18301831 WALTER BOWNE,
1830. TOMPKINS MARKET on Third Avenue, Sixth and Seventh streets, was
erected; it was rebuilt in 1852. Chapel Street, which had been widened
from Leonard, was widened from Chambers to Barclay Street and named College
Place. Marketfield, west of Broadway, was changed to Battery Place. Pine
Street was widened at corner of William, and Ann widened to Nassau Street.
In this year there were fully nine lines of foreign sailing packets,
viz.: Belfast, Carthagena, Greenock, Havana, Havre, Hull, Liverpool, London,
and Vera Cruz; and of domestic there were four, viz.: Charleston, Mobile,
New Orleans, and Savannah.
About this date the wooden picketfence that had inclosed St. John's
Park, at Hudson, Laight, Varick, and Beach streets, was replaced with iron.
This property was held in common by the abutting owners, and was availed
of solely by them, each being in possession of a key wherewith to enter
it. For many years the neighborhood was one of the very highly aristocratic
portions of the city. In 1869 this Park was purchased by Captain Vanderbilt
in behalf of the New York Central & Hudson River R.R., and on it were
erected storehouses for a freight station and depot. The uptown movement
had for some time affected the Park vicinity unfavorably, and this change
by Vanderbilt completed the destruction of one of the most agreeable residence
quarters known in New York.
In January the Chatham
Garden Theatre was revived as Blanchard's Amphitheatre. Under this style
very good equestrian performances, with ropedancing and the like,
2, James Watson
Webb of the Courier
and Enquirer feeling aggrieved at some action of Duff
Green, editor of a paper in Washington, went there for the purpose
of resenting the charge against him by punishing Green, who, upon the appearance
of Webb in a threatening manner, drew from his breast a pistol and presented
it at Webb, who immediately ceased all hostile demonstration, and on his
return to New York published an article over his name, relating the meeting
with Green on the steps of the Capitol, and that the pistol was of a given
length with a mahogany stock. The article was held to be very injudicious
and humiliating to his friends. Bennett, upon his publication of the Herald
in 1838, took advantage of it; and for a long while after, when he
referred to Webb, it was "mahogany stock," "barrel and all,"
A new line to Philadelphia was established in the spring: running time
(by steamboats and coaches), twelve hours mirable dictu!
About this period Indiarubber overshoes first appeared; the exact
date I cannot give. They were wholly made of pure rubber, and were very
rough and unsightly in fashion. Prior to this, provident elderly persons
wore overshoes of leather, men and boys greased their boots or shoes in
winter, or suffered with wet feet.
The popular letters of Major Jack Downing first appeared in the New
York Advertiser. They assumed to be from the pen of an Eastern pedler,
who having been intimate with General Jackson, the President, they jointly
occupied a bed, and he addressed him in that strain. They were written
by Charles Augustus Davis of this city.
In July a trotting course was opened on the ground in front of the "Kensington
House" of William Niblo, on the east side of the Old Boston Road at
Seventieth Street, which he had opened several years before.
July 14, a committee of citizens who had previously been associated
for the purpose of revising the existing municipal laws, and submitting
a report thereon, with such recommendations as they deemed proper, was
organized; the late Mayor William Paulding being appointed chairman.
Charles Kean made his first appearance at the Park Theatre in "Richard
III.," before a great audience. Booth was playing tragedy at the "Bowery"
Theatre at this time, and the rival performances were very interesting
to the public. Kean may be said to have laid here the foundation of his
great reputation. He returned to England in 1833, when his countrymen acceded
to the American opinion of him. He revisited this country in 1839, and
again in 1845 with his wife (Ellen Tree), when they made a highly successful
tour through the States, returning to England in the spring of 1847.
