Category Archives: History

New York History

Rumors, Legends, and Hoaxes in Early America


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ben_franklins_worldDid you know that George Washington’s favorite drink was whiskey?

Actually, it wasn’t.

Washington preferred Madeira, a fortified Portuguese wine from the island of Madeira.

Why the false start to our weekly exploration of history?

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Gregory Dowd, a Professor of History and American Culture at the University of Michigan, leads us on an exploration of rumors, legends, and hoaxes that circulated throughout early America. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/091

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Champlain Valley Passport Stamp Program Initiated


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champlain stamp 2016This summer, a treasure hunt of sorts awaits visitors to some of the region’s museums, natural areas and cultural attractions. The Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership (CVNHP) created a passport stamp program that directs people to places that exemplify the area’s rich, varied and unique natural and cultural heritage. People that visit all 11 participating locations will get a limited-edition “Find Your Park” challenge coin. Continue reading

Equal Pay for Women in 1870: The Charley Warner Solution


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1928 HdlineCWarner01Unequal pay for women ably performing the same jobs as men is unfair and idiotic. Why the sex of an employee reduces their pay should be a mystery to all, especially when most men can relate stories of male co-workers receiving equal pay despite being underperformers, shirkers, or just plain lazy. But the issue is nothing new. Faced with a need for self-supporting income in the 1870s, a northern New York woman didn’t wait for society to grant her equality. She instead chose her own path: going undercover in a man’s world. In doing so, she may have also found more happiness than anyone realized at the time. Continue reading

History Tour Across Lake Champlain Bridge Sunday


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crown point 1930On July 31, 2016, at 1 pm, a guided history walk across the Lake Champlain Bridge will be held. Attendees will meet at the Crown Point State Historic Site museum nestled between two colonial forts on the New York side of the bridge for the start of the tour. Allow at least two hours for this walk back and forth across the bridge.

Participants can learn about nearly 9,000 years of human history at this important and beautiful location on Lake Champlain. The channel with its peninsulas, or points, on each side made it one of the most strategic spots on Lake Champlain for the Native Americans for millennia, and for the French, British, and early Americans in the 17th and 18th centuries. Continue reading

Annual New Netherland Conference Being Held In NJ


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pavonia to the garden stateThe 39th Annual Conference of the New Netherland Institute will take place for the first time in the state of New Jersey.

Located between the Hudson and Delaware Rivers, New Jersey has often been neglected in favor of more dramatic developments to the east and west. However, as the site of Pavonia, an early patroonship with major agricultural potential, and as the geographic connection between New Amsterdam and the Delaware River settlements, the Garden State’s seventeenth-century origins well deserve attention. Continue reading

7th Annual Peterboro Emancipation Days August 6-7


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emancipation dayThe Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark (GSENHL) will be commemorating Emancipation Days Saturday and Sunday, August 6 and 7 with both traditional and new programs.

The event opens at 10 am with free parking and free registration at the Estate, followed by programs similar to those conducted in the 1920s and 1930s by a generation celebrating the emancipation of the generation before them. In 1925, more than 600 black men and women from Central New York made a pilgrimage to Peterboro, home of Gerrit Smith, to pay homage to abolitionists who fought for their freedom. Emancipation Day celebrations grew in later years, drawing crowds of more than 1,000 people, who came from Syracuse, Utica, Ithaca, Binghamton, Oswego and Fulton for parades, picnics and concerts. Although the practice faded after World War II, local descendants of freedom seekers are holding the Peterboro Emancipation Day celebration for the 7th year since its revival in 2010. Continue reading

Dannemora Escapee Jack Williams: At First, Too Big to Succeed


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DannPicketWall1880The one-year anniversary of the infamous Dannemora prison break recently passed, so here’s the story of an inmate linked to a pair of unusual breakouts, excerpted from my book, Escape from Dannemora.

Despite media stories claiming early on that Richard Matt and David Sweat were the first-ever escapees from Clinton Prison, some in the past did it in even more spectacular fashion, and overall, hundreds managed to escape under various circumstances. Among them was Jack Williams, a participant in two Clinton exits involving unusual components featured in no other Dannemora escapes. Continue reading

With ‘Leaves Torn Asunder’ An Adirondack Historian Turns Novelist


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leaves torn asunder book coverAfter two award-winning Adirondack non-fiction histories, author Glenn L. Pearsall of Johnsburg has turned novelist.

Leaves Torn Asunder: A Novel of the Adirondacks and the American Civil War was published by Pyramid Press of Utica.

Inspired by true events, Leaves Torn Asunder portrays a time rarely covered in Adirondack literature. Pearsall’s research included soldier diaries and letters, town enlistment and cemetery records, regimental histories, and visits to the exact places on Civil War battle sites where local men fought and died. Continue reading

New Albany Exhibit Features Works On Paper


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View of the South Part of Lexington. Plate IVThe Albany Institute of History & Art continues celebrating its 225th anniversary with the new exhibition, Masterworks: Paper, on view through October 16.

This exhibition showcases more than 150 rarely seen items from the Albany Institute’s library and museum collections that span more than three centuries. Sharing in common the medium of paper and close ties to Albany and the Capital Region, the objects in Masterworks: Paper illustrate diverse and eclectic themes, and tell stories that represent the personal and intimate as well as the historical and panoramic. Continue reading