When seventy-eight-year-old William Rulison passed away in August of 1931, the only newspaper in Upstate New York that carried the news was Cooperstown’s Otsego Farmer. In this obituary, he was noted only as a “pioneer in balloon flying in this part of the country,” and a man who went by the title of Professor. This report of his passing left much untold, and in the material that follows I hope to give a complete account of his full and varied life. [Read more…] about New York’s Forgotten Aeronaut & Diver: William Warren Rulison
West Canada Creek
During the American Revolution, British loyalists frequently raided the farms and homes of their former friends and neighbors in what is now Herkimer County, NY, with the support of their Native allies.
Among the communities raided were Andrustown (July 18, 1778), Rheimensnyders Bush (April 3, 1780, also known as Yellow Church), Shells Bush (August 6, 1781) and Little Falls (June 1782). The Loyalists knew the landscape well, for many of them had lived there for a generation or two. Many were relatives and friends of the recently deceased Sir William Johnson who had been Commissioner of Indian Affairs for North America.
One of these raids resulted in what has become known as the Battle of West Canada Creek, which occurred in September 1781. [Read more…] about Herkimer County Loyalist Raids & The Battle of West Canada Creek
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
The earliest European settlers in the Mohawk Valley came from what is now southwestern Germany. Under near constant threat of destruction, whether from multiple wars, invasions, or the plague, in the near hundred years leading up to the 18th century, the southwest German population experienced extreme hardship.
In some cases, entire towns and villages were wiped out. Commercial crops in the vineyards either failed or were destroyed. Invading French armies added to the hardship by burdening residents with housing and supporting soldiers, albeit with scant family resources, forcing many German homeowners to flee. [Read more…] about Palatines in the Mohawk Valley: 300 Years of History