books which might be of general interest to students of the "Early
Republic" period -- If you find any worth purchasing after following
one of these links, a portion will go to support of this web site:
The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris by David McCullough a "story of the adventurous American artists, writers, doctors, politicians, architects, and others of high aspiration who set off for Paris in the years between 1830 and 1900, ambitious to excel in their work."
The Price of Civilization: Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity by Jeffrey Sachs. From book description: "For more than three decades, Jeffrey D. Sachs has been at the forefront of international economic problem solving. But Sachs turns his attention back home in The Price of Civilization, a book that is essential reading for every American. In a forceful, impassioned, and personal voice, he offers not only a searing and incisive diagnosis of our country’s economic ills but also an urgent call for Americans to restore the virtues of fairness, honesty, and foresight as the foundations of national prosperity.
NOTE: It is quite common for county boundaries to have changed considerably between the 1830s and today. Those which were in very rural areas are apt to have been split up into smaller counties as the population increased.
For now, though, I must use current maps, and make corrections later.
Bordered on the east by the Hudson River, with the city of Albany around the middle of that boundary line. The Mohawk river, where it joins the Hudson around 10 miles nort of Albany, comprises part of the northern border of the county.
Northernmost of the eastern border counties, it borders on most of the widest part of Lake Champlain, with Vermont on the other side of the lake. Quebec, Canada is its Northern neighbor, with no natural divider; only a straight longitudinal line. Its other neighbors are Franklin county on the west, and Essex on the South. Its biggest town is Plattsburgh, on the lake.
A small county about 50 miles south of the easternmost tip of Lake Ontario. It is traversed from north to south by the Tioughnioga River and its tributaries, which branch out through the northern half of the county.
The next to northernmost of the counties that lie along the eastern border of the state. Bounded by Warren on the South, Hamilton on the southwest, Franklin on the northwest, and Clinton on the north.
Contains Lake Placid and Port Henry. The east half of the northern border consists of the Ausable River. Its eastern border is Lake Champlain, with Ticonderoga on Champlain near the bottom of the county.
Bordering, like Clinton County, on Quebec. St. Laurence County is to its west, and Hamilton to its south. Essex to its southeast, and Clinton to its northeast. It contains Saranac Lake, most of Tupper Lake, the Salmon and Little Salmon Rivers, and other rivers all flowing to the wide St. Laurence River, which caries water from Lake Ontario to the sea.
Includes Rome (in the middle) and Utica, NY (on the eastern border)
Present day Seneca County is a small one enclosing lakes Seneca and Cuyuga, around the middle of the state.
A very large (and so probably sparsely populated)county, with the St. Laurence River forming its northeast boundary, and Ontario on the other side of the river. Through the middle of it flows the broad Raquette River, with Potsdam on its eastern shore.
Roughly 30 miles west of the northeast corner of Pennsylvania. Contains Saugerties, New Paltz, and Kingston.
Goes almost to the Vermont line. Bounded by Essex County on the north, Hamilton to the west, Saratoga to the south, and Washington to the south-east.
Shaped somewhat like a tall narrow building with a high peaked roof. The western line of the roof is Lake George, while the eastern line consists of the lower reaches of Lake Champlain, and a meandering river called the Poultney. At the very tip of the roof is Mount Defiance, and just above that, in Essex County, is Ticonderoga.
The eastern wall of the building is the border between New York state and Vermont. The western wall is made up partly of a straight survey line going south from Lake George, the rest of the western boundary, running nearly as straight, is a portion of the upper reaches of the Hudson River. The base consists of a survey-line boundary between Washington and Rensselaer Counties.
State capitol of New York. It lies on the west bank of the Hudson River, about 20 miles west of the New York-Massachusetts border. It is about 10 miles south of where the Mohawk River joints the Hudson.
Founded around 1614, initially as Fort Orange, on Castle Island, lying in the Hudson.
Around 1830, the population was approx. 24,000, and the Dutch heritage was still very evident. "On the thoroughfare then called the Bowery, where the Central and Washington Avenues now join, was the open space where the pioneers gathered with their oxcarts ... for the trek up the Mohawk Trail..." "Unringed hogs ran at large in the streets ..sections along the river front ... were sunk in squalor and disease [and elsewhere] affluence, comfort and civility. Fine carriages stood in the better streets ... theatres [where] Edwin Forrest played to packed houses in The Gladiator.
(Source: Van Deusen, Weed, p53).
Best known in this period for the New York State Prison, a magnet for European travellors like de Tocqueville and Edward Abdy, who believed the U.S. was doing interesting things in penology. (Drawing, p80, Rothman, Discovery of the Asylum)
About 25 miles southwest of Rochester, in the middle of Gennessee County.
