In 1845, Amasiah Ford of Ballston Spa wrote a multi-page manuscript for his application seeking a veteran’s pension. The account of his military experience 30-plus years earlier would be used 150 years later as references in several books on the War of 1812. [Read more…] about Hard Times For War of 1812 Veteran Amasiah Ford
Although no trace remains today, the Glen Paper Collar Company was a visible presence in the Saratoga County community of Ballston Spa 150 years ago. It was located in what was known as the “Blue Mill” on the north side of Milton Avenue, built as one of the area’s first grist mills. The collar company was one of the largest of its kind in the country and its owners, Horace Medbery and Henry Mann, were prolific inventors. [Read more…] about Medberry & Mann: Saratoga County’s Paper Collar Kings
On April 18th, 1777, during the American Revolution, the New York Provincial Convention received the following letter, dated two days previously:
“Dear Sir – Upon my arrival home , I found a letter from the chairman of the county committee, requesting the assistance of our militia to quell an insurrection of the tories in Ballstown, and upon inquiry found that the same spirit prevailed much in my regiment, to such a degree that it appears numbers have enlisted , and have taken the oath of secrecy and allegiance to the King of Great Britain, and that a regiment of royal volunteers is to be raised in the county of Albany, under the command of J. Hueston, as will appear by the enclosed; in consequence of which we have not complied with the request of the chairman. Seventeen of the villains are now in confinement, and by the vigilance of our committee, and militia officers, hope soon to detect the whole and transmit to the Convention the proof that shall be collected.
I am, dear sir, in great haste, Yours, [signed] Robt. Van Rensselaer” [Read more…] about Resistance to the Revolution in Saratoga County, May 1777
In 1976, as the nation prepared to celebrate its 200th birthday, my parents were already a year into the hunt for records of an elusive ancestor: Sanbun Ford, a founder of the town of Milton, in Saratoga County. [Read more…] about Sanbun Ford: An American Revolutionary Rediscovered
On the scaffold, just after a noose was tied around his neck, he jumped to his death, thereby depriving his executioners from carrying out his sentence. [Read more…] about Patriot Then Traitor: Saratoga County’s Joe Bettys
In 1791, the newly formed Saratoga County Board of Supervisors met for the first time at Mead’s Tavern in Stillwater, in the eastern part of the county. It was common for elected officials or committees to meet at a public house before building a town hall.
Within the next few years, when it was decided that a courthouse building and jail should be erected, the Town of Ballston was chosen for it’s central location.
Captain Edward A. Watrous donated a site on his farm for the courthouse on Middeline Road in Ballston and construction began in 1795. Court was first held there the next spring. A small hamlet grew, known as “Courthouse Hill,” it was complete with taverns, hotels and law offices. The county seat seemed to be firmly cemented at that location, but that changed in 1816. [Read more…] about How Ballston Spa Became the Seat of Saratoga County
Beginning in the early 1860s, break-ins began taking place at businesses across Saratoga County, New York. The method was always the same, an office was entered and the safe was emptied and then re-locked. The only outward evidence of the theft was the owners’ inability to open the safe. [Read more…] about The Secret Criminal Life of Nelson Knickerbacker
A man with the ominous-sounding name of Isaiah Blood, born on February 13, 1810, once operated one of the largest tool factories of its kind in New York State, along the Kayaderosseras Creek in Saratoga County, 150 years ago.
The Ballston Scythe, Axe and Tool Works shipped hundreds of thousands of quality hard-edge tools around the world for decades. [Read more…] about Isaiah Blood: The Forgotten Industrialist of Bloodville
There have been many noted murder trials in Saratoga county since the first court was held in the town of Stillwater May 10, 1791 – 100 years ago. The court now in session at Ballston Spa meets about five miles from where the first court was held, at the residence of Samuel Clark, near East Line, Judge John Thompson of Stillwater [then] presiding, he having received the appointment as the first judge of Saratoga county from Governor Clinton. [Read more…] about Murder Trials Of Note In 19th Century Saratoga County
The last week of the year 1843 was a difficult time for Ballston farmer Uriah Gregory. On December 29th Uriah lost his beloved wife, Tamer, his partner of more than sixty-five years, with whom he shared a life in the earliest days of the new nation. [Read more…] about The Life and Death of a Saratoga County Patriot