The passages that follow have been transformed from Joel Munsell's works on the history of Albany. As the antiquarian intended, they are interesting and valuable pieces of community ethnography on their own but also provide consistent links to material referenced in the biographies and other items that appear throughout this website. We begin with the first installment covering the newspaper years to 1790.
    [Original editorial note] The events given below are gathered almost entirely from the newspapers. The locations of some of the principal business men are given, who were in active life at the close of the revolutionary war.


The first printing office in Albany, respecting which any information can now be gathered, was established in the latter part of this year, by Alexander & James Robertson, who came up from New York for that purpose. Hence Albany was the second place in the state of New York, into which the art of printing was introduced.

The charter of the city was printed this year in the city of New York, by Hugh Gaine, on a demy sheet, in quarto form, of which a copy is preserved in the chamberlain's office.

The Albany Gazette, the first newspaper printed in this city, was commenced in November, by the Robertsons. It was printed on a sheet about one quarter the size of the largest daily papers now printed here. It is not known when this paper was discontinued, but its publication is supposed to have ended at the breaking out of the revolutionary war, as the publishers are known to have joined the royalists in New York in 1776. A few copies of the paper are preserved in the Albany Institute, which were presented to that institution by Rensselaer Westerlo Esq. The volume containing the charter just alluded to, contains also a collection of the city ordinances, printed to match, by the Robertsons, in 1773.


Jan. 13. The printers of the Gazette, "from motives of gratitude and duty, are obliged to apologize to the public for the omission of one week's publication; and hope that the irregularity of the mail from New York since the first great fall of snow, and the severe cold preceding Christmas, which froze the paper prepared for the press, so as to put a stop to its operation, will sufficiently account for it.

March. A lottery was advertised to be drawn for the benefit of the Reformed German Church in Albany. (See Annals, vol. I, p. 128.)

Among the advertisers in the Gazette is the firm of James Gourlay & Co., "in Cheapside street, next door to the King's Arms." Cheapside street is now Green street, and the Kings Arms tavern was on the north-west corner of Green and Beaver streets, adjoining what was well known twenty years ago as the Old Stone House. On the breaking out of the war of the Revolution, the sign, which bore the device of the king's arms, was forced off by a party, one night, and burnt in State street.

A noted merchant of the day, Thomas Barry, "near the Dutch Church," also enumerates his stock, occupying nearly a column of the paper with a catalogue of goods, with names which sound quite odd at this day; for instance, "none-so-pretty of various colors, and black breeches patterns."

July 20. The governor of the province. Gen. Tryon, visited the city, on which occasion the corporation gave a public dinner at Cartwright's Tavern (vol. I, 290).

A meteorological table appeared in The Gazette occasionally.

A book store was kept by Stuart Wilson, an Irishman, at the elm tree corner of State and Pearl streets, in a Dutch house, which was afterwards converted into the Blue Belle tavern, the last keeper of which was the late Spencer Stafford's father.


Captain Machin was engaged in taking a water level between Albany and Schenectady, with a view to the supply of this city with water by means of an aqueduct. He submitted a plan to the common council, with drawings to show the manner in which an aqueduct and reservoir should be constructed, as we learn by a notice of the same at a later day.


May. Messrs. Solomon Balentine and Charles R. Webster published the first number of The New York Gazetteer or Northern Intelligencer. The office file of this paper was destroyed by the great fire of 1793, and the only copies of it which are known to exist, are in the Albany Institute.

Sept. 30. A meeting of the creditors of the United States in the state of New York, was held at the City Hall in Albany, Philip Schuyler chairman; the object of which was to lay their claims before the public, in an address, and to suggest a general convention of deputies from the public creditors of the states composing the union, to devise ways and means of payment. (See vol. I, p. 282.)


The Gazette was enlarged, and Mr. Webster withdrew from it, and removed to New York. The paper was continued by Mr. Balentine alone. Its publication is supposed to have ceased in May, 1784.

Mr. Balentine published a Pocket Almanac, for the year 1784, which is the first work of the kind that is known to have been issued in this city. A copy of it is preserved in the State Library.


May 28. Charles R. Webster, of the late firm of Balentine & Webster, published the first number of a new paper, entitled The Albany Gazette, of which the State Library contains the office file down to the time of its discontinuance in 1845, when it was the oldest paper in the state, being in its seventy-second year.

At this time the post office not only served for the city and adjoining towns, but the lists of letters advertised contain the names of persons in Orange and Dutchess counties, Cherry Valley, and Vermont.

