Brothers at Arms: American Independence and the Men of France and Spain Who Saved

Love reading books about the people and places in American history? How about reading books about national and international history that have ties to our local history in Saratoga? We would like to recommend Brothers at Arms: American Independence and the Men of France and Spain Who Saved It (Knopf, 2016) by Larrie D. Ferreiro. The book is available at the Schuylerville Public Library and at local book retailers. The Journal of the American Revolution did a book review available here – Some highlights from the review are: “American students of the Revolutionary War may not like to hear it, but author Larrie D. Ferreiro, in his excellent new book, persuasively argues that the United States could never have won its war against Great Britain without France, and France could never have fought the war without Spain as an ally” and “Beaumarchais’s ships arrived in April 1777, loaded with 20,000 muskets, as well as much-needed cannon and gunpowder. It arrived just in time to supply 15,000 American soldiers in northern New York, who ended up capturing a British army under Gen. John Burgoyne at Saratoga. Lt. Caleb Stark of New Hampshire, son of Gen. John Stark, wrote, “Unless these arms had been thus timely furnished to the Americans, Burgoyne would have made an easy march to Albany.” There is no doubt there is an importance of what happened at Saratoga changed world history. What has not been well told is what historian and co-founder of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Ellen Hardin Walworth describes as “the indispensable assistance received from France, and thus to the later recognition of other foreign Governments.” We are truely fortunate to have books like this explain how foreign support assisted in the Battles of Saratoga and how the Battles fit into the international aspects of the War.

On this date – February 3

On this day in 1783, Spain recognizes the United States’ independence, in 1917, the United States broke off diplomatic relations with Germany, which had announced a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare, in 1965, the Schuylerville Library announced it had 12,206 items circulated in 1964, (for comparison, the library circulated 31,157 items in 2016) in 1977, the voters passed the Schuylerville firehouse referendum, and in 2000, the Victory Specialty Packaging closed with 76 individuals losing their jobs. 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 (Thank you to Deputy Historian Patricia Peck for compiling this timetable.) February 3

Mineral Springs at Quaker Springs

Mineral springs are naturally occurring springs that produce water containing minerals, or other dissolved substances, that alter its taste or give it a purported therapeutic value. Salts, lime, magnesium and irona re among the substances that can be dissolved in the spring water during its passage underground. Mineral water obtained from mineral springs has long been an important commercial operation including a bottling operation in Quakers Springs. The Mineral Springs at Quaker Springs are maintained by the Town of Saratoga. The Springs are open for visits and inspection. The Springs are located on Quaker Springs road just off NYS 32. Saratoga has been defined by the natural forces that shape the land and influence ecosystems. The Hudson River cuts a valley through bands of Devonian-age marine sedimentary rocks deposited in an ancient basin prior to the Taconic orogenic event. The river meanders across its valley with broad, flat floodplain areas alternating with steep cutbanks and bluffs. Above the river valley are dissected upland areas with exposed bedrock, rolling hills, and narrow valleys draining west to east flowing streams. There are many sites like the Mineral Springs in Quaker Springs that help define this community and our region. Natural resources and the systems that link them – geology, hydrology, and habitat – are important to the historic and cultural landscapes that we value in our community and wish to preserve. The natural and built environments are inextricably linked. Preserving key natural landscapes enhances historic settings and protects the natural systems that are shared throughout our community, county and region.