September 10, John Henry Hobart, Bishop of New York, died at Auburn,
N. Y., and on the 16th occurred his funeral, a very solemn and impressive
sight. The procession is said to have contained five thousand persons,
and the streets were thronged through which it passed. The funeral service
was performed in Trinity Church. Bishop Hobart was a great man and born
ruler, and a very eminent citizen of New York. He at one time became engaged
in a polemical discussion with Dr. Mason, who was termed the Goliath of
Calvinism, and of Hobart's defence the lines of Sir Walter Scott in his
"Lady of the Lake" were aptly quoted:
" While less expert, though stronger far
The Gael maintain'd unequal war."
Bishop Hobart's monument was placed on the rear wall of Trinity Church
(not the present structure, but the building demolished in 1839), in a
shallow recess built to receive it. The Bishop died in the decline of the
day, and, it was said, desired to be raised in his bed to look for the
last time upon the setting sun. The artist found the motive of his work
in this incident, and placed his subject raised and supported by Faith,
and gazing upon the effulgence shining from the Sun of Righteousness as
represented by a halocrowned cross. This is the monument still to
be seen in the new Trinity Church. It is built into the south wall of the
chancel, facing the second room of the sacristy on that side of the church.
October the Rev. B. T. Onderdonk, an assistant minister of Trinity Parish,
was elected Bishop to succeed Dr. Hobart. All the previous Bishops of New
York, Provoost, Moore, and Hobart, had been Rectors of Trinity.
October 22, Master Burke, of Ireland termed "the Young Roscius,"
made his first appearance at the Park Theatre as Young Norval, and
Dr. O' Toole in "The Irish Tutor." Though under twelve
years of age he was recognized as a star in Hamlet, a character
which he had assumed at five years. Besides the parts he played on his
first night at the Park, he led the orchestra in an overture and sang a
comic song. Burke was an attraction here for several seasons; thereafter
he returned to Europe, abandoned the drama, and became a violinist, in
which capacity he was heard here in highclass concerts in the fifties.
I am told he was a member of Jullien's orchestra.
He was a precocious youth and very clever. I travelled in company with
him and his father, hence to Boston via steamboat, and was much
amused with him.
In this year Thos. S. Hamblin secured the lease of the "Bowery"
Theatre, where he continued for a long time as sole manager.
The Book of Mormon of Joseph Smith, alleged by him to have been found,
was first published in this year. It is claimed, however, that the book
was written by a clergyman at Mormon Hill in 1819; being essentially a
plagiarism of a romance, which was clandestinely taken or copied by a printer,
and adopted as the Bible of the "Latter Day Saints," as Smith
and his proselytes termed themselves.
26 witnessed a great civil and military display. There had been a meeting
of citizens at Tammany Hall on November 12, for the purpose of organizing
a celebration in honor of the dethronement of Charles X. of France. ExPresident
Monroe presided, and as Evacuation Day, the 25th inst., was soon to occur,
it was selected as the day for the celebration. Samuel Swartwout was appointed
grand marshal and Samuel L. Gouverneur, orator. Philip Hone was chairman
of the committee of arrangements. The weather on the appointed date being
adverse to such a display, it was postponed to the following day, which
being propitious, the affair was most successful, in consequence of the
very general presence of manufacturers and tradesmen with emblems of their
employ, cadets from West Point, the military and citizens, among whom were
conspicuous a party of persons who had been actors in some of the scenes
of the Revolution: Alexander Whaley, of the "Boston Tea Party";
Enoch Crosby, the Harvey Birch of Cooper's "Spy"; David
Williams, one of the captors of Major Andre; John Van Arsdale, who hauled
down the British flag on the Battery on the evacuation of the city, and
Anthony Glenn, a Naval Officer of the Revolution, bearing the flag he hoisted
in its place. During the progress of the march a section of a steam boiler
was rivetted, and an armchair was manufactured and presented to the
presiding officer. The route was at least two and a half miles long, and
when the head of the procession reached Washington Parade Ground, where
the exercises took place, the rear was not yet in motion.