Robison & Hale, dealers in European and East India goods, occupied the "north corner opposite the Dutch Church," now the site of the Museum Building, which was long known as Robison's corner. Maj. Hale is believed to have been an officer of the revolution, and a much respected citizen; but did not, like his partner, acquire wealth.

Jacob Van Schaick, "in Water street near the Middle dock," publishes a long catalogue of articles under exceedingly quaint titles.

Henry, Mcclallen & Henry, "next door north of the City Hall," which was the site of Commercial Building, present the most formidable array of goods, "adapted to all seasons, in payment for which they will take cash, Morris's and Hillegas's notes, wheat, corn, pease, flax seed, boards and plank, and also all sorts of furs.""

Dr. Samuel Stringer, "a little to the north of Market House," gave notice that he had just imported from Europe a general assortment of medicines, which he would "dispose of at the New York advance," by wholesale or retail at his Medicinal Store. The Market House was opposite Stanwix Hall in the centre of the street, and Dr. Stringer's store was opposite Bleecker Hall.

John Mcclintock advertised that he would open a school on the 14th June "in a lower apartment of that house in which the printing office is at present held." This is believed to have been on the south-west corner of Maiden lane and James street.

At the annual election for members of legislature, the following candidates were returned by a majority of votes in the county.

Dirk Swart, Abraham Beeker,
Peter W. Yates, Matthew Adgate,
Walter Livingston, Jacob Ford,
Matthew Visscher, John Younglove,
Christopher Yates, Israel Thompson.

Peter Van Ness was chosen senator. John Blake advertised the usual variety of goods for sale at Archibald Campbell's store opposite Hugh Denniston's. He soon after took a store "opposite the east end of the Dutch Church."

Balch & Fryer opened a shop near the north gate, for the purpose of carrying on the gold and silversmith's business. The north gate at this time is believed to have been a little above Columbia street in Broadway.

June. Gen. Schuyler was appointed by congress one of the commissioners for treating with the Indians.

Roseboom & Co. sold all kinds of nails near the English Church.

July 4. The anniversary of our independence was celebrated; in the morning thirteen guns "were fired from Fort Orange," and in the evening the city was illuminated. G

erardus Beekman advertises a store nearly opposite Wheeler Douglass's.

July 14. Mons. Dulonpres, from Paris, proposed to open a school for dancing, "on the most moderate terms of one guinea entrance and one guinea a quarter."

July 22. The governor of the state, and the Dutch ambassador, Haere P. J. Van Berckel, arrived in the city, and were received by the magistrates and citizens, and conducted to the City Hall, under discharge of cannon On the following day the corporation gave their guests an elegant entertainment at Lewis's Tavern.

July 23. Capt. John Fryer, " a worthy citizen," died, aged 64, and was interred in the Dutch Church-yard on the following day.

Edward Cumpston, "at the north-east corner of the Dutch Church," proposed to receive "new emission money of this state equal to gold or silver," for goods.

Henry Hart had v a neat assortment of Dry and West India Goods at his store between the Low Dutch Church and Market House."

Aug. The firm of James & Vail was dissolved, and Thomas V. James assumed the business "at the store in the street opposite the City Hall dock," or leading from the dock, which is now Hudson street.

Aug. Gov. Clinton left Albany to attend the Indian treaty to be held at Fort Schuyler, where the chiefs had already begun to assemble.

Sept. 8. Nicholas Barrington opened a school at the house opposite to Mr. Burgess's, "money being very scarce, at the low prices of 10, 12 and 14s. per quarter, for spellers, writers and scypherers, and three pounds for bookkeeping and navigation."

I. Hutton, "minister of the gospel in Albany," proposed to print by subscription at Is. each, a sermon entitled Weak Faith Strengthened. Those who subscribed for twelve were to "have a thirteenth gratis." The work was issued in January, 1785.

Sept. 9. "Departed this life, at Nisqueunia, Sept. 7, Mrs. Lee, known by the appellation of the Elect Lady, or Mother of Zion, and head of that people called Shakers. Her funeral is to be attended this day."

John W. Wendell, a few doors south of the City Hall, manufactured all kinds of beveret, castor and felt hats, on better terms than the importers can admit of." He was a Bostonian.

Thomas Sickels sold European and India goods, on the south side of the street that leads from the Dutch to the English Church (State street).

