the rivers frozen
Severe weather. -- The present winter thus far has exhibited a greater degree of steady cold than any within the recollection of the oldest inhabitants. Both the East and North Rivers are closed, and the whole of the Bay to Staten Island presents almost of solid sheet of ice. But as the weather has this morning very much moderated, this state of things cannot exist long. This forenoon, Mr. Joseph Seguine, and several others, left this city, at 10 o'clock, for Staten Island, on the ice. Should they accomplish the undertaking, it will be the first time it has been done since the year seventeen hundred & eighty, when cannon were transported from this city on the ice to that place. The North River from Courtlandt street to Powles’ Hook dock, has been accurately measured this morning, by Mr. Robert L. Stevens, with a chain, and it turns out to be one mile, one chain and forty-seven links, instead of one mile and three quarters, as has been heretofore represented. The following thermometrical observations are copied from the morning papers.
The weather. -- Yesterday morning, the thermometers on the North River side of the town, in most exposed situations, stood at 8 and 9 degrees below zero. *** In the afternoon the wind subsided, and there was some abatement of the cold last evening. The North river was frozen over in the morning, and the mail was brought across upon the ice, which remained immoveable by the tide, and in the afternoon had become so strong that hundreds of persons crossed upon it to and from Powles' Hook. The Bay between Governor's, Gibbet and Ellis' Islands presented a sheet of ice, and there was no communication with Staten Island during the day. -- The R[hode] Island sloop mentioned yesterday, as being in the ice near Buttermilk channel, is the Montgomery. She remained last evening in the same place frozen up.
The Hoboken horse ferry boat, which we stated had got into Whitehall dock on Wednesday evening, lost her rudder when near the dock, and was drifted below Governor's island and remains frozen in near Red Hook. There were 57 persons and 23 horses on board, who reached the land across the ice yesterday morning, after being exposed for 20 hours to the intense cold, without the least refreshment and no other fire than was made in a small foot stove belonging to a woman on board. The horses appeared to suffer most. N-Y Evening Post, January 26, 1821, p. 2, cols. 4-5
George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern Univ. Pr., 1998.