There were at this period, in addition to Cato's and Burnham's before
referred to. and had been for many years preceding, several public or roadside
houses, which were daily frequented by the gentlemen who kept horses and
wagons. These were that of John Snediker on the Jamaica Road, celebrated
for his asparagus dinners; "Nick" Vandyne's, on the hill at Flatbush,
where the widow dispensed liquors and gossip; it was at Cato's that the
horsemen of the day convened, notably Captain Cornelius Vanderbilt, the
Pearsalls, Richard T. Carman, Edward Minturn, John and Gerard Coster, and
a host of others; Widow Bradshaw's, corner of One Hundred and Twentyfifth
Street and Third Avenue, whose chicken fricassees were universally acknowledged
to be a marvel and an "institution"; they were as well known
as Mrs. Dominy's "chunk apple" and clam potpies at Fire
Island. In addition to the open piazza in front and the fricassees, the
place was held to be the termination of a drive, and as a result, on a
favorable day for driving, the house was well attended. I have cited this
year as I am ignorant of the precise year of her advent, so I give the
one in which I first visited her and Burnham's at Broadway and Seventyeighth
and Seventyninth streets. As several of our young men, residing in
the lower part of the city, stabled in Brooklyn, it was very convenient
for them to drive to Jamaica and Flatbush. Coney Island was then little
else than a place where parties sometimes went to bathe and then eat roast
clams at Cropsey & Woglum's or Wyckoff's on the beach.
In an earlier chapter I have adverted to the primitive methods employed
in striking a light. About this period, however, there was introduced a
brimstone match, which was so universally used that children sold them
in the streets, with as much persistency of application as they now practice
in vending newspapers. These matches were made of narrow pinewood
shavings, planed off in a manner so as to form a spiral, cut in lengths
of about five inches, and their ends dipped in melted sulphur.
Mrs. Vernon, nee Fisher, appeared for the first time at the Park Theatre,
in December. In her line of acting she was unsurpassed, correct in her
diction and impersonation. A great number of New Yorkers will remember
her as one of the chief ornaments of Wallack's admirable stock company
in days comparatively modern.
In or about the year 1884 she appeared at the Star Theatre on some special
occasion, and, as it occurred, there were several of the audience who had
witnessed and enjoyed her performances in longprevious years, and
upon her entrance on the stage, one of the number rising to applaud, the
rest joined, and rarely, if ever, did I witness a more enthusiastic reception
The Manhattan Gas Light Company was incorporated with a capital of five
hundred thousand dollars to supply the upper part of the island.
Thomas M. Jackson, colored, opened in this year an oystercellar
and restaurant at 47 Howard Street, west of Broadway; it was a favorite
and very popular resort, and deservedly so, as he kept good articles and
was very civil and attentive to his customers. He also was popular as a
caterer for public and private festivities.
The first locomotive in this country, before referred to, was forwarded
from this city and operated on a road in South Carolina.
The Christian Intelligencer was established in this year as the
newspaper of the Dutch Reformed Church.
In this year, and for several years after, the formation and operation
of boat clubs became very popular with our young men; our boatbuilders
were taxed to fill the demands for long, narrow, and highly finished boats,
usually for eight oars; the "Barge," the property of a club of
young men of our extreme ton, was doublebanked and eightoared.
Annually there was a regatta held under the direction of representatives
of the different clubs, the course around stakeboats, terminating
off the Battery.
The absence of ferryboats, barges, tows, and towboats, compared
with those of a later day, rendered rowing in the evening safely practicable,
and New Brighton, Thatched House at Paulus Hook, Hoboken, Elysian Fields,
Bull's Ferry, and Fort Lee were visited.
Such clubs were not confined to this city, as the mania extended
to Brooklyn and all our river towns, but in a few years it diminished,
and the clubs became reduced in numbers, and eventually were broken up.
