Hudson River Speedway

The Hudson River Speedway was a 1950’s stock car track located beside the Hudson River and US 4 at Garnsey’s trucking.  The Paul Garnsey family owned and ran the speedway.   The Hudson River Speedway is an important part of our community’s 1950s landscape.  The race track was located outside of the villages.  Automobiles were  the entertainment and the form the transportation to this social destination.  In the post war recovery years, optimism pervaded the national attitude. Sports car racing was very popular with many tracks in Eastern New York and nearby Vermont.   It is not known why the track ceases operations but American tastes changed.   In late 1950s’, television sets had become affordable and with it less people venture out of their homes for entertainment.  Times were good and people traveled. Automobiles began to reshape patterns of tourism. Riverside cottages and campsites multiplied as tourists took their vacations in the family car.  The thrills of auto racing are no longer part of our community.  It was a moment in time that was well thought of by the participants.  

On this day – June 20

On this day in 1777, British General Burgoyne sets out from St. John, Quebec and American General Washington writes General Schuyler which says in part “You may remember the conversation we had upon the expediency of removing all the Horses and Carriages from the Neighbourhood of Skeensborough, for I cannot conceive that they have enough of their own to answer their purpose, deprived of the means of transportation they will be entirely baffled in their attempt upon that quarter” in 1864, Saratoga’s Dewitt Winney serving with the New York 25th Cavalry Regiment would received his first taste of combat when a detachment of Confederate cavalry unsuccessfully attacked the supply depot at White House Landing, Virginia, in 1954, the Philip Schuyler House was officially opened to public and in 2017, a line of strong thunderstorms that rolled across the town in the early afternoon with a strong gusts toppled the giant decorative ice cream cone that is a fixture atop the Farmer’s Daughters’ Drive-In, a longtime seasonal ice cream stand on state Route 29. 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 us on Facebook at https://ift.tt/2kLifwt (Thank you to Deputy Historian Patricia Peck and Town Supervisor Thomas Wood for compiling information for this timetable.) June 20

Saratoga Monument

The Saratoga Monument stands prominently within the British camp where the decision to surrender was made in October 1777. The site symbolizes the decisive turn in the American struggle for independence and serves as an eternal reminder of the human cost of both the American victory and the British defeat. The area was formerly known as the Heights of Saratoga. This lofty plot encompassed a portion of the area of Lt. General Burgoyne’s fortified camp in the final, beleaguered days of his campaign that ended with his surrender on October 17, 1777. Burgoyne tried to retreat northward, but this position was so advantageous and well constructed with earthworks that he was reluctant to leave it. The land was cleared of trees and sloped toward Fish Creek giving the British a clear shot to the land along the Hudson. The land may have been agricultural before the campaign. Nearly 17,000 American troops surrounded the fortified camp of the exhausted British Army. By the terms of the Convention of Saratoga, Burgoyne’s depleted army, some 6,000 men, marched out of its camp “with the Honors of War” and laid down its weapons along the west bank of the Hudson River across Fish Creek from the Schuyler House. The monument is situated on a high bluff, 250 feet above the Hudson River overlooking the surrounding villages, farms, and countryside. From its top may be seen Lake George to the north, the Green Mountains to the east, and the Catskills to the south. The Saratoga Monument is by far the most significant and conspicuous location within the Town of Saratoga. The monument is located on a parcel of Saratoga National Historical Park in the village of Victory that was chosen largely because of its commanding view. The Saratoga Monument is opened weekends in the summer and limited times in the fall. For details on Monument please visit http://www.nps.gov/sara or call 518 670-2985.

