Our Working Landscape

Even the earliest travelers noted the promise in the land at Saratoga. The broad, fertile plain, bound by mountains, promised bountiful fruits to those willing to work the landscape. Saratoga’s rural character is defined in part by the past and present farms and farmers that make up this community. Saratoga remained largely agricultural following the end of the 18th century with some agricultural use persisting to the present day. The area was described in 1825 by Henry Dilworth Gilpin in A Northern Tour: “Along the river, the alluvial flats are principally a stiff argillaceous loam, and the river hills have the same kind of soil, more or less mixed with sand or gravel. The timber on these lands is oak, hickory, chesnut, & c.; on the loamy plains, beech, maple, ash, elm and butternut; and on the sandy loam, white and yellow pine”. Farms and farmland remain cornerstones of our community, linking the past to the future through a landscape of fields and pastures, stone walls and weathered barns shaped by generations of hard-working farm families. This landscape, cherished by so many, is often taken for granted. Some of its benefits are obvious-the joy of seeing the foals in the fields in the spring, bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables in the summer and fall months; and milk and dairy products year-round. Other benefits are less obvious-the local revenue and jobs farms provide, the recreational and tourism opportunities they create, the wildlife habitat and other environmental benefits they offer. Some benefits are easily quantified; many are not. The benefit that may be most valued by Saratoga residents is the ephemeral “quality of life” that farms help to provide. Photo Credit: A late summer sunrise along Cedar Bluff Road in the Town of Saratoga. August, 2015

On this day – March 7

On this day in 1788, the Town of Saratoga incorporated; in 1791 Saratoga County was set off from Albany County to create a new county and in 2010, Walter I. “Pete” Flanders passed away at age 90, Pete was the husband of Anita ‘Nete” Flanders for 68 years, Pete was a PFC in World War II where he served with four brothers, Herbert, Philip, Donald, and Van, Pete was employed by the State of New York Canal Division for thirty seven years, was a member of American Legion Post No 278 and active in the Quaker Springs and Schuylerville Senior Citizens as well as a member of the Old Saratoga Dutch Reformed Church in Schuylerville.
On this day is a chronological timetable of events that occurred on this day in history around the Town of Saratoga. Discover what happened today in local history by following our twitter account @historysaratoga
(Thank you to Deputy Historian Patricia Peck for compiling this timetable.).
March 7

Skeyhill’s poem

#onthisdate Noted WWI Soldier Skeyhill lectured at the high school.
Schuylerville and Victory Teachers brought Skeyhill to the community. Skeyhill had been composing verse, some of which was published in the London, Cairo and Melbourne press.
This is an example of his poems.
The Naked Army
We ain’t no picture postcards,
Nor studies in black and white;
We don’t doll up in evening clothes
When we go out to fight.
We’ve forgotten all our manners,
And our talk is full of slang,
For you ain’t got time for grammar
When you ‘ear the rifles bang.
The ‘eat ‘ere an’ the vermin
‘Ad drove us nearly balmy,
So we peeled off all our clobber,
And we’re called “The Naked Army.”
We never wear our tunics,
Unless it’s cold at night;
An’ socks and shirts and putties,
We’ve chucked ’em out of sight.
We only wear a pair of shorts
That don’t near reach our knees,
And we’re burnt as brown as berries;
Still, we’d sooner sun than fleas.
The Tommies fighting round us
Think we’ve got a bally rat;
They’re all togged up to a button,
An’ us, in shorts and ‘at.
The air and sun don’t ‘urt us
In this land of fleas and strife,
So we’ve chucked away our clobber
An’ prefer the Simple Life.
The Rookie, when first landed,
‘Angs on to all ‘is clothes,
But when the grey-backs bite ‘im,
It’s to the beach ‘e goes.
Then off comes shirt and tunic,
Boots, socks, and putties, too;
‘E dives deep in the briny,
An’ wears what the others do.
If our girls could only see us,
Just as we’re fightin’ ‘ere,
I wonder if they’d ‘ug us,
Smile, kiss, an’ call us
Dear! Sure thing, they still would love us,
Although we’re burnt and lean;
They’d think of our ‘ome-comin’,
An’ buy a sewin’ machine.
Still, clothes don’t make the fighter,
Nor speech don’t show the man,
But conduct in the trenches
Proves out the fightin’ man.
This aint’ no bloomin’ picnic,
The earth ‘ides ‘eaps of slain;
And we’ll fight on to avenge ’em,
Or we won’t come ‘ome again.
We were the first at landin’,
And we’re ‘angin’ on until
The Turks get all that’s comin’,
Then we’ll be in at the kill.
When we march through old “Connie,”
Some one will yell, “Lor’ blahmy!
There lies the Young Turk’s Harem.
Double up! The Naked Army

