Tag Archives: Fulton County

The Mystery of William Johnson’s ‘Fish House’

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47One of the real pleasures in researching and writing When Men and Mountain Meet was exploring the actual sites of the historic places mentioned in my book: the little town of Castorland on the Black River, the LeRay Mansion at Fort Drum, Gouverneur Morris’ Mansion at Natural Dam and David Parish’s house, now the Remington Art Museum, in Ogdensburg. And then there was finding Zephaniah Platt’s grave in the Riverside Cemetery in Plattsburgh, in Lake Placid the site of the 1813 Elba Iron and Steel Manufacturing works , Charles Herreshoff’s flooded iron ore mine in Old Forge and the complex of building foundations that made up John Thurman’s 1790 development at Elm Hill.

There was one site, however, that was a little harder to locate than the others; Sir William Johnson’s fishing camp “Fish House”. Continue reading

Old Time Utica Ballplayer George Burns

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George J Burns in 1913Sports enthusiast Mike Hauser has a personal stake in advocating National Baseball Hall of Fame status for George Joseph Burns, who played his best years with the New York Giants. Burns was the brother of Hauser’s great-grandfather on his mother’s side.

Burns is being inducted into the Fulton County Baseball and Sports Hall of Fame on July 11th during the annual vintage baseball game. Continue reading

Robert Fulton Lecture At Adirondack Museum

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AdirondackMuseum-CabinFeverSundays_Feb22_SteamboatFulton(OldForge)In the fourth installment of the Adirondack Museum’s Cabin Fever Sundays series, New York Council for the Humanities speaker Robert Arnold III will explore the legacy of Robert Fulton, the creator of the first commercially successful steamboat.

Arnold will address the ways Fulton’s steamboat helped to catalyze the expansion of steam power into the energy source that propelled America’s Industrial Revolution.  Fulton was a talented artist and inventor who also devised canal locks used in Britain, and the first workable submarine (for Napoleon Bonaparte). Continue reading

The Historians Podcast: Fulton County Murders

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The Historians LogoThis week on “The Historians” podcast, an interview with Gloversville Leader Herald columnist and former Fulton County historian Peter Betz on murders most foul. Betz says his readers react the most to crime tales in his bi-weekly history column. In a 1934 murder, a nurse kept her wits about her, but her friend, a popular Gloversville shoe salesman, died anyway.  Listen at “The Historians” online archive at http://www.bobcudmore.com/thehistorians/
Continue reading

Erie Canal Birthday Party Planned At Schoharie Crossing

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Erie Canal PartySchoharie Crossing State Historic Site will celebrate the 189th Birthday of the Erie Canal at its annual Birthday Bash on Sunday, October 26th from 1 to 5 pm.  This year will feature rides from Run by Dogs Dogsledding, a pie raffle, and a beard contest, as well as local farmers showcasing their products, a pumpkin decorating contest, cider tasting, and music. Free walking tours will be available at 1:30 pm and 3:30 pm.

Schoharie Crossing will also be exhibiting a cannon used to announce the opening of the canal in 1825 that has been loaned by the Fulton County Historical Society’s Fulton County Museum for this occasion. Continue reading

Johnstown: Serial Killer Robert Garrow Talk Thursday

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Robert GarrowThe Fulton County Sheriff’s Association will offer a public review of the case of convicted Adirondack serial killer Robert Garrow tomorrow, Thursday, October 2 at the Johnstown Eagles Club, 12 S. William St., at 7 pm. The presentation will be given by regular New York History Blog contributor Lawrence P. Gooley, who is the author of Terror in the Adirondacks: The True Story of Serial Killer Robert F. Garrow.

Garrow, an abused Dannemora child turned thief, serial rapist, and killer who admitted to seven rapes and four murders (although police believed there were many more). Among his victims were campers near Speculator where Garrow escaped a police dragnet and traveled up Route 30 through Indian Lake and Long Lake and eventually made his way to Witherbee where he was tracked down and shot in the foot. Claiming he was partially paralyzed, Garrow was shot and killed during an attempted prison escape in September 1978 – he had faked his paralysis. Continue reading

The Historians: Peter Betz, Finger Lakes Culinary History

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The Historians LogoThis week on “The Historians”, retired Fulton County historian and Leader Herald history columnist Peter Betz has the story of an early drowning — or not — in the Sacandaga Reservoir. In the second half of the show I talk with Laura Winter Falk about her book Culinary History of the Finger Lakes: From the Three Sisters to Riesling (History Press).