Mary Murray needs Dr. Gow

#onthisday in 1933 * Miss Mary Murray, young daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ian Murray, fell at the home of her grandmother, Mrs. Cora Ostrander, Burgoyne street, from a piazza last night about 8 o’clock and severely cut her forehead. Dr. F? F. Gow attended her at his office. Several stitches were necessary to close the wound.* Reported in the Saratogian 22 June 1933.* Mary Murray (1928 – 7 Dec 2012).was the daughter Ian and Gretchen Murray. Gretchen Pond Ostrander Murray (17 March 1897 – 13 April 1973) was the daughter of William Ostrander (28 Jun 1958 – 22 Jun 1924) and Cora Eliza Laing (21 Sept 1859 – 1 Feb 1935). Mr. Ostrander was well known in the community serving as the town historian, supervisor, and Surrogate of Saratoga County. Gretchen Pond Ostrander was a teacher in Manhattan. She shows up in the 1930 and 1940 census as head of her family (just her and her two children) living in East Harlem. In 1973, Ostrander passes away in St. Jose, California. * In 1922, Ian McDonald Murray (1897 – 1983) and Gretchen Pond Ostrander were married at the Historic Trinity Chapel in Manhattan. Ian McDonald Murray was born in New Brunswick, Canada and grew up in Schuylerville. He moved to Schuylerville, when his father, Alexander Murray took the appointment as the Rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church (A. Murray was Rector from 1912 to 1924). Ian Murray was a good athlete at Schuylerville High School in 1915. He went to Cornwall, Ontario and joined the company C of the 42nd Battalion Royal Highlanders of Canada – the Black Watch on 1 May 1916. (His brother, Alex joined the same battalion a month later in Quebec. His brother, Hugh became a gunner in the Canadian Corps of Heavy Artillery on 17 May 1917 in Quebec.). He was wounded twice in 1918 on 26 February and the 26 August. His first injury was in training near Villers au Bois in north west France. His second injury during the general attack on Monchy-le-Preux and Orange Hill, Battle of the Scarpe. His unit was in conflict all day with some specific work on clearing a maze of heavily wired trenches. Ian Murray ends up at general hospital No. 14 at Wimereux. His battalion was disbanded in Montreal on 11 March 1919. On 31 March 1919, Murray had returned home to Schuylerville after two years in the Canadian forces. The history of Ian Murray becomes difficult to follow. It looks like he receives a divorce. Then he married Margaret Alexander in 1939. He is listed as a farmer in New Brunswick, Canada. There is a gravestone that says he was a Major but we could not find his additional service record.* Ian and Gretchen Murray had two children, David (1924 – 17 Dec 1944) and Mary. Tragically, David Murray was killed in action serving with the US Army during the Battle of the Bulge in World War 2. Murray was a victim of the Malmedy massacre, which was a war crime committed by members of a German Waffen-SS unit led by Joachim Peiper, at Baugnez crossroads near Malmedy, Belgium, on December 17, 1944, during the Battle of the Bulge. * Saratoga has been defined by the people who by choice or by chance make up this community. The Murray family served our community, county, and country in various ways. It is the determination of our forefathers, including Ian Murray in surmounting odds that help define the American and our allies the Canadian spirit – the will and ability to shape a better future. It is the people it is that define this community by choice or by chance have changed this country and even the world political development. That is why studying the people of Saratoga is integral to a good understanding of the condition of being human

Schuylerville Village Taxes Collected

#onthisday in 1933,* Report taxes coming in well* Schuylerville, June 20 (special) – The village board held a meeting yesterday afternoon in the engine house, Acting Mayor Daniel J. Falvey presiding in the absence of Mayor Amos A. Jaquith. Trustee James A. Cudahy and the village clerk, W. R. Doran, were present. Bills were audited and ordered paid.* And communication from the public service commission relative to the replacement of the Boston and Maine railroad warning signs on local streets was read and laid on the table.* The clerk reported that taxes are coming in well for the first few days, and that the collector is sitting at the Schuylerville battery station for the further collection of taxes.* This was reported in the Saratogian on 20 June 1933. * In 1932, all the men in this article except for W.R. Doran participated in and evening where the “Descendants of “Auld Ireland” and their friends fittingly honored St. Patrick in the large gathering of members of the Schuyler Hose company and others at the Engine House … where a dinner and a social occasion were most thoroughly enjoyed.” Trustee Cudahy was the toastmaster of the night and the President of Schuyler Hose Company.