Skeyhill’s biography

#onthisdate Noted WWI Soldier Skeyhill lectured at the high school. The Schuylerville and Victory Teachers sponsored the lecture.
The Australian Dictionary of Biography provide us with the details on Skeyhill. https://ift.tt/1L9zT4L
Thomas John Skeyhill (1895-1932), soldier and lecturer, was born on 10 January 1895 at Terang, Victoria, son of James Percy Skeyhill, driver and later aerated waters factory manager, and his wife Annie, née Donnelly. Both parents were native born of Irish extraction. Tom was educated at the local state school and from 1902 at St Mary’s Convent School, Hamilton.
At 14 he became a telegraph messenger at Hamilton and later a telephonist. A clever reciter, he was successful in local elocution competitions and was a debater with the Hibernian Society.
Enlisting in the 8th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force, in August 1914, Skeyhill embarked from Melbourne in December and landed at Anzac Cove as a signaller on 25 April 1915. On 8 May, during the advance at Cape Helles, he was blinded by an exploding Turkish shell. He was invalided back to Melbourne in October and later was officially welcomed home at Hamilton Town Hall.
Skeyhill had been composing verse, some of which was published in the London, Cairo and Melbourne press. In November 1915 he appeared at the Tivoli Theatre, Melbourne, in full Gallipoli kit, reciting his compositions. His Soldier Songs from Anzac, published in December, sold 20,000 copies in four months. For two years Signaller Skeyhill, ‘the blind soldier poet’, toured Australia, lecturing and reciting, raising funds for the Red Cross Society and appearing on recruiting platforms. He was discharged on 28 September 1916.
In December 1917 Skeyhill left on a lecturing tour of North America. He became a sensation—at Carnegie Hall, New York, Theodore Roosevelt praised him as ‘the finest soldier speaker in the world’. Under osteopathic treatment he recovered his sight in Washington in 1918. Claiming that he was then rejected as unfit by British recruiting authorities, he was appointed war lecturer with the United States forces. He visited the war zones and on return lectured throughout the U.S.A. in aid of the Liberty Loan.
After the war he became associated with the Pond Lyceum and Chautauqua lecture circuits. Commissioned by the American Affiliated Lecture Bureau in 1920 to visit Russia and eastern Europe, he was refused entry to the Soviet Union but illegally went to Petrograd (St Petersburg). He was unimpressed by conditions he found there and subsequently lectured on ‘Communism with the lid off’.
In September 1921 he returned to Australia for a six-week lecture tour of Victoria and New South Wales. In 1926 Ohio University, U.S.A., awarded him an honorary degree.
In 1919 Skeyhill had published in New York A Singing Soldier and he later wrote plays, including Passing Shadows, Moon Madness and the successful The Unknown, and a biography of Sergeant Alvin York, which was filmed in 1941.
Skeyhill was killed in an air accident at Hyannis, Massachusetts, on 22 May 1932. He was survived by his wife Marie Adele, a New York actress, and by their daughter Joyce. Though he had lived in New York, he was buried with a military funeral at West Dennis, Massachusetts, where he had had a summer home.

OTD: Noted Australian Soldier Skeyhill lectured at the High School

#onthisdate Noted WWI Soldier Skeyhill lectured at the high school.
On 23 February 1923 the Schuylerville Standard reported that
School faculties sponsor Lecture Schuylerville and Victory Teachers bring Skeyhill here
March 6. Sponsored by the faculties of the Schuylerville and Victory Mills schools, the lecture by Tom Skeyhill at the high school auditorium on March 6 promises to offer a most instructive and worthwhile evening.
Mr. Skeyhill is a young Australian, a soldier, a poet, a world traveler, student of literature, political economy and world affairs. He was stricken blind while fighting the Turks at the Dardanelles and spent three of the last ten years in total darkness.
Miraculously he recovered his sight in 1918, and is today one of the most popular and most sought lecturers of the American platform. Since 1915 he has visited many lands and crossed many seas, has traveled over a quarter of a million miles, and has visited every European country except Portugal. He has recently returned from a three months’ tour of Italy and he brings back with him a most interesting lecture, “Mussolini and the Black Shirts.” This will be the subject of his talk on March 6.
Mr. Skeyhill has fought with, lived with and studied first hand, the young men of Europe, and in their mental process he finds the genesis of a new movement which he believes will salvage European civilization; and in our lifetime bud and bloom in the blossoming springtime of a new renaissance. He says “Youth is in revolt against the old order of things with its wars and revolutions, intrigues and exploitations, dogmas and rituals,etc.” and is asking, nay demanding, a heritage of peace and love and a chance to enjoy in comfort and safety, some of the finer things of life.

