Albert Vedder – Citizen Hero of the Revolution

Daniel T. Weaver

Shortly before one in the afternoon on Sunday, April 11, 1779, Albert Harmanus Vedder, who after the American Revolution would become the founder of what is now the City of Amsterdam, New York headed east from Fort Johnson on the turnpike that paralleled the Mohawk River. He was on his way to see Justice William Harper and Colonel John Harper at Daniel Claus’s house. Claus’s manor, which he called Williamsburg, was about a mile away (near the current Amtrak station) from Old Fort Johnson which Vedder had been renting from The Tryon County Committee of Sequestration since the previous year. A little farther down the valley was Colonel Guy Johnson’s house, occupied by Fergus Kennedy. The Tryon County Committee of Safety had confiscated the three manors because their owners were Loyalists.

Continue reading “Albert Vedder – Citizen Hero of the Revolution”

Beware The Unconstitutional Census Long Form – American Community Survey

By Daniel T. Weaver

While liberals celebrated the Trump administration’s decision to not include a citizenship question on the 2020 census, they are oblivious to the fact that the question is included in the American Community Survey, what we used to call the census long form. Question 8 of the ACS is “Is this person a citizen of the United States?” Failure to answer the question can result in a $100 fine. Continue reading “Beware The Unconstitutional Census Long Form – American Community Survey”

Guy Park Manor Should Be Restored As Historic Site Not Hospitality Destination

By Daniel T. Weaver

I have mixed feelings about the newly revealed plans by Governor Cuomo for Guy Park Manor and Lock 11 in Amsterdam, NY. I am fine with illuminating the lock and dams at night. I also do not have a problem with the pedestrian bridge, which will be relatively inexpensive because it will make use of the infrastructure that already exists. It will not have to be built from scratch. Continue reading “Guy Park Manor Should Be Restored As Historic Site Not Hospitality Destination”

New York State Needs New Gov Not New Flag

By Daniel T. Weaver

NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to add the Latin phrase “e pluribus unum” which means “out of many, one” to the New York State seal and flag. E pluribus unum is the motto of the United States and appears on paper money and the great seal and was approved by congress in 1782. The NYS flag already contains the Latin word excelsior meaning ever upward. It is hard to imagine–in fact it is unimaginative to add the US motto to the NYS flag. If Cuomo were to add a new Latin phrase to the NYS flag why not something original? But why add something new at all? What’s the reason for it? Continue reading “New York State Needs New Gov Not New Flag”

Be Happy When Stuck Behind A Modern Snow Plow – Your Ancestors Would Have Been

By Peter Betz

In an article surveying travel conditions when a heavy gale blanketed the Mohawk Valley on February 14th, 1923, the Gloversville Morning Herald described the storm’s aftermath. “In Gloversville, the Street Department got out its snow-fighting apparatus early and the streets were kept open. The new tractor helped mightily in clearing the streets.” Transportation beyond the city, however, was worse off. Continue reading “Be Happy When Stuck Behind A Modern Snow Plow – Your Ancestors Would Have Been”

Live Fast, Die Young. The Short Life of Mile-A-Minute Lewis Strang

By Daniel T. Weaver

Lewis Putnam Strang, born on August 7, 1884 in Amsterdam, New York, won the first auto race ever held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on August 21, 1909. He also won the G&J Trophy, which was the feature race of that first event. Strang set a new speed record of 64.67 mph, and the Indianapolis News wrote, “The performance of Strang was the most spectacular of the two days of racing.” Continue reading “Live Fast, Die Young. The Short Life of Mile-A-Minute Lewis Strang”

Now that Stefanik Has Released Her 2019 Reading List, Will Tonko Release His?

NYS 21st Congressional District Representative Elise Stefanik read 46 books, almost one  per week, in 2019. As someone who has sold books for a living for 26 years and read several thousands books in my lifetime, Stefanik should be commended for setting aside time everyday to read. Yet when Stefanik requested book suggestions from her twitter followers, several media outlets wrote stories about the snarky suggestions she got rather than on Stefanik setting an example to her constituents and their children. Continue reading “Now that Stefanik Has Released Her 2019 Reading List, Will Tonko Release His?”

