We do history in Saratoga!

We do history in Saratoga!
This photo by Walter Ardzieuice of the 2005 Surrender Day at Fort Hardy park along the Hudson River. Each year visitors get to witness the recreated surrender of British General Burgoyne to American General Gates. There is the singing of patriotic songs with Schuylerville and Salem school children. Everyone gets to drink 13 original toasts to the American Victory!
This event is sponsored by the Village of Schuylerville and Town of Saratoga. It is a long local tradition and we try to celebrate close to October 17 (we make some modifications to allow the school children to participate.) What makes this event unique is that it is at the historical ground where the British forces surrendered and laid down their arms on October 17, 1777, bringing to an end the Battles of Saratoga.
We do history in Old Saratoga. Whether you call us Saratoga, Old Saratoga, Schuylerville, Victory Mills, Clark’s Mills, Northumberland, Easton, Greenwich, we are all part of a community with so much history and so many traditions. It’s hard to find a month in the year that doesn’t have an remembrance, event or festival! A variety of local organizations ensure that the Earth Day, Memorial Day, Turning Point Parade, 18th Century Day, Candlelight Tour, Veterans Day, Dutch Christmas and more brings visitors, neighbors and friends out to enjoy the music, remembrances, costumes and heritage.
The Town of Saratoga is proud be a part of these efforts. The Town works with a wide range of partners to help promote and participate in many other events like Saratoga National Historical Park, Old Saratoga Historical Association, Hudson Crossing Park, Lakes to Locks Passage, Friends of the Battlefield, Saratoga PLAN, Historic Hudson-Hoosic Rivers Partnership, Heritage Hunters of Saratoga County, Schuylerville Area Chamber of Commerce, villages of Schuylerville and Victory, and the Turning Point Parade Committee ….and more.
Remembering, commemorating, and celebrating together fosters community ownership and neighborliness, develops more volunteers that work together to create positive changes for our community and encourages visitors to get to know us better. It is how we do history. Join in the fun, and you’ll appreciate the sense of community that’s been at the foundation of Saratoga for centuries.
There are many ways you can help care for Old Saratoga, from one-time to reoccurring volunteer opportunities for youth, families, groups and individuals. To learn more about volunteering contact historiantosaratoga@gmail.com
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Springs up for Auction in 1899

In 1950, the Saratogian reported
In 1889, the springs property was sold at public auction in front of the Town Hall In Saratoga Springs, to satisfy a mortgage, to Isabella and Nathaniel Griffith who owned It for only a short time. Some time previous to that sale, a house had been built a short distance from the springs.”
Today, 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.

German Horseman Saber

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#Onthisday in 1777, the Battle of Bennington, a battle of the American Revolutionary War, part of the Saratoga campaign, that took place.  This is an imagine of a German Horseman Saber from The History of Weapons of the American Revolution by George C. Neumann and drawings by George C. Woodbridge was published by Bonanza Books (NY) in 1976 which is part of the Historian’s Crawshaw Historical Book Collection.

A detachment of Britsh General John Burgoyne’s army led by German Lieutenant Colonel Friedrich Baum of dismounted Brunswick dragoons, Canadians, Loyalists, and Indians totaled around 700 was sent to raid Bennington in the disputed New Hampshire Grants area for horses, draft animals, and other supplies. Unfortunately, Burgoyne had faulty intelligence as he ran into 1,500 militiamen under the command of General John Stark at Walloomsac, New York.  This fatal mistake would cost Burgoyne one of his commanders when Baum fell and many casualties. and supported by more men under German Lieutenant Colonel Heinrich von Breymann. This victory set the stage for the defeat of Burgoyne at the Battles of Saratoga. A selection from the book explained:

German Horseman Saber

It is believed that heavy-hilted saber of this type were carried in America by the Brunswick Dragoons (dismounted) accompanying General Burgoyne, and probably by other German unit’s here.  A crude brass lion-head pommel and Capstan rivet top the leather-wrapped grip….

From the pike to the pistol, the sword to the rifle, George C. Neumann traces the weapons of the Revolutionary War period. Drawing upon his own and numerous public and private collections, the author has assembled far and away the most complete gallery available of polearms, swords, firearms and military accessories. 1200 photographs and a bonus short 500-year evolutionary history of the world’s hand firearms. Neumann assembled what is known as The Neumann Collection of Revolutionary War militaria  for Valley Forge NHP so that present and future generations of Americans can gain a better understanding of the lives of those soldiers who were encamped here. This is the largest publicly owned collection of Revolutionary War artifacts known in the world that was designed to create an accurate awareness of the American soldier’s pledge for freedom.

