Tag Archives: Martin Van Buren

Charles Shaw: Ace Adirondack Attorney

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NYH1 CPShawAmong those to rise from humble Adirondack roots and pursue life in the big city was Charles P. Shaw, a native of Jay, New York, where he was born in 1836. “Humble,” meaning relative poverty, aptly described most North Country citizens in those early days. Shaw may have had an advantage since there were two doctors in the family: his father, Daniel, and his grandfather, Joshua Bartlett. As schooled professionals, they were more likely to emphasize among their family the importance of education.

For whatever reason, Charles was an excellent and precocious student. There survives in old newspapers an anecdote suggesting he was indeed an unusually bright pupil. Continue reading

Washington Irving’s Spooky Tale of Mamakating Hollow

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IrvingIt was once without question the best known ghost story set in Sullivan County, written by one of America’s most respected writers, and yet it is largely unknown today.

It combines detailed descriptions of the rich and bountiful beauty of this area in the 19th century with cleverly conceived ghouls as hideous as any in American literature.

It is Washington Irving’s 1838 short story “Hans Swartz: A Marvelous Tale of Mamakating Hollow” and it is still appropriate reading this Halloween season, more than 170 years after it was penned. Continue reading

Columbia County: A Lecture On Copake History

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Pelholm barn with Ezra PellsLocal historian and author Howard Blue will present talk on the history of Copake, Columbia County, at the Roe Jan Historical Society in Copake Falls on Sunday, May 18 at 2:00 pm. Blue’s program is based in part on interviews of local residents from whose family albums he was allowed to copy old photos.

The presentation will focus primarily on the town’s and county’s first settlers, the Mohican Indians, and the 90-year-long, sometimes violent conflict between the Livingston family which at one time owned almost all of Copake and the family’s tenant farmers. Blue will also discuss Martin Van Buren’s role in Copake’s anti-rent movement, Copake in the Revolutionary war years, the existence of slavery in Copake, and Copake’s Civil War era bond issue that helped buy out from the draft some of Copake’s young men. Continue reading