Listen to the whole program at “The Historians” online archive at http://www.bobcudmore.com/thehistorians/
Continue reading

North Country Teacher Taught Southern Freedmen

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coitphoto2Back-to-school time perhaps brings back, for adults, the memory of a favorite teacher. But of those who are so warmly remembered, how many can elicit this wish by a former student of a 19th century teacher?

“If I could be permitted, how gladly would I again fill up the wood-box in your room and kindle the fire on your hearth…”

Those words came from the prestigious African American preacher, Rev. Daniel Webster Shaw (who, interestingly, was the son of a former slave, Harriet Shaw, with whom Solomon Northup was acquainted in Louisiana). “If I have done anything, or come to anything worth while, it is all mainly due to your timely helpfulness and godly admonition,” Shaw wrote. “I think of the school days on the Tache [Teche, a bayou in Louisiana], and all the kind ways in which you helped me to start out in life.” Continue reading

Summer Festival at Kanatsiohareke This Weekend

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Strawberry FEstivalThe Kanatsiohareke (Gah-Nah-Joe-Hah- Lay- Gay) Summer Festival is a family-friendly celebration of Mohawk culture that is shared with friends, relatives, volunteers and everybody in the local Mohawk River Valley community.

The event includes Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) storytelling, dancing, music and culture as well as contemporary music. Vendors will be selling Native American art works and crafts. Food will include some traditional Mohawk dishes as well as organic grass-fed beef. Continue reading

In Johnstown, Hope for Votes for Women Trail Funding

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piano-72-LittleIt’s late afternoon in Johnstown, NY, magic hour, right before sunset when filmmakers capture the best lighting. Nancy Brown, a fifth grade teacher, is waiting to take us to the local historical society and out to dinner with three other board members of the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Hometown Association.

This is the town where well-known women’s rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton grew up. The place is also loaded with history of the American Revolution, plus generations of tanners and workers in the glove industry who lived and worked here. We can’t get to the Johnstown Historical Society at 17 North William Street without passing sites of major historical interest. It’s as if everybody is related in some way to this historical community. It looks like classic small town America, made in America. Continue reading

William Henry Burr: Gloversville’s ‘Great Literary Detective’

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DSC_0147Many people probably remember that at the end of the 19th century the city of Gloversville, in Fulton County, was recognized as the glove-making capital of the world. However, one of Gloversville’s famous sons, William Henry Burr, has been all but forgotten.

Referred to as “the great literary detective” by one of the 19th century’s foremost orators and political speechmakers, Robert G. Ingersoll, Burr was born in Gloversville on April 15, 1819. His father, James Burr, was one of the founders of the glove industry in the community, once known as Stump City. Continue reading

Johnstown: St. Patrick’s Masonic Lodge

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St Patricks Lodge 2008-1I noticed that there was a report in the Leader Herald on the Johnstown Masons of St. Patrick’s lodge, so I thought this bit of history might be timely:

St. Patrick’s Lodge No. 8 (now called St. Patrick’s Lodge No. 4) in Johnstown, NY, founded by Sir William Johnson, is one of the oldest Masonic Lodges in the State of New York. Sir William Johnson was raised a Master Mason on April 10, 1766, in Union Lodge No. 1, located in Albany, New York, (now Mount Vernon Lodge No. 3).Augustine Prevost, a brother of the Union Lodge, wrote to Johnson a few weeks earlier, on March 23, 1766, informing him that Johnson’s friend and fellow Masonic brother Normand McLeod, had formally notified Union Lodge of Johnson’s desire to be a master of a lodge in Johnstown. Prevost noted in the letter: Continue reading

Schenectady: The Life of Clarissa Putman

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Clarissa Putman, the jilted lover of Sir John Johnson, son of William Johnson, has been the subject of much Mohawk Valley mythology over the years.

The Schenectady County Historical Society (SCHS, 32 Washington Avenue, Schenectady) will host a talk on Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. by Peter Betz entitled The Life of Clarissa Putman to sort out fact from fiction by providing a non-fictional mini-biography of her life based on reliable sources. Continue reading

Johnson Hall Opens for 2012 Season

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Johnson Hall, the 18th century baronial estate of Sir William Johnson and his family, has opened its doors for the 2012 season. Through Sunday, October 14th, the State Historic Site will offer guided tours on Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10am to 5pm, and on Sundays from 1pm to 5pm.

