The History of Buffalo: A Chronology
Buffalo, New York
1600-1799

1664
1679
1689

1721

1722
1759
1774
1775
1780
1785
1786
1788
1789
1790
1791
1792
1793
1794
1795
1797
1798
1800
1801
1802
1803
1804
1805
1806
1807
1808
1809
1810
1811
1812
1813
1814
1815
1816
1817
1818
1819
1820
1821
1822
1823
1824
1825
1826
1827
1828
1829
1830
1831
1832
1833
1834
1835
1836
1837
1838
1839
1840
1841
1843
1844
1845
1846
1847
1848
1849
1850
1851
1852
1853
1854
1855
1856
1857
1858
1859
1860
1861
1862
1863
1864
1865
1866
1867
1868
1869
1870
1871
1872
1873
1874
1875
1876
1877
1878
1879
1880
1881
1882
1883
1884
1885
1886
1887
1888
1889
1890
1891
1892
1893
1894
1895
1896
1897
1898
1899
1900
1901
1902
1903
1904
1905
1906
1907
1908
1909
1910
1911
1912
1913
1914
1915
1916
1917
1918
1919
1920
1921
1922
1923
1924
1925
1926
1927
1928
1945
1929
1930
1931
1932
1933
1934
1935
1936
1937
1938
1939
1940
1941
1942
1943
1944
1945
1946
1947
1948
1949
1950
1951
1952
1953
1954
1955
1956
1957
1958
1959
1960
1961
1962
1963
1964
1965
1966 1967
1968
1969
1970
1971
1972
1973
1974
1975
1976
1977
1978
1979
1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
INDEX

Date

Buffalo and US history

Geology and geography:


1492 Columbus arrives in New World.

The Erie and the Wenro are dominant residents of the Niagara Frontier.

C.1500

Iroquois Confederacy formed by the nations inhabiting New York State: Seneca, Mohawk, Oneida, Cayuga, Onondaga.

1534 Jacques Cartier, a French explorer, claims the St. Lawrence River Valley for France


1655 Erie Indians defeated decisively by the entire Iroquois Confederacy. Thereafter, Western New York is occupied predominately by Senecas

1664

King Charles II, the British monarch, gives territory, which included Buffalo, to James, Duke of York. At the time the entire Western New York region is inhabited by thousands of American Indians of the Neuter, Erie and Seneca nations. Baron LaHonton marks the Buffalo site on his 1687 exploration map as "Fort Suppose."


1678 Robert Cavelier Sieur de la Salle, explores much of the land from the St. Lawrence River to the Gulf of Mexico he claims all of this land, including the area that in now Buffalo, for France. This year also marks the beginning of French rule in the Niagara region.

1679

The Griffon
First sailing vessel - a 42-ton, two-masted ship -built by white men to sail the Great Lakes. Built at mouth of Cayuga Creek which empties into the Niagara river by La Salle, Father Hennepin and two score followers. La Salle uses it to to carry goods to Midwestern Indians in exchange for furs.

1684 The French begin construction of Fort Denonville (later replaced by Fort Niagara). Fort Denonville replaced Fort Conti, an older French fort. A portage system exists at this time that allows furs and other goods to be transported around the rapids and falls of the Niagara River to Lewiston, and then on to Quebec. A French portage station called "La Riviere aux Chevaux" is located on the Buffalo River next to the foot of what is now Court Street.

1689

French and Indian Wars (1689-1763): North American colonial wars between great Britain and France. Really campaigns in the worldwide struggle for empire. The stakes are Canada, the American West, and the West Indies. The British win.

Phases: King William's War 1689-97; Queen Anne's War 1702-13; King Gorge's War 1744; French and Indian War 1756-1760; Treaty of Paris 1763.

The Iroquois nation is divided; for example, the Senecas (with the British) fought the Mohawks.

1721

On May 9, a trading post, Le Magazin, is opened by Joncaire, at the future site of Fort Niagara.


1722

Tuscarora Indians, exiled by North Carolina colonists, move into New York to Ohagi (Crowding the Bank) near Piffard, making the Five Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy the Six Nations


1726 Fort Niagara is built on the site of Fort Denonville. At this time, it is known as "The Castle."

1750

1750s: Mostly French trappers and Native Americans inhabit the region. France had control of the area as a colony. The English colonies along the eastern seaboard are still developing but are claiming all land due west of them, even across the mountains. As English trappers and traders move into the French territory and compete, tensions grow. The French try to convince the Native American tribes that the English will take away their hunting grounds and thereby make allies of most of them.

1754 The beginning of the hostilities in the French and Indian Wars (1689-1763 brings George Washington into prominence as a leader of the Virginia forces, in spite of his defeat at Fort Necessity

1756 French and Indian Wars (1689-1763: On July 17, the British begin firing on Fort Niagara. On July 25, the French, under François Pouchot, surrender Fort Niagara to British and colonial forces.

