Saturday, March 7, 2009

U.S. Transportation Historical Tid-Bits (1)

Topic: New York City Area 1611-1667

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The first trading ships between Manhattan, or New Amsterdam, and Holland were the "Little Fox'' and the "Little Crane," which were brought here in 1611 upon a speculating trading voyage, and spent a, considerable time in bartering the trinkets and other trifies, so much coveted by the Indians for beaver and peltry, of which the country afforded a bountiful supply at the time. The adventure was a great success for the promoters, and we .find the "Little Fox" making several voyages to the river at later dates. This vessel was the first one built at New Amsterdam, was 44 1-2 feet long, 16 1-2 feet wide and 16 tons burden and named "Onrest." She was used in exploring the coast for a distance to the north of Long Island Sound, and it was in this vessel that Capt. Block was the first, it is thought, of any Europeans, to have visited Block Island, that lies at the entrance of Long Island Sound.

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The earliest known manifest of a vessel clearing from the port of New Earliest York is in a report made November 4, 1626, to the States-General of Known the arrival in Amsterdam of the ship Arms of Amsterdam, which sailed Manifest from New Netherland out of the river Mauritius on the 23d of September from the Port .. Her cargo comprised 7,246 beaver skins, a mixed lot of about of New York 1,000 skins,—otter, mink, wildcat, and muskrat,—and considerable oak timber and hickory. The value of the cargo was between $25,000 and $50,000 of our money.

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First ferry between Manhattan and Brooklyn in operation.

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Fulton Ferry: The First Ferry between New York and Brooklyn, or New Amsterdam and Breukelen, as the two places were then called, was established in the year 1642, by Cornelius Dircksen, who owned a farm and kept a country inn near where Peck Slip now is. He came at the sound of a horn that hung against a tree, and ferried the waiting passengers across the river in his little skiff for the moderate charge of three stivers in waumpum."

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Fulton Ferry: It is recorded that "on the 10th of October, 1653, an ordinance was passed by the government of New Amsterdam, regulating the rates of ferriage at three stivers each for foot passengers, except Indians, who paid six, unless there were two or more." As the Indians were charged more than the pale faces, it is likely that they ferried themselves over when possible, and that thus originated the saying, "Paddle your own canoe."

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In 1654 a ferry was established from Peck slip, in New Amsterdam, the ferry on the Brooklyn shore. At first it was under the city's control, but in 1658 it was leased to a private individual for 300 guilders a year. From the ferry on the Brooklyn side there was a road to Flatbush, which corresponded very nearly with the present lower Fulton street. Up to this time the people of Brooklyn had been without a church or a minister, but in 1654 the Rev. Johannes Theodorus Polhemus came to Flatbush, where a small wooden church had been erected. Dominie Polhemus preached every Sunday morning at Flatbush, and in the afternoons at Brooklyn and Flatlands alternately.

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Fulton Ferry: The ferry became a source of revenue to the city over the river as far back as 1658. It is recorded that "On the 19th of March, 1658, the ferry was put up at auction, and leased to Hermanus Van Bossom for three years at three hundred guilders ($120) a year." Some few years afterward, the ferry lease was mortgaged for fifteen years in order to replenish the exchequer of New Amsterdam.

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Ferry service, on the western side of Manhattan, across the Hudson to Jersey City, was begun in 1661 by another Dutchman, William Jansen. If the traveler were in a hurry, Jansen carried extra oars so he could row too, but with no discount in price.

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There was a Harlem River ferry in 1667.



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