Oct. 21. The executors of Mrs. Margaret Schuyler, deceased, offered "a likely negro wench" for sale by auction at Lewis's Tavern.

Sept. 13. The governor, and the commissioners of Indian affairs for the state, with a number of the citizens of Albany, returned from Fort Schuyler, where a treaty had been concluded with the Six Nations and other Indians residing in this state.

John Carey, offered at the store of Cornelius K. Vandenberg, "at the elm tree in the street leading from the Dutch to the English Church," a quantity of goods which are represented as just imported from Ireland.

Sept. 18. On this- evening and the following (Sunday) morning, Oliver Wolcott, Arthur Lee, and Richard Butler, United States commissioners for Indian affairs, arrived in the city, on their way to Fort Stanwix, to meet the Six Nations. They gave notice that in order to avoid the ill consequences and hindrance to public business which would naturally arise from the sale of spirituous liquors, they would be wholly prohibited until the treaty closed. The Marquis Lafayette was daily expected, to accompany them.

George Reab, at his store in the house of Abraham Douw, near the south-west corner of the Market, offered an assortment of Dry and West India Goods, adapted to the season, in exchange for which he would take cash, R. Morris and M. Hillegas's notes, new emission money, all sorts of public securities; also flax-seed, wheat, and all kinds of country produce.

Saturday, Sept. 25, the United States commissioners to treat with the Indians, having remained one week in Albany, sat out for Fort Schuyler. The goods intended for the treaty left on Tuesday following, and Gen. Lafayette followed about the first of October.

Sept. 29. At the close of the polls, the following citizens were found to have been elected aldermen and assistants for the ensuing year.

1st ward. Peter W. Yates and Robert McClallen aldermen; Matthew Visscher and John W. Wendell, assistants.
2d ward. Philip Van Rensselaer, Peter W. Douw, aldermen; Richard Lush, Abraham Cuyler, assistants.
3d ward. Thomas Hun, John Ten Broeck, aldermen; Leonard Gansevoort Jun., Jellis Winne, assistants.

Oct. 1. Alexander Smith was committed to the city prison for the "wilful murther of his brother, Isaac Smith," on the 29th Sept., at Saratoga lake.

Oct. 7. The Marquis Lafayette returned from Fort Stanwix, and on the following morning, Friday, sat out for Boston by the way of Hartford, to embark for France. He arrived at Hartford on Monday. There was at this time no other mode of crossing the mountain but on horseback.

Joseph Kelly, currier, lately arrived from Ireland, "opened a shop at Capt. John Roff's, near the north gate, and will have ready in a few days, good leather, boot legs, and Irish Ben, of the best quality."

Oct. 18. Isaac Arnold and James Stewart returned from a trading expedition to Detroit, having lost three of their companions, Jacobus Taller, Daniel Barclay and Isaac Van Alstyne, who were murdered by four Delaware Indians at a landing place on Lake Erie. Oct. 27. Samuel Thompson died.

Nov. 19. An annual fair for vending all kinds of cattle was held in the city.

Nov. 8. The first copy of Webster's Calendar, or the Albany Almanac for the year .1785, was ready for sale; "containing, besides the usual calculations, many very ingenious and entertaining pieces, both in prose and verse." This Almanac has been published annually to the present time, a period of sixty-six years.

Died, at Port Roseway, Nova Scotia, Alexander Robertson, one of the proprietors of the first paper printed in Albany.

Nov. 5. Mrs. Lydia Bloodgood died, aged 22; wife of William Bloodgood.

Nov. 10. Two of the principal hostages of the Six Nations arrived from Fort Schuyler, under passport from the commander there; to remain in custody until certain American prisoners were delivered up.

Cornelius & John H. Wendell, opposite the post office, near the Market house, imported goods "from London." The post office was a few doors above Maiden lane, on the east side of Market street, now Broadway. The post office at this time is believed to have been kept by Abraham Yates, afterwards mayor.

Cuyler, Gansevoort & Co., "received by the last vessels from London," an assortment of dry goods suitable for the season; and presented besides a catalogue of other goods, which, like most of the advertisements of the day, began with rum and ended with brass kettles. The stock of an Albany merchant was truly multifarious.

Peter D. Van Dyck dealt in a general assortment of goods opposite the south-east corner of the Dutch Church.

Benjamin Wallace had "a neat assortment of West India and dry goods at his shop a little north of the English Church."