Tours will generally begin on the half-hour, with the final tour of the day beginning at 4pm. Pre-registered group tours and Site special events may alter this tour schedule. The historic house will also be open on Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day.
Johnson Hall was the 1763 Georgian estate of Irish-born Sir William Johnson and Mohawk Indian Molly Brant and their family. Sir William (1715 – 1774) was the single largest landowner and most influential individual in the colonial Mohawk Valley. His success in dealing with the Six Nations had a lasting impact on their relationship with the English, and largely influenced England’s victory in the Anglo-French struggle for control of colonial North America. The main house and flanking stonehouses, originally surrounded by a 700 acre farm, now interpret the Johnson family through guided tours of the period room settings, educational programs and special events.

Admission fees are $4.00 for adults and $3.00 for senior citizens and students. Children 12 years of age and younger are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Groups of 10 people or more, as well as school groups, must register in advance. Group fees are $3.00 per person, while the school fee is $1.00 per person (regular school year only). Special fees for Site special events may apply.

The 2012 Site calendar of events will be announced shortly, highlighted by the annual Market Fair on July 14th and 15th , which will feature an 18th century cricket demonstration, live performances, vendors, encampment, an open house and much more.

The Friends of Johnson Hall, a not-for-profit support group, will host the Johnson Jog 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, May 19th. More information on this major fundraiser, which will support the education and preservation programs at Johnson Hall, visit www.friendsofjohnsonhall.org or call (518) 762-4459.

For more information on Johnson Hall State Historic Site, visit www.nysparks.com or Facebook, or call (518) 762 – 8712.

Celebrating the Holidays in 18th Century Johnstown

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The goal of every museum and historic site is to make history come alive in the imagination of the public. The past few days have witnessed a number of celebrations of holiday greenery, music, and feasting, commemorating early festivities in the Mohawk Valley. Most of the greenery and more usual trappings of holiday spirit that are near and dear to our imaginations and hearts did not become common in household celebrations until the nineteenth century. More common in the 18th century secular celebrations were simple gifts of trinkets or money and feasts involving food and drink. There were additional rituals in colonial New York German and Dutch households where ceremonies were brought over from their countries of origin. Continue reading

Wanda Burch: 18th Century Bed Rugs

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The question was raised on “what are bed rugs?” in a recent living history association [ALHFAM] on-line thread. Bed rugs, often spelled “bed ruggs,” were common bed coverings that appear in both 18th and 19th century house inventories. Bed rugs were inventoried in Johnson Hall in Johnstown, NY, in a 1774 inventory of household goods by Daniel Claus. Johnson Hall was built in 1763; but the inventory was completed in 1774, a common recording for wills and cataloguing household goods. Continue reading

Symposium on 18th Century Mohawk Valley Culture

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An upcoming symposium, “Frontier Style: Culture at the Edge of Empire, Mohawk Valley NY, 1700-1800” looks at clothing, furniture and household decorations to see what they can reveal about a person’s cultural and social status in colonial New York.

Scholars at the 2011 Western Frontier Symposium will discuss the interactions of the Mohawk, Dutch, English, German and slave cultures within this region, their traditions of costume and household design, and their perceptions of each other.

The two day symposium will be held October 15-16 at Fulton-Montgomery Community College in Johnstown, NY. Participating experts in 18th century design and the region’s cultures include Phillip Otterness, David Preston, Timothy Shannon, George Hamell, Mark Hutter, Robert Trent, Mary Elise Antoine and others.

“Frontier Style” looks closely at daily life in the 18th century Mohawk Valley, when this region was the western edge of colonial New York, a frontier space where European and Native American communities were both neighbors and trading partners.

In that diverse multicultural world, personal objects from everyday life like painted German chests or Iroquois body art revealed cultural roots and traditions. Stylistic choices also could suggest a person’s career aspirations, as when decorating exclusively with imported British goods or wearing the latest London fashions.

Symposium presentations include the basics of Mohawk Valley “dressing for success”, local fashions for every budget, regional furniture and architecture, as well as discussion of the dominant ethnic and social cultures of the period.

Admission to the symposium is $20.00 per day with a discount for advance registration. A special symposium package available by advance registration only includes admission to the presentations, printed copies of the papers, box lunches both days, a reception with the speakers and a special 18th century dinner for $135. Registration forms can be downloaded from the web link below.

The biennial Western Frontier Symposium has presented the latest scholarly research about the history and cultures of the Mohawk River Valley since 2005. It is sponsored by a collaboration of regional historic sites and organizations: Old Fort Johnson, Palatine Settlement Society, Montgomery County History & Archives, Johnson Hall State Historic Site, Herkimer Home SHS, Schuyler Mansion SHS, Crailo SHS, Fort Plain Museum, Fort Klock, Historic Cherry Hill, Old Stone Fort Museum, Fulton-Montgomery Community College, NYS Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, and the Costume Society of America.

