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”