January 18: Seth Low

January 18: The only man elected mayor of the Cities of Brooklyn and New York, Seth Low, was born on this date in 1850. He funded the Low Memorial Library, on the campus of Columbia University, in memory of his father.

January 17: Lola Montez

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

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

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 13: Cortland Hempstead

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

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: Rev. Henry Ward Beecher

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

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.