On August 13th, 1689, New York Governor Leisler wrote “Scharachtoge [Saratoga]…there are six or seven families all or most rank French papists that have their relations at Canada and I suppose settled there for some bad designe and are lesser to be trusted there in conjunctione of tyme than ever before the bad creatures amongst us gives me great occupatione.” [Read more…] about When Saratoga Was An American Frontier
Saratoga County History Roundtable
The Ballston Terminal Railroad in Saratoga County, NY, opened on August 6, 1898.
At 4:05 pm, the George West made its inaugural run from the Village of Ballston Spa to the Pioneer Mill in West Milton. This was a six mile trip. On the return trip to Ballston Spa, the trolley stopped at the Power House in Factory Village to allow the company to review the machinery. Then everyone boarded again to arrive back at Middlebrook Avenue at 5:10 pm. The total round trip took one hour and five minutes. [Read more…] about The Ballston Terminal Railroad: A Short History
What could be more symbolic of British imperial domination, immorality, and unfettered disrespect for human life than the murder of Jane McCrea at the hands of British-allied Indians near Fort Edward, NY, on July 26, 1777?
Word spread fast, and McCrea’s slaying excited legion numbers of patriotic American militia to seek righteous revenge against the sinister “savages” and General John Burgoyne. Burgoyne could later reflect upon this sad event as the beginning of the end of his sinister, failed military expedition.
At least, this is what authors, enthusiasts, and yes — even historians — have led us to believe for centuries. [Read more…] about The Death of Jane McCrea: Fact and Fiction
On July 23, 1885, at 8:08 am, Ulysses S. Grant lost his final battle, dying from cancer of the throat and tongue. He died on Mt. McGregor in Saratoga County, in Drexel’s Cottage (now known as Grant Cottage) where Grant and his family spent the last 5½ weeks.
Grant’s doctors felt it was best he leave New York City for the summer to get away from the oppressive heat and pollution of the city and find a place with cool clean air due to his illness. [Read more…] about Ulysses S. Grant’s Final Battles at Mt McGregor
The Saratoga County Agricultural Society and Fair dates back to 1841 when the organization was formed under an act of the State Legislature of that year. However, before the Agricultural Society was founded, earlier fairs were held from 1819 to 1825 at the Courthouse and an adjacent lot in Ballston Spa.
Saratoga County shares the honor of the oldest county fair in New York State with Jefferson County. [Read more…] about Saratoga County Fair: A Short History
Abraham (1789-1871) and Harriet Best moved from Claverack, Columbia County, NY to Vischer Ferry in the Town of Clifton Park (Saratoga County) in 1815 and built a fine brick federal style home that still stands on Vischer Ferry Road. My late wife Martha and I purchased this home in 1987 and so I live in the “Best House.”
Abraham had red hair and a temperament to match. He was a farmer who seems to have been very opinionated, and sometimes argumentative. He was a staunch member of the Amity Reformed Church, and in 1835 he petitioned the consistory in a suit against a neighboring landowner, John Clute, who he accused of wrongfully removing a fence from his property. [Read more…] about Abe Best: Contentious Clifton Park Resident
The United States Hotel in Saratoga Springs, built in 1824 on the southwest corner of Broadway and Division Street, grew over the years to have more than 500 rooms. On Sunday, June 18, 1865, the guests were preparing to take carriage rides out to Saratoga Lake, a favorite diversion of the time, when a fire broke out. The flames spread quickly, devouring the hotel in a spectacular blaze. A year later the community’s other massive hotel, Congress Hall was also destroyed by fire. [Read more…] about Saratoga’s Other Grand Hotel, The Clarendon
The Town of Colonie in Albany County, NY, owns the Stony Creek Reservoir located in southern Clifton Park, just above Vischer Ferry in Saratoga County. It was completed in 1953 at a cost of $1,800,000 and covers 297 acres holding 1.4 billion gallons of water that is carried by pipes under the Mohawk River to the residents of Colonie.
The Latham Water District closed the floodgates on the dam across Stony Creek in the beginning of June 1953. By June 14 the lake began to form with a depth of 12 feet. [Read more…] about Stony Creek Reservoir: A Short History
On June 2nd, 1791 the very first meeting of the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors took place at Mead’s Tavern in Stillwater. Earlier that year, the New York State Legislature passed a law creating Saratoga County by carving out an area from Albany County.
At that time, the new county was divided among four towns. Each elected a single supervisor to represent them on the county board. Beriah Palmer came from Ballstown (now Ballston), Benjamin Rosekrans from Halfmoon, John B. Schuyler represented Saratoga and Elias Palmer from the host town of Stillwater. All were prominent men of their communities. [Read more…] about Saratoga County’s First Supervisor’s Meeting
On Friday, May 24, 1861 President Lincoln received two visitors: a Senator and a reporter.
Years later the reporter gave this account of the occasion: “As we entered the library we observed Mr. Lincoln before a window, looking out across the Potomac….. “Excuse me,” he said,” but I cannot talk.”… Then to our surprise the President burst into tears, and concealed his face in his handkerchief… After composing himself somewhat, Mr. Lincoln sat down and invited us to him. “I will make no apology, gentlemen,” he said, “for my weakness; but I knew poor Ellsworth well, and held him in great regard.” [Read more…] about Elmer Ellsworth: Lincoln’s Friend, Killed By A Confederate Sympathizer