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”

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”

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”

When Guy Johnson Drank Everyone Under the Table & Other Stories From Stone Arabia (History)

By Daniel T. Weaver

It was a summer night in 1765 at a tavern in Stone Arabia (now the Town of Palatine, New York), and Guy Johnson had drunk all his companions under the table. One of them, Capt. Cornelius Cuyler, was so drunk he “gott into bed with the Landlady…She Cryed out—alarmed the Family—& sett us all a going!” So wrote Lord Adam Gordon in a letter to Sir William Johnson, Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Northern Division, on July 2, 1765, in which he apologized to Johnson for the behavior that had occurred. Johnson was there but slept through the “riotousness.” Continue reading “When Guy Johnson Drank Everyone Under the Table & Other Stories From Stone Arabia (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)”

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)”

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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