Tag Archives: Montgomery County

Remembering Amsterdam’s Bishop Scully HS


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Bishop Scully High SchoolWhen William Aloysius Scully was bishop of Albany, six new Roman Catholic high schools were established in the diocese. The school that opened on a 62-acre lot on upper Church Street in Amsterdam in 1966, three years before Scully’s death, was named in his honor.

St. Mary’s Institute on Forbes Street, which dates back to 1881, had been the city’s previous Catholic high school. It was adjacent to St. Mary’s Church in the heart of the city. Bishop Scully High school was built near the city’s outer limits. Continue reading

Unseen Hand: An 1869 Fort Hunter Diary


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003 - SXSHS In 1988, a small leather-bound diary was bequeathed to Schoharie Crossing State Historic site by Clarke Blair, who received it from Gertrude Ruck – a descendent of Michael Brown. Brown was one of the brothers that owned and operated the Brown Cash Store located at Lock 30 in Fort Hunter, NY from the mid-19th to early 20th century.

The diarist is unknown – nonetheless, it is obviously a personal journal of a Fort Hunter resident, and references to notable local families, places and events of 1869 fill its yellowed pages. Continue reading

Historians Podcast: Mario Cuomo, Fonda History


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The Historians LogoThis week on “The Historians” podcast, Barry Wygel of Time Warner Cable TV News and I talk about the legacy of Mario Cuomo, an interview recorded January 1, the night that former Governor Cuomo died. Then it’s on to the Fonda Reformed Church where I gave a history talk January 5 to the Glen-Mohawk Senior Citizens. Stories are told about Elizabeth Luciano, known as Queen Libby of Fonda; a Perth, N.Y. valedictorian whose name may be inscribed on a plaque on the Moon and Washington Frothingham, a preacher and syndicated newspaper columnist who lived in Fonda. Listen at “The Historians” online archive at http://www.bobcudmore.com/thehistorians/
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Amsterdam Icon: The Mohawk Teepee


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2015-Small-Cover-Photo2The cover of Historic Amsterdam League’s 2015 calendar is a picture of the former Mohawk Teepee restaurant, built in an abandoned rock quarry adjacent to a waterfall in Amsterdam’s East End.

The Mohawk Teepee was the brainchild of Myron and Lidia Bazar, both natives of Ukraine. Myron was born in Ternopil and Lidia in Boryslav, according to Ukrainian Weekly. Continue reading

The Historians Podcast: Amsterdam Area Eateries


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The Historians LogoThis week on “The Historians” podcast, an interview with Jerry Snyder of Historic Amsterdam League (HAL) on bygone eateries ranging from one of the first restaurants in the Mohawk Valley to be recommended by Duncan Hines, to side-by-side diners frequented by Kirk Douglas’s father, to an unusual fine dining restaurant built in an abandoned rock quarry. Pictures of the dining establishments are found in HAL’s 2015 Amsterdam Icons calendar.

Listen at “The Historians” online archive at http://www.bobcudmore.com/thehistorians/
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Amsterdam and the Flu Pandemic of 1918


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newyork001When the world-wide influenza pandemic struck in 1918, Amsterdam had its share of disease and death.

The flu became more deadly in the fall of that year, near the end of World War I. From October 1918 through January 1919 there were 176 deaths in Amsterdam from flu or pneumonia, half of one percent of the city’s population.

Amsterdam had 23 cases of influenza in September and eight people had pneumonia. In October the number of flu cases jumped to an astounding 3,386; 255 people had pneumonia. Amsterdam had 43 flu deaths in October and 77 deaths from pneumonia, which often followed the flu. Both St. Mary’s and City Hospital were filled to capacity. Continue reading

John Philip Sousa’s Montgomery County Connection


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Painting of Sousa by Capolino courtesy the Music Division, Library of CongressJohn Philip Sousa, “The March King” who composed “The Stars and Stripes Forever”, unsuccessfully courted a woman from the Mohawk Valley and remained a close friend of hers through the years.

Jessie Zoller was born in 1856 in the hamlet of Hallsville in the town of Minden. Minden historian Christine Oarr Eggleston said Jesse was the daughter of egg farmer Abram Zoller and his wife Alma Tuttle Zoller. After the Civil War, Abram Zoller held a high post in the U.S. Treasury and his wife and daughter were living with him in Washington. Continue reading

Amsterdam Mayor Arthur Carter Was An FDR ally


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Amsterdam Mayor Arthur Carter 1933During the 1920s, Arthur Carter from Amsterdam worked as an auditor for the State Comptroller’s Office in Albany and got to know Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Roosevelt became President in 1933. Later that year, Carter was elected mayor of Amsterdam, defeating incumbent Republican Robert Brumagin by 1,169 votes.

The nation was gripped by the Depression. An estimated ten thousand people turned out in Amsterdam on a raw and windy November 9, two days after the city election, to parade for economic revival. Continue reading

Montgomery County Receives State Archives Award


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Archives 2013 Awards_115The New York State Archives and the Archives Partnership Trust have selected Montgomery County to receive the 2013 William H. Kelly Annual Archives Award for Excellence in Local Government Archival Program Development.

This award recognizes a local government for its overall development of a soundly administered archival program and advocacy in promoting the identification, protection, preservation and use of archival local government records. Continue reading

Montgomery Co. Hosting ‘Twelve Years a Slave’ Discussion


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Solomon Northup in a Sketch from Twelve Years a SlaveThe Montgomery County Department of History & Archives will host a book discussion on Solomon Northrup‘s Twelve Years a Slave.