Home of William Morgan, the Mason whose disappearance, when he had threatened to publish the secrets of Freemasonry, led to statewide hysteria, and the formation of the short-lived Anti-Masonic Party.
On the Susquehanna River 8-10 miles N. of PA.
In Jefferson County.
At the point where the Catskill River runs into the Hudson from the west. Home of Thurlow Weed for 9 years - up to the age of 11. Described as a "bustling little hillside town with two shipyards", in Van Deuson, Weed. Hudson, where Martin Van Buren had his early law practice in some of the same years, was just across the Hudson River and a mile or two north.
A town on the eastern border of Cortland County, NY, on the Otlesic River, which joins the Tioughnioga on the latter's way to the Susquehanna.
According to Van Deusen, Weed, it is where Thurlow Weed spent his early teen years. In those days (1808-1812), the settlers still had Indians (of the Onandaga tribe?) for neighbors. Weed is said to have been invited by some Indians to a midnight salmon-killing party, and to have taken one home, with which he earned his first dollar.
Van Deusen says it is "in the Onandaga hollow", which I can't confirm, and he speaks of "Onandaga Creek", which even my AAA New York state map does not show. It is especially odd since Cincinnatus appears to be on the other side of the Lake Ontario/Susquehanna River watershed from Lake Onandaga, a small lake just northwest of Syracuse.
In Westchester County, on the north side of the Croton River from Ossining. Home of the Van Cortlandt family (see Phillip C.)
A moderate sized town, on the east bank of the river of the same name, about 25 miles downriver (straight south) from Albany. Where Martin Van Buren had his first law practice. It is part of Columbia County.
It enjoyed a brief prominence in the early 20s as the eastern terminus of the Erie Canal, but as the canal moved further west, its heyday faded.
Home of Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, generally known as the Mormon Church.
Home town of Gerrit Smith.
Major town of Clinton County, on Lake Champlain. Where Azariah Flagg edited the Plattsburgh Republican up to 1823.
Starting in the early 1820s when the Erie canal reached it, Rochester was a great boom town in that period, doubling its population in three years when Thurlow Weed was there working for, and later owning, the Rochester Telegraph, and then the Anti-Masonic Enquirer.
A center of the Anti-Masonic movement ant party from late1826 (the excitement began with William Morgan's disappearance, that September) until sometime past 1832, when the movement faded out.
Rochester was situated just upriver from where the Genessee empties into Lake Ontario. It was one of the best sites for water-powered mills of its time. It benefitted greatly from the opening of the west by the Erie Canal. This gave it access to grain from the newly opened western New York farmlands, and later those of the very new territories west of Pennsylvania, which we now call the midwest, but which was then the far western fronteir. With access as well, via the canal, to the eastern metropolitan marketplace. Access to the goods, the market, and the means of processing the goods made Rochester grow up overnight.
Site of Charles Grandison Finney's most famous revival, in the winter of 1830-1831. This episode is well treated in Paul E. Johnson's A Shopkeeper's Millennium, which describes how the turbulent throwing together of many disparate elements of society helped ignite the grand excitement of the revival.
The University of Rochester History Department has an excellent set of online info on the history of Rochester.
In Jefferson County.
On the west bank of Lake Champlain, just where Lake George flows into it. Home of a fort, in before and during the revolution, guarding a strategic point (as it would provide water access, via Lake George nearly to the Hudson River).
Home, from the late 1820s, of Emma Willard's famous "Female Seminary".
cf. Alan Taylor's paper on "Unidilla Hunt Club" presented at at SHEAR '96.
Within a few miles of Utica are Clinton, home of Hamilton College, and Whitesboro, home of the Oneida Institute - two places closely associated with Theodore Weld, who was converted while staying at his "aunt Clark"'s house in Utica, on a weekend away from Hamilton College, and was later very strongly connected with the Oneida Institute, and the whole manual laber college movement.
Charles Grandison Finney's first great series of revivals, in the winter of 1825-26 and into the summer, took place in and around Utica. Finney was
The site of riots in October 1835. The Utica anti-slavery society called for a state convention in Utica for October 21, in order to form a state society. Elizur Wright was one of the organizers, and Gerrit Smith, the land baron and later strongly abolitionist politician was a major participant.
In Jefferson County.
The Oneida Institute, a manual labor school headed for a long time by Beriah Green, was established just to the east of Whitesboro. Theodore Weld attended there, and then began the first of his philanthropic missions, and to which Lewis Tappan sent a son (which nearly killed the son).
Lies within Ontario County, except that the southern third or so is split down the middle between Ontario on the west and Yates on the east. The town of Canandaigua, at the northern tip of the lake, is about 50 miles southeast of Rochester, and 30 miles west southwest of Syracuse.
Stephen A. Douglas studied law briefly atCanandaigua Academy.
