New York City – How Great Grandmother Took Her Outing In 1810

My home was in Maiden Lane. When the summer came I usually went to Jamaica to visit my relatives. Jamaica is twelve miles from Brooklyn and it took the whole afternoon to make the journey.

I took my clothing in a round band box with a muslin cover that closed up with strings top and bottom. This held all I needed for a month, for young people had not as many clothes then as now. My dress was of calico and I carried a small cotton shawl. I also had a thin muslin dress with cape to match. Sometimes those capes were lined with a colored silk, pink or blue.

I would walk down Maiden Lane to the East River where five or six rowboats were waiting to carry passengers to Brooklyn. These were rowed by one man or sometimes two. When we landed we took a stage to Jamaica. These were stage coaches, but were called stages. They were driven by Caleb Mills and Johnny Drawyer. They started at two o’clock and did not reach Jamaica until dusk. They stopped at a half-way house to rest and water the horses and to give the passengers a drink.

There was a famous school in Jamaica then for boys, kept by a Mr. Eigenbrodt, and many of the residents took the pupils into their families to board. The Hon. Rufus King had a country house in Jamaica. I remember that the Presbyterian Church which I attended stood directly in the middle of the road and the clergyman was old Parson Faitoute.

Sometimes I went to Flatbush to visit. I had one summer a white sprigged muslin dress with lilac ribbons round my waist, lilac kid shoes and lilac kid gloves to my elbow and a bag like my dress, drawn up with lilac ribbons to wear on my visit. I felt very fine, I assure you, and I can remember that my hostess made me come in out of the garden lest I should spoil my pretty shoes.

I also occasionally went to Newark for a summer visit, for Newark was only a country village then. I spent a winter there with my cousin and went to school, and while I was there Mr. Jacob Burnett moved out to Cincinnati, which was in the Territory of Ohio. He went out in a wagon. The journey took six weeks and he carried his provisions with him. He built the first house in Cincinnati. This long journey into the Far West made a great talk. Not long after this steamboats commenced running, but they were not at all such as we are used to now. They were very small affairs. To go to Newark I went from the foot of Cortlandt Street by the boat to Powles Hook, now Jersey City. At the Cortlandt Street wharf and at the Hook there were floating docks. They were considered a wonderful invention and half the town used to gather there to see the wonderful sight of the dock rising to meet the boat.