In the early 1750s, the French were establishing trading posts and building forts along western the frontiers of the British colonies. In the fall of 1753, in part to protect his own land claims, Virginia Lieutenant Governor Robert Dinwiddie had sent 22-year-old George Washington (then a militia leader and surveyor) to deliver a letter to Fort Le Boeuf at what is today Waterford in northwest Pennsylvania, demanding they stop. [Read more…] about The French and Indian War: A New York Perspective
In February 1826 one of America’s seminal works of historical fiction, James Fenimore Cooper‘s The Last of the Mohicans, was first published. Last of the Mohicans has also been adapted to film at least eight times, most recently in 1992 starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Madeleine Stowe. The novel is one of five Cooper wrote that make up the Leatherstocking Tales series, all of them set in Upstate New York between the years 1740 and 1804. [Read more…] about Lake George Battlefield, More Than Just A Setting for Cooper’s ‘Last of the Mohicans’
William Shirley was the Royal Governor of Massachusetts, appointed by the King of England. Shirley had been a British official in England serving on negotiating committees with French officials determining boundaries. This had led Shirley to a thorough dislike of the French.
He was very aggressive and had been a stalwart advocate of invading Canada and driving the French out of North America. Shirley had written a strong criticism of the New York Congress for its resistance to an invasion of Canada in 1748. He was upset when New Jersey and Rhode Island refused to cooperate in the invasion because they were not threatened. [Read more…] about The Albany Congress of 1754: Native People, Colonists & the Monarchy
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
By 1642, the number of inhabitants of the van Rensselaer Manor Rensselaerswyck had grown and Patroon Kiliaen van Rensselaer willingly complied with a requirement of the Dutch West India Company to secure a clergyman for a Dutch Church to conduct services for the settlers.
The Reverend Doctor Johannis Megapolensis, Jr., the dominie (pastor) of the congregation of Schorel and Berg, belonging to the classis of Alkmaar in Holland, was selected and accepted the call. He was to serve for six years at a salary of one thousand guilders (about $400) per year. He was also to receive a yearly donation of thirty schepels (22 ½ bushels) of wheat and two firkins of butter. [Read more…] about Father Isaac Jogues, Pastor Johannes Megapolensis & Native People
In spite of his involvement and investment, Kiliaen Van Rensselaer never visited his new patroonship Rensselaerswyck; it was managed by his agent, and cousin, Arendt van Curler, commissioner general of the colony of New Netherland.
The second patroon, Johannes Van Rensselaer (1625–1662) succeeded his father after his father’s death in 1643 but also never came to America. He governed through an agent, Brant van Slichtenhorst. [Read more…] about Rensselaerswyck, Beverwyck & Schenectady: The Stuyvesant, Van Rensselaer and Van Slichtenhorst Conflict
In September 1755 the most famous Indigenous person in the world was killed in the Bloody Morning Scout that launched the Battle of Lake George. His name was Henderick Peters Theyanooguin, but he was widely known as King Hendrick.
In an unfortunate twist of linguistic and historical fate, he shared the same first name as another famous Mohawk leader, Hendrick Tejonihokarawa, who although about 30 years his senior, was also famous in his own right. He was one of the “Four Indian Kings” who became a sensation in London in 1710, met Queen Anne, and was wined and dined as an international celebrity. [Read more…] about The Two Hendricks: A Mohawk Indian Mystery