The English King, George II, appoints Sir William Johnson to govern the area, ending the French rule of the Niagara Frontier.

The Iroquois Confederacy is divided; for example, the Senecas (allies of the British) fight the Mohawks.

See also 1689.


1758 The Frenchman, Chabert Joncaire, builds the first white settlement in the Buffalo area. This trading post consists of several buildings and is located at the foot of Michigan Avenue. It lasts for only one year.

1763

The end of the French and Indian Wars (1689-1763 brings concern from the victorious English Crown about how to handle the Indians and French settlers in the western region. The Proclamation Line of 1763, which is issued by the King of England, forbids any English settlers in the area west of the Appalachians, and permits trapping only by license. The proclamation also delineates the Ohio River as the southern border of Canada. This is one of many policy decisions that is disliked by the American colonists, and that leads to the American Revolution

1764 Sir William Johnson negotiates a peace treaty with the Senecas conveying a tract of land to the English King. The tract is 4 miles wide x 14 miles long on each side of the Niagara River and extends from the river's edge 4 miles inland perpendicular to the river's direction. This tract provides for a carrying place (portage) around Niagara Falls.

1774

On Mar 12, the Seneca Indian Otetiani (Red Jacket) tells the elders that a recent smallpox outbreak is the Great Spirit's punishment for their not proclaiming him a sachem. He is made one and given the name Sagoyewatha (He-Keeps-Them-Awake).

Red Jacket, a leader of the Seneca tribe of the Iroquois federation, enthusiastically greets US Commissioner Colonel Thomas Proctor, who comes to the Indian settlement in 1791 to solicit the Senecas' help in persuading their more hostile brethren in Ohio to become peaceful.

1775

American Revolution (1775-1783):

Approximately twenty pioneer families live within a ten-mile radius of what is now Buffalo.

The American Revolution is disastrous for the Iroquois Confederacy. The confederacy, as such, refuses to take part in the conflict but allows each tribe to decide for itself, and all the tribes, except for the Oneida, join the British.

The Seneca Indians, as allies of the British, are slaughtered and banished from their ancestral home in the Genesee Valley. By the conclusion of the war, approximately 2000 Senecas have migrated westward to Fort Niagara on Lake Ontario and then southward through what would be Buffalo, to their final resting place along the Buffalo Creek.

1779 Major-General John Sullivan and Brigadier-General James Clinton, sent by General George Washington, wage a military campaign against the Iroquois who side with the British during the Revolutionary War. The Clinton-Sullivan raids result in the destruction of many Native American villages and the massacre of their inhabitants. Some Native Americans, mostly Senecas who fled to Fort Niagara for protection,
perish in the cold outside the walls of the Fort.

1780

American Revolution: On Aug. 3, General George Washington gives Benedict Arnold the command at West Point.

1785

On Jan 11, US Congress begins convening in New York City.

1786

New York divides the Iroquois Confederacy lands with Massachusetts, which gets the land (preemptive rights), while New York gets political sovereignty.

1788

On Sept. 13, Congress schedules elections for the Presidency. New York City is declared the temporary capital of the U.S.



Sale of Indian lands:

In April, Massachusetts sells its 2,600,000 acres of its Western New York lands, at under 3 cents an acre, to Oliver Phelps, Nathaniel Gorham and other investors.

Against the desires of Red Jacket, but with the approval of the grand sachem Farmer's Brother, Phelps and Gorham pay the Seneca 2100 pounds ($5000) in cash and trade goods, plus a $500 annual payment for Western New York lands, which become part of the Military Tract, land set aside for veterans of the Revolution.

The Onondagas accept a reservation of a few square miles.

1789

On Mar 4, the First Constitutional Congress meets in New York City, without a quorum. The U. S. Constitution is declared to be in effect.

On Apr. 16, George Washington leaves Mount Vernon for New York City.

On Apr. 30, Washington is sworn in as the first President of the United States, on the front steps of Federal Hall.

George Washington hires surveyor Andrew Ellicott to help fix the southwestern boundary of the state, to settle ownership of the city of Erie. Andrew is helped by his brothers Joseph and Benjamin.

In about 1789, Cornelius Winney establishes a trading post at Buffalo Creek.

1790

On Feb. 11, Congress receives its first antislavery petitions.


On Mar. 1, Congress passes the Census Act, calling for a census every ten years.

1791

Holland Land Company:

Robert Morris (finance commissioner of the revolutionary government) buys four million acres of land lying between the Genesee and Niagara Rivers in Western New York from the state of Massachusetts: eastern boundary - Genesee River; western boundary - Niagara River; northern boundary - Lake Ontario; southern boundary - Pennsylvania.

Immediately thereafter, he sells the land to a private Dutch syndicate known as the Holland Land Company for $4 million. But before the deal could go through, extensive Indian claims on the land have to be canceled - and the "sachem" Red Jacket is opposed. See
1797

1792

On May 17, the New York Stock Exchange is formed beneath a buttonwood tree on Wall Street.