The will of Captain Randall (Robert R.), having been disputed and in
litigation for many years, was in the preceding year decided by the United
States Supreme Court in its favor, and the trustees, under authority of
an Act of our Legislature, purchased property on Staten Island which it
January 10, Lombardy was changed to Monroe Street; and Harman, named
after Harmanus Rutgers, was widened on the east side, and named East Broadway.
Late in January "Cinderella" was produced at the Park Theatre,
for the first time. It had remarkable success, being given fortyseven
times during the season.
In March, at the "Bowery" Theatre, George Jones, later known
as the Count Joannes, first appeared on the stage, as the Prince of
Wales in King Henry IV. Jones had some dramatic capacity, though less
than he supposed. He played Hamlet, late in 1836 at the National
Theatre, and appeared often until his aberration of mind became too marked.
March 11 the Chatham Garden and Theatre, passing from the control of
Blanchard, was opened as a theatre. Here Danforth Marble made his first
appearance on any stage, April 11. He became famous here and in England
for Yankee and other outre' parts long before his death in 1849.
In this year the first street railway in the world, the New York and
Harlem, was incorporated with a capital of three hundred and fifty thousand
dollars. Upon the notice of the commissioners to receive bids for shares
of the stock, there was a furor among our citizens to obtain them, to be
likened only to that of the "South Sea Bubble" or Law's "Mississippi
Scheme" of the last century. So great and general was the rush that
an amount far in excess of the capital stock was subscribed.
The Messrs. Robert L. and John C. Stevens opened their grounds above
Castle Point, erected a house of entertainment there, and named the place
the Elysian Fields. To celebrate the affair a large party of eminent persons
and wellknown citizens was conveyed to the spot on the ferryboat
Newark and a banquet was given in the open air on the lawn.
The University of New York was incorporated in this year, the following
officers being elected: James M. Matthews, D. D., Chancellor; Albert Gallatin,
President of the Council; Morgan Lewis, VicePresident; John Delafield,
Secretary; Samuel Ward, Treasurer.
March 18 the Bachelors' Fancy Ball, which had been the subject of great
interest in the fashionable circle, took place at the City Hotel. In brilliancy
and general success it met all expectation.
April 20, William C. Bryant, editor of the Evening Post, and
William L. Stone, of the Commereial Advertiser, met in Broadway
near Park Place, and a personal rencontre occurred, Bryant striking
Stone with a cowhide, whereupon they closed and were parted by the bystanders.
Stone prevailed, to the extent of carrying off the whip with which he had
May 15, the Providence steamboats Washington and Chancellor
Livingston collided in the morning in the East River off Corlear's
Hook (Jackson Street), and the former was sunk; her boilers of copper broke
loose from the hull and were lost.
June 7, the boiler of the steamer General Jackson, while she
was lying at Grassy Point on the North River, burst, and several persons
were killed. She was owned by Captain Cornelius Vanderbilt, later designated
Commodore, and commanded by his brother Jacob. In consequence of the charge
of alleged indifference to the sufferers, the latter was so severely censured
by the press that "Commodore" Vanderbilt, even so late as 1853,
in a conversation with me, referred to what he averred was a great injustice
to his brother.
In July there were three extensive conflagrations of buildings, viz.:
on the 2d, the block bounded by Fourth, Mercer, Amity, and Greene streets;
on the 4th, forty houses and stores in Varick, Charleton, and Vandam streets;
and on the 18th, in Eldridge Street, nineteen houses. In the lastnamed
fire three persons were burned.
On the Fourth of July ExPresident James Monroe died in the house
of his soninlaw, Samuel L. Gouverneur, in this city. Of four
exPresidents who then had died, Mr. Monroe was the third to depart
on the national anniversary, a coincidence heightened in effect by the
simultaneous deaths of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson on July 4, 1826.
The Mohawk and Hudson Railroad began operations in this year, exciting
astonishment and fear by attaining a speed of twenty miles an hour.