Northup was born a free man in what is now Minerva, Essex County, NY, in 1808. While working as a cabbie and violinist in Saratoga Springs in 1841, he was abducted, held in a slave pen in Washington, DC, and sold into slavery in Louisiana for 12 years before regaining his freedom. Continue reading

‘Chairs of the Turnpike Tavern Era’ Exhibit at Nellis Tavern


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NellisTavern2013The historic Nellis Tavern museum on State Highway 5 east of St. Johnsville in Montgomery County will present “A Handsome Assortment: Chairs of the Turnpike Tavern Era,” an exhibit scheduled for September 21-22, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The “turnpike era” in upstate New York corresponded roughly with the first half of the nineteenth century. The exhibit will feature examples of the types of seating pieces which would have been found in common use in establishments like Nellis Tavern during its heyday between 1800 and 1840, when it faced the Mohawk Turnpike (present State Highway 5). Today, objects like these are regarded as distinctive examples of early American artisanship. They are often examples of early American mass production, as well. Continue reading

Montgomery County:
African Americans and Abolition Walking Tour


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CanajoharieMontgomery County Historian Kelly Yacobucci Farquhar will lead a walking tour in the Village of Canajoharie on Saturday, August 10th at 11am.  The tour will highlight various sites associated with the African Americans who lived in Canajoharie during the 19th century as well as potential abolitionist activity.

Brochures will identify the sites on a map of the Village of Canajoharie and the walking tour will include a portion of the sites.  The tour will meet at the NBT Bank parking lot on the corner of Route 10 and Mohawk Street (site of Hotel Wagner and the former drive-thru bank) at 11am.  There will some hills involved in the walking tour and it is expected to last approximately 1 hour.
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Public History Lessons from Dutchess County


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dutchess county 1829If there is one county where local history should loom large on the political landscape that should be Dutchess County. It was less than a century ago when it had arguably the most famous local historian in America, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. That historical legacy contributed to the disappointment over the fact that Dutchess County did not have a county historian when I began writing at New York History.

In a series of posts surveying the various New York State history community constituencies I devoted one post to the County Historians. I noted that some counties were not complying with the state regulations. Dutchess County was one violator, but I anticipated that would be rectified following the County Executive election for since both major-party candidates endorsed filling the position. There is a story to be told in how that happened that sheds light on the position of county historians throughout the state as well as with implications for the Path through History project. Continue reading

Book Discussions Focusing on Slavery Set


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paul_nathaniel_speech_cover“On August 16, 1781, Murphy Stiel, a sergeant in the Black Pioneers, a British paramilitary group based in New York City, had a remarkable dream. Stiel was sleeping in the Pioneers’ barracks on Water Street when he heard “a Voice like a Man’s but saw no body.”

The voice commanded Stiel to deliver a message to Sir Henry Clinton, commander in chief of the British forces, that he should order General George Washington to surrender “himself and his Troops to the Kings Army.” Failure to do so would mean God’s wrath would fall upon the Americans. Stiel warned that all the “Blacks in America would rise up against Washington’s forces….For…the Lord would be on their side.” 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

Nellis Tavern: War of 1812 Songs and Stories


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The historic Nellis Tavern museum east of St. Johnsville (Montgomery County) will present performer and researcher Dave Ruch on Saturday, May 5, in a special concert entitled “The War of 1812 – Songs and Stories from New York and Beyond.” The program will begin at 2 p.m.

With guitar, mandolin, banjo, jew’s harp, bones, and voice, Dave Ruch interprets the traditional and historical music of the New York State region. For this program, Ruch presents a ringing portrait of the War of 1812 through the songs and stories of the people themselves.


Ruch has dug deeply into archival recordings, diaries, old newspapers and other historical manuscripts to unearth a wealth of rarely-heard music which, alongside some of the classics from the war period, offers a rounded and fascinating picture of this “second war of independence.” Special emphasis is given to New York State’s important role in the conflict.

By the War of 1812, the Nellis Tavern, originally built about 1747 facing the Mohawk River, had been enlarged and faced the recently completed Mohawk Turnpike (NYS highway 5). The turnpike was an important thoroughfare during the war, and the tavern served a host of travelers, military and civilian alike. Ruch will perform music which might have been heard in the tavern two hundred years ago.

Ruch travels widely from his home base in Buffalo, giving hundreds of performances each year for schools, museums, historical societies, libraries, festivals, community events and more. He will appear at the Nellis Tavern as a Speaker in the Humanities sponsored by the New York Council for the Humanities.

Admission is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact the Palatine Settlement Society at 518-922-7051.

Lecture on Fultonville’s Starin Place


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Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site will offer a program entitled “Fultonville’s Starin Place” on Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at 6:30 pm at the historic site’s Visitor Center, 129 Schoharie Street, Fort Hunter, NY. The event is sponsored by the Friends of Schoharie Crossing and presented by Karen Chapman, director of Fortroyale Preservation Society in Fultonville, Montgomery County, and owner of the Starin Place. Continue reading

Civil War Lectures Set for Schoharie Crossing


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Schoharie Crossing State Historic site’s Enders House (adjacent to the Visitor Center at 129 Schoharie Street, Fort Hunter, NY, five miles west of Amsterdam, off Route 5S) will host a series of lectures on the Civil War, Wednesdays in April, 7:00 pm.

On April 4, the lecture series will begin with Montgomery County Historian Kelly Farquar, who will discuss “The Abolitionist Movement in Montgomery County,” a topic of her latest publication. Continue reading