Rebecca Jones was born in Schoharie County, NY in the 1820s. Her family moved to Ballston Spa, in Saratoga County, where Becky attended a girl’s school. By 1850, she was living in the city of New York and working as a domestic servant for the family of Andrew Gordon Hammersley, a lawyer and banker. [Read more…] about Obstinate Becky Jones: At Home in Ludlow Jail
A retired librarian, David is best known for his research and writing about Solomon Northup, the free black man who was abducted from Saratoga Springs, New York, and sold into slavery. [Read more…] about David Fiske, Local Historian & Regular New York Almanack Contributor, Passes
Enlisting in Colonel Burnett’s 1st Regiment of New York Volunteers, and was sent to Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn to begin their military service. [Read more…] about A Mexican War Monument in Saratoga County
During the Civil War, Colonel Simeon Sammons received authority to recruit a regiment in the counties of Fulton, Hamilton, Montgomery, and Saratoga, with headquarters at Fonda. On August 26, 1862, it mustered into the service of the United States for three years as the 115th New York Infantry Regiment, known as the “Iron-Hearted Regiment.” [Read more…] about The 115th New York: The Iron Hearted Regiment During The Civil War
Many citizens of Ballston Spa in Saratoga County will be aware that in the nineteenth century the east end of Front Street boasted a sumptuous hotel called the Sans Souci. Some of these residents may have mused upon the great events, including grand balls, which might have enlivened this hotel back in the day, even ones graced by the presence of European royalty on occasion. [Read more…] about Ballston Spa’s 19th Century Grand Balls in Competition
As the 1890s took New York State toward a new century, the use of the bicycle for recreation by both the young and old was sweeping the country. One reason for this growth was the development of a safer, easier-to-ride machine with a smaller front wheel than the earlier high-wheeled bicycles.
Other advances in the development of the bicycle at this time were pneumatic tires and a chain drive that further eliminated the need for the large front tire. [Read more…] about Side Paths: New York State’s 1890s Bike Trail Network
Driving by the Saratoga Tree Nursery, just south of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), most barely notice the state tree nursery’s rustic entrance sign – and you need to squint to see that its full name is “Colonel William F. Fox Memorial Saratoga Tree Nursery.” The state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), which owns the nursery, considers William Fox the “father” of today’s DEC forest ranger program, as well at the guy who believed the state should raise young trees for later replanting.
Yet the story of the 19th century Ballston Spa native, who also served with valor in the Civil War, is little-known to the general public. [Read more…] about Logging, Forestry, Wildfires & Forest Rangers: William Fox’s Legacy
“The Paper Bag King” developed his paper-making skills as an apprentice in England and his business acumen as a 19th century entrepreneur in Saratoga County. George West earned the nickname from being on the cutting edge of offering flour companies a choice between cotton and paper sacks, the latter of which was cheaper and, hence, became more common.
West’s mill at Rock City Falls in the town of Milton was among the first in the United State to make bags from paper. It was one of about a dozen 19th century paper mills in Saratoga County that West would come to own. [Read more…] about George West: Saratoga County’s Paper Bag King
The Civil War claimed more Americans than any other conflict involving the United States. This is the story of how James Bailey, a staunch Confederate once in armed revolt against the United States, found himself in Saratoga County.
At about 5 am on August 10, 1861, an attack ordered by United States General Nathaniel Lyon was launched against the Confederates at Wilson’s Creek, near Springfield, Missouri. The Battle of Wilson’s Creek, in which about 5,400 United States troops faced about 12,00 Confederates, was the first major conflict west of the Mississippi River. [Read more…] about James Bailey: A Confederate Guerrilla in Saratoga County
Although the mineral springs that made Ballston Spa in Saratoga County famous in the late 1700s were surpassed in importance by the industries of the 1800s, several of them were re-tubed and became part of the manufacturing interests of the village well into the twentieth century.
Some mineral springs quickly failed, others were opened to the public, and still others were bottled and sold around the country. [Read more…] about Ballston Spa’s Hides-Franklin Spring: Some History