On Thursday, April 27, from 7 pm to 9 pm. at the Senior Center (next to the Florida Library), at 4 Cohen Circle in Florida, NY, Civil War historian and re-enactor Yvonne Bigney will tell the story of 12 year-old Johnny Clem’s experience in the Battle of Chickamauga.
Clem was one of many children who served in the Civil War. In 1863, escaped slave, “Contraband Jackson”, served as a drummer boy and stretcher-bearer in the 79th Infantry Regiment – U.S. Colored Troops. It was an all-black unit that incurred heavy casualties. Fifteen year-old Tillie Pierce served as a nurse at Gettysburg. They were just three of the thousands of boys and girls engaged in the Civil War; whether on the front lines or back home, active in vital adult roles that would astonish us today. Continue reading
For a few hours on the night of October 7, 1862 in the village of Binghamton, N.Y., law and order vaporized when a mob of white men attacked black residents, their homes, and their churches. The trigger for this race riot was an interracial fight at the circus in town. According to the Broome Republican, the rioters’ expressed goal was to “clean the negroes out.”
Right after the circus performances ended, “all the colored persons present” were attacked. Many suffered bloody injuries at the hands – and stones and clubs – of 20 to 30 rioters. There was no organized resistance as the victims fled for safety. In addition, there were no arrests, or police presence or response. Continue reading
The Smithfield Community Association’s Civil War Weekend Committee is preparing for the 25th annual Peterboro event June 9 to 11, 2017. The event began a quarter century ago to raise funds to repair the Smithfield Community Center and to bring attention to Peterboro’s history.
Thanks to volunteers and sponsors, the event has raised money to continue to upgrade community buildings and acquire the Gerrit Smith Estate, as well as promote the history of Peterboro. Continue reading
We will celebrate Presidents’ Day next month, on February 20. But we don’t celebrate Governors’ Day or anything similar. If we did, we might note the contributions of New York’s three Civil War governors — Edwin Morgan (R, 1859-1863) Horatio Seymour (D, 1863-1865) and Reuben Fenton (R, 1865-1869). All three were nationally known leaders at the time. Seymour was a critic of the wartime draft and other Lincoln administration domestic policies. Morgan and Fenton both went on to become United States Senators from our state, where they also played leadership roles. Seymour ran for president in 1868, losing to Ulysses S. Grant. Continue reading
In the decade before the Civil War, Northern Democrats, although they represented antislavery and free-state constituencies, made possible the passage of such pro-slavery legislation as the Compromise of 1850 and Fugitive Slave Law of the same year, the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, and the Lecompton Constitution of 1858.
In Northern Men with Southern Loyalties: The Democratic Party and the Sectional Crisis (Cornell University Press, 2016) author Michael Todd Landis contends that a full understanding of the Civil War and its causes is impossible without a careful examination of Northern Democrats and their proslavery sentiments and activities. Continue reading
Recently in this column appeared the story of Selden Clobridge, a teenage Civil War soldier from Turin, New York, whose battlefield career ended at the grand old age of 18 after multiple wounds that included limb loss. About 85 miles northeast of Turin, an even younger soldier took it to the extreme, receiving his discharge from the army before he became a teenager.
William R. Bastin was born in December in the town of Lawrence, near the St. Lawrence County line, east of Potsdam. A headstone gives his birth year as 1852, which corresponds with his age in three of six census records and his obituary. Other census records disagree by a year, suggesting he was born in 1851—but by any measure, he was far too young to become a soldier.
When William enlisted at Malone on September 14, 1864, he gave his age as 16. But by most indications, including interviews as an adult, he was actually three months shy of twelve years old when he joined the army, purportedly as a drummer boy. Things didn’t work out as expected, though, and he instead became a child soldier. Continue reading
On Thursday evening, October 27, from 7 pm to 9 pm, Civil War re-enactor and historian Carolyn Ivanoff will present “Ghosts of Gettysburg Battlefield,” at the Florida Senior Center, in Florida NY.
Ivanoff will provide an overview and description of the three day battle, along with maps, and contemporary and period photographs. Continue reading
The Tompkins County Civil War Commission has dedicated a memorial to Civil War Nurses. Located on the Tompkins Cortland Community College campus, off of Route 13 in Dryden, New York, the memorial honors the sacrifice and bravery of those women who went to war: from the very first nurse, Susan Hall from the Town of Ulysses, who served through out the war, to those who served in camp and hospital at a time when it was believed that “war was no place for a woman.” The sculptures were created by artist Rob Licht. Continue reading
The Almanzo Wilder Homestead’s annual Harvest Festival and Civil War Living History Encampment will take place on September 24th at the farm in Burke, NY.
Saturday’s festivities will include pumpkin painting, 19th century games and scarecrow stuffing for children, and a variety of craft and farm market vendors. There will be on-site demonstrations of spinning, shingle making, blacksmithing, and others. Children are invited to participate in the scavenger hunt in the barns. The Wilder buildings will all be open from 10 am to 4 pm for self-guided tours. Continue reading
A pair of North Country men, born just a few miles apart in Jefferson County, left New York in their adult years and settled about 65 miles apart in Illinois, where each left his lasting mark. Together, their names were also attached to an institution in Arkansas that lives on nearly a century and a half later.
John Budlong was born in February 1833 in Rodman, New York, about eight miles south of Watertown. The Budlong family has many historical connections dating back to the Revolutionary War. John attended several of the best schools in the region: the Rodman Seminary, the Jefferson County Institute at Watertown, the Adams Institute, and Falley Seminary at Fulton in Oswego County. At the age of 18 he began a wide-ranging teaching career, working in North Carolina, Texas, and Missouri before returning to Rodman, where he continued teaching and began studying law. Continue reading