×

Our Old Times

Our Old Times: Sir William Johnson’s forced vacations

If Sir William Johnson wasn’t naturally a Type A workaholic, the life he led as Indian Superintendent certainly made him one. His letters frequently complain of on-going ailments, plus continually being annoyed almost to death by Indian-related obligations. During one period of ill health, ...

Sir William Johnson, Johnson Hall, and historical fake news

Having served as a docent (visitor guide) at Old Fort Johnson, I’ve heard some far-fetched stories about Sir William Johnson related as absolute truths coming from the uninformed lips of visitors. Worst-case scenarios are tourists who believe Robert Chambers’ historical fiction but have ...

When berry picking turns deadly

Watch out whose berries you pick. While picking wild blackberries in my own neighborhood — I won’t tell you where — I couldn’t help recall another berry-picking expedition back in 1860 that went very wrong for Meco farmer Horatio Grant. In attempting to keep these articles timely, it ...

Our Old Times: Mayor Gideon Green and the Soft Drink War of 1933

There it was on page three of the June 22, 1932 Morning Herald, a large headline stating, “Police to Receive Orders to Treat Unlicensed Vendors of Beverages as Violators of City Soft Drink Ordnance.” Mayor Gideon Green reminded Common Council members that the law had already been on the ...

Scams are nothing new

Scams aren’t new. They existed long before the telephone, computer, and internet were dreamed of. Probably the most common, most successful 19th- and early 20th- Century scams involved selling lightning rods, and this was usually practiced against farmers whose livelihood centered around ...

Steenburgh — A really unpleasant man

April 19, 1878 is very likely the only day in New York state history when the public school of a village was closed due to a hanging, but closed it was in Fonda that fatal day when Samuel Steenburgh, who murdered Amsterdam Minaville resident Jacob D. Parker the night of Nov. 18, 1877, was sent ...