The river route hence to Peekskill, having for many years been run by
Captain Vanderbilt, and the price of passage being such as the citizens
of Putnam and Westchester counties, headed by Daniel Drew and James Smith,
held to be exorbitant, a number of them associated in a company and built
a steamer which forced Vanderbilt to reduce his fare to twelve and onehalf
cents. In 1832, however, Drew and Smith sold out to Vanderbilt without
the knowledge or consent of their associates. Subsequently Vanderbilt,
having a difficulty with one of the directors of the Hudson River Association
hence to Albany, placed two boats on the route, and at the end of two years
forced them to a purchase of his boats, he covenanting a cessation of all
interest in any boat on the route for a period of ten years.
This leaving the route open to opposition, Drew purchased two boats
and ran them for one year, when the association joined with him, and gave
his boats their proportion of the earnings of the line. He then put a boat
on the route under the alleged ownership and interest of another person,
the captain's brother. The running of this boat was so injurious to the
association that it proposed to buy her off, and named the price it was
willing to give, and directed Drew, he being one of its directors, to see
the brother and ascertain if he would accept the sum. Whereupon Drew left,
and having walked around the block, as it was afterward asserted, he returned
and stated he had seen the brother and he would not accept, unless the
price was raised to eight thousand dollars.
After some discussion it was decided to give it, whereupon Drew again
walked around the block, and, returning, reported he had seen the brother
and that he had accepted.
In this year the City Bank was entered with false keys by Edward Smith
and Robert James Murray, and two hundred and forty thousand dollars were
stolen. Smith was arrested soon after and the greater part of the money
In this year also there arrived from Smyrna some Arabian horses-three
in number, I think-under the care of Charles Rhind, our consul, being a
present from the Sublime Porte to President Jackson; but as he was
constitutionally precluded from the acceptance of presents from any potentate,
they were sold, and brought five hundred dollars each.
Henry Eckford, who had designed the United States ship of the line Ohio,
and had built a vessel of war for the Turkish government, was induced
by that government to enter its service. Soon after the arrival of Mr.
Eckford in Turkey the Sultan remarked: "The United States must be
a great country when it can spare such men as you." He took with him
Foster Rhodes, afterward well known, not only as an eminent designer of
vessels, but one whose attainments in naval architecture were of a very
high order. Yet, upon his return being appointed a naval constructor in
our navy, George Bancroft, the Secretary of the Navy, in one of his erratic
impulses detached him from a yard at the North, where vessels were being
built, and detailed him to the navy yard at Pensacola, Fla., where there
was neither the material nor plant for the construction of even a launch.
The summer of 1831 witnessed the success at the Chatham Garden Theatre
of George Handel Hill ("Yankee Hill"), who, in his Yankee delineations,
made for himself a wide reputation. He was at the Park Theatre in 1832,
and travelled extensively in this country afterward; then in 1838 and 1833
he was highly successful in London, and even in Paris. He died in 1849.
In September, first appeared Josephine Clifton, a woman of extremely
handsome person, who became a great favorite here and in London (in 1835).
In 1837 she was a member of the Park Company. She died ten years later.
A woman of large and increasing proportions, she became at last too indolent
to study; with greater diligence and perhaps more mind, she could have
Late in September, Forrest was first seen in "The Gladiators,"
the wellknown play written for him by Dr. Bird of Philadelphia.
In the death on September 7 of Samuel L. Mitchell, M.D., LL.D., New
York lost one of her foremost citizens. A professor in Columbia College
and in the College of Physicians and Surgeons, he was an exceptionally
zealous and laborious savant; the scope and versatility of his studies
and attainments were so well known that he was the standard of reference
in all physical investigations and questions. Besides this, he had eminent
public spirit and mingled much in affairs, becoming member of the Legislature
of the State, member of Congress, and Senator. The ready manner in which
he responded to all calls upon his consideration, combined with an unusual
ingenuousness of action, caused him to be the butt of many inconsiderate
and unworthy questions. He was once asked why black sheep ate less than
white ones, and after some hesitation quietly replied: "I recognize
no other reason than there are less of them."