Runs from east to west across the middle of Westchester County. An important source of water power in the 19c, due to "abundant fall of water and proximity to New York". See map, pp iv-v, and explanation, p iii, in Judd, Corr. of Van Cortlandt Family, v4.
An artificial waterway from Albany (actually from Utica? - Click HERE<=== to send mail if you know) to Buffalo, NY on Lake Erie. Over 300 miles, built in 8 years, it was promoted and pushed through to completion by De Witt Clinton, was 4 feet deep by 40 feet wide, and was plied by special canal boats pulled by mules.
It brought a rapid metropolitanization to the primitive back-country of New York State, which has been cited as one of the causes of the strange religious excitements of that region (see Burned-Over District, and A Shopkeeper's Millennium, and articles here on Rochester and Palmyra.
Height above sea level: 574 feet (Source: Times Atlas)
In the early 1800s, its banks were known as fertile farm country for pioneer settlers. It attracted many from the tired and rocky soil of New England.
It can be seen as the boundary separating the western quarter of the state from the rest.
It begins in Pennsylvania, runs up the middle of Allegheny County, and ends on Lake Ontario. Rochester is at its mouth, and the strong rapids of the Gennesee at this point, made Rochester a boom town in the 1820s and 30s, as the Erie Canal for transport, the rapids for driving mills, and the fertile back country made an ideal combination.
A very broad, placid and superbly navigable river, from its mouth, where it divides New York City from New Jersey, up to Albany (above which it begins to be turbulent). It runs straight north, parallel to the eastern boundary of New York State, and about 20 miles west of that boundary.
A Trip Up the Hudson About 1830: The trip might begin at the southern tip of Manhattan, possibly from the slip from which Fulton's first steamboat left New York.
Cities and towns on the Hudson include, from south to north:New York City and Jersey City, Nyack on the west bank, Ossining on the east, Croton on Hudson on the east, facing Haverstraw, Rockland, and Stony Point on the west. Peekskill , Highland Falls, Garrison, West Point, Cold Spring, New Windsor, Beacon, Newburgh, Poughkeepsie, Arlington, Fairview, Highland, Hyde Park, Port Ewen, Rhinecliff, Kingston, Barrytown, Saugerties, Catskill on the west, facing Hudson on the east, Coxsackie, Kinderhook (a couple of miles up a feeder river called the Kinderhook, but notable as Martin Van Buren's original home), Ravena, Castleton on Hudson, Rensselaer, Albany, Watervliet on eth west, facing Troy on the east, Waterford, Mechanicville, Schuylerville, Hudwon Falls. Above this point it ceases to be a major river as it meanders up into the Aderondack Mountains.
As for counties, above the Bronx are Westchester on the east and Rockland on the west, then Putnam on the East, and Orange on the West, Dutchess on the east, facing Ulster on the west, Columbia on the east, facing Greene on the west, Rensselaer on the east facing Albany on the west (in the middle of these two counties being the city of Albany). Above this is Washington on the east - the first county that fully borders on Vermont, and Saratoga and Warren on the west.
This river approaches and joins the Hudson from approximately due west. The junction is just north of Troy. Ascending the river one goes through a deep valley, or pass, dividing the Adirondack Mountains from theCatskills. For three hundred miles or more, it is by far the best passage between the two rough masses of hills. Hence the Erie Canal followed its course, as does the New York State Thruway, or I-90, today. Eventually it joins Oneida Lake, or else an artificial extension of it, in the form of the Erie Canal, joins the lake.
Some towns encountered while ascending the river are Schenectady, Amsterdam, Little Falls, Herkimer, Utica (site of anti-masonic conventions, revivals, and race riots), and Rome.
Its county neighbors are Saratoga on the north; Albany - briefly, and then Schenectady, on the south. Then it runs between Fulton on the south, and Montgomery on the north. It next passes through the lower end of Herkimer, a county around 80 miles long (north to south) and for most of its length, only 15-20 miles wide. Finally it passes through Oneida, the county that includes the eastern half (or slightly less)of Oneida Lake.
Forms the boundary between the thin finger of Ontario, between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, and New York State. In a little over 20 miles, it carries all the flow of water from Lake Erie (574 feet above sea level) to Lake Ontario (248 feet above sea level). This 326 foot drop creates, not surpringly, the great Niagara Falls.
Height above sea level: 248 feet (Source: Times Atlas)
Runs SW to NE, dividing St. Lawrence County from Ontario (for 50-60 miles), and having about 30 miles fronting on Jefferson County.
Formed by a confluence of several rivers at Oneonta, which drain the area around Cooperstown, if flows south past Unidilla, Sidney, Quaquaga, Windsor, and finally Deposit, before it crosses the border into Pennsylvania. After a little arc in PA, it runs back into New York to run past Conklin, Binghampton, Johnson City, Endicott, and Waverly, at which point it crosses over to PA for the rest of its course.