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Our Old Times

A now-forgotten national event once produced huge parades

President Trump’s call for a Washington military parade is nothing compared with what happened all across America 94 years ago on Sept. 12, 1924. If you lived then, it was almost impossible in any city to avoid celebrating an event called National Defense Day, a demonstration of America’s ...

Declaring bankruptcy wasn’t easy

It’s never good being broke, and it’s worse if you have a wife and three children, as did early 19th century Johnstown resident Tunis Kershaw in 1828. Poor Tunis lived when bankruptcy was still a crime, punishable by imprisonment. Today we recognize that imprisoning debtors is ...

Where, or where is the Gloversville movie?

Recently at Gloversville’s downtown ‘Twilight Market’, local accountant and Gloversville history buff Tobin Cash stopped at the Fulton County Historical Society’s tent and asked if I had any idea of the whereabouts of what he called “The Movie of Gloversville,” an entirely local ...

Dadanascara Place — lonely then, lonely now

Mohawk Valley historic sites generating the strongest tourist appeal are usually either forts or places where battles occurred, but there are more obscure sites, like the spooky-looking old town of Mohawk home called Dadanascara Place, the revolutionary era residence of Frederick Vischer, ...

Summer is the season to explore our history

Back when ‘slides’ were 35mm color transparencies you ‘took’ with a camera and projected on a large screen via a ‘carousel’ projector, I compiled a photo-lecture presenting a comprehensive portrait of our Fulton, Montgomery and Mohawk Valley historic sites — the purpose being to ...

Load your cannon carefully

If any Leader Herald readers feel a patriotic urge to annoy neighbors by firing noisy salutes from an old cannon this July 4th, they’d be wise to first ponder the following explosive tales of old time cannon-firings gone wrong. The 1867 Gloversville Intelligencer gave a brief resume of ...

Road bridge burning was hot topic

I wonder if anyone today can become even remotely as excited about any new technological development as our 19th century forbears did when they gathered long the new ‘iron roadway’ to watch the first Utica & Schenectady Railroad train steam westward through the valley Aug. 1, 1836. ...

The age of trading stamps, green, blue and otherwise

Many Leader Herald readers can still remember when, especially during the 1950s and 60s, they often found more local stores offering S&H green trading stamps than stores that didn’t. You could hardly buy gas without receiving stamps from the gas attendant’s greasy hands. Well before ...

‘Odd bits’ history collection number three

Herewith appears yet another collection of accidently-encountered ‘Odd Bits’ resurrected from journalistic obscurity for our reader’s enjoyment. On Dec. 6, 1887, the Fulton County Republican announced this breakthrough in modern communication: “The Poor House has been put in ...

When Hamilton County almost joined Fulton

Would you like living in a bigger Fulton County, one that includes a large slice of Hamilton County? This almost happened not once, but five times. The suggestion to abolish Hamilton County originated in 1875 when State Controller Hopkins recommended dissolution. Hopkins annual report argued ...

Mr. Knox and his ‘Gelatine’ airship

On May 10, 1905, the Syracuse Post-Standard ran an article about Charles B. Knox of Johnstown’s Knox Gelatin Company, announcing he’d hired Syracuse native George T. Tomlinson, ‘to design and run an airship at the Portland Exhibition.” Although references to the Knox Gelatine Company ...

The Crouse murder case — an unsolved 19th century whodunit

Some old-time mystery stories supposedly began with the dramatic line, “It was a dark and stormy night,” and in the case of the murder of Fort Plain farmer Henry Crouse at the Crouse’s lonely, wind-swept, Minden farmhouse the night of March 9, 1893, it was, according to contemporary ...

Christmases of earlier times

On Monday, December 27th 1897, the Johnstown Daily Republican ran a post-Christmas article, “Christmas in Johnstown.” The editor observed, “It was a regular old-fashioned Christmas Day in Johnstown, not a green Christmas, as was gloomily anticipated until Tuesday’s welcome blizzard ...

Herbert Newsome’s fate was gruesome

In older times, almost every November saw at least one hunter lost in our Fulton or Hamilton county wilderness. To ‘celebrate’, November’s column will recall two such events, and if we received a dollar for each old time disappearance, we could purchase a fine dinner today in any good ...

Halloween still a childhood ritual

For years just before Halloween, Fulton and Montgomery county newspapers invariably carried the same annual message from municipal police agencies. This message, as printed in the Monday, Oct. 29, 1920 Gloversville Morning Herald, was typical: “Chief of Police George R. Smith issued a ...

Dancing, like it or not

After finding a copy of Gloversville High School’s March 1905 Oracle, “Published monthly during the school year, 50 cents per year,” with the intention of donating it to our county museum, I noticed the following item under the headline, “The Benefit.” “Two performances of ...

Just what (or who) really killed Gen. Herkimer?

Delving into the history of early American medical practice, one observes that few advances were made throughout the 18th century and those that were, seldom reached frontier doctors. People became “doctors” in one of three ways: by graduating from a recognized European medical school, by ...

George Warner, the vengeful historian

On Oct. 24 1971, Cobleskill antique dealer and Schoharie County historian Dave Kniskern addressed the Fulton County Historical Society. The Leader Herald reported, “He also displayed a book titled “Military Records of Schoharie County Veterans,” found buried on a farm and reclaimed by ...

There’s no pool like an old pool

As news regarding Gloversville’s Littauer pool has recently appeared in Leader Herald articles, sharing some pool history seems timely. For Gloversville citizens unable to reach our many lakes or ponds, in-town access to water recreation has always been beneficial, and so must the ...

More ‘quick bits’ from our distant past

Herewith is another collection of “short bits” discovered while researching larger topics. The Dec.10, 1894 Fulton County Republican reported, “On Sunday morning in Johnstown, a fire alarm was sent from Box 34 at the corner of East Clinton and Glebe streets. It was supposed a large ...