Pine Street was again widened, between Nassau and Pearl streets.
A Mr. Anderson, an English actor, on his arrival here was charged by
a fellowpassenger, an American, with having made some very unjust
and illnatured remarks during the passage regarding Americans. Upon
the announcement of his engagement at the Park Theatre the charges were
publicly reported, and as a result, the house on the evening of his appearance,
October 13, was filled with some of our indignant citizens who had individually
assembled, without any previous association, and upon the entrance of Anderson
on the stage he was greeted with hisses, missiles, etc., so persistently
maintained that the performance was arrested. Nevertheless, Anderson was
announced for the evening of October 15, in the same part (Henry Bertram,
in the opera "Guy Mannering.") On this occasion the theatre
was filled to overflowing with men only, who were determined to prevent
Anderson's performance. When it was attempted to read his apology, a riot
broke out which was not the least diminished by announcement that the actor's
engagement had been cancelled and that the play would be changed. As usual
in such cases, the riot spread far beyond the designs of its originators
and became the causeless, silly, or malicious outbreak of evildisposed
persons. It continued during the next day (Sunday). and in the evening
of that day an attack was made on the theatre, the doors and windows being
battered in. "Old Hays" and his men after a time restored comparative
order, and on Monday the mob was appeased by sight of the front of the
theatre covered with American flags, patriotic transparencies, etc., and
no further violence occurred.
October 27, Chancellor Walworth laid the cornerstone of the Sailors'
Snug Harbor on Staten Island, under the bequest of Captain Robert Richard
November, I shot a ruffed grouse (vulgo partridge) at Breakneck
Hill on the estate of Madame Jumel, One Hundred and Fortyfourth Street
and Ninth Avenue, and it was believed by sportsmen to be the last one to
suffer a like fate on the Island.
At about Eightieth Street, between the Boulevard and Ninth Avenue, a
Mr. Foley rented an open place and furnished pigeons for trapshooting;
and at about Eighty-eighth. Street and the river, a Mr. Batterson, proprietor
of a hotel formerly a country seat, opened a pigeon ground for trapshooting.
Subsequently, Burnham opened a ground at Seventyninth Street and Eleventh
Avenue for a like purpose.
November, the Richmond Hill Theatre was opened with the "Road to
Ruin," a favorite opening play of that epoch, and not always inappropriate.
The address for the occasion was written by Halleck. In the next year,
late in May, the house was reopened with John Barnes of the Park as lessee;
the address for the reopening being from the pen of Charles P. Clinch.
The little theatre enjoyed liberal favor from the public during the summer,
until the cholera epidemic of 1832 ended this with all other forms of diversion.
December 25, the Havre packet arrived, being the first of ten Liverpool
and Havre packets due; her latest date was the 23d of October, or fiftynine
December 26, the East River was closed (jammed) by ice so that several
hundred persons crossed on foot between New York and Brooklyn.
The estate of Bishop Moore, which was part of that of Captain Thomas
Clarke, and known as Chelsea, was inherited by his son Clement C., before
mentioned herein, who occupied the house and grounds bounded by Nineteenth
and Twentyfourth streets, Ninth Avenue and the river (see page 191).
In this year he commenced opening streets through the property. To the
General Theological Seminary of the Protestant Episcopal Church he had
given the entire plot on Ninth Avenue between Twentieth and Twentyfirst
streets and the river.
Wells & Patterson opened at No. 277 Broadway, next to the corner
of Chambers Street, a store for the furnishing and sale of men's hosiery,
gloves, shirts, etc., etc., a manmillinery, as it was then termed-and
this was for several years the only store of the kind, as well as the first
that was opened in this city.
The Leake and Watts Orphan Asylum was established in this year.
The population of the city in this year was ascertained to be 202,589.