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Schenectady County Historical Society Newsletter
32 Washington Avenue, Schenectady, NY 12305
Web site: http://www.schist.org Editor email: email@example.com Librarian email: firstname.lastname@example.org
(518) 374-0263 FAX: (518) 374-0263 (call ahead)
There were a few years in my mid-career when "the Company" provided me with an annual physical. Besideslearning that I had what were referred to as bad veins, I also was informed that my uric acid level was too high. Ijust couldn't let that bit of information slide by without asking, "What does that mean?" And the answer was:"You're prone to have gout." Gout, the aristocrat of diseases, attributed to high living.
I viewed this pre-diagnosis with some amusement since I had no symptoms. But a few months later, after limpingaround for a couple days with a sore big toe, I remembered the prediction. And I knew. It was the gout. Alongwith the prescription for medicine, the doctor gave me a list of foods to avoid: anchovies and sardines (this wasgoing to be a snap), liver (well, I did like liver), and alcohol (oh doom and gloom). I went for a couple weekswithout my daily therapeutic dosage of beer and then broke down and called the doctor's office. Was theavoidance of alcohol really necessary? And the answer was that it was OK to imbibe in moderation.
The medicine prescribed for my gout was call colchicine.
The pill was about the size and shape of a BB. Onecould pop the pill, swallow a drink of water and still find the BB hiding in a crevice. Since that time, some 30years ago, the pill has been reshaped to a configuration which is less prone to get lost, but it's still small.
Colchicine is extracted from the bulb or seed of the autumn crocus (meadow saffron). Its use for the gout goesback to the ancient Greeks who probably learned about it from the even more ancient Egyptians.
Before you start chewing on the seeds of your autumn crocus, please note that colchicum, the Latin name of theplant, means "poison root." It is one of the most violent purgatives known. In addition to its Gl reactions, otherresponses include delirium and an imperceptible pulse. Even animals know instinctively to avoid this plant. Onlya believer in homeopathic medicine (a little bit of a bad thing can be good for you) would have played with thisone. The medical doctors of a couple hundred years ago were all practitioners of home-opathy. I think they stillserve the British royal family. There are still a couple practitioners listed in the yellow pages of a current phonebook.
I called up Society member Peter Spoor, retired instructor from the Albany College of Pharmacy. Peter did athesis on colchicine.
I asked how did anyone ever determine the ground-up autumn crocus was a cure for gout,and how would they have determined the dosage. Peter indicated that medicines like colchicine and digitalis(foxglove) were grandfathered in because they had been used successfully for so many years and any originalexperimentations were not known. Pharmaceutical companies are still looking for the unusual compounds thatplants produce, usually to protect themselves from predators. The companies then run tests of these compoundson non-human "guinea pigs". You may have noticed that many new medicines introduced in this country havefirst been used successfully in Europe for several years. In essence this country allows the Europeans to be ourhuman guinea pigs.
Well I've been limping around for the past couple weeks and my blood work indicates the uric acid level is high. Ihate to do it, but maybe it's time to abandon the homeopathic colchicine
for a more modern concoction.
Wednesday, July 9, 16, 23 Crazy Quilt class - Fee $50 1-4 PM Ages 12 to adult. More info at email@example.com
Sat-Sun July 12 & 13, 19 & 20 Blacksmithing Class - 4 day course Fee $150 includes morning coffee and lunch.
Presenter: John Ackner
Sunday, July 13, 2003 Crazy Quilt Christmas Ornament Class 2-5 PM Cost $20. Materials supplied Emaildee@deestark.com for details
July 14 - 18 and 21-25 Hands on History Class for Mohonasen students, grades 5 - 9. For more info Email Daleat firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, July 19, 2003 Adults Soap making class - Cost $50 For details Email email@example.com
Sunday, July 20,2003 Community Day Free admission to the entire Mabee Farm Tours from 1-5- Refreshmentsprovided
July 21 - 15, 2003 Archeology Summer Camp for kids age 9-13 Cost $125 - Call SCCC 381-1315 for more infoor registration
July 26 & 27, August 2& 3, 2003 4 day course in Timber framing Presenter: Ev Rau Fee $150 includes morningcoffee and lunch Call Mabee Farm to register: 887 5073
Saturday, August 9,2003 Flint Knapping and related Primitive technologies. Food will be available.
