Here and There: A Little Bit of Old New York Part I

Old and New Names of Streets 1786

Formerly Called

Chatham Row
Crown Street
Dock Street
Duke Street
Fair Street
Garden Street
George Street
Golden Hill
King George Street
King Street
Little Dock Street
Little Queen Street
Magazine Street
Mill Street
Mortkile Street
Partition Street
Princess Street
Queen Street
Robinson Street
St. James Street
Smith Street
Stone Street
Now Called

Park Row
Liberty Street.
Pearl Street, between Broad street and Hanover Square.
South William Street.
Fulton Street, between Broadway and Cliff Street.
Exchange Place.
Spruce Street
John Street, between William and Pearl Street.
William Street, Frankfort and Pearl Street.
Pine Street.
South Street, between Whitehall and Old Slip.
Cedar Street.
Part of Pearl Street.
Part of South William Street.
Barclay Street.
Fulton Street, between Broadway and North River
Beaver Street, between Bond and William Street.
Pearl Street, between Wall Street and Broadway.
Park Place.
James Street.
William Street, between Old Slip and Liberty Street.
Thames Street

Reformed Dutch Church

The first church erected on Manhattan Island was in 1628, on the arrival of the first minister, Michaelius. Soon after arrived Everardus Bogardus, the " Dominie," in 1633.

The second church was erected in 1642, within the walls of Fort Amsterdam, which stood on what is now called the Battery. This church was 72 feet long, 50 wide and 16 feet high ; cost 2,500 guilders. The congregation worshiped in it until the opening of the old South Dutch Church in Garden Street. After the surrender of the colony to the English in 1664, it was occasionally occupied by the English military chaplains. This church was rebuilt in 1807, and destroyed by the great fire in December, 1835. The old church in the Fort, after the possession of the British, became the property of the government and took the name of King's Chapel, and continued to be used for worship by the chaplains of the garrison until 1741, when it was destroyed by fire.

The third church, erected in 1764, was the Middle Dutch Church in Nassau Street, recently used as a City Post Office. The fourth church erected was the North Dutch Church in Fulton Street, corner William Street, now being demolished and the site converted into store-houses. Thus all those old landmarks are fast disappearing, to be remembered only as matters of history.

The Old Sugar-House In Liberty Street

This relic of the days of the Revolution stands as a monument to the victims of the Sugar-House Prison, and the Old Dutch Church, in Nassau street, recently used as a Post Office, was once used as a dungeon for the soldiers of the American Army. " It was known as the Middle Dutch Church, and was built by the Knickerbockers. Its pews were torn put and used as fuel, a floor was laid from one
gallery to the other, thus dividing the building into two stories, and here three thousand prisoners were incarcerated. Poor men, here they were allowed neither fuel nor bedding, and their food was wretched and scanty. The weather was cold, and many died from cold and starvation. It is said even that their inhuman keepers poisoned many of them, in order to be rid of them and
to possess themselves of their silver shoe and knee-buckles and watches. This prison-house was bad enough, but worse still was Rhinelander's Sugar-House, that stood in Liberty Street. It was a gray stone building five stories in height, very low between the ceilings, with very thick walls and small deep windows. This was, perhaps, the gloomiest of the improvised dungeons in the city. Each
story was divided into two compartments. The low ceilings and small windows made the ventilation very poor above-stairs, and the cellar, which was likewise used as a dungeon, was more miserable yet. The building was surrounded by a board fence nine feet high. Two British or Hessian soldiers paced on constant watch about it night and day. In this wretched place thousands of our soldiers
were incarcerated. They were huddled in so close that they could scarcely lie down. They were left for months without fire or blankets, or change of clothing. Their food was sea-biscuit, moldy and full of worms, and raw pork."

St. Paul's Church or Chapel

Standing on Broadway, between Fulton and Vesey streets, is another venerable edifice, which escaped the Great Fire of 1776. It was built in 1766, and is surrounded by an ancient burying-ground. The remains of Gen. Richard Montgomery, of Revolutionary fame, who was killed in the attack on Quebec, December 81, 1775, lie interred in St. Paul's Churchyard. He was a native of Ireland, born Dec. 2, 1736, being 39 years old at the time of his premature death. In 1818 the State of New York caused his remains to be removed from Quebec, where first interred, and placed beneath the monument erected to his memory in the City of New York.
Here also lie the remains of Thomas Addis Emmet, born at Cork, Ireland, 24th April, 1764; died in New York, 14th Nov., 1827, aged 64 years. His tomb and monument are situated in the southeast part of the enclosure, at the corner of Broadway and Fulton Street.