James Doig, from Montreal, proposed to open a day and evening school, at Mr. John Hooghkerk's corner house, opposite to Thomas Barrett, cooper, near the Presbyterian Meeting House. This is supposed to have been at the corner of Hudson and Grand streets.

Wendell & Trotter carried on business principally in dry goods, opposite the south-east corner of the City Hall.

William Gray dealt in dry goods and a general assortment, between the Dutch Church and the Market House, near the City Hotel.

Elbert Willett occupied the house now standing.next south of the Mansion House, which he sold to Mr. David Newland, the present owner, for $11,000.

Dec. 21. A detachment of troops from Fort Stanwix, under Capt. Lane, arrived in the city to remain during the winter, bringing with them a number of captives which had been liberated according to the terms of the treaty recently concluded with the Indians.

Dec. 30. Dr. Alexander Edgar, a surgeon's mate in the army, died and was buried in the Presbyterian burial place.

Mr. Paffane,' lately arrived from France, carried on "the muff and tippett making business, in the neatest manner," at the house of Hanse Home, near the north gate.

Teunis Ts. Van Vechten advertises Turks Island and rock salt, "living near the south-west corner of the Market House." His house was the southwest corner of Broadway and Maiden lane, now owned by William Thorburn.

John Hinde offered a large invoice of cloths, at the house of Mr. Hewson, adjoining the Low Dutch burying ground.

David Fonda, "next door to Gen. Ten Broek," kept dry goods, groceries and liquors for sale.

John Bogart, next door south of the City Hall, sold mill stones. He is still living.

Abraham Eights, next door to Capt. Stewart Dean, in Water street, sold Muscovado sugar by the barrel, and had "a few excellent English wind-mills, for cleaning wheat."

Anthony Helmer, at his store in the house of Harmanus Wendell, opposite to Gen. Ten Broek's, sold groceries, German steel, "and a variety of other articles too tedious to be mentioned."

Jacob Vander Heyden, in Pearl street, kept on sale, Dutch mill saws, groceries, and dry goods.

Abraham Bloodgood did business next to Denniston's tavern, probably in the Stone House.


The health of the city was very remarkable during the winter, insomuch that but one burial took place in the Dutch Church-yard, from the 9th December to the 10th March, and that was of a small child accidentally run over by a sleigh.

March 21. A person was arrested for passing counterfeit state treasury notes, and lodged in the City Hall prison, to await a trial.

April 20. Abraham Roseboom, a very respectable citizen, died.

April 26. The annual election of two senators and ten representatives to the state legislature, for the county of Albany, resulted in the following vote.

For the House of Assembly.

Ivie Chambers, "at his store near the Low Dutch Church, on the west side of the main street," sold the usual articles of a general store, principally liquors.

The session of the supreme court closed, when Petrus and Christian Cooper being convicted of a robbery, and Christian Loucks of horse stealing, received sentence of death respectively. Two others, convicted of felony, were admitted to benefit of clergy. One was whipped for petit larceny, and two discharged by proclamation.

May 3. An election of city officers took place, which resulted in the choice of the following:

First Ward. Robert McClallen, supervisor.
Peter Van Bergen, Bethuel Washburn, Edward Cumpton, assessors.
Marte Minderse, overseer of the poor.
Abraham T. Yates, Thomas Barrett, road masters.
Second Ward. Jacob Cuyler, supervisor.
Jacob Vander Heyden, Casparus Pruyn, Richard Lush, assessors.
John N. Bleecker, overseer of the poor. Jacob Bleecker, John Marselis, road masters.
Third Ward. Cornelius Wendell, supervisor.
Peter Gansevoort, Jun., Abraham A. Lansing, David Fonda, assessors.
Isaac Van Arnum, overseer of the poor.
Sanders Lansing, Volkert A. Douw, road masters.
Baltus Van Benthuysen, collector for the city.

Elihu Goodrich and John Ely opened a school "in the house occupied by Michael Hollenbake," who had "left keeping tavern." They taught Greek and Latin for 40s. a quarter: grammar, arithmetic and writing for 30s.; reading and spelling for 20s. The hours of study were from 6 to 8, and 8 to 12, in the forenoon; and from 2 to 5, and 6 to 8, in the afternoon. This to the magisters of our day, may appear to have been a pretty thorough drilling of "the young idea."

Alexander Laverty, "tayler from London," took the house lately occupied by Henry Hart, in the back apartment, where he carried on the " tayler's business as cheap as any in town," and made payments easy to those who employed him. His prices were: for a coat 14s.; lappelled do, 16s.; lappelled do, with slashed sleeves, 18s.; vest and breeches, 6s. 9d.

