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, were offered.

May 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," etc.

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.

September 1, 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.

November 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 now occupies.

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 been attacked.

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 recovered.

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 accomplished anything.

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 Randall.

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 days old.

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.