• Canal Check Signed By Notable New Yorkers Involved In War Of 1812, Civil War, Steam Boat Operated By Blacks

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    As the United States expanded into western New York and the Northeast Territory, the Great Lakes became an essential part of the system of waterways on which merchants did most of their shipping. The Canal Commission was created to oversee the project of building canals. The New York State Legislature appointed in 1810 a Commission to Explore a Route for a Canal to Lake Erie.

    Check made out to THOMAS W. OLCOTT, endorsed on the verso by him and signed by three additional notable Americans for $15,000 “for balance of Loan to Bank of Ithaca. Cancellation cuts at the top and bottom, affecting very little.

    THOMAS WORTH OLCOTT was born in Hudson, NY, on May 22, 1795. He began working for the Columbia Bank of Hudson at a young age and at 16, went to work for the Mechanics and Farmers Bank, serving as junior clerk.  In 1817, he became a cashier and from 1836 until his death served as the president.  He skills in banking were well known. President Lincoln offered him the position of Comptroller of the Currency, but he declined. U.S. Secretary of State Salmon Chase often consulted him on issues relating to the national banking system. Olcott was sympathetic to African Americans. He served as secretary for Schuyler’s Steam Tow Boat Line, a business operated by the “black Schuylers” whose lineage could be traced back to a former slave of Philip Schuyler.  [Olcott’s papers are housed at Columbia University.]

    AZARIAH FLAGG arrived in Pattsburg, NY, in October 1811. He joined the Clinton County militia and, during the War of 1812, fought in the 36th Regiment of the New York Militia of Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mooers’ militia division.  Flagg became a militia lieutenant in a small scouting detachment of teenage boys from the Plattsburgh Academy raised by Captain Marin James Aikin. Underage solders were called Aiken’s volunteers since they were too young to enlist and the captain’s name as their sponsor was recorded in a muster roll. The Aiken’s Volunteer Rifle Company was praised for not falling back in disorder during encounters with the British in the Battle of Plattsburgh. In 1826, Congress awarded each of them, including Flagg, one rifle with a plate containing an appropriate inscription.  Flagg served in a number of elected offices. In 1839, Martin Van Buren appointed him as Postmaster of Albany. He was also commissioner of the Canal Fund.

     JOHN ADAMS DIX (July 24, 1798 – April 21, 1879) was an politician, military officer and served as President James Buchanan’s Secretary of the Treasury, Governor of New York and Union Major General during the Civil War. He was notable for arresting pro-Southern Maryland General Assembly, preventing the divided border state from seceding and arranging a system for prisoner exchange, concluded in partnership with Confederate Major General Daniel Harvey Hill.

    ABRAHAM KEYSER JR. was an American politician, a member of the New York State Assembly and New York State Treasurer.

    Expected toning. Cancellation cuts, affecting very little.

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