Men of African Descent at the Battle of Saratoga – London

February is Black History Month when we try to tell the story of the remarkable African American soldiers who served in the Battles of Saratoga. Eden (Edom) London from Winchendon and Hatfleld, Massachusetts. He served in theTenth Massachusetts Regiment. London first came to attention because of the research of George Quintal, Jr. in the NPS study Patriots of Color. African and Native Americans at Battle Road and Bunker Hill. 2005. London was a slave who in July 1776 was sold to Daniel Goodridge, also of Winchendon. Shortly thereafter, London enlisted in the army for three years and Goodridge received “the whole of his bounty, and part of his wages.” After the war, Edom London lived in both Winchendon and Hatfield. London became destitute and needed community support which lead to a court case. The question considered by the court was, which town was liable for London’s support? The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts finally decreed that neither town was liable because London was a freeman, stating, “slavery was abolished in Massachusetts by the Declaration of Rights on the adoption of the Constitution of the Commonwealth in 1780.” ———- Eden London Age: 31 Description: ‘negro’ Rank: Private Occupation: N/ A Status: slave Residence: Fitchburg, MA Religon N/ A The respected Lancaster (MA) historian Nourse describes Eden London as ’colored’. There was a London, ’negro of Joseph Moores’, who was baptized at Chocksett Church in Lancaster on 16 June 1744 and who is most likely the same person as the soldier described below. Due to the legal case Winchendon V. Hatfield (described below), we know that ’in nineteen years [he] changed masters no less than eleven times, besides twice enlisting in the Continental Army. He enlisted in the eight months’ service from Fitchburg (MA) on 10 May 1775, in the company of Capt. James Burt in Asa Whitcomb’s regiment. His name appears on a 3 June 1775 order for advance pay, on the 1 August 1775 muster roll and on the October 1775 company return. Nourse states that he ’fought at Bunker Hill’. There is no record of 1776 service. With Gen. Burgoyne preparing to advance on northern New York, the call went out for soldiers to meet this serious threat. He enlisted from Winchendon on 7 December 1776 for three years in the Continental Army, in Capt. William Warner’s company in Col Thomas Marshall’s 10th Massachusetts regiment. This unit fought valiantly at both Battles of Saratoga, spent the winter at Valley Forge and then fought in the stifling heat at Monmouth (NJ). From January to April 1779 he served at West Point. He was discharged on 7 December 1779. The History of Winchendon describes an important legal case in which Eden London was the principle character. THE SLAVE CASE It is a curious fact that the question whether chattel slave ever existed in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, was settled, in part by a case in which this town was involved as a party at law. The subject is referred to in an article which appeared i.n the Historical Magazine, (N.Y.) in 1866, written apparently in a spirit hostile to the fair fame of the State. A reply to this article appeared in the Boston Daily Advertiser. A concise statement of this case belongs to this period of our narrative. On the 2d of August, 1804, the town voted “that the Selectmen should see and take care of the matter concerning the Negro, that the town of Ipswich has notified this town to take and support.” No name is given, but it is supposed that the same person is referred to in the following action, taken on the 4th of the next March, (1805.) “Chose Thomas Graton and Thomas Greenwood, agents to look into the matter of Eden London, (named in the Records of the Court, Edom,) a poor negro man, and find out where he ought to be supported.” On the 6th of May following, it was farther voted, “that the agents, with the assistance of the Selectmen, notify the town of Weston, or the town of Hatfield, or any other town, as soon as they can gain knowledge, which town said London was left a citizen, according to law.“ Later still, on the 18th of August, 1806, the agents were directed to “carry on the suit against Hatfield, concerning Eden London, according to the best counsel they can get, to final issue.” At the same time a grant of $50 was made to carry on the lawsuit. The contest was now between Hatfield and Winchendon. It had first been brought before a justice of the peace in Worcester county, where the decision was in favor of Hatfield, affirming the decision of the justice. The case was tried, at the December term, 1806. It was next appealed to the Supreme Judicial Court, March term, 1808. The record of the Court of Common Pleas, as certified by the presiding justice, as follows: Worcester, ss. Court of Common Pleas, December, 1806. The town of Winchendon, in the county of Worcester, complainants against the town of Hatfield. in the county of Hampshire, before this court of appeal from the adjudication of Hon Dwight Foster, Esq., one of the justices of the peace for said county, setting forth in their complaint, that Edom London. a Negro man, now resident in said town of Winchendon. is poorand become chargeable to said town, and that the said town of Hatfield is the place of his lawful settlement, and praying that it may be so adjudged The facts in the case, from the evidence before the court are, that said Edom, in the year 1757, was the proper estate of one Samuel Bond, and then by him sold to William Williams of Weston ; that some time in the year 1760, and after the decease of the aid Williams, said Edom was set off as the estate of said Williams to the wife of Oliver Partridge of Hatfield. who was the daughter