Thanksgiving Day 1822, 1893 & 2014 in Amsterdam, NY (History)

by Daniel T. Weaver

Thanksgiving Day 1893 was not a happy time for many people in Amsterdam. The Panic of 1893 was a financial crisis which lasted four years and had a negative impact on the city. Many newspapers blamed the crisis on free trade or the removal of tariffs on American goods. The city of Amsterdam was used as an object lesson for the “blighting effects” of “the tariff wreckers.” In an account in the Amsterdam Daily Democrat published the day after Thanksgiving, Amsterdam was described as a city where “Nearly every mill is shut down. Thousands of men and women, who a year ago were employed, are on the the brink of want. A recent Amsterdam dispatch declares that the Aid and Benevolent society is attempting to care for several thousand destitute families. People daily go from house to house begging for food. Local trade is at a standstill. Various charitable organizations are making constant appeals for help. Numbers are deserting the town.” Continue reading “Thanksgiving Day 1822, 1893 & 2014 in Amsterdam, NY (History)”

Burning Slaves at the Stake in the Mohawk Valley (History)

By Daniel T. Weaver

The sentence of the five man court was that the prisoner “be carried to the place from whence she came + to be brot from there to the Place of Execution and there be burnt till she is dead.” The five Tryon (later Montgomery) County, New York justices were Jelles Fonda, (ancestor of Jane, Henry, Peter and Bridget), Adam Loucks (later a Stone Arabia tavern keeper), John Butler (notorious Tory raider during the Revolution), Joseph Chew (his son was Sir William Johnson’s god-child) and Peter Masten, Continue reading “Burning Slaves at the Stake in the Mohawk Valley (History)”

Number of New York State Double Dipping Retirees Increases by 10% (News)

The number of New York state and local government early retirees collecting both a paycheck and public pension grew by 10 percent last year, according to data posted on, the Empire Center’s transparency website, bringing the total number of double dippers to 947.

At least 30 government retirees were approved to collect combined pay and pensions of $200,000 or more—including six exceeding combined totals of $300,000. Continue reading “Number of New York State Double Dipping Retirees Increases by 10% (News)”

Herman Melville in Schenectady (History)

by Neil Yetwin

The name of Herman Melville continues to retain the power to evoke images of New England whalers plying the South Seas, of desperate mutinies aboard British naval vessels, and of the epic pursuit of an elusive white whale. Yet Melville’s life prior to his attaining an honored place in American letters was anything but adventurous, marked as it was more by personal loss and financial instability than by any literary success. It was during those uncertain early years that the future author of Moby Dick and his lesser-known elder brother Gansevoort both had brief associations with the city of Schenectady. Continue reading “Herman Melville in Schenectady (History)”

Lord & Tailor: Sir William Johnson and his Clothier (History)

While wealthier residents of colonial Johnstown, New York afforded custom tailoring, almost everyone else wore clothing that itched, chafed, bagged up, or was too hot in summer and not warm enough in winter. Settler’s clothing mostly derived from sheering their sheep, spinning the wool into cloth, and sewing that into ill-fitting, patched breeches and shirts. Meanwhile, the Johnson family quartet – Sir William Johnson, Sir John Johnson, Guy Johnson and Daniel Claus – plus others of wealth and prominence, enjoyed clothing that actually fitted and was reasonably comfortable, being ‘tailor-made.’ Good tailoring has always been appreciated by those who can afford it and envied by those who can’t. Continue reading “Lord & Tailor: Sir William Johnson and his Clothier (History)”

New Law Forces Pro-Life Groups To Hire Pro-Abortion Employees (News)

Signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo on November 8, a new law (S-660) makes it illegal to discriminate against an employee based on their reproductive healthcare decisions. While the law has the potential to protect women from discrimination who choose to carry a baby to term, the law’s justification makes it clear that its purpose is to protect women who decide to have an abortion. Justification for the bill as provided on the New York State Senate’s website is as follows: Continue reading “New Law Forces Pro-Life Groups To Hire Pro-Abortion Employees (News)”

Dear Jeff Bezos Why Are You Allowing Amazon To Ban & Burn Books? (Open Letter)

