father having been a merchant in Albany in
1805, on the corner of Broadway and Maiden Lane; later he was admitted to the
bar and was counsel for the old Patroon and his son Stephen. The mayor was for
many years a director and president of the Albany Insurance Company, and was
alderman for several terms.

Jared L. Rathbone, 1839-41, was the first mayor elected by popular vote. He was
a trustee and president of the Albany Medical College, and was prominently con-
nected with the educational, industrial and benevolent interests of the city. He
died in 1845.

Barent P. Staats, 1842-43, was a member of one of the oldest Holland families in
the State. He was born in Rensselaer county in 1796 and died in 1871. He was a
practicing physician in Albany for about fifty years and was eminent in his profes-
sion. He also held the offices of supervisor and alderman.

Friend Humphrey, 1843-45 and 1849-50, was born in Simsbury in 1787 and settled
in Albany in 1811. He was a successful leather dealer and prominent in educational
and religious work. He died March 15, 1854.

John Keyes Paige, 1845-46, was an attorney and clerk of the Supreme Court for
nineteen years before he was elected mayor, and was also president of the Canal
Bank, which failed. He afterwards resided in Schenectady, where he died Decem-
ber 10, 1857.

William Parmalee, 1846^8 and 1854-56, was a native of Lansingburgh, born in
1807, and graduated from Yale in 1836; practiced law in Albany; was city attorney

Online LibraryAmasa J. (Amasa Junius) ParkerLandmarks of Albany County, New York → online text (page 32 of 138)