of said deceased, as part of the portion in said deceased’s estate, and then went to live with said Partridge, in said town of Hatfield, and continued his servant until the 2d day of October, AD. 1767, at which time he was sold by Partridge to John lngersoll, Esq., of Westfield, in said county of Hampshire, and continued with him about three years; was then sold by said lngersoll to John M’Cluster of Longrneadow, lived with him a few weeks; was then sold by said M‘Cluster to Joshua Holcomb, of Simsbury, Ct and lived with him about four years; then sold by Holcomb to William Bond of Lincoln, and lived with him a short time; was then sold by said Bond to Thomas Cowdin, of Fitchburg, and lived with him three or four years; was then sold by Cowdin to Jonathan Stimson; of Winchendon; and the day following he absconded and enlisted in the eight months‘ service in Cambridge and before he expiration of the said eight months’ service and in the year 1775, was sold by said Stimson to Thomas Sawyer of Winchendon with whom he lived some time; then he was sold by said Sawyer to Daniel Goodridge, of the same Winchendon, in the month of July 1776 with whom he lived about five weeks; then he enlisted into the three years‘ service and the said Goodridge received the whole of his bounty, and part of his wages. Such was the case before the Court of Common Pleas, which affirmed the judgment of justice Foster, and adjudged that London’s settlement was not in Hatfield. It may be said here in passing, that according to tradition, Eden London had his freedom from Mr. Goodridge, on condition that he, London, should take the place of his master, in the three years‘ of service. The case was brought up before the Supreme Court, at Worcester in September, 1807, when Upham appeared in behalf of the plaintiffs that is, the town of Winchendon. The case was continued, and at the March term, 1808, Bigelow argued the case for this town. After hearing the arguments, the Court, Chief Justice Parsons, presiding decided as follows: “ls is stated that the pauper was once the slave of Oliver Partridge living several years with him at Hatfield, where his master was settled. The pauper then acquired a derivative settlement in Hatfield. Afterwards his master sold him to J. lngersoll, Esq and inhabitant of, and settled in Westfield. There he lived several years with his new master, and then he lost his settlement in Hatfield, by gaining a new derivative settlement in Westfield, either as a slave of a freeman, it is unnecessary to pursue the case further. Having lost his settlemmt in Hatfield, and not having regained a new settlement there. the defendants are not liable for maintenance, and the judgment must be affirmed with costs.” The decision relieved Hatfield from the support of Eden London, and threw the costs of the suit upon Winchendon; but must Winchendon continue to support him? It was claimed by the town’s counsel, Mr. Bigelow, among other things, that a slave could obtain a settlement by length of residence, and not merely derivatively from his master. It was farther claimed, that by two decisions of the Supreme Judicial Court it had been decided that slavery could not exist in this Commonwealth. In the first action referred to, involving the right of the master, which came before the Supreme Judicial Court, after the establishment of the Constitution, the judges declared, that by virtue of the first article of the declaration of rights, slavery in this State was no more. Afterwards in an action by the inhabitants of Littleton, brought to maintain the expenses supporting a negro, tried in Middlesex, October term 1796, the Chief Justice, in directing the jury, stated as the unanimous opinion of the court, that a negro born in the State before the present constitution, was born free, although born of a female slave. If this decision should stand, then London was legally a freeman, when he lived in Hatfield, and had settlement in his own right, which he had never forfeited, since he had been removed without any regard to his own wishes. But Judge Parsons and his Associates dismissed this matter with the curt remark: “It is however very certain that the general practice and common usage had been opposed to his opinion.“ The decision settled this point. that before the Revolution the settlement of a slave always followed that of his master.” Eden’s residence was here therefore, because his last three masters lived in this town. Again the decision affirmed that slaves when “manumitted, could acquire a settlement in their own right, and they had resided a year in the town where they‘ were manumitted, they could not then be warned out.” Whichever of these decisions of the Court was right; the more humane one of the Court in 1796, or the possibly more legal one of the court in 1808; the town was obliged to support Eden London in his old age, and as he did service in the war of independence, it is to be hoped that the maintenance was cheerfully rendered. It has come down to us that he was a “pretty smart man.” He was probably an old man by this time, as it is fifty-one years from the time he began to figure, or rather be figured, in these sales, to the final decision. He was buried in the old graveyard in the Old Centre Cemetery in Winchendon MA , in the northeast corner. This is from NPS study Patriots of Color. African and Native Americans at Battle Road and Bunker Hill. ——– Saratoga has been defined by the people who by choice or by chance participated in the Battles. It is the determination of our forefathers, including African American soldiers in surmounting overwhelming odds that help define the American 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 helpful in the understanding of the condition of being human.