(Town Historian Sean Kelleher fondly remembers Neumann and Woodbridge.  Kelleher grew up as a reenactor in particular serving in the Brigade of the American Revolution who was lead by Neumann, Woodbridge and others.  Neumann was a great and enthusiastic historian, who shared his passion for the founding of our nation with everyone he came in touch with.  Kelleher vividly remembers Neumann narrating tactical weapons demonstration.  His voice becoming excited and strained as the demonstration would reach the highpoint.  Neumann used his knowledge, enthusiasm  and voice to bring the American Revolution to life for many spectators of reenactments across the East Coast.)

George C. Neumann, (29 March 1926 – 4 April 2014) was born in New Britain, Connecticut. He attended New Britain High School, Wesleyan University, Princeton University and Harvard Business School. On February 5, 1955, he married Diana L. (Martell) Neumann, and together they had two children: Douglas  and Bruce.  Neumann worked as a New York City based business executive at various companies, including Johnson and Johnson, Canada Dry and Good Humor. He was a noted expert on the subjects of antiques and colonial military accoutrements and authored several books and periodicals on those topics. In 1979 George sold his extensive private collection of Revolutionary War weapons and artifacts to the National Park Service. Neumann was a founding member of the Brigade of the American Revolution and Third New Jersey Regiment historical reenacting organizations. A man of principle, he was dedicated to God, his country, and his family. He served honorably in the United States Navy during World War II. He was committed to the preservation of the history of America with a focused interest on the ideals of the Founding Fathers. He was a stalwart citizen of the community in which he lived and a man whose life was centered around his family and friends.

Crawshaw Historical Book Collection

William and Helen Crawshaw are retired librarians who live in the Town of Saratoga.  William or Bill was the head of the reference department at the Crandall Library and a board member of the Glens Falls Lions Club.  Helen was the children`s librarian at the Saratoga Spring Public Library.  Bill and Helen have been active for many years in the Saratoga County League of Women’s Voters.  The Crawshaw’s also operated the well respected “Book in Hand” book shop for 32 years.  They had an extensive collection of New York books and donated many of their local books to the Town of Saratoga Historian’s office.

The Crawshaw Historical Book Collection is part of the Town of Saratoga Historian’s collection. The collection is open by appointment.  You may contact us by e-mail at historiantosaratoga@gmail.com

Hudson River Speedway

The Hudson River Speedway was a 1950’s stock car track was 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.

Hudson River Speedway

The Hudson River Speedway was a 1950’s stock car track was 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.

Hudson River Speedway

The Hudson River Speedway was a 1950’s stock car track was 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.

OTD: Reported “A CASE AGAINST LITTAUER”

#Onthisday in 1903, it was reported in the Schuylerville Standard that
“A CASE AGAINST LITTAUER”
Secretary Root Refers It to Attorney-General Knox. A Demand May Be Made For a Return of Part or All the Money Paid on Contract.
Washington, D. C—Secretary Root made public all the papers relating to the investigation into the Government contract for gloves with E. R. Lyon. This contractor obtained the gloves from Littauer Brothers, the senior member of the firm, Lucius N. Littauer being a member of Congress. Secretary Root has referred the case to the Department of Justice in order that it may be ascertained if the law has been violated, and. if so, that appropriate measures may be taken in the premises.
General Davis recommends that the testimony of two witnesses who could not be found by Inspector Garlington is rather important and that the investigation be continued with a view of getting their testimony. When taken he says it can be referred to the Department of Justice with the other papers in the case.
Secretary Root in an endorsement on the opinion of Judge Advocate-General, which sends the case to the Department of Justice, says: “There appears to be no evidence that in the manufacture of gloves by the Messrs. Littauer Brothers, to be used in filling Government contracts made by Lyon and others, there was any violation of the statute except in one case, the contract of December 7 1898. “I think the indications of an interest by the manufacturing firm in the jobbers’ contract with the Government are sufficient to require me to proceed upon the theory that there is a prima facie case of violation of the statute.
The article in the Standard goes on. What is interesting is the way that a newspaper like the Standard reports on a local Congressman.
In 15 July 1903 the San Francisco Call reports some interesting background on this story.

