Learning About New York Part XVIII

Fort Hill Cemetery, containing about thirty acres, was established in 1851. It includes the site of the principal Indian village in this section, including their ancient sacrificial mound and fortification. This place, the highest land in the vicinity, is beautifully laid out in walks, trees and shrubbery. In the center of the grounds is an obelisk erected to the memory of Logan, the celebrated Mingo chief, who is supposed to have been born here. On a marble tablet inserted into the monument are inscribed the closing words of his celebrated speech: "Who is there to mourn for Logan!"

Logan Monument

The famous speech of Logan was delivered at the close of Dunmore's war, in the year 1774. "It was uttered in a private interview with Gen. Gibson, who had been sent as an envoy to the Shawnee towns near the site of Chillicothe, Ohio. After weeping as if his very heart would burst, he told the pathetic story of his wrongs in those memorable words, which, as a most touching effusion of mingled pride, courage and sorrow, will never be forgotten.

Rochester, city, capital of Monroe county, and port of entry, is built on both sides of Genesee River, 7 miles from the entrance into Lake Ontario, by railroad, 252 miles west of Albany, 70 from Buffalo, and 7 from Charlotte, at the mouth of Genesee River, the port of the city. It is the largest city on the line of the Central Railroad and Erie Canal, and is the point of divergence of the railroad lines to Buffalo and Niagara Falls. The city is handsomely built, and is laid out with general regularity, having wide streets, many of which are lined with shade trees. The site rests on a bed of limestone a few feet below the surface, and is much used for building purposes. The city is chiefly remarkable for its extensive flour mills and the large trade it enjoys both by the canal and railroads. The mills here have a capacity of grinding 800,000 barrels of flour per annum, and the aggregate capital invested is $800,000. Flour barrels to the number of 240,000 are annually made here. Since the decline of the wheat crop in Western New York, much of the water power here is used for other purposes. The culture of fruit and ornamental trees is now an important business of the city, and the nurseries are among the most extensive in the country. It has many fine public buildings, among which are the new Court House, Rochester University, the Western House of Refuge, the Arcade, the Baptist Theological Seminary, etc. Rochester enjoys unlimited water power, the river failing, in the course of three miles, 226 feet, with three perpendicular leaps of 96, 20 and 75 feet. The Genesee Falls, within the city, descend perpendicularly 96 feet. Population is about 50,000.

Rochester is one of the most remarkable instances of a rapid and vigorous growth as a city in the Atlantic states. In the year 1810, there was not a house where Rochester now stands. In January, 1813, Pagan rites were performed by the Senecas, by their "white dog sacrifice," on the spot where so many Christian temples have since been erected.

The first allotments for a village were made in 1812, when Nathaniel Rochester, Charles H. Carroll and William Fitzhugh surveyed the hundred acre tract for a settlement, under the name of "Rochester," after the name of the senior proprietor. This tract was a "mill lot" bestowed by Phelps and Gorham on a semi-savage, called Indian Allen, as a bonus for building mills to grind corn and saw boards for the few settlers in this region at the time. The mills decayed, there not being business enough to support them, and Allen sold the property to Sir William Pultney, whose estate then included a large portion of the "Genesee country." The sale to Rochester, Fitzhugh and Carroll took place in 1802.

Lockport, the capital of Niagara county, is a flourishing place on the Erie Canal, and on the Rochester, Lockport and Niagara Falls Railroad, 20 miles from Niagara Falls, 63 west of Rochester, 31 from Buffalo and 260 from Albany. Lockport derives its name from the vast lockage here required to overcome the descents necessary for the canal. The water here descends from the level of Lake Erie to the Genesee level by ten double combined locks of massive masonry in the best style of workmanship. Water in any desirable quantity may be obtained from the Erie level and returned to the canal, 60 feet below, without any detriment to the navigation. The great water power obtained at Lockport is extensively used for various manufacturing purposes, among which are those of flour and lumber mills, cotton and woolen fabrics, etc. In the construction of the canal, a barrier of solid limestone has been excavated for about three miles. Large quarries of limestone and sandstone flagging are worked. Population is about 13,000.

Niagara Falls, a post village of about 2,000 inhabitants, is in the immediate vicinity of the great cataract. Distant, by railroad, 22 miles from Buffalo and 76 from Rochester.

Suspension Bridge is a post village of about 1,000 inhabitants, 2 miles below the Falls. At this point the International Railroad Suspension Bridge has been thrown across the river to connect the Great Western Railroad of Canada with the several railroads of New York. The bridge is a single span of 800 feet in length, raised 230 feet above the river and supported by four wire cables 9 inches in diameter, with an ultimate capacity of sustaining 10,000 tons; it cost $400,000. The following description is from Dinsmore's Rail Guide:

Niagara Falls, or, as the Indians term it, O-ni-au-ga-rah, "The Thunder of Water," are situated on the Niagara River, which commences at Lake Erie, and discharges the waters of the great upper lakes, Superior, Michigan, Huron and Erie, which contain nearly half the fresh water on the surface of the globe, into Lake Ontario. Niagara River, as it flows from Lake Eric, is about three fourths of a mile wide, and has for three miles a rapid current, and then becomes smooth and placid till within one mile of the Falls. In its course, the river embraces numerous islands, among them Navy Island, famous during the Canadian rebellion, in 1837, having been for a time occupied by the insurgents, headed by William L. McKenzie. A mile above the Falls commence the Rapids, which have a descent of about fifty-seven feet, forming white-crested breakers and a dashing and foaming torrent. The whole mighty river comes rushing over the brow of a hill, and as yon look up it seems coming down to overwhelm you, and so it rushes on, whirling, boiling, dancing, sparkling along with a fearful impatience rather than overwhelming fury, rejoicing as if escaped from bondage rather than raging in angry might--wildly, magnificently beautiful. The height of the fall is one hundred and sixty feet, and it is estimated that more than a hundred millions of tons of water per hour are precipitated into the confused cauldron beneath, with a solemn and tremendous roar, ordinarily heard from five to twenty miles, but has in some instances been heard at Toronto, forty-five miles distant, and yet at the city on the American shore, near the cataract, there is little to give notice of its awful proximity. The distance around the Horse Shoe Fall, on the Canada side, is one hundred and forty-four rods; directly across is seventy-four rods. Goat Island divides the river into two parts, and forms the American Fall, which, though sublime, inclines to the beautiful, while the Canada Fall, though beautiful, is characterized by an overpowering sublimity. The number of visitors at the falls is said to be about 40,000 annually, and the number is increasing. There are good hotels on both sides of the river, but the Clifton House, on the Canada side, commands the best views; and the grounds adjoining being laid out with such exquisite taste attract to this hotel visitors in search of either health or pleasure.

Niagara Falls, from the American side.

In the immediate vicinity of the falls were fought the sanguinary battles of Chippewa and Niagara, in the second war with Great Britain. The battle of Chippewa took place at the village of that name, on the Canada side, two miles above the cataract, July 6, 1814. The history of these battles we annex from Perkins' Late War:

Battle of Chippewa--On the morning of the 4th, Gen. Scott advanced with his brigade and corps of artillery, and took a position on the Chippewa plain, half a mile in front of the village, his right resting on the river and his front protected by a ravine. The British were encamped in force at the village. In the evening Gen. Brown joined him with the reserve under Gen. Ripley, and the artillery commanded by Maj. Hindman. Gen. Porter arrived the next morning with the New York and Pennsylvania volunteers, and a number of Indians of the Six Nations. Early in the morning of the 5th, the British commenced a firing on the pickets. Captain Trott, who commanded one of them, hastily retreated, leaving one of his men wounded on the ground. General Brown instantly ordered him to retire from the army, and directed Captain Biddle to assume the command of the picket, lead it back to the ground, and bring off the wounded man, which he accomplished without loss. At four in the afternoon, General Porter advanced, taking the woods in order to conceal his approach, and in the hope of bringing their pickets and scouting parties between his line of march and the American camp. In half an hour his advance met the light parties of the British in the woods on the left. These were driven in, and Porter, advancing near Chippewa, met the whole British force approaching in order of battle. General Scott, with his brigade and Towser's artillery, met them on the plain, in front of the American encampment, and was directly engaged in close action with the main body. General Porter's command now gave way and fled in every direction, by which Scott's left flank was entirely uncovered. Captain Harris, with his dragoons, was ordered to stop the fugitives at the ravine and form them in front of the camp. The reserve was now ordered up, and General Ripley passed to the woods in left of the line to gain the rear of the enemy, but before this was effected General Scott had compelled the British to retire. Their whole line now fell back, and were eagerly pursued by the Americans. As soon as they reached the sloping ground descending toward the village, their lines broke and they regained their works in disorder. The American troops pursued until within reach of the guns from the works, when they desisted and returned to their camp. The British left two hundred dead on the ground, ninety four wounded, beside those in the early part of the action who were removed back to the camp, and fourteen prisoners. The American loss was sixty killed, and two hundred and sixty-eight wounded and missing.

[Note : A British writer, in describing this battle, says: "Numerous as were the battles of Napoleon, and brave as were his soldiers, I do not believe that even he, the greatest warrior that ever lived, can produce an instance of a contest so well maintained, or, in proportion to the numbers engaged, so bloody as that of Chippewa. The important fact is that we have got an enemy who fights as bravely as ourselves."

The distinguishing feature of this conflict was the charge of the bayonet by Scott's brigade, in which the British were defeated by this, their own especial weapon. Mansfield, in his comments on the action at Chippewa, says: "A charge, in military phrase, is said to be made when either party stops firing, throws bayonets forward, and advances to the shock, whether the enemy receive it or fly. An actual crossing of bayonets, therefore, is not indispensable to the idea of a charge. To suppose it is, is a mistake. Another popular error is, that the parties come up to the shock in parallel lines. Such a case has rarely, if ever, occurred. Each commander always seeks by maneuvering to gain the oblique position, and, if possible, to outflank his enemy. At Chippewa, only a few files crossed bayonets at a time, and, from the force of position, there were two or three effective American to one British bayonet, at each successive step. As the enemy advanced, he necessarily became more and more outflanked. This enabled each wing from the first to double some files on the enemy's rear. The flanks so assailed rapidly crumbled away. The process was short. In a few minutes the whole British army broke and fled."
When Scott ordered the charge, he called out to McNeil's battalion, which had not a recruit in it, being composed entirely of men drilled up to the very severest discipline, "The enemy say that we are good at long shot but can not stand the cold iron! I call upon the Eleventh instantly to give the lie to that slander! Charge!"]

The battle of Niagara, Bridgewater or Lundy's Lane, as it has variously been designated, took place on the 25th of the same month, on an obscure road called Lundy's Lane, about a mile westward from the Niagara cataract.

Website: The History Box.com
Article Name: Learning About New York State Part XVIII
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Our whole country; or, The past and present of the United States, historical and descriptive. In two volumes By John Warner Barber ... and Henry Howe ...Cincinnati, H. Howe, 1861.
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