Sagoyewatha, a great orator and chief of the Seneca Nation, visits Philadelphia at the request of George Washington. Sagoyewatha gives a speech that explains the reason for friction between the western Indians and the government. George Washington is so impressed with the eloquence of Sagoyewatha that he has a special medal prepared for him. The medal is large and made of silver. On the front side, President Washington is approaching a tall Native American smoking a peace pipe with another Native American further off tending crops.

Sagoyewatha is proud of his medal and in his British red coat for which he was given the name "Red Jacket." However, the outcome of this promising beginning is the defeat of the western Indians and the erosion of Iroquois Indian lands by misleading advice of the white negotiators.

See also: 1797 , 1838

1793

On Nov. 25, an insurrection of slaves in Albany is put down after a number of buildings have been burned.

1794

First substantial house in Buffalo, built by Martin Middaugh, a Dutch cooper and the first mechanic in Buffalo, on the south side of Buffalo Creek, above the foot of Main Street. Middaugh died in this house in 1825.

1795

In January, Charles Williamson purchases the slave Hans, the first black in Bath, from Rensselaer Schuyler for $250.


1796

Joseph Hodge is the first free African-American to settle in the Buffalo area. He works as a trader and translator for white settlers and Native Americans.

Notes of Joseph Landon, A Surveyor Who Reached Buffalo Creek in 1796, and Settled here in 1806: "A man by the name of Winnie [Winne] and old black Joe kept a little whiskey shop on the margin of the Little Buffalo Creek in the rear of the mansion House."



Settlers in Buffalo in 1796:



The English surrender Fort Niagara to the Americans.

1797

Sept. 15, the Treaty of Big Tree (near Geneseo) is signed with the Senecas. They sell their 1.3 million acres of land to Robert Morris for $100,000, and are restricted to five reservations on the Niagara frontier: Tonawanda, Allegany, Cattaraugus and Tuscarora Reservations as well as Buffalo Creek Reservation (a few blocks from what would be the Buffalo harbor; by 1850, Buffalo Creek Reservation will be abandoned and cleared for development.).

Red Jacket is paid a $600 signing bonus and guaranteed $100 a year for life.

Former Indian captive Horatio Jones (Handsome Boy) acts as one of the interpreters.

Land around the area of the future Letchworth Park is ceded to Mary Jemison, over the protests of Red Jacket.

Morris's sale to the Holland Land Co. is now completed.


Parkside:

The present path of Main Street in what now the Parkside neighborhood is cut through the wilderness in 1797.

Stage coach houses are set every five miles. This route is used by settlers traveling from the village of Buffalo to outlying settlements such as Williamsville. In the early 1800's, the Parkside area will be known as Flint Hill. It will be the site of an army encampment in 1812 and hundreds of soldiers will be buried in the present meadow of Delaware Park. When the City of Buffalo is incorporated in 1832, this area north of the former village becomes known as Buffalo Plains.

Main Street will be paved in the 1830's and a toll gate erected at what is now Main and Kensington Avenue. The land along Main Street in Parkside will be farmed by Washington Adams Russell and by Daniel Chapin. These working farms will be succeeded by the estates of wealthy landowners such as Elam R. Jewett who will purchase "Willowlawn" in 1864.

1798

Holland Land Co. Survey (1798-1800):

The Holland Land Company establishes the hub for the area in Batavia and
hires Theophile Cazenove of Philadelphia as its agent. Cazenove hires Joseph Ellicott, brother of Andrew Ellicott who was surveyor general of the United States, to survey the lands and plan a village next to Buffalo Creek.

The survey of Western New York is a classic. Ellicott employs a party of 130 men that includes surveyors, draftsmen, cooks, ax men and camp keepers. He purchases food by the barrel: 270 of flour, 100 of pork and 15 of beef. The equipment is likewise on a grand scale: five boats, two ox teams, 35 pack horses, 100 pairs of horseshoes, 200 blankets, 30 regimental tents, 70 "falling" axes and 105 pairs of shoes. To keep a full record, he orders six large folio blank books, two "grosses" of black lead pencils, 1,000 Dutch quills and one "gross of binding".

Ellicott uses the spoke pattern for the village of New Amsterdam with Niagara Square as the center point. (His brother had been an assistant to Pierre L'Enfant who also used the spoke pattern in Washington, D.C.)


The approximate year pioneer William Johnston marries a Seneca Indian and is given two square miles of land at the mouth of Buffalo Creek. He is the first title holder of the Holland Land Company. He erects a sawmill and four other buildings.


In 1798, when it was called New Amsterdam, Buffalo's populationof 20 to 25 lives in half a dozen houses.




On Dec. 17, the news of former president George Washington's death three days earlier reaches New York City.

1799

 

See also:


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