Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Visit to the New Scotland Historical Association Museum

In my quest to visit little museums this summer, the Husband and I trekked out to New Scotland on Sunday and visited a local history gem - the New Scotland Historical Association's museum.  I knew there would be Bethlehem connections because the Town of New Scotland was created from the Town of Bethlehem in 1832.

I enjoyed this auction poster - it really speaks to the agricultural roots of Bethlehem and New Scotland.

In the fine print you might notice (I know, if only it were vertical instead of horizontal) that the sale was put on by the Albany County Breeding Association and scheduled for September 12th, 1860.  The location was "at Log Tavern Farms, on the New Scotland Plank Road, two miles from Albany, N.Y."  I have mentioned the Log Tavern and the trotting course - or race track - in a previous post.  In 1860, the Log Tavern Farm was firmly in the town of Bethlehem.

Further down are descriptions of specific stock offered for sale.  A large herd of short horn cattle includes "Finella, bred by S.E. Bolden, Esq... and her calves."   Black Hawk and Messenger breed horses include "the celebrated Black Hawk Maid by the original Vermont Black Hawk"  It is noted that "The proprietors have been many years engaged in breeding FAST TROTTING HORSES"

The names of the proprietors or "breeders and managers" listed might have a familiar ring:

William M Bullock, Bethlehem near Albany
Joseph Hilton, New-Scotland
William H. Slingerland, Norman's Kill
William Hurst, Albany, N.Y.
Geo. W. Adams, Whitehall, N.Y.

I am going to speculate here that William Bullock is almost certainly related to Matthew Bullock whose Bullock Road historic marker says he "Introduced English Short Horn Cattle into Albany County about 1815 and won premiums at fairs" .  Joseph Hilton is probably related to the Hilton family of Hilton Road in New Scotland, William H. Slingerland was well known in the hamlet of Slingerlands.  In 1860 it was still known as Normanskill.  William Hurst - that would be Hurstville.  And George W. Adams - while listed as being from Whitehall - is he perhaps related to the family from Adamsville - today's Delmar?

Here's one other picture of an area in museum that caught my eye - one day I'll write a whole other blog post about the Anti-Rent War and Calico Indians.

So go for a ride out New Scotland way on Route 85 and visit this small museum.  They are open Sunday afternoons.  Here's a link to the website

It is worth the trip.  Oh - and if you like Thacher Park - the museum has a wonderful exhibit on the history of the park and a some hands on fossils.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Historical Gifts

I thought of calling this post "The Stuff People Give Me" but that seems a little too flip, even for me!

I am deeply grateful for those thoughtful folks who seek to preserve their piece of Bethlehem history either with the Town Historian's office or the Bethlehem Historical Association.  Just in the past couple of weeks I have received these items.

Plus this large one.

 So, what is all that stuff?

The title of the book on the upper left is, and I quote:

Gazetteer of the State of New York Embracing a Comprehensive Account of the History and Statistics of the State. With Geological and Topographical Descriptions, and Recent Statistical Tables Representing the Present Condition of Each County, City, Town and Village in the State.

It is by Franklin B. Hough, A.M., M.D., published in 1872 in Albany by Andrew Boyd.  I am looking forward to reading about the state of the state from 142 years ago. Here's the bits about Bethlehem.

The scrapbook concerns the Rotary Club of Delmar and includes their application for charter membership to Rotary International.  The snapshot below is of their 1st anniversary dinner held January 6, 1959 at the Center Inn in Glenmont.

The newspaper is the August 6, 1950 edition  of the Albany Times Union.  While I often read newspaper clippings from scrapbooks or online, it is a whole different experience to page through a complete, original newspaper.  Physically, it seems huge (opened up flat, it is about 30" wide and 22" high not including the binding boards) and the paper feels weighty.  The comic section is several pages long, and again huge by comparison to the modern paper, and even compared to the  newspaper I remember reading as a young adult 30 years ago.

(My apologies for the sideways pictures - I still haven't figured out why Blogger does this. I swear they are horizontal on my computer!)

So, thank you Dan, Robert, Virginia and Dwight. Your gifts are much appreciated.

Post Script: Did you notice I left off the postcards?  They are of Clarksville in the early 20th century.  Soon I plan to head out that way and see if I can line up the "now" photos for these "then" postcards.  And lunch at Jake Moon's, and maybe a peep into the Clarksville cave while I'm there.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Bill Howard's Civil War article

Did you see Bill Howard's article The Cruel Year of War in the Sunday June 29, 2014 issue of the Times Union?

Here's a link to the online version. 

Sadly, the online version does not have the photos, so here's a snapshot.

The two on the bottom are of particular interest because of their Bethlehem connection.

On the bottom left is Pvt. William Frazier of Slingerlands.  Frazier was born October 19, 1844 and enlisted with the 91st New York Infantry in March of 1864.  He survived the war and lived on Maple Avenue until his death in 1926 at the age of 82.

On the bottom right is Capt. David Burhans of Bethlehem.  Burhans was born on June 24, 1840.  He served in Company H of the 43rd New York Infantry and died while carrying the regimental flag at Po River, Virginia on May 10, 1864. He was just 23 years old.  Here's how he was described in Heros of Albany County.

And in case you are curious, the top picture is of Cpl. William H. Fisher who served in the 97th New York Infantry and died on May 15, 1864 from wounds he received at Gettysberg and The Wilderness.  I don't know of a Bethlehem connection for him.