Fr Toole’s Mug

On this day in 2019, the Town got a nice donation of a mug given to Fr. Toole. The donation was from Attorney  Livingston Trevor Coulter.  Coulter, who lived for years at what was the rectory of the Church of Visitation in Victory.  Here is a photo of Coulter donating a ceremonial pewter mug to Saratoga Supervisor Tom Wood.  
The mug was given to Major James E. Toole (who served our military from 1944-1977) wishing him the “Best of Luck” from the Officers and Enlisted Personnel of the 205th Support Group.  On the back of the mug it says 1946-48 US Marine Corps 1958-63 1 Bn 210 Armor NYARNG 1963-1968 1 Bde 27 Armor Div NYARNG 1968-77 Hq 205th Support Group NYARNG
The Rev. James E. Toole, ( 17 Jun 1926 – 25 Feb 1994)  was pastor of the Church of the Visitation in Schuylerville from 1970 until retiring in 1987.  He was born in Albany, and was a graduate of the former Vincentian Institute. He was a graduate of Siena College and attended Catholic University. He was a Marine Corps veteran of World War II, and served in the occupation forces in Japan.The Rev. Toole completed his training for the priesthood at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, and was ordained in 1954 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany. He taught religion at St. Charles Seminary in Baltimore, and was an associate pastor at St. Patrick’s Church in Ravena and Our Lady Help of Christians Church in Albany. While at Our Lady Help of Christians Church, he taught religion at the former Cardinal McCloskey High School. He was associate pastor at St. Vincent de Paul Church in Albany and later at St. Mary’s Church in Clinton Heights. He was chaplain for many years with the New York Army National Guard before retiring as a Major in 1977.
The vast majority of the collections with Town of Saratoga Historian have been donated by many generous individuals and organizations throughout our community. We greatly appreciate such generosity and continue to rely heavily on this support in order to continue building collections for future generations.  If you are interested in making a donation, contact us by e-mail at historiantosaratoga@gmail.com


Mrs. Murray visits Schuylerville

#onthisday in 1931, the Saratogian reported* “Mrs. Ian Murray of New York city is the guest of relatives in town”* Gretchen Pond Ostrander Murray (17 March 1897 – 13 April 1973) was the daughter of William Ostrander (28 Jun 1958 – 22 Jun 1924) and Cora Eliza Laing (21 Sept 1859 – 1 Feb 1935). Mr. Ostrander was well known in the community serving as the town historian, supervisor, and Surrogate of Saratoga County. Gretchen Pond Ostrander was a teacher in Manhattan. She shows up in the 1930 and 1940 census as head of her family (just her and her two children) living in East Harlem. In 1973, Ostrander passes away in St. Jose, California. * In 1922, Ian McDonald Murray (1897 – 1983) and Gretchen Pond Ostrander were married at the Historic Trinity Chapel in Manhattan. Ian McDonald Murray was born in New Brunswick, Canada and grew up in Schuylerville. He moved to Schuylerville, when his father, Alexander Murray took the appointment as the Rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church (A. Murray was Rector from 1912 to 1924). Ian Murray was a good athlete at Schuylerville High School in 1915. He went to Cornwall, Ontario and joined the company C of the 42nd Battalion Royal Highlanders of Canada – the Black Watch on 1 May 1916. (His brother, Alex joined the same battalion a month later in Quebec. His brother, Hugh became a gunner in the Canadian Corps of Heavy Artillery on 17 May 1917 in Quebec.). He was wounded twice in 1918 on 26 February and the 26 August. His first injury was in training near Villers au Bois in north west France. His second injury during the general attack on Monchy-le-Preux and Orange Hill, Battle of the Scarpe. His unit was in conflict all day with some specific work on clearing a maze of heavily wired trenches. Ian Murray ends up at general hospital No. 14 at Wimereux. His battalion was disbanded in Montreal on 11 March 1919. On 31 March 1919, Murray had returned home to Schuylerville after two years in the Canadian forces. The history of Ian Murray becomes difficult to follow. It looks like he receives a divorce. Then he married Margaret Alexander in 1939. He is listed as a farmer in New Brunswick, Canada. There is a gravestone that says he was a Major but we could not find his additional service record.* Ian and Gretchen Murray had two children, David (1924 – 17 Dec 1944) and Mary. Tragically, David Murray was killed in action serving with the US Army during the Battle of the Bulge in World War 2. Murray was a victim of the Malmedy massacre, which was a war crime committed by members of a German Waffen-SS unit led by Joachim Peiper, at Baugnez crossroads near Malmedy, Belgium, on December 17, 1944, during the Battle of the Bulge. * Saratoga has been defined by the people who by choice or by chance make up this community. The Murray family served our community, county, and country in various ways. It is the determination of our forefathers, including Ian Murray in surmounting odds that help define the American and our allies the Canadian spirit – the will and ability to shape a better future. It is the people it is that define this community by choice or by chance have changed this country and even the world political development. That is why studying the people of Saratoga is integral to a good understanding of the condition of being human

