Category Archives: History

New York History

Nathaniel Bowditch: 19th-Century Man of Business, Science, and the Sea


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ben_franklins_worldNathaniel Bowditch worked as a navigator, mathematician, astronomer, and business innovator. Over the course of his lifetime, his fellow Americans hailed him as the “American Sir Isaac Newton.”

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Tamara Thornton, a professor of history at the University of Buffalo and author of Nathaniel Bowditch and the Power of Numbers: How a Nineteenth-Century Man of Business, Science, and the Sea Changed America (UNCPress, 2016), leads us on a detailed exploration of the life of Nathaniel Bowditch. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/140

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Johnson Hall Market Fair July 15-16th


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18th century Johnson Hall Market FairThe 2017 18th Century Market Fair at Johnson Hall State Historic Site will be held on the historic 18th century Johnson estate on July 15 and 16 from 10 am to 4 pm, rain or shine.

Throughout both days colonial sutlers (vendors) will offer their wares for sale. Demonstrations of 18th century daily life will add to the event, including an encampment, period dram (tavern) demo and colonial toys and games. In the slave quarters, culinary historian and hearth cooking specialist Lavada Nahon will demonstrate open-hearth cooking and interpret historic African and African-American food ways. Continue reading

Neil Litchfield, Lewis County’s Master Comedian


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One of the most popular stars of vaudeville more than a century ago was a native of Lewis County who capitalized on peoples’ love of laughing at themselves. An eloquent speaker with perfect diction, he rose to fame portraying simple farm folks and other characters. It was humor based close to home, for he was born and raised in Turin, a township whose population today remains under 800. While traveling the United States, he returned frequently to visit friends and family, while also performing in the North Country.

He was known to all as Neil Litchfield, but some sleuthing was necessary initially to uncover his story, for he at times went by the names Allen and Cornelius (the latter of which “Neil” was extracted from). They all proved to be one and the same person — Cornelius Allen Litchfield.

He was born in April 1855, educated in Lewis County schools, and attended Cornell University in Ithaca, about 100 miles south of his hometown. College opened up a world of possibilities, and it was there that Neil discovered and developed a deep interest in elocution, defined as “the skill of clear and expressive speech, especially of distinct pronunciation and articulation.” This became his passion, and during his college years, particularly as a junior and senior, he conducted numerous public readings in northern and central New York. Continue reading

Alexander and Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton Events Planned In Albany


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A painting of Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton From Friday, July 14, 2017 to Sunday, July 16, 2017, Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site in conjunction with the Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society will host a series of events and lectures about Alexander Hamilton and his wife, Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, on the mansion grounds.

The festivities begin Friday evening at 5:30 pm with an open reception on mansion grounds and conclude with a walking tour of Albany on Sunday morning. Admission for each day’s activities is $5 per person. Registration for lectures and the walking tour are required as space is limited. Continue reading

Civil War Weekend at Robert Moses State Park July 29-30


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slcha childrens musterThe St. Lawrence County Historical Association will hold their annual Civil War Reenactment Weekend at Robert Moses State Park, Massena.

The 16th annual Reenactment will take place Saturday and Sunday July 29-30.

Union and Confederate reenactors will stage mock battles, perform military drills, talk about camp life, and demonstrate cooking, spinning, ladies’ aid, cannon firing, and medical practices. Continue reading

New York History Around The Web This Week


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Grant Opportunities Workshop Planned For Corning July 13th


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Grant WorkshopHumanities New York, The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes, and the Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes are co-presenting a free workshop on July 13, 2017 featuring an information session, activity, and  time for networking and Q&A.

Each organization will give a brief overview of the funding opportunities that they administer and their application processes.

The second half of the workshop will be an interactive grant-writing seminar. The presenters will give tips on how to prepare a competitive application, and participants will work in groups to develop a proposal idea. Continue reading