May Mystery Tool Answer

It’s a butter churn. This one was probably from the 1800s, but the barrel design was also used during the 1700s. According to the New York State Census, the Reese farm in 1855 owned 4 cows and made 300 pounds of butter. In 1865 they owned 8 cows and made 1000 pounds of butter.


Come to the Flint House on June 3!


Join us at the Flint House on Saturday, June 3, for an Open House and a free concert
by the Musicians of Ma’alwyck.

The Open House is from 4 to 6 p.m. and will feature tours of the house, a Flag Day/Independence Day craft project for kids with Barbara Bennett, plein air artist Deborah Angilletta, artist Juliet Konieczny, archaeology with Dr. Steve Jones, and beekeeping and the honey industry with Byron Nilsson. The Scotia Fire Department will display the 1873 hand pumper.

Bring a picnic, a blanket or lawn chairs, and enjoy a relaxing end to your day. Beverages will be available, including beer from the Wolf Hollow Brewing Company, and the Electric City Roasters with coffee. There will be free sundaes, donated by Stewarts, starting at 6 (as long as they last!).

In the first half of the 19th century, before public parks were common, entrepreneurs would open pleasure gardens where visitors could stroll among the trees and flowers, enjoy various entertainments, have refreshments, and listen to music.

In the spirit of those days, from 6:30 to 7:30 the Musicians of Ma’alwyck will set up under the tent and present a concert of music from the early 1800s, a time when Scotia was still a small rural community and the Flint House, then the Reese homestead, was new. 

The music will include excerpts from an 1817 vaudeville The Ship’s Captain, the Pic-Nic Quadrilles, music of Steven Foster, and music played in early America in the homes of the Schuylers, Rensselaers and others. Some World War I songs will be included to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the war.

The Musicians of Ma’alwyck, founded in 1999, are in residence at the Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site in Albany (the home of General Philip Schuyler, Revolutionary War leader and father-in-law of Alexander Hamilton) and Schenectady County Community College. Violinist and Director Ann-Marie Barker Schwartz is joined by guitarist Sten Isachsen, flutist Norman Thibodeau, soprano Tess McCarthy and baritone Charles Schwartz.

The Flint House is at 421 S. Reynolds Street and is one of the oldest houses in Scotia. The open house and the concert are free and no reservations are needed. Beverages will be for sale.

The rain date is June 4, in case of severe weather.

Please check back for the latest information:





Flint House Open House and Free Concert on June 3

Visit the historic Flint House museum, enjoy the activities and displays, picnic under the trees, and gather at the tent for a concert of music from the early 1800s with the Musicians of Ma’alwyck.

Open House from 4-6 p.m., concert from 6:30-7:30. The Flint House is at 421 South Reynolds Street. More information coming soon!

Spring Colors

Yes, there was at least a little bit of sun last week to bring out the beautiful colors of the spring foliage at the Flint House!

April Mystery Tool Answer

The tool is a currier’s knife and is used in the production of leather. A currier’s work was to scrape and soften the rough hides after the tanner had treated them.

The hide was stretched and then washed and scrubbed to soften it. Next the inner side of the skin was made more even by the use of the currying knife. The blade was set at a right angle so it could shave the leather like a wood plane. If the currier made a mistake, the hide could be ruined.

The leather could also be split into different widths and thicknesses and then treated (one method used beef tallow and cod liver oil).

After that it could be stained or dyed and turned into the finished product.

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


April Mystery Tool

It looks like a blade, but the handles are so odd. It is a specialty tool, so you would be an expert in a particular trade if you knew how to use this one.

Happy Birthday New York State


New York State is 240 years old today!

Read more about it at:
(Article on page 2 of the newsletter.)

The New York Public Library has many old maps available on their website like the one above from 1795.

The original state constitution is held in the New York State Archives, and you can view it online in their digital collections.


100 years ago at the Village Board, March & April 1917

(A silent policeman was authorized by the board in March 1917.)

Minutes, March & April 1917

[As March was the time village elections were held and the beginning of the fiscal year, there is a lot going on!]

March 5, 1917

The office of the Treasurer will be at the Village Hall and all transactions will take place there, and all records and village property kept there. Salary will be $300.

Village Clerk salary is $1200.

Propositions to be published and posted before election day, which is March 20th:

  • Sanitary sewer to be placed in Sacandaga Rd. between Sixth & the village line at Toll St.
  • Surface sewer to be placed in Sacandaga Rd. from Mohawk to the village line at Toll St.
  • To appropriate funds for a building on the Village Water Works property for use of the engineer to maintain the pumps.

Annual reports were accepted from: Street Commissioner, Water Committee, the Board of Fire Commissioners, Sewer Committee, Light Committee, Finance Committee, Treasurer.

The Treasurer’s report to be printed, along with summaries of the others, and mailed out with the water bills.

