William Alexander was born on December 25, 1726 in the city of New York to well-known lawyer James Alexander and his wife Mary. Mary and James had emigrated from Scotland in 1716. When they married, Mary was already a widow with six children and she and James had seven more. William was the second son of Mary and James, but when his older brother died in 1731, William became the male heir to the Alexander clan. [Read more…] about Major General William Alexander, Lord Stirling: A Short Biography
On a chilly November day in 1829, a man dressed completely in white stood before a crowd on the precipice of the High Falls of the Genesee River in the middle of Rochester, New York. Many watching had traveled for days to view the spectacle. All eyes were riveted on one of the most famous men in America. [Read more…] about Sam Patch: Early American Daredevil
Musician Nicola Matteis arrived in London in the early 1670s. Describing himself as “Napolitano,” he was the first Baroque violinist of note active in the capital. Very much his own promoter, he published his Arie diverse per il violin in 1676, a collection of 120 pieces for solo violin. A second extended edition with an English title-page appeared two years later. In 1685, he published the third and fourth parts of the famous Ayres for the Violin.
Matteis is credited with changing English taste for violin from the French to the Italian style of playing. Soon after, attention shifted from performer to instrument which sparked a veritable cult of Cremonese violins. The name Stradivari became a metaphor for perfection attained by a combination of individual genius, skill and attention to detail. [Read more…] about Cremona to Central Park: Stradivari & Nahan Franko’s Legacy
It was late on Wednesday, January 19th, 1910, and Police Chief W. R. Bronner was making his evening rounds through the quiet village of Mohawk, in the town of German Flatts, Herkimer County, NY, making sure all was safe for both business and residents.
Somewhere near the intersection of Main and Washington streets, he encountered four men who engaged him in conversation as they all walked along. Before he could resist, he was relieved of his pistol, gagged, and brought into the Masonic Hall billiard room that the Yeggs had broken into earlier in the evening. Once inside, Bronner was bound with wire taken from pictures on the wall. [Read more…] about When The Yeggs Hit Upstate New York
A bold strike on Christmas night, Washington’s Crossing was a source of desperately needed momentum and a major morale boost for a Continental Army that had endured a brutal year and was on the brink of defeat. [Read more…] about December 25th: The Continental Army Crosses The Delaware River
This essay was written for the Kingston Daily Freeman in the 1930s, transcribed by Hudson River Maritime Museum volunteer Adam Kaplan and reproduced here in a slightly edited form.
The tale of the steamboat Poughkeepsie is the story of a vessel that is still in service [in the 1930s] – although today the name Westchester has replaced Poughkeepsie and she is no longer a familiar figure on the Hudson River. [Read more…] about The Hudson River Steamboat Poughkeepsie; Later Known As The Westchester
In late August 1776, a badly defeated Continental Army retreated from Long Island to Manhattan. By early November, George Washington’s inexperienced army withdrew further into New Jersey and, by the end of the year, into Pennsylvania. During this dark night of the American Revolution — “the times that try men’s souls” — Washington began developing the strategy that would win the war. [Read more…] about Washington’s Revenge: The 1777 New Jersey Campaign
2024 will mark the 200th anniversary of the return of the Marquis de Lafayette (Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette) to America. In 1824, almost 50 years after the start of the American Revolution, the 68-year-old Lafayette was invited by President James Monroe, an old Revolutionary War comrade and lifelong friend, to tour the United States.
Lafayette’s visit was one the major events of the early 19th century. It had the effect of unifying a country sometime fractured by electoral discord and reminding Americans of their hard won democracy. [Read more…] about The Marquis de Lafayette: A Short Biography
Robert Yates (1738-1801) was born in Schenectady. His parents were Joseph and Maria Yates. He received a classical education in the city of New York and later studied law in the Albany law firm of William Livingston, who was later a signer of the U.S. Constitution.
Yates was admitted to the New York bar in 1760 and thereafter resided in Albany. From 1771 to 1775, Yates was on the Albany Board of Aldermen and considered himself a member of the Radical Whigs, a party carried over from England that had a reputation for strong opposition to corruption and the protection of liberty. [Read more…] about Robert Yates, John Lansing & The Constitution
William Paterson was born in County Antrim, Ireland, in 1745. His family immigrated to America when William was two years old. Arriving first at New Castle, Delaware, the family settled for a short time in New London, Connecticut. At first, his father traveled around the country selling tin ware, moving the family several times. He eventually settled in Princeton, New Jersey where he became a merchant and manufacturer of tin goods.
Paterson attended local private schools and eventually the College of New Jersey (Princeton) where he received a bachelor’s degree in 1763 and a master’s degree in 1766. Showing an interest in law, Paterson apprenticed with Richard Stockton, who later signed the Declaration of Independence. Paterson practiced law in New Bromley, South Branch. In 1779, he settled near New Brunswick at Raritan Estate, all in New Jersey. [Read more…] about William Paterson & The Constitution of the United States