On this date – February 2

On this day, in 1792 a bill was introduced in New York to construct the canal and in 1894, the Victory Mills Orchestra gave introductory ball at Victory hall. 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 (Thank you to Deputy Historian Patricia Peck for compiling this timetable.) February 2

Meeting of Columbus Loyal Temperance Legion

#onthisday in 1907,  it was reported that “on Friday evening at the home of one of its members, Ivan Law, on Pearl street, this village, took place the regular monthly business meeting of Columbus Loyal Temperance Legion. Thirty-eight of the members were in attendance. After the transaction of business, a social evening was enjoyed and refreshments were served,” according to the Daily Saratogian on 4 Feb 1907.  The Loyal Temperance Legion was the children’s branch of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. Its slogan was “Tremble, King Alcohol, We Shall Grow Up”. Ivan Law was born to in 1891 in the Village of Schuylerville in the Town of Saraotga.  Law’s father, James Law was from Manchester, Vt. and worked as a traveling salesman and Schuylerville Village President.    Law’s mother, Melissa (Chase) was from Schuylerville.   Law was a popular student at Schuylerville schools and active in the Dutch Reform church.  As a student, Law hosted various meetings at his home including the Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor.  At the age of 18, he hosted a meeting of 38 members of the Columbus Loyal Temperance Legion.  The Loyal Temperance Legion was the children’s branch of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. Its slogan was “Tremble, King Alcohol, We Shall Grow Up”.   Law started working at 18, as a bank clerk and a night operator for the telephone company.   Law served on the industry (promotion) committee for the 1912 Schuylerville Historical Week  part of the Saratoga Monument Dedication.  Law follows his father’s career as a salesman.   He worked for the Schuylerville garage, the Commercial garage of Saratoga Springs, a vacuum air company, Detroit Supply Company and a laundry business.   Tragedy struck  in September 1915 when Law was driving three friends to Saratoga Springs.  Law’s car axle snapped as he was turning on to East Avenue which caused the car “to turtle.” The car landed on Law and Miss Frances Allen, (age 25) the beautiful daughter of C C. Allen, editor of the Schuylerville Standard.  Allen died instantly.  The two other passengers were injured and brought to Saratoga Hospital. Law was later discovered later under the car.  Law went home to Schuylerville with serious injuries to be attended to by local physicians. Miss Allen was “a great favorite here and the village is in mourning for her” according to the Times Union (16 September 1915.)    Law was drafted in the US Army at the age of 26.  He did his initial training as a member of the 152d Depot Brigade in Camp Devens in Massachusetts.  He transferred to the MD Surgeon General’s office where he earned his Sergeant’s stripes. Law was involved in publicity for the Surgeon General in Washington, DC.  The Surgeon General had a General Publicity Board that was very active in 1918 approving all  articles written by the members of the Medical, Dental, Veterinary, Sanitary, and Nurse Corps, all Army hospital newspapers and all press requests.  After the War, he joined the American Legion – Old Saratoga Post 102.  He move first to Saratoga Springs in the 1920s living on Nelson Avenue. Then he moved back to Schuylerville to be with his mother after his father passed away.  His travels had him living in Glens Falls, Troy Schenectady and East Cleveland, Ohio.   Saratoga has been defined by the people who by choice or by chance make up this community. There are many individuals like Ivan Law that help define this country, our region, and this community. It is the determination of our forefathers, in surmounting overwhelming odds that help define the American 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. That is why studying the people of Saratoga is integral to a good understanding of the condition of being human.

OTD: Orders for intelligence gathering from Canada

On this date in 1779, Lieutenant General Frederick Haldimand, commanding the Northern British Army in Canada , orders two Loyalists, Lieutenants Thomas and William Fraser of McAlpin’s Corps of Royalists, down into New York from Canada to gather intelligence. But remember: no scalps… “(Copy) Quebec the 1st February 1779 Sir The Two Messrs Frasers being inclined to undertake a Scouting Party to procure Intelligence, I adress them first to you for Such Instruction as you shall think proper to give them on the occasion, and I beg that they may have any assistance they may want from You. I take this Opportunity of intimating to You, that the Roads becoming now practicable, I hope you will take care to Employ from time to time trusty People to go out by different Roads and without knowledge of one another. But I must Caution You against Scalps, the object being only Intelligence. I am &ca. (Signed) F[rederick] H[aldimand] Sir John Johnson ————– This great bit of information comes from Todd Braisted. Braisted operates the On-Line Institute for Advanced Loyalist Studies. The Saratoga area had many loyalist who lived here before the war. Most of them became refugees in Canada or New York City. An example is Daniel McAlpin, who commanded McAplin’s Corp was from Stillwater in 1779. Stillwater similar to Saratoga were much bigger town in 1779 than they are today. Today, we would say Daniel McAlpin lived in Malta by Saratoga Lake. Source: Great Britain, British Library, Additional Manuscripts, No. 21819, folio 5.}