Princetown Tidbits lrma Mastrean — Town Historian
In 1904, when she was just sixteen, Edith Dougal was the only young person from the Scotch Church areaattending high school. At that time, going to high school meant rising at 4 AM to be driven by horse and buggythe four miles from her home to Pattersonville, taking the ferry across the river to Hoffmans and running up thehill to catch the trolley into Schenectady. She had to remember to hold her long skirt out of the mud and clutchher hat and at the same time keep a firm grasp on her suitcase and books.
The case usually carried her clothes for the week, as going to high school in those days meant rooming with oneof the families living near the school who took in students from the outlying areas. The Hoffmans ferry crossingswere treacherous at times of flood or when clocks of floating ice surrounded the ferry. One wintry morning, onone of those crossings, a gust of wind blew off Edith's new beaver hat. The ferryman, used to such occurrences,retrieved it from the river with his paddles, shook it out and handed it back to her, little worse for the ducking!
The Greens Corners One-Room School Museum, built ca. 1825, will be open for visitors weekends, 1-4 PM,starting July 5 and 6. The school will be open weekends July and August, the last weekend being August 30-31.
The school will be open for groups by appointment only, September 2 through October 15. It's a great place totake your grandchildren to visit! The school is located in West Glenville on Potter Road near the intersectionwith Greens Corners Road. Call Mrs. R. Karis, 24 Windsor Drive, Scotia, for further information or to makeappointments - 372-6314
Scotia-Glenville Churches - Elsie Maddaus
First Baptist Church of Scotia, 132 Mohawk Ave.; organized in 1840
St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, First St.; began as a mission of St. John the Baptist in Schenectady;opened in 1909
Church of the Immaculate Conception, 400 Saratoga Rd.; organized in 1957
East Glenville Community Church, 335 Saratoga Rd.; began in 1945; organized in 1947 as an independentcongregation
St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 52 Sacandaga Rd.; organized in 1909 as a mission of St. George's inSchenectady
Evangelical Church of the Good Shepherd (Lutheran), 547 Saratoga Rd.; organized in 1955
Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, Reynolds St.; organized in 1925
Alplaus Union United Methodist Church, Brookside Ave. and Riverside PI.; organized in 1914
Scotia United Methodist Church, N. Ten Broeck and Catherine Sts.; organized in 1902
West Glenville Methodist Episcopal Society, organized in 1822 on Touerema Rd.; moved to West Glenville in1842; dissolved in 1903. (Currently a Grange hall)
Centre Glenville United Methodist Church, Sacandaga and Bolt Rd; organized 1838
Trinity United Presbyterian Church, Swaggertown Rd; Formerly a mission of the First Presbyterian Church,Schenectady in 1903, located in Glenville in 1960
First Reformed church of Glenville, West Glenville Rd.; originally named the First Reformed Dutch church in the4th ward of the city and county of Schenectady; organized in 1810
First Reformed Church of Scotia, 224 N. Ballston Ave.; originally called the North Branch of the ProtestantDutch Church in the city of Schenectady; organized 1814
Museum Activity - Bellevue Hospital - Jo Mordecai, Coordinator of Exhibits
In 2003 many hospitals are in trouble: emergency rooms close as do some hospitals; nurses are overworked andyoung women have lost the desire to nurse the sick, being underpaid for long hours. Here in Schenectady we stillhave Bellevue Woman's Hospital, a place where women may safely give birth and receive careful nurturing.
During the Depression babies were often delivered in the mother's bed or on the kitchen table. Complicationscould arise and often did. But Schenectady had a nurse named Grace Jorgensen. She was a wife and mother oftwo and she cared. This plucky woman saw the need for an affordable facility for expectant mothers and theirdoctors. Her family doctor was a general practitioner name William F. Nealson. One day she went to Dr.
Nealson's office with a plan. After discussing the plan for hours, they sought and eventually found a large emptyhouse nearby — the old rectory for Bellevue's Catholic church, Immaculate Conception. Dr. Nealson promisedto send her patients and recommended the hospital to other doctors.
The Jorgensens lived on the first floor, maternity patients on the second. There was a small alcove for onepatient in front. There were two nurses: one for day named Cull and one at night named Hill. Mrs. Jorgensencarefully checked everything herself and always gave patients advice. Mr. Elmer Jorgensen did most of themaintenance and cooked breakfast each morning. The charge was $5 per day, there was no medication given, butthe support and caring were wonderful. And it still is today. The hospital has had two other homes, each largerthan the preceding one. Bellevue lives up to what Nurse Grace Jorgensen dreamed it would many years agounder the guidance of Grace Jorgensen's daughter, Dr. Grace Jorgensen.