Elisha Crane, opposite the City Hall, sold cyder at 18s. a barrel, and took boards, plank, staves, pease, and any sort of grain in payment. In a nota bene the public is informed that money would not be refused.

June. A company of stage wagon proprietors undertook to make the land passage between New York and Albany "the most easy and agreeable as well as the most expeditious," by performing the journey in two days, at 3.2. a mile; but in the fall, "for the ease of the passengers," the time of performing the route was changed to three days, and the price raised to 4d. a mile, "agreeably to act of assembly."

July 12. An ordinanee was passed by the common council for the extermination of dogs, all of whom were to be killed in two days, under penalty of 8, which was to be recovered for the benefit of any person prosecuting.

Nov. 8. The presbytery of New York ordained John McDonald a minister of the gospel, and he was at the same time installed pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Albany. He was the third pastor of that church, and it was during his ministry that the edifice was erected for that congregation on the corner of South Pearl and Beaver streets, now occupied by a society of Congregationalists.

Dec. 13. A company of comedians having leased the old Hospital, which stood near the present site of the Lutheran Church, and having fitted it up as a theatre, opened with Cross Purposes, and Catharine and Petruchio, between which was a dance, La Polonaise, and a Eulogy on Freemasonry. Tickets sold at Lewis's Tavern, and no money taken at the door. Boxes 8s. A vigorous effort was made to discontinue these performances, by a large and respectable part of community, but the common council determined by a vote of 9 to 4, that they had no legal right to prohibit theatrical exhibitions in the city. A whole number of the Gazette is taken up with the controversy, to the exclusion of every other subject.

1785 January. By the post office arrangements of this year, the New York mail arrived twice a week, Wednesdays and Saturdays, at 8 o'clock p. M.; and two hours after its receipt, the down mail was made up and forwarded.

July 13. The Gazette was enlarged to a sheet 19 inches by 23, which we learn was the largest size then printed in America. In the same paper is announced the First Part of the Grammatical Institute, abridged, by Noah Webster, price 6 coppers, this day printed.


April 4. An act passed the legislature of the state of New York, for erecting the southeast part of the county of Albany into a new county, by the name of Columbia.

July 5. The supreme court closed its July session, when Caleb Gardner, convicted of passing counterfeit Spanish dollars, received sentence of death. Two weeks afterwards, the sheriff advertised that the person then under sentence of death in the City Hall would be hanged on Friday the fifteenth of September; and that any person willing to undertake the execution, was desired to apply to the said sheriff.

July 22. The corporation and citizens of Albany celebrated the centennial anniversary of the charter of the city (See vol. i, 335).

The number of houses in Albany at this time was found, by actual enumeration, to be 550. A statement of the number of houses in the principal cities and towns at this time, will serve to show their relative proportions:

Jan. 26. Charles R. and George Webster and Co., published a quarto paper, called the Albany Journal, or Montgomery, Washington and Columbia Intelligencer, which was published twice a week during the session of the legislature.

Feb. 11. Claxton and Babcock, lately from Lansingburgh, published The Federal Herald. They returned to Lansingburgh the same year.

March 11. A law was passed by the legislature, authorising the corporation to raise 2000 for the construction of a new jail (the old one being found inadequate to the safe custody of prisoners), and repairing the court-house. Clinton county was taken from Albany county at this session of the legislature.

May 27. The election of members of assembly terminated in the success of the anti-federal party, and seems to have been the first party struggle growing out of the dissension on the question of the constitution. The vote of the two parties in the county of Albany, as canvassed on this day by the supervisors, stood as follows. John Younglove seems to have had the votes of both, or there is a mistake in the figures.


John Lansing, 3048
Jeremiah Van Rensselaer, 3042
John Duncan, 2990
Cornelius Van Dyck, 3033
John Thompson 3006
Henry K. Van Rensselaer, 29 tl
John Younglove, 4S07


Stephen Van Rensselaer,. 1953
Leonard Gansevoort, .... 1SS8
Richard Sill, 1877
Hezekiah Van Orden, 1871
John Knickerbacker, 1868
Isaac Vrooman, 1851

The Albany Register was begun this year, by Robert Barber.

The impolicy of imprisonment for debt is aptly illustrated in the following case, where a rich and popular citizen incarcerates a humble artisan for his inability to liquidate his rent, who thereby becomes a charge upon the county, and a defaulter to all the rest of his creditors.

