You may have noticed that “Since 1842” appears on the label of all Mott’s apple products. That was the year Samuel Mott began selling apple cider and vinegar to his neighbors in Halfmoon, Saratoga County, NY. The Mott’s apple processing empire we know today grew from that humble beginning. [Read more…] about Mott’s Apple Empire Began in Saratoga County in 1842
Mustard Power: An Historic Food Crop
First domesticated in Central Asia some six-thousand years ago by ancient cultures looking for the best way to ruin shirts, mustard has evolved from zesty warm to blistering hot to the point that it’s now being developed as an ultra-low emission jet fuel.
Given the large size of the mustard or Brassica family – some 3,000 strong, according to Cornell University – it’s no surprise that it comprises historic food crops, showy flowers, noxious invasive weeds, and more. [Read more…] about Mustard Power: An Historic Food Crop
Albany County’s West Mountain: Some History
West Mountain refers to the highlands in the southwest quadrant of the Town of Berne, NY, and is the highest point in Albany County at 2,160 ft.
A map of Van Rensselaer Patroonship leases made in 1787 does not shows anyone living on West Mountian, but white settlers probably started clearing land there within a few years of that date. A few years later there were enough folks to organize the Baptist Church of Christ, just north of the Rensselaerville-Berne town line. A schoolhouse was built next door, jointly operated by both towns. [Read more…] about Albany County’s West Mountain: Some History
Rensselaer County Industrialist Albert Fox: A Short Bio
Albert Rodmond Fox was born on February 10, 1810, and came of age during a dynamic period in American history, as the new nation found its footing. Fifty years after the Declaration of Independence there was a new generation of leaders. It was a time of internal improvements (infrastructure) – new roads, canals, railroads and, eventually, the telegraph – and the industrial revolution. Fortunes were made.
It was also a time of social reform: circuit-riding preachers; new schools and churches; missionaries of all sorts; temperance and abolition advocates. Albert Fox of Sand Lake, Rensselaer County, was in the middle of it all. [Read more…] about Rensselaer County Industrialist Albert Fox: A Short Bio
It’s Lady Bug Season
What are round-ish, mostly orange and commonly found in October on front porches or near entryways?
Obviously the answer is Harmonia axyridis, a.k.a. the multicolored lady beetle or lady bug. This insect, although beneficial to gardens, is no treat when it gathers by the hundreds on your doors or exterior walls in autumn. And more than a few will find their way indoors. [Read more…] about It’s Lady Bug Season
The Great Pumpkin Flood of 1903 & Other Delaware River Floods
The last three weeks of October, 1903 proved to be difficult ones in the Upper Delaware region, as residents attempted to clean up after a particularly devastating flood.
Following three days of heavy rains, the Delaware River crested on October 10th, 1903, destroying several bridges, wiping out the Erie Railroad’s tracks in a number of places, and damaging homes and businesses in three states. [Read more…] about The Great Pumpkin Flood of 1903 & Other Delaware River Floods
October On The 19th Century Farm
Oh, the joy of October – the month of apple harvest and autumn foliage.
“The farmers of this village are now gathering their apple crop. They report the crop good,” The Granville Sentinel reported on October 6th, 1876. [Read more…] about October On The 19th Century Farm
Spiritualism, Temperance, the Grange and More (Historians Podcast)
This week on The Historians Podcast, town historian Todd Langworthy on how Lily Dale in the Town of Pomfret in Western New York became a center for spiritualism. Pomfret also was the place where the Women’s Christian Temperance Union began and where the first farmers’ Grange was founded. And the town is home to the village of Fredonia and the SUNY College at Fredonia. [Read more…] about Spiritualism, Temperance, the Grange and More (Historians Podcast)
The Optimism of a 19th Century June
On June 3, 1876, it was 92 degrees “in the shade” at Fort Ann, in Washington County.
“The season of picnics, excursions and camp-meetings is at hand,” The Granville Sentinel proclaimed. Six days later the heat gave way to refreshing rain. [Read more…] about The Optimism of a 19th Century June
Washington County Farmers In Spring, 1876
If April showers bring May flowers, what do May showers bring?
Optimism for a prosperous agricultural season.
“The weather for the past two or three days has been quite warm and spring-like, with frequent showers, and Mother Earth is fast putting on her robe of green,” the Putnam correspondent reported in The Granville Sentinel on May 12th, 1876. “The farmers have nearly finished their sowing, but we have not heard of much planting being done yet. Winter grain is looking finely, and the prospects are good for an abundant harvest.” [Read more…] about Washington County Farmers In Spring, 1876