For the exhibit of August, September and October I plan "Bellevue - the story of a hospital," showing its homesand all the doctors, nurses and babies who were part of Bellevue from 1931-2003. Were you, or did you have aBellevue baby? If so I would like to borrow photographs of babies born there and who they are today. Pleasecontact Jo Mordecai, Coordinator of Exhibits, Tel: 374-0263. The photographs will all be returned.
From Bill Dimplefeld's mailbox . . . Dear Mr. Dimpelfeld:
I am pleased to enclose a GE Foundation (formerly the GE Fund) check in the amount of $6,768.00. This giftfrom the GE 'More Gifts . . . More Givers' program matches contributions made during 2002 by GE employeesand retirees. Eligible gifts made in 2003 will be matched by the GE Foundation in May 2004. . . .
Congratulations on your efforts that made this support possible. Sincerely, Mark J. Saperstein
Mr. Saperstein informed us that 2003 marks the 50th year of GE's giving. "Driven by the knowledge that aquality education ushers in a lifetime of opportunities, our foundation drives programs that enable students toexpand and achieve their dreams."
Those of us who remember Mandy Grems will note how the above statement fits in with her wishes for the workof the Schenectady County Historical Society.
This one is from our former librarian, Elsa Church, to Elsie Maddaus, to be shared with her old friends at SCHS.
. . . When I moved so far south (my three children all live south: two in South Carolina and one in Maryland), Idecided to make the last part of my life count. This adult home is about six miles from my oldest son, 240 milesfrom my youngest son, and ironically, farther away from my daughter than before! But they all have computersand I know more details about their life than before.
.I keep busy mornings writing small personal "pieces". We have a quarterly here which I contribute to, and Iuse my lifetime remembrances, etc., to send to friends. . . . I am not computer literate, but with my shakyhandwriting am glad I can type.
. . . by now I know many of the residents here. . . mostly southerners who either have lived here all their lives, orwho have returned to their roots. I guess I will always be the lady from New York.
Writing and relatives are my salvation. I have a large clan to keep track of: Eight grands, and, so far, five great-grands. Not bad for an only child, right! Sincerely and with best wishes to all in SCHC. Elsa
We're trying to get used to two empty places at the SCHS table, two gaping holes in our awareness where Stasiaand Bob should be: Stasia, ever straight, every hair in place, her seductive voice stating clearly what is needed,what comes next; Bob, thoughtful, deliberate, with a way of summing up the sense of a discussion, and such apermanent fixture at the public library that they are dedicating a chair in his name.
Each played many parts in the Society —volunteers, board members, committee stalwarts: Stasia with the housecommittee and the auxiliary, working side by side with Ann Karl in the kitchen whose existence they had foughtfor; thanks to Stasia and Ann Karl (and now Ann Coggeshall) we've had goodies at our monthly meetings longafter the demise of the auxiliary.
Bob worked most notably with the Mabee Farm project and as past president of the Society, picking up the reinsof leadership after Mason Harter's untimely death, carrying on for four tumultuous years, presiding over theboard and seeking money and volunteers for the never-ending struggles of the infant Mabee Farm project.
The Schenectady County Historical Society has been enhanced by the contributions of Stasia and Bob and othersof the same mettle. We extend our sympathy and concern to John Berdy and Claire Sager - and an invitation tojoin us actively here at the Society — lots of good things are going on here and Stasia and Bob were part of theprocess.
Our spring school-visiting program was very well received, considering many schools have been reluctant to signup for a new and unknown program. Each new group expresses how well they like our program and that they willreturn next year. We are now getting requests from teacher groups to preview our program. We have two toursleft on the spring schedule which will bring the number of students to 600; with teachers and advisors counted itwill be over 650. A letter announcing our fall schedule has just been sent out to over 300 4th, 5th and 7th gradearea teachers. One class has already signed on.
Eight "sites" exist as teaching locations: 1. the stone house; 2 the brick house; 3. the blacksmith; 4. Indiancrafts; 5. spinning and weaving; 6 butter making; 7 flailing grain; 8. Colonial soldiers (re-enactors).
This will be a busy summer for the Mabee Farm. We are offering two new summer children's programs. Both aredesigned for middle school students, one on Colonial history the other an archeology workshop. Other classesinclude timber-framing, blacksmithing, redwork (classic embroidery), crazy quilting and soap making.
Our Community Open House will be held on Sunday July 20th, 1:00 to 5:00 PM. Light refreshments will beserved and it is free.
