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.
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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: Letter home from the Battles

On this day in 1777, Captain Christopher Marshall of the 10th Massachusetts Regiment wrote to his Wife, dated
“Albany, 21st October (1777)
“Our Regiment had the thanks of the Genll in Genll Orders for their ‘Spirited and Good Behaviour on the 19th September wherein it saved another Regt from falling into the hands of the Enemy or be Cutt off.”
According to two 19th century antiquarians, Marshall’s was sent out following the deployment of Learned’s Brigade. According to Charles Nielson, Marshall’s regiment was engaged on a rise of ground “west of the cottage,” with Learned’s Brigade.
A second author, William Stone, wrote that “Learneds & Marshall’s Regiments engaged toward the close of the battle of the 19th near Walker’s barn… situated a little east of the house, opposed by a Regiment of Grenadiers opposed to Marshall’s.” Both of these accounts suggest that the regiment was posted towards the interval between Hamilton’s center and Fraser’s right wing, by Freeman’s cabin and barn.
A more recent historian, John Elting, indicates that Marshalls’s regiment was likely deployd forward of the Bemis Heights works on the American Right, where they engaged elements of Riedesel’s command, “…Other patrols (apparently Indians, Canadians, and Loyalists) edged forward to feel out the American position. It may be one of these that touched off a brief noisy brawl when it followed a seldom-used bypath along the foot of the hills and got into the American entrenchments before being chased out – seemingly be Colonel Thomas Marshall’s 10th Massachusetts Regiment of Paterson’s brigade.”
Since most accounts of the battle place Riedesel in command of Brunswick troops, the determination that this patrol was under his command suggests that they were perhaps sent forward sometime shortly after the action resumed around three thirty in the afternoon, and that they moved towards the right of the line along the front of the American fortifications. This still leaves us with Christopher Marshall’s account to reconcile with the above evidence. When considered in light of the two nineteenth century accounts, it suggests that they moved up either to the right of Learned’s Brigade to relieve pressure by Acland’s grenadiers on Van Cortland’s 2nd New York, or to the left of Col. Brooks’ 8th Massachusetts, which was fighting a rear guard action against Breymann’s grenadiers and light troops. Shortly after Marshall’s regiment engaged the enemy, darkness fell and the action was soon broken off, with the Americans making an orderly retirement back to their camp. Since they came into the battle late in the day, the regiment’s casualties were fairly light, with at least two men killed and one wounded. Among the dead were Privates William Prebble of Thomas’ Company, and Richard Griffiths of Soper’s Company. Among the wounded was Elisha Munsell of Capt. Smith’s Company, a forty one year old shoemaker from Greenwich, Mass., who was shot through his left wrist. After being sent down to the General Hospital in Albany, he was transferred to Ephraim Minot’s Co. of the Corps of Invalids, where he performed various duties around Boston until he was discharged at the end of his enlistment.
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 Colonel Marshall 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.

OTD: Kosciuszko receives his commission from Congress.

#Onthisday in 1776, American War of Independence Officer Tadeusz Kosciuszko receives his commission from the Continental Congress. The Journals of the Continental Congress reported on this day in 1776 “The Board of War brought in a report, which was taken into consideration; Whereupon, Resolved, That Thaddeus Kosciuszko, Esq., be appointed an engineer in the service of the United States, with the pay of sixty dollars a month, and the rank of colonel.” Polish-born Thaddeus Kosciuszko was a distinguished military man who traveled across Europe to the Americas to fight for independence. He served in the American Revolution continuously from 1776 to the war’s end in 1783 and operated not only as far north as Ticonderoga, Saratoga, and West Point, but became the Chief Engineer with the Southern Department of the Continental Army. Kosciuszko earned praise and thanks for his courageous war efforts and dedication to freedom from men like George Washington, Horatio Gates, Nathanael Greene, and Thomas Jefferson. A close friend, Thomas Jefferson, once wrote that Kosciuszko was “as pure a son of liberty, as I have ever known, and of that liberty which is to go to all, and not the few or rich alone.” Saratoga has been defined by the people who by choice or by chance make up this community. There are many individuals like Tadeusz Kosciuszko that help define this country and our 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 political development. That is why studying the people of Saratoga is integral to a good understanding of the condition of being human.

Historian Ostrander wrote about the Surrender

In 1884, Historian William Ostrander of Schuylerville wrote the following about the Surrender of Burgoyne: Burgoyne saw his shattered army hurled back through rain and mire bearing their tattered standards to the heights of Saratoga with the enemy in full pursuit. There the way was blocked with sturdy patriots. Retreat to Canada was cut off and the road to Albany had been already tried. A victorious enemy is pressing upon all sides. Burgoyne’s army reduced to about four thousand men with only three days provisions is hemmed in by one of nearly twenty thousand full of the animation of victory. Storms of iron hail are sweeping his camp. His headquarters has become a target for the field guns of the enemy. Soon it is cut to pieces and his council board dispersed. Then come wounds and thirst and the white flag sues for terms. The commanders meet. The sword is delivered. The bronzed and hardy veterans of many a campaign on the Continent, file out and pile their arms, and the long train of prisoners starts for Boston between the guarding bayonets of the Continental troopers, with the Stars and Stripes here unfurled for the first time floating overhead. The campaign is ended the royal power is broken and success is sure. St Leger’s army is dispersed. Clinton retires to New York. France hastens to acknowledge the independence of the Colonies; and “The light is dawning upon the American cause.” The control of a Continent has slipped away from the King and henceforth the only struggle will be to save for the Crown that which cannot be conquered for it. These were the views of our community history in the past. As a community, we will be eternally grateful for the early historians including William Ostrander, John Brandow, William Stone, Ellen Hardin Walworth and others. However, history is a continuing dialogue, between the present and the past. 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 may be new access to primary source material, new archeology studies being done, or new perspectives because new historians and researchers are working in our community. This is an unending quest of historians and our community for understanding the past — that is, revisionism and that is what makes history vital and meaningful. Our community is, as Historian John Brandow described, “the scene of so many events, tragic, thrilling, and heroic, in their character; events far reaching and superlatively beneficent in their effects on our civilization.” That is why the study of Saratoga is a never ending task.