The budget for the next fiscal year was submitted, as follows:

General Fund                                                    $8, 785                 Water                                                                   $18, 978                 Sewer                                                                   $8, 463                 Street                                                                   $7, 905
Drainage Sewer                                                  $ 1, 607                 Fire                                                                        $2, 051                 Light                                                                      $2, 589                 Health                                                                   $1,108

Total is $51, 486, with $38, 122 to be raised by taxes.

Interesting items: the Street fund included money for a driver and horses, and the Health Fund planned to cover expenses for milk inspection. (No details provided.)

March 19, 1917

Bills submitted to be paid.

March 26, 1917

Following the village elections.

New Trustees elected to serve until Mar. 25, 1918: President: Augustus H. Lasher Trustees: Frank H. Field, Stanley E. Ford, Horton S. Potter, LeRoy R. Wood

Mr. F.F. Lamboy appointed Superintendent of Water & Sewers and Plumbing Inspector for one year at a salary of $1200.

Charles W. Matthews appointed as Assistant to the Superintendent of Water & Sewers at a salary of $1000. He will pay rent of $12.50 per month for the village house at the pumping station when it is completed.

The Superintendent of Water & Sewers can employ laborers at a rate not to exceed $2.25 per day.

The Street Commissioner may employ George Keefer as driver of the village team for $70 per month, and he may hire laborers as needed at a rate not to exceed $2.25 per day.

Maurice B. Flinn was appointed Village Attorney at $500 per year for regular services. Any litigation will be paid separately. He may also earn a 1% fee on bonds or obligations he may sell.

The village will carry bonds as follows: Treasurer, $10,000; Clerk, $5,000; Street Commissioner, $100.

The Schenectady Trust Company is the official depository for Village funds.

The President is empowered to provide police protection as necessary, not to exceed $25 per month.

W. F. Chadsey is appointed Village Engineer at $7.50 per day.

“The Village President [will] be given full power to direct the Village Engineer to furnish grade stakes when he deems it necessary and proper.” [No indication of what grade stakes are–]

The Schenectady Gazette is the official newspaper for all required notices and ordinances.

Carl Henry Krueger is appointed Fire Commissioner for a 3-year term.

Dates for future board meetings listed.

The village will continue to rent a safe deposit box at the Schenectady Trust Company.

Burglar Insurance for the Village Hall to be purchased at $1000 coverage for the year.

Accounts for the fiscal year ending Feb. 28, 1917 were examined and were found to be true and correct by the Finance Committee; also the Treasurer and Clerk have accounted for all monies.

The Street Commissioner may purchase such gravel as he may require, not to exceed $25 per month.

The Water and Building Committees will prepare plans and specifications for the building near the water pumps, proposition approved by vote at the elections, and submit as soon as possible.

The President is authorized to enter into a contract with GE for equipment at the pumping station, as quoted Feb. 2, 1917.

The Building Committee will have the Hook & Ladder Company rooms repaired and redecorated, not to exceed $80.

One silent policemen to be purchased from the Traffic Sign Co. for use of the Police Department. [; also see You may have seen the “silent policeman” still in Canajoharie. We don’t know, however, exactly what the Scotia one looked like.]

The Street Commissioner will purchase 2 tons of hay at $16 per ton.

A water gauge will be placed in the home of the Water Committee.

A communication from the Mayor of Schenectady will be referred to the Railroad Committee. [Contents was not mentioned.]

Committees for the year: Finance (Wood, Field, Lasher); Sewers and Buildings (Ford); Water (Field); Lights and Railroads (Potter); Streets (Lasher).

April 2, 1917

Bonds for the Treasurer and Clerk accepted.

Property owners to be notified of installments due for road improvements: Schon-o-we, Mohawk from Ballston to the village line; Mohawk & Washington.

Proposals put out for the sewer work in Sacandaga Rd.

The Superintendent of Water will have the hydrants painted.

Bills were submitted for payment.

April 16, 1917

Bids received for the sewer project were all too high and were rejected.

A petition was received for a sidewalk on both sides of Third St. A hearing will be held May 21.

Plans for a house at the pumping station were accepted and will be sent to contractors.

The Clerk will purchase 3500 stamped envelopes for use of the Water Department (maximum $76).

As to the application of Lewis Marino for a street light on Cuthbert St.—“conditions do not justify the expense at this time.”

The President will authorize any necessary steps to protect the Water Pumping Station.

The Street Commissioner is authorized to spend no more than $50 to improve Reynolds St.

The Engineer will prepare a profile showing the proper grade for Wyman St. (between Riverside & Larkin) and Larkin (below Wyman and Reynolds).

Payroll approved; bills submitted for payment.

April 20, 1917

A special meeting held about the bids for sewers on Sacandaga Rd.