A new event on August 9th — Flint-Knapping Day — is being expanded to include exhibits on local archeologyand precontact Native Americans. This will be a different event for us and is designed to attract and new group ofvisitors to the Farm.
Remember the Fall Festival has been moved ahead one week to Sept. 14th as has the Stockade Walkabout(September 20th). Watch for announcement of a new event the day after the Walkabout. It will make a secondevent on Sunday and will encourage people to stay over for the weekend. We will get some support for publicityfrom the Schenectady County Tourist Bureau, the new tourist website and a tie-in with the Walkabout.
LIBRARY DOINGS -Virginia Bolen, Librarian
THE STREET WHERE YOU LIVE . . . Contact Virginia Bolen at the Historical Society, 374-0263 or Frank Taormina at374-9655. Tell us how your street got its name.
Would your group like to be introduced to the fun of Genealogy? The Grems-Doolittle Library of theSchenectady County Historical Society invites you to make an appointment with the librarian to bring a groupfrom your organization to find out how to get started on family history. You will be introduced to our finecollection of local and New York State resources as well as how to use other sources such as the Federal Census.
If you are interested in finding out more about this opportunity, call the librarian, Virginia Bolen, at 374-0263.
Offered for Sale [part of library report]
The following copies of portraits and prints in our collection are now for sale:
Helena Van Eps Pieterse 1743 Artist unknown 8x10 black & white photograph, $30 plus $5 shipping &
Jonathan Walton and Margaret Thatcher Walton
1830-1835 Ezra Ames 8x10 black & white photograph Each $30 plus $5 shipping & handling
Schenectady Harbor 1814 Tantillo 1992 signed, limited edition print, image size 8 x 10, sheet 12 3/8 x 14
$65 plus $10 shipping &
Lawrence the Maquase I . Joseph 1986 Depiction of the Lawrence statue in the Schenectady Stockade, signed,limited edition, image size 19 x 25 in., sheet 22 x 28 in. $75 plus $12 shipping and handling.
The Education committee of the Schenectady County Historical Society announces a new film program which isavailable for use. It is called "Colonial Life in the Mohawk Valley." The script was written by Sally van Schaickand the photos and tape were the work of William Massoth. For details regarding the program's availability,please contact committee chair, Elsie M. Maddaus, 346-8981
THE WALTONS TRAVEL TO CANADA -Ona Curran, Protector of the paintings
Two of the society's portraits, Jonathan and Margaret Walton, in the form of full sized photographs in color, wereshipped to the Port Hope Historical Society in Ontario, Canada. Port Hope celebrated the 210th anniversary ofits founding on June 7th and 8th. As Jonathan was one of the founders of Port Hope, the pictures of Jonathan andhis wife were a focal point of the celebration. These paintings are the only known portraits of the pair, whichadded to the excitement of the event. Ezra Ames painted the Waltons circa 1825.
Port Hope had its beginnings in 1793 when Jonathan Walton and his associate Elias Smith of Montreal weregranted the entire Hope Township in Upper Canada if they could entice forty people to pioneer the wilderness onthe north shore of lake Ontario. The first settlers arrived June 8, 1793, aboard the tall ship the Mississauga. Atall ship reenactment high lighted the event.
Jonathan did not stay in Port Hope. He traveled to Pennsylvania and thence to Schenectady where he lived along life and became a prosperous member of the community. He was a merchant with extensive holdings alongthe Mohawk and built a palatial home on Union Street. The main street in Port Hope's historic district is namedWalton Street after Jonathan. His brother Nathan settled in Port Hope, and his descendants are still there.
The portraits of Jonathan Walton and his wife Margaret Thatcher Walton came to the Schenectady CountyHistorical Society from the estate of Helen de Lancey Watkins, a descendant of the Waltons. The SCHS is proudto share part of its collections with our Canadian neighbor and glad we could be part of Port Hope's celebration.
Jonathan Walton, c. 1825 by Ezra Ames
Someone to do filing in the library. Our librarian can never catch up. Great opening for volunteer with unsatisfiedclerical lust! Call librarian at 374-0263
Someone to do data entry on one of our wonderful computers. You do not have to be a computer geek; you justneed enthusiasm for the work of the Society plus the ability to follow directions. Call librarian at 374-0263.
A real extrovert to organize boat and bus trips. There are wonderful places to go around here, but all the boardmembers are maxed out and we need fresh blood, verve, muscle and know-how to plan trips. Call the office at374-0263.