"Whereas the subscriber (a master of shoemaking) is now confined in the City Hall, upper loft, for twenty pounds back rent which he is owing Gen. Schuyler; and as he is desirous of working for his living, and not to be chargeable to the good people of this city, he therefore humbly requests such of the citizens and others as are desirous of having well made shoes on the most reasonable terms, to favor him with their custom, and they may depend on being served on the shortest notice, and every favor shall be thankfully acknowledged by the public's humble servant Thaddeus Lawrence."

Aug. 8. The city of Albany, not to be behind her sister cities, set apart a day for public rejoicings, to celebrate the ratification of the constitution of the United States by the convention of the state of New York. Every trade and profession seems to have united in the jubilee, with appropriate emblems, and formed a truly imposing procession under the conduct of Gen, Schuyler. (See vol. i, 330.)

November. The citizens were entertained with the extraordinary sight of an "uncommon bird," killed at Saratoga, and sent down as a rarity. "The distance from the tip of one wing to the other, when both were extended, was nine feet two inches; the mouth was large enough to contain the head of a boy ten years of age, and the throat so capacious as to admit the foot and leg of a man, boot and all." No one could decide what species the stranger belonged to, till the counsel of Dr. Mitchell of New York being called in, it was decided to be a pelican : perhaps the only one that ever extended his discoveries to this region.

Peter Van Deusen and Jacob Van De Bilt established for the convenience of the citizens, a soap and candle factory, which useful branch of business, they say in their advertisement, had been long wanted in the city. To induce the citizens to encourage these domestic manufactures, they offer their articles at New York prices, thus making a saving of freight and cartage; and further to promote economy, manufactured for those who provided their own tallow, at 2.^ pence per pound, and furnish the cotton wick themselves.


Jan. 1. The thermometer at noon indicated 18 above zero; and on the following morning, at six o'clock, it was 24 below, being six degrees colder than had ever been known in the city.

Jan. 5. The freeholders of Vanderheyden's or Ashley's Ferry, situate on the east bank of the Hudson's river, about seven miles above Albany, met for the purpose of establishing a naire for the place; when, by a majority of voices, it was confirmed that in future it should be called and known by the name of Troy. From its important state, and natural advantages, it was anticipated "at no very distant period to see Troy as famous for her trade and navigation as many of our first towns."

The journals of the legislature for the session of 1789 were printed by S. and J. Loudon, at the house of Mr. Thomas McMurray, in Barrack (now Chapel) street, they being printers to the state.

May. The Albany Gazette, on entering upon its sixth volume, began to be published twice a week.

The following is given in the Register, as a particular statement of the votes of the several towns in Albany county for governor. The election was opened on the 28th April, for governor, lieutenant governor, senators and assemblymen. Yates Towns G Clinton. Yates. 33 Stillwater, 76 59 67 Cambridge, 100 118 173 Albany (3 wards), 55 153 76 Rensselaerwyck, 23 188 33 Schagheticoke, 7 54 294 Halt'moon, 73 47 132 Coxsackie, 40 53 30 Pittstown, 56 31 9 Eastown, 30 27 1000 1577

The returns were very imperfectly given by the papers, the adjoining counties being seldom reported, and never accurately. The poles were closed in the city, we are told, in the middle of the week; but in the east and west

Towns. [for] G. Clinton.

Hoosick, 34
Saratoga, 14
Steventown, .. 21
Ballstown 168
Katskill, '. 39
Watervliet, 50
Schenectady, ... 71
Schoharie, 129
Duanesburgh, .. 14

districts of the manor of Rensselaerwyck, ballots continued to be received until Saturday afternoon. The election of Governor Clinton was carried by the heavy majority from Ulster county, which gave him 1039 out of 1145.

July 6. The legislature met at Albany. The message of Gov. Clinton, at the opening of the session, occupied thirty-two lines in the newspapers.

On the first of June, the thermometer stood at 40; on the 30th, at 80; on the 14th July, at 56; on the 24th, at 84; on the 12th August, at 80; on the 30th, at 47: these being the highest and lowest ranges for those months.

At the July term of the Supreme Court, held in Albany, Elihu Smeeds of Pittstown in the county of Albany, indicted for the murder of Ezekiel Mitchell, and convicted of manslaughter, was adjudged to receive thirty-nine lashes at the public whippingpost, and be imprisoned three calendar months. Six others, convicted of stealing, were condemned to receive thirty-nine lashes each ; while about the same time, Francis Uss, convicted of breaking open and robbing a store in Poughkeepsie, was publicly hanged.

