January 19: Alfred Van Derwerken, whose epitaph at Green-Wood simply reads, “He Loved Nature,” died on this date in 1906.
January 17: “The Spanish Dancer,” Lola Montez, who achieved worldwide fame for her affairs with the rich and famous, died penniless in Queens on this date in 1861.
January 16: Edward Brush Fowler, who led the 14th Brooklyn in battle during the Civil War, and was brevetted a major general “for gallant and meritorious services,” died on this date in 1896. He is memorialized in a heroic bronze that stands at Lafayette Avenue and South Portland Street in Brooklyn.
January 15: Daniel Tompkins Van Buren, born on this date in 1826, goes on to graduate from West Point, serve in the Mexican and Civil Wars, and be brevetted a brigadier general for “faithful and meritorious services during the Rebellion.”
January 14: Juliet Corson, who in 1876 opened the first full-fledged cooking school in America, was born on this date in 1841.
January 13: The Steamboat “Lexington” burns in Long Island Sound on January 13, 1840; 139 of the 143 people on board die. Cortland Hempstead, the ship’s chief engineer who died in the disaster, now lies beneath a gravestone decorated with a carving of the ship on fire.
January 12: John Matthews, “The Soda Fountain King,” who pioneered the flavoring of carbonated water, died on this date in 1870. His Green-Wood monument, dressed with gargoyles, soon wins “Mortuary Monument of the Year.”
January 11: The Beecher-Tilton trial, the “Trial of the Century” in which Theodore Tilton sued “The Great Divine,” Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, for having had an affair with Tilton’s wife, begins.
January 10: John Wolfe Ambrose, who mapped New York Harbor, and for whom the Ambrose Lightship, long-stationed at the mouth of New York Harbor, was named, was born on this date in 1838. That ship survives at South Street Seaport.