Cato was a seventeen-year-old slave who lived several hundred miles north of the Mason-Dixon line in the Town of Charlestown in Montgomery County New York where people are shocked to find slavery existed until July 4th 1827 after which a few slaves still remained slaves because their owners’ kept them in darkness about emancipation day. Continue reading “The Tragic Life of Cato a Montgomery County Slave”
When John Fea died on April 20, 1931, his obituary declared he was “one of Amsterdam’s best known residents.” Today he is all but forgotten.
Fea was born in Cherry Valley on April 10, 1852. He attended school in Fort Plain and Canajoharie. He was an industrious boy who earned money by selling molasses candy to passengers at the Canajoharie Palatine Bridge Railroad station. One day in 1866 a tall, thin, grizzled man and a short, stocky, burly man with a close-cropped red beard got off the train to take the stage coach to Sharon Springs. When the tall man saw Fea with his candy, he asked the short man if wanted some. He said he did. The short man had to remove his cigar to eat his candy, and eventually ended up with some of the sticky candy in his beard. You may have already guessed that the tall man was General William T. Sherman and the short man General Ulysses S. Grant. Continue reading “Amsterdam’s Piano Man”
Daniel T. Weaver
When a man has four ex-wives and scores of political enemies, it is difficult to create an unbiased account of his life. Of Theron Akin (1855-1933), mayor of Amsterdam, New York for two terms (1920-24), his fourth wife said in 1923, “that he sometimes seized a chicken nearly prepared for the table and had hurled it into the garbage pail: that he would on other occasions, when displeased, burn his best silk shirts; and that this winter the Mayor had, to his wife’s knowledge, taken but one bath.”Continue reading “Theron Akin the Lemon Squeezer of the Mohawk”
Daniel T. Weaver
Shortly before 8:00 p.m. on the evening of June 28, 1937, Mrs. Fred B. Benjamin of 12 Jackson Street in the City of Amsterdam, NY heard screams coming from 16 Jackson Street where sisters Mary B. Enders, 81, and Jennie V. Enders, 84, lived. Their nephew, William G. Serviss, 45, lived there as well.
Mrs. Benjamin phoned Mrs. James Burke of 17 Jackson Street telling her she was afraid there was something wrong next door. She asked Mrs. Burke to accompany her to the Enders’ house. Mrs. Burke agreed. The two women went to the house and rang the doorbell. William Serviss came to the door, and one of the women asked, “How are the folks?” “All right,” he answered, so they left. Continue reading “Murder on Jackson Street”
Daniel T. Weaver
Thanksgiving Day 1893 was not a happy time for many people in Amsterdam, New York. 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 in the Mohawk Valley”
My father, may he rest in peace, would have had a good laugh at Andrew Cuomo’s executive order limiting gatherings at private residences to ten people since there were 14 children in our family. The Amish in New York state must also be laughing, since many of them have large families including two families in Montgomery County with 19 and 21 children respectively. Continue reading “The Grinch who stole Thanksgiving”
“Voting is neither free nor fair if the State requires voters to pay for postage,” claims Linda Rosenthal, a Manhattan Democrat. “During a pandemic, when millions of New Yorkers will vote by mail to protect their health and safety, it is vital that we remove every barrier to the vote. This amounts to a poll tax: the cost of a single stamp could represent a difficult decision that no one who is barely scraping by should be forced to make.” Continue reading “Postage Stamp not a Poll Tax”
When Margaret Martin married the Reverend Alexander Gordon, she probably didn’t know what she was getting into. Gordon’s first wife had died, and left behind two children for his second wife to raise. Gordon wasted no time getting his second wife, a young parishioner in his congregation, pregnant. Since the Margaret’s first baby was a girl and Gordon did not have any girls, they named her after his first wife. Between 1824 and 1832, Margaret gave birth to five children, bringing the size of her family to nine. The family was poor. Gordon never earned more than $200 a year. Continue reading “The Tragic Life & Death of Reverend Alexander Gordon’s Second Wife”
In spite of Joe Biden’s support for voting by mail in the upcoming presidential election, the possibility of fraud as President Trump has suggested is real, but there are other problems with voting by mail that have nothing to do with fraud. One problem is the United States Postal Service. I worked for the post office in Amsterdam, New York for five years. I was a clerk most of the time, but I also carried mail when needed, worked the stamp window and was a substitute supervisor. With the exception of a couple of bosses—particularly one who said “I don’t care if you lose both arms and both legs, you have to come to work the next day. I’ll use you for a paper weight”—all the employees were decent, hardworking people.