On this day – June 19

On this day in 1776, British Governor General Guy Carleton gives Sir John Johnson a Royal Warrant to raise a regiment of American loyalists in Canada; called the 1st King’s Royal Regiment of New York and American General Benedict Arnold notifies General Sullivan of his garrison’s successful movement out of Montreal, along with some spirits and molasses siezed in that town; in 1778, Washington’s army (including many Saratoga veterans) departs Valley Forge, Pennsylvania after spending a demoralizing winter at this encampment, Washington leads his men out, discovering that the British have abandoned Philadelphia after they learn of France’s entry into the war; in 1885, the Statue of Liberty arrives in New York City from France (it was made to memorize Franco-American alliance of 1778 which was made possible by the American Victory at Saratoga); in 1931, real estate transfers in Victory included the Nichols place on Gates Avenue to the Saratoga Victory Manufacturing Company to Martha E. Monagham and Agnes L. Devine and the property at the corner of Herkimer and Pine Street formerly owned by W. A. Hilton to William Ruff; in 1933, Mr. and Mrs. B. K. Northrup have returned from Utica accompanied by their son Charles Northrup. who graduated from Cornell University recently at Ithaca; and in 1947, the Quaker Springs Fire Department was chartered. 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 and Town Supervisor Thomas Wood for compiling information for this timetable.) June 19

Firemen’s Convention in Schuylerville

#onthisday in 1931, the Hudson Valley Volunteer Firemen’s Association held its convention in Schuylerville. The Saratogian reported on the convention on 19 June 1931.* Prizes awarded as convention closes* Schuylerville June 19. (special) At the close of yesterday’s parade of the Hudson Valley firemen, first prize for the largest number of men in line was awarded to Port Ewen hose company which brought 77. North White Plains won the prize for coming the largest distance.* The Saratoga Springs high school drum corp was among the many musical organizations in line, the boys attracted much attention along the line of march. Among the groups parading which arrived too late to be registered were Coeymans, Monticello, Bedford, Deer Park. West Albany, C. R. Paris hose company of Hudson Falls with equipment of the 1900 and la Salle School.* How much credit was given locally yesterday to Henry P. Robison of this village, instrumental in getting the convention to come to this village and who was a delegate last year and was elected a delegate this year. The parade was counted one of the finest seen in the community. * Hand buckets on display* An interesting display in connection with the convention was that in the F. W. Beach show window on Broad Street. It was an old hand bucket which was used more than 100 years ago when the fire fighting was done by so-called in brigades the exhibit was placed on view by William Snyder of Burgoyne Street and was used by Mr. Snyder’s great grandfather Jared Coffin at Nantucket Massachusetts.* The Hudson Valley Volunteer Firemen’s Association was formed in 1890 as an association of volunteer firemen and fire companies along the Hudson River. The association continues to this day with annual conventions and parades. * The photo is of Anthony Petralia, a member of Schuyler Hose Company and active in preparations for the firemen’s convention.* Mr. Snyder’s great grandfather Jared Coffin of Nantucket Massachusetts was notable man. The Coffin family were a group of whalers operating out of Nantucket, Massachusetts, from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries. Some members of the family gained wider exposure due to their discovery of various islands in the Pacific Ocean. Jared Coffin was an affluent Nantucket sea captain and shipbuilder. In 1845, he built a three-story, Federal style mansion for his wife. Over the years, the house has undergone numerous renovations. The building was a hotel and inn just prior to becoming a part of the Nantucket Historical Society’s holdings in the 1960s. Today, the property is once again an inn.

USS Saratoga

Band concert on the USS Saratoga. The USS Saratoga (CV-3) was a Lexington-class aircraft carrier built for the United States Navy during the 1920s. Originally designed as a battlecruiser, she was converted into one of the Navy’s first aircraft carriers during construction to comply with the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922. * The USS Saratoga was named for the American Victory at Saratoga. There were six US Navy ships named after the Battles of Saratoga. The USS Saratoga is an example of an effort to honor those who died or were wounded in service to their country and the causes for which they made their sacrifices. The actions in the Town of Saratoga, Battles of Saratoga, and USS Saratoga are part of a legacy that have contributed to the shared American identity and an evolving sense of patriotism.