Sixteen inches of snow in June. Killing frosts in August. The mystifying weather, known as eighteen-hundred-and-froze-to-death, swept the Northeast in 1816. Unbeknownst to those who suffered from it, the climactic quirk was the result of a volcanic eruption in the distant Dutch East Indies a year earlier.
That summer, Joseph Smith Sr. threw in the towel. The Vermont farmer joined the exodus of his neighbors who were determined to find a life with more promise than they could scratch from the rocky New England hill country. It was rumored that land was more fertile in the western New York State. Men there were already surveying for a canal to connect that country to East Coast markets. Continue reading
We remember Benjamin Franklin as an accomplished printer, scientist, and statesman. Someone who came from humble beginnings and made his own way in the world. Rarely do we remember Franklin as a man of faith.
Benjamin Franklin spent more time grappling with questions of religion, faith, virtue, and morality in his writing than about any other topic.
In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World: A Podcast About Early American History, Thomas S. Kidd, a Professor of History at Baylor University and author of Benjamin Franklin: The Religious Life of a Founding Father (Yale University Press, 2017), leads us on a detailed exploration of the religious life of Benjamin Franklin. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/169
The Oneida County History Center (OCHC) will host a lecture by Brent Rodriguez-Plate on the birth of religion on the Erie Canal, in the center’s main gallery on Saturday, December 16 starting at 1 pm.
Brent Rodriguez-Plate explores the religious life established by the Erie Canal, and the ways it influenced religiosity across the continent, and across the globe. Continue reading
This week on “The Historians” podcast, Mary Lou Reid takes a look at life in the convent fifty years ago when she was a novice in the order of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Reid, who left the religious order for a career in media and financial planning, discusses this topic in the context of her self-help program, The Convent Diet. Listen to the podcast here. Continue reading
The Schenectady County Historical Society will host a talk and book signing by local historian Neil Yetwin on February 11, 2017 at the Mabee Farm Historic Site.
Neil will be signing and selling copies of his book To My Son…: The Life and War Remembrances of Captain Mordecai Myers, 13th United States Infantry, 1812-1815.
Fervent pleas for aid to missionaries around the world are common, and by no means a recent phenomenon. Take, for instance, the effort led by Episcopalian Bishop Richard H. Nelson in the Albany area in 1913. Said the Glens Falls Daily Times, “It is the intention of Bishop Nelson to organize a missionary league in the diocese for the purpose of raising sufficient money to carry on the work of building up parishes in the neglected sections.” Nelson displayed a map of those neglected sections, where, he said, “The condition is almost unbelievable.”
When I was much younger, one of the most beloved and respected teachers in our local school left to work in the missions in Africa. She described many of the same problems voiced by Nelson: poverty, illiteracy, poor spiritual condition, and a disturbing lack of morals. In both cases (Nelson’s and the teacher’s), the viewpoint was from a devout Christian perspective (our teacher was a Catholic nun). Continue reading
What role did the Bible play in the development of British North America and early United States?
In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, we address this question by exploring the place of the Bible in early America. Our guide for this exploration is Mark Noll, the Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame and the author of In the Beginning Was the Word The Bible in American Public Life, 1492-1783 (Oxford University Press, 2015). You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/073
A new book, Liber A of the Collegiate Churches of New York, Part 2, provides new insight on colonial New York as a diverse New World economic hub. This volume includes a more-complete set of records of early life in the church, a cornerstone of colonial life.
Liber A Part 2 contains 17th-century records from the Reformed Dutch Church of the City of the New York, founded in 1628, which later became the Collegiate Churches of New York. The book includes details about daily life, baptism and marriage practices from this period, providing fundamental context. This volume is a companion to Liber A , published in 2009, and includes the church’s earliest moments such as details of its construction and the royal charter that led to its founding.
This week on “The Historians” podcast Bob Cudmore and Dave Greene discuss a landlocked “lighthouse” that helped motorists on a busy Mohawk Valley highway. Also, a quest to find archival recordings of Samuel Bloom, a popular Amsterdam rabbi. You can listen to the podcast here. Continue reading
Religion played a large role in why some Europeans settled in British North America.
In episode 20 of the “Ben Franklin’s World” podcast, Kyle T. Bulthuis, author of Four Steeples over the City Streets: Religion and Society in New York’s Early Republic Congregations (NYU Press, 2014), takes us on an exploration of early American religious life. Religion played a large role in why some Europeans settled in British North America. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/020