The Schoharie Valley is one of New York’s three great colonial valleys, its history closely connected to, but overshadowed by, the more famed Hudson and Mohawk Valleys. When the Palatines arrived there in 1712, the world they stepped into was a century in the making. Until now, this formative period of the valley’s history has never been fully told, nor has the true impact these rebellious German refugees had on New York’s western frontier. [Read more…] about Schoharie Valley & New York’s Western Frontier, 1687-1702
The eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) isn’t really a crop-bearing tree, but it has borne priceless fruit for American democracy. Physically as well as culturally massive, there are many accounts from the early 1800s of white pines over 200 feet tall being harvested. One credible report pegs a white pine at 247 feet, and unverified accounts have claimed that 300-foot-tall leviathans were cut back then. [Read more…] about White Pines: Physically & Culturally Colossal
Paul Smith’s College students have completed construction of the Akwesasne Mobile Cultural Center. This new cultural center is a result of a partnership between Paul Smith’s College and the Nia’s Little Library – a nonprofit that promotes literacy and preserve the Mohawk language. [Read more…] about Paul Smith’s Students Create the Akwesasne Mohawk Mobile Cultural Center
The New York State University at Albany’s University Council voted Friday, May 5th, to formally change the name of Indian Pond to Parker Pond, and Indian Pond Lane to Parker Pond Lane. The new names acknowledge and honor the contributions of the Parker family, of which three siblings — Caroline (Ga:hahno), Nicholson (Gye-wah-go-wa) and Isaac Newton (Gane-yo-squa-ga-oh) — were among the first nine Indigenous students to enroll at UAlbany around 1850. [Read more…] about SUNY Albany Renames Pond in Honor of First Indigenous Students
In November of 2021 Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland formally established a process to review and replace (for federal use) derogatory names of the nation’s geographic features. In September of 2022 the Board on Geographic Names voted on the final replacement names for nearly 650 geographic features featuring the word “squaw,” including in New York State
A more recent vote completed that process for several populated place names in the American West. The votes were steps required to remove a term from federal use that has historically been used as an offensive ethnic, racial and sexist slur, particularly for Indigenous women. [Read more…] about Derogatory Place Names Removed From Several New York Locations
From the Iroquois confederacy serving as a model for the US Constitution, to the connections between the matrilineal Iroquois and the woman suffrage movement, to the living legacy of the famous “Sky Walkers,” the steelworkers who built the Empire State Building and the George Washington Bridge, the Iroquois are viewed as an exceptional people who helped make the state’s history unique and forward-looking. [Read more…] about Iroquois and the Invention of the Empire State
There was a story that had been passed down in the Minthorn family for generations. It told of how an ancestor had hidden her two infants under the roots of a tree to save them during the Revolutionary War attack on Cherry Valley, NY, in 1778. It was said that in her zeal to quiet her children, the youngsters were rendered unconscious, being revived only after the attackers had departed.
While this story is most likely fiction, there is some truth mixed in. [Read more…] about The Mystery of Joseph Brant’s Watch
In 1866, NY State Geologist James Hall received a message from T.G. Younglove, an official at Harmony Mills in Cohoes, New York, informing Hall that while conducting some excavations to expand the mill they uncovered a “great pothole” at the foot of Cohoes Falls where the Mohawk River begins to empty into the Hudson.
The “great pothole” contained a large jawbone “of some unknown beast,” much larger than that of an elephant. [Read more…] about Science & Suckers: The Cohoes Mastodon & The Cardiff Giant
Alexander Macomb, the elder, (1748–1831) was a fur trader, land and currency speculator, and slaveholder who supported the British during the American Revolution and provided the occupying British army with trade goods. [Read more…] about The Two Alexander Macombs: A Slaveholder & A Duplicitous Negotiator
From their early days on the North American continent, the Livingston family were a prominent sex-trade family. In a nutshell, they were landlords to brothel-operators from at least as early as the 1810s.
New York State Chancellor Robert R. Livingston, who reluctantly joined the patriot side of the American Revolution in 1776. Chancellor Robert was one of many Livingstons who profited from the sex trade in the aftermath of the unrest. [Read more…] about Pirates, Prostitution & The Livingston Family