While transcribing Alaska Territory records for the National Archives, I noticed two interesting men who were working with the native tribes. A little research revealed they were both from New York State. Here are their stories. [Read more…] about New Yorkers Serving in Alaska Territory, 1908-1910
In November of 2021 Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland formally established a process to review and replace (for federal use) derogatory names of the nation’s geographic features. In September of 2022 the Board on Geographic Names voted on the final replacement names for nearly 650 geographic features featuring the word “squaw,” including in New York State
A more recent vote completed that process for several populated place names in the American West. The votes were steps required to remove a term from federal use that has historically been used as an offensive ethnic, racial and sexist slur, particularly for Indigenous women. [Read more…] about Derogatory Place Names Removed From Several New York Locations
From the Iroquois confederacy serving as a model for the US Constitution, to the connections between the matrilineal Iroquois and the woman suffrage movement, to the living legacy of the famous “Sky Walkers,” the steelworkers who built the Empire State Building and the George Washington Bridge, the Iroquois are viewed as an exceptional people who helped make the state’s history unique and forward-looking. [Read more…] about Iroquois and the Invention of the Empire State
In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World, Brooke Bauer, an assistant professor of history at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville joins Liz Covart to explore Catawba women and their significance in Catawba culture with details from her book, Becoming Catawba: Catawba Women and Nation Building, 1540-1840 (University of Alabama Press, 2022). [Read more…] about Women and the Making of Catawba Identity
In just three hours at what is known as St. Clair’s defeat, the Battle of the Wabash, or the Battle of a Thousand Slain, St. Clair’s force sustained the greatest loss ever inflicted on the United States Army by Native Americans — a total nearly three times larger than that incurred in the more famous Custer fight of 1876. [Read more…] about Field of Corpses: Arthur St. Clair & the Death of an American Army
There was a story that had been passed down in the Minthorn family for generations. It told of how an ancestor had hidden her two infants under the roots of a tree to save them during the Revolutionary War attack on Cherry Valley, NY, in 1778. It was said that in her zeal to quiet her children, the youngsters were rendered unconscious, being revived only after the attackers had departed.
While this story is most likely fiction, there is some truth mixed in. [Read more…] about The Mystery of Joseph Brant’s Watch
The new book The Extraordinary Journey of David Ingram: An Elizabethan Sailor in Native North America (Oxford University Press, 2023) by Dean Snow rights the record on a shipwrecked sailor who traversed the length of the North American continent only to be maligned as deceitful storyteller. [Read more…] about The Extraordinary 1569 Journey of David Ingram
In 1866, NY State Geologist James Hall received a message from T.G. Younglove, an official at Harmony Mills in Cohoes, New York, informing Hall that while conducting some excavations to expand the mill they uncovered a “great pothole” at the foot of Cohoes Falls where the Mohawk River begins to empty into the Hudson.
The “great pothole” contained a large jawbone “of some unknown beast,” much larger than that of an elephant. [Read more…] about Science & Suckers: The Cohoes Mastodon & The Cardiff Giant
Alexander Macomb, the elder, (1748–1831) was a fur trader, land and currency speculator, and slaveholder who supported the British during the American Revolution and provided the occupying British army with trade goods. [Read more…] about The Two Alexander Macombs: A Slaveholder & A Duplicitous Negotiator
Advocates for the measure are urging readers to contact their state legislators to act swiftly to pass the New York State Unmarked Burial Site Protection Act (2023-S630) and send it to the Governor before the legislative session ends in June. [Read more…] about Advocates: Pass The Unmarked Burial Site Protection Act