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.

100 Years Ago at the Village Board—January-February 1918

January 7
Bond sold related to the Drainage Sewer Refunding Bond Sinking Fund.
Dudley Toll Hill, Justice of the Peace of the Town of Glenville, who lives in Scotia, appointed Acting Police Justice of the Village [for year 1918].
Action related to Street Fund notes.
New filing cabinets for the Village Clerk to be purchased, not to exceed $55.
To be purchased for Village Hall: 4 new Four-in-One electric light fixtures, with installation.
The Sewer Committee will sell the items to be removed from the Pumping Station; proceeds will benefit the Village.
Matters related to the finances of the Third Street sidewalk.
Ellis B. Edgar has not lived up to the terms of his contract for constructing the outlet sewer and screening chamber. He will be responsible for any damage caused by his delay.
Joseph Clark finished the decorating of the Village Hall and will be paid $125.
Pay Ellis B. Edgar part payment of his sewer contract.
Payroll and bills to be paid; approved.

January 21
Action related to the payment of interest and principal on upcoming outstanding bonds.
List of taxes not paid for 1917 (mostly house lots), unpaid paving and curbing assessments.
Agree to share cost with the Town of Glenville ($30 each) to make a map of the plot known as Harwell in the Village, laid out and sold by E. Z. Carpenter.
Approval of payroll and bills.

February 5
Payments to the special Street Fund.
Pay Ellis Edgar on his sewer contract.
The reward of $10 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those breaking streetlights was claimed by William H. Barhydt and Bernard Mabee. They will split the reward.
Approval of payroll and bills.

February 18
Approval of payroll and bills.
WHEREAS Guy C. Hyde, an esteemed resident of our community and a member of our Village Fire Department has, while in the service of our beloved country, been called from our midst by his Maker, and
WHEREAS he is the first resident of our community to lose his life while in the service of our Country during the War for Democracy, and
WHEREAS, while we feel the loss of a resident of our community and an esteemed member of our Fire Department, we realize how much greater must be the loss to the immediate members of his family, therefore be it
RESOLVED, that we extend to the bereaved family of Guy C. Hyde our sincere personal sympathy and the sympathy of the Village we represent, and be it further
RESOLVED that these Resolutions be spread [sic] on the minutes of this Board and a copy of same sent to the family of the deceased.
The Board would prefer Mr. C. P. Sanders present his proposed proposition on paving through a petition signed by 25 taxpayers.

February 28
Payroll and bills approved.
Details related to reallocating surpluses from various departments to other parts of the General Fund.
Received a report from the Engineer about the outlet sewer. The Sewer Committee will report on the best method to complete the work.

Happy Birthday Scotia, plus Historic Marker #2

While the Village was incorporated in 1904, Scotia is also celebrating its 360th birthday this year.

Despite what it says on the marker (located on the edge of the Glen-Sanders Mansion parking lot), most sources agree that Alexander Lindsey Glen—who appears in Dutch records as Sander Leendertse—built his house on the Mohawk in 1658 and called it Scotia, Latin for his homeland of Scotland. He chose a fertile spot on the river, at the point where the Native Americans crossed over to the south side. He was the first European to settle on the north side of the Mohawk River.

When Schenectady was formed in 1661, Glen was one of the original proprietors, and is the only one whose gravesite is known. (It’s right on Ballston Ave.)

Because the first home site was prone to flooding—we just experienced this year’s version, as you can see in the photo—Alexander’s son, Johannes, rebuilt in 1713, up above the river.

We’ll be planning some fun events for our 360th year, and will be posting more about Alexander Lindsey Glen and his family. Now that so many more old Dutch documents have been translated by the New Netherland Institute, there is much new information to share.

If you are interested in more historical markers, try the book The Markers Speak by John J. Birch. It’s available at the library.

 

February Mystery Tool Answer

These are ox shoes. Since they are mismatched, part of 2 different sets. Oxen are commonly steers that have been trained to do work, usually in pairs. Since oxen are bovines they have cloven hooves, so they need eight separate shoes. Oxen provided power for farm work before engines were common, and still are working hard in many places today.

Two references you may like:

 

If the Shoe Fits, Wear it. Or in This Case, Wear 16!

 

 

High water in the Mohawk

Warm weather, cold weather, rain, ice jams. In front of the Flint House the flooded corn field is level with the “creek”. Some maps call it Reese Creek, and historical maps show it in a variety of shapes; today it is just part of the river as it goes between and around the islands and shore. And the Mohawk at the Scotia bridge is a jumble of ice.