The Cop Who Dared Ticket A NYS Gov

By Daniel T. Weaver

Around 11:50 a.m. July 26, 1912 City of Amsterdam police officer, Charles A. Davis, spotted a touring car tearing down East Main Street at nearly 30 mph. He pursued the vehicle on his Indian motorcycle, overtook it on Guy Park Avenue and notified the driver he was under arrest for speeding. In 1912 speed limits were so low that driving in excess of 30 mph for more than a quarter mile was presumptive evidence of reckless driving. The speed limit within the city at the time was 15 mph. Continue reading “The Cop Who Dared Ticket A NYS Gov”

Death of Marcus Mendel and the Founding of Temple of Israel Cemetery

By Peter Betz

On May 31st 1887, referring to a major Little Falls fire, the Utica Weekly Herald noted, “There has been no similar excitement in that village since the death of Mark Mendel, the Amsterdam fireman, accidentally shot during a target practice on the flats at a fireman’s tournament.” My curiosity was naturally aroused by this casual observation. Continue reading “Death of Marcus Mendel and the Founding of Temple of Israel Cemetery”

Christmas Memories

During Christmas week 1967, my sixth grade teacher told me and a few other students to stay after class. Teachers in other classes told select students, including my brothers and sisters, to stay after school. A little later, someone told us we were going to McDonalds. That was when McDonalds’ hamburgers were 20 cents each, and the company advertised you could get a meal for a dollar and get change back. Continue reading “Christmas Memories”

British PM Boris Johnson & Donald Trump Have New York Roots

Both the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, and the prime minister of Great Britain, Boris Johnson, have roots in New York State. Both men were born in New York City. Trump was born in Queens in 1946 while Johnson was born in Manhattan’s upper East Side in 1964. Johnson’s father, Stanley, was studying economics at Columbia University when Boris was born. Continue reading “British PM Boris Johnson & Donald Trump Have New York Roots”

Congressman Paul Tonko Votes Against USMCA Trade Agreement

Upstate New York Congressman Paul D. Tonko (D-20) voted yesterday against H.R.5430, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) Implementation Act, citing its failure to address the growing threat of climate change. The Agreement, also known as “NAFTA 2.0,” was first announced by the President in September 2018 and, according to Tonko provided a number of damaging proposals for working Americans, doing little to prevent job outsourcing while including benefits to pharmaceutical industries. Continue reading “Congressman Paul Tonko Votes Against USMCA Trade Agreement”

Discovering Melville in Gansevoort, New York

By Daniel T. Weaver

Note: This is the last of a series of articles celebrating the 200th birthday of New York State writer, Herman Melville.

When I started my used and antiquarian business, the Book Hound, in 1993, one of the first upstate New York booksellers I heard about was John DeMarco in Saratoga Springs. I got to know DeMarco a little as he purchased a number of beautifully bound sets of books I had for his clientele, many of which were part of the carriage trade. DeMarco established Lyrical Ballads on Phila Street in 1971 and quickly established himself as one of the top booksellers north of New York City. What clinched his reputation as a top bookseller was his involvement in 1983 in the discovery and sale of 30 pages of the first draft of Herman Melville’s Typee in Melville’s handwriting, a few pages of The Confidence Man and more than 400 letters to and from Melville. Continue reading “Discovering Melville in Gansevoort, New York”

Roaring 20s Gloversville Stolen Car Ring Helped People Turn Cars Into Cash (History)

By Peter Betz

During the summer and fall of 1924, more than a few automobiles began disappearing from the streets of Gloversville, NY. In all, before a local car theft ring was broken, fourteen cars went missing, some with the connivance and blessing of their owners. The Gloversville car thieves were wrong, however, in thinking neither the insurance companies nor the police would notice the increase of auto thefts and the insurance claims that rapidly followed. Continue reading “Roaring 20s Gloversville Stolen Car Ring Helped People Turn Cars Into Cash (History)”

“Underwear, Underwear, Send a Pair.” Brief History of Chalmers Knitting Mill.

By Daniel T. Weaver

Once upon a time, both men and women wore long underwear. These were in the form of one piece “union suits” and were often uncomfortable. There lived in Amsterdam a man named Martin J. Shaughnessy, not to be confused with the notorious saloon keeper by the same name, who invented a revolutionary knitting process that left small holes in the material used for underwear which allowed a person’s skin to breathe. Continue reading ““Underwear, Underwear, Send a Pair.” Brief History of Chalmers Knitting Mill.”

Analysis of Amsterdam’s Chalmers Mill Lofts Project. Part Two – Why Workforce Housing?

“My first thought was to put a hotel at Chalmers,” Mayor Michael Villa told me in a sit down interview on July 17, 2018. I had interviewed Bill Teator of DEW Ventures, a partner with KCG Development in the Chalmers Mill Lofts project, the day before. On July 18, I sat down with Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort and Ken Rose, CEO of the Montgomery County Business Development Center to discuss the Chalmers project. The purpose in conducting these interviews and in reaching out to other people by phone and email was to try to determine how decisions were made and who made them in the process that took a six story eyesore on Bridge Street on Amsterdam’s South Side to an empty lot with a plan for a multiple story workforce housing development with a separate restaurant and banquet facility. Continue reading “Analysis of Amsterdam’s Chalmers Mill Lofts Project. Part Two – Why Workforce Housing?”

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