A grant writer. We know the grants are out there; we just need that certain person with the time to ferret outwhere the grants are hidden so we can continue to enhance the work of the Society. Call President or officemanager at 374-0263
Docents. A decent is a tour guide. We're running out of docents and we want fresh troops. Come now: you knowthat you've always secretly wanted to show people around the Museum. Follow Jo or Sally or Ann a time or twoand you'll get the hang of it. Call Jo Mordecai at 374-0263 for further information.
LITERACY VOLUNTEERS IS LOOKING FOR YOU.
Did you know that 27 million Americans don't know how to read? Did you know that more than 60,000 adults inAlbany and Schenectady counties cannot read this message? Help lower these numbers; call Literacy Volunteersat 372-9819.
R.& R. Evans Foundation W. G. Broughton Charitable Foundation Rotary Club of Schenectady Foundation Schenectady Foundation
Walter S. Quinlan Foundation Wright Family Foundation, Inc.
TA Predel The Gazette Newspapers Stewart's Shops
Col. & Mrs. John A. Lighthall Ms. Gioia Ottaviano J.& P. Builders Mr. John De Ruscio
Mr. & Mrs. M. W. Beaulieu Bob & Sylvia Briber Ms. Anne Christman Mr. Hubert deLeeuw Dr. &
Mrs. Franklyn C. Hayford Dr. &
Mrs. James Holmblad Mr. Peter R. Kozak Gary D. & Kim A. Mabee Dr. & Mrs. Joseph L. Mundy Mr. George Schmidt Ms. Helga A. Schroeter Mr. William H. Underhill
Mr. & Mrs. S. Barbera Mr. Richard M. Clowe Ms. Shirley W. Dunn Frank &
Rose Feiner Russell &
Susan Felthousen Ronald &
Carol LaGasse Mr. & Mrs. Richard W. Lewis Jr. Mr. &
Mrs. Joseph H. Markey Mr. Nels Olsen Dr. & Mrs. William W. Piper
Barbara Preisman Bill &
Cindi Pytiovany Mr. & Mrs. John R. Seacord Mr. & Mrs. William A. Wagle J. Paul & Doris V. Ward Herbert & Margaret Warne Mr. Malcolm R. Willison
Ms. Eileen I. Alessandrini Mr. Ronald Backer Miss Hazel M. Bailey Mr. William A. Bronk Ms. M. Joy Conway Lt. Col. Irving E. Costanzo Ms. Patricia Dykstra Mr. Anthony P. Fazzone Mrs. Barbara J. Foti Miss Kelly M. Giminiani Mrs. Ruth L. Hand Ms. Carol A. Hess Dr. Marvin A. Humphrey Mrs. Ann Jensvold Mr. Raymond T. Karis Ms. Mary E. Kuykendall Mrs. John G. Leschen Dr. Lewis Marola Mrs. Jacquelyn H. Miller Mr. Edward C. Pangburn Mrs. Linda Perregaux Mrs. Lawrence G. Peterson Mr. Laurence C. Rainey Mrs. Alice Rosback Mrs. Marjorie L. Schmid Dr. Charles F. Stamm Mr. Harvey Strum Mr. James Tedisco Mrs. Jill S. Titus Mrs. Nancy H. Wasmun Mr. Neil B. Yetwin
Once a year we like to list our life members in honor of their continuing generosity. Thank you, one and all!
N. Balasubramaniam Ira Blake Bette Bradway Merrill Brown Dudley Chambers Elsa Church Muriel deSorbo William Fasake Werner Feibes Roland Fitzroy Frederick Fox George Franchere Robert Fullam George Gagnon R. George Robert George Dorothea Godfrey Sally Goerg Leon Goldberg Gladys & Walter Graubart Maxine Hancock Larry Hart Carol Harvey R. T. Henke Terry S. Hinkle Grace Jorgensen George Juno Francis Karwowski for St. George's Council #74 Cryptic Masons Henry Kelly Fred and Catherine Kindl T. Kosinski Betty La Grange Barbara Lawrence Arthur Levy Veronica Lynch Stephen Mabie Ernest Milano Charles Millington James Nelson Marie Nitchman John Papp Donald Putnam Ronald Ratchford Norman Rynex James Schmitt John Schoolcraft Frederick Sistarenik Joe Strange Donald and Shirley Sutphen
John and Sally van Schaick Charles Van Wormer W. Brinson Weeks William Wells A. Winne Jay Wright Frieda Wyman
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