More information and registration forms are available online.

Papers to be presented October 15-16, 2011 include:

* David Preston – “The Texture of Contact: European and Indian Settler Communities on the Iroquoian Borderlands, 1720-1790”

* Phillip Otterness “Neither French, nor English, nor Indians: The Palatine Germans of New York”

* Erica Nuckles – “The Dutch had a very bad Opinion of Me”

* Clifford Oliver Mealy –“ Slaves in the Mohawk Valley, 1750-1800”

* Tim Shannon – ”Dressing for Success on the Mohawk Frontier: Hendrick, William Johnson, and the Indian Fashion”

* George Hamell – “Native American Body Art”

* Scott Meachum – “Native American Calling Cards: War Clubs & Pictographs”

* Mark Hutter – “High Style in the Hinterlands: 18th Century Design for the Fashionable Consumer”

* Kjirsten Gustavson – “Colonial Clothing in Upstate New York”

* Michael Roets – “18th C Mohawk Life: Lower Castle Archeology”

* Wanda Burch – “Collecting Cultures: Sir William Johnson’s Cabinet of Curiosities”

* Cindy Falk – “Mohawk Valley Architecture: Cultures Built in Stone & Wood”

* Rabbit Goody – “Household Goods: 18th Century Fabrics for the Home”

* Robert Trent – “Mohawk Valley Interiors & Furniture: The Stylish Home‘

* Mary Antoine – “German Folk Arts in Upstate New York”

* Deborah Emmons-Andarawis – “Shades of Gentility: Philip Schuyler and Philip Van Rensselaer” (sponsored by the New York Council for the Humanities)

* Ron Burch – “Music in the Johnson Family” (lecture & concert)

Johnson Hall to Host Visit From Ben Franklin

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Johnson Hall State Historic Site will host “A Visit from Ben Franklin” this Saturday, September 17th at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm. Paul Stillman will provide the first-person portrayal of Benjamin Franklin, including a performance on the glass armonica and presentation of scientific instruments of the period, an interest Franklin shared with Sir William Johnson.

Stillman has performed over 25 years as a first-person historical interpreter. He presents many characters to schools, libraries, museums and organizations, including Benjamin Franklin, Theodore Roosevelt, Civil War soldier Byron Scott and Revolutionary War soldier Thomas Stillwell. The performances feature ongoing question-and-answer opportunity to help the audience understand the vocabulary of the period. These performances, complete with visual aids, entertain and educate all ages by bringing history to life.

The presentation will be held inside the historic mansion, where seating will be limited. While there is no admission fee, donations to support the program will be appreciated. Due to this special program, there will be no guided tours of Johnson Hall on this day.

“A Visit from Ben Franklin” is made possible in part by a Decentralization grant of public funds awarded to The Friends of Johnson Hall by the New York Council on the Arts, administered by the Tri-County Arts Council.

Johnson Hall State Historic Site is located at 139 Hall Avenue in historic Johnstown, just off West State Street (State Highway 29 West). For more information on special events at Johnson Hall, visit www.friendsofjohnsonhall.org, or write darlene.rogers@oprhp.state.ny.us to be placed on the Site’s emailing list.

Mohawk Valley: 2011 Western Frontier Symposium

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The 2011 Western Frontier Symposium: Frontier Style Culture at the Edge of Empire Mohawk Valley, NY: 1700-1800 will be held October 15-16, 2011 at Fulton-Montgomery Community College in Johnstown, New York.

The fourth biennial Western Frontier Symposium continues to explore the history of the Mohawk Valley in the century when the region was the western edge of colonial New York and a crossroads of French, Dutch, British and Native American empires.

Far from European centers of fashion, Mohawk Valley residents expressed their sense of style with strategic design choices from multiple cultures. Distinct regional variations in their clothing, architecture and interior designs reveal their values and their aspirations. Participating experts in 18th century design and regional cultures include Phillip Otterness, David Preston, Timothy Shannon, George Hamell, Mark Hutter, Robert Trent, Mary Elise Antoine and others.

There will be a companion exhibit, “Frontier Style: The Height of Fashion at the Edge of Empire Mohawk Valley NY 1700-1800” at Fulton-Montgomery Community College’s Perella Gallery from October 14 through December 9, 2011. The exhibit will be an exhibition of 18th century Mohawk Valley fashion and home decor, featuring clothing reproduced for New York State Historic Sites collections.

This event is sponsored by Mohawk Valley Historic Sites, Fulton-Montgomery Community College, NYS Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, Costume Society of America.

More information about the symposium can be found online.