DUMMY BID GETS ARMY CONTRACTS

Littauer Operates in Another’s Name. Startling Kevelation by a Johnstown Manufacturer Says Congressman Sought to Bribe Him to Defraud Government Special Dispatch to The Call

NEW YORK. July 15.— The Sun this morning publishes a special from Johnstown, credited to the Daily Republican, in which Timothy Keck of Johnstown throws additional light upon Representative Lucius N. Littauer’s relation to Government contracts.

Timothy Keck has been engaged in the manufacture of gloves in Johnstown for thirty years. Keek’s firm always had been able to get its share of Government work up to 1896, when L. N. Littauer became a member of Congress. Since that time. Keek says, he has had only four contracts, and incidents connected with some of these appear very peculiar. Keck says that in 1899 he bid on 10,000 pairs of buckskin gauntlets, and although his bid was the lowest he was awarded only 2300 pairs, the balance going to Lyon (who brought suit against Littauer) and Littauer supplying the goods. Again, in 1901, he bid upon 4000 pairs of muskrats for gauntlets, and again his bid was the lowest, but he was awarded only one-half of the number of gloves called for, and the other 2000 pairs were awarded to William Topp. Keek’s bid was $1 58 3/4 and Topp’s bid was $1 76 7/8 a pair. William Topp was a manufacturer fur gloves and buck gauntlets, and died on April 16, 1902. Two or three days after that date a large Government contract for gloves was to be bid for in Philadelphia, On the day after the death of Topp, Littauer went from his home in Gloversville to Johnstown and visited the factory of Timothy Keck & Son. Finding no one there, he went to the house of William T. Keck, a son of Timothy Keck and junior member of the firm, who says that Littauer entered into conversation with him in regard to bids for this Government work.

“Mr. Topp is dead, of course, you know,” said Littauer, to which young Keck replied that he had heard so. Littauer then said: “Of course, you know that I own the Topp business. I have about $50,000 invested there, which I cannot afford to have lying idle, and I want to see if we can’t make some kind of arrangement in regard to this Government contract by which I can get it at a price at which I can make something, and I am willing to make it an object to you if you will not put in a bid, or put it in at a price to suit me.”

Keck informed Littauer that he could make no arrangement with him, but he would have to see his father, who was in New York on his way to Philadelphia to put in his bid for Government work. After obtaining Timothy Keek’s address in New York Littauer made an appointment with him in New York, and Littauer made substantially the same proposition to him that he made to his son. Keck, however, refused to enter into any arrangement as proposed by Littauer and put in his bid, but the contract was awarded to H. T. Patterson of Philadelphia,”

It was decided not to prosecute this case by the President Theodore Roosevelt’s Justice Department due to the statue of limitations have passed. In a speech in 1900, to the Harvard Club, then Governor Roosevelt said that his “most intimate friend and the person to whom he most frequently went for political advice” was Lucius Littauer. Littauer name was later cleared by an investigation done by Attorney General Philander Knox.
In 1914, Littauer plead no contest when charged with smuggling a diamond and pearl tiara into the country. The jewelry was reported to be once owned by Empress Josephine (married to Napoléon Bonaparte). He was fined and put on probation.
Lattauer spent his later life involved in philanthropy donating more than 6 million dollars. Among his major gifts were to his alma marta, Harvard University where he funded a Chair in Jewish Literature and Philosophy, 50,000 volumes of Hebrew text for the library and established the Graduate School for Public Administration (now known as the Kennedy School). He funded hospitals in Breslau (Germany), Paris (france) and New York (including the hospital in Gloversville).
Lucius Littauer was the Congressman that represented the Town of Saratoga. In 1901, Littauer traveled to Schuylerville with a group of fiscal experts on a tour of inspection of the Hudson Valley Railway Company. On this trip, was Congressman James Sherman (24 October 1855 – 30 October 1912), who went on to become the 27th Vice President of the United States (1909–12), and banker Benjamin Strong, Jr. (22 December 1872 – 16 October 1928), who went on to be the first Governor of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Saratoga has been defined by the people who by choice or by chance make up this community. There are many individuals like Lucius Nathan Littauer that help define this country and our region. 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 political development. That is why studying the people of Saratoga is integral to a good understanding of the condition of being human.