Mr. Bezos,

I received an email from one of your bots yesterday stating my book business, the Book Hound in Amsterdam, New York, could no longer sell two titles on amazon. Your botnote said, “This product was identified as one that is prohibited for sale. Amazon reserves the right to determine whether content provides an acceptable experience for customers.” The email did not enlighten me as to the following:

Continue reading “Dear Jeff Bezos Why Are You Allowing Amazon To Ban & Burn Books? (Open Letter)”

Angry Mob Threatens Conservative Students At Binghamton University (News)

Over 200 radical students at Binghamton University surrounded four College Republican Club members on Thursday, November 14, who were promoting a lecture by renown economist Dr. Arthur Laffer and began “harassing, cursing, yelling and physically destroying tables and displays,” according to a letter of complaint sent to the university president, Harvey G. Stenger, by NYS Assemblymember, Douglas M. Smith. Continue reading “Angry Mob Threatens Conservative Students At Binghamton University (News)”

The KKK Has Returned From North Carolina To Gloversville (News)

Some of the half dozen members of the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klu Klan who are from the Gloversville, New York area have returned to upstate New York after being away nearly a year and a half. The group which leafleted the area in 2017 and were the subject of a three part series by the Gloversville Leader-Herald moved to North Carolina in 2018 so they could live closer to FBI informant and Imperial Wizard, Chris Barker. Continue reading “The KKK Has Returned From North Carolina To Gloversville (News)”

Rensselaer County Files Lawsuit Against NYS Over Green Light Law (News)

Yesterday, Rensselaer County Executive Steven F. McLaughlin and Rensselaer County Clerk Frank J. Merola announced the filing of a lawsuit to declare the Green Light Law unconstitutional in its entirety and to prohibit New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York State Attorney General Letitia James, and New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Mark Schroeder from taking any punitive action under the Law against Merola while serving as Clerk for the residents of Rensselaer County. Continue reading “Rensselaer County Files Lawsuit Against NYS Over Green Light Law (News)”

Judge Dismisses Trump Lawsuit Against NYS AG (News)

Yesterday District Judge Carl J. Nichols in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed President Donald Trump’s lawsuit against NYS Attorney General Letitia James over New York’s Trust Act, which allows New York State to release tax returns of certain people including federal officials and the president under specific circumstances. Continue reading “Judge Dismisses Trump Lawsuit Against NYS AG (News)”

Samuel Downing One of Last Veterans of American Revolution (History)

Things were relatively quiet in the Mohawk Valley of upstate New York during 1782, even though the American Revolution was not over. Men like Private Samuel Downing of the 2nd New Hampshire Regiment stationed at Fort Plain, also known as Fort Rensselaer, spent a lot of time cutting firewood, going on routine patrols and foraging for food. Late in life, Downing recalled one of those days when he was in Johnstown foraging for food. Continue reading “Samuel Downing One of Last Veterans of American Revolution (History)”

Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against NYS Green Light Law (News)

11/14/19 Update: The Erie County Clerk has filed an appeal.

U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Wolford granted a motion by the Office of the New York Attorney General on November 8 to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Erie County Clerk Michael (Mickey) Kearns to block the Green Light law from taking effect, a law that enables illegal immigrants to obtain New York State driver’s licenses. Continue reading “Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against NYS Green Light Law (News)”

World Series Key to Understanding Electoral College (Politics)

To what should we liken the Electoral College? How about another favorite American pastime—baseball’s world series. Because of the Electoral College, the presidential election is different than all other elections in the United States. Other elections are like a single baseball game in which the winner is the team which scores the most runs. But the presidential race is more like the world series. The baseball team that wins the world series does so not by making the most runs in the series but by winning the most games. The winning presidential candidate does not win by receiving the most individual votes (runs) but by winning the best of 50 games (states). Continue reading “World Series Key to Understanding Electoral College (Politics)”

Rip van Winkle from Mohawk Valley some Say (History)

Washington Irving’s famous story, “Rip Van Winkle,” about a fictional man who returns to his village after mysteriously disappearing for twenty years, takes place in the Catskill Mountains along the Hudson Valley. Some people theorize, however, that in real life the story might have been influenced by a man from the Mohawk Valley—Petrus (Peter) Groot of Cranesville, about 25 miles west of Albany. Continue reading “Rip van Winkle from Mohawk Valley some Say (History)”

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