As a postal customer for many decades, shipping out about a thousand packages most years, I am for the most part satisfied with the postal service. However, the postal service does make mistakes, enough mistakes that I would rather vote in person than by mail.
Daniel T. Weaver
Never say never. When I first heard in 2015 that Donald J. Trump was running for president, I was dumbfounded. To me Donald Trump was nothing but a celebrity, a man without a moral compass, a man who acted like a buffoon and who had a terrible hairdo. I was a never Trumper, and I let people know on the radio show I had at the time what I thought of Trump. Continue reading “Never Say Never: From Never Trump in 2016 to Supporting Trump in 2020”
Old lives don’t matter, at least not to the devil who went down to Georgia recently for a publicity stunt. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, a doctor and the only senator to test positive for the covid-19 virus, said on Fox News recently, “I think Governor Cuomo should be impeached for what he did, for the disastrous decision he made to send patients with coronavirus back to nursing homes.” Continue reading “Independent Investigation of Andrew Cuomo’s Handling of Covid-19 Needed”
By Daniel T. Weaver
One of the more poignant stories in American history concerns the final weeks of Ulysses S. Grant’s life at Mt. McGregor in the summer of 1885. Knowing he was dying, he continued to work on his memoirs, which were the only asset the bankrupt former general and president had to leave his wife Julia.
While Mt. McGregor is located in Saratoga County, it was mostly Montgomery County men, who made it possible for Grant to spend the end of his life in this beautiful and relatively peaceful setting. Continue reading “Montgomery County NY & General Grant’s Last Days”
Daniel T. Weaver
Liz Joy is a real hero. She chooses not to focus on her heroism, so others have to do it for her. You probably remember the incident. In August of 2018, a man entered a salon, Beauty and Bliss, in Colonie. He entered the room where Denise Caulfield was giving a customer a nail treatment and began stabbing Caulfied. Continue reading “20th NY Congressional Candidate Liz Joy a Real Hero”
I have observed often that people who preach tolerance and want it for themselves are often intolerant. Take the case of Thomas Hurd-Toften. Hurd-Toften is a resident of the Town of Root. A couple of years ago, he and his boyfriend applied for a marriage license from the town clerk, Laurel “Sherrie” Eriksen. The two men alleged that Eriksen refused to grant them a license. Subsequently they sued the Town of Root, and the town settled with them for $25,000. Continue reading “Attacks on Congressional Candidate Liz Joy Uncalled For”
Photos by Daniel T. Weaver
Click here to order my new book, Between the Cracks: Forgotten Stories of Amsterdam NY & the Mohawk Valley.
The anarchist and Marxist group or groups that constitute Antifa and its supporters, like Chris Cuomo who compared Antifa to our soldiers invading Europe on D-Day, would like you to think that the word antifa is simply and only a shortened form of the word antifascism. They trot out memes of American soldiers invading Europe on D-Day with the word antifa on it and of General Dwight D. Eisenhower with the phrase Global Leader of Antifa, 1945 splashed across his photo. The Ike meme is not accurate because in 1945 the word antifa always referred to communists and the global leader of Antifa was Stalin not Eisenhower. And while our soldiers were anti-fascist, the idea they would have anything to do with Antifa is ludicrous. Continue reading “The Violence, Anti-Capitalism & Collectivism of Antifa”
“Judging past eras by the standards of the present” is how historian and author William Manchester defined generational chauvinism, a phrase he coined, in a letter to the editor of the New York Times on February 4, 1990. Manchester’s letter was written in defense of his friend and former colleague at the Baltimore Sun, H. L. Mencken, whose diary had just been released to collective howls of “racism,” and “antisemitism.” Continue reading “The Generational Chauvinism & Chronological Snobbery of America’s Left”
Daniel T. Weaver
While there has been nearly universal condemnation of the murder by a cop of George Floyd in Minneapolis, democrats and liberals have been slow to condemn the violence of rioters, looters and arsonists. When they do condemn, their condemnation is often insipid. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s and Congressman Paul Tonko’s condemnation of violence by rioters and anarchists are examples of too little, too late. They have been more concerned about condemning President Trump than they have been about condemning violence. Continue reading “Governor Cuomo’s and Congressman Tonko’s Response to Violence Lacking Vigor”
Daniel T. Weaver
Although there have been some efforts to alter our society in recent years, the United States is still a nation that values competition. Whether in sports, politics, the arts or scientific achievement, emphasis is placed on coming in first. That is as it should be.
However, we do not value enough the person who comes in second. While many of us can name all of our presidents, only a few can name the candidates who came in second, names like William H. Crawford, Hugh Lawson White and Alton B. Parker. We often refer to these men and women as losers.