Open House on Saturday, June 23

Stop by this Saturday, June 23, for Open House at the Flint House. From 1-4 p.m. we will be open for tours and the SCCC Archaeology class will be showing what they have discovered during their exploration of the Flint House grounds this spring. There will be a craft project for kids, and in honor of  High School graduation we’ll also bring out some of our Scotia school memorabilia.

The Flint House is at 421 S. Reynolds St., and is one of the oldest buildings in the Village.

Hope to see you there!

The Camp

Schenectady was, from the beginning, a busy place, standing at the intersection of the north-south and east-west water routes through New York. Before 1800, the fastest and easiest way to move people and goods was by water, and travelers to and from the west came through here. The Camp was a large area along the Mohawk River (today the area to the west of the Glen-Sanders Mansion, from Mohawk Ave. south to the river’s edge, and west to approximately S. Reynolds St.). The Camp was used as a mustering ground for almost 150 years. Native war parties camped here, colonial forces during the French and Indian Wars, and the Continental Army in the Revolution. The Mohawk Valley Militia, active during the War of 1812, also camped here.

The largest force was that of Sir Jeffery Amherst in 1760—6000 Americans and 4000 British with 200 boats—on their way to capture Montreal. That’s many more people than live in Scotia today.

The Markers Speak, John J. Birch

The sign is at the corner of S. Ballston Ave. and Sanders Ave.

Welcome summer

Celebrate summer at the Flint House Open House on June 23, 1-4. More info soon!

We will be growing broomcorn, flax, and hops this year.

SCCC at the Flint House

The Flint House is welcoming the Archaeological Field Work class from SCCC on Tuesday evenings until the middle of June. They will be exploring mostly in the back of the house and we hope they find some interesting artifacts.

100 Years Ago at the Village Board, March-April, 1918

Minutes of the Village Board, March-April 1918

March 4
Office of the Village Treasurer will be at the Village Hall; all materials will be kept there; all monies collected there; Village Clerk will collect in Treasurer’s absence.
Salary for the Treasurer, $150 per year; salary for Clerk, $1400 per year.
Village election will be on March 19 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Petition to be put up for vote: to install a Fire Alarm System for the Village, not to exceed $2500.
Annual reports from Street, Water, Sewer, Light, and Fire Commissioners; Finance Committee; and Village Treasurer read and put on file. Copies to be printed and sent with water bills.
Salary of the Street Commissioner will be $450.
Budget estimates adopted:
General Fund, $9342.99 (includes special contingent war fund of $1128)
Water Fund, $19,918
Sewer Fund, $13,416
Street Fund, $9133
Drainage Sewer, $1607
Fire Fund, $2604
Light Fund, $2670 (street lights)
Health Fund, $1188 (Plumbing inspection, milk inspection)
Total needed: $45, 317 [above numbers will not add up, some summarization was done (past due amounts, surpluses, etc.)—ed.]

March 18
Bill from W.W. Chadsey for extra engineering services on the Outlet Sewer & Screening Chamber ($180) was referred to Village Attorney about legality of claim.
Bills and payroll approved.

March 25, Annual Meeting
Elected:
President, Augustus H. Lasher
Trustees, Stanley E. Ford, Horton S. Potter, Jacob Schuler, Fred L Sturdy
F.F. Lamboy appointed Superintendent of Water & Sewers and Plumbing Inspector.
Charles W. Matthews appointed Assistant, Water & Sewers, to be paid $1150 and he will pay rent at the pumping station house of $12.50 per month.
The Street Commissioner will employ George Kiefer as driver of the village team at $75 per year. He can also hire labor, at not more than 30 cents/hour for ordinary work, and not more than $3 per day for special work.
Schenectady Trust Co. will be the official Village bank.
The President can provide for police protection at not more than $25 per month.
The President is given full power to direct the Village Engineer to furnish grade stakes when he deems it necessary and proper.
The Superintendent of Water & Sewers may hire a utility man for $75 per month, with additional ordinary labor at $2.50 per day, or special work at $3 per day.
Fred R. Lindsey will be the Village Engineer at $7.50 per day for engineer and 1 assistant, and $10 per day for engineer and 2 assistants.
The Schenectady Gazette is the official Village newspaper.
The Village safe deposit box is at the Schenectady Trust Co.
Burglar insurance will be purchased for the Village Hall.
Maurice B. Flinn will be the Village Attorney at $800 per year.
The Finance Committee report was read and approved.
The resignation of the Village Assessor, Frank E. Haselo, was accepted. Samuel M. Hillis was appointed.
The President is authorized to purchase a new steel tank for the street sprinkler and a new dump wagon for the Street Department, not to exceed $350.
The attorney determined that the bill from W.W. Chadsey for engineering services was not legal and it was disallowed.
The Water Committee will be instructed to provide a second vacuum pump rotor and switchboard for pump #3, other changes as necessary, not to exceed $600.
Roof of Village Hall to be reslaged [sic] and coated, not to exceed $165.
Clerk to purchase one or 2 boat pumps for Street Department, not to exceed $20.
A committee of 2 (Lasher & Ford) was appointed to select a team of horses, get an option, and report back.
Standing committees for the year are Finance, Water, Buildings, Sewer, Light & Railroads, Streets.

