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
Today the crossing of Middle Line Road and Geyser Road in Saratoga County contains a few houses and a small parking lot to access the Kayaderosseras Creek. But in the mid-1800s, it was the site of a thriving hamlet of several hundred inhabitants called Milton Center.
Locally renowned Revolutionary War Lt. Colonel James Gordon became an early entrepreneur after the war. He built one of Milton’s earliest gristmills on the creek by 1800 as well as other small mills to the south in the Town of Ballston. [Read more…] about A Tannery Fire Transformed Kaydeross Valley Communities
In November, 1813, nine men met in the city of New York to sign an agreement, handwritten by Nicholas Low, to form the Ballston Spa Company for the manufacture of cotton, wool and linen fabrics. They pledged an initial capital of $100,000 in shares of $100 each. A month later the Company announced it would “extend the capital stock” to $800,000, a staggering sum for those days.
Low was a businessman and friend of the rich and powerful of the nation. One was his late colleague Alexander Hamilton. During the 1790s, Low helped midwife the birth of the village of Ballston Spa, in Saratoga County. He owned most of the land upon which it was laid out and spent a fortune developing the village, including the famous Sans Souci Hotel. [Read more…] about Ballston Spa’s Abandoned 1814 Factory Awaits Rediscovery
Life as they knew it changed overnight. For years there had been fear, causing hardships day-by-day, but after this event their lives would never be the same. Much like our response to Pearl Harbor or September 11, October 16, 1780 was a day the people along Middleline Road in the Town of Ballston would never forget. [Read more…] about War on the Middleline: Munro’s Raid On Saratoga County in 1780