Black History Month – Douglass Speaks in Dean’s Corner

This morning is the start of start of #BlackHistoryMonth. Most likely the most famous orator to ever visit the Town of Saratoga (and we have had a few) was Frederick Douglass. The famed abolitionist orator visited the town of Saratoga in 1849 and spoke at Schuylerville, Quaker Springs, and Dean’s Corners. In 2015, with the support of The William G. Pomeroy Foundation, the Town of Saratoga erected a blue and gold historical marker at Dean’s Corner to recognize Douglass’ speech. The African American newspaper, THE NORTH STAR reported on June 22, 1849 On Saturday, June 9th, I lectured at a school-house, near Dean’s Corners , which was chiefly attended by members of the Society of Friends. Adapting my address to the circumstances of my audience, I referred to the injurious influence exerted by many of the ministers of that Society, in voting for Zachary Taylor, standing aloof from abolitionists and uttering sentiments condemnatory of Anti-Slavery Associations. I instanced the case of NICHOLAS BROWN, a distinguished preacher of theirs, who is reported to have said, that “he had visited in the South, and had seen that the slaves were better provided for, and were better off than the colored people North’ – thus affording aid and comfort to the slaveholder, and steeling his conscience against the appeals of the abolitionist. I alluded also to the remark of the same person, that “abolitionists had better confine their efforts to the colored people at home.” At the close, Mr. A. DORLAND rose and asked me to explain. He said that I had misrepresented Nicholas Brown. He had seen Mr. Brown, and had received from him a different version of the statement. It was not that the slaves at the South were better off than the free colored people of the North, but than the free colored people of Philadelphia. In reply to Mr. Dorland, I stated the notorious fact, (which seemed to cover with confusion the praters [?] about the degradation of the free colored people of Philadelphia) that they not only supported their own poor, but paid annually $500 towards supporting the white paupers in that city.

Part 2 – OTD: Courcelle’s Expedition against the Iroquois Passes Through Saratoga

OTD A large French Army arrived at the Hudson River going by Saratoga to Schenectady as part of the Beaver Wars. This is the second posting looking at the actions in early February, 1666 when an army of about 600 French soldiers and their allies under the command of French Canadian governor De Courcelles passed by Saratoga. The initial posting we looked at the history written in 1900 by Historian John Brandow. As a community, we will be eternally grateful for the early historians including John Brandow. But the interpretations of the past are subject to change in response to new evidence, new questions asked of the evidence, new perspectives gained by the passage of time. There is no single, eternal, and immutable “truth” about past events and their meaning. We are very fortunate to live in a community where there is active history being researched and providing new evidence. This is an example where some new research has been done and it shows a wider interpretation of this history. The following passage describes the raid from report titled “Inventory King William’s and King George’s Wars Battlefields: 1689-1697 and 1744 to 1748 done by Hartgen Archeological Associates in June, 2015 under an American Battlefield Protection Program grant from the National Park Service. “The Iroquois in 1665 signed a new peace agreement with the French, but the Mohawk did not participate… On January 30, 1666, a detachment of 500 French regimental soldiers, Indian allies and 200 volunteers began for Mohawk territory. The volunteers may have had the snowshoes necessary for the winter excursion, but the soldiers, unfamiliar with winter warfare in North America, likely did not (Varney 1991:45; Coolidge 1964:26). Algonquian scouts, deemed critical to the eventual success of the mission, did not arrive until the return trip. While the expedition’s route is not clear, the excursion likely passed near Saratoga following Lake Champlain to Wood Creek, and across the Hudson River. They may have used the Chemin des Iroquois passing west of Saratoga Lake and into the Mohawk Valley, although this route was not without risk….By whichever route, the detachment arrived three weeks later near Schenectady in search of the Mohawk villages. The French attacked a small European settlement (likely mistaking it for a Mohawk village) and killed three Dutch women and a Metis boy and took prisoners. Nearby Mohawk warriors who were visiting Schenectady attacked the retreating French column. In all, four Mohawk, ten French officers, five soldiers and one volunteer were left dead, and six Mohawk, three French officers, and one volunteer were wounded (Varney 1991:50). The Schenectady mayor, alerted to the attack, made his way to the French position and demanded the full retreat of French soldiers and return of the prisoners. The French agreed and in return bought provisions from Schenectady merchants. Their Algonquian guides arrived just about at this time to shepherd them back to Canada in two weeks. Along the way, the rear guard was harassed by Mohawk warriors who seized on the opportunity. Provisions failed along the way and a “cache” of food left at Isle La Motte was pillaged by the Mohawk (Coolidge 1989:27). As the campaign ended, the French noted that almost 400 men had died (Varney 1991:45). The bedraggled force returned to Fort St. Louis in the beginning of March 1666. These events again testify to the willingness of New France to strike deep into enemy territory. Yet, the French still needed to overcome logistical hurdles to utilize such a large force, over a great distance, in the winter months.” There is no question this was a remarkable military campaign to go over 200 miles through the wilderness in the dead of winter. Saratoga due to geographical location played a minor role in this campaign. This telling of history highlights how our understand has evolved over the past 110 years.