 Reminiscences of New York in 1790, by the Oldest Lawyer Living

Hon. Elbert Herring, now in his ninety-eighth year, is still living in the city of New York. He was born on the 8th of July, 1777, at Stratford, Conn., and removed to New York when seven years of age. He says, on being interviewed: " I can remember New York when it scarcely extended above Ann  street. It was a very different place then." The embryo Metropolis of 1790 he described as follows : " Above Ann street it was all country, only here and there a house. The wealthy inhabitants lived mostly below Wall street ;
others in Garden street and Rector street. The old Bridewell and Jail stood where now the City Hall Park is. James Duane is the oldest Mayor I can remember." The population at that time was 33,131. " The only theatre was in ' John street. The richest man at that time was Mr. Desbrosses. He had that reputation." Mr. Herring was educated at Princeton College ; admitted to the bar in December, 1799 ; and elected a Judge of the Marine Court in 1805. " In early times," he remarked, " there was more morality, no doubt. At that time  we had scarcely any foreigners ; we were all Yankees or Knickerbockers here in New York, and we were a very honest people. There was very little cheating. Everybody who could afford it used to dress in broadcloth, very few in
homespun garments." He remembered distinctly the first steamboat that ever went to Albany in 1807. This remarkable living man attributed his old age to his moderation in all things, to his careful avoidance of excess in anything, and finally to the "Divine blessing."  In 1830, forty years after the above statement refers to, the built portion of the city extended to Canal street on the West side, and to about Fourth street on the East side, parallel to the Bowery, near where stood Vauxhall Garden. Fourth
avenue was then being opened and a hill leveled which stood on the east side of Union Square. About this period a series of street views was published by George M. Bourne, drawn and engraved by James Smillie and others, showing the then-appearance of streets and public buildings.

The First Steamboat

The first steamboat built by Robert Fulton was the "Clermont," or "North River," 160 tons burden. This steamer was launched in the Spring of 1807, and finished in August following. In September the vessel made her first trip to and from Albany, 145 miles. She went to Albany in thirty-two hours and returned in thirty. " The inhabitants near the shores along the river were lost in wonder and regarded her as a phenomenon beyond their comprehension."

The building of the steamer " Raritan," to be employed on the Raritan River, New Jersey, and the " Car of Neptune," of 295 tons, to be employed on the Hudson, followed. In 1811, the " Paragon," of 331 tons, was built. In 1812, the "Fire Fly," of 118 tons, and the " Richmond," of 370 tons, to be also employed on the Hudson. In 1813, the "Fulton," of 327 tons, to run on Long Island Sound. In 1818, the " Olive Branch," to be employed between New York and New Brunswick, N. J., and the " Chancellor Livingston," of 526 tons, to be employed on the Hudson. These vessels were all built in the Port of New York. The " Olive Branch " and " Chancellor Livingston " were built after Mr. Pulton's death, which occurred in the City of New York February 24,1815.

Wall Street

The whole record, either ancient or modern, of this famous mart of money and power would take volumes to describe. " Mr. Gerard alone can do justice to its story in the old Dutch past, when it was ' De Cuigel' of te Stadt Waal, or the walk at the city wall. But still, for the curiosity of the thing, we insert a list of the inhabitants of De Cuigel in 1665, names which the most diligent census taker will probably not be able to find in or out of ' the Street' now-a-days. Here they are as somewhere given : Jan Jansen Van Langendyck, Jan Tennitzen Molensaan, John Videl, Abraham Kermer, Gridtje Schoonteenmergers, Jacob Jansen, Dirck de Wolspinder, Barent Ergbertzen, Dirck Van Clyff, Pieter Jansen. The latter name, however, has lived through the generations, and within memory of those of the present time."

The principal event which settled the character of Wall Street as the center of interest in the city, and which brought about it the leading men of business and professional life, was the erection of the old City Hall, opposite Broad Street, in 1700, which building became afterward the Capitol of the United States, and the site of which is still used for public purposes, thus perpetuating
the influence of the original selection of that site down to the present day. The City Hall remained in use for the objects for which it was erected about a century. After the Revolutionary War this building received additional historic interest as the first place of meeting of the Congress of 1789, and the inauguration of George Washington as President.

The financial, or modern history of Wall Street, commenced soon after the Peace of 1783. The Bank of New York was the first banking institution established in this City, commencing operations in 1784, although not chartered until 1791, the banking-house being located on the corner of Wall and William streets. It was followed by the Manhattan Company, incorporated in 1799, located at No. 23 Wall street; by the Merchants' Bank, incorporated in 1805, located at 25 Wall Street; by the United States Bank, located at 38 Wall Street, about 1805 ; by the Mechanics' Bank, incorporated in 1810, located at 16 Wall Street. These were the pioneer banking institutions, which were soon after rapidly increased in number.

Insurance companies were in existence in this city still earlier than banks. " We believe," says Valentine, " the first institution of the kind after the Revolutionary War was called the Mutual Assurance Company. We find that in 1815 there were already thirteen insurance companies established in Wall Street."


Website: The History
Article Name: Here and There: A Little Bit of Old New York 1876 Part I
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


BIBLIOGRAPHY: New York As It Was and As It Is; Giving An Account of the City From Its Settlement to the Present Time: Compiled by John Disturnell, published by D. Van Nostrand-New York 1876.
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