Pete Flanders remember the Schuyler House’s tenant house

Today is the anniversary Walter “Pete” Flanders (3 Nov 1919 – 7 Mar 2010) death.
Flanders was the husband of Anita ‘Nete” Flanders for 68 years. Flanders served as a Private First Classsin the US Army in World War II. Flanders had a very good memory and was an active participant in the Old Saratoga Historical Association.
Flanders was interviewed by the National Park Service about the Schuyler House, during the period of Strover/Lowber family ownership. The land sounding the Schuyler House hosted industrial development, but by 1940, a decline in industry had begun. The Schuyler House lawn was overgrown by the 1940s, and most outbuildings had either burned, been removed, or collapsed by this time. The black locust trees remained the primary landscape feature. According to an interview with Walter “Pete” Flanders, a former handyman for George Lowber, the three-story brick tenant house and two identical wood frame mill houses located in the area of the current parking lot were torn down in 1941. A grass-covered depression southwest of the comfort station marks the location of the two wooden houses.
Today, the Schuyler Estate site is administrated as a house museum and public park that interprets the history of General Schuyler, his family, his manor and its relation to the two battles of Saratoga in 1777. The community has strong ties to the Schuyler Estate as a source of pride and tourism. The Schuyler House is opened most weekends in the summer and limited times in the fall. The estate grounds are open from sunrise to sunset. For details on the Schuyler House please visit http://www.nps.gov/sara or call 518 670-2985.

OTD: Local Women attend temperance institute

Women from every part at Saratoga County gathered in Saratoga today for the mid-winter Institute of the Saratoga County W. C. T. U.. which is being held in the New England Congregational church.
The closing session will he held this evening when Dr. P. J. Hirst. superintendent of the Homestead Sanatorium will talk on “How alcoholic beverages cause tuberculosis and other diseases.”
There will also be talks by Miss Helen I. Root, of Corinth, a former missionary to Ceylon, and Mrs. Marie Ames Coleman of Troy. The
conference was called to order soon after 9 o’clock this morning by Mrs. Jennie E. Wright. the president. The Crusade hymn was sung and Mrs. Wright, in place at Mrs. George Parkhurst, of Quaker Springs, read the Crusade Psalm. Prayer by Miss Emma G. Garrett followed and routine business was then taken up for a few minutes.
Mrs. Ida H. Read welcomed the county union on behalf of the local union. and the Rev. J. B. Gaylord extended a welcome from the churches. Miss Helen I. Root responded, in the stead of Mrs. N. G. Woodard. of Porters Corners. who was scheduled to respond. After this followed In efficiency congress devoted to five minute speeches by county superintendents and branch secretaries on the ways each union may help to bring about national prohibition. Mrs. Florence Orton spoke at the Young People’s Branch; Mrs. Jennie Travers. of the Loyal Temperance Legion; Miss lda M. Smith, at the department at scientific instruction; Mrs. Ida H. Read, at the department of cooperation with missionary societies: Mrs. E. P. Ford. of the department of press work; Mrs. C. W. Cipperly. of the department of mothers’ meeting: Mrs. T. E. Bullard. of the work among soldiers and sailors.
At this point there was a vocal solo by Mrs. J. Blaine Towne. The congress then took up its work again the discussions continuing as follows: Mrs. E. P. Ford, temperance labor; Miss Carrie L. Smith, literature; Mrs. Samuel Hewltt, medal contests; Miss Kathryn H. Starbuck, franchise: Mrs. lda H. Reed, Sabbath school work and evangelism. Many practical suggestions of value were brought out through the talks and the discussions that accompanied them.
Noon prayer was offered by Miss Helen I. Root. and luncheon was then served at the church. This afternoon’s session was occupied with practical talks and discussions. Roll call was held shortly after 2 o’clock. Mrs. Daniel C. Ross gave a ten-minute address on “What I saw at the national convention,” and Mrs Jennie E. Wright a similar talk on “What I heard at the national convention,” Mrs Marie Ames Coleman, of Troy. was also on the program.
There was also a symposium of ten minute speeches on that national constitutional prohibition will mean to the home, to business, to evangelism, and to public morals. The speakers were Mrs. Ida H. Read, Charles E. Robbins, Helen I. Root and Rev. Georze C. Douglass.
This was reported in the Saratogian on 6 March 1917

