Many people from Clinton County, NY have ancestors from Ireland or Canada. In the 1850 census, in the Town of Ausable, one in four people were born in Canada or Ireland. In the Town of Clinton, every other person would have been born in Canada or Ireland. In the whole of Clinton County in 1850, only half could claim to be born in New York, as was the case for the Town of Black Brook. [Read more…] about Clinton County’s Irish Immigrant Legacy
Redeeming Al Smith: New York’s Four-Time Governor
Al Smith was many things during his political career: reform champion after the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, four-time governor of New York State, the first Catholic presidential candidate. But he was always a New York City boy at heart. [Read more…] about Redeeming Al Smith: New York’s Four-Time Governor
Culture War, Transatlantic Migration & The Wreck of the SS Deutschland
Following the mid-nineteenth century revolution in steamship building, transatlantic passenger transport became a profitable enterprise. Travel went global, giving rise to an intercontinental “travel industry.”
Commercial oceanic transportation boomed. Bremen-based NDL (Norddeutscher Lloyd) and Hamburg-based HAPAG (Hamburg Amerikanische Packetfahrt Aktiengesellschaft) became the largest shipping companies in the world. [Read more…] about Culture War, Transatlantic Migration & The Wreck of the SS Deutschland
Possession and Exorcism in New France
In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Mairi Cowan, an Associate Professor of History at the University of Toronto, Mississauga, joins Liz Covart to investigate the life of a young French woman named Barbe Hallay and her alleged demonic possession.
Cowan is the author of The Possession of Barbe Hallay: Diabolical Arts and Daily Life in Early Canada (McGill-Queen’s Univ. Press, 2022). [Read more…] about Possession and Exorcism in New France
Albany’s Role In Three Little-Remembered Colonial Wars in the Northeast
From the time Henry Hudson sailed up the Hudson River in 1609, the area that is now Albany, NY was considered the focal point of trade with Indigenous People. For over a hundred years, Albany was the trading post furthest west and most remote in the colonies. Most of the other colonies were English; New Netherland was Dutch and settled for the purpose of trade.
With a moderate climate, abundant rainfall, a lake and river system for good transportation and plentiful natural resources, New Netherland was well-positioned. The fur trade significantly raised the standard of living of many European settlers and Native People. Arriving at Albany with a catch of furs, an native person could trade would usually trade with a representative of the Van Rensselaers, or one of his agents.
Thousands of pelts began to flow into Albany in return for Dutch, and later English, trade goods. News of the Dutch market spread and before long Native People from as far away as today’s Minnesota and Illinois were traveling across the Great Lakes and Mohawk River to Albany to obtain manufactured goods with animal pelts. [Read more…] about Albany’s Role In Three Little-Remembered Colonial Wars in the Northeast
Catskills Klan: The KKK in Sullivan County, New York
Many people – even those with more than a passing interest in Sullivan County history – are surprised to learn that the Ku Klux Klan was once fairly active in parts of the county. And yet, throughout the 1920s and early 1930s, there were several chapters in the Catskills, most set up by recruiters from the Binghamton area.
These Klan chapters, whether in Livingston Manor, Jeffersonville, Liberty, Woodbourne or some other hamlet, often started out as social organizations, and it was not unusual to see newspaper articles and even advertisements about their charitable activities or their clambakes, sometimes in conjunction with the Kamelias, the organization’s women’s auxiliary. [Read more…] about Catskills Klan: The KKK in Sullivan County, New York
Colonial Conflict, Native People, Anti-Catholicism & The Burning of Schenectady
In 1652, New Netherland Director General Peter Stuyvesant declared that Fort Orange and everything around it, including the village outside the fort, often called Oranje after the fort, was independent of the ownership of the Van Rensselaer family. He named the small mostly Dutch village “Beverwyck.”
Possibly at the urging of the Van Rensselaers, their earlier manager Arendt Van Curler (Corlear) began planning the construction of a new village. [Read more…] about Colonial Conflict, Native People, Anti-Catholicism & The Burning of Schenectady
Fires of Philadelphia: A New Book On The 1844 Nativist Riots
Book purchases made through this link support New York Almanack’s mission to report new publications relevant to New York State.
In 1844 America was in a state of deep unrest, grappling with xenophobia, racial, and ethnic tension on a national scale that feels singular to our time, but echoes the earliest anti-immigrant sentiments of the country.
In that year Philadelphia was set aflame by a group of Protestant ideologues — avowed nativists — who were seeking social and political power rallied by charisma and fear of the Irish immigrant menace. [Read more…] about Fires of Philadelphia: A New Book On The 1844 Nativist Riots
Catherine O’Donnell Discusses ‘Elizabeth Seton: American Saint’
Episode two of “Empire State Engagements” features a conversation with Dr. Catherine O’Donnell of Arizona State University exploring her book Elizabeth Seton, American Saint (Ithaca, NY: Three Hills/Cornell University Press, 2018).
O’Donnell discussed young Elizabeth Seton’s formative years in New York City, the intellectual forces and family tragedies that informed her spiritual journey, the evolution of American Catholicism, and Mother Seton’s remarkable journey from despair to serenity and, ultimately, sainthood. [Read more…] about Catherine O’Donnell Discusses ‘Elizabeth Seton: American Saint’
Troy’s Anti-Irish St Patrick’s Day Riot of 1837
On the Morning of St. Patrick’s Day, 1837, Troy’s Irish immigrants woke to an annual indignation – mocking effigies hung around the city. Boys spent the morning parading one along River Street. A lone brave Irishman attempted to pull it down but was turned away by its defenders. He left the scene, returned with members of the Hibernian Society, and together they moved a second time toward the offending stuffed figure.
“Stones were thrown and the wildest disorder prevailed” at the intersection of Ferry and River streets in the heart of the city. The Irish were outnumbered, and during this short melee several men were injured, John Foster seriously. As word of the fight spread, rumors an Irishman had made an unprovoked attack on an American brought hundreds to the corner. “The crowd began to assume a fearful aspect,” one observer reported, “stones were flying in every direction.” [Read more…] about Troy’s Anti-Irish St Patrick’s Day Riot of 1837