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New York State Archives
Throughout the Ages
A Visual Document Resource

Questions: 1830s

Image. Erie Canal. Broadside.

Document 5. New York Canal Lands On Sale, Broadside.

This broadside (poster) was printed to advertise land for sale in north-central New York. Business people, called land speculators, bought large amounts of land and then tried to sell it to new settlers for a profit. Sometimes they were honest, and sometimes they were dishonest.

For example, sometimes they would say that land was near the Canal even when it wasn't! Owning land near the Canal could mean easy transportation for farm goods to town and city markets, resulting in more money for farmers.

What did the broadside say?

Link to printable version of this document


THE unsold part of that extensive tract bounded on the East end of Lake Ontario, extending North from the mouth of Salmon River, to the Towns of Henderson and Adams, watered by the Big Sandy and Little Sandy Creeks, and their innumerable tributary streams; every part of the tract being within one day's easy drive of the Erie Canal, at the Village of Rome, and at Salt Point or Salina, and will be accessible to it by water, (from the outlets on the Lake) as soon as it shall be united to the Lake at Oswego, which it is supposed it will be in two years.

That part of the tract more particularly recommended to the notice of Settlers of industrious and steady habits, includes the Town of Ellisburgh, and number one of Lorraine, forming the south-west part of the County of Jefferson; and the Township No. 10 of Richland, north of Salmon River, and Nos. 6, 7, and 11 of Orwell, making the north part of the County of Oswego.

It contains about two hundred thousand acres, more than one half of which is now under actual improvement, and a great portion of it paid for and deeded; and having been from 10 to 15 years regularly advancing in settlement, has a numerous population, and possesses most of the advantages of old countries, as to schools, public worship, mills, distilleries, mechanics, manufactories, &c

Betterments, or partially cleared farms, may be had reasonably. The price of wild lands has always been held very moderate, and will be continued so until the whole are settled. A reasonable chance as to pay will be afforded, and the same fair and liberal treatment toward settlers, as has been heretofore practiced, will be continued, of which information can be best obtained on the spot.

The present price (the choice as to quality allowed to the purchaser) is from two dollars fifty cents, to three, four, and five Dollars per acre, according to situation. The lowest rates are for Lands most distant from the Lake, and the Villages, which as they recede to the east, beyond the alluvial lands, gradually become more swelly and elevated; every part, however, is susceptible of cultivation, there not being a mountain or considerable hill on the tract.

The soil is strong and durable, adapted to grain, grass, and fruit trees. The more it is cultivated and known, the better it is esteemed. No country can possess a more healthy climate, or a greater abundance of living springs, and streams of the purest water, than this part of the tract; the prevailing Timber is a sufficient indication of the soil, being Sugar Maple, Beech, Ash, Elm, &c. the most profitable kinds for Ashes, which, if carefully saved, will defray the cost of clearing and fencing.

No part of the state of New-York is better adapted for Cattle; the air is so dry, and the temperature so uniform, that they do not require to be housed during any part of the winter; and vegetation becomes abundant for their support by the 15th to 25th of April; it is rarely, if ever, necessary to fodder after that date. The prosperous state of the settlement may be inferred from the fact, that more than two thousand head of horned Cattle, and Horses, have been received by the proprietor within the last three years, from settlers on this tract, in payment for Land, and sold in the southern district of this state, and will be continued, as heretofore, to be received in pay, together with Ashes, Grain, Pork, Butter, &c.

The direct route to these Lands, for those who come from the East, is through Utica and Rome. Settlers, on arrival, will find local agents and others, who will assist then to make selection of their Land, after which they will apply for writings to the General Land Office, at Ellisburgh, under the superintendence of William Constable Pierpont, son of the proprietor, who will also be present at several stated periods, in the course of the year, at which office any information will be afforded, and business transacted, relating to other tracts of Land, owned by the subscriber, also on sale, on moderate terms, and in prosperous course of settlement, in the adjoining Counties of Lewis, St. Lawrence, and Franklin. Apply to Agents in the respective towns - at the Land Office at Ellisburgh - or to the Subscriber, residing on Brooklyn Heights, opposite the City of New-York.


October, 1823

  1. What is a broadside?
  2. What is the broadside advertising?
  3. The person who is selling the land advertised in this Broadside is using the Erie Canal as a way to attract prospective buyers.
  4. Why might people want to buy land near the Erie Canal?
  5. Based on the information in this broadside, is the person who is advertising land for sale happy about having the Erie Canal near his or her property? Why?

Document 4 | Document 6