Farm New from Grangerville

The Saratogain reported 6 March 1917 —- Miss B. M. Caldwell was a visitor in Schuylerville last week.
The Ladies‘ Aid society meetlng held on Thursday last at the home of Mrs. Charles D. Robbins, was well attended and thoroughly enjoyed. The next meeting will be the annual election of officers.
Mrs. L. A. Coffinger has been confined to the house with the grip.
Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert, of West Pittsfield, Mass., have purchased the farm of David P. Robbins and will, take possession April 1. Mr. Robbins has lived on this place for over sixty years and will be greatly missed by friends and neighbors.
Mr. and Mrs. William Putnam will move from the Robbins farm to Wilton. six miles north of Saratoga Springs. Mrs. Putnam’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. D. P. Robbins. will reside with them for the present.
Burton Barbour is moving from the Ingersoll farm to The Geysers.
Miss Francis Nelson, of Waterford. was the over Sunday guest at her parents.
Stephen S. Barton. who has purchased the Harrison Winney farm, will have an auction of stock. farming utensils’ and household goods on Wednesday. March 14. at the Wagman farm, Wagman’s Ridge.
The blizzard of Sunday night again rendered the roads impassable and they were ploughed out for the second time this year.
Raymond Rogers and mother have moved onto the Sweet farm recently purchased by W. P. Baker and will work for Mr. Baker this year.

OTD: Town Board permitted electrical lines to Grangerville

#onthisday in 1916, there was a meeting of the Town Board of the Town of Saratoga was held in the town clerk’s office in the village of Schuylerville
Whereas the Consolidated Electric Company having petitioned the town board for a permit to build and maintain a line for the transmission of electricity from Schuylerville to Grangervillel and the farms of the Victory Manufacturing Company it was resolved such unanimously carried that such permission be granted”
These are the town board records of 1916 made by Town Clerk Paul August Hespelt.(1 Mar 1890 – 1945).
Paul A. Hespelt (his parents were born in Germany) was a pharmacist at Miller’s pharmacy. The pharmacy was also the location of the Town offices (rented from C.J. Miller for $60 a year).
The Town Clerk’s Office is the official repository for all ordinances, resolutions and official documents related to the Saratoga town government. The own Clerk office is historical in its traditions, having served as a direct link between the residents and their local governments since the beginning. While town clerks are generally credited with issuing licenses, that is only a small part of this complex job. Many duties are mandated by state and town laws, but many more go well beyond those mandates as town clerks also serve as a major source of information to all. One of the most important roles is as the Records Management Officer. The Town Clerk is the custodian of all town records, responsible for active files, storage and position of inactive records, and the careful maintenance of archival material.
The Consolidated Electric Company was incorporated 21 March 1893 as a consolidation of The Greenwich Electric Light and Power Company (incorporated 6 June 1891 and The Cambridge Electric Light and Power Company (incorporated 29 July1891). The principal office was at Washington Square in Greenwich, NY. The company provided serves to the Villages of Greenwich, Schuylerville, Cambridge, and Victory Mills and towns of Greenwich, Easton, and Cambridge, Washington county and Saratoga and Northumberland, Saratoga county.
The Town of Saratoga was established in 1788 as one of the four “mother” towns of Saratoga County, NY. The Town of Saratoga has a legacy that is rich history and a current environment that is attractive to residential, commercial, and agricultural pursuits. It is located in the eastern portion of Saratoga County bordering the Hudson River on the East, Saratoga Lake and the City of Saratoga Springs on the West, the Town of Stillwater on the South, and the Towns of Northumberland and Wilton on the North. Despite all of the changes that have occurred, the rural character of the Town and the spirit of the residents has remained constant. As the new millennium unfolds the town is prepared to honor its past and welcome the challenges that are forthcoming in the future.

On this day – March 6

On this day in 1857, in its Dred Scott decision, the Supreme Court held that Scott, a slave, could not sue for his freedom in a federal court; in 1884, over 100 suffragists, led by Susan B. Anthony, present President Chester A. Arthur with a demand that he voice support for female suffrage; in 1916, Consolidated Electric Company received a permit for the transmission of electricity from Schuylerville to Grangerville and the farms of the Victory Manufacturing Company; in 1970, there was a World Day of Prayer celebrated at the Reformed Church; and in 1982, Schuylerville Community Theater performed Sound of Music.
On this day is a chronological timetable of events that occurred on this day in history around the Town of Saratoga. Discover what happened today in local history by subscribing to our blog at https://ift.tt/2czXtwq
(Thank you to Deputy Historian Patricia Peck for compiling this timetable.)
March 6