Working against Weed was the fact that the Republican convention was to be held in Chicago, Illinois, home state of Abraham Lincoln. Weed knew that his man, Seward, was far better known throughout the country. In addition to being New York’s Governor, Seward had been a U.S. Senator and as a leading anti-slavery proponent he had received extensive publicity. His biggest drawback was that he had been considered at one time to be the most radical anti-slavery member of the Senate. [Read more…] about Albany’s Thurlow Weed: Seward, Lincoln’s Election, & The Civil War Years
Following his political successes in the disputed Election of 1824, Thurlow Weed was elected to the New York State Assembly in 1825 and again in 1830.
In the 1820s, like many in Upstate New York with populist, anti-elite feelings, Weed strongly believed the Masons were trying to control government using secret means. He felt that political affairs should be conducted publicly and particularly opposed the fraternal secrecy of Freemasonry. An alleged conspiracy by Masons to murder William Morgan in Western New York in September, 1826 sparked the anti-Freemasonry movement. Weed began publishing the Anti-Masonic Enquirer in Rochester, NY in February, 1828.
Soon Weed was hired as editor of the newly formed Anti-Masonic Albany Evening Journal, which began publication on March 22, 1830. The move to Albany made him a statewide leader of the fledgling Anti-Masonic Party. [Read more…] about The End of the Whigs: Thurlow Weed & The Birth of the Republican Party
Thurlow Weed was born on November 15, 1797, the son of Joel and Mary (Elis) Weed, in Cairo, Greene County, NY where his grandfather settled after the Revolutionary War. His father was a farmer who was apparently hard working but never prosperous, occasionally spending time in jail for debt.
In 1799, the family moved to Catskill where young Weed received a small amount of schooling. His first job was pumping a blacksmith’s bellows while the blacksmith formed heated iron. He made six cents per day. At nine, he got a job as a cabin boy on a Hudson River sloop. [Read more…] about Thurlow Weed, Stephen Van Rensselaer III and the Disputed Election of 1824
Ira Harris was born at Charleston, Montgomery County, NY on May 31st, 1802 to Fredrick Waterman Harris and Lucy Hamilton. When he was six years old, his family moved to Preble, NY where his father became one of the largest landowners in Cortland County.
Harris attended Homer Academy and graduated from Union College in 1824. He studied law for one year in Homer, New York and then moved to Albany where he assisted one of that city’s most highly regarded jurists, Ambrose Spencer. [Read more…] about Albany’s Ira Harris: From Rights Advocate to Lincoln’s Assassination
John Jordan left Edinburgh, Scotland in 1755 arriving in White Plains, colony of New York, the same year. Edinburgh had been the family home since Jordan’s father and grandfather fled France for Scotland following the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre of French Huguenots in the late 1600s. John struck out on his own and decided to immigrate to America.
John married Mary Ann Daniels, a young woman of Dutch descent, and in 1758 they had a son, John Jordan, Jr. With the outbreak of the American Revolution in 1775, John Jordan, Sr. and his wife left New York and helped found the loyalist colony of St. John, New Brunswick, just across the Maine border. Their 19-year-old son, John Jr., stayed behind. [Read more…] about Jermain Family Philanthropy Helped Shape The Capital District
The tale of St. Nicholas is an old fable from mid-Europe that was popular in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. St. Nicholas was the patron saint of children, merchants and sailors and the patron saint of Amsterdam and was brought by the Dutch to the new world, which for the Dutch was Nieuw Nederlandt (New Netherland). Many of the American traditions on Santa Claus originated in the Dutch settlement of New Netherland along the Hudson River between New Amsterdam (New York City) and Oranje (Beverwyck-Albany). The other colonies were English. [Read more…] about A Short History of Christmas for New Yorkers
Following his election as President in 1860, Abraham Lincoln undertook a train ride to Washington that took him through Albany. He arrived in the city on February 18, 1861 with his wife and three sons.
As their train passed the West Albany railroad shops, an electrical switch was turned off at the nearby Dudley Observatory, causing an electromagnet mounted on the roof of the Capitol in downtown Albany to release a metal ball that slid down a pole, signaling to military officials to start a 21-gun salute in Capitol Park. [Read more…] about 1861: Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth in Albany
One Dutch legend grew up around the Oranje village baker who lived and ran his bakery on Pearl Street. It was this baker, Wouter Albertz vanden Uythoff commonly called Baas (Boss), who first baked the St. Nicholas cookie that so excited the children. Wouter Albertz vanden Uythoff used a cookie cutter to cut the images of St. Nicholas so only he could make the familiar cake.
Baas was Dutch from his big feet to his round bald head. Everything that was Dutch was right and everything else was wrong and that was all there was to it. He prided himself on his work, convinced that he was the best baker to ever live, and he probably wasn’t too far wrong. Everything he made was excellent and very decorative. Everyone wanted his cakes and cookies. [Read more…] about A Baker’s Dozen: An Albany Fable
In 1628, Dutch Dominie Jonas Michaelius organized a religious body called the Collegiate Church in New Amsterdam (New York City). Services were held in a large room over the grain mill.
In the Spring of 1633, Dominie Edwardus Bogardus succeeded Michaelius and built a plain wooden church on the banks of the East River at 33 Pearl Street. In 1642, under Director General Kieft, the Collegiate Church built a new stone church at 4 Bowling Green which was named St. Nicholas Church, which is said to be the oldest Protestant Church in America.
By the mid-1600s, an active open-air market operated daily in good weather all along Oranje’s (Beverwyck-Albany) one main intersection where Jonkers (State Street) met Handelaers (Market Street and later Broadway) Street. In the middle of the intersection was the Dutch Church, the center of the village both physically and socially. Several hundred inhabitants, mostly Dutch, were huddled in small dwellings surrounding the church. Fort Orange was located just south of Jonkers and a ferry took people across the Hudson to the eastern section of Rensselaerwyck. [Read more…] about Feast of St. Nicholas: An Albany History
Following his election as President in 1860, Abraham Lincoln undertook a train ride to Washington that would take him through Albany. He arrived here on February 18, 1861 with his wife and three sons. As their train passed the West Albany railroad shops, an electrical switch was turned off at the nearby Dudley Observatory, causing an electromagnet mounted on the roof of the Capitol in downtown Albany to release a metal ball that slid down a pole, signaling to military officials to start a 21-gun salute in Capitol Park. [Read more…] about Peter Hess: Civil War Reaches Albany