April 2
R.C. Weaver declined the Treasurer position and  LeRoy R. Wood was appointed.
The sixth installment of the Schon-o-wee Rd. assessment is due May 1; also the fourth installment of Ballston St. assessment.
Accounts for the Street Commissioner and Clerk for last year were approved.
A petition from 4th Street for sewers was referred to the Sewer Committee.
A petition for a cement sidewalk on the NW side of Ballston St. was received; hearing to be held May 6.
A vote of thanks to the Scotia Home Defense League for their offer to assist in maintaining order in the Village; the Village President will make arrangements as he is Chief of Police.
Application of Fred Borelli for sewer on Wallace St. referred to Sewer Committee.
Application for light on Meriline St. referred to Light committee.
Application for water main in 5th St. east of Wallace referred to Water Committee.
Payroll and bills approved.

April 15
Stanley E. Ford resigned as Trustee: Walter W. Miller appointed for 1 year.
Harry Van Epps appointed Fire Commissioner for 3 years.
Applications for sewer extensions were approved where most needed: Lark, Toll, Robin, and Jay Streets. Tile to be purchased at bid price from George E. Van Vorst. Superintendent of Sewers will do the work.
Clerk to purchase 3500 stamped envelopes for the Water Department, not to exceed $75.60.
Materials for the extension of the water main on 5th St. east of Wallace will be purchased and Superintendent of Water will install.
Village Clerk to purchase new cutter blade for street scraper.
New street lights will be installed at: SE corner of 4th & Huston; 4th St. halfway between Huston & Root; corner of Sacandaga and Toll; corner of Wallace and 5th.
Paper and muresco [paint] will be procured for the village house at the Pumping Station.
The President will look over the grade conditions between Vley Rd. and the Schoolhouse on First Street with the Village Engineer.
The Water & Sewers Superintendent is authorized to employ one extra utility man not to exceed $2.90 per day.
Clerk will send letter of regrets and thanks for 3 years service as member of board and 3 years service as Fire Commissioner to Stanley E. Ford.
Payroll and bills approved.
Committee changes: Jacob Schuler will chair Finance and Buildings; Walter W Miller will serve on Sewer and Finance in place of Schuler.

April 26
Special meeting
Report of the committee on obtaining horses. They have an option on a team of sorrel [reddish-brown] horses weighing approximately 2600 pounds, priced at $550, recommend purchase from Patrick Myers. Approved.
President authorized to purchase one set double harness at $110.

 

 

April Mystery Tool Answer

This is a shingling hatchet–it could trim wood, serve as a hammer, and the notch could remove nails. (The shingles would have been wooden ones.)

It is marked “Underhill Edge Tool Co.” Underhill Edge Tools was founded by George Underhill in 1852 in New Hampshire. There were several companies that merged throughout the 1800s, and this name was probably not used after 1890. There may have been Underhills making tools in New Hampshire as early as the late 1700s.

Some sources call this a carpenter’s hatchet, and you can find a few YouTube videos about using this type of hatchet for any small wood-shaping task, such as trimming pieces to make camp furniture.

(Illustration from A Museum of Early American Tools by Eric Sloane)

Glen-Sanders Household Items at Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia

You can see this exhibit in the Dewitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum at Colonial Williamsburg, along with a few other items that came from Scotia. Read the labels and you’ll have a fun scavenger hunt around several of the exhibits there. (There’s a chair, some china, and a wafer iron for a start.)
Back in 1961, when J. Glen Sanders died, his widow, Pearl, decided to sell the house. It was hoped at first that the house and furnishings could be kept together, but when that didn’t work out, the house contents were sold separately to Colonial Williamsburg. The collection contains 218 items, plus manuscripts.

[At the time this provoked lively discussion and was quite controversial. I hope to put that story together for a future post—if you were in Scotia then and have stories you’d like to tell, please email me and we can get together!]

Last spring I was in Colonial Williamsburg and had a chance to meet with curators Angelika Kuettner, Kim Ivey, and Janine Skerry to chat about the collection and to view some of the artifacts in their storage facility.

Many items are being used in the historic houses and shown in the museums, and I had a great time searching for them as I toured the various buildings. If you’re going to Williamsburg, get in touch and I can give you some tips.

[There is a catalog called “The Glen-Sanders Collection from Scotia, NY,” published by Colonial Williamsburg in 1966. (A copy can be viewed at the Flint House.)  A microfilm of the Glen-Sanders papers is available at the Schenectady County Historical Society. You can also explore the Glen-Sanders items that Colonial Williamsburg has online by searching for them at //emuseum.history.org/]

Troy Pottery at the Flint House

The Flint House has several pieces of stoneware that were made by Israel Seymour (at one of his various pottery shops) in Troy, NY. He died in 1852, and his son continued the business.
The brown jug (with an unusual glaze) and the crock (missing its lid) were probably made between 1828 and 1850. The 2 gallon jug with the elaborate number 2 probably dates between 1861 and 1885.
These types of stoneware were common pieces in everyone’s kitchen, for storing liquids like cider, vinegar, and liquor, and dry goods of all types.
Thank you to Stacy Draper for sharing information from the 2012 Rensselaer County Historical Society exhibit about local potters.
For more information on the local pottery industry in the 1800s, try Pottery Works, by Warren F. Broderick and William Bouck, available through your local library.