There was a scarcity of bread stuffs this year, throughout the country, and complaints were made of monopolizers. Flour sold at New Orleans for twelve dollars a barrel. Complaints were frequent of the scarcity of provisions in the western part of the state, on account of the flood of immigrants. In the vicinity of Niagara, it was difficult to subsist the new comers. A letter from "Cooper's Town, Otsego Lake," May 7, says : "The vast multitude of people that come daily to this country have caused a scarcity of provisions almost to a famine. In the Genesee it is quite so. Corn will bring ten shillings in cash, and six shillings at Albany ; and it is said potatoes at Niagara are twenty shillings. However alarming this may be, it proceeds from no other cause than that of an innumerable quantity of people flocking in. I have had thirty in a day seeking land of me."

Nov. 3. A snowstorm commenced at ten in the morning, and continued during the day; and the weather was remarkably cold, having every appearance of winter : a circumstance not before recollected by any of the inhabitants at so early a period.

The amount of receipts and disbursements of the city of Albany for the first six years succeeding the revolution, was as follows; [MISSING]

January. It was deemed "indispensably necessary" by Mr. Cornelius J. Wynkoop, that there should be in the city "an auctioneer and vendue master for dry goods, household furniture, &c." Whereupon he opened at No. 8 Market street, "a licensed auction office."

Feb. 1. The legislature granted Ananias Platt the exclusive right of running a stage between Albany and Lansingburgh.

April 2. The legislature passed an act for the improvement of the navigation of the Overslaugh, by allowing the proprietors of Mills and Papskni islands to erect a dam to prevent the passage of the water between them, and throw it into the main channel. This, it was thought, would more effectually benefit the navigation, than the employment of "an unwieldy machine, which at best only affords a temporary relief."

The prisoners confined for debt in the city hall, which was the jail, celebrated the 5th July (the 4th being Sunday). There was an allusion to the fifteenth year of American independence, and their confinement for debt. Their fifth toast was : "May the time come when no honest man shall be confined for debt." The time did arrive, in less than half a century, when dishonest men even were seldom confined for debt.

October. The mail stage between Albany and New York, which seems to have been suspended, was announced to commence running twice a week as formerly.

The synod of New York and New Jersey erected a new presbytery in the northern part of this state, under the name of The Presbytery of Albany; to which they committed the care of all the congregations in this state in connection with them, which lie north of the Catskill mountains on the west side, and of the southern boundary of Columbia county on the east side of Hudson's river. It was appointed to meet for the first time on the ninth November, in the city of Albany; and to be opened with a sermon by Rev. William Schenck, the senior pastor. In the absence of Mr. Schenck, Rev. John Warford of Salem preached from Luke xiv, 23. Rev. John McDonald of Albany was appointed stated clerk.

There were but two mails which reached the city of Albany at this time; one from New York, and the other from Springfield, Mass. (See vol. i, p. 56).

The revenue of the city for six months preceding the twelfth October, was 918 16s. 10JZ.; the expenditures, 728 9s. Id. Among the expenditures is an item of 3 10s. paid constables for patrolling the streets on Sundays. 25 3s. 4d. was received of P. S. Van Rensselaer, for ground in Barrack street.

December. The state of the weather is thus given for a part of this month:

8th. Thermometer indicated 4 degrees below 0.
9th. 10 deg. below 0; the barometer higher than had been observed in four years, and the weather colder for the season than had ever been known in the city.
17th. 2 below 0.
18th. 8
19th. 16
20th. 20 above 0.
22d. 0
28th. 4 below 0.
30th. 3
31st. 8
Jan. 2d. 10


This section represents a feature of the work of antiquarian printer Joel Munsell that appeared in chronological blocks under the heading "Notes from the Newspapers" in most of the volumes of his landmark compilations on the history of Albany. They extracted interesting bits of information apparently from several documentary sources. These passages have been transposed to ensure consistent access to them. Linking them to Albany related persons, places, and things is an ongoing activity.

Links to printed sources of "Notes from the Newspapers:"

1771-1790 - Annals, from pp. 191-212 in volume 2

1790-1798 - Annals, from pp. 145-192 